Turkey Carcass Soup

Sunday 28 November 2021

Turkey Carcass Soup 
When we were growing up one of our favorite parts of any holiday meal was the inevitable soup we knew that my mother would be making in the days following.

We would have a nice meal on the first day, perhaps leftovers on the second, sandwiches and then on about the third day my mother would put the bones in a pot on the stove and we knew we were in for a real treat!

Turkey Carcass Soup 
At Thanksgiving and Christmas it would be a nice pot of turkey soup.  Roast Ham at New Years and Easter meant we would be having our favorite French Canadian Pea Soup.

Sometimes if it was a roast beef  we would end up with beef and vegetable.  We were not picky. My mom made great soup and we were happy to have a bowl of it set before us no matter what kind it was! 

My mother was the best soup maker and I learned all that I know about making soup from watching her.  As adults when we went home for a visit we knew that mom would always have a big ice cream container of her homemade soup waiting for us in the deep freeze!

Turkey Carcass Soup  

Mom has been gone from us for almost three years now and there is not a day goes by but what I don't think of her multiple times.  When I am feeling poorly I long for a bowl of her homemade soup. 

It was indeed good medicine and made all of your troubles seem smaller and insignificant, and chased away all the sniffles.  Homemade soup to me is just like one of my mother's hugs in a bowl.

Having a bunch of leftover turkey bones made me want to make a big pot of homemade turkey soup. Although this recipe makes a lot, that is not a problem. It freezes very well and who can't use a container of homemade soup in the freezer to take out as a pick-me-up or a hug when you need one!

Turkey Carcass Soup  

Nothing too extravagant.  Simple ordinary every day ingredients.

  • a spent turkey carcass with plenty of meat clinging to the bones (if you don't have a lot of meat left on it add a chicken leg or two)
  • a few chicken bullion cubes (not necessary but they add additional flavor)
  • onions, celery
  • carrots
  • cabbage
  • rutabaga (swede)
  • a can of chopped tomatoes
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • a variety of herbs and seasonings
  • pearl barley
  • split peas (optional but nice)

Turkey Carcass Soup 

Its really simple really. If your turkey carcass is rather on the large side, break it up into smaller pieces. Pop it into a saucepan along and cover it with water.  Bring to the boil.

Once you have brought it to the boil, reduce to a simmer and add the bullion cubes if using.  Leave this to simmer for about an hour or so at which time any meat left on the carcass will be falling off and the broth should be really fragrant.

Turkey Carcass Soup 
You need to carefully remove your bones from the broth now.  They will be hot.  Remove and set aside, then strain the broth in the saucepan into a clean saucepan through a sieve. This will remove any solids that you might have missed.

Pick all of the meat from the bones, dice and return it to the pan with the broth.  Bring back to the boil and then add the remaining ingredients.

Turkey Carcass Soup 

Reduce to a simmer and cook, covered, for a further hour until all of the vegetables are tender and the barley and spit peas have cooked.  Taste and adjust the seasoning as required.  Discard the bay leaf.

That's basically it. Your soup is done and ready to eat.  We love it with crackers in our house.  Mom always let us put butter on our crackers.

Turkey Carcass Soup 
There was probably more butter than cracker!  That's one thing my mom always used and that was real butter.  We never had margarine. It was one of her little extravagances. 

And she never minded us spreading it thickly onto our bread or crackers.  Dad always used to say to us, "Would you  like more bread with that butter?"  But we kept slathering it on anyways.

To this day I love butter.  It is a weakness of mine and will probably kill me in the end, but I will die with a smile on my buttery lips!!  😄

Turkey Carcass Soup

I really hope that you have saved your turkey carcass and that you will give this tasty soup a go. When I worked at the Manor they always wanted me to make soup with the carcass and also with chicken carcasses after a roast chicken.

They loved my soup. I guess I inherited my mother's talent for making a great pot of  soup! (Amongst other things.)  Enjoy!!

Turkey Carcass Soup

Turkey Carcass Soup

Yield: 12
Author: Marie Rayner
Prep time: 45 MinCook time: 2 HourTotal time: 2 H & 45 M
This delicious soup makes a fair amount, but it freezes really well. I enjoy it on the day and then freeze it in two serving sized containers to enjoy at another time.


  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 4 quarts (4 liters) water
  • 3 chicken bullion cubes
  • 1 small rutabaga, peeled and diced
  • 4 large carrots, peeled and sliced
  • 2 stalks celery, trimmed and diced
  • 1 large onion, peeled and diced
  • 1 ½ cups coarsely shredded cabbage
  • 1 14 ounce/400g can diced tomatoes, undrained
  • ½ cup (93g) uncooked pearl barley
  • 1/4 cup (50g) of split peas
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 bay leaf
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly cracked black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1 pinch dried thyme


  1. Place the turkey carcass into a large soup pot or stock pot and pour in the water; bring to a boil, add the bullion cubes reduce heat to a simmer, and cook the turkey frame until any meat remaining falls off the bones, about 1 hour.
  2. Carefully remove the turkey carcass. Remove and chop any remaining meat from the carcass and discard the bones.
  3. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a clean soup pot. Add the chopped turkey. Bring to the boil.
  4. Reduce to a simmer and stir in the rutabaga, carrots, split peas, celery, onion, cabbage, tomatoes, barley, Worcestershire sauce, salt, parsley, basil, bay leaf, black pepper, paprika, poultry seasoning, and thyme. Simmer until the vegetables are tender, about 1 more hour.
  5. Taste and adjust seasoning as required. Remove and discard the bay leaf. Serve hot, ladled into heated soup bowls with some crackers or crusty bread on the side.
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  1. This looks like a very satisfying soup. The day after Thanksgiving I put the turkey bones from our delicious meal made by our daughter (she's a great cook like you) into a big pot and cooked them for about 24 hours on our wood stove. Oh, what yummy goodness resulted. I believe I got about 3-4 quarts of bone broth which I will freeze. It will make some great soup on wintery days.

    1. Thanks very much Elaine. You will have a treasure in your freezer there! So much to look forward to! xoxo

  2. The best things about cooking a turkey - stuffing, turkey sandwiches for breakfast the next morning and SOUP!

    1. I love turkey too and the leftovers are the best part! xoxo

  3. I love homemade soups. I put in whatever I have on hand so it is never quite the same twice. I must say I have never had or made turkey soup with tomatoes, cabbage,barley or split peas I put them in my beef soup and split peas in my ham soup. Will have to give this a try. Thanks Marie. Wasn't it nice growing up in NS where everything was made from scratch and with whatever was available on tight budgets?

    1. Thanks very much Joanne! I hope that you enjoy the soup! yes, it was very nice growing up in NS! I can't think of a better place and am really happy to be able to end my days here now. Happy holidays! xo


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