A delicious homemade turkey soup in under 30 minutes? Yep. Instant pot turkey soup is a quick, easy and yummy weeknight meal-in-a-bowl. Pure comfort food. Swap the turkey with chicken for a homemade chicken soup if you like.
You can vary the flavor profile of this turkey vegetable soup according to your preferences, but the bare basics are the same. You need:
- onions, carrots, celery, parsley (parsnip is great too)
- turkey parts
- chicken or turkey broth
While you can certainly make this soup on the stove top, the instant pot speeds things up considerably. The entire recipe takes about 30 minutes. And, if you follow a few tips, you will be sitting down to a deeply flavorful homemade turkey soup, loaded with veggies and whatever else you want to add.
A lot of people, like me, serve turkey soup with noodles (I like egg noodles). Dumplings or matzo balls would be a nice alternative. Or try serving the soup with rolls or cheddar biscuits.
If you don’t have an instant pot, check out our homemade chicken soup recipe from scratch. Just substitute the chicken with turkey pieces.
What makes a great turkey soup?
Pay attention to these 3 things and you will be delighted with your results.
- Hands down, the most critical component of a great turkey soup is the rich turkey broth you create – full of flavor and depth. The key trick is the ratio of turkey meat to liquid. Too little meat and too much water will result in a watery, disappointing broth.
- Tips to enhance the depth/intensity of the broth:
- Use a good chicken or turkey broth instead of water (or make your own stove top turkey stock or instant pot turkey stock).
- I use a ratio of approximately 2.2 lbs/1kg bone-in turkey to 7 cups/1.65 liters) liquid. Bone-in pieces will contribute more flavor than boneless.
- Leave the skin on the turkey parts for extra flavor.
- The turkey broth you create with the above 3 tips should be great. BUT…
- After cooking, if you still think the broth should be more flavorful, boil it down for 5-10 minutes on the Saute function of the instant pot.
- If still not intense enough, add a half or full can of condensed no-water-added broth (e.g. Campbell’s chicken soup in the can) – not a ‘ready to serve’ can which is half water.
Lots of Vegetables
- If you like to eat turkey soup with just broth and noodles, no problem. But you should still cook the soup with lots of vegetables as they add flavor, nutrients and sweetness.
- Onion, carrots and celery are classic. Go the extra step with parsnips – really good.
- Salt is a huge flavor booster. If you can’t have a lot of salt, use a smaller amount. But don’t skip it.
- I throw in a bay leaf and garlic clove for extra flavor too. And a good handful of fresh parsley.
Tailor To Your Taste
Check out the variations in the recipe notes for this instant pot turkey soup including:
- what kind of fresh turkey to use. (Or, if you want to use the bones from your leftover roasted turkey, try our leftover turkey soup with stuffing croutons.)
- which broth to buy (or how to use just water)
- flavors/seasonings to play around with
- noodle options
- Buy chopped frozen onions to save on chopping. You can even skip the step of sauteeing the onions. These shortcuts will save just 5 minutes, so decide if it’s worth it.
- Prep: Chop your vegetables a day or two before if you like and keep them in a sealed container or bag in the fridge.
- Store in fridge: The completed soup can stay in the fridge for up to 5 days. A big advantage of making the soup ahead is the ease of removing the fat from the soup. It congeals on the top and easily lifts off with a spoon. I also suggest keeping the noodles separate (if you make them) as they absorb a lot of broth.
- To freeze: Cool the soup completely (without noodles), place in airtight containers or ziploc bags and freeze up to 3 months. Defrost in the fridge and heat in the microwave or on the stove.
