Hearty Barley Turkey Soup


Turkey barley soup is a comfort-food favorite that stretches your turkey into another meal. Simmer your Thanksgiving turkey carcass to create a rich homemade turkey stock that forms the base of a delicious soup, loaded with aromatic vegetables, barley, and mushrooms. Perfect for lunch or dinner with a slice of crusty bread, this may just be the best turkey soup ever.

Prep Time:
10 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 35 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 45 mins

This turkey barley soup is a smart, inexpensive, and totally delicious way to use up your Thanksgiving leftovers.

Turkey Barley Soup Ingredients

This turkey barley soup is the perfect use for your holiday leftovers. If you don't already have everything on hand, these are the ingredients you'll need to add to your grocery list:

· For the stock: water, a turkey carcass, vegetables (onion, carrots, and celery), and seasonings (black peppercorns, bay leaf, and dried thyme)
· For the soup: barley, vegetables (carrots, onions, celery, and mushrooms), and seasonings (bay leaves, salt, marjoram, black pepper, and dried thyme)

How to Make Turkey Barley Soup

Hearty Turkey Barley Soup in a pot

You'll find the full, step-by-step recipe below — but here's a brief overview of what you can expect when you make this turkey barley soup:

1. Make the stock: Combine the carcass and water in a large stockpot and bring to a boil. Add the remaining stock ingredients. Reduce the heat and simmer, skimming the fat and adding more water as needed, for about two hours.
2. Shred the meat: Transfer the carcass to a cutting board and cool. Strain the stock and return the liquid to the pot. Pull and shred the meat, then discard the bones. Refrigerate the turkey meat until you need it.
3. Make the soup: Add carrots, onions, celery, barley, mushrooms, bay leaves, salt, marjoram, pepper, and thyme to the stock. Bring it to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until the barley is cooked. Return the turkey to the soup and cook until it's heated through.

What to Serve With Turkey Barley Soup

If you're looking to clean out your fridge after Thanksgiving, serve this hearty turkey soup with leftover cornbread or rolls. It would also pair well with a grilled cheese sandwich — explore our collection of Next-Level Grilled Cheese Sandwiches for mouthwatering inspiration.

How to Store Turkey Barley Soup

Store your leftover turkey barley soup in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to four days. Reheat it on the stove or in the microwave. If the barley has soaked up some of the liquid during storage, you can add a little chicken broth to compensate.

Can You Freeze Turkey Barley Soup?

Yes, you can freeze this turkey barley soup. Allow the soup to cool, then transfer it in single-serving portions to zip-top freezer bags. Squeeze out any excess air, lay flat in the freezer, and freeze for up to three months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat on the stove or in the microwave.

Allrecipes Community Tips and Praise

"I made this recipe exactly as described using my leftover turkey from Thanksgiving," says Jennifer. "It makes an excellent soup and is a great way to get every tasty morsel from the turkey carcass. The homemade turkey stock really sets this soup apart."

"I tried this, but added some broccoli and turnip," according to Deb Willems. "This has to be the easiest and best tasting recipe I've tried yet!"

"This was delicious," raves Besstastik. "I added parsnips when making the stock. And, when assembling the soup, I went ahead and sautéed all the veggies (added parsnips here too, I love parsnips!) before adding them just to intensify the flavor."

Editorial contributions by Corey Williams


Turkey Stock:

  • 5 quarts water, or as needed

  • 1 turkey carcass

  • 1 ½ cups coarsely chopped onion

  • ½ cup chopped carrot

  • 3 stalks celery, cut in half

  • 10 whole black peppercorns

  • 1 large bay leaf

  • 1 pinch dried thyme, or to taste


  • 1 ½ pounds carrots, cut into 1-inch chunks

  • 2 medium onions, diced

  • 6 stalks celery, cut into 1/2-inch slices

  • 1 cup barley

  • ½ cup chopped mushrooms

  • 2 large bay leaves

  • 2 teaspoons salt (Optional)

  • 1 teaspoon dried marjoram

  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 pinch dried thyme


  1. Make turkey stock: Combine 5 quarts water and turkey carcass in a large stockpot over medium-high heat; bring to a boil. Add onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf, and thyme. Reduce heat and simmer, skimming excess fat and foam from the surface as needed and adding more water as it evaporates, for 2 to 2 1/2 hours.

  2. Remove carcass to a cutting board and cool. Strain stock; discard solids and return liquid to the pot.

  3. Pull meat from cooled carcass and discard bones. Shred meat and refrigerate until needed.

  4. Make soup: Add carrots, onions, celery, barley, mushrooms, bay leaves, salt, marjoram, pepper, and thyme to stock; bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until barley is fully cooked, about 1 hour 20 minutes.

  5. Return shredded turkey to the soup; simmer until heated through, about 10 minutes. Remove bay leaves and serve.


If you brined your turkey, use less salt than called for in this recipe.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

102 Calories
1g Fat
22g Carbs
3g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 12
Calories 102
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 1g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 1%
Sodium 82mg 4%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 6g 20%
Protein 3g
Vitamin C 8mg 39%
Calcium 63mg 5%
Iron 1mg 7%
Potassium 419mg 9%

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

** Nutrient information is not available for all ingredients. Amount is based on available nutrient data.

(-) Information is not currently available for this nutrient. If you are following a medically restrictive diet, please consult your doctor or registered dietitian before preparing this recipe for personal consumption.

You’ll Also Love