This warming and light turkey and rice soup is a wonderful way to enjoy leftover turkey. With tender turkey, vegetables, and rice swirled in a savory broth and finished with a bit of lemon juice and a bright blend of parsley, lemon zest, and garlic, this is a comforting soup to enjoy with Thanksgiving leftovers while taking a break from all that decadent eating at your Thanksgiving feast.
Want to learn how to make this one-pot easy turkey soup with rice and vegetables? We’ve got the recipe for the homemade soup for you right here.
How to Make Turkey and Rice Soup
Turkey and rice soup is such a great recipe and an easy way to make use of leftover Thanksgiving turkey meat. Eaten as either a main meal or a side and with such a fast cook and prep time, this turkey rice soup is just one way to help you keep from wasting leftover turkey meat and eat it in a different way.
- Recipe Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Recipe Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Recipe Yield: 6 servings
Ingredients for Turkey Rice Soup Recipe
- 1 tablespoon butter or olive oil
- 1 large onion, diced small
- 3 ribs celery, thinly sliced into half moons
- 2 large carrots, thinly sliced
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
- 8 cups chicken stock, vegetable stock, or homemade turkey stock
- ¾ cup long grain white rice
- ⅓ cup chopped flat-leaf fresh parsley and parsley stems
- 2 medium cloves garlic, minced
- ½ medium lemon juice and zest
- 2 cups cooked turkey leftovers, shredded (white meat, dark meat, or blend)
- Kosher salt and ground black pepper to taste
Turkey and Rice Soup Recipe Directions
- Add olive oil or melt butter in a large pot or large dutch oven over medium-high heat. Add onion, then cook and stir until softened and translucent for 3-5 minutes.
- Add rice, celery, carrots, bay leaf, poultry seasoning, and turkey/vegetable/chicken stock. Bring medium heat to boil, then reduce heat and let the soup simmer for 10-12 minutes, until rice and carrots are tender, but still have a little bite.
- Meanwhile, zest the lemon into a small bowl and add chopped parsley and minced garlic, stir to combine. Juice lemon half into a separate small bowl. Set both bowls aside.
- When rice is tender, add the shredded leftover turkey and cook and stir until heated through for 2-3 minutes. Stir in reserved lemon juice and season to taste with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with parsley mixture. Serve immediately.
Cooking Tips for this Turkey Soup Recipe
- You can make this with brown rice or a wild rice blend, but do note that they have a longer cooking time of around 45 minutes compared to white rice. Cook the rice separately from the soup and add it along with the turkey at the end, just long enough to reheat.
- Increase the juice and zest to one full lemon if you’re looking for a tangier bite in your leftover turkey soup.
- While frozen vegetables will work just fine if you’re in a pinch, fresh vegetables will give the leftover turkey soup a more robust flavor and more nutrients.
- This recipe can be frozen and kept for up to a month. Simply defrost and put over medium heat before serving.
Final Note for Turkey Rice Soup Recipe
Leftover soup is always a great way to avoid wasting different dishes and incorporate them into a new recipe. This turkey rice soup is a delicious meal to serve post-Thanksgiving that utilizes existing ingredients in your fridge while offering some new and refreshing flavors that the whole family will enjoy.
Frequently Asked Questions
Do you cook the rice first before adding it to soup?
If you’re looking for a much thicker and starchier soup, adding uncooked rice to your broth will give it that texture. You can also add cooked rice to your soup closer to the end of its cooking if you’re looking for a more liquidy broth without mushy rice.
Can you use turkey drippings to make soup?
If you’re making this turkey soup with rice from leftover Thanksgiving turkey, we highly recommend making turkey stock from the turkey carcass instead of vegetable or chicken broth. It’s easy and gives this turkey and rice soup even more flavor.
How do you make the vegetable soup tasty?
While frozen vegetables are definitely an option for making soup, fresh veggies will always offer a better taste.