Comida Latina, Dairy Free, Mains, Recipes, Soups and Stews

Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup

November 27, 2015
The best recipe for leftover Thanksgiving turkey. This leftover turkey tortilla soup has a spicy chile and tomato broth and lots of toppings. Gluten-free!

Happy Belated Thanksgiving!!

How was it?! I hope you had a good one, full of good food, and nice cocktails, and delicious wine, and lots of laughter, and not too much painful political discussion.

Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup

I want you to know I counted all of you among the things I am grateful for. All you who comment, and follow me on Instagram, and make my recipes, and tune in whenever I’m on TV fill my heart with joy and I can’t tell how much all of you mean to me. Thank you, thank you!

Do you have a gnarly looking turkey carcass in your fridge right now? Or if you’re like me and it is 19°F degrees out, that haphazardly-wrapped thing is on your front porch. Let’s make it into soup!

Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup Recipe

If you made the Mexican Lime Poached and Roasted Turkey like I did, than you should also have a big vat of glorious poaching liquid in the fridge (front porch) as well. Get that out, and an onion, some garlic, a few dried chiles, and those old corn tortillas you’ve got in the meat drawer, cause we’re making tortilla soup.

I know you cooked all day yesterday and you’re tired, I am too, so this is going to be easy. The veggies don’t need to be precisely cut, just chop them up and throw them in the pot with some oil and give them a boost of salt, everything is going to get blended anyway.

Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup Recipe

Towards the end you’ll add the chopped leftover turkey, then you can take the extra step of frying your own tortilla strips which, while negotiable, is worth the few minutes of heating some oil. But if that is not where your heart is at today, don’t bother, some crushed chips will substitute just fine.

A sprinkling of fresh chopped radish and jalapeños will add the perfect crunchy contrast to the creamy soup and if you’re cool with dairy a swirl of Greek yogurt or sour cream would be wonderful too.


Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup Recipe
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
This makes delicious use of any turkey you might have leftover from Thanksgiving. If you made the Mexican Lime Poached and Roasted Turkey, use the poaching liquid in place of the stock in this soup.
Serves: 8 Servings
For the soup:
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 3 jalapeños, stemmed, seeded (if you'd like it less spicy), and chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, chopped
  • 5 dried cascabel chiles or 2 dried guajillo chiles, stemmed and seeded
  • 2 large tomatoes, chopped
  • 6 cups turkey stock or chicken broth
  • 3 tablespoons masa harina
  • 2 cups chopped leftover turkey or chopped cooked chicken
For the tortilla strips:
  • ¾ cup vegetable oil
  • 4 corn tortillas, cut into thin strips
  • sliced avocado
  • sliced radish
  • sliced jalapeños
For the soup:
  1. Heat oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add onions and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until tender. Add jalapeños and cook a few minutes more. Add garlic and dried chiles and season again with salt and pepper. Cook a couple minutes then add tomatoes.
  2. Add broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer, cover and cook for 1 hour. Add masa marina and puree with a stick blender until smooth or transfer to a blender and puree.
  3. If you put the soup in the blender, return to the pot, add turkey and bring back to a simmer. Taste and add more salt if needed.
For the tortilla strips:
  1. Heat oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. Once shimmering add tortilla strips (you may have to do this in 2 batches so you don't overcrowd the pan).
  2. Fry, stirring occasionally, until crisp and light brown, about 3-4 minutes. Remove to a paper towel-lined plate and season with salt.
To serve:
  1. Ladle soup into bowls and garnish with tortillas strips, avocado, radish, and jalapeños.

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  • Susan November 28, 2015 at 3:20 pm

    This soup sounds wonderful. No opportunity to make it anytime soon – no leftover turkey, no leftover chicken, no stock… Boohoo! It’s not as cold where I am, but a good bowl of soup would be nice right now.

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 28, 2015 at 3:49 pm

      Thanks Susan! It would also be tasty with store bought chicken and broth; no leftovers necessary. Enjoy your weekend.

  • Sam Stover November 30, 2015 at 3:02 am

    Hi Kate! I literally just made this — the pot is still sitting on our stovetop — and it’s fantastic. We have a wet and cold forecast tomorrow and through the middle of the week, so we’re looking forward to having big bowls of soup indoors. (Sure, it’s not snowing, but it’s decidedly soup weather.)

    You’re awesome; thanks a bunch.

    • Kate Ramos
      Kate Ramos November 30, 2015 at 12:46 pm

      Awww, I miss you guys so much! I’m glad we can at least be eating the same soup. 🙂