Turkey Neck Soup • The perfect alternative for leftover smoked turkey neck

Written by Luisa Davis on . Posted in food

There are actually a thousand and one things you could do with the left-over smoked turkey neck and using them for smoked turkey neck soup for me is one of the best alternatives. It is quite easy to make, very delicious and economical too. It is a dish that indeed makes maximum use of left-over turkey necks.

So, for a very long time, I have always had issues trying to figure out what to do with leftover smoked turkey most especially the neck and on most occasions I throw them away or keep them in the refrigerator for some time until it eventually goes bad and I still end up throwing them away.

Recently though I had the family over for thanksgiving and I made roasted turkey, when we were done there was leftover turkey as usual and I was puzzled on what with them (didn’t want to throw them away because my mom was around and she hated wasting food), my cousin noticed this and she quickly suggested I keep them later for turkey neck soup.

That was actually not the first time I have heard of using turkey neck for soup, I have probably just been reluctant on trying it out maybe because I didn’t know-how.

Anyways, I kept them anxiously waiting for her to show me how to make this soup which she later did, and damn it was the like one of the best soups I have tasted in a while and of course I had to learn it. For today’s post, we shall be looking at the one and only turkey neck soup. But first lets briefly look at a thing to note about the famous turkey neck soup.

Turkey neck soup – is it that special?

Basically, there isn’t so much to say about the turkey neck soup as it a simple soup consisting of turkey neck which happens to be the vital ingredient of this dish and other minor ingredients like carrots, onions, potatoes, etc.

It is soup kids find exciting because it has turkey necks in it, it is also one you can get them to eat anytime any day. So, if you are finding difficult as a parent trying to get your kid to eat then you should give this a try as it might just work wonders.

In terms of fat and calorie content, the turkey neck is pretty low in this aspect compared to other parts of the turkey, this, therefore, makes the turkey neck healthy to consume. It is also very rich in protein hence increases the feeling of satiety and also maintains a muscular mass as well as keeping a stable insulin level. A hot bowl of turkey neck soup is also the perfect type of dish you get people that under the weather to eat.

It may also interest you to know that there is a day in the United States dedicated to celebrating turkey neck soup, which they call the Turkey Neck Soup Day.

There is no way you will talk about turkey soup with mentioning Turkey Neck Soup Day, usually celebrated on the 30th day of March in the United States. The turkey meat is a food that has been sustaining the American people for decades, it is way more economical and nutritious than chicken and other types of birds and the neck sure do make one super awesome soup.

Although we are not too certain about the origin of this day as there is no record anywhere stating how this day came about or who started it, however, it is a day that people of united states tend to appreciate the amazing turkey neck soup. On this day, people also tend to have decorative items related to turkey neck in their various houses and children also play turkeys like games and activities.

It also the day you will find numerous versions of the turkey neck soup being prepared in different American homes. For me, though it is a very special day as I get to have the entire family around and then we tell childhood stories while enjoying a decent plate of turkey neck soup.

How to make turkey neck soup

The turkey neck soup is probably one of the easiest soups you will ever have to make. You simply just have to cook the turkey with enough water that’s after washing it (smoked or not). When it is tender enough, add the rest of the ingredients like the onion, pepper, thyme, potatoes, etc. and allow to cook for a few minutes. More about how to make the turkey neck soup will be discussed in the recipe below.

Turkey neck soup recipe

This is the easiest you can get around; it is also something that can easily be tweaked depending on how you like your soup. However, for this recipe you will need the following turkey neck soup ingredients:

  • 2lbs of turkey neck
  • 2 carrots
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 whole green hot pepper (optional)
  • 6 cups of water or more
  • 1/3 cups of rice
  • 2 potatoes
  • ½ cups of fresh green onion chopped
  • Salt
  • Thyme (optional)


