Use Those Turkey Leftovers to Make Homemade Turkey Soup

by Pamela

homemade chicken stock, turkey stock, chicken stock, homemade stock, homemade soup, thanksgiving leftovers, homemade chicken soup recipe, relationship advice

I know, I know…another f’ing Thanksgiving post. Just go with me here for a minute (or two). By now you’ve gotten your Thanksgiving menu all planned out to the nth minute of prep and serving (and if you don’t…you probably should get on it). But what are you going to do with all of those Thanksgiving leftovers? If you read My Man’s Belly, or follow my tweets @MyMansBelly, you know that I’m on a crusade to give you recipes to help use up those Thanksgiving leftovers.

This homemade soup recipe uses up that seemingly nasty ol’ turkey carcass (or you could use up a chicken carcass) to make homemade stock. I’m not claiming that your host won’t look at you all weird when they ask if you want anything to take home and you chime in that you want the turkey carcass.  But be strong, you can do this, because you’ll know that you’re going to have the bestest soup on the block tomorrow.

Buying your chicken stock from the store is totally acceptable, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (I do it all the time).  But making homemade chicken stock or turkey stock is something you should do at least once.  Because after you make it even one time, you’ll be hooked and want to make homemade chicken stock all the time (or at least whenever you have birdie pieces parts leftover).  I will say that using uncooked bones tends to make a richer stock than using bones that have already been cooked, but either way is still tastier than any store bought stock.

The key to making homemade stock is to not drown the bones in water.  The ratio that I have learned is six quarts of water to five chicken carcasses.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually have five cut up birds around…I usually have one.  So the ratio that I use for chicken stock is: 1 bird – 2 quarts of water…for turkey stock the ratio is: 1 bird – 3 quarts of water.  Keeping the water amount to a minimum, especially if you are using already cooked chicken or turkey is the key to getting a concentrated flavor into your chicken or turkey stock.

Homemade stock can be used in any application that you would normally use store bought stock.  But my favorite use of homemade stock is for making truly homemade soup.  The main reason I like to make soup from my stock is because I can be pretty lazy.  When you make stock you need to then strain it, to obviously remove the bones and vegetables, but also to remove any smaller pieces of seasonings, bones and meat.  When you use the homemade stock to make soup, you only need to remove the big pieces from the stock because you’ll be adding more things to it when you make up your yummy homemade soup recipe.

So don’t just throw away those Thanksgiving leftovers.  Make up some homemade turkey stock from those Thanksgiving leftovers that will make you the envy of the neighborhood.

Relationship Advice

I could go on in today’s relationship advice column about sloppy seconds (aka leftovers) but I think, since we’re all adults that by now we realize that we are all somebody’s sloppy seconds.  Sorry to break it to you if you didn’t already realize that.

No, I thought I’d have a little fun here and, in honor of the box office mega hit Harry Potter, give a list of the spells, curses and elixirs that I wish could be used in relationships.  Please feel free to add any you would like for your relationship in the comments (this is going to be a fun list).

  • Alohomora – Opens locked objects (guys would love this one to get in the pants of the woman he’s chasing – sorry guys this, like your thoughts, is just a fantasy)
  • Confundus – Used to confuse your opponent (actually ladies we already have this one, but we call it our lady charms)
  • Diffindo – Splits seams (he’s eyeballing another woman walking down the street when all of a sudden her pants split <how did that happen?>
  • Engorgio – Enlarges an item – I think we can all imagine how we would use this one
  • Impedimenta – Slows an advancing object (you see them approaching you in the club, but there seems to be no escape, this would buy you some much needed time)
  • Lumos – Creates light at ‘wand’ tip – A bit too ET creepy for me, but some may like the light show
  • Orchideous – Conjures a bunch of flowers – This one’s just a bit obvious don’t you think
  • Polyjuice Potion – Although it tastes incredibly bad, one sip of this makes the drinker look exactly like someone else for an hour (though it can be renewed)  There’s going to be a lot of Brad Pitt’s, Johnny Depp’s and Gisele’s running around, I think.


Recipe: Homemade Turkey Stock and Homemade Turkey Soup Recipe

Summary: Makes 1 Quart


  • Turkey Stock Ingredients
  • 1 Turkey Carcass
  • 4 Carrots (peeled and cut into large chunks)
  • 2 Small Onions (peeled and cut into quarters)
  • 3 Garlic Cloves
  • 8 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 2 Quarts Cold Water


  1. In a large stock pot add all ingredients.
  2. Bring ingredients to a boil then reduce heat to low and continue to cook until the liquid is reduced by half (2-3 hours).
  3. If making stock: strain through a double layer of cheesecloth into a clean container and let cool. Once cool, cover and refrigerate overnight and remove hardened fat layer the next day. At this point you can use the stock or freeze it for later use.
  4. If using stock to make turkey soup: Remove all of the bones and large pieces of vegetables. From here you can add in leftover meat and add any vegetables that you would like. Reheat and serve. (If you want to remove more of the fat chill over night, remove the layer of fat and then add in the meat and vegetables. Reheat and serve.)
  5. *Note: your homemade stock will be thick compared to packaged stock. This is due to the collagen that comes from the bones. Once heated the stock/soup is liquid as you would expect it to be, so don’t panic when you see a thick consistency when it’s cooled.

Preparation time: 20 minute(s)

Cooking time: 45 minute(s)

Diet tags: Gluten free

Number of servings (yield): 4

Culinary tradition: USA (Traditional)

My rating 5 stars:  ★★★★★ 1 review(s)



Welcome to My Man's Belly! Leave me a comment and let me know what you think about the site or if there's a recipe you'd like to see here. Have a great day.


Dshine November 26, 2011 at 4:12 pm

I love your easy recipe and your awesome humor! Keep it up! From a single mom in the redwoods… I know great when I see it. Lol.

Pamela December 6, 2011 at 1:39 pm

Thank you so much! You just made my week. 🙂

marla {family fresh cooking} November 24, 2010 at 5:15 am

Thanks for trying to get the lazy out of me. & for giving me the excuse and OK to still use boullion & store bought broth. That bowl of soup looks like the perfect cool weather meal 🙂 Happy Thanksgiving!

Andrea @ Fork Fingers Chopsticks November 23, 2010 at 11:24 pm

I’m not making the turkey this year but I have no shame in asking for the bones.

Anna Johnston November 23, 2010 at 4:49 pm

Nothing like a really good made stock, I’m a fan of making my own for sure and you had me giggling with those spells, too funny 🙂

Rich November 23, 2010 at 8:48 am

Yup. I’m going to be making extra appetizers just to make sure I’ve got plenty of leftovers to make this! And if you go to Whole Foods, they sell chicken parts for stock for, like, 99 cents a pound …

naomi November 23, 2010 at 1:26 am

Great use of leftover turkey and great recipe!

Nancy November 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm

Turkey soup will be on the menu next week (with 2 carcasses how could I not??). Great instructions and photos! Had to laugh as I read the “spells” – will keep those in mind when we see Harry Potter later this week!

theboy November 22, 2010 at 1:26 pm

I know what our leftovers are getting turned into. This looks better than turkey sandwiches.

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