Turkey Noodle Soup

4.80 from 5 votes
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One of the best ways to use any leftover turkey is to make a big pot of turkey noodle soup! This recipe is the ultimate comfort food to warm you up this winter.

More leftover turkey ideas to try: turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pie, or turkey salad.

Large pot of turkey noodle soup made from Thanksgiving leftovers.

My hearty and delicious turkey noodle soup is packed with shredded turkey, colorful vegetables, and a mix of herbs. I often make this meal a day or two after roasting a turkey for Thanksgiving since I have many ingredients in my kitchen.

I use a classic mirepoix of sauteed vegetables to build a savory base with a hint of sweetness. You can even simmer a leftover turkey carcass to add more richness. The collagen in the bones converts to gelatin, adding body to the liquid. The egg noodles are boiled in the delicious base until tender, making for an easy one-pot turkey soup recipe.

Recipe ingredients

Ingredients needed to make this turkey noodle soup recipe.
  • Turkey: Shred or cut the leftover turkey meat into bite-sized pieces. You’ll need 3 cups for the recipe. Chicken can also be used to make a chicken noodle soup.
  • Vegetables: Use a mix of carrots, celery, onion, and minced garlic. This is a classic mirepoix, used to add flavor to soup. The hearty vegetables add a nice texture and pop of color.
  • Herbs: Add fresh or dried rosemary, thyme, and bay leaves. Freshly chopped parsley is added as a garnish.
  • Liquid: Use chicken broth or stock. I prefer stock for a richer flavor, as it’s been cooked with the bones and not just the meat. I use unsalted stock so that I can control the seasoning level. If you’ve made homemade turkey stock, that’s even better! Chicken bouillon cubes make a quick and easy substitute.
  • Noodles: Any type of pasta can be used, but I prefer short-cut pasta; wide egg noodles are a traditional favorite. Adjust the cooking time depending on the variety.

See the recipe card below for all ingredients and measurements (US and metric).

Saute the vegetables

Carrots, celery, onions, and spices in a hot pan.

Step 1: To create a flavorful recipe for turkey noodle soup, start by sauteing the vegetables. Saute the diced onion to bring the natural sugars to the surface. They will caramelize and brown, enhancing the sweetness and mellowing the sulfur notes. Cook the celery and carrots just enough to get the browning started.

Briefly cook the minced garlic. The stock tastes much better than just simmering the raw vegetables in the liquid. Add the herbs to the hot fat to draw out more fat-soluble flavors. Season the mirepoix with salt and pepper to enhance the taste.

Simmer the soup

Pouring chicken stock into a pan of sauteed vegetables.
Simmering pot of vegetables and chicken stock.

Step 2: Add chicken stock and bay leaves once the vegetables are lightly browned. The carrots will still be tough, so bring the pot to a boil, then reduce it to a simmer. Cover and cook until they tender, about 10 minutes. This also gives the herbs a chance to infuse into the liquid.

Cook the noodles

Egg noodles and vegetables in a pot of chicken stock.

Step 3: I prefer wide egg noodles because they give an excellent pasta ratio to soup. They are flat and thin and cook quickly. Bring the stock to a rapid simmer, and cook until the pasta is al dente, about 5 minutes.

Don’t overcook as they will become mushy. They will continue to cook as the shredded turkey warms in the soup. Feel free to use other types of short-cut pasta like ditalini, small shells, or farfalle.

Add the turkey

Step 4: To prevent the cooked turkey from drying out, add it at the very end. Warm over low heat for about 5 minutes. Dark meat has more fat, so it can stand longer cooking. However, lean breast meat will get tough if cooked too hot or long.

If you find too much liquid absorbed by the noodles or evaporated, add more stock or water. Make sure to taste the soup and adjust the salt and pepper levels as needed. I like to serve each bowl with fresh parsley and some oyster crackers or crusty bread.

Flavor variations

The best part about this turkey noodle soup recipe is it’s easy to customize. I like to use this meal as a “clean out the fridge” option so that no food goes to waste. Try these tasty suggestions:

  • Meat: This is my favorite meal to make with leftover Thanksgiving turkey, but shredded chicken works well.
  • Vegetables: Besides a mirepoix, try adding zucchini, corn, tomatoes, mushrooms, leeks, butternut squash, sweet potatoes, Yukon gold potatoes, or green beans. Add chopped kale or spinach at the end of cooking to wilt.
  • Herbs: Add rosemary, thyme, marjoram, sage, tarragon, basil, bay leaf, or a mix. If using dried herbs, use ⅓ to ½ the amount of fresh, since they are concentrated in flavor.
  • Spices: Make it spicy with minced jalapeno or serrano peppers. Add dried red chili flakes, chipotle, or chili powder for a lingering heat. Add paprika, cumin, coriander, garlic powder, or onion powder for a savory and earthy taste.
  • Liquid: Instead of chicken stock or broth, use homemade turkey broth or stock, or vegetables. Add soy sauce or Worcestershire to enhance the umami taste.
  • Acid: Add a splash of lemon juice for tanginess. Or vinegar, like white wine, red wine, or apple cider, adds some pungency.
  • Pasta: Egg noodles are a classic variety to add to the soup. Try ditalini, orchette, rotini, cavatappi, shells, or penne.

