This Instant Pot Turkey Soup is a great way to use up leftover turkey. A quick and easy meal that's all done in 40 minutes, with simple ingredients and a citrusy flavor profile that's a great change from your holiday flavors.
I don't know about you, but I always end up with Thanksgiving leftovers. And while I love having those delicious leftovers for a day or two, sometimes there's just too much left and I need something to switch it up.
That's when this simple turkey carcass soup comes in handy. Quick and easy to make it takes the leftover turkey (bones and all!) and turns it into a delicious leftover turkey soup that doesn't taste like your Holiday turkey at all.
And as a bonus, it's great to freeze for a cold day when you need a warm and cosy pick-me-up meal. There's a reason this is one of my favorite instant pot recipes!
Another thing I love to use my Instant Pot for is to make a quick yet super tasty Instant Pot Bolognese.
Why you will love this recipe
- It's quick and all done in under 40 minutes
- It's easy to make with just a few simple steps
- It's hands off with your instant pot doing most of the work
- Tastes like it's cooked for hours thanks to pressure cooking
- Uses up leftover turkey meat and creates an entirely new meal from it
- It's healthy with just turkey & veggies
- No holiday flavors - this soup is citrusy and light
What you need to make Turkey Carcass Soup
Ingredient notes & substitutions
- Yellow onion can be swapped for red onion or shallots
- Cooked turkey bones - use as much of the carcass as you have, for best results use bones from at least half a 10 pound turkey
- Turkey bones and water can be swapped for turkey broth (or chicken broth)
- Turkey can be swapped for chicken (leftover or rotisserie chicken)
- Lemons should be fresh, bottled lemon juice will not give enough lemon taste
- White wine - always best to use a kind you enjoy drinking
Do I need the turkey carcass for this soup recipe?
This soup is definitely best when you allow the turkey carcass to simmer with the other ingredients. If you don't have it, you can still make it. Just make sure to use turkey broth or chicken broth instead.
Can turkey drippings be used for soup?
Yes! If you have any leftover turkey drippings, add them to your leftover turkey soup as well. Add them together with the turkey carcass. They will add loads of flavor!
Can I make this with raw turkey?
If you want to make this with raw turkey, I recommend using bone-in pieces. Sauté them with the onion, garlic and carrots for a minute before adding the wine. You can add more bones as well, if you have.
Then cook on Soup setting or manual Pressure Cooking setting on High for 10 minutes. Remove the chicken, take out the bones, and cut the meat in small pieces before adding back to the soup.
Another option is to use raw turkey meat cut in pieces. You will then need to add bones separately, or use turkey / chicken stock instead of water. Sauté as if using bone-in turkey, but 7 minutes cook time should be enough.
When using raw turkey, you need to make sure it cooks through, which means it needs to reach 165°F (74°C). This is easy to check using a meat thermometer.
How to make Instant Pot Turkey Soup
- Sauté onion and garlic in butter in your instant pot for 5 minutes, without them browning
- Add carrots and sauté 1 more minute
- Pour in the wine and simmer for 1 minute
- Turn off the instant pot and add turkey carcass and water
- Add bay leaves
- Add whole pepper corns
- Add salt
- Mix as well as possible, then close the lid and set to cook on "Soup" setting or on High pressure using the manual pressure cooking mode. Set the time to 7 minutes.
- When the pressure cooking cycle is over, let sit and do a natural release for 10 minutes. Then do a quick release of the remaining pressure.
- Remove the turkey bones and bay leaves
- Add lemon juice
- Add turkey meat, and mix
- Close the lid again and make sure your Instant Pot is set to "Keep Warm". Let sit for 5 minutes for the turkey to warm up.
- Remove the lid, taste test, and adjust seasoning if needed. Serve!
Tips & tricks
- Make it dairy free by using olive oil instead of butter
- No need to chop or remove the garlic cloves - they will fall apart in the soup while pressure cooking
- Keep the carrot pieces pretty large or they can become mushy
- Use as many bones as you have for maximum flavor
- Crack the bones a bit if you can, to increase the flavor
- Always release pressure naturally when making soup or other dishes with a lot of liquid, or the liquid might come sputtering out the release valve
- Add white or brown rice to make it more filling
Can I make this stove top instead?
