Turkey Barley Soup


I've made this soup the past 3 Christmases, using a stock made from the bones from the turkey. I believe that this year I perfected it! A comforting and hearty soup for a cold winter day.

Prep Time:
20 mins
Cook Time:
3 hrs 15 mins
Additional Time:
15 mins
Total Time:
3 hrs 50 mins
10 servings



  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

  • 3 pounds turkey bones

  • 1 onion, quartered

  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

  • 1 carrot, coarsely chopped

  • 16 cups water

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme


  • 2 ½ cups water

  • 1 cup barley

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

  • 1 onion, diced

  • 2 carrots, sliced

  • 2 stalks celery, sliced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 cups chopped cooked turkey

  • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves stripped

  • ¼ teaspoon salt

  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

  • teaspoon cayenne pepper

  • ½ lemon, juiced


  1. Heat vegetable oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat. Add turkey bones to hot oil; cook, turning occasionally, until browned, about 10 minutes. Transfer bones to a bowl.

  2. Cook and stir quartered onion, coarsely chopped celery, and coarsely chopped carrot in the hot oil in the same stockpot until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Return turkey bones to stockpot and add 16 cups water and thyme sprigs. Bring to a boil, skim off foam, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer until liquid reduces to 10 cups, about 2 hours. Strain stock into a large bowl and let stand for 15 minutes. Spoon fat off top of stock.

  3. Bring 2 1/2 cup water and barley to a boil in a saucepan. Cover saucepan, reduce heat to low, and simmer until the barley is tender, 30 to 40 minutes.

  4. Heat olive oil in a large stockpot over medium-high heat; cook and stir diced onion, sliced carrots, sliced celery, and garlic until slightly softened, about 5 minutes. Add turkey stock to onion mixture and bring to a boil.

  5. Mix turkey meat, barley, parsley, thyme leaves, salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper into soup; reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 20 minutes. Stir lemon juice into soup.

Cook's Note:

You can make this more quickly by using store-bought stock, if you prefer.

Substitute 2 leeks (white and light green parts) for the onion, if desired.

Editor's Note:

The nutrition data for this recipe includes the full amount for ingredients in the turkey broth. The actual amount of broth consumed will vary.

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

262 Calories
14g Fat
21g Carbs
14g Protein
Nutrition Facts
Servings Per Recipe 10
Calories 262
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 14g 18%
Saturated Fat 3g 15%
Cholesterol 38mg 13%
Sodium 126mg 5%
Total Carbohydrate 21g 8%
Dietary Fiber 5g 18%
Total Sugars 3g
Protein 14g
Vitamin C 12mg 58%
Calcium 61mg 5%
Iron 2mg 10%
Potassium 371mg 8%

* 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.