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Do you have some leftover turkey from your holiday celebrations? Or maybe just a rotisserie chicken that you picked up at the grocery store? This homemade turkey noodle soup is made without a carcass for an easy, healthy dinner that’s ready in about 30 minutes!

Homemade turkey noodle soup in a pot scooped up with a ladle
Table of Contents
  1. Why You’ll Love this Turkey Soup Recipe without Carcass
  2. What if I don’t have leftover turkey Meat?
  3. Ingredients
  4. How to Make Turkey Noodle Soup without a Carcass
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Preparation and Storage Tips
  7. Easy Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe Variations
  8. Tips for the Best Turkey Soup Recipe WITHOUT CARCASS
  9. Quick and Easy Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe

If you love easy soup recipes as much as we do, be sure to try this kid-favorite chicken and stars soup, Crock Pot vegetable soup, and this easy taco soup, too!

Why You’ll Love this Turkey Soup Recipe without Carcass

  • Quick and Easy. This slightly creamy turkey noodle soup is the best of both worlds! You get the comfort and nourishment of a homemade soup, without the tedious effort of making broth from a carcass, straining, or long simmering times. Instead, the easy recipe takes advantage of leftover turkey or chicken for a one pot meal that cooks quickly on the stovetop. It’s the perfect turkey noodle soup for busy weeknights!
  • Healthy. The recipe is loaded with protein and vegetables for a flavorful, nourishing, and satisfying meal.
  • Budget-Friendly. Nothing goes to waste! This soup takes advantage of leftover turkey (or chicken), and only requires a handful of additional easy-to-find ingredients. It’s also flexible, so use up any other veggies that you might have in your fridge by tossing them into the pot as well.
Bowls of homemade turkey noodle soup garnished with fresh parsley

What if I don’t have leftover turkey Meat?

If you don’t have any leftover turkey available, but you’re excited to make this dish — no problem! Any of these alternatives will work well:

  • Substitute with 3-4 cups of cooked, shredded chicken. You can use the meat from a store-bought rotisserie chicken, leftover chicken from a previous meal, store-bought pulled chicken, or you can boil and shred your own chicken at home. You’ll need a total of about 2 lbs. of uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs to equal about 4 cups cooked.
  • Use leftover pulled pork or store-bought pulled pork.
  • Cook a turkey, turkey breast, or turkey tenderloin and use the leftovers here.
Carrots onion and celery in a pot for turkey noodle soup

How Long Turkey Leftovers Will Keep

The USDA recommends using cooked turkey within 3 to 4 days when it’s stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Tightly wrapped, leftover turkey can be frozen for 3 to 4 months.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a turkey soup recipe without carcass. As always, specific measurements and step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil: to sauté the vegetables. You can sub with butter or another type of oil if you like.
  • Carrots, onion, celery: savory aromatics that add classic flavor to the base of the soup.
  • Chicken broth: the base of the soup. Use homemade stock or homemade broth if available, or a high-quality store-bought brand. Start with a low-sodium variety so that your soup isn’t too salty.
  • Condensed cream of chicken soup: adds flavor and a slightly creamy texture to the broth. Sub with another flavor soup, such as cream of celery soup or cream of mushroom soup if you prefer.
  • Turkey: you’ll need cooked, shredded or diced turkey for this recipe. If you don’t have any leftover turkey on hand, see my notes above for good substitutes.
  • Poultry seasoning: a convenient blend of thyme, sage and other herbs and spices to give your turkey soup more flavor.
  • Egg noodles: cook right in the broth so you don’t need to boil them separately!
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: to enhance the flavors of the other ingredients.
Leftover turkey and other ingredients for turkey noodle soup

How to Make Turkey Noodle Soup without a Carcass

This easy leftover turkey soup comes together quickly on the stove top. You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  • Sauté the veggies in olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  • Add the broth, condensed soup, turkey, and poultry seasoning.
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Stir in the uncooked egg noodles.
  • Simmer for 7-9 minutes, or until the noodles are tender.
Overhead close image of turkey noodle soup in pot

Serving Suggestions

Serve the homemade turkey soup recipe with any of these easy sides:

Preparation and Storage Tips

  • Make Ahead: If you’d like to prepare a batch of the soup in advance, I recommend making the soup up until the step where you add the noodles (do not add the noodles). Cool the broth and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days, or freeze for up to 1 month.
  • When ready to serve, bring the soup to a simmer, add the noodles, and follow the rest of the recipe.
  • Storage: Leftover soup will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 1 month; however, cooked noodles may be mushy when frozen and reheated.
  • How to Reheat: Warm leftovers in a covered saucepan over low heat, just until heated through. Do not overcook or the noodles will become mushy. You can also reheat individual portions in the microwave for 1-2 minutes.
Bowl of turkey noodle soup with a spoon

Easy Turkey Noodle Soup Recipe Variations

  • Swap out the cream of chicken soup and use another flavor of condensed soup, such as cream of celery soup or cream of mushroom soup.
  • Don’t have a leftover Thanksgiving turkey on hand? Substitute with an equal amount of cooked, shredded chicken instead.
  • Egg noodles are a classic ingredient in turkey noodle soup; however, you can substitute with other pasta shapes. Try cut spaghetti or rotini, bowties, or ditalini. Just make sure that you follow the cooking instructions on your package of noodles so that they’re cooked al dente.
  • Include extra vegetables, such as frozen cut green beans, peas, corn, or diced zucchini.
  • Add more flavor to your turkey soup with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or with extra herbs and spices such as rosemary, thyme, dill, oregano, chives, bay leaf, garlic powder, or a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes for heat.
  • Have a turkey carcass that you want to use? You can make your own turkey stock to use in this soup.

Tips for the Best Turkey Soup Recipe WITHOUT CARCASS

  • Don’t overcook the noodles or they will become mushy in your soup. Add them to the pot just before you’re ready to serve. They will continue to soften as they sit in the hot broth.
  • This is a fairly thick pot of soup. If you prefer more broth in your bowl, just add extra broth (or water) at the end to thin the soup to the desired consistency.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well. Start with low sodium chicken broth so that you can control the saltiness of your pot.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs (such as fresh parsley or fresh thyme) and a splash of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice at the end gives each bowl a pop of color and a bright touch.
Turkey noodle soup on a ladle with steam coming off

More Leftover Turkey Recipes to Try

Square side shot of easy turkey noodle soup recipe without carcass.

Quick and Easy Homemade Turkey Noodle Soup

5 from 4 votes
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 40 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 170.8 kcal
This easy turkey noodle soup recipe is made without a carcass for an easy, healthy dinner that's ready in about 30 minutes!

Ingredients
  

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled diced
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 3 stalks celery, diced
  • 4 cups low-sodium chicken broth or stock
  • 1 (10.5 ounce) can condensed cream of chicken soup (I use Campbell's Healthy Request)
  • 3-4 cups diced, cooked turkey (or substitute with an equal amount of cooked, diced chicken)
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 cups uncooked dry medium egg noodles
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley; squeeze of fresh lemon juice

Instructions

  • Heat olive oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add carrots, onion, and celery and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender (about 10 minutes).
    Sauteing veggies in a dutch oven for soup.
  • Add broth, soup, turkey, and poultry seasoning. Increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir in the noodles, reduce heat to low, and simmer at a low boil for about 7-9 minutes (or just until noodles are tender).
    Cup of dry egg noodles
  • Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir in fresh parsley just before serving, if desired.
    Ladle in a pot of leftover turkey noodle soup without carcass

Notes

  • Don’t overcook the noodles or they will become mushy in your soup. Add them to the pot just before you’re ready to serve. They will continue to soften as they sit in the hot broth.
  • This is a fairly thick pot of soup. If you prefer more broth in your bowl, just add extra broth (or water) at the end to thin the soup to the desired consistency.
  • Taste and season as you go. The total amount of salt necessary will vary depending on the saltiness of your broth, and on personal preference. Add extra salt for more flavor, and feel free to increase the other herbs and seasonings as well. Start with low sodium chicken broth so that you can control the saltiness of your pot.
  • A fresh herb garnish (such as fresh parsley or fresh thyme) and a splash of apple cider vinegar or fresh lemon juice at the end gives each bowl a pop of color and a bright touch.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 170.8kcalCarbohydrates: 14.2gProtein: 18.7gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.5gMonounsaturated Fat: 1.5gCholesterol: 55.1mgSodium: 550.5mgPotassium: 303.4mgFiber: 1.7gSugar: 2.1g
Keyword: homemade turkey noodle soup recipe, turkey noodle soup, turkey noodle soup without carcass, turkey soup recipe without carcass
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in December, 2013. It was updated in November, 2018.

blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

Read More

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Comments

  1. Lisa Roeder says:

    I thought about adding turnips and potatoes, what do you think? Just add more broth?

    1. Blair says:

      Sounds great, Lisa! Yes — I would just add a bit more broth, to taste. Enjoy!

  2. Pat says:

    5 stars
    Delicious, but did add more broth.

  3. Justina L Wuebker says:

    5 stars
    If you use the frozen Reames noodles, it WILL NOT freeze well. Learn from my mistakes. Delicious otherwise though!

  4. Julie Follett says:

    Do you think cream of mushroom soup would work just as well?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Julie! Yep, that should be fine!

  5. ELIZABETH MCCAHILL says:

    May I use this recipe for a tool kit for our local food bank?

    1. Blair says:

      Absolutely! 🙂

      1. ELIZABETH says:

        Thank you!

  6. Lorraine says:

    Can you just add the pasta uncooked (the video seems to use it uncooked) since it’ll be baking in liquid for 25 minutes? I use regular lasagna noodles (not the oven-ready kind) in my lasagna and they cook beautifully from the liquid in the meat sauce. I was thinking that maybe you could do the same here? What do you think?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Lorraine! Yes, the recipe calls for uncooked noodles. 🙂

  7. Karen says:

    What else can be substituted for the can soup?

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Hi, Karen! The condensed soup adds a bit of creaminess to the broth, thickens it slightly, and gives the soup extra flavor. You could add some flour to the vegetables to make a roux that will thicken the soup a little bit, add a splash of cream at the end, and season with extra salt, pepper, celery salt, or other spices and herbs that you like. Another alternative would be to make a homemade version of the condensed soup to use in this recipe, following instructions similar to these: https://www.apinchofhealthy.com/homemade-condensed-cream-of-chicken-soup/

  8. Penny Richards says:

    5 stars
    Made this today! Mmmmmm Mmmmm good ! I did add more broth the recipe was spot on made with left over turkey from thanksgiving!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thank you, Penny!

  9. Wes says:

    5 stars
    Loved it. I added a bit of garlic for a little more tang….but fantastic!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Thanks, Wes!