Old-Fashioned Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 5 hours + chilling Cook: 30 min.
Turn your holiday leftovers into a comforting meal with this turkey noodle soup recipe. Save that turkey carcass to create the robust roasted turkey broth!

Updated: May 07, 2024

If you’re throwing away the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving, this recipe is your reason to stop! Most ideas for Thanksgiving leftovers call for just the meat, but the leftover turkey carcass is full of potential. Roasting the bones with vegetables creates a deep flavor profile that makes turkey broth richer than any store-bought box on the shelf. It comes together with egg noodles, tender vegetables and cooked turkey to create a comforting turkey noodle soup that will soothe you from the inside out.

This soup doesn’t taste like anything you had at your holiday dinner, either, so it’s a nice change of pace if you’ve been eating the leftovers for days. Enjoy the soup on its own for a light meal, or pair it with a side salad and buttermilk biscuits for something more substantial.

Ingredients for Turkey Noodle Soup

  • Homemade turkey broth: The heart of this soup is the from-scratch turkey broth, which takes hours to cook but is so worth it. You could substitute it for store-bought broth if you’re short on time (or a turkey carcass).
  • Turkey: You’ll need about 3 cups cubed cooked turkey for the soup component of this recipe. You can use white or dark meat. If you don’t have leftover turkey meat to use up, start with a roasted turkey breast or slow-cooker turkey breast.
  • Carrots and celery: These aromatic vegetables simmer until they’re tender, adding a burst of color and flavor to every spoonful.
  • Egg noodles: These flat, wide noodles are perfect for soup. They’re small enough to fit on a spoon and have a chewy texture that holds up well in a hot broth.
  • Herbs: We use parsley and thyme in our noodle soup, but you can substitute any of your favorite herbs and spices.

Directions

Step 1: Roast the turkey and vegetables

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Place the turkey carcass, bones from wings and drumsticks, neck bone, onion, carrots and garlic in a 15x10x1-inch baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, for one hour, turning once.

Editor’s Tip: Leave the skins on the onions. They’ll add extra color to the stock.

Step 2: Transfer the mixture to a stockpot

Transfer the carcass, bones and vegetables to an 8-quart stockpot. Add 4 quarts cold water to the pot, and set aside. Pour remaining 1 cup cold water into the baking pan, stirring to loosen the browned bits. Add the water and bits to the pot.

Editor’s Tip: It’s OK to break the carcass in half if needed so it will fit inside the pot.

Step 3: Simmer the turkey broth

Bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat. Cover and simmer for three to four hours.

Step 4: Strain and cool the turkey broth

Allow the broth to cool slightly. Strain, discarding the bones and vegetables. Return the strained broth to the stockpot. Set the stockpot in an ice-water bath until the broth cools, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Step 5: Cook the noodles

Skim the fat from the broth. Cover the stockpot, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.

Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, bring 3 quarts water to a boil. Add the egg noodles and carrots, and cook for four minutes. Add the celery, and cook for five to seven minutes longer or until the noodles and vegetables are tender.

Editor’s Tip: If you think you’ll end up with leftovers, boil the noodles separately from the vegetables. You can store the vegetables and stock together in the refrigerator, but it’s better to store the noodles separately so they don’t become mushy.

Step 6: Finish the soup

Drain the noodles and veggies, and add them to the simmering broth. Add the cubed turkey, and heat through. Stir in the parsley, salt, thyme and pepper.

Turkey Noodle Soup served in a bowl with spoon and green tissueTMB Studio

Recipe Variations

  • Add chicken meat: If you have the leftover turkey carcass but ran out of the meat, you can still enjoy this delicious soup. Simply swap in 3 cups cubed cooked chicken meat for the turkey in the soup.
  • Add veggies: Add vegetables like peas, bell peppers, tomatoes, corn or zucchini to make this a turkey vegetable soup.
  • Add rice: Skip the egg noodles, and use rice instead. You can cook long-grain rice in the simmering turkey stock (like this homemade turkey soup recipe). You can also use wild rice to make turkey and wild rice soup.

Can you make turkey noodle soup in advance?

Yes, you can make the turkey broth for the soup ahead of time. After preparing the broth, chill it and skim the fat as directed. Transfer it to a tightly sealed container. Like homemade chicken broth, turkey broth will keep for up to five days in the refrigerator or as long as a year in the freezer.

How to Store Turkey Noodle Soup

Store leftover turkey noodle soup in an airtight container in the fridge for up to four days. It’s best to store the noodles separately, or they will soak up the soup as they sit. To reheat, simmer the soup gently on the stovetop. Add the reserved noodles, and simmer until they’re warmed through.

Can you freeze turkey noodle soup?

We recommend freezing turkey noodle soup separately from the noodles. You can freeze cooked pasta, but it will become mushy if it’s stored in the soup. Freeze the soup and noodles in separate airtight containers for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, and reheat as directed.

Turkey Noodle Soup Tips

Turkey Noodle Soup served in bowl TMB Studio

How do you avoid a bland turkey soup?

We ensure this soup is robust and flavorful by roasting the bones and vegetables to make the turkey broth. The broth should be plenty flavorful on its own, but you can add a bouillon cube if it needs a little boost. Another great way to brighten the flavors is by adding freshly squeezed lemon juice just before serving. It’s a fun excuse to try this hack for juicing lemons without cutting them.

What are the best noodles for turkey noodle soup?

Egg noodles are a great choice for turkey noodle soup because of their chewy texture and eggy flavor. You could substitute any small pasta shape that fits on a spoon, like orzo, macaroni or farfalle (bow tie pasta).

Watch how to Make Old-Fashioned Turkey Noodle Soup

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup

Prep Time 30 min
Yield 10 servings (3-3/4 quarts).

Ingredients

  • BROTH:
  • 1 leftover turkey carcass (from a 12- to 14-pound turkey)
  • 2 cooked turkey wings, meat removed
  • 2 cooked turkey drumsticks, meat removed
  • 1 turkey neck bone
  • 1 medium unpeeled onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 small unpeeled carrots, cut into chunks
  • 6 to 8 garlic cloves, peeled
  • 4 quarts plus 1 cup cold water, divided
  • SOUP:
  • 3 quarts water
  • 5 cups uncooked egg noodles
  • 2 cups diced carrots
  • 2 cups diced celery
  • 3 cups cubed cooked turkey
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh parsley
  • 2-1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper

Directions

  1. Place the turkey carcass, bones from wings and drumsticks, neck bone, onion, carrots and garlic in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 1 hour, turning once.
  2. Transfer the carcass, bones and vegetables to an 8-qt. stockpot. Add 4 qts. cold water; set aside. Pour 1 cup cold water into baking pan, stirring to loosen browned bits. Add to pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat; cover and simmer for 3-4 hours.
  3. Cool slightly. Strain broth; discard bones and vegetables. Set stockpot in an ice-water bath until broth cools, stirring occasionally. Cover and refrigerate overnight.
  4. Skim fat from broth. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Meanwhile, in a Dutch oven, bring 3 qts. water to a boil. Add noodles and carrots; cook for 4 minutes. Add celery; cook 5-7 minutes longer or until noodles and vegetables are tender. Drain; add to simmering broth. Add cubed turkey; heat through. Stir in the parsley, salt, thyme and pepper.

Nutrition Facts

1-1/2 cups: 188 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated fat), 66mg cholesterol, 670mg sodium, 17g carbohydrate (2g sugars, 2g fiber), 20g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1 starch.

Make the most of leftover turkey with this down-home soup. Creating a broth by roasting the turkey, garlic and vegetables adds richness and depth to the flavor without the need for additional fats. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen