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Turkey Carcass Soup

November 25, 2010

By Kath Dedon


Turkey Carcass Soup might be the best reason to roast a Thanksgiving turkey! This recipe is adapted from one by Jane Brody in her Good Food Book; she says her husband is convinced that she roasts turkey just for the carcass for this soup.



I like the fact that it makes use of the whole turkey. The wings are cut off and saved for the soup. The rest of the carcass is ready for the soup after most of the meat has been cut away. Leaving some of the meat on the bones adds a ton of flavor to the turkey broth. Be sure to save the skin to add to the stock pot, too!

I always  save about 1 cup of turkey meat to add to the soup. After giving “its all” in the long simmer for the stock, the meat that’s left on the bones is not that great.

After making the turkey stock, I use about 6 cups of it to make Turkey Carcass Soup, and I freeze the rest for future recipes.

The recipe calls for barley or rice. It’s great either way. This time I used brown rice; it holds up better than white rice.

Ms. Brody uses ½ cup of chopped mushrooms in her recipe, which is not enough for me. I used 2 cups of sliced mushrooms.

Bob loves this soup! It should have made 4 servings, but he had “seconds” last night, so there’s just enough for 2 small servings for lunch today.


Ready for the stock pot!


Turkey Carcass Soup

(Adapted from the recipe in Jane Brody’s Good Food Book)


(print the recipe)


Soup Serves 4 (with extra broth to save for other uses)


Turkey Broth

1 turkey carcass, broken in pieces

12 – 18 cups water, or enough to cover the carcass completely (In my 12-quart pot I use 18 cups.)

1 large onion, coarsely chopped

1 large carrot, cut in about 6 pieces

2 large stalks of celery, each cut in about 6 pieces

2 cloves garlic, cut in half

Bouquet garni, made by tying in cheesecloth 6 sprigs fresh parsley (or 2 teaspoons dried) and a few sprigs fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried)

1 bay leaf

2 – 3 teaspoons Kosher salt (depending on how much water you add)


Dried parsley and fresh thyme


1. Put everything in a large pot (I used a 12-quart stock pot). Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat so it is barely simmering.  (You should just see a tiny bubble surface now and then.) Partially cover so the stock will reduce a bit and get more concentrated,  and simmer for 3 – 4 hours.


2. Strain the stock and discard the turkey and vegetables.

3. Use 6 cups for the soup; the rest can be frozen for later use.



2 tablespoons butter

¼ cup minced onion

2 cloves garlic, minced

1 cup diced carrot (about 1 large)

½ cup diced celery (about 1 large stalk)

2 cups sliced mushrooms

1½ tablespoons flour (substitute sweet rice flour, also known as mochiko, for gluten free)

6 cups turkey broth

1 teaspoon marjoram

1/3 cup raw brown rice (or 1/3 cup raw barley)

Salt and pepper, to taste

1 cup diced turkey meat

1. Have all of the vegetables cut and ready to go.

2. Melt the butter in a large pot. Add the onion and garlic; cook for a few minutes until they are softened.

3. Add the carrot, celery, and mushrooms to the pot. Lightly salt and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 5 minutes.


4. Add the flour; cook, stirring for about 1 minute.

5. Remove the pot from the burner. Pour in a bit of the broth and stir until it is well blended. Add the rest of the broth.

6. Return the pot to the burner. Add the marjoram and the rice. Bring to a boil; reduce heat so it’s simmering. Cover, and simmer for 1 hour.

7. Add the turkey meat. Taste for seasoning; add salt and pepper, if necessary. Enjoy!

48 Comments leave one →
  1. November 25, 2010 9:21 am

    This sounds like the same recipe that my mom makes year after year! It is one of my favorite parts of the holiday season. I love enjoying it the weekend right after Thanksgiving…especially if we have leftover rolls. Thank you for sharing, my dear. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • November 26, 2010 9:05 am

      I wonder if your mom got Jane Brody’s Good Food Book, too. It was published in 1985 and quite popular at the time. I would love some of your leftover rolls to have with it! 😉

  2. November 26, 2010 9:06 am

    The best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. Your Soup sounds delicious. I hope you have a great day. Blessings…Mary

    • November 26, 2010 9:15 am

      Thanks, Mary! I love Thanksgiving leftovers. I’ll probably be roasting another turkey before the holiday season is over.

