Leftover Turkey Soup with Root Vegetables

Turkey soup with leftover Thanksgiving turkey and root vegetables is a fabulous way to keep the holiday feast going! 

Who here is obsessed with carcasses? Spoiler alert: I am.

Turkey Soup with Root Vegetables - made using leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

Fact or fiction?: Julia made The Most Epic Turkey Stock Evah last week.


The end.

Not really.

You see this soup here? Totally not made with The Most Epic Turkey Stock Evah. Totally made with store-bought chicken broth.

Back story time!

One of my favorite parts about the holidays is the turkey carcass. My family always leaves a uuuuuge amount of meat on the bones and no one ever wants the carcass. I want the carcass always.  So per usual, I got my carcass after our Thanksgiving feast was over, and I determined I would make the most bangarang turkey stock ever. And so I did. And guys, it really was bangarang. Like I even told my mom, “Mah. I made bangarang turkey stock.” For the stock-ing process, I left the remaining meat on the bones and allowed the stock to cook on low overnight. This resulted in super flavorful stock and super tender leftover meat.

When I pulled the meat off the bone, eating bits of delicious succulent dark meat along the way, and strained the stock, my knees were weak with love. I had love-weak knees. That’s how great this whole experience was. Bonus points: I ended up with like a gallon of stock. That’s money saved in the ol’ piggy bank times one gallon! Let’s put it all that money-saving stock in a big ass mason jar, shall we? Sure!

You see where this is going.

Turkey Soup with Root Vegetables - made using leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

Bones in trash, meat in a zipperlock baggie, stock in jar. Bueno.

Time to put my jar o’ stock in the fridge. You know how sometimes you luck out when you drop something made out of glass and your fragile-istic item doesn’t break, and you’re like, “phew! Thank GAH I had luck today!”? That didn’t happen in this case. I went to put my big ass mason jar of fabulous stock in my refrigerator, and the thing took a flying leap into the air like a possessed wombat and chucked itself at the floor.

Okay, what really happened was butter fingers here dropped the jar from like 4 inches above the kitchen tile (4 INCHES!!!) and the whole thing shattered in the most obnoxiously dramatic way. Glass all asunder, turkey stock splooooooged everywhere. I stood there in a puddle of delicious stock, my fancy boots soaked (like it would have been convenient to be wearing galoshes, but again: no luck was found the day I dropped The Most Epic Turkey Stock Evah).

When things like this happen, it usually takes me a hot minute to figure out to do. Like, I mentally search for the Edit -> Undo option in the magical place where reality meets fantasy land, and once I’m unable to find it (which is always), I then make my plan of attack. Long story short, I clean the gallon of stock off my everything and abandon the idea of making soup, because: no stock.

and then, after a couple of days of mourning my loss, it dawns on me that I can just use store-bought chicken broth with my leftover turkey. So that’s what I did, and the rest is history.

Turkey Soup with Root Vegetables - made using leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

This soup is heart-aaaay! It’s all spruced up with root vegetables such as carrots, parsnips, and turnips, and is packed with all sorts of herb-y turkey flavor. If you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, this is a great way of putting it to use. You can even make a double or triple batch to freeze for later. If you’re fresh out of turkey leftovers, you can totes use chicken.

Have a swig!

Turkey Soup with Root Vegetables - made using leftover Thanksgiving turkey!

Turkey Soup with Root Vegetables

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes
Author: Julia


  • 3 tablespoons grapeseed or olive oil
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 1 large turnip peeled and diced
  • 2 large carrots peeled and chopped
  • 1 large turnip peeled and chopped
  • 2 stalks celery chopped
  • 5 cloves garlic minced
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons fresh rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1-1/2 teaspoons kosher salt or to taste
  • 4 cups homemade or store-bought turkey broth or chicken broth
  • 2 to 3 cups cooked leftover turkey chopped


