Turkey Carcass Soup is the perfect way to use up leftover holiday turkey to make flavorful, comforting turkey and rice soup for dinner.
After big holiday Dinners like Thanksgiving, there are always lots of leftovers. While you can use up the turkey breast and thighs to make delicious Turkey Sandwiches or Leftover Turkey Casserole, you’ll still have the turkey carcass to deal with. Instead of throwing it out, use the bones and leftover meat to make a cozy, comforting bowl of Soup.
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Sabrina’s Turkey Carcass Soup Recipe
As you’re cleaning up from your big holiday dinner, make sure to save your leftover carcass for soup! Not only does Turkey Carcass Soup mean less food you are throwing away, but the bones add an amazing depth of flavor to this cozy and comforting soup. This delicious recipe also has rice so the soup is hearty and filling, for an easy one-pot meal perfect for after a big week of holiday cooking. Make sure you have plenty of leftover Dinner Rolls to dip in the amazing broth.
- Turkey Carcass: A turkey carcass might not look like much at first but there is lots of leftover turkey meat on the bones! The unwanted pieces are filled with rich flavor and there will also be bite-sized pieces of the good stuff on the leftover bones. Use a strainer to separate the meat from the leftover turkey bones.
- Chicken Broth: The turkey carcass and chicken broth make a delicious turkey bone broth. It makes an extra healthy soup because as you cook the leftover turkey bones, the broth absorbs the nutrients. The meaty bones also fill your semi-homemade broth with amazing flavor for the best tasting soup.
- Rice: Long-grain white rice makes Turkey Carcass Soup more filling and has a nice chewy texture. You can use any long-grain rice that you prefer for this recipe like basmati rice, jasmine rice, or regular white rice.
- Vegetables: We used lots of the same healthy vegetables in your favorite soup recipes. Chop up a yellow onion, four celery stalks, and two carrots while the bone broth is cooking.
- Seasonings: Finish flavoring the soup with bay leaf, kosher salt, black pepper, minced garlic, rosemary, and thyme. The traditional seasonings give the dish a warm, comforting flavor.
Kitchen Tools & Equipment
- Soup Pot: A large dutch oven or stock pot makes the best soup pot because it is big enough to hold the whole leftover turkey carcass without having to break it down. The less you have to break up the leftover bones, the easier it will be to remove the unwanted turkey pieces from the meat and other broth ingredients.
- Strainer: You’ll need a fine-mesh strainer to separate meat from bones and make sure none of the leftover turkey bones end up in your finished batch of soup. A fine-mesh strainer works best because it will catch even the tiniest unwanted pieces in your strained broth.
How to Make Turkey Carcass Soup
Time needed: 4 hours and 30 minutes.
- Make the Stock
Add the turkey carcass and chicken broth to a large dutch oven or stock pot. Bring to a boil over medium heat, then reduce to a simmer. Continue to cook covered for 3-4 hours.
- Strain the Broth
After the broth has simmered for at least 3 hours, strain the turkey bones from the broth. The heat should have helped remove meat from bones. If you notice any large chunks of turkey meat, you can break them into smaller pieces.
- Add the Soup Ingredients
Add the rice, sliced onions, celery stalks, carrots, bay leaf, salt, black pepper, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to the pot. Then cover and continue to cook the delicious turkey soup for another 20 minutes.
- Serve the Soup
Check that the rice is cooked, then ladle the warm Turkey Carcass Soup into serving bowls. Garnish with parsley and serve with crusty bread.
Cooking Tips & Tricks
- Strain the Broth before Seasoning
It’s best to boil just the carcass in the broth and add the seasonings and veggies later. It makes it easier to strain the bones and separate the meat out. Also, it keeps your veggies from getting too soft in the longer cooking time.