  3. November 26, 2010 11:20 am

    I agree with Mary that the best part of Thanksgiving is the leftovers. After having been in the kitchen for hours, before the meal is served, sometimes your just not the hungry. but look out for the day after for the leftovers, and the turkey carcass soup.

    • November 26, 2010 4:34 pm

      That is so true, isn’t it, Becky? Thanks for your comment!

  4. November 26, 2010 11:27 am

    This looks delish. I was thinking “I bet this would be good with barley” (because I like any excuse to use barley) when I saw the3 barley substitution. I think I know what our turkey carcass is going to be doing. Thanks for sharing.

    • November 26, 2010 4:35 pm

      It is really good with barley, Loren. I think I prefer barley, but my husband likes rice better. It’s delicious, either way.

  5. November 26, 2010 12:57 pm

    Hi, Kath. This soup looks very tasty, and I am considering making it with the chicken carcass I have in my freezer (more chicken-y than turkey, in that scenario).

    I’m glad you made it onto “Today’s Special”, too!



    • November 26, 2010 4:38 pm

      That’s a great idea, Dan, to use a chicken carcass. I’ll have to try that.

      (And, thank you for your comment about “Today’s Special”. I appreciate it!)

  6. November 27, 2010 3:00 am

    I love working with the leftover after the big party. I really need to try this soup. It sounds delicious 🙂

  7. November 27, 2010 12:40 pm

    Super flavorful – thanks for sharing a family recipe. Gotta use the whole bird!

  8. November 27, 2010 1:26 pm

    now thats getting your monies worth out of a turkey. What a delicious soup that must have been! and I agree adding more mushrooms was a good idea!
    Thanks for reminding us how to get more out of our Turkeys!

    • November 27, 2010 4:48 pm

      Thanks, Dennis! I love getting the most out of the bird. I froze the rest of the broth and a cup of turkey meat to make the soup again in the next few weeks.

  9. November 27, 2010 11:37 pm

    Thanks for sharing this recipe. This recipe sounds more refreshing than “turkey casserole.” Its also a healthier option…my girlfriend will certainly appreciate that. If I cook this for her, she won’t fill so guilty about eating all that leftover pecan pie. Ha!

    -Xavier of

    • November 28, 2010 3:45 pm

      Thanks for your comment, Xavier! I hope you and your girlfriend enjoy it. I like my leftover pecan pie for breakfast!

  10. November 28, 2010 6:56 am

    I have yet to try Turkey soup! Yours has diffinitely inspired me for sure, got to give it a go now! thanks for your visit and kind words so appreciated!

    • November 28, 2010 3:48 pm

      Hope you enjoy it, Claudia! (I loved all of the family photos and fabulous cookies in your blog!)

  11. November 28, 2010 3:42 pm

    That soup really looks yummy


  12. Marina permalink
    November 28, 2010 3:51 pm

    Nice blog.. 🙂 I just tried out cooking

  13. November 28, 2010 6:44 pm

    i love the recipe, that looks like a really great flavorful soup! btw, i don’t happen to find turkeys that much where i’m at (Manila, Philippines) so you think it’s gonna be okay if i make this with regular chicken leftovers?

    • November 28, 2010 7:24 pm

      Yes, you could definitely do it with chicken, but on a smaller scale. You’d use less water to get a flavorful broth. Just put the chicken carcass along with the skin and vegetables and just cover with water.

  14. November 29, 2010 1:12 pm

    I had to stumble this. Great minds certainly think alike!

  15. December 1, 2010 6:35 pm

    This sounds soo comforting. What a great way to utilize the entire turkey after Thanksgiving. Why throw it away when you can make such a delicious soup? Very nice!

  16. Arlene permalink
    November 29, 2011 4:46 pm

    I just made this today and it was delicious!! Flavor Flav!

    • November 29, 2011 5:08 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it, Arlene! We didn’t host Thanksgiving; I’m going to have to roast a turkey soon so I can make Turkey Carcass Soup! 😉

  17. Sue Read permalink
    February 3, 2012 11:52 pm

    My Nana used to make turkey soup from the carcass, in the UK most people make it from left over roast meat and it’s found wanting. We were given a 5kg spare frozen turkey at Christmas which I cooked last night and I’m going to make your soup today, I think this is very like my Nana’s recipe, Thanks for sharing.

  18. Sue Read permalink
    February 4, 2012 8:48 am

    mmmm. mmmm. this soup is good!

