Turkey Noodle Soup–Or How to Make Use of that Turkey Carcass


Turkey carcass is good in fridge for 3-4 days.

If you kept or froze your turkey carcass from Thanksgiving and aren’t quite sure what to do with it, this is your method for soup. While it looks like a recipe, it’s merely a method and you must yourself judge which ingredients you have or want to add; it’s all about flexibility.

Note the options of using your leftover vegetables, gravy, stock, or just adding all purchased low-sodium chicken stock and so on. 

In about an hour an a half, you’ll have just about the best turkey noodle soup you ever ate. If you are skipping noodles this week, leave them out and, instead, add extra fresh or frozen vegetables. (Brown rice, wild rice, or barley are other possibilities.)


  from Thanksgiving leftovers to include gravy if you like

This soup is made in two stages: one to create a quick stock and the other to make the soup using that quick stock. Please read all the way through before beginning.  

Cook’s Note:  The Turkey Soup police are not out today.  You can make this with lots of changes and substitutions, but you have my idea to start.  Blessings on your soup pot!  Be brave!

Stage 1: Making Stock

Homemade broth keeps in the fridge 3-4 days and in the freezer 4-6 months, according to my trusty site:  still tasty.com

  • 1 turkey carcass
  • Any extra bits of turkey meat, gristle, skin, etc. you have left that you’re not eating
  • 1 large onion, skin left on, cut in half (wash well before using)
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and uncut
  • 1 parsnip,  unpeeled and uncut, optional
  • 2 stalks celery with leaves, cut in half (add the end of the celery, too, if you have it)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Large sprig of fresh sage or 2 teaspoons dried sage
  • Several sprigs of fresh thyme or 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • Large sprig of fresh rosemary or 2 teaspoons dried rosemary
  • Handful of parsley (no need to chop)
  • 1 Tablespoon whole peppercorns or more to taste
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt or more to taste

Place all of the above ingredients into your largest stock pot. If you have a big 20 quart shrimp pot, use that. If not, simply use your largest pot. Pour in enough water to cover the carcass and vegetables and place on stove over high heat. Bring to a boil, lower heat to a medium boil, and let cook an hour or so. Add more water if necessary to keep all of the ingredients fairly-well covered. Strain all of the stock and ingredients through a fine sieve or colander into another big pot and discard solids. You may fish out the vegetables and puree them for the soup if you like. Be careful to make sure all of the peppercorns are out of the stock. You now have the basis for your soup.  Taste and adjust seasonings.  Read on.

Stage 2: Making the Turkey Noodle Soup

  • 1 package frozen egg noodles (I use 24-ounce size)
  • 1 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cups chopped celery
  • 4 whole cloves garlic, minced
  • 6 large carrots, peeled, and cut into 1″ pieces
  • 1 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 3 Tablespoons each chopped fresh thyme and sage (or sub 1 teaspoon each dried)
  • Leftover Thanksgiving vegetables as they are or pureed (or 2-3 cups frozen or fresh vegetables)*
  • Leftover Thanksgiving gravy:  1-2 cups (optional)
  • Leftover Thanksgiving turkey stock (optional–can use more chicken stock instead)**
  • 2 cups (more or less) shredded leftover turkey, light or dark meat***
  • 2-4 qts low-sodium chicken stock (depending on how much turkey stock you have)
  • 1 cup frozen green peas
  • Kosher salt, pepper to taste
  • Hot sauce, to taste

Remove the packaging from the frozen noodles and let unthaw on a plate.

To the stockpot of newly made stock, add all of the above except the last four items (noodles – hot sauce.) You must use your own judgment about how much liquid to add depending on the amount of vegetables and stock you have leftover, as well as how large your stockpot is. You may add water, as well, if you haven’t enough stock. All of the vegetables should have lots of room to float freely and there should be lots and lots of broth. The broth will reduce (cook down), but you’ll still need plenty later to cook the noodles. (Think about cooking pasta.)

Bring everything to a boil and lower heat to a good simmer. Cook until the fresh vegetables are beginning to soften, stirring regularly. Add the frozen noodles and cook in the broth as directed on the package–about 20 minutes. Throw in the peas for the last few minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt, pepper and hot sauce, if desired. A few drops of hot sauce will deepen the soup without heating it up, but be careful you don’t over do it. Total cooking time for this second stage should be 30-40 minutes.

Serve hot. Refrigerate all leftovers for just a day or so. For further storage, freeze for up to 6 months at 0 degrees F 

*If you have leftover cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, turnips, etc.)  you might want to add these in just the last five minutes of cooking so they do not flavor the broth.

**You might have some leftover turkey stock from cooking the giblets, etc to make gravy and stuffing; throw this in if you have it.  If you don’t, you’ll use more boxed broth or water, if necessary.

***If you’re out of turkey meat, you can still make this soup; it’ll be tasty, filling, and nutritious anyway.

{printable recipe}

If you like this, you might like my Turkey-Wild Rice Soup with Vegetables (and sherry) 

Sing a new song,

This “recipe” originally published on this blog and perhaps elsewhere.  I’ve reposted it as the original one was badly formatted. Make soup!

4 thoughts on “Turkey Noodle Soup–Or How to Make Use of that Turkey Carcass

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