Make the most of your turkey leftovers with this Creamy Turkey Soup recipe. With a velvety cream broth, plenty of veggies, and hints of thyme and garlic, this turkey soup will warm you from the inside out.
This post was developed in partnership with the Ohio Poultry Association. As always, all opinions are my own.
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Deliciously Comforting Creamy Turkey Soup
Of all the things I love to cook, soup is by far my favorite. Every time I gather up an onion, carrot, and celery and put the knife to my cutting board, I feel myself sinking into something that feels like home. It’s familiar, reassuring, sturdy–and yet, it holds so many hopeful possibilities.
When life feels hectic or heavy, I come back to that cutting board, ready to slow down and stir up some comfort.
This Creamy Turkey Soup is the anecdote for days of frantic holiday preparation and the post-feast cooking hangover that ensues. It’s simple, warm, and soothing–the perfect way to use up leftover turkey and nourish a body that maaaaybe ate one too many slices of pie.
It’s also incredibly delicious. My 30 Minute Chicken Noodle Soup has long been our family’s favorite recipe, but Mr. NeighborFood has declared this soup EVEN BETTER. It’s chalk full of turkey and vegetables in a luscious creamy broth flavored with thyme, bay leaves, and my special secret ingredient.
Even my kids went nuts for this one, shocking themselves and everyone else at the table by declaring that maybe they do sorta kinda like celery sometimes.
Clocking it at just under 30 minutes to make, this is a turkey soup recipe so good, you’ll want to make it year round!
- Turkey– Maybe you have some leftover Garlic and Herb Oven Roasted Turkey, but if not, do not fret. You can also buy and cook a pre-marinated turkey tenderloin, substitute rotisserie chicken, or use leftover Italian Dressing Chicken.
- TIP: If you want to make sure you have leftover turkey, plan for 1-2 pounds of turkey per person. For example, a 16 lb turkey should feed 8-10 people with leftovers.
- The Mirepoix– A mirepoix is a classic flavor base made from chopped vegetables cooked in oil. It’s the backbone of many soup, stew, and sauce recipes, including Vegan Lentil Soup and Italian Sausage Soup with White Beans. For this Creamy Turkey Soup, I used the traditional mirepoix of carrots, onions, and celery, cooked until soft and fragrant.
- Mushrooms– The velvety broth for this soup is based on my recipe for Creamy Mushroom Soup, so it only felt right to include them here as well. If you hate mushrooms, feel free to omit them, but I LOVE the rich umami flavor they add to this soup.
- Chicken or Turkey Broth– Store bought broth works just fine, but you can also make your own turkey broth from your leftover turkey!
- Worcestershire sauce– This is the SECRET ingredient that adds so much depth to the broth.
- Cornstarch– A simple cornstarch slurry helps thicken the soup a bit, and also keeps this turkey soup gluten free!
- Cream– Just a cup of cream added at the very end makes for a silky smooth, rich and creamy soup!
How to Make Creamy Turkey Soup
Saute the vegetables. Heat oil in a large soup pot (this Dutch oven is my favorite). Add the onions, carrots, and celery, and saute until they’re starting to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms and a bit more olive oil or butter and saute another 3-4 minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened and browned. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
Deglaze and stir in the broth and seasonings. Add a splash of the broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Add the remainder of the broth, turkey, Worcestershire, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot.
Simmer. Bring the mixture to a simmer. Once the soup is simmering, stir in the cornstarch slurry. Simmer for a few minutes, stirring often, until the soup to thicken slightly, then lower the heat.
Add cream. Stir in the cream and warm through. Taste and adjust the salt and pepper as needed. Remove the bay leaves, and serve!
Switch up the veggies– Feel free to omit the mushrooms if you prefer. You could also add potatoes or sweet potatoes if you want it to be a little heartier, though it will take awhile longer to cook.
Add noodles or rice– If you want a turkey noodle soup, omit the cornstarch and add egg noodles or rice to the soup after bringing it to a boil. You’ll also want to add an extra cup of broth if you go this route.
Substitute half and half– If you’d like to lighten things up, you can use half and half instead of cream; the broth will just be slightly less creamy.
Delicious Sides for Turkey Soup
Soup and bread is my favorite winter meal. You can never go wrong with a French baguette, but we also love serving turkey soup with Amish White Bread, Rosemary Foccacia Bread, or, for a gluten free option, this Gluten Free Cornbread.
If you want to channel Panera and create your own “You Pick Two,” try serving it with an Apple and Brie Grilled Cheese, Caprese Panini, or Turkey Avocado Sandwich. Or go the salad route with a classic Creamy Caesar, That Good Salad, or Strawberry Spinach Salad.
How to Store and Use Leftover Turkey
Still have leftovers? Don’t worry! I’ve got loads of delicious ways to use it up.
Store any leftover turkey in airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can also freeze it! Place any turkey you can’t eat in a few days into freezer safe bags or containers and freeze for 3-4 months. Turkey can be thawed overnight in the fridge. Always reheat leftover turkey to an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
You can also substitute turkey in recipes that call for cooked or rotisserie chicken, including Cranberry Chicken Salad with Pistachios, Mason Jar Chicken Taco Salad, Chicken Tortilla Soup, or Chicken Enchiladas.
If you’d like to learn more about Ohio poultry farming, I encourage you to check out the Ohio Poultry Association’s website, and follow them on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter, where they share great recipes, instructional videos, and tips for all things chicken, turkey, and eggs!
- 2 Tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 small yellow onion, chopped
- 3 small carrots, chopped
- 2 celery stalks, chopped
- 8 ounces mushrooms, thinly sliced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 4 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 2-3 cups leftover chopped turkey (or chicken)
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire
- 1 Tablespoon fresh thyme leaves
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 Tablespoons cornstarch, whisked into 2 Tablespoons water
- 1 cup cream or half and half
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Heat one tablespoon of the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven set over medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery, and saute until the vegetables are starting to soften, 3-4 minutes. Add the second tablespoon of oil and the mushrooms and saute another 3-4 minutes, or until the mushrooms are softened and browned. Stir in the garlic and saute until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
- Add a splash of the broth to the skillet, scraping up any browned bits from the bottom of the pot. Then add the remainder of the broth, turkey, Worcestershire, thyme, and bay leaves to the pot. Bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Once the soup is simmering, stir in the cornstarch mixture. Simmer for a few minutes, allowing the soup to thicken slightly, then lower the heat.
- Stir in the cream and warm through. Taste and season as needed. Remove the bay leaves, and serve!
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