Looking for the best Leftover Turkey Soup Recipe? This Southwest Turkey Soup is just what you need. Made with a creamy, spicy broth, leftover turkey, corn, and black beans, this Turkey Soup is full of flavor and simple to make.
The Best Leftover Turkey Soup
When it comes to Thanksgiving, I am always swimming in leftovers!
And while I love leftovers, I can quickly become sick of eating the same thing over and over again.
That's when I turn to this recipe for Turkey Soup.
This hearty turkey soup is a delicious way to transform leftover turkey (or chicken) into something new and delicious that tastes NOTHING like Thanksgiving!
This Southwest Turkey Soup is creamy, hearty, and slightly spicy. It is full of tender turkey, black beans, peppers, onions, and a rich tomato broth, much like tortilla soup.
It also happens to be incredibly easy to make, thanks to the fact we are starting out with leftover turkey, and versatile as well. You can adapt the spices and ingredients for this turkey soup based on what you have at your house. It can also be made on the stove, in the slow cooker, or in the Instant Pot.
This Creamy Turkey Tortilla Soup is a winner and the perfect way to transform your Thanksgiving leftovers.
Notes on Ingredients
- Turkey: I prepare this soup with leftover Roast Turkey or leftover Instant Pot Turkey Breast. But of course, you can make this soup using leftover Rotisserie Chicken or leftover shredded chicken.
- Stock: Use low-sodium, store-bought or homemade chicken stock or turkey stock.
- Taco Seasoning: While you can use store-bought taco seasoning, I always opt for my homemade blend of taco seasoning, to control the sodium content and to omit unnecessary additives.
- Beans: I choose to use black beans in this Spicy Turkey Soup, but you can certainly use pinto beans or kidney beans.
- Diced Tomatoes with Green Chiles: AKA Rotel tomatoes. Be sure to select mild, not hot rotel tomatoes or your soup will be really spicy!
- Corn: If you have leftover cooked corn from Thanksgiving, use that! If not, just add in frozen corn or drained canned corn to the soup.
- Cream Cheese: The cream cheese gives this soup a creamy finish and helps to tame down the spiciness of the soup. Just be sure to use room temperature cream cheese so that it easily blends into the soup. You can also opt to omit the cream cheese to keep this soup dairy-free as well.
Slow Cooker Turkey Soup
- In a small saute pan, heat a bit of oil and add the minced onion and diced green peppers.
- Saute just until the onion and peppers begin to soften. Taking this extra step will really help to add depth of flavor to the turkey soup.
- Add the sauce peppers and onions to the slow cooker, along with the leftover turkey, corn, black beans, seasonings, broth, and tomatoes.
- Give everything a good stir to incorporate.
- Set to cook on high for 4 hours or low 6 hours.
- Open up the slow cooker and add in cubed, softened cream cheese.
- Continue to cook the soup on low for 30 minutes.
- Give everything a good stir to incoporate the cream cheese into the broth before serving.
Instant Pot Turkey Soup
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute and add in a bit of oil. Once heated, add in the diced green pepper and onion and saute for 2-3 minutes, or until the onion begins to soften. Once the onion is softened, turn the Instant Pot OFF.
- Add in the chicken stock and scrape up any browned bits off the bottom of the inner pot. This will help to prevent a burn notice from occurring.
- Add in the cooked turkey, beans, corn, seasonings and diced tomatoes and stir to combine.
- Cook on high pressure for 5 minutes with a full natural release of pressure.
- Once the pressure has been released, add the cubed cream cheese into the cooked soup and close the lid. Let sit for 5 minutes and then stir everything to combine.
Stovetop Turkey Soup
- In a large heavy-bottomed saucepan or dutch oven, heat a bit of oil and add the minced onion and diced green peppers.
- Saute just unitl the onion and peppers begin to soften.
- Stir in the stock, turkey, corn, beans, seasonings, and tomatoes.
- Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer for 20-30 minutes.
- Add the softened cream cheese to the soup and stir until melted and combined. This should only take a few minutes.
Serve this Turkey Soup just as you would Tortilla Soup. It is delicious with corn chips, cilantro, and/or shredded cheese. If you happen to have leftover cornbread muffins or corn casserole, that is a natural pairing for the southwestern soup as well.
Turkey Soup will keep in the refrigerator for up to 3 days in a sealed container. Because of the cream cheese, this soup does not freeze well, as the consistency will change once defrosted.
More Leftover Turkey Recipes
Need more ideas for how to transform your Thanksgiving Leftovers? Be sure to check out all my recipes for Thanksgiving Leftovers.
If you give this Turkey Soup a try, be sure to leave a comment below.
Southwest Turkey Soup
Slow Cooker Instructions
- Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Once heated, add in the diced onion and green pepper and saute for 5 minutes, or until the onion is softened.
- Transfer the sauteed onion and peppers to a slow cooker. Stir in the stock, beans, corn, seasonings, turkey, and tomatoes.
- Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours.
- Add in cream cheese and cook on low for 30 minutes. Stir well after 30 minutes. Serve with desired toppings.
Stove Top Directions
- Heat the oil in a large stock pan over medium heat. Add the diced onions and green peppers to the heated oil and saute for about 5 minutes, or until the onion has begun to soften.
- Stir in the chicken stock, beans, corn, turkey, spices, and tomatoes. Bring soup to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes.
- Stir in cream cheese and heat through until creamy and well combined. Serve with desired toppings.
Instant Pot Directions
- Turn the Instant Pot to saute and add oil to heat. Once heated, add the onions and peppers and allow veggies to soften for about 3-5 minutes. Once softened, turn the Instant Pot OFF.
- Add in the stock and scrape up any browned bits on the bottom of the inner pot.
- Stir in the tomatoes, beans, corn, seasonings, and turkey.
- Seal the Instant Pot lid and set to cook on high pressure for 5 minutes.
- Once the cook time has elapsed, allow the pressure to release naturally.
- Once pressure is released, remove the lid and add in cream cheese. Place the lid back on the pressure cooker for 5 minutes (just to heat through). Stir the cream cheese into the soup and serve. See notes for tips for adding cream cheese for smooth results.
This post was originally published in 2017 and updated with new tips in November 2020.