Homemade Turkey Soup

homemade turkey soup Entree
Homemade Turkey Soup
  • Prep 30 min
  • Total 2 hr 55 min
  • Servings 10

Use your leftover holiday turkey to make from-scratch soup packed with barley and vegetables. ...MORE+ LESS-

September 9, 2010


Carcass from cooked 10- to 12-lb turkey
quarts (12 cups) water
teaspoon salt
teaspoon pepper
teaspoon poultry seasoning or dried sage leaves
dried bay leaf
cup uncooked pearl barley
medium carrots, sliced (1 1/2 cups)
large onion, chopped (1 cup)
medium stalks celery, sliced (1 cup)
cups cut-up cooked turkey
tablespoons chopped fresh parsley, if desired


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  • 1
    Break up turkey carcass to fit 6-quart Dutch oven. Add water, salt, pepper, poultry seasoning and bay leaf. Heat to boiling over high heat; reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 1 hour 30 minutes.
  • 2
    Skim off any residue that rises to the surface. Remove bones, meat and bay leaf from broth; cool. When cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones and cut into bite-size pieces; set aside. Discard bones and bay leaf.
  • 3
    Skim fat from broth; discard. Add turkey meat cut from bones to broth; stir in barley. Heat to boiling; reduce heat to low. Cover; simmer 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
  • 4
    Stir in carrots, onion, celery and 3 cups cooked turkey. Simmer uncovered 20 to 25 minutes longer, stirring occasionally, until vegetables and barley are tender. Stir in parsley.

Expert Tips

  • Turn this into Homemade Turkey-Vegetable Soup by adding up to 3 cups raw or cooked vegetables, such as whole kernel corn, green peas, diced potatoes, sliced zucchini, sliced mushrooms or any combination, along with the carrots, onion and celery.
  • An easy way to add layers of flavor is to use poultry seasoning. A blend of sage, thyme, marjoram, rosemary, black pepper and nutmeg, this seasoning lends a subtle savory note to chicken and turkey dishes.

Nutrition Information

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 Serving
Calories from Fat
% Daily Value
Total Fat
3 1/2g
Saturated Fat
Trans Fat
Total Carbohydrate
Dietary Fiber
% Daily Value*:
Vitamin A
Vitamin C
1 Starch; 0 Fruit; 0 Other Carbohydrate; 0 Skim Milk; 0 Low-Fat Milk; 0 Milk; 0 Vegetable; 2 Very Lean Meat; 0 Lean Meat; 0 High-Fat Meat; 0 Fat;
Carbohydrate Choice
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

Rate and Comment

MailmanBob More than 1 year ago
Turkey soup is great and has a flavor of it's own. I like to ROAST all of the bones on a large pizza pan until they are dark brown. Then into the pot, covered with water, for 3 hours.That gives a more intense turkey flavor and I can get a gallon of broth from it. It freezes well in canning jars, for later use, so I can make several kinds of turkey soup...such as cream of turkey with rice and turkey noodle.
Toni30814 More than 1 year ago
To give your soup some thickening, use your leftover dressing. (if you have any leftover).
Linda-VA More than 1 year ago
I do same- everyone loves it and adds so much flavor and thickens just enough - I make a large pot and NEVER have leftovers!!!
khood79 More than 1 year ago
An absolutely amazing way to finish off a turkey. First of all, I replaced half the salt with celery salt to give it an extra celery flavor. I also added additional spices (thyme is a good one) and doubled the sage. I added a tsp of red pepper flakes to give it a kick, but that's definitely a personal thing. I think it would definitely be good with noodles (or a matzo ball?)--something with starch. I'll have to try that later; I just used crackers the first time around. Also note that you should remove as much meat from the bones as possible before making the broth, as the meat that sits in the water for so long becomes a bit less flavorful.
RPH13 More than 1 year ago
I make this everywinter but I add 1 or 2 turkey wings for more for more flavor.  Also, substitute half of water with low salt chicken or turkey brooth.
mous2cute More than 1 year ago
Omg this is so good! I added about 15 chicken bouillon because I doubled it but not the turkey. I also added a lot more bells seasoning to it. Yum!
NormasGoodies More than 1 year ago
You have to be kidding with the 15 bouillon cubes--it would be so salty that no one would want to eat it
MagicDragon More than 1 year ago

I'm sure they didn't mean 15, probably like 5, I hope

kitchen-witchen More than 1 year ago
I'm surprised that after adding 15 chicken bouillon cubes and a lot more Bell Seasoning to the soup, you're still alive to tell about it!  If you normally consume such a huge amount of sodium, I suggest that you get your blood pressure checked....pronto!
Jenda99 More than 1 year ago
Yes low sodium is available. Also sodium doesn't cause high blood pressure. Sodium aggravates and wreaks havoc if you already *have* high blood pressure.  

