Slow Cooker Turkey Soup

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Make this cozy Slow Cooker Turkey Soup using leftover turkey to stretch your leftovers into another delicious meal.

327 CALORIES36g CARBS6g FAT34g PROTEIN
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During the cold months, there is nothing better than making soup in the slow cooker. It’s hearty, warm, and a great way to use up whatever you have in the pantry.

This Turkey Soup is one of the best ways to use up leftover Thanksgiving turkey. However, we also use this recipe all the time to use leftover rotisserie chicken or shredded chicken. And it works with raw chicken or turkey - talk about versatility.

Why We Love this Crockpot Turkey Soup

  • Leftovers: Everyone hates seeing leftovers go to waste. This soup is a great way to use turkey or chicken leftovers in a whole new meal.
  • Easy: Although there is some chopping, this recipe is easy to make and mostly hands-off
  • Versatile: Make it with chicken or turkey, swap in different veggies, or use pasta or rice., This turkey soup works with what you have on hand.

Crockpot turkey soup in a bowl with egg noodles, shredded turkey, carrots, and fresh parsley

Ingredients and Easy Swaps

  • Turkey: Most of the time, I make this soup with leftover cooked turkey or chicken but it also works great with raw turkey chicken breast. It also is delicious with ground turkey or ground turkey sausage, just brown it first. It works great with leftovers from this Slow Cooker Boneless Turkey Breast.
  • Aromatics: The key to making a rich delicious soup is aromatics. Use onion, garlic, celery, and carrots to create that deep flavor. Feel free to add bell peppers as well.
  • Broth: Turkey broth is traditionally used in turkey soup, make it homemade from the turkey carcass. Or swap in chicken or vegetable broth.
  • Spices: Add flavor to the soup with a combination of rosemary, thyme, dried basil, bay leaves, black pepper, kosher salt, and fresh parsley. Swap in Italian seasoning or poultry seasoning.
  • Noodles: Egg noodles are one of my favorite noodle options in soup, but regular pasta works as well. For a gluten-free option, use rice or potatoes.

Recipe Tips for the Best Slow Cooker Soup

Make sure to follow these tips to make the best turkey soup.

  • Add the pasta at the end: Adding the pasta to the soup too early results in mushy pasta.
  • Finish with lemon and herbs: To brighten up the flavors before serving, I love to add a big squeeze of lemon juice and some fresh herbs like parsley, chives, or dill.
  • Using rice: If you swap in rice instead of pasta, cook it separately and add it to the slow cooker right before serving. Or use frozen or packaged cooked rice. Cooking the rice right in the soup will make it starchy and can result in mushy, almost sticky rice.
  • Use the leftover turkey carcass: If you really want a deep and rich turkey flavor, add the carcass right to the slow cooker. For easy clean-up, I like to put it in a mesh soup bag so I can simply lift it out of the soup before adding the noodles.

Variations and Ideas

There are so many ways to make this recipe your own and use up what you have on hand or in the pantry.

  • Use chicken: Make this soup year round, swapping in chicken (or leftover chicken) in place of the chicken. It’s delicious with this Chicken Tinga and Greek Chicken.
  • Try ground turkey or turkey sausage: Brown some ground turkey or ground turkey sausage and use it in place of the shredded turkey breast.
  • Make it gluten-free: Use rice, potatoes, or chickpeas to make a gluten-free version. If using rice, cook it on the side for the best results. Regular or sweet potatoes can be cooked from the beginning, just add them to the crockpot. Chickpeas or white beans can be added in at the end.
  • Add more veggies: This soup is great with extra vegetables. Add some butternut squash, kale, or mushrooms at the start of the recipe. Or add some spinach, frozen peas, or zucchini towards the end of the cooking process. It is also delicious with a can of diced tomatoes.
  • Add beans: Add some fiber with a can of chickpeas, white beans, or pinto beans.
  • Make it creamy: Add ¼ cup of heavy cream to make a creamier version of this soup.

Turkey soup in a bowl and served in a slow cooker with noodles, turkey, carrots, celery, and parsley.

