Make a one-pot creamy turkey potato soup using leftover Thanksgiving turkey, veggies, cheese, and a tasty roux. This comforting soup is warm, filling, and easy to enjoy.
This super-creamy and cheesy leftover turkey potato soup is the perfect way to enjoy the delicious flavors of the holiday season in a simple, heartwarming soup that's easy to make and loved by the whole family.
Are you looking for a cozy way to utilize leftover turkey meat? How about making this creamy homemade turkey potato soup? Packed with turkey, potatoes, veggies, and bacon, this quick recipe will become a family favorite. Enjoy it with crusty spelt bread or any other bread, crispbread, or crackers for a satisfying meal!
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🍲Why is this turkey soup worth making?
- It makes the most of Thanksgiving leftovers. It's the best turkey soup to make after the holidays to enjoy those yummy leftovers, and it means less prep work. You can use any leftover turkey and bulk it up with leftover cooked vegetables.
- Thick and creamy, so delicious and comforting! Made with butter, flour, and cream, it is a fulfilling meal that satisfies your hunger and warms you up on chilly days.
- Quick and easy to make. This creamy turkey soup recipe with potatoes is super easy and ready in under 50 minutes. Plus, it's all made in one pot, so cleaning up is easy.
- Versatile and customizable: You can easily personalize it by adding your favorite herbs, spices, or extra veggies. And you can replace the turkey with other meat leftovers.
📋Recipe ingredients and substitutions
- Turkey leftovers: Either dark or white meat, or a mixture, anything you happen to have. I had a little over 2 cups of shredded meat, but anything between 1 and 3 cups is ok; use as much as you have.
- Alternatively, make this creamy potato soup with cooked chicken, rotisserie chicken, or leftover ham.
- Potatoes: I used all-purpose. These potatoes typically have a medium starch content, which means they hold their shape moderately well when cooked.
- Some examples of all-purpose potatoes include Yukon Gold, red, and white potatoes.
- Bacon or pancetta. If you don’t have it, you can leave it out, but we love to add it; it makes the soup even heartier than it already is.
- Vegetables: Onion, carrots, celery stalks, and a little olive oil to sauté them.
- You can also add some leftover cooked veggies towards the end of the cooking process. Good additions include peas, green beans, sliced Brussels sprouts, etc.
- Roux: Butter (salted or unsalted), all-purpose flour, chicken stock, whole milk, heavy cream.
- Alternatively, you can use turkey broth or stock (if you have the turkey carcass and are willing to make your own).
- Heavy cream: You can replace the heavy cream with more milk for a leaner version of this turkey soup with potatoes, but we love the extra creaminess that comes with the cream.
- Cheese: Sharp cheddar, Gouda, or another flavorful cheese such as Gruyere or Monterey Jack.
- Don’t use pre-grated cheese; its additives prevent it from melting nicely, making the soup grainy.
- Spices: Dried rosemary and thyme, fine sea salt, and ground black pepper. And some fresh parsley to add at the end.
- You can replace these herbs with other dried herbs like marjoram (it always works great with potatoes), oregano, bay leaf, basil, chives, or parsley. Or some Italian seasoning mixture. Add some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a bit of heat.
👩🏻🍳How to make potato turkey soup?
- Prepare the ingredients: Chop the vegetables, chop the bacon and potatoes, and shred or chop the turkey. Keep them separated.
Heat the oil in a large pot or Dutch oven and sauté bacon and onions for about 4 minutes.
Add carrots, celery, garlic, and sauté for about 3 minutes.
Add and melt butter shortly, and add the flour. Stir for 2 minutes.
Gradually whisk in the chicken broth.
Pour in the milk and add the chopped potatoes, milk, dried herbs, salt, and pepper.
Bring to a gentle boil, lower the heat, and simmer, partially covered, for 20 minutes or until tender.
Add the cream. Stir in the turkey and reheat gently without boiling the soup again.
Gradually add the grated cheese and stir until melted. Remove from the heat and adjust the taste.
🦃Variations on the recipe
Cheese blend: Try different cheese blends, such as a mix of sharp cheddar, Gruyère, and Parmesan.
Spice it up: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or paprika to give this turkey soup with potatoes a subtle kick, or toss in some diced jalapeños or chili flakes for a spicier version.
Cream alternatives: Substitute heavy cream with coconut milk or a blend of half-and-half and milk for a lighter yet still creamy texture. Use dairy-free products to make turkey potato soup dairy-free (in this case, leave the cheese too).
Grain addition: Replace some or all of the potatoes with grains like barley or quinoa for a different twist, adding a slightly different texture and taste to the soup.
Make a rice soup: Replace the potatoes with white rice or a mixture of white and wild rice, but adjust the cooking time accordingly.
Add cheese strategically: When adding cheese to this hearty chowder, shred it finely and add it gradually while stirring continuously to ensure it melts smoothly and evenly into the soup. Don’t use pre-grated cheese; it will not melt nicely, and the soup might be grainy.
