Turkey Barley Soup

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Yes, I am aware that Thanksgiving was almost one week ago and most of you Turkey cookers have already done something fabulous with your Turkey carcass BUT this Turkey Barley soup is too delicious not to share and since so many people also roast Turkey’s for Christmas, I figured I should post it now so you can bookmark it!

We hosted an intimate Thanksgiving so we only used an 8 to 10 pound Turkey so feel free to double this if you need too (make sure to use a a large stock pot if you do).

I have been making at least one to two new soups a week (many soup posts coming so brace yourself) since the weather got chilly and I have must admit that I loved this one so much I have been contemplating buying a Turkey to roast JUST so I can make this soup again!

Oh, and I almost forgot to mention the best part – 4 Points Plus for 2 huge cups!


  • I used the Turkey Carcass (free of skin and most of the meat) and a couple extra leg bones that I saved.  Be sure to remove as much excess skin as possible to avoid a fatty soup.
  • This soup thickens as it cools and even more so overnight.
  • I was out of the spice bags I commonly use for soup herbs so I cut a piece of cheesecloth and tied it with string.  Either option is fine, you just don’t want the herbs floating around on their own in the soup.  A tea ball would also work.
  • The apple cider vinegar is optional but you can NOT taste it and helps to draw the minerals out of the bones which makes your soup even that much better for you! Here is a great explanation of using ACV in soups and stocks.
  • If you have any turkey meat leftover, definitely throw in a couple of ounces.  I tossed in about 3 ounces of leftover breast and thigh meat at the very end.

5.0 from 1 reviews
Turkey Barley Soup
4 Points Plus per serving - Recipe Makes 7 Servings - Individual Serving is 2 cups
Serves: 7
  • 2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 3 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • pinch kosher salt
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • few sprigs fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • cheesecloth and string or spice bag to make spice bundle
  • 8 to 10 pound Turkey Carcass
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (optional)
  • 14 cups water
  • 3½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
  • ½ teaspoon fresh ground black pepper + more at end of cooking
  • ¾ cup uncooked pearled barley
  • 2 stalks celery, cut into ½" dice
  • 2 to 3 carrots, cut into ¼" rounds
  1. Place bay leaf, thyme, and parsley into a spice bag or roll in a cheesecloth (pictured) and tie with string.
  2. Smash garlic and chop onion.
  3. Clean and slice carrots, clean and dice celery. I cut the celery into matchsticks first and then bundle them together and dice.
  1. Heat a large stock pot or soup pot over medium heat. Add in olive oil and then onion and garlic along with a pinch of salt. Cook 4 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until translucent.
  2. Toss in herb bundle, turkey carcass (extra bones if you have them), and apple cider vinegar. Cover with water (I used 14 cups). If using apple cider vinegar, turn off light and let pot sit for 30 minutes to 1 hour before resuming cooking process.
  3. Bring to a boil and proceed to skim off foam.
  4. Add 2 teaspoons of kosher salt, ½ teaspoon black pepper, barley, celery, and carrots. Lower to a simmer and cook uncovered for one hour. Stir occasionally.
  5. Add in an additional teaspoon of salt and continue cooking for another hour, stirring occasionally.
  6. Remove carcass and bones as well as herb packet.
  7. Once cooled, remove any meat and toss back into soup.
  8. Adjust seasonings if necessary (I added ½ teaspoon salt plus a few turns of fresh ground black pepper). Enjoy!


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  1. Bethany says

    When you say turkey carcass, are you talking about one already cooked or a raw one? I was thinking this would be an awesome addition to my recipes for using leftover turkey from thanksgiving… Thanks!

    • says

      Hi Bethany! This is meant for the leftover carcass from Thanksgiving or Easter or whenever so yes, already cooked and stripped of most of the meat. Hope you love it!

  2. Jennie says

    Thank you for the wonderful pictures to accompany the recipe! Makes my mouth water and brings memories of past after-Thanksgiving meals! My parents used to make this every year. I can only hope to also.

    • EverydayMaven says

      Absolutely Jennie – I may have said this 10x already but I will say it again – the soup is the thing I am MOST looking forward to from Thanksgiving. I can not wait until Friday to make it!!! Have a great holiday :)

  3. Irra says

    Hi, this sounds like really healthy soup. I’m going to make it for my dad (who’s a diabetic) this weekend.
    I have kind of a dumb question; was the turkey already cooked (post thanks giving) when you added to the soup? I’m assuming yes, but just though I’d check.

    Thanks :)

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