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Leftover Turkey Tortilla Soup Recipe

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Keep leftovers interesting with this delicious turkey tortilla soup recipe. It’s a nutritious and comforting soup to enjoy with holiday leftovers, and freezer friendly!

turkey tortilla soup with all the toppings in a blue bowl

Darlings, it’s almost leftover season and I couldn’t be more excited! Well, any season has meal leftovers, but there are so many more after holiday meals. More than menu planning for the actual holiday feast, I *love* planning for leftovers. And because my family loves variety in flavors, we like to skip the “usual” turkey soups and spice things up a bit with a turkey tortilla soup! The little bit of southwestern flavor keeps things interesting and makes sure no one says “turkey again”?

Can I make this even if I don’t have leftover turkey?

Of course! There’s no reason to miss out on some delicious soup if you don’t have extra turkey on hand. Honestly, sometimes I run out of leftover turkey before I run out of leftover recipe ideas. The Godfather makes a really amazing smoked turkey, and if we have guests over, it disappears quickly!

landscape flat lay photo showing turkey tortilla soup with optional toppings on the side. bowls are on a light blue napkin with frayed edges

In that case, I just cook up some turkey from the store, or just shred a rotisserie chicken and call it a day. In most leftover recipes, turkey and chicken are interchangeable. The flavor will be slightly different, but it will still be delicious.

Do I have to make my own broth?

No, you don’t, but I’d highly recommend it for flavor. To keep things easy, I suggest following the broth making technique outlined in this post, letting everything cook overnight in your slow cooker. Strain and use.

side view of the leftover turkey soup with no toppings and a jar of fresh cilantro in the background

Again though, since this is a recipe to use leftovers, if you’re tired from all the cooking and want to use store bought stock or bullion cubes, do it! We’ve all had those days, cooking should be fun and not stressful.

Is this turkey tortilla soup freezer friendly?

Yes it is! I love making soups that don’t have pasta in big batches because I can freeze the leftovers. That means this is a great leftover turkey soup recipe for two reasons. One, it’s just really good soup and two, you can freeze the extra to enjoy later. Frozen soup can be such a lifesaver on busy weeknights when you haven’t had a chance to plan dinner.

I hope you enjoy this leftover turkey tortilla soup recipe!

turkey tortilla soup with all the toppings in a blue bowl

Turkey Tortilla Soup Recipe

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 50 minutes

Keep leftovers interesting with this delicious turkey tortilla soup recipe. It's a nutritious and comforting soup to enjoy with holiday leftovers, and freezer friendly!


  • 1 tablespoon oil + additional for frying tortilla strips (optional)
  • 1 large onion, diced
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 adobo peppers, seeded and sliced (see notes)
  • juice of 2 limes, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 8 cups turkey broth (see notes)
  • 1.5-2 pounds leftover turkey, diced or shredded
  • 1 14.5 ounce can diced tomatoes
  • 1 14.5 ounce can red kidney beans
  • 1 14.5 ounce can corn kernels
  • 1 cup cilantro, remove stems and chop leaves

Toppings (optional)

  • lime wedges
  • 1 8 ounce package of corn tortillas or tortilla chips
  • fresh avocado
  • cilantro
  • sour cream or plain Greek yogurt


  1. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large stock pot over medium low heat. Add the onion and saute for 5-10 minutes until translucent. Add the garlic and cook another 2 minutes.
  2. Pour in your broth, the canned tomato, salt, cumin, adobo peppers, and the juice of 1 lime. Simmer 10 minutes, then use your immersion blender to blend about 60-80% of the onions into the soup. This is optional, but gives the soup a little thickness and a creamier feel.
  3. Add your corn, beans, turkey, cilantro, and the juice of the other lime. Simmer an additional 5 minutes.
  4. Serve the soup warm with any desired toppings.

If you need to fry the tortilla strips:

Add just enough oil to cover the bottom of a small skillet or sauce pan by half an inch and warm over medium heat until the surface is shiny. Cut your tortillas into strips and fry in batches until lightly golden. Remove to a paper towel lined plate to drain. Sprinkle with a bit of salt. Extra tortilla strips can be stored in a plastic bag or container once cool for up to 4 days at room temperature.


The exact amount of peppers you should add depends on the amount of kick you want. 2 will provide a mild to medium spice level given the canned peppers I've used. You may omit, go down to 1 pepper, or add more depending on your family's preferences.

If you've made broth in your slow cooker using the turkey carcass, use this. If not, any store bought broth or bouillon dissolved in water will work too.

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