  1. Thoroughly wash the neck and remove any form of visible fats, chop into smaller pieces if you don’t like them too big and set aside. Wash and peel the carrots and also the onion.
  2. In a large pot over high heat, pour in water and allow to boil for at least a minute or two before adding your turkey neck, carrot, onion and also your thyme, allow to cook for about 90 minutes until the turkey neck begins to fall apart.
  3. Remove turkey neck from the broth, allow to cool, pick off the meat from the bones (this is optional) and set aside, remove carrot and onion particles from the broth by draining it through a strainer. Next up place turkey neck back in the pot with the broth and add the rice, let it simmer for about 20-25 minutes.
  4. Once the rice is cooked, add the already peeled and washed potatoes and also add the green hot pepper.  Let it simmer for a few minutes until all ingredients are cooked.
  5. When the soup is a ready turn off the heat and allow to cool. Serve and enjoy

Other ways to prepare the turkey neck soup

Cabbage and turkey neck – the pattern for preparing cabbage and the turkey is not so different from the original method, the only difference is the addition of ingredients like cabbage, bay leaves, black peppercorns, and celery.

However, for this method the turkey neck is boiled until the meat falls off from the bones, then they are removed from the boiling water with a large spoon, separated from the bones, allowed to cool for a few minutes and are chopped into tiny pieces.

The meat is then set aside and returned to soup alongside the rest of the ingredients.

The Caribbean style smoked turkey neck soup – this method of the turkey neck soup is quite different from the original method, to prepare this you will need the following ingredients:

A few pounds of smoked turkey necks (as usual), sweet potato, one-pound of taro, three eddoes, salt, scotch bonnet pepper, sweet corn, one package of grace cock soup, carrot, thyme, fresh oregano, okra, scallion, black eye peas (one cup), vegetable oil, onion, garlic, tomato paste and scallion.

To prepare, chop the garlic, onion, fresh oregano, scallion and thyme then set aside. In a large soup pot heat vegetable oil over medium heat and carefully pour in the chopped ingredients, allow the items to cook for at least 4-6 minutes before reducing the heat to low.

Wash the black eye peas thoroughly and drain off the water, chop the carrot, mix it with the peas and add the mixture to the pot. Once that is done add the smoked turkey neck and pour in a good quantity of water. At this time, you can now add the other ingredients like the scotch bonnet pepper, salt, and ground black pepper. Allow to boil and allow to simmer for at 45 minutes or thereabout or until the peas are soft enough.

Now you can peel the sweet potato and cut into small pieces, also peel off the skin from the taro, eddoes and remove the stems off the okra then cut them evenly, rinse with water and add to the soup.

Using a large spoon remove the turkey neck from the soup, set aside and allow to cool. Add the remaining ingredients like the grace cock soup and tomato paste. When the neck is cool enough, strip the meat off the bone and add it back to the pot of soup. You can also add the bone as well to make the soup more flavorful.

Allow the soup to cook for at least 35 to 40 minutes until the soup is a bit thick. Turn off the heat, serve hot or allow to cool for a few minutes and enjoy.

Turkey necks – what else can you do with them

Aside from making a mouthwatering dish of turkey neck soup what else can you possibly do with them – below are a few things:

  • Attempt the Cooked Turkey Necks recipe. It’s a perfect alternative, with just minutes to get ready and not many fixings. Children appreciate the entire experience of choosing meat from the turkey bone.
  • If you appreciate comfort meal, Uzbek Plov is an extraordinary choice. By cooking the neck-bones together with rice, Uzbek Plov turns out delicate and brimming with flavor. Simply supplant the meat with turkey neck bones, and the rest you keep the equivalent.
  • Stewed Cabbage with Meat makes an astonishing healthy choice. Cabbage is light in calories, while the turkey necks compliment it with incredible flavor. Since the veggies cook brisk, I suggest bubbling turkeys for 30-40 minutes before you add them to the dish.


The turkey neck soup is truly an amazing dish especially for children as it is something you can get them to eat any time of the day. if you were once like me; not knowing always knowing what to do with leftover turkey necks then here is a huge opportunity for you get the best out of it.

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Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis

Luisa Davis is a frelance writer and foodie based in Portland, California. Though raised on her mother's homestyle Italian cooking, she has spent most of the last five years traveling and immersing herself in other countries' cuisines. Her work have been published in various publications, both online and offline.

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