Bowl of turkey noodle soup

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup

While the memories of a warm and cozy Thanksgiving may be behind us, chances are the holiday has left one more chore lurking in your refrigerator, taking up entirely too much space. There that mostly picked-clean turkey carcass sits, day after day, sort of vaguely wrapped in tinfoil and leering at you every time the refrigerator door opens, desperate to be turned into another meal.

We always start with the best intentions and promise ourselves that we’ll make a truly excellent homemade turkey stock, extracting every last speck of nutritional value from the Thanksgiving bird. But too often, it can feel like too daunting a task; there’s all of that boiling, chopping and straining, only to result in an anemic turkey broth that is underseasoned, lacking flavor and plagued with an unappealing cloudiness that’s anything but inspiring.

But homemade turkey soup doesn’t have to be this way! With a few extra steps, you can develop a rich, full-bodied turkey stock that makes the perfect base for all of those buttery egg noodles, sliced carrots and chopped celery. It’s an easy-to-eat way to extend the last few cups of usable leftover turkey meat into a week’s worth of light meals, and all it takes is a little planning ahead.

We begin by roasting the bones, to help develop flavor for the finished turkey stock. Then, the bones are cooked with a few veggies, water and a splash of apple cider vinegar. As the bones cook, the acidity in the vinegar helps to break down the collagen in the bones, which may help increase the body’s ability to absorb the nutrients within. And though it adds a step, we like to cook our noodles and vegetables for the soup separately from the finished turkey broth; this helps to control the doneness of the vegetables and keeps your noodles from getting mushy.

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup

Makes about 10 servings


For the turkey broth:

  • 1 leftover turkey carcass, including drumstick and wing bones, meat removed
  • 1 turkey neck bone (if available)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
  • 2 large carrots, unpeeled and cut into chunks
  • 8 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 4 quarts water
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar

For the soup:

  • 5 cups egg noodles
  • 2 cups sliced carrots
  • 2 cups sliced celery
  • 3 cups cooked turkey (white and dark meat)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon pepper


For the turkey broth:

Preheat oven to 400 F. Arrange turkey carcass and bones with onion, carrots and garlic on a baking sheet and roast for one hour, turning halfway through the cooking time.

Transfer to a large stockpot, and add water and apple cider vinegar. Bring to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 3 to 4 hours.

Remove stock from heat and use a colander to strain out the bones and vegetables. Discard, and transfer stock to refrigerator to cool overnight.

For the soup:

The next day, scrape as much of the solidified fat from the top of the stock as possible. Bring stock to a boil over medium heat. Meanwhile, bring another pot of salted water to a boil. Add egg noodles and carrots, and cook for 4 minutes. Add celery, and cook 5 minutes more or until noodles and vegetables are tender. Drain and add to simmering turkey broth. Add cooked turkey, salt, thyme and pepper, and cook until turkey is heated through