This turkey noodle soup is a wholesome meal in a bowl, packed with protein, veggies, and simple seasonings. Made with any leftover turkey, it cooks up in under 30 minutes.
Turkey noodle soup is one of my favorite things to make when using up Thanksgiving and Christmas leftovers. It’s cheap to make, works with any part of the turkey you like (even the bones!), and it’s a welcome change from days of turkey sandwiches.
It’s even better when it’s cold outside and you want an easy, comforting, warm dinner.
Table of Contents
Why this recipe works
This soup is probably one of the best post-feasting meals because it’s light, healthy, and hearty enough to stick to your ribs.
- It’s versatile. If you’re feeling under the weather or have those winter sniffles, this soup is an excellent alternative to the classic chicken soup.
- Classic noodle soup flavors. Fresh herbs, garlic, root veggies, and chicken broth form the base of this hearty soup. A spoonful of this slurpy goodness will make you feel right at home.
- Healthy. First, turkey is a lean protein. Meaning it has high protein content without the excess accompanying fats. Second, it is rich in vitamins and minerals. Third, the amount of veggies we pack into this soup can meet your daily quota!
As mentioned above, fresh vegetables and leftover poultry make the base of the soup. Besides some seasonings and broth, there isn’t anything else you’ll need to whip it up. Exact measurements are in the recipe card below.
- Soup veggies. For this particular soup, I have used onions, carrots, celery, and parsnip. It’s very forgiving so other root vegetables work too, like potatoes, sweet potatoes, and swedes.
- Garlic. Use fresh minced garlic for its bold, aromatic flavor.
- Water. For the soup.
- Fresh parsley and thyme. Fresh herbs for the flavor and fragrance. You could use dried herbs, too. They are more intense; you’ll need a lesser quantity but a little more time to release the flavor.
- Chicken stock. Adds instant flavor and depth to this quick soup. I prefer using low-sodium stock for a healthier soup.
- Salt and pepper. To taste.
- Leftover turkey meat. Leftovers from a whole roast turkey, shredded turkey tenderloin, or even turkey cutlets. If you need to make a turkey from scratch, I recommend a quick recipe, like my air fryer turkey breast.
- Noodles. I prefer twisty egg noodles (they remain al dente better!), but flat, wide, thick ones- all work great!
How to make leftover turkey noodle soup
Whip out the soup pot or Dutch oven and prepare to make the best use of leftover Thanksgiving turkey. It’s even better than chicken noodle soup.
Step 1- Boil the veggies
Cook onion, carrots, parsley, celery, parsnip, garlic, and thyme in a large pot with boiling water until the veggies become soft.
Step 2- Cook the noodles
Discard the thyme and parsley leaf. Add noodles, turkey, and chicken stock and simmer until the noodles become tender.
Step 3- serve.
Season with salt and pepper and serve warm.
Tips to make the best recipe
- Add turkey at the end. You want the turkey to stay moist. Boiling it for too long will make it dry and unpleasant. Remember, it is already cooked!
- Adjust the thickness. If the soup is too thick, add water to achieve the soupy consistency. And if you find it too thin, thicken it using cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons of water).
- Use a different carb. To change things up, I use different kinds of pasta or sometimes rice or orzo. They take a little longer to cook than classic noodles so increase the cooking time by 10 minutes.
- Use vegetable scraps. Use the carrot tops, onion ends, and other veggie scraps for additional flavor. Just remember to discard them before serving.
Easily customize this soup with just a few tweaks or swap out the ingredients to use what you have on hand- it’s super forgiving.
Top with bacon. Add fried bacon bites (make some air fryer bacon) to the soup for a little salty indulgence.
Make it creamy. While unconventional, you can add fresh cream or milk if you like creamy soups. Only add this at the very end, or else the soup will curdle.
Make it with a homemade turkey stock. If you have a leftover turkey carcass or bones, boil it with water, seasoning, and herbs for 2-3 hours to make a turkey broth. Strain and use it as a broth to make this soup. A little more time-consuming but trust me, it is worth it.
Use different herbs. Other fresh herbs to use to change up the flavor include rosemary, basil, oregano, and a bay leaf. These herbs compliment the soup flavor well.
To store. Cool the soup and refrigerate it in the fridge in sealed containers.
To freeze. While making this soup takes only 30 minutes, you can store the excess or batch prep to freeze beforehand. Freeze the soup in a shallow container for up to 3 months.
To reheat. Thaw the soup in the refrigerator and heat it in the microwave or a pot to enjoy it.
More easy soup recipes to keep you cozy
Frequently asked questions
If you don’t have leftover or cooked turkey at hand, make the soup with shredded roast chicken. You can even use a whole rotisserie chicken.
Add an instant burst of flavor by squeezing some fresh lemon juice, a splash of vinegar, a pinch of Worcestershire sauce, or a few spoons of soy sauce.
Use gluten-free noodles for this soup to be suitable for celiacs.
Sure, you can! Add all the soup ingredients except the noodles to the crockpot and cook on high for three hours. You could also cook on low for six hours. Boil the noodles separately and combine them with the soup for the final dish.
Turkey Noodle Soup
- 1 onion sliced
- 2 carrots sliced
- 2 stalks celery chopped
- 1 parsnip sliced
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 cups water
- 3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1/4 cup fresh parsley
- 4 cups chicken broth
- 3 cups cooked turkey shredded or chopped
- 8 ounces noodles
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- In a large pot, add the onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, garlic, water, parsley, and thyme. Cook for 15 minutes, or until the vegetables are tender. Discard the thyme and loose bits of parsley.
- Add the shredded turkey and noodles and simmer until the noodles are fully cooked.
- Season with salt and pepper and serve immediately.
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