  1. Add the first six ingredients (oil through celery) to a large stock pot or dutch oven and heat over medium. Saute, stirring occasionally for 18 minutes.
  2. Add the garlic, salt, and herbs and continue sauteeing for 2 minutes.
  3. Add the broth and bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat, cover the pot, and simmer for 20 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through.
  4. Remove the cover, add the cooked leftover turkey and continue cooking 3 minutes, until turkey is hot.
  5. Serve heaping bowls and enjoy

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  1. Julie

    Oh, dear. That’s happened before. I’m also famous for filling the jars for the freezer just a hair too full and then having them explode in the freezer. Then, I stand there staring at it, thinking in my mind, “Hmmm…wonder how much glass is REALLY in there? Can I pick it out?”. No, Julie, you can not pick it out. Sad face. Also, this kind of thing rarely happens when I’m alone. It’s usually when Jerry is in the kitchen with me and the dogs are under feet. Yeah. Good times. BUT, this soup looks yummy for an icky, winter day.

    1. Julia Post author

      So glad I’m not the only one who has stock mishaps. Perhaps we should just make the stock and then employ others (i.e. Jerry) to do the storing/thawing for us so that we can avoid these disaster-in-the-kitchen situations. 😉

      1. Julie

        That’s an awesome idea. This kind of stuff doesn’t happen to Alex, either, so we can enlist his help, too. Feed them good, and they’re pretty good helpers.

  2. Christina @ The Beautiful Balance

    I don’t eat meat but I hate to see anything go to waste so last year I asked for the carcass at Thanksgiving and my family died laughing and gave me the weirdest looks. They asked me if I was going to give it a proper burial haha but I made turkey stock with and made soup and gravy for my boyfriend!

    1. Julia Post author

      LOL your family sounds like a hoot! I can just envision a headstone for the sad little turkey carcass. So nice of you to make soup for your meat-eating bf! Hope you had a great weekend, sister!

    1. Julia Post author

      I usually find missed shards with my bare feet, but thankfully my toes have been shard-free so far. Think I got everything after an entire roll of paper towels and three moppings. Fingers (toes?) crossed I don’t “locate” any rogue glass with my body 😉

  3. Lisa @ Healthy Nibbles & Bits

    I’ve been told that I can tear open a turkey or chicken like a beast, but I never do anything with the carcass! I could feel my mother’s reproachful eyes staring at me when I do this because she would save the carcass to make one bomb-diggity broth!

    1. Julia Post author

      It’s tough to beat ma’s kick ass broth, so I don’t blame ya for letting her keep the carcass. Plus: time + broken jars + where do you store a gallon of broth?

  4. Isadora

    Oh my gosh, what a sad story! I’m so sorry you lost all your beloved turkey stock AND you had to clean up a huge mess! I dropped my favorite bowl to photograph food in yesterday and I almost cried when it shattered into a million pieces! This turkey soup looks awesome though and you can’t go wrong with root vegetables! I hope it cheered you right up 🙂

    1. Julia Post author

      Oh giiiirl! It’s a bad week for glass things, it certainly is! Sorry to hear about your bowl – that’s always a toughy, especially when it’s a unique piece. I say we drink a glass of wine and keep our fingers crossed we don’t let the valuables slip from our fingers. 😉

  5. Joanne

    GAHHHH. I feel like this is totally something I would do. I always drop things everywhere at the most inopportune times. It’s the worst.

    But you totally made fabulous soup out of spoiled milk! Or something.

  6. Tima

    Hi Julia!
    It’s me your no 1 recipe stalker fan! I made this soup recipe earlier this week and thoroughly enjoyed every bite! If I wasn’t eating this at work in our kitchen I would have licked the bowl so clean I could have put it back into the cabinet!
    I made some crostini with a splash of olive oil and balsamic vinegar and everything came together beautifully. I am at this very moment making the sweet potato and quinoa stew so expect raving reviews once again.
    Here’s to you and the new week – wishing you a splendid one!

    1. Julia Post author

      Yeeeeeeah! I’m so happy you liked the soup! It’s seriously one of my favorites – so easy, so healthy, and I love that it uses leftover turkey 🙂 Hope you like the sweet potato soup!! xoxo


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