Other comfort soups you might like
- wedding soup recipe with zest
- beef barley soup recipe
- root vegetable soup with barley
- curried lentil soup (instant pot)
- vegetable barley soup
- easy egg drop soup with vegetables
- chicken lemon orzo soup Thai-style
- red lentil soup recipe with vegetables
How to make instant pot turkey soup
Instant Pot Turkey Soup
- Instant Pot (I use a 6 quart, but 8 quart is fine for this recipe too)
- 2 tsp oil
- 2 cups (320g) chopped onions (1 medium-large onion)
- 3 cups (480g) chopped celery, carrots, parsnips, 1/2 inch/1.2cm pieces about 1-2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, 1-2 parsnips
- 2 lbs (1kg) bone-in turkey pieces, skin on if possible, Note 1 thighs, drumsticks, wings have most flavor
- 7 cups (1.65 liters) chicken or turkey broth, Note 2
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 cup (100g) fresh parsley
- salt and pepper to taste (start with 1/2 tsp salt and adjust as needed)
- 2 cups -3 cups cooked fine egg noodles Boil 2-2 1/2 cups (4-6 ounces) dry egg noodles
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach, roughly chopped (or use 1/3 cup defrosted well drained frozen spinach)
- SAUTE ONIONS: Press SAUTE function on instant pot. When hot, add oil and onions. Saute for 3 minutes until softened. Press CANCEL.
- COOK TURKEY SOUP: Add chopped vegetables, turkey, broth, bay leaf, parsley. Place cover on instant pot. Set to SEALING. Press PRESSURE OR MANUAL or SOUP. Use + and - indicators to set time to 10 minutes. Instant pot will take about 10 minutes to build pressure before the 10 minute countdown begins. Once cooking is complete, do a quick release (be careful of the rush of hot steam). Discard bay leaf and garlic clove. Taste and adjust seasonings. Note 3. If broth seems too watery, see Note 4.
- BOIL NOODLES (OPTIONAL): While turkey soup is cooking, boil noodles according to package directions. Note 5.
- FINISH AND SERVE: Remove turkey from soup. Skim grease from top of soup with large spoon. Alternatively, refrigerate overnight in sealed container and skim congealed grease off top of soup the next day. Shred or dice turkey meat and discard bones. Add turkey meat and noodles. Stir in spinach (if using) until wilted for 1 minute. Taste again and adjust seasonings, adding salt and pepper, if needed. Sprinkle with fresh parsley if desired. Serve.
- Turkey options
- Instead of turkey thighs, use a turkey leg or wings. Or, sub in chicken instead.
- Instead of fresh turkey, you can use turkey bones with meat on them from a cooked turkey. Roasted drumsticks or wings are great.
- Broth options
- Epicurious taste tests found the best chicken broths are: Swanson Chicken Bone Broth, Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock, Brodo and Osso Good.
- Since we're extracting wonderful flavor from fresh turkey meat, I feel it's fine to use a decent broth, not necessarily the best. I actually like Campbell's condensed chicken broth in a can. It lets me add the amount of water I want.
- Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base is a good powder option to use with water.
- If you have no broth, use water. Add 6 cups water (not 7) and more seasonings.
- Flavor/Seasoning options
- I keep it simple with a clove of garlic, salt, pepper, fresh parsley and a bay leaf.
- Try adding a teaspoon for two of poultry seasoning, a common flavor in stuffing/dressing. Poultry seasoning is a combination of sage, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary with a dash of nutmeg and pepper - somewhat similar to herbes de provence.
- Feel free to change up the flavors with fresh herbs like cilantro, dill or basil.
- Tips to enhance the depth/intensity of soup broth:
- If still not intense enough, add a half or full can of condensed broth (e.g. Campbell's chicken soup) - not a 'ready to serve' can.
- Noodles are optional. Cook them on the stove while the soup is cooking in the instant pot. This option is best if you're planning to freeze the soup. Alternatively, cook them directly in the instant pot after the soup is finished on the Saute function.
- If planning to have leftovers, add noodles to individual bowls instead of the pot. This way you can store the leftover noodles and soup separately.
- Use any small noodles e.g egg noodles, vermicelli, orzo, etc.