Grandma’s Leftover Turkey Soup

  • Author: Kate Morgan Jackson
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 3 hours 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours
  • Yield: 12 1x
  • Category: Lunch
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: American


Make Thanksgiving last by using the end of the turkey to make Grandma’s leftover turkey soup with this easy recipe. Tender barley makes it comfort food extraordinaire!


  • 1 large leftover Thanksgiving turkey carcass (see note)
  • 3 large onions, peeled and chopped
  • 4 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 4 ribs of celery, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon poultry seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 3 cups pearled barley


  1. Strip all the leftover turkey meat off the turkey bones and set aside.
  2. Put the turkey bones into your biggest soup pot and cover with water.  Bring to a simmer, cover and simmer for three hours.  Let the broth cool, and then strain out all the solids so all you have left is turkey broth.  Discard the bones.
  3. Pour two quarts of the broth back into the pot and add the onions, carrots, poultry seasoning, salt, pepper and barley.  Bring to a simmer and cook until barley is tender, about 45 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, chop up the reserved turkey meat.  When the barley is cooked, stir the meat into the soup and heat through.  Taste and add salt and pepper as needed.


You didn’t get to take the turkey carcass with you?  No worries – you can skip the first two steps and start with step 3 – substitute 2 quarts of chicken or turkey broth, and 2 cups of shredded leftover turkey meat.