Spread knowledge not panic.
doccat5 More than 1 year ago
There are low sodium bouillon cubes available, kids.  I prefer the powder myself.  
icooktoo More than 1 year ago
And your sodium level & msg levels went where?
emd More than 1 year ago
Made this soup with meat from a roast chicken.  I also use Bell's seasoning and onion powder.  In the final minutes ditalini was added--what a dish.  Served with Italian bread and apple cobbler.  A great dinner--a great soup.  Thanks for the recipe
MSCROCK More than 1 year ago
SMK2710 More than 1 year ago
I made this recipe exactly as it was written, but it was way too bland.  We ate it the next night as leftovers and I added more celery, more carrots, more onion, more garlic (basically more everything) and used chicken broth instead of water, and it was much more flavorful. 
icooktoo More than 1 year ago
When one cooks the turkey carcass in water for a long time all flavor & nutrients go into the
water.  The meat then is left with no flavor. 
Also, who would carve a 10# turkey & have 3 c. of meat left on the bones?
sdlm More than 1 year ago
My Mother in Law used to make "Turkey Carcass" soup. She would always add a can of cream corn to it at the end. It made it unbelievably rich!
Memesheehan More than 1 year ago
It was great!!  Made it on a rainy and cold day!
jellabies More than 1 year ago
I have always made turkey soup like this, didn't know Betty did though! The only thing different I do is add 2 diced potatoes, a can of chicken noodle soup or just plain chicken broth, and green peas or green beans.
dotbakes More than 1 year ago
I omitted the barley and put 1 cup chopped Italian bread pieces instead. Used two large chicken bouillon cubes with 8 cups of water.  Is there any way we could get the nutritional value without the barley.  I'm on Weight Watchers diet and need to figure out my points.   Delicious recipe!

GreyLadyJR More than 1 year ago
I found that a cup of uncooked barley is between 675 and 710 calories a cup.  The recipe calls for 1/2 cup so let take 710 calories and divide that by 2.  That is 355 calories.  The recipe says it makes 10 servings.  355 divided by 10 is 35.5 calories.  I'll round that up to 36.   The recipes says it is 140 calories per service.  Take 140 and subtract 35.5 calories and you get 104.5 calories per serving.   
Foreverpdunn More than 1 year ago
I love this recipe and make it every year. I usually as fresh green beans, a few green peppers or whatever other fresh vegetables appeals to me. The only real change I've made is to use a ham soup base instead of the other seasonings. I know it sounds strange, but try it with a small batch. You'll never go back. 
lululu1 More than 1 year ago
Thanks so much for such an easy recipe,DEFINITLY a keeper!!!!!
rico_suave More than 1 year ago
Recipe needs more salt.  Otherwise, good.
strawberrypatti More than 1 year ago
Very Good Turkey Soup
aceofhearts More than 1 year ago
Excellent blend of flavors...loved it so much more than my old recipe!
Duquesne More than 1 year ago
This was very good.  I did add some chicken stock to it. 
DebHartigan More than 1 year ago
The proportion of ingredients to broth was perfect; however, the broth lacked richness, and the overall flavor of the soup was very bland
yooperlady More than 1 year ago
I made it, too bland for my taste, not sure what else I could've added to make it more tasty.
MKiniry More than 1 year ago
YUM!!!! We always do a fried turkey breast so not much carcass to use, but I'm able to buy turkey stock. Added shredded carrots, onion, celery, & seasonings. Even used some leftover gravy too. Love, love barley! Also added a handful of wild garlic noodles & some peas at the end to brighten it up. Made enough to share with my adult kids & the rest is in the freezer for another day. YUM!! 
Rose5220 More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful way to clean off all that good turkey left on the carcass.  I made this soup the day after Thanksgiving, and it turned out great.  I pretty much went by the recipe except I omitted the barley and the sage leaves.  I also cooked the onion with the carcass to give the stock more flavoring.  In place of the barley, I put in cooked wide egg noodles at the end and added a partial carton of vegetable broth.  In addition to all the listed vegetables, I added 3 parsnips.  They add a sweetness to the broth.  I can say that this soup tasted exactly what my mom's soup tasted like.
BigHeart1 More than 1 year ago
I love how easy it was to make this. Added a few more spices to my liking.
SharonL9 More than 1 year ago
This was the best turkey soup I have ever made!!!  Family loved it!
AnnaCats More than 1 year ago
Very easy to make.  Turkey is always good in a soup.  Gives it an excellent flavor.  Everybody really liked it.
BarbieDoll4 More than 1 year ago
Did used pearl couscous, couldn't find pearl barley.
CSnider More than 1 year ago
Very tasty and a great way to use all the left over turkey. 
jannyVT More than 1 year ago
This soup was delicious and so easy to make. I added a handful of lentils and YUMMY ! All the way :)
Look forward to making it using chicken too !
DIANA_IN_WI More than 1 year ago
I didn't have a bay leaf or barley and I didn't actually measure the water but I did cook the carcasses of two turkeys and added salt, pepper, turkey, clerey, onons and carrots and it was the best!  I just might make another turkey just to make more soup.  I did add rice to my soup to make it filling meal.
char819 More than 1 year ago
Sounds excellent, but will be adding the left over noodles and broth to it. I will probably added veggies as well. Can't do onion or celery. 

