Best Instant Pot Turkey Soup (30 Minutes)
The best instant pot turkey soup in just 30 minutes? Yep. This soul-warming, comforting soup is a quick, easy and yummy weeknight meal-in-a-bowl.
It’s one of my favorite instant pot soup recipes. Swap the turkey with chicken for a homemade chicken soup if you prefer, also a delicious soup.
While you can certainly make this instant pot turkey soup recipe on the stove top, using a pressure cooker 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.
If you don’t have an instant pot or other type electric pressure cooker, check out our homemade chicken soup recipe from scratch. Just substitute the chicken with turkey pieces.
Why make this recipe
Delicious comfort food: This is a deeply flavorful and comforting soup…like a warm hug in a bowl.
Quick 30-minute recipe: Pressure cooking allows you to have a hearty soup on the table in just 30 minutes.
Uncomplicated: It’s an easy soup recipe using simple ingredients should all be available at your local grocery store.
Versatile: There are variations and substitutes to take advantage of what you have on hand.
Ingredients- tailored to your taste
You can vary the flavor profile of this turkey vegetable soup according to your preferences, but the bare basics are the same. You need:
Turkey: I use raw turkey thighs. Turkey legs or wings are fine too. A turkey breast will not be as flavorful as dark meat. Although this is an instant pot turkey soup with raw turkey, this recipe is a great way to use up some of your Thanksgiving leftover turkey meat with bones. Don’t skip the bones though. That’s where the flavor comes from. If you don’t have turkey, use chicken parts.
Broth: You can just use water since we’re extracting all those wonderful flavors from the turkey. But I find using a chicken broth or chicken stock (or turkey stock or even vegetable stock) really enhances the flavor of the soup. If you don’t have broth, use 6 cups water (not 7) and more seasonings.
Vegetables: The basic veggies are onions, carrots and celery. Parsnips are optional but add great flavor and a touch of sweetness. A parsley garnish adds flavor as well.
Flavor/Seasoning: I keep it simple with a clove of garlic, salt, black pepper, fresh parsley and a bay leaf. Try adding a teaspoon for two of poultry seasoning, a common flavor in stuffing/dressing. And feel free to change up the flavors with fresh herbs like cilantro, dill or basil.
Noodles are optional. For turkey noodle soup, you can use any small noodles e.g egg noodles, vermicelli or orzo. Tip: Cook them separately on the stove while the soup is cooking in the instant pot if you are planning to freeze the soup or have leftovers. This way they won’t absorb all the broth. If serving the soup right away, you can cook them directly in the instant pot on the Sauté function after the soup is finished.
Step by step instructions
Tips for making the BEST homemade turkey soup
Use the right ratio of turkey meat to liquid: This is key for a flavorful soup. Too little meat and too much water will result in a watery, disappointing broth. Follow the recipe.
Use bone-in turkey with the skin on for the best flavor.
Cook the soup with lots of vegetables even if you only like the final soup with broth and noodles. The vegetables (carrots, onions, celery) add flavor, nutrients and sweetness.
Season generously. 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 at the end.
Epicurious taste tests found the best chicken broths are: Swanson Chicken Bone Broth, Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock, Brodo and Osso Good. 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 great paste option to use with water.
Using broth instead of water to make the soup will add good flavor. After cooking, if you still think the soup should be more flavorful, boil it down for 5-10 minutes on the Sauté function of the instant pot. If it’s still not intense enough, add a half or full can of condensed broth without the water (e.g. Campbell’s chicken soup). Don’t use a ‘ready to serve’ can which contains added water.
Poultry seasoning is a combination of sage, thyme, marjoram, and rosemary with a dash of nutmeg and pepper – somewhat similar to herbes de provence.
Transfer any delicious leftover turkey soup to an air-tight container and store it in the fridge for up to 5 days.
If you’re using leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat that was cooked a day or two before, this soup will stay fresh for about 3-4 days.
What to serve with this homemade turkey soup recipe
A lot of people, like me, serve turkey soup with noodles (I like egg noodles). Dumplings, cooked rice (white rice, brown rice, wild rice) or matzo balls would be a nice alternative. Or try serving the soup with rolls or cheddar biscuits.
For a gluten free option, use rice noodles.
Buy chopped frozen onions to save on chopping. You can even skip the step of sautéing the onions. These shortcuts will save just 5 minutes, so decide if they’re 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 in an air-tight container. 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 an airtight container 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
- chicken meatball soup 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
- easy pastina soup with veggies
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Best Instant Pot Turkey Soup (30 Minutes)
- Instant Pot (I use a 6 quart, but 8 quart is fine for this recipe too)
- 2 teaspoon oil
- 2 cups chopped onions (1 medium-large onion)
- 3 cups chopped celery, carrots, parsnips, 1/2 inch/1.2cm pieces about 1-2 carrots, 2 celery ribs, 1-2 parsnips
- 2 pounds bone-in turkey pieces, skin on if possible, Note 1 thighs, drumsticks, wings have most flavor
- 7 cups chicken or turkey broth, Note 2
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 garlic clove, peeled
- 1/2 cup 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 SAUTÉ mode on instant pot. When hot, add oil and onions. Sauté 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 Thanksgiving leftovers. 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:
- 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 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 Sauté 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.
Can you use frozen turkey??
I haven’t done that so I looked up a recipe for you for chicken soup with frozen chicken (same procedure). It turns out you can do it, but in two parts. The chicken would have to cook longer which could over cook the veggies if you cooked them together. To me, it would be easier to defrost the turkey in the microwave first, then go from there. But it’s up to you of course. Hope that helps.