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Creamy Leftover Turkey Soup with Rice

Transform leftover turkey into something new with a creamy soup that can handle lots of vegetables, seasonings and your favorite rice. Build slow-cooked flavor without all the work!

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Leftover turkey and chicken are so versatile–it’s a shame to keep shoving them in to leftover holiday recipes with the same flavors they just came out of: Cranberry sauce, dressing, and mashed potatoes.

So instead of those ingredients on repeat, take that turkey and use it differently. You can use vegetables you probably have on hand like celery, carrots and onions but from there you can add just about anything and this leftover turkey soup will handle it.

What you’ll need for this leftover turkey soup





Chicken or turkey stock

Red or white wine vinegar

Salt and pepper

Herbs like thyme and rosemary

Brown rice blend (brown, wild and white rices) but any rice you like will work


Flour or cornstarch

Leftover or pre-cooked turkey or chicken

Tips for the best turkey soup with rice

  • Fresh herbs are always best. They’re affordable at the store but you can use dried if that’s what you have. Use half as much.
  • Leftover roasted vegetables would be great here. Just add them at the end to warm but not cook.
  • The type of chicken or turkey broth used here will greatly determine how much salt your soup needs at the end. Only add half and then put the rest in afterward.
  • The flour as a thickener is optional. Your soup will be thinner but if you don’t mind you can leave it out or swap in some cornstarch or a bit of arrowroot.
  • When this soup cools it thickens significantly. Add a bit of milk or water to thin it if needed.
looking over the top of a bowl of soup with a spoon

Boost the flavor of your soup with these great options

You can turn up the volume on flavor with these ideas:

  • Sautee a couple of slices of bacon before adding the vegetables to the pot
  • Add a 1/2 cup of white wine after the vegetables cook
  • Toss in a can of spicy Rotel tomatoes for added heat or dice a jalapeno and toss it in
  • Sautee mushrooms with the vegetables or add some dried mushrooms for a more intense flavor

How long is leftover turkey soup good for?

Leftover turkey soup can be refrigerated for 2 days. Keep in mind the age of your leftover ingredients. If your leftover turkey has already been sitting in your refrigerator for several days before making soup, you’d want to move leftover soup to the freezer faster.

Can leftover turkey soup be frozen?

Yes most of them can. If you are adding pasta to your recipes it will go to mush after freezing so if you know you’ll be putting some away to store, leave the noodles out of that part and add them when you thaw and reheat it later.

In this case we’re using rice and it freezes fine.

two bowls of turkey soup on a table

Can I make this recipe with chicken instead of turkey?

For sure. Any poultry is great here–you could even throw in some chopped ham!

What to serve with soup

We prefer a crusty loaf of bread or rolls for dipping. Try a loaf of crusty artisan bread, easy yeast rolls or garlic knots. A simple salad would add freshness, too. This pear and gorgonzola salad is one of my favorites for winter entertaining.

a ladle of leftover turkey soup being lifted from a dutch oven

Creamy Leftover Turkey Soup with Rice

Use up leftover turkey or chicken in a hearty and filling soup that's full of tender vegetables and rice.
Servings 6 people
Author Rachel Ballard


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 1/2 cup celery in 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 cup carrots peeled; in 1/2" pieces
  • 1/2 cup onion in 1/2" pieces
  • 2 teaspoons thyme fresh; use 1 teaspoon dried
  • 2 teaspoons rosemary fresh; use 1 teaspoon dried
  • 6 cups chicken broth or turkey broth
  • 1 1/2 cups brown rice blend
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 teaspoons red or white wine vinegar
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 3 tablespoons all purpose flour
  • 3 cups turkey cooked, then diced or shredded


  • In a four to 5 quart heavy stock pot, heat the butter over medium high until melted and bubbling, then add the celery, carrots and onion. Sautee 5 minutes until softened.
  • Add the thyme, rosemary and chicken or turkey broth. Cover and bring to a simmer. Add half the salt, all of the pepper and the rice. Reduce heat to low and simmer covered until the rice your using is tender; check the box or bag for cooking times.
  • Once the rice is soft, add the vinegar. In a small cup add the cream and flour and stir to combine and remove any lumps. Add it to the main pot, then add the turkey or chicken and stir to combine. Bring to a gentle simmer over low heat again and simmer 5 minutes to thicken.
  • Taste for seasoning and add the last half of the salt if needed. This depends on how salty your broth was to begin with. Serve warm.


Calories: 467kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 17gFat: 25gSaturated Fat: 14gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 105mgSodium: 1773mgPotassium: 545mgFiber: 3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 2644IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 78mgIron: 2mg
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Course Main Course

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  1. Is the rice blend-prepared before adding with the seasoning packet or is the uncooked rice measured & added without the seasoning

    1. Hi there, the rice blend I tested with is not from a box with a seasoning packet. If you will click on the red linked words in the recipe, it will take you over to Amazon so you can take a look at what I used. You will need a long grain slow cooking rice with a blend of brown and black in it. You’d want something that cooks in 25 or so minutes. If you do want to use a pre cooked rice, cook it first without any seasoning packets and then add it after the soup has simmered right at the end so it doesn’t get too mushy.

  2. 5 stars
    My husband said this is the best soup he has ever had, and that is a lot coming from him…he usually hates soup! I brined and smoked my turkey this year for Thanksgiving (which I highly recommend) and made this recipe with the leftover dark meat. I left out the celery, which I was trying to sneak in but my husband said absolutely not. I used brown rice (the kind in the boil-in bags) that I just dumped out and cooked in the liquid until fluffy-the starch from the rice was just enough that I didn’t need the flour. I also drizzled in some hot sauce and white wine vinegar at the end for some acid. My whole family inhaled it!

    1. Well, not everyone can like celery. 😉 I heard it described as water with hair in it once and I still laugh about it. I’m glad you made tweaks that work for your family Jennifer. –Rachel

  3. 5 stars
    I stumbled upon this recipe a couple years ago, every year I make it a couple days after Thanksgiving. Its so good!! Ive made diff changes over the years like adding mashed potatoes to replace the flour to omitting the rice. Thank you for this amazing recipe!!

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About the Author

Rachel Ballard, RN, BSN brings more than 20 years of professional nursing expertise to Feast and Farm. With a love for nutrient dense foods that support wellness, she works to distill complex health information and current trends into recipes that fuel the best version of yourself. Read more about Rachel here.