Lemony Turkey Rice Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Lemony Turkey Rice Soup

Total Time
Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
This turkey rice soup manages to be equal parts exciting and comforting thanks to the savory, tangy broth infused with fresh lemon juice.

Updated: Jun. 21, 2024

This unique turkey and rice soup will make you glad you had so many Thanksgiving leftovers, and in fact it just might put turkey on the menu well beyond that November holiday. At once savory and tangy, this lemony turkey rice soup is easy to enjoy and hard to forget. It’s also rather easy to make, coming together in less than half an hour, including the prep.

How can such a tasty soup be so quick and easy to make? Well, let’s just say a can of condensed cream of chicken soup may help. That, and the lemon juice and cilantro. There are several unexpected ingredients to be found here, but unexpected hardly means unwelcome!

Turkey Rice Soup Ingredients

  • Cooked turkey: To make the eight servings as laid out in this recipe, you’ll need two cups of diced cooked turkey, either white meat or dark.
  • Long grain rice: Basmati and jasmine are both types of long grain rice. Be aware that this soup calls for pre-cooked rice!
  • Condensed cream of chicken soup: This undiluted chicken soup is what gives this soup its savory base.
  • Pepper: A little dash of black pepper heat helps punch through the richness of this soup.
  • Chicken broth: The base of the soup, you can use turkey broth instead if you’re making this after Thanksgiving. Be sure to reserve a bit of this broth for use toward the end of the cooking.
  • Cornstarch: The cornstarch combines with the reserved broth to acts as a thickener, creating a velvety texture.
  • Lemon juice: Fresh lemon juice brings a wonderful tangy taste.
  • Fresh cilantro: A counterpoint to the citrusy lemon, the cilantro balances out this soup and adds brightness.


Step 1: Combine turkey, rice, broth, and condensed soup and boil

In a large saucepan, combine the turkey, the rice, the condensed soup, and five-and-a-half cups of the chicken broth. Bring these ingredients to a boil and let them cook for three minutes.

Step 2: Mix broth and cornstarch, then add thickener, lemon, and cilantro to the soup

In a small bowl, mix the cornstarch and the remaining broth, stirring until smooth. Then, gradually stir this mixture into the soup and bring it back to a boil; cook and stir until the soup thickens, which will take one to two minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the lemon juice and cilantro.

Turkey Rice Soup Variations

  • Skip the cilantro: Some people adore the taste of cilantro, and some folks think it tastes like soap. If you’re in the latter category (or just not a fan), you can leave the cilantro out and instead use chopped kale, parsley, or another green of your choice.
  • Use rotisserie chicken instead of turkey: If you don’t have any turkey on hand, chances are you can get a cooked rotisserie chicken at the grocery store. Chicken swaps in perfectly for the cooked turkey — follow every other step as-is for a great soup.
  • Add in more veggies: This soup welcomes the addition of chopped onion, carrots, celery, and other vegetables. Chop them well so they’ll tenderize with a short cooking time and add them to the broth before adding the turkey, rice, and condensed soup. Once they’ve lost some of their bite, proceed with the recipe as written.

How to Store Turkey Rice Soup

This soup will keep well in the fridge for three to four days when sealed in airtight containers. Just be wary if the turkey you used was itself already a leftover, take that into consideration for storage timelines.

Can you freeze this turkey rice soup recipe?

Absolutely, this lemony turkey rice soup takes to freezing quite well. It will remain safe when frozen in airtight packaging for three to four months. It’s best when thawed in the fridge overnight and then gently warmed in a saucepan with some extra broth added.

Turkey Rice Soup Tips

Is this a healthy soup?

Yes it is, healthy, comforting, and tasty. It has only around 165 calories per serving, just four grams of fat, and a welcome 13 grams of protein per portion.

Can you use sweet lemons in this recipe?

It’s best to use a regular lemon, not a sweet lemon like a Meyer lemon. If all you have are sweet lemons, then go ahead and use them, but salt the soup to taste, as well, and consider adding a splash of vinegar, either white or white wine, to add sharpness.

What’s the best way to juice a lemon?

There are all sorts of different ways to juice lemons, from hand-squeezing to using a dedicated citrus juicer, but one effective technique is the quarter the lemons and then pulse them in a food processor. Pour the processed lemons out through a mesh strainer and you’ll get a zesty juice.

Lemony Turkey Rice Soup

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 8 servings (2 quarts).


  • 2 cups diced cooked turkey
  • 2 cups cooked long grain rice
  • 1 can (10-1/2 ounces) condensed cream of chicken soup, undiluted
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 6 cups chicken broth, divided
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 to 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup minced fresh cilantro


  1. In a large saucepan, combine first 4 ingredients and 5-1/2 cups broth. Bring to a boil; cook 3 minutes.
  2. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining broth until smooth; gradually stir into soup. Bring to a boil; cook and stir until thickened, 1-2 minutes. Remove from heat; stir in lemon juice and cilantro.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 166 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 42mg cholesterol, 1047mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (1g sugars, 1g fiber), 13g protein.

While growing up in Texas, I spent a lot of time helping my grandma cook. Lemon and cilantro add a deliciously different twist to turkey soup. —Margarita Cuellar, East Chicago, Indiana