Serving suggestions

Frequently asked questions

How can I make the soup more flavorful?

The stock can be simmered with the bones from the turkey, like the carcass, or leg and thigh with the meat. The bones, juices, and fat will add more flavor. To bump up the savory taste, you can also add soy sauce.

What type of noodles works best for turkey noodle soup?

Egg noodles are a classic addition, coming in medium, wide, and extra wide. I prefer the wide variety. Any small pasta works well, or gluten-free if needed. Just don’t overcook. You don’t want them to be mushy in texture.

Can I freeze the soup for later use?

Let the soup cool down, then portion it into freezer bags. The soup can be frozen for up to 2 months. Defrost before using, and add more stock or water as needed.

Homemade turkey and noodle soup served in a white bowl.

Recipe Science

Using raw turkey

If using raw meat, simmer it along with the vegetables. If it’s bone-in, the collagen in the cartilage will convert to gelatin, adding more body and flavor to the soup. Cook until the meat reaches 160ºF (71ºC). Let it cool, then shred or chop. Add it to the soup after cooking the noodles. Give my slow cooker chicken noodle soup method a try!

Turkey Noodle Soup

I highly recommend making my turkey noodle soup recipe because it's a comforting and delicious way to use leftover turkey from the holidays.
4.80 from 5 votes
Prep Time30 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time1 hour
Servings 12 servings
Course Soup
Cuisine American

Ingredients 
 

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups diced yellow onion, ½" dice
  • 1 cup sliced celery, ¼" thick
  • 2 cups sliced carrots, peeled, ¼" thick
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1 ½ teaspoons chopped thyme
  • 1 teaspoon chopped rosemary
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • 8 cups unsalted chicken stock, or broth, or turkey stock
  • 4 cups wide egg noodles
  • 3 cups cooked shredded turkey
  • 1 tablespoon chopped parsley

Instructions 

  • Saute the Vegetables – Add the olive oil to a Dutch oven or large pot, and heat over medium heat. Once hot, add the onions. Stir and cook until softened and lightly brown, about 5 minutes. Add celery, and cook for 3 minutes. Add carrots, and cook for 3 minutes. Add garlic, thyme, rosemary, salt, and pepper, stir, and cook for 30 seconds.
  • Simmer the Soup – Add the chicken stock and bay leaves. Bring the stock to a boil, then reduce to a simmer over medium-low heat. Cover and cook until the carrots are tender, about 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Cook the Noodles – Remove the cover and increase the heat to medium-high. Once the liquid is at a rapid simmer, add the pasta. Stir and cook until al dente, 5 to 6 minutes.
  • Add the Turkey – Reduce the heat to low. Add the turkey and cook until warmed through, about 5 minutes. Discard the bay leaves.
  • To Serve – If needed add more stock or water to thin the soup. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Garnish with parsley before serving.

Recipe Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • Recipe Yield: 12 cups
  • Serving Size: 1 cup
  • Storing: Cool then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Freeze for up to 2 months.
  • Reheating: Add more stock or water, as the noodles will soak up some of the liquid. Reheat on the stovetop over medium heat or microwave until hot.

Nutrition Facts

Serves: 12 servings
Calories 156kcal (8%)Carbohydrates 16g (5%)Protein 14g (28%)Fat 5g (8%)Saturated Fat 1g (5%)Polyunsaturated Fat 1gMonounsaturated Fat 2gTrans Fat 0.01gCholesterol 34mg (11%)Sodium 405mg (17%)Potassium 386mg (11%)Fiber 2g (8%)Sugar 3g (3%)Vitamin A 3672IU (73%)Vitamin C 5mg (6%)Calcium 36mg (4%)Iron 1mg (6%)

Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000-calorie diet. All nutritional information is based on estimated third-party calculations. Each recipe and nutritional value will vary depending on the brands you use, measuring methods, and portion sizes per household.

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Jessica Gavin

I'm a culinary school graduate, cookbook author, and a mom who loves croissants! My passion is creating recipes and sharing the science behind cooking to help you gain confidence in the kitchen.

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  1. Jon says

    Followed this recipe to make soup with the left over turkey. I added leftover vegetables and Jessica’s recipe to make stock from the turkey carcass. Used farfalle pasta since we had some in the pantry. Came out excellent. Each of Jessica’s recipes that I’ve made have been very good.

    • Jessica Gavin says

      Thank you so much! I love that you made a homemade turkey stock from the carcass, it always adds so much flavor to the soup.