Side Dishes for Soup

This soup is a complete meal on its own, but side dishes are always fun. Here are some favorites:

Storage and Freezing

  • To store: Let the soup fully cool and then store it in the fridge for up to 4 days. Adjust this time if you are using leftover turkey that had already been in the fridge for a couple of days/.
  • To freeze: Freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months in the freezer. Let defrost before reheating. If you are making this to freeze, sometimes I wait and add the pasta when I am reheating the soup for the best texture.
  • To reheat: Reheat gently on the stove or in the microwave, being careful not to overcook the noodles.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some of the most common questions about making turkey soup in the crockpot.

It is safe to put the raw turkey in the slow cooker as long it is defrosted. This includes turkey breast, turkey thighs, and turkey legs. Ground turkey can also be added safely to the slow cooker but for the best flavor and texture, it is best to brown it first. 

To make slow cooker turkey soup with rice, cook the rice separately and add it to the soup right before serving for the best texture. If you don't want to cook the rice separately, use frozen rice or packaged rice to speed up the process.

Stock is made from bones and therefore usually has a better flavor than broth. However, it can be hard to find stock unless you make it at home. If stock is an option, this soup will have a richer flavor.  But if you can't find stock, broth works just fine. 

Turkey and noodle soup in a slow cooker with shredded turkey, vegetables, and noodles.
The Recipe
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Slow Cooker Turkey Soup

PREP TIME: 10 Min
COOK TIME: 4 Hours
TOTAL TIME: 4 Hours, 10 Min
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Ingredients

USMETRICS
  • 1 onion, diced (yellow is best)
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 3 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1.5 lbs boneless skinless turkey breast (or 3 cups leftover cooked turkey)
  • 8 cups turkey broth (or chicken broth)
  • 1/2 tsp dried rosemary
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 Salt to taste (probably 1-2 teaspoons, depending on how salty the broth is)
  • 8 oz egg noodles
  • 2 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped (or more)

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Instructions

(Hide Photos)
1

Add the turkey to the slow cooker. If using precooked or leftover turkey, it won’t be added until the end.

Turkey breast being placed in a slow cooker.
2

Add onion, garlic, carrots, and celery on top of the turkey. Add broth, rosemary, basil, thyme, salt, black pepper, and bay leaves. Stir.

Celery, carrots, onion, garlic, broth, and spices being added to a slow cooker with turkey.
3

Cook on low for 5-6 hours (or high for 3-4 hours) until the turkey is cooked through and tender. Remove the turkey from the slow cooker and set aside. If you are making this with leftover turkey, cook on low for 3-4 hours.

Cooked turkey being removed from a slow cooker.
4

Add the egg noodles to the slow cooker and cook for 8-12 minutes on low or until tender. If regular pasta is used, it will take 20-30 minutes to cook on low in the slow cooker.

Egg noodles in turkey broth in a slow cooker.
5

While the egg noodles cook, shred or chop the turkey. If you are using leftover turkey, add it back to the slow cooker.

Turkey breast being shredded.
6

Add the turkey back to the slow cooker. Stir in the parsley. Taste and season with salt as needed. If it tastes bland, add a touch more salt to bring out the flavor.

Turkey breast being added to a crockpot of turkey noodle soup.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 1.5 cups
Amount Per Serving
Calories 327
Calories from Fat 52
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 6g
9%
Saturated Fat 1g
6%
Monounsaturated Fat 1g
0%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
0%
Cholesterol 108mg
36%
Sodium 1722mg
75%
Total Carbohydrate 36g
12%
Dietary Fiber 3g
12%
Sugars 5g
Protein 34g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

Notes

Use rice: Cook the rice separately and add it to the slow cooker right before serving. Or use frozen or packaged cooked rice and add it in the last 15 minutes of cooking. Cooking the rice right in the soup will make it starchy and can result in mushy, almost sticky rice.

Use potatoes: Add them to the slow cooker along with the carrots and celery.

Add more veggies: This soup is great with extra vegetables. Add some butternut squash, kale, or mushrooms at the start of the recipe. Or add some spinach, frozen peas, or zucchini towards the end of the cooking process. It is also delicious with a can of diced tomatoes.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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