VeggieGal More than 1 year ago
Very good soup, both husband and I liked it. I used the "Expert Tips" and added extra seasoning : thyme, marjoram, rosemary and black pepper, along with the tail end of a bag of frozen mixed veggies. I didn't have a turkey carcass, just leftover turkey, so used chicken stock, skipping steps 1 and 2. Loved the smell of it simmering on the stove after coming in from a cold day.
MichelleS More than 1 year ago
Thought it was very good. I just found it needed some more spice to it. I added chicken boullion and thyme. It tasted great!
stewey8878 More than 1 year ago
I added egg noodles, definately needs the celery to give it that real homemade taste.
sdlm More than 1 year ago
My Mother in Law used to make "Turkey Carcass" soup. She would always add a can of cream corn to it at the end. It made it unbelievably rich!
My4Kidds More than 1 year ago
It was excellent. My picky son ate 2 bowls
BaileyATL More than 1 year ago
Spot on delicious!
LJE2 More than 1 year ago
Nice variety of vegetables. I think it would be good with egg noodles.
SCHGCook More than 1 year ago
This is a great recipe.  The soup was delicious. Didn't add or subtract anything from the recipe.
Boub1023 More than 1 year ago
mydarkhalfs More than 1 year ago
zbbcat More than 1 year ago
Site rating only.  Haven't made yet but have suggestion.  If these are skinny recipes it would be nice to know the calories, fat, carbs, sugar etc.  Thanks.
LightBlue More than 1 year ago
Was really really good will make it more often now.
thelizinator More than 1 year ago
I increased the poultry seasoning to 2 teaspoons, pepper to 1 teaspoon, bay leaves to 2, and barley to 1 cup--otherwise kept everything else as directed.  Turned out great!  Perfect way to use the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving!
LLansing More than 1 year ago
just got done making some turkey soup and added rice. love warm soup on a chilly day.
Nanpoo More than 1 year ago
I thought it was ok.  My husband did not like it .  he said not enough flavor.
I probably won't make it again. 
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Don't blame ya.    I've tried this recipe before.     This can only be tasty if you've just escaped 15 years in a gulag.    Sorry, Betty.
fabulousterrah6 More than 1 year ago
GMALK70 More than 1 year ago
MELISSASGRANNY More than 1 year ago
Sheilalovesbetty More than 1 year ago
This is my favorite turkey soup ever!!!!
ibolya More than 1 year ago
It is almost as same what I am making. Sounds so good this one that I will try to make it, Maybe it is tastier.
iecompat More than 1 year ago
JSGS More than 1 year ago
SAM-It was easy to make and tasted good.  I added potatoes and more spices.
bozococo More than 1 year ago
It was good.
Princesspei More than 1 year ago
I made this recipe twice! Easy to follow. The first time I didn't have enough cooked turkey, so substituted with sliced Jalapeño sausages. I also added some sambal belachan (shrimp paste) before serving, to give it a kick! Today was the second time I made it,  I added some fried bacon towards the end.. I have a couple of packed tupperwares to distribute to friends :)
areyouforreal More than 1 year ago
SoupFace More than 1 year ago
Good flavor and very easy recipe
CZcooks More than 1 year ago
I used turkey stock as half of the liquid as I did not think it would have enough "turkey" flavor. I am glad I did as it was just right! Added frozen peas as we love them.
Elder441 More than 1 year ago
I made this soup with the Thanksgiving Turkey bones. It was so easy and tasty. I have made many versions of Turkey soup in the past and this is the only one my family has really enjoyed. I made 1& 1/2 of the recipe because my turkey was larger, I just added the 1 cup of onions and between the meat left on the turkey and the original amour of turkey it was perfect!!!

