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.
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 [YouTube.com]
- 6 quart or larger pressure cooker…I go with my bigger, 8 quart Instant Pot Electric Pressure Cooker
- Kitchen scissors or poultry shears
- Fine mesh strainer
Pressure Cooker Day-After-Thanksgiving Turkey Carcass Soup
- 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
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 quarts of Turkey Bones Broth
- 2 cups of shredded leftover turkey meat (about 1 turkey breast)
- 3 tablespoons corn starch
- ¼ cup water
- 2 cups medium egg noodles
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Minced parsley, for garnish
- Pressure cook the broth: Break up the turkey carcass so it fits below the max fill line on your pressure cooker - ⅔rds 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.)
- 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 ½ teaspoon of salt. Sauté until the aromatics start to brown around the edges, about 5 minutes.
- 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.)
- Prep Time: 10 minutes
- Cook Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
- 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.
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
Instant Pot Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup
Turkey Ramen Soup
My other Pressure Cooker Recipes
My other Pressure Cooker Time Lapse Videos
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I've been making turkey/chicken stock to make soup for years. This is the first time I made turkey bone broth in the instant pot. I cannot believe how much richer it is! It was the BEST soup I have ever made! Also, the thyme gave it a nice flavor. This will be my go to recipe from now one! Absolutely the best!
Chuck Sellers says
Easy and excellent!
Maureen Chrysler says
I have to tell you that I've made this soup at least a dozen times over the past two months, using either turkey or chicken. Its the best soup recipe I've ever made. Thanks for sharing it.
Mike Vrobel says
You’re welcome. I’m glad you enjoy it!
This is currently in my IP and I’m so excited. We had a delayed Christmas due to my kids being with their father for the holidays this year. One thing that is in the video and not mentioned in the written recipe, is the garlic. While I didn’t have a whole head, I have a huge jar of minced garlic and I never measure. I just used a couple heaping spoonfuls. Anyway, it’s easy and really quick and I’m very excited for hot turkey noodle soup from homemade turkey bone broth for this nasty wintry day.
Mike Vrobel says
Sabrina Harvey says
A great way to use up turkey leftovers. I doubled all the vegetables in the soup, because I love vegetables, but otherwise followed recipe as written. Very delicious and will try again.
Emily Reynolds says
I made this soup last New Year's after my daughter was diagnosed with pneumonia. It was the perfect comfort food, and I felt the nourishment that home-cooked broth (with all of its marrowy goodness) was just the ticket to bring back her appetite. Thanks for sharing such a great recipe. My family LOVED this soup!
Mike Vrobel says
DEBBIE GARVEN says
Wahoo! As I sit here in my kitchen eating this delicious soup, I'm grateful that this turkey fed 3 families (2 were my neighbors) and now the carcass keeps on giving with the soup! I made the broth a few days ago and went back to put it all together today. It made about 10 cups of broth rom my 10 lb organic free range pricey turkey but boy was it good. I make broth anyway from my chicken in the instant pot and usually put a teaspoon of apple cider vinegar to help with the gelatin /collagen but I forgot...it didn't matter as it came out perfect anyway. I had to drink a few cups for healing and nourishment so the soup got exactly 2 qtrs plus another cup of water added. Our grandma's were right about broth! You were right about the salt...I'll be making this again! Thank you, Debbie from Santa Barbara, Ca
Ps - I do like your site and have made other recipes! Keep em coming!
Kerin Magill says
Trying this with a carcass from a smoked turkey! Can't wait to taste it.
Dr Paul Stones says
When it comes to making soups, I am a purest and use the CrockPot...but this weekend ( Thanksgiving) is a bit more hectic than it has been in years...I pulled out the Instant Pot which I haven't used in several weeks and was happily pleased with this recipe...in less than 3 hours I went from ingredients to soup and it came out perfect!! The time while waiting for the stock to come off pressure was perfect to prep for the soup portion...minimal clean-up during and after required!!
Lauren Darie says
Made this tonight after our Canadian Thanksgiving Turkey last weekend - husband loves it - only thing I added was garlic powder to the soup to give it more of a zing that hubby likes
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!
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.
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!
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?
Jeralyn Cottam says
Thanks for this yummy and simple recipe. Made it tonight and it was a huge hit!