Control thickness: Adjust the soup's consistency by mashing a portion of the cooked potatoes against the pot's side or using a blender for a smoother texture. This helps thicken the soup without additional cream or flour. Do that before adding the meat.
Reheat carefully: When reheating leftover soup, do it slowly over low heat to prevent the cream from separating. Stir frequently to ensure even heating without scorching; the soup tends to stick at the bottom of the pot.
Absolutely! Feel free to experiment with various potato varieties like Yukon Gold, red potatoes, or Russets. Each type can impart a slightly different texture and flavor to the soup.
Yes, you can make the soup dairy-free by substituting heavy cream with coconut milk, almond milk, or a non-dairy creamer. Use dairy-free butter and cheese alternatives (or leave out the cheese).
Store creamy leftover turkey soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Ensure it's cooled completely before storing. Reheat gently on the stovetop or microwave when ready to eat.
Yes, theoretically, you can freeze the creamy turkey potato soup. However, the texture of potato and dairy-based soups might change slightly after thawing. So, I actually never recommend it because I personally don’t like the changes.
Reheat the soup over low heat and stir it frequently. Avoid bringing it to a rapid boil, as high heat can cause the cream to separate.
🍽️What to serve with it?
- Crusty bread: Slices of crusty French bread, yogurt soda bread, garlic bread, or a warm butter and garlic baguette are perfect for dipping into the creamy soup.
- Salad: A fresh green salad with a simple vinaigrette or a tangy Caesar salad.
- Grilled cheese sandwich: A classic grilled cheese sandwich with gooey melted cheese and crispy bread is an excellent accompaniment for dipping into the soup.
- Biscuits or dinner rolls to sop up the delicious soup. Try our Breakfast Buns, Cheese Buns, or Homemade Yeast Rolls.
- Vegetables like caramelized Brussels sprouts, air fryer carrots, or puff pastry asparagus.
The Best Turkey Potato Soup
- Large soup pot
- 2 cups leftover turkey shredded or cubed, Note 1
- 2 oz bacon or pancetta, 60 g
- 1 medium onion finely chopped, about 120 g/ 4 oz
- 2 carrots finely chopped, about 150 g/ 5 ½ oz
- 2 celery stalks finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves
- 2 lbs all-purpose potatoes chopped, 900 g
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons butter 30 g/ 1 oz, Note 2
- 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour 30 g/ 1 oz
- 2 cups chicken stock 500 ml, Note 3
- 2 cups whole milk 500 ml
- 1 teaspoon thyme
- 1 teaspoon rosemary
- 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ cup heavy cream 125 ml, Note 4
- ⅔ cup sharp cheddar grated, 150 g/ 5 ½ oz, Note 5
- Prepare the ingredients and keep them separated as they have different cooking times. Shred or cube the turkey, chop the bacon or pancetta, and finely chop the onions, carrots, celery, and garlic. Peel and cube the potatoes.2 cups leftover turkey + 2 oz bacon / 60 g + 1 medium onion + 2 carrots + 2 celery stalks + 2 garlic cloves + 2 lbs all-purpose potatoes
- Sauté: Heat the oil in the pan. Add bacon and onions and cook for about 4 minutes until the onions are softer and golden but not brown.1 tablespoon olive oil
- Add carrots, celery, garlic, and sauté for another 3 minutes, occasionally stirring.
- Roux: Add butter and let it melt shortly. Sprinkle the flour on top and stir continuously until it is lightly golden and toasted, 1-2 minutes. Gradually, whisk in the stock.2 tablespoons butter / 30 g + 4 tablespoons all-purpose flour/ 30 g + 2 cups chicken stock / 500 ml
- Simmer: Add the potatoes, milk, dried herbs, salt, and pepper, and bring to a boil. Lower the heat and simmer the soup, partially covered with a lid, for 20-25 minutes or until the potatoes are tender. Stir occasionally, as the soup tends to set at the bottom of the pot.potatoes + 2 cups whole milk/ 500 ml + 1 teaspoon thyme + 1 teaspoon rosemary + 1 teaspoon fine sea salt + ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Add the turkey and reheat it gently.
- Stir in the cream, but don’t let the soup come to a boil again. Gradually add the cheese and stir until melted.½ cup heavy cream / 125 ml + ⅔ cup sharp cheddar / 150 g
- Adjust the taste with more salt and pepper if required.
- Turkey: You can use anything between 1 and 3 cups. It can be either white or dark meat. Alternatively, make the soup with leftover chicken or ham.
- Butter: Salted or unsalted, but adjust the salt accordingly.
- All-purpose potatoes typically have a medium starch content, which means they hold their shape moderately well when cooked. Some examples of all-purpose potatoes include Yukon Gold, red, and white potatoes.
- Chicken stock or broth, homemade or store-bought. Alternatively, you can use turkey broth or stock or vegetable stock.
- Heavy cream: You can replace it with whole milk, but heavy cream makes the soup extra creamy.
- Cheese: Or use Gouda, Gruyere, Monterey Jack, etc. Don’t use pre-grated cheese; its additives prevent it from melting nicely, making the soup grainy.