Use Up Those Turkey Leftovers to Make Delicious Turkey Soup

by Pamela

turkey leftovers, turkey soup, homemade stock

Yes, it’s another f’ing Thanksgiving post. I’m sure you’re pretty sick of Turkey Day posts but this one is for the day after. 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 turkey 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 make easy side dish recipes. But last year I was busy posting about ways to help you use up those Thanksgiving leftovers.

This is a post that I did last year to help you use up those turkey leftovers. I had so many requests for this recipe, I thought I would run it again so you can be eating this delicious turkey soup and find new use for those turkey leftovers (you’ll only need to eat those turkey sandwiches because you want to…not because you have to.)

This turkey soup recipe uses up that seemingly nasty ol’ turkey carcass to make a batch of homemade stock. So when your host asks if you’d like to take home some Thanksgiving leftovers…grab the turkey leftovers specifically, the carcass. I’m not claiming that your host won’t look at you all weird when you ask for this seemingly strange thing to be wrapped up and taken home, but be strong, you can do this, because you’ll know that you’re going to have the best damn turkey soup on the block tomorrow.

Buying stock from the store is totally acceptable, and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise (I do it all the time).  But making homemade stock is something you should do at least once. After you make it even one time, you’ll be hooked and want to make homemade chicken or turkey stock all the time (or at least whenever you have poultry pieces 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 anything you could get at a store.

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 (I thought that I would give you the info for making chicken too – leftovers are leftovers)  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 turkey soup.  When you make stock you need to strain it, to remove the bones and vegetables, but also to remove any smaller pieces of seasonings, bones and meat.  But when you use the homemade stock to make soup, you only need to remove the big pieces because you’ll be adding more things when you make up your yummy homemade soup recipe.

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

Relationship Advice

Funny how the number of opened bottles of wine is directly proportional to how well everyone is getting along.

Funny how the number of opened bottles of wine is directly proportional to how well everyone is getting along.


Recipe: Homemade Turkey Stock and Turkey Soup

Summary: 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)

Recipe by Pamela Braun.


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