Yes, you can absolutely cook this stovetop instead. If so, I recommend simmering the bones with the onion, garlic and carrots for at least 45 minutes.
Storing, Freezing & Reheating Instructions
Storing: Store leftovers in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
Freezing: Store leftovers in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Reheating stove top: Reheat leftovers on the stove over medium heat, until warmed through.
Reheating in microwave: Reheat leftovers in the microwave starting with 1 minute and following with 30 second increments. Stir it each time you add more time.
More quick & easy soup recipes
Looking for more quick & easy soups like this Turkey Carcass Soup to warm up those chillier days?
- Instant Pot Chicken Soup
- Spicy Creamy Chicken Soup
- Spicy Thai Chicken Noodle Soup
- Vegan Miso Mushroom Ramen
- Gluten Free Cream of Mushroom Soup
And if you're looking for another great way to use up leftover turkey - try this Leftover Turkey Hash.
Did you love this recipe? Rate it five stars!
...and let me know what you loved about it in the comments.
Instant Pot Turkey Soup (Leftover Turkey Carcass Soup)Print Rate
- 2 tablespoon butter
- 1 yellow onion chopped, or red onion/shallots
- 4 garlic cloves
- 3 carrots cut in ½ inch (1 cm) thick quarters
- ½ cup dry white wine
- turkey bones from at least half a turkey
- 4 cups water
- 10 whole black peppercorns
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon fine table salt
- 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 cups cooked turkey meat cut in bite-size pieces
- Start the instant pot in sauté mode and add the butter. When the butter is melted, add chopped yellow onion. Crush the garlic cloves gently with the side of the knife, remove the peel, and add the garlic to the instant pot as well. Sauté on Medium or High/More, without the onion and garlic browning, for 5 minutes.2 tablespoon butter, 1 yellow onion, 4 garlic cloves
- Add carrots and sauté for 1 more minute.3 carrots
- Make sure the sauté setting is on "More" or "High" and pour in the white wine. Simmer for 1 minute.½ cup dry white wine
- Press "Cancel" to turn off the instant pot. Bring out your turkey bones, and crack them a bit if possible. Then add them to the instant pot together with water, whole peppercorns, bay leaves and salt. Mix as well as possible.turkey bones, 4 cups water, 10 whole black peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, 1 teaspoon fine table salt
- Close the lid tightly and choose "Soup" mode if you have it. Set it to run for 7 minutes. If you don't have a soup setting, set it to pressure cook on High for 7 minutes instead.
- When the pressure cooking cycle is done, let it sit and release pressure naturally for 10 minutes. Then do a quick release to release the last of the pressure.
- Remove the turkey bones and bay leaves from the pot. Mix in lemon juice and the turkey meat in pieces. Close the lid and make sure the pressure cooker is set to "Keep Warm", then let it sit for 5 minutes to allow for the turkey meat to heat up.2 cups cooked turkey meat, 3 tablespoon lemon juice
- Taste test and adjust seasoning as needed, then serve on its own, or with a piece of bread.
Equipment (may contain affiliate links)
- Instant Pot* or other pressure cooker
- Measuring cups (metric or US)*
- Cooked turkey bones - use as many as you have, for maximum flavor. For best results use bones from at least half a 10 pound turkey.
- Turkey bones and water can be swapped for turkey or chicken broth
- Turkey can be swapped for chicken
- Lemons should be fresh, bottled lemon juice will not be enough
- Keep the carrot pieces pretty large or it might become mushy
- Crack the bones a bit if you can, to increase flavor
- Store leftovers in the fridge in an air tight container for up to 4 days
- Freeze leftovers to keep them for up to 3 months
- Reheat leftovers on the stove over medium heat, until warmed through
- Reheat leftovers in the microwave starting with 1 minute and following with 30 second increments. Stir between each.
Nutritional information is approximate and automatically calculated, and should only be viewed as an indication.