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A bowl of turkey, lentil, and macaroni soup, made from the bones of a roasted turkey carcass, with a spoon, napkin, red pepper flakes, and Instant Pot in the background

Instant Pot Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Lentil and Macaroni Soup

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  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Total Time: 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Yield: 12 cups of soup 1x



Turkey Carcass Broth (Makes about 4 quarts of broth)

  • Carcass from 1 roasted turkey, with clinging meat on bones (From a 12- to 14- pound turkey)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and halved
  • 1 rib celery, broken into pieces
  • 1 carrot, scrubbed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 3 quarts of water (or to cover, or to the max fill line of the pressure cooker)

Turkey Soup with Lentil and Macaroni

  • 8 ounces (1 heaping cup) lentils
  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 1 rib celery, diced
  • 1 carrot, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • 8 cups of Turkey Carcass Broth (from above)
  • 8 ounces carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch rounds
  • 1 ½ teaspoons fine sea salt
  • 1 cup macaroni (aka elbow noodles)
  • 2 cups of shredded leftover turkey meat (about 1 turkey breast)
  • 14- to 16-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained
  • Minced parsley, for garnish


  1. Pressure cook the broth for 60 minutes with a Natural Release: Break up the turkey carcass so it fits below the max fill line on your Instant Pot or other pressure cooker. (Max fill on pressure cookers is ⅔ of the way up the pot.) Add the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and salt to the pressure cooker pot, then add at least 8 cups of water - I go to the max fill line on the pot, about 12 cups of water, because I want extra broth. Lock the lid, and cook at high pressure for 60 minutes (Timing is the same for Instant Pots, electric PCs, and stovetop PCs). Let the pressure come down naturally, at least 30 minutes. (It takes a long time for all that water to cool off. If you’re in a hurry, let the pressure come down for at least 20 minutes, then quick release any remaining pressure.) Scoop the bones and vegetables out of the pot with a slotted spoon and discard. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. Reserve 8 cups of broth for the soup, and refrigerate or freeze the rest for another use. (I portion it into 2 and 4 cup containers, and freeze for up to 6 months.)
  2. Rinse the lentils: Put the lentils in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let stand to drain while you prepare the rest of the recipe.
  3. Sauté the aromatics: Wipe out the pressure cooker pot. Add the butter and olive oil, and heat with Sauté mode adjusted to medium (medium heat in a stovetop PC) until the butter melts. Add the diced onion, diced celery, and diced carrot, and sprinkle with the thyme, red pepper flakes, and ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the onions soften and start to turn translucent, about 5 minutes.
  4. Pressure Cook the lentils and carrots for 10 minutes with a Quick Release: Stir in the lentils, 8 cups of broth, carrot rounds, and 1½ teaspoon fine sea salt. Scrape the bottom of the pot with a flat-edged wooden spoon to loosen any bits of onion that stuck to the pot. Lock the lid and cook at high pressure for 10 minutes (“Manual” or “Pressure Cook” mode in an Instant Pot), or for 8 minutes in a stovetop PC. Once the cooking time is done, quick release the pressure in the pot. Unlock the lid.
  5. Simmer the noodles, turkey, and tomatoes: Set the Instant Pot to Sauté mode adjusted to high (medium-high heat in a stovetop PC). Cover the pot (use the non-pressure lid, or don’t lock the pressure lid), and bring the broth to a simmer. Stir in the macaroni, shredded turkey, and diced tomatoes. Simmer until the noodles are tender, about ten minutes, stirring occasionally to make sure nothing is sticking to the bottom of the pot. (Use the cooking time recommended on the macaroni noodle box as a guide.) Serve, sprinkling the bowls of soup with minced parsley as a garnish. Enjoy!
  • Prep Time: 2 hours
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Category: Sunday Dinner
  • Method: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American