Use that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner to make a comforting barley soup. Make broth from the turkey carcass, and herbs that you already have on hand. A light and healthy soup to help you recover from your mashed potato coma. I know you. 

Slow Cooker Turkey Barley Soup from The Food Charlatan

I’m just coming off a grocery store famine. You know, when you haven’t gone shopping in a good two and a half weeks and your husband’s already made not one, but TