Turkey Rice Soup Recipe


If you have some leftover turkey, don’t let that go to waste! There are a lot of delicious ways to use up all that tasty leftover turkey, and we’re letting you in on one of them. A comforting soup is the most perfect thing to make the most out of your turkey leftovers. It’s very simple and easy to make and can satisfy your hunger with its hearty taste. Read on to know how to make this filling Turkey Rice Soup recipe!

Do You Cook Rice First Before Adding to Soup?

Most soup recipes use raw rice instead of pre-cooked rice. This is because raw rice grains soak up the broth’s flavor, making it extra delicious. This way, you don’t have to cook the rice separately and use more pots than necessary. 

Can I Add Cooked Rice to Soup?

Yes, you can! Most recipes use uncooked rice as the grains cook in the broth of the soup but you can use pre-cooked rice. Just add it to the turkey soup before serving and give it a few minutes on the stove to heat through. If you add pre-cooked rice to the soup too early, it can come out mushy and unappetizing. 

How Do You Make Bland Turkey Soup Taste Better?

If you find your turkey soup to be bland, you can elevate the flavor by making your own turkey stock. Instead of using store-bought chicken stock or chicken broth or turkey broth, making your own turkey stock allows you to adjust the ingredients as you see fit. You can make your stock as hearty and rich as you can. Plus, it’s one of the best ways to make the most out of leftover turkey carcasses.  

If you want to make your own stock and use it for various turkey soup recipes, here are the ingredients that you’ll need and the steps to make it:

Turkey Stock Ingredients

  • Leftover turkey carcass
  • 2 onions, quartered
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2-3 celery stalks
  • 2-3 sprigs of parsley
  • 2 large stems of fresh thyme
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon black pepper
  • 20 to 24 cups water (enough to cover)

How to Make Your Own Turkey Stock

  1. Place the turkey carcass in a large pot or a stock pot. 
  2. Add the quartered onions, carrots, parsley, celery, thyme, kosher salt, pepper, and bay leaf into the pot. 
  3. Use a measuring cup to pour the water into the pot. Make sure that the amount is enough to cover all the ingredients.
  4. Place the pot on the stove and cover it with a lid. Turn the heat to high and bring the ingredients to a boil.
  5. Once the water starts boiling, reduce the heat to low and let it simmer, partially covered, for 3.5 to 4 hours.
  6. Once the turkey broth is done cooking, take the pot off the heat and use a pair of tongs or a slotted spoon to remove the bones, vegetables, or herbs. You can throw away the ingredients that you removed.
  7. Place a fine mesh strainer over a different large pot and pour the turkey broth into that pot, straining the last bits of bones or vegetables.
  8. Let the stock cool before transferring them to a canning jar or any storage container. 
  9. Store them in the fridge or freezer for later use.

Turkey and Rice Soup Recipe Ingredients

Turkey Rice Soup is the best way to enjoy leftover turkey. Most of the ingredients in this recipe can be found in your pantry already but if not, your neighborhood grocery will likely have them.

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 to 3 cups shredded leftover turkey meat
  • 8 oz. wild rice blend
  • 8 cups turkey stock or chicken broth
  • 1 cup chopped or diced onion
  • 3 celery ribs, diced
  • 4 carrots, peeled and diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
  • 1/2 medium lemon (juice and zest)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • Fresh parsley (for garnish)

Leftover Turkey and Rice Soup Recipe Directions

It’s very easy to make this tasty, broth-based soup! The mixture of aromatics, turkey meat, rice, and lemon zest absolutely elevates this dish. Best of all, this Turkey Rice Soup recipe won’t even take a lot of your time. 

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or heavy-bottomed pot over medium-low heat.
  2. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 30 seconds.
  3. Turn the stove to medium heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery, and cook and stir until softened about 3 to 5 minutes.
  4. Add the stock, wild rice mix, dried rosemary, onion powder, salt, and black pepper. Switch to medium-high heat and bring to a boil. 
  5. Once it boils, reduce the heat and let the soup simmer away for about 35 to 45 minutes or until the wild rice is tender. Make sure that the pot is covered.
  6. Add the shredded cooked turkey meat and simmer just until heated through.
  7. Add the lemon zest and juice to the pot.
  8. Remove from heat.
  9. Add fresh parsley. Taste and season with salt and pepper if necessary.
  10. Serve.

Rice and Turkey Soup Recipe Tips

  • This Leftover Thanksgiving Turkey and Rice Soup recipe uses wild rice but you can also use other types of rice such as long-grain white rice or brown rice. Long-grain rice such as Basmati rice works well because the grains separate easily. 
  • Do note that if you’re using long-grain white rice or brown rice instead of wild rice, you’ll have to adjust the cooking time as well. White rice cooks faster than wild rice while brown rice will require more time.
  • If you don’t have turkey stock, you may also use low-sodium chicken broth or chicken stock. Alternatively, you can also make your own broth.
  • You may use poultry seasoning to increase the flavor of the leftover turkey meat.
  • Shredded turkey breast works best for this Turkey and Rice Soup but dark meat or smoked turkey can also be used.
  • Be sure to make any leftover turkey soup within 5 to 6 days of cooking a turkey. After that point, the meat should be frozen or discarded.
  • Aside from turkey, this homemade soup recipe can also be used for chicken soup! Just replace the meat with rotisserie chicken or leftover cooked chicken.
  • You can use yellow onion or white onion when making this Turkey and Rice Soup recipe.
  • Be sure to make this Turkey and Rice Soup in a heavy-bottomed pot or Dutch oven so that the heat will be evenly distributed and you don’t get hot spots.
  • Frozen vegetables also work well in this Turkey and Rice Soup. Add a bag of frozen peas or frozen corn towards the end of the cooking process.
  • If you have leftover turkey soup, place it in an airtight container and refrigerate for 3 to 4 days. Reheat the leftover soup over a low flame on the stovetop just until warmed through. You may also warm individual bowls of Turkey Rice Soup in the microwave for about 1 minute.
  • You can also make big batches of this Turkey and Rice Soup and freeze them for up to 3 months. Thaw the frozen Turkey Rice Soup in the refrigerator overnight before reheating and serving.

Final Note

Your Thanksgiving leftovers don’t have to go to waste anymore. Enjoy leftover turkey by combining it with rice, broth, vegetables, and seasonings in one delicious dish. A dash of lemon zest at the end also enhances and brightens the deep flavors of the Leftover Turkey and Rice Soup. If you want something warm and comforting, definitely try out this easy Turkey Soup recipe tonight!

Looking for more soup recipes that you can pair with rice? Check out our recipe collection.