When you tire of turkey sandwiches, shred a couple of cups of your leftover bird and make this fabulous Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup!

Comforting with a nice hit of spices, this homemade turkey soup is a perfect post-Thanksgiving meal!

Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup in a white bowl with a red handled spoon

Why You’ll Love this Turkey Soup Recipe

  • It’s a great way to use up Thanksgiving leftovers.
  • Tortilla soup is easy to make, flavorful, and delicious!
  • It’s perfect for lunch or dinner on a chilly day.

The hubby is happy zapping a plate of holiday leftovers night after night. By day three, I usually whip up a Turkey Tetrazzini, but this year I plan to shake things up. All that’s needed is a cup and a half of shredded turkey (I always add more!), a few items from the market, and some staples from the pantry. It’s an easy peasy recipe because who the heck needs to spend any more time in the kitchen after cooking up a Thanksgiving feast??!

Tips for Making Tortilla Soup

  • Use leftover turkey, chicken, or even a rotisserie chicken to make it easy.
  • If serving a crowd, keep it in your slow cooker so it’s nice and hot. It’s perfect for game day gatherings.
  • Some chicken stock or broth is very salty. Taste before adding additional salt.
  • Don’t forget the toppings!
  • If you like a thicker soup, add some crushed tortilla chips. They’ll dissolve as they absorb the broth.
  • Serve with lots of toppings, chips and guacamole, a corn salad, rice casserole or quesadillas to round out your meal.
Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup in a white terrine

Frequently Asked Questions

How to Garnish Homemade Turkey Soup

This spicy homemade turkey soup can be modified to your liking. Use half a jalapeno or a can of diced mild green chiles for less heat. If you have some sharp cheddar on hand, don’t bother running to the grocery store for Monterey Jack.

The garnishes are important. I love the crispy fried tortillas. Sprinkle with some salt while they’re hot if you’d like. Avocado chunks are my favorite. One for the soup, one for the cook. My kitchen is usually stocked with Pacific brand chicken broth which is less salty than, let’s say, Swanson’s.  So taste before you salt. My batch needed more than the 1/2 teaspoon listed in the recipe, but yours may not need any!

If you have any leftover turkey stock, that would be a fabulous substitution for chicken broth. I hope you’ll add this turkey tortilla soup to your post-holiday menu.

How Long Can You Keep Leftover Turkey?

As long as your roasted turkey has not been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours, you can safely keep it in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. If it was left out too long, the chance of food poisoning is much greater and the leftovers should not be saved. If you’d like to freeze leftovers, they’ll keep well for up to 3 months.

How Should You Store Leftover Turkey?

Before the 2 hour mark, the turkey leftovers should be cut into slices or chunks, placed into airtight containers or Ziploc bags with the air removed, and placed in the refrigerator or freezer. Removing air will help prevent any frost or freezer burn.

If saving for soup, shred, or chop the turkey. If saving for sandwiches, go ahead and slice it or save a nice piece of the turkey breast that can be sliced when defrosted.

What Can You Make with Leftover Turkey?

Any recipe calling for chicken can be made with leftover turkey. Think about turkey noodle soup, turkey enchiladas, turkey tetrazzini, turkey pot pie, turkey salad sandwiches, and more. Use the carcass to make turkey broth or stock. What are your favorite recipes for turkey leftovers?

Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup in a white bowl garnished with lime and cilantro sprigs

Ingredient Notes:

  • Corn Tortillas – for garnishing, stale is best
  • Vegetable Oil – don’t use olive oil, but any neutral flavore oil will work
  • Onion – white or yellow
  • Garlic Cloves, Jalapeno Pepper
  • Chicken Stock – some are higher in sodium, low sodium won’t be as flavorful, so not recommended unless for health reasons.
  • Can of Diced Tomatoes – Use your favorite brand
  • Frozen Corn Kernels – these taste better than canned. Frozen fresh corn is best!
  • Cumin, Oregano, Salt – Make sure your dried spices aren’t years old as they will lose potency.
  • Shredded Turkey – use leftover turkey, chicken or even rotisserie chicken
  • Avocado, Shredded Monterey Jack, Lime wedges, Fresh Cilantro – optional garnishes

More Recipes for Holiday Leftovers

Here are more wonderful recipes utilizing holiday leftovers. Make sure to pin this post so you can have all this delicious inspiration only a click or two away.

Turkey tortilla soup featured image

Turkey Tortilla Soup

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Yield 4 servings

An easy recipe which utilizes your leftover Thanksgiving turkey! Adapted from Simply Recipes.

Ingredients

  • 6 corn tortillas, stale is best
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 jalapeno, minced
  • 4 cups chicken stock
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste (varies depending on the saltiness of your broth)
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded turkey
  • 1 avocado, sliced or chopped
  • 1/2 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese
  • Chopped cilantro
  • Lime, cut into wedges

Instructions

  1. Cut tortillas in half then slice each into ¼ inch wide strips. Heat oil in stockpot and fry till lightly browned and crisp. Drain on paper towel-lined plate.
  2. Add chopped onions to the pan and cook for a couple of minutes. Add chiles and garlic and cook just a minute more.
  3. Add stock, tomatoes, corn, cumin, oregano, and salt to taste.
  4. Bring to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, then add chicken and cook till heated through.
  5. Serve with avocado, cheese, cilantro, tortilla strips, and a sprinkle of lime juice if desired.

Notes

If you'd like a thicker soup, add some crushed tortilla chips, simmer, and stir when soft.

May use leftover turkey, leftover chicken or shredded rotisserie chicken.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

4

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 592Total Fat: 34gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 25gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 894mgCarbohydrates: 46gFiber: 10gSugar: 11gProtein: 30g

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