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Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup

Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup |

Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup

Save the bones!

Time again for my Thanksgiving rallying cry. Every year, I beg you to save the carcass from your turkey. Why? So you can make my favorite soup ever, day-after-Thanksgiving turkey carcass soup.

This is my favorite Thanksgiving tradition. Every year, after all the dishes were done, my dad would pull out the gigantic enamelware pot – the one designed for entire clambakes. Into the big pot went all the turkey bones, onions, celery, and carrots. The pot would simmer on low overnight; the next day, the house smelled like heaven.

This is my take on dad’s big pot of turkey carcass soup. I make mine in the pressure cooker, of course. My pressure cooker is my favorite way to make broth, and that is the first step in the recipe. I reach for my bigger pressure cooker – 8 quarts is good, and if you have bigger, use it. The broth part of the recipe yields 4 quarts of broth, and we only use 2 quarts in the soup. I freeze the excess, and use it to make a quick weeknight pot of noodle soup a few months later. In the middle of January, a warm pot of soup on a weeknight is a blessing.

Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup |

Top to bottom: Breaking up the bones; adding the aromatics, straining the broth; sauteing the aromatics

The tricky part of this is making the turkey carcass fit in the pot. Actually, I should say “the messy part”, not the tricky part. It’s not hard, if you’re willing to rip and tear and get dirty. (I do use a pair of kitchen scissors to help cut through bones.) I cut the backbone out of the carcass, like I’m butterflying the turkey, then break up the larger pieces enough to get them below the max fill line. 2

No pressure cooker? No worries. Instead of an hour under pressure, simmer the turkey broth on the stovetop (or, even better, in a 200°F oven) for 4 to 6 hours. The soup part of the recipe is non-pressured; it works just as easily on the stovetop as it does in an electric pressure cooker.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup

Video Time Lapse

Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup – Time Lapse []


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Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup

  • Author: Mike Vrobel
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 2 hours 25 minutes
  • Yield: 2 quarts of soup 1x


Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup recipe. Save the bones! Use them to make homemade turkey noodle soup, ready in an afternoon thanks to the pressure cooker.



Turkey Bones 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 salt
  • 3 quarts of water (or to cover, or to the max fill line of the PC)

Turkey Noodle Soup

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 rib celery, chopped
  • 1 carrot, peeled and chopped
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 quarts of Turkey Bones Broth
  • 2 cups of shredded leftover turkey meat (about 1 turkey breast)
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 2 cups medium egg noodles
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Minced parsley, for garnish


  1. Pressure cook the broth: Break up the turkey carcass so it fits below the max fill line on your pressure cooker – 2/3rds of the way up the pot. Add the onion, celery, carrot, bay leaves, and salt to the pressure cooker pot, then add water to cover by 1 inch, or to the max fill line on the pressure cooker. (About 3 quarts of water) Pressure cook for 60 minutes in an electric PC, 50 minutes in a stovetop PC. Let the pressure come down naturally – about 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 2 quarts 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 3 months.)
  2. Sauté the aromatics: Wipe out the pressure cooker pot. Melt the butter in the pot over medium heat (sauté mode in my electric PC). Add the onion, celery, carrot, and thyme, and sprinkle with 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the aromatics start to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
  3. Simmer the soup: Add the turkey broth to the pot, turn the heat to high (sauté mode with the “adjust” button set to high in my electric PC). Cover the pot, and bring the broth to a boil. While the pot is coming to a boil, whisk the corn starch and cold water to make a corn starch slurry. Stir in the noodles, shredded turkey, and corn starch slurry. When the pot returns to a boil, turn the heat down to medium (regular sauté mode in my electric PC) and simmer until the noodles are tender. (Ten minutes, or for the time listed on the noodle package). Add salt and pepper to taste, and don’t be shy with the salt – taste as you add the salt, and when the broth starts to taste sweet, it has enough salt. (Homemade stock is bland without salt; I add about 2 teaspoons of kosher salt to get the taste right.)
  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


  • No pressure cooker? No worries. Make the broth by putting everything in a large oven safe pot, bringing it to a boil on the stovetop, then cooking it in a 200°F oven for 4 hours. (Or, simmer on the stove for 4 hours – but the oven method is less work.)
  • This is a great make-ahead meal – step one can be completed in advance, leaving about fifteen minutes of actual cooking time. Stock can be refrigerated for up to three days, or frozen for months.
  • It also makes great leftovers – freeze the soup in 2 cup containers, and you have a lunch from the microwave in about 6 minutes.
  • You don’t want to make turkey stock, but you still want soup? Sigh. I guess you can use two quarts of store bought chicken broth. But…it’s so easy…try making your own stock, just once, then see if that cardboard carton of stock seems like a good idea.
  • Don’t be tempted to add more noodles to the soup. They will look lost in all that broth when you first put them in the pot. Don’t do it! The noodles soak up the broth as they cook; any more, and you’re left with noodle stew, not soup.
Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup |
Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup

What do you think?

Questions? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

What should you use that extra 2 quarts of turkey broth with? Here are a few suggestions:
Turkey Soup with Chickpeas and Vegetables
Southwestern Turkey and Black Bean Soup
Turkey Ramen Soup
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
My other Pressure Cooker Time Lapse Videos

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  1. Dorothy Green says

    Best turkey soup I’ve ever made! Great combination of spices and just the right amount of noodles (I always tend to put in too many). Made the broth one day and the soup the next. Our turkey also happened to be the best I’ve ever roasted because it was fresh (raised on our hobby farm), but I think it was your recipe that made the soup so delicious. Thanks for sharing it!

