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!Jump to Recipe
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.
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.
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.
Creamy Leftover Turkey Soup with Rice
- 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.