- Use Up Holiday Leftovers
This easy and flavorful soup is the perfect way to use up more holiday leftovers than just leftover turkey bones and meat. You can use leftover vegetables from your veggie tray. If you have basic ingredients and seasonings leftover from making classic sides like Green Bean Casserole or Stuffing, like green beans and herbs, throw them in your soup pot.
How to Store Turkey Carcass Soup
Store: After cooking, don’t leave homemade Turkey Soup at room temperature for more than a couple of hours. Ladle leftovers into soup containers to store in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Reheat: It’s best to heat your leftover soup on the stove top, adding more broth as needed if it’s too thick. To reheat frozen Turkey Carcass Soup, let it thaw in the fridge for a few hours, then add it to a large soup pot and simmer over medium heat until it’s warmed all the way through.
Freeze: You can freeze this Turkey Soup recipe for 4-6 months. First, make sure the soup is entirely cooled. Transfer it to a freezer bag or another airtight container. If you’re using a freezer bag, make sure you don’t fill it too full, and keep the zipped top facing up in the freezer.
Alternative Cooking Techniques
Slow Cooker Turkey Carcass Soup
- Place the turkey carcass into a large slow cooker, breaking in half if needed to make it fit with the lid.
- Add the broth to the slow cooker and cover. Cook on low heat overnight.
- The next day, strain the broth and set the meat aside. Return the broth to the slow cooker.
- Add the onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary, and thyme to the broth.
- Cook on High for 3 hours or Low for 6-7 hours.
- Add the rice and turkey meat to the soup and cook on High for 1 hour, or until the rice is cooked.
Instant Pot Turkey Carcass Soup
- Turn the Instant Pot to Saute and add 2 tablespoons of oil to the pot.
- Cook the onion, celery and carrots until they are softened, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in the garlic, thyme and rosemary and cook for another 30 seconds. Turn the unit off.
- Add the turkey carcass, broth, rice, bay leaf, salt and pepper to the pot and stir.
- Secure the lid and pressure valve. Cook on High Pressure for 10 minutes.
- Release the pressure naturally for 10 minutes then quick release the rest of the pressure.
- Remove the carcass and strain out any remaining bones.
Turkey Carcass refers to the turkey bones and extra meat that are left after you’ve eaten your Roasted Turkey. This recipe uses the bones and remaining meat to make a delicious soup and minimize waste.
You can keep your leftover carcass for up to 1 week before it needs to be frozen or turned into soup. You can freeze a turkey carcass for up to 6 months. You don’t even need to thaw it before making the broth.
- 1 leftover turkey carcass , excess fat removed (from a 14-pound turkey)
- 6 cups chicken broth
- 1/2 cup uncooked long-grain rice
- 1 yellow onion , chopped
- 4 stalks celery , chopped
- 2 carrots , chopped
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon coarse ground pepper
- 2 cloves garlic , minced
- 1/2 teaspoon rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon thyme
- Salt , to taste
- Add the turkey carcass and broth to a large dutch oven.
- Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer.
- Cover and cook for 3-4 hours.
- Remove the bones from the pot, add in the rice, onions, celery, carrots, bay leaf, salt, pepper, garlic, rosemary and thyme.
- Cover and continue to simmer for 20 minutes until rice is cooked.
Turkey Carcass Soup Variations
Rice: For a heartier rice option, try brown rice or wild rice in your soup recipe. Either option will take extra time to cook. Usually, you need to cook brown or wild rice for 45 minutes.
Noodles: If you prefer to make Turkey Carcass Soup with noodles instead of rice, that’s also a tasty option. Prep the turkey stock as usual. Then you can add egg noodles, farfalle, or fusilli to the pot with the rest of the ingredients. Remember that the noodles will cook faster than rice, so don’t leave it on the stove as long.
Seasonings: You can add various flavors to delicious turkey soup, depending on what herbs and spices you use. Try mixing in black peppercorns, oregano, chili powder, fresh parsley, or white pepper. A squeeze of fresh lemon adds a ton of delicious flavor too!