sharebear66 More than 1 year ago
This soup was great I will make it again and again!
pullthis More than 1 year ago
zoomts More than 1 year ago
Loved it. Great way to use leftover turkey. Put in crock pot to cook. Easy to do
hfrer More than 1 year ago
rocket888 More than 1 year ago
I used the left over turkey bone and ham bone from Thanksgiving dinner  made the broth..Added the barley, carrots, celery and shredded turkey and ham back in, so delicious and light
eilral More than 1 year ago
I have not made this yet. I'd like to know how to fix a Turkey Soup with one left over Turkey leg and a small amount of breast meat. ? I tried to do it but my soup is lacking flavor and the turkey is real chewy! I used canned chicken broth and  carrots, celery,onion & mushrooms. How long does Barley need to cook when added to soup? I'd love some hints. I did add some pouty seasoning to my soup, but it still needs more flavor. I would say the recipe above sounds good, but I have not fixed it yet so I'll have to rate it so I can send my post!
honawinkle More than 1 year ago
if you have a 
Trader Joes nearby, buy their sachets of comncentrated broth, instead of buillon cubes which arent very good.
Throw in some turkey necks from the supermarket or pieces of chicken for more flavor...if you can get a package of necks and backs those add a lot of flavor...
PAQUINAP More than 1 year ago
Another way to add flavor to this receipe, is to first roast both the carcass and the vegetables at 200° until golden brown, then follow the rest of the steps. It gives it a smokey taste, for those who like it.
Noreencancook More than 1 year ago
Love Turkey Soup!!!!! I add leftover mashed potatoes, mashed turnip, stuffing and gravy from the Turkey meal. It gives it more body and a lot more taste!!!!
Kellieoverka More than 1 year ago
Hi all. I have left over turkey but not carcass. I want to make soup can I just use bouillon cubes ?
Edna_Mae More than 1 year ago
Sure you can. You might want to add a bit of water & some of your own spices too. If you have left over turkey, do you have drumsticks & wings?? Toss those in the broth to boil awhile! We sometimes only make a turkey breast with just 2 of us but we use that carcass. We also use a LOT of carrots!! Make it your own starting with the bouillon or boxed or canned broth. Easier than the cubes. It'll be great!! Enjoy your Thanksgiving!!
Realfoodlove More than 1 year ago
Love this homemade style. Definitely had to add garlic though. Also adding a little noodles. I cook the noodles first and chill them before adding to the soup at the end so they don't get over cooked. ;) perfect for the cold weather to ward off any sick bugs...
Edna_Mae More than 1 year ago
We learned the hard way one year about the noodles!!! We had done it before, "the right way" but for some reason that year we messed up & put the noodles in raw!! BIG mistake! All that starch ruined the taste. Sometimes we use rice but that's ok to put in cooked or uncooked. Also thickens the broth.
KraftyChick More than 1 year ago
I have this boiling on the stove now. Several of the neighbors were walking by and stopped to ask...What smell so yummy? I came inside & e-mailed this recipe to them Can't wait until dinner tonight!
rjsinc1952 More than 1 year ago
Great Soup for a cool day
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Yum-O More than 1 year ago