    • February 5, 2012 10:44 am

      I’m so glad you like it, Sue! To me, it truly is one of the best things about roasting a turkey! 😉

  19. Sharon I permalink
    November 26, 2012 8:04 am

    Hi, I just made this yesterday with our leftover fried turkey. This soup is delicious. The only thing I did different is add two cans of corn. Thank you for this recipe. It is going in my virtual recipe box. 🙂

    • November 26, 2012 4:28 pm

      I’ll bet the corn was a delicious addition, Sharon! Thanks for sharing that. 🙂

  20. jackie permalink
    November 27, 2012 3:11 am

    it’s been 5 days since thanksgiving…can i still make the turkey soup or is it too late to use the carcass?

    • November 27, 2012 5:27 am

      Assuming that the carcass has been refrigerated, it should still be fine. We just finished some leftover turkey last night. I wouldn’t wait much longer, though.

  21. Jenny permalink
    December 9, 2012 9:19 am

    OMGOODNESS!!!!!! It’s not often that on the first bite of anything I will say MMMmmmmmmmmm out loud, but OMGOODNESS!!!!!!! WOW I all I could say while eating this soup. So, now as I sit down to eat the leftovers I’m happy and sad all at the same time… Happy to be able to enjoy it again and sad that the leftovers are almost gone!! I can’t wait to make it again. I used barley and I did also add one large potato, but you were right about the mushrooms… I think they’re the secret ingredient to making this the most simple, yet AMAZINGLY YUMMY SOUP!!!!!!!! I will definitely be keeping this in my recipe box and will wish the holidays to come more quickly, just to eat this again! Glad I found it… Thank you!!

    • December 9, 2012 9:31 am

      I am so glad you liked it, Jenny! Barley and the potato sound like great additions. I love this soup so much that I roast a turkey to get the carcass. Thanks for your comment! 🙂

  22. Brent Eamer permalink
    October 20, 2013 11:02 am

    Hello from Prince Edward Island, Canada. I just made this and it is by far the best Turkey soup I have ever made. Only change was I roasted the Turkey bones at 450F for 30 min. My stock reduced from 12 cups to 6, which was perfect. The Turkey was from a few I raised this summer, all other ingredients were from my garden as well. It gave me a chance to use my garden garlic as well. I used Baby Bella mushrooms. The roasting of the bones gives it a nice depth, as well as the mushrooms. My Thyme plant was a little wiley, so I trimmed it nice. The parsley was a ‘volunteer’ from the garden. Simply amazing

    • October 20, 2013 5:21 pm

      Thanks so much for your comment, Brent! I’m so glad you enjoyed it and I love your idea about roasting the bones. Such an easy step to make a great soup better. I’ll definitely be doing that after our Thanksgiving turkey. 🙂

  23. Robert permalink
    November 29, 2013 5:09 pm

    Hi Kath, this soup is delicious. I made it tonight with the leftover carcass of our turkey day feast. Very simple to make and, oh, so good, especially when it’s 10 degrees outside. Thanks so much for the recipe. Definitely will be added to my recipe list.

    • November 29, 2013 5:18 pm

      It’s definitely one of our favorites, Robert! Glad you liked it, too.

  24. Regina E. permalink
    December 1, 2013 6:25 pm

    Thank you for this wonderful recipe, complete with the turkey broth tips! I just made this but doubled the veggies and reduced the water by 2c. We like really thick soup and this was perfect. Thanks again for sharing – I have just decided soup making is something I have put off for far too long (been married 8yrs!) and you showed me how a little resourcefullness (saving those bones!) and planning can go a lonnnggg way to a wonderful stock full of nourishing meals.

  25. Yvette permalink
    November 28, 2014 5:05 pm

    I made this today…and it was excellent. Thanks for an awesome recipe.

    • November 28, 2014 6:27 pm

      I’m so glad you liked it, Yvette! We’re having it tonight, too. It’s almost ready. I was able to add 18 cups of water in my 12-quart pot so I had enough broth to double the recipe, which I’ve never done before. It’s definitely one of my favorite things at Thanksgiving time. Thanks so much for your comment! 🙂

  26. September 2, 2021 3:44 am

    I love turkey meat. Thanks for the soup recipe.


  1. Ideas for Leftover Turkey | In the kitchen with Kath
  2. Save the Turkey Bones! – Center of the Plate | D'Artagnan Blog

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