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Thanksgiving means turkey, turkey means leftovers, and leftover turkey means soup. That is the rubric of Thanksgiving. Don’t shy away from buying a turkey large enough to leave you with leftover turkey— you would be sad without them.

This dish is perfect for whenever you have leftover turkey, whether that be after Thanksgiving or Christmas or you’ve made a turkey dinner for your family. I use the bones from a roasted turkey breast to make the stock, but if you have the bones from a whole turkey, you will be rewarded with even richer, more flavorful turkey stock.

Serve this warming, hearty soup with something to dunk into it, like Beer Bread or biscuits. It’s a real main dish soup, and you don’t need anything else, though a festive salad like an Arugula, Orange, and Pomegranate Salad.

White bowl of Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup.

Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup: The most comforting, satisfying way to use up leftover turkey, including a simple homemade stock.

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Ingredients

  • Broth – Use chicken or turkey broth; either works for the recipe. If you have homemade broth made already, you can skip the part where you enhance the broth with turkey bones.
  • Turkey carcass, or the bones from one whole turkey breast – Broken into pieces, and skin included. This will enhance the broth for the soup.
  • Olive oil
  • Onion, celery, carrots – Some hearty vegetables to add texture and flavor to this warming fall soup.
  • Minced garlic
  • Split peas – Use dried for this recipe.
  • Cooked turkey – You can use white or dark meat or a combination.
  • Parmesan – To serve (optional).

Variations

  • You can add dried, chopped fresh herbs to this soup if you like. Thyme, marjoram, sage, and rosemary would be good additions. Start with 1 teaspoon of dried or 2 to 3 teaspoons minced of fresh, and add more as desired. Dried herbs should be added at the beginning of the cooking process when you are sauteing the vegetables. Fresh herbs should be added at the end when you add the shredded cooked turkey to heat through.
  • While the simplicity of this soup just speaks to me, you could add some cayenne or hot sauce.
  • If you have leftover vegetables lying around, add them! Think about diced winter squash, which you can add uncooked with the other vegetables or, if cooked, towards the end. Maybe add some cooked rice at the end.
  • Try making this soup with chicken instead of turkey.
Ladle scooping Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup into a bowl.

How to Make Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup

  1. Prep turkey carcass in broth: Place the pieces of the turkey carcass pieces into a large soup pot and add the broth. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the stock into another pot and discard the bones, skin, and any solids in the strainer.
  2. Cook veggies: In the same pot, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots and garlic. Saute for 5 minutes. Add the strained stock along with the split peas and simmer for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the split peas are very tender.
  3. Add turkey and serve: Stir in the chopped or shredded turkey. Season. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with Parmesan if desired.
Bowl of Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup on a table with a cloth napkin and silverware.

Pro Cooking Tips

Leftovers and Storage

Leftover turkey split pea soup can be sorted in the fridge for up to 5 days. Heat in a pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot throughout.

You can also freeze this soup for up to 4 months. Make sure to leave some headroom in the container, as the soup will expand when it freezes, and you don’t want it to pop open the container.

What to Serve With Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup

Slivered Wedge Salad with Buttermilk Dressing and Bacon

Romaine, Pear, and Goat Cheese Salad

Cheddar Cornbread

Bowl of Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup topped with fresh herbs.

More Leftover Turkey Recipes

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Leftover Turkey Split Pea Soup

5 from 1 vote
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 30 minutes
Total: 1 hour
Servings: 6 People
The most comforting, satisfying way to use up leftover turkey, including a simple homemade stock.

Ingredients 

  • 10 cups chicken or turkey broth
  • 1 turkey carcass or the bones from one whole turkey breast (broken into pieces; any skin included)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 cups chopped onion
  • 1 cup chopped celery
  • 1 cup peeled and chopped carrots
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper (to taste)
  • 2 cups dried split peas
  • 4 cups shredded or chopped cooked turkey (or use chicken)
  • Grated Parmesan (to serve; optional)

Instructions 

  • Place the pieces of the turkey carcass pieces into a large soup pot and add the broth. Bring to a simmer, season with salt and pepper, and simmer for 45 minutes. Strain the stock into another pot and discard the bones, skin, and any solids in the strainer.
  • In the same pot that you simmered the stock, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, carrots, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and sauté, stirring occasionally, for 5 minutes, until the vegetables start to soften. Add the strained stock back to the pot along with the split peas and simmer for about 1 to 1 ½ hours, until the split peas are very tender and starting to fall apart.
  • Stir in the chopped or shredded turkey and heat through for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings as needed. Serve in bowls, sprinkled with Parmesan if desired.

Notes

  • No part of the turkey should be tossed when you are making stock; everything should go into the pot. Bones, skin, and inedible bits…all of it will be strained out, and all of it will add deep flavor to the broth. There is nothing to compete with the flavor of homemade turkey stock, even bolstered with storebought chicken broth.
  • Go easy on the salt at first, especially if you are including skin from the turkey in your broth, which may have been generously salted.
  • Leftover turkey split pea soup can be sorted in the fridge for up to 5 days. Heat in a pot over medium heat, stirring frequently, until hot throughout. You can also freeze this soup for up to 4 months. Make sure to leave some headroom in the container, as the soup will expand when it freezes, and you don’t want it to pop open the container.

Nutrition

Calories: 413kcal, Carbohydrates: 49g, Protein: 33g, Fat: 10g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 48mg, Sodium: 1548mg, Potassium: 1296mg, Fiber: 19g, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 3774IU, Vitamin C: 35mg, Calcium: 95mg, Iron: 4mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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