Every year, I ask myself what I like better – Thanksgiving dinner or leftovers. Hard call! This leftover turkey soup is topped with croutons made from leftover stuffing. Good!
I know that as I am slicing the turkey for the main event, I always turn my thoughts to tucking the carcass into the fridge, ready for making turkey soup the next day. Turkey soup is one of my favorite things about Thanksgiving.
This leftover turkey soup is not just a soup. It’s a full meal when you add some a ton of vegetables, noodles and leftover turkey. And it’s amazing when you top it with crispy croutons made from the leftover stuffing (my favorite). Here’s my homemade stuffing recipe that I’ve been making forever. The croutons taste just like the stuffing. My husband likes to eat them crispy right off the top of the soup. I like to sink them into the soup making them mushy – it reminds me of my childhood when I soaked crackers in my soup.
I love making this soup. It’s like a reward for all the work from the days before. Comforting, hearty and super tasty.
Make Ahead Leftover Turkey Soup
- The soup can be made up to 3-4 days ahead and kept in the fridge covered.
- The stuffing croutons would have to be kept in the fridge so it’s best not to make them ahead as they will become soft in the fridge.
- Reheat the soup in the pot and make the stuffing croutons while you are reheating the soup.
Turkey Soup with Stuffing Croutons Recipe
For the Basic Soup
- bones from leftover cooked turkey, broken up wings, legs, back etc (with skin is good)
- 3 celery ribs, cut into 1-2 inches pieces
- 4 carrots, peeled, cut into 1-2 inch pieces
- 1 onion, peeled
- 1 garlic clove
- handful fresh parsley
- 2 bay leaves
- sprinkle of thyme or a few fresh sprigs
- 6 peppercorns
- water or chicken broth to cover about 8 cups
- salt to taste (don't add salt initially if turkey has been brined)
Enhancements for finishing soup
- 1 cup leftover turkey meat, cut into bite size pieces
- 3 cup fresh spinach (or 1 cup frozen, microwaved for 2 minutes and drained)
- 1 cup cooked noodles (I use orzo or fine egg soup noodles)
- 1 cup or more leftover stuffing
- drizzle of olive oil (about 1 teaspoon)
- SIMMER SOUP: In a large pot, add turkey bones, onion, celery, carrots, garlic, seasonings and parsley. Add just enough water or broth to cover all ingredients. Heat to boiling, then lower heat to medium low. Cover partially and simmer for about an hour. Taste. If depth of flavor is not there yet, uncover and simmer for another 15-30 minutes. Strain soup through a mesh sieve, reserving carrots and celery. Place back into pot. Taste and adjust seasonings, adding salt or a teaspoon or two of bouillon if needed.
- MAKE CROUTONS: While soup is simmering, heat the oven to 425F. Place the stuffing in a single layer on a foil or parchment lined pan. Drizzle oil on stuffing and toss to cover evenly. Bake stuffing croutons for about 12 minutes, shaking half way through, until golden brown and crispy.
- ASSEMBLE SOUP: Combine strained broth, carrots, celery, spinach, noodles and turkey in the pot and heat to medium. Add spinach if desired and stir until wilted for a minute. Ladle into individual bowls and top with a few tablespoons of stuffing croutons.
If you make the leftover turkey soup, feel free to rate it in the recipe (under “rate this recipe”) and leave a comment below.
Here are a few other Thanksgiving turkey related recipes you might like: