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This easy leftover turkey and rice soup is a simple, delicious dinner that takes advantage of your holiday extras! With carrots, celery, onion, and herbs, each bite is full of healthy, flavorful ingredients. Don’t have turkey on hand? Use chicken instead!

Overhead shot of hands eating a bowl of turkey and rice soup
Table of Contents
  1. How to Make Turkey Soup | 1-Minute Video
  2. Why You’ll Love this Turkey and Rice Soup Recipe
  3. Ingredients for this Turkey Rice Soup Recipe
  4. How to Make Leftover Turkey and Rice Soup
  5. Serving Suggestions
  6. Preparation and Storage Tips
  7. Turkey Wild Rice Soup Recipe Variations
  8. Tips for the Best Turkey Soup Recipe
  9. Leftover Turkey Soup with Wild Rice Recipe

If you love easy soup recipes as much as we do, be sure to try this chicken noodle soup, Italian sausage tortellini soup, and a pot of 30-minute tomato basil soup, too!

How to Make Turkey Soup | 1-Minute Video

Why You’ll Love this Turkey and Rice Soup Recipe

  • Easy. An easy turkey soup recipe is perfect for those post-holiday evenings when you don’t want to spend too much time in the kitchen. Thanks to the leftovers, this meal comes together with just 15 minutes of prep.
  • 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.
Adding carrots celery and onion to a Dutch oven

What if I Don’t Have Leftover Turkey Meat?

If you don’t have any Christmas or Thanksgiving leftovers available but you’re excited to make this dish — no problem! Any of these alternatives will work well:

  • Substitute with 2-3 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 1 – 1 ½ lbs. of uncooked boneless, skinless chicken breasts or chicken thighs to equal about 2-3 cups cooked.
  • Use leftover pulled pork or store-bought pulled pork.
  • Cook a turkey, turkey breast, or slow cooker turkey tenderloin and use the leftovers here.

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.

Do you cook rice before adding to soup?

No, this recipe calls for uncooked wild rice. The rice cooks right in the broth, releasing starches that thicken the soup as it simmers. It’s an easy, one-pot meal!

Adding wild rice to a Dutch oven

Ingredients for this Turkey Rice Soup Recipe

This is a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a homemade leftover turkey soup recipe. As always, specific measurements and complete cooking instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Olive oil: to sauté the vegetables. Substitute with butter if you prefer.
  • Onion, carrots, celery and garlic: savory vegetables the flavor the soup and add great nutrients.
  • Fresh thyme and fresh parsley: herbs that add a bright, fresh touch to the soup.
  • Bay leaf: makes the soup taste like it’s been simmering all day long!
  • Broth: use homemade turkey stock from your leftover turkey carcass, homemade chicken broth, or store-bought chicken broth — whatever you have available.
  • Wild rice blend: a classic companion to the turkey, wild rice gives the soup great flavor and texture. If you prefer, you can use white long-grain rice or brown rice — you will just need to adjust the simmering time to account for the different types of rice.
  • Water: extra liquid for cooking the rice.
  • Leftover turkey: use up your leftover Thanksgiving turkey, or substitute with leftover roasted chicken or even a store-bought rotisserie chicken. The more flavorful your meat, the more flavorful your soup!
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper: the total amount of salt necessary will depend on your broth, as well as personal preference. Taste and season as you go!
Adding leftover diced turkey to a blue Dutch oven

How to Make Leftover Turkey and Rice Soup

This easy turkey soup with rice comes together with about 15 minutes of prep! You’ll find detailed directions in the recipe card below, but here’s the quick version:

  1. Sauté the vegetables and garlic in olive oil in a large pot or Dutch oven.
  2. Add thyme, bay leaf, broth, wild rice, and water. Bring to a boil.
  3. Simmer, covered, for about 35 minutes, or until the rice is tender.
  4. Stir in the leftover turkey and simmer just until heated through.
  5. Remove the bay leaf.
  6. Add fresh parsley and season with salt and pepper.
  7. Ladle into bowls and serve!
Ladle serving leftover turkey soup with wild rice from a blue dutch oven

Serving Suggestions

This old fashioned turkey soup is perfect alongside a loaf of crusty baguette or no-knead breadsoft dinner rolls or crescent rollscornbreadcorn muffinspumpkin bread or pumpkin muffins. Biscuits are also a great option! Try these classic Southern buttermilk biscuits, these easy drop biscuits, or these quick 3-ingredient biscuits. If you like some spicy “kick,” pair the soup with a loaf of Jalapeño Cheddar Bread or a skillet of Mexican cornbread.

Square shot of two bowls of turkey soup on a table

Preparation and Storage Tips

Allow leftover turkey wild rice soup to cool to room temperature. Pack in airtight containers and refrigerate for 3-4 days. Reheat the soup over a low flame on the stovetop just until warmed through. Alternatively, you can warm individual bowls of soup in the microwave for about 1 minute.

Freeze the soup in airtight containers for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving.

Two bowls of turkey and rice soup on a dinner table

Turkey Wild Rice Soup Recipe Variations

  • Instead of leftover turkey, use leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • Replace the wild rice with another type of rice — such as long grain white rice or brown rice. You will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly; white rice tends to cook faster than wild rice, while brown rice will require more time (and maybe extra broth or water).
  • Use homemade turkey stock from a leftover turkey carcass, homemade chicken broth, or a high-quality store-bought chicken broth.
  • Instead of cutting up fresh vegetables, add frozen mixed vegetables (such as corn, peas, and carrots) towards the end of cooking. You can pick your family’s favorites!
  • Add more flavor to your turkey soup with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, or with extra herbs and spices such as rosemary, dill, oregano, chives, bay leaf, or a pinch of cayenne or red pepper flakes for heat.
  • For a creamy broth, stir in a splash of heavy cream at the end.
Side shot of two bowls of leftover turkey soup on a dinner table with bread in the background

Tips for the Best Turkey Soup Recipe

  • The more flavorful your meat, the more flavorful your soup! We love to use leftover smoked turkey breast in this recipe, but a maple-glazed roasted turkey breast or an apple cider brined whole roasted turkey are also great. As an alternative, try the meat from this rosemary oven roasted chicken.
  • 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. Extra sage, thyme, rosemary, or parsley all add great flavor to the pot.
  • Garnish with fresh herbs, a splash of apple cider vinegar, or a squeeze of fresh lemon juice to give each bowl a pop of color and a bright touch.
Overhead shot of leftover turkey soup in white bowls on a table with bread

More Leftover Turkey Recipes to Try

Square overhead shot of a bowl of turkey and rice soup.

Leftover Turkey Soup with Wild Rice

5 from 14 votes
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 15 minutes
Servings 8 cups
Calories 174 kcal
This easy turkey and rice soup is a simple, delicious dinner that takes advantage of your holiday extras! Don't have turkey on hand? Use chicken instead!

Ingredients
  

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 onion, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 4 celery stalks, diced
  • 1 garlic clove, minced or pressed
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh thyme (or ½ teaspoon dried thyme)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cups homemade turkey stock, homemade chicken broth, or store-bought chicken broth
  • cup wild rice blend
  • 2 ½ cups water
  • 2-3 cups (about 8-11 ounces) cooked, shredded leftover turkey (or substitute with cooked, shredded chicken)
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • Kosher salt and ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  • Heat the oil in a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat until shimmering. Add the onion, carrots and celery and cook until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
    Adding carrots celery and onion to a Dutch oven
  • Add the thyme, bay leaf, broth, rice, and water. Bring to a boil; reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) for about 35 minutes, or until rice is tender.
    Adding wild rice to a Dutch oven
  • Stir in cooked turkey and simmer just until heated through. Remove bay leaf.
    Adding leftover diced turkey to a blue Dutch oven
  • Add fresh parsley; taste and season with salt and pepper, if necessary. Serve immediately, or allow to cool completely before storing in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
    Ladle serving leftover turkey soup with wild rice from a blue dutch oven

Video

Notes

  • The more flavorful your meat, the more flavorful your soup! We love to use leftover smoked turkey breast in this recipe, but a maple-glazed roasted turkey breast or an apple cider brined whole roasted turkey are also great. As an alternative, try the meat from this rosemary oven roasted chicken.
  • Make the soup within 5-6 days of cooking a turkey. After that point, the leftover turkey meat should be frozen or discarded.
  • 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. Extra sage, thyme, rosemary or parsley all add great flavor to the pot.
  • Instead of leftover turkey, use leftover chicken or a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • Replace the wild rice with another type of rice — such as long grain white rice or brown rice. You will need to adjust the cooking time accordingly; white rice tends to cook faster than wild rice, while brown rice will require more time.
  • Use homemade turkey stock from a leftover turkey carcass, homemade chicken broth, or a high-quality store-bought chicken broth.
  • Instead of cutting up fresh vegetables, add frozen mixed vegetables (such as corn, peas, and carrots) towards the end of cooking. You can pick your family’s favorites!
  • Mix up the herbs and use your favorites. In addition to the parsley and thyme, good options include rosemary, sage, oregano and chives.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 174kcalCarbohydrates: 16gProtein: 16gFat: 6gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 30mgSodium: 90mgPotassium: 378mgFiber: 2gSugar: 3gVitamin A: 5199IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Keyword: leftover turkey soup, turkey and rice soup, turkey soup recipe, Wild rice soup
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American
Author: Blair Lonergan

This recipe was originally published in November, 2016. It was updated in November, 2021.

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. Ruwani says:

    Oh my , that looks so comforting Blair ! I love soups with an addition of rice or noodles … kids love them too. Great way to use up leftover turkey 🙂

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Ruwani!

    2. Ashley says:

      The store bought stock, basically a salt lick. Just make your own.

  2. Blair says:

    Hey, Lizzie! Yep, I think the sodium must be the broth. I would opt for low sodium and then just season to taste from there. 🙂

    1. Lizzie says:

      This is delicious soup. I opted for low-sodium chicken broth, seasoned to taste … and then, voila! Feeling a bit “under-proteined” I put a soft-poached egg in each bowl just before serving. Wowzers was it ever good!

      1. Blair says:

        Awesome! So glad that you enjoyed it, Lizzie!

  3. Susana says:

    This Looks Delicious! How Could I make This In The Slow Cooker?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Susana! Yes, I think that you could make it the slow cooker, although I have never tried it myself. I would put all of the ingredients in the slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours (or until the rice is cooked through). Let me know if you give it a shot! 🙂

      1. Josh says:

        I just tried this in my slow cooker 3 hours rice was overdone what a bummer

  4. Kristy from Southern In Law says:

    This is such a delicious way to use up leftovers! I loveee wild rice in soups and this looks so simple and delicious!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Kristy! Simple and delicious is exactly right!

  5. Stephanie Gonzalez says:

    Do I use already cooked rice?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Stephanie! Nope, in this recipe there’s no need to cook the rice first. You can just put the uncooked rice in the pot and it will absorb some of the liquid and cook with the rest of the soup! 🙂

  6. Ileana says:

    5 stars
    Love this recipe on using cooked turkey! I was freaking out on a really great recipe to use all of this cooked turkey and so glad I landed on your page. Keep going girl!!

    1. Blair says:

      Excellent! I hope that you enjoy it, Ileana!

  7. Seda Vash says:

    5 stars
    Wow, Blair! It was just perfect! Thank you so much. I also added baby portobello mushrooms, no celery, and then fried some garlic and poured it into the soup towards the end…delicious! Hope you have a blessed Christmas! Thank you for sharing!

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Seda! I’m so glad that you enjoyed it! Your changes sound delicious as well. Thanks for letting me know!

  8. Heather Eagleson says:

    5 stars
    This is an excellent recipe and a nice alternative to the typical “turkey and barley soup” that we always make from leftover turkey. I actually cooked the turkey for the first time this Christmas and used a “dry-brine turkey” recipe I found on Pinterest, lol. The turkey came out SUPER moist and delicious and my brother’s g/f commented that it was better than her dad’s, which he cooks in a fryer. Anyways, I added a giant green jalapeno peeper to the turkey stock I made with the leftover bones (after pulling the turkey off) as well as the skins of the onion, as I heard this contains most of the flavor. To the soup itself I added a couple ripe tomatoes (I peeled the skin from), a few red potatoes and a cup of fresh and some sweet corn from the cob. I doubled the recipe and added about SIX cups cubed turkey. It should be good for the family pot-luck I’m attending the 27th!

    1. Blair says:

      Heather, I’m coming to YOUR house for Thanksgiving next year! That turkey sounds perfect! Your homemade stock and your additions to the soup recipe must be delicious as well. Thanks so much for sharing your ideas, and enjoy! 🙂

  9. Michelle says:

    I notice the recipe calls for garlic, but the instructions don’t indicate when to add it. I assume after the onions have softened?

    Sorry, just like to make sure I follow it correctly because I’m known for screwing things up when I go it alone!

    Thanks 🙂

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Michelle! Sorry about that! Thanks for letting me know about the mistake. 🙂 I updated the recipe to add the garlic into the instructions. You want to put it in the pot with the onion at the beginning. 🙂

      Enjoy!

      1. Michelle says:

        Excellent, thank you!! Very excited to try this recipe for supper tonight!

        1. Blair says:

          You’re welcome! Enjoy!

  10. Kim says:

    This recipe is great- my soup is fabulous! I used mostly the stock from boiling the turkey carcass and added just a bit of chicken broth. I did have to use 2 chicken bouillon at the end. It tastes better than any soup I’ve made thus far. Thanks!

    1. Blair says:

      Yay! So glad that you enjoyed it, Kim! I’m sure your homemade broth is amazing!

  11. Annie says:

    Could you please tell me where the copper pan is from?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Annie! I’m so glad that you like the copper pot. It’s actually an old pot that I found at a local antique store here in Central Virginia. Sorry I don’t have a link to a similar one. 🙂

  12. Stephanie says:

    How much does this recipe make?? Would I be able to double it for a large family??

    1. Blair says:

      Hey, Stephanie! It makes about 8 cups total (4 servings, 2 cups per serving). You can definitely double the ingredients to serve a larger family, and leftovers freeze well. Enjoy!

  13. Maureen says:

    Can you use any type of rice?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Maureen! Yes, you can use any rice. If you go with brown rice, you’ll need to cook it longer. If you use white rice, it might need slightly less time than the wild rice. Enjoy!

  14. Suppasprnk60 says:

    Got the turkey carcass in a pot of water salt, pepper and a couple branches of fresh sage from my garden. Make the stock then assemble this soup, can’t wait to try this.

    1. Blair says:

      Awesome! Enjoy the soup! 🙂

  15. Sarah says:

    This was very plain to me, did I do something wrong, can I add something else?

    1. Blair says:

      Hi, Sarah! I have no idea if you did something wrong since I don’t know what you did. 🙂 A lot of folks love this recipe, but taste is obviously very individual, so what appeals to some might not appeal to you? Or maybe you left out some seasonings? It’s supposed to be a simple soup (similar to Chicken Noodle Soup), but you want it seasoned well so that it doesn’t taste bland. You can always add more of the salt, pepper and seasoning to taste.

  16. Crystal says:

    This is now my go to!
    My family loves this soup!
    You do need to add more broth after the half an hour and I also add Italian seasoning and maybe some cilantro!
    This time I added yellow red and orange peppers instead of celery!

    1. Blair says:

      Awesome! Your changes sound delicious, Crystal! 🙂

  17. Amy M says:

    5 stars
    Found this recipe tonight and it was easy and most importantly a big hit with my hubamd and picky 6 year old. This recipe is definitely a keeper – thank you!

    1. Amy M says:

      5 stars
      Also I did add some thyme and basil and I suppose I could have added some additional broth.

    2. Blair says:

      Hooray!! I love when a picky child even approves of the recipes! Thanks, Amy!

  18. Lisa A says:

    5 stars
    The soup was very good and hearty. I used 5 cups of chicken broth and 2 cups of water. I also added some cubed potatoes with the carrots and celery. The whole house smelled so yummy. I boiled the turkey carcass to get all the meat off and used some of the turkey juice. I liked how the soup came out almost like porridge from the wild rice mix I used fromTrader Joe’s. It made enough for at least 6 meals. I’m going to keep this recipe for sure.

