This hearty turkey dumplings soup filled with turkey, vegetables, and fluffy buttermilk dumplings cooked right on top is a great way to use leftover turkey!
One of the best things about Thanksgiving is the leftovers, am I right? But even I can only eat so many turkey sandwiches before enough is enough. So here’s a great, crowd-pleasing meal to use up the rest of that turkey— turkey and vegetable soup with buttermilk dumplings!
Homemade broth filled with turkey, carrots and potatoes topped with fluffy dumplings cooked right in the soup, it just doesn’t get much better than that. This meal is comfy-cozy and very satisfying, not to mention completely delicious. It’s exactly the kind of meal you’ll want on a chilly fall or winter day.
How to Make Turkey and Dumplings Soup
Here’s what’s in this delicious soup:
- Cooked turkey— white or dark meat
- Vegetables— onions, carrots, potatoes, garlic, and fresh thyme
- Turkey broth— I’ve got a recipe for homemade broth with leftover turkey bones below, but store-bought chicken or vegetable broth is great too
- Apple cider— the secret ingredient! It adds flavor and a hint of sweetness
- Buttermilk dumplings— these simple one-bowl dumplings cook right in the soup
What are Dumplings?
Dumplings can mean a lot of different things, but in this context it’s a simple dough that’s either rolled out and cut, or portioned with a spoon and dropped right into a simmering soup to cook.
These dumplings are a mixture of flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda, salt and buttermilk. Once you drop it by the spoonful into the soup, cover the pot with a lid to ensure the tops of the dumplings fully cook.
Dumplings are soft, tender, with lots of great flavor from both the dumpling itself and the broth it’s cooked in. No need to serve bread or rolls alongside this soup, it’s built right in!
Other Cozy Soup Recipes
Turkey and Dumplings Soup
Homemade Turkey Stock (optional):
- Leftover turkey carcass/bones
- 1 onion , coarsely chopped
- 2 carrots , coarsely chopped
- 1 stalk celery , coarsely chopped
- 1 small bunch of herbs like rosemary, thyme, sage and parsley
- 2 tablespoons butter
- ½ cup chopped carrots (70 grams)
- 1 medium onion , chopped
- 1 clove garlic , minced
- 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
- 4 cups turkey or chicken stock/broth , homemade or store-bought (1 quart, about 1 liter)
- 1 cup apple cider or juice (see Note) (250 ml)
- 1 ½ cups chopped potatoes (150 grams)
- 1 teaspoon coarse salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon fresh thyme
- 2-3 cups cooked shredded turkey (200-300 grams)
- ½ cup milk or cream (125 ml)
- 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour (180 grams)
- ½ cup cornmeal (70 grams)
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon coarse salt
- 1 ¼ cup buttermilk (310 ml)
To make the stock:
- Remove any excess skin and fat from the bones. Make sure to remove any turkey meat you hope to use for another purpose; any meat left on the bone will be very tough by the time the stock is done.
- Place the turkey bones in a large stock pot and add vegetables and herbs. Add enough cold water to cover all of the bones.
- Place over high heat and bring to a boil. Simmer for about 4 hours, adding more water as needed to keep the bones covered. Occasionally skim the surface of the stock with a spoon to remove any "scum" that may develop as it cooks.
- Pour stock through a fine mesh strainer. If desired, you can further strain out impurities by passing stock through a coffee filter.
- Pour into quart-sized containers and store in the fridge for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to several months. Or use right away!
To Make the Soup:
- In a large pot melt the butter over medium heat. Add the carrots, onion and garlic and stir until soft and onions are translucent, about 5 minutes. Add flour and stir until vegetables are coated.
- Slowly pour in the turkey stock while whisking until it's all incorporated. Add the apple cider, potatoes, salt, pepper and time.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for about 10 minutes, or until potatoes are just starting to tenderize.
- Stir in the turkey and milk/cream.
To Make the Dumplings:
- While the soup is simmering, prepare the dumplings. Mix the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.
- Add the buttermilk and stir just until no streaks of dry ingredients remain, do not over mix.
- Drop the dumpling batter by 1/4 cupfuls on top of the soup. Try to evenly space them, but it doesn't need to be perfect.
- Cover the pot with the lid so that there's a 1-inch opening and simmer for 15 minutes until dumplings appear dry on top and are cooked all the way through.
- Serve soup immediately, store leftover in the fridge for up to 1 week.
- Several readers have mistakenly used apple cider vinegar, do not make that mistake! Use apple cider or a high quality apple juice.
- This recipe can also be made with chicken instead of turkey.
- Nutrition information is an estimation.