  2. Renee says

    I froze the turkey carcass from our Thanksgiving Turkey, and wanted to try using the Instant Pot to make my post-holiday Turkey Soup. I decided to use your recipe. It was delicious! I did not use the cornstarch slurry, but other than that, followed the recipe per your instructions, and the timing and seasoning were spot on. It’s also a nice bonus to have extra turkey stock for a future use. I felt my kitchen was cleaner using the Instant Pot, than the traditional stove – stockpot method. Your recipe is a keeper, and will take up residence in my Thanksgiving Binder!

    • Lisa Boles says

      I made the turkey broth yesterday and the soup tonight. I have a 6 quart IP so I ran half the bones through a 1 hour pressure cook, removed the bones, added the rest of the bones and some water and repeated the cook. I ended up with 2 quarts of delicious broth and about 4 cups of meat. For the soup I doubled the vegetables, cut the salt back (diet restrictions), added lots of pepper, cut the noodles back to 1 1/2 cups and went back for seconds! I froze 2 cups meat and will freeze some of the soup for busy days later this month. Thanks for the great recipe.

  3. Susan Ewald says

    Thank you for these instructions!
    I made the turkey bones broth yesterday and will make the turkey noodle soup today.
    Last night, after my stovetop pressure cooker released pressure and I opened it, my dog came into the kitchen and sat with his snout in the air for a few minutes. My husband and I were ready to join him.
    Wow, my house smells sooo good!

  4. Hi Mike. This year my wife has decided to roast a deconstructed turkey the day before Thanksgiving to save oven space and time on the big day. Last night I cut the raw turkey up for her and I now have the uncooked carcass bagged up in the freezer. So my question is can I use a raw carcass for this recipe? Anything need done differently?

  5. Jeralyn Cottam says

    Thanks for this yummy and simple recipe. Made it tonight and it was a huge hit!

  6. Taras says

    Just excellent. Used stovetop pressure cooker. Followed instructions. Turned out great

  7. Making this right now. Thank you! I’ve never made a slurry for soup before… I always thought people put cream or milk in soup to make it creamy!

  8. Imnjupiter says

    I’m starting this now! Luckily, I found the Thanksgiving turkey carcass in the freezer. I don’t peel onions for stock…the onion skins add a nice golden color.
    Since the carcass was frozen, I’ve added a little cooking time. Do you think that was necessary?

  9. This turned out great! Made it for dinner on Monday and had the leftovers for lunch today-even better. Thanks for the easy, tasty and healthy recipe with only a few ingredients – especially after a thanksgiving cook-a-thon!

  10. Paula says

    This was very good, and simple. I modified it to be gluten free, by cooking separately some gluten free spaghetti noodles broken into short lengths til al dente, then adding to the soup to finish cooking. I made the broth last night, then finished the soup for lunch in about 20 minutes.

  11. Cary Hill says

    Mike, after roasting a 16 pounder, I made your pressure cooker turkey stock which turned out great, the best I have ever made. I wanted to go on to make the soup in Mt 6 quart instant pot but after sautéing the aromatics, I couldn’t bring it to a boil so resorted to a pot on the stove. I was otherwise very happy with that recipe as well. Thanks again.

  12. KWilde says

    Thanks for the recipe. I just started hosting Thanksgiving dinner. My mother-in- law said I should save the carcass. So I went to Pinterest and came across your recipe. Great directions and great recipe. Told my husband after I was all done, that I just started a Thanksgiving tradition.
    Thanks again!!!

  13. Miranda says

    This is happening in my kitchen right now! Thank you! I’m still learning how to use this new Instant Pot. This will be the first thing I make in it!

  14. Bette Dolaher says

    When using the oven method for four hours for the broth, do you cover the pan or leave it uncovered.

  15. Picklesnit says

    Thank you – in my house this is the ultimate comfort food. I have been known to cook a small turkey just to get to the soup. Now I have an Instant Pot I have this a go, and even my pickiest, reluctant-to-eat-ANYTHING daughter declared it delicious.

  16. No mention of removing excess skin, nor is there a de-fatting step. Just got this recipe going 10 minutes ago, so I don’t yet know if it’s a problem or not. I always de-fat chicken broth though…

    • There is a lot less fat on turkey than there is on chicken – you can defat it if you want, but I don’t bother. And, leave the skin on, it adds extra flavor to your broth.

  17. Sandy Toes says

    Pressure cooker is on and the turkey broth is simmering. Your instructions make it look easy!

  18. Greybeard says

    Well, of course this is what you do after Thanksgiving! We have friends who don’t, so we get them to save their carcasses for us. We make sure to tell them that they get extra credit if they don’t bring it to us in a Glad bag impregnated with Febreze 🙂

    I use Trader Joe’s turkey broth as a starter instead of water. Makes the broth that much richer. I do the same for chicken stock: if I don’t have a carcass, I buy a rotisserie chicken (not one with the “20% solution” added, as those are too salty), pull off the white meat for chicken salad, and boil the rest in TJ’s low-sodium broth for 24 hours or so. Makes great stock.

    • Joyce says

      sounds yummy! thanks for tip. Am simmering carcass now, but will use your tip later on Mike V.’s recipe, which looks fool proof. LOL we shall see! Thanks Mike.
      simmering now. can’t wait to try it. I’ll not throw the bones away once it’s cooked. I’ll save them, cook them longer and use them for my dogs bone broth.

  19. Steve Coppage says

    Mike: I love you chicken broth, so can’t wait to try the turkey soup. FYI… I printed out the recipe and the great picture of the soup did not print with it. Don’t know if it is on your side or mine. Have a GREAT Thanksgiving!

    • Thanks, Steve! I think I fixed the print problem – I wasn’t seeing the picture in Chrome, but I did in Safari – updated something on the back end of the blog that looks like it fixed it. Try printing it again, if you’re interested?

      And, Happy Thanksgiving!

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