    1. Blair says:

      Wonderful! Thanks, Lisa!

  19. Lisa says:

    5 stars
    I used brown rice and turkey broth that I just made from our Thanksgiving turkey. It had a slight smoky flavor because we smoked the turkey. I added extra carrots because we love carrots and extra garlic because I always do and it turned out great. Thanks for the recipe. I’ll be making it again with the broth and turkey that are now in the freezer.

    1. Blair says:

      That sounds amazing, Lisa! You can’t go wrong with smoked turkey and with extra garlic! 🙂

  20. Brea says:

    5 stars
    Very pleased with this recipe – it was delicious. I didn’t have wild rice on hand and used Oronzo instead.

    1. Blair says:

      Wonderful! Thanks, Brea!

  21. Nancy says:

    I found this recipe to be very bland.

  22. Carol says:

    I found this recipe last Thanksgiving. I have made it at least a half a dozen times since then. I make my own turkey/chicken broth and it turns out perfect every time.

    1. Blair says:

      That’s so good to hear, Carol. I’m glad that you enjoy it!

  23. Jody says:

    5 stars
    I made this recipe for dinner tonight. It was amazing !!!!

    1. Blair says:

      Thanks, Jody!

  24. Nick says:

    Making a big pot seems to be best but the next day, the rice has swelled up almost to a mush. How can I prevent the rice from continuing to absorb liquid in the refrigerator?

    1. Blair says:

      Hey, Nick! Yep, that’s a common problem with any soup that has rice in it. If you really want to keep leftovers in the same quality as fresh, the only real solution is to hold out the rice and add it to the bowl when you’re ready to eat. So don’t put any rice in the actual soup broth. Keep it separate, and then when you’re ready to serve an individual bowl, but the cooked rice in the bottom of the bowl and pour the rest of the soup over top. 🙂

  25. Kerrin says:

    5 stars
    Excellent and easy soup. I made my own broth with the leftover turkey carcass. I believe a homemade stock (when available) amps up flavor and nutrition. I used red rice which took a little longer to cook. I also added a small amount of poultry seasoning since I enjoy the blend of herbs, I finished up the soup with a half cup or so of frozen peas added near the end of the cooking time.

    1. Blair says:

      Thank you, Kerrin! Your version sounds delicious! I agree — when you can make your own broth, that’s definitely the best. So glad that you enjoyed it. 🙂

  26. Stephanie says:

    5 stars
    I made this soup for dinner tonight using store bought broth as I do not take the time to make my own. I used your suggestion of incorporating frozen vegetables at the end of cooking and jazzed up the soup with a variety of spices, it was delicious. As you explained to another reviewer, it is similar to a chicken noodle type soup. It is left to the interpretation of the cook to add the spices they wish to achieve the desired taste they seek. My husband & I enjoyed it tremendously. Thank you for sharing

    1. Blair says:

      That’s great, Stephanie! I’m glad that you and your husband enjoyed it! Thanks for your note. 🙂

  27. Nana J says:

    Thank You
    I’m Happy to find this Site @ Christmas I will be 79 and as I get older I REALLY MISS my Mom’s older recipes which were all stored in her Head.. Even harder is some of the foods are getting hard to find.
    Thank You For Chance at for some great old Recipes
    Quick note… Oxtail Stew to my Grandson is CowTail Stew Nana. So We now have a new Name
    Nana Joan

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      That’s so sweet, Nana Joan! I’m so glad that you’re enjoying the recipes!

  28. Carolyn Beaver says:

    5 stars
    Delicious! Made some adjustments since I added some leftover wild rice dressing, so I used a 1/2 cup orzo boiled for 7 minutes to supplement that. Needed to add more salt when done.

    1. The Seasoned Mom says:

      Thank you for the feedback, Carolyn! We’re glad you were able to make it work for you.

  29. Jan says:

    5 stars
    Possibly THE BEST turkey soup recipe ever!!

    1. Blair Lonergan says:

      Yay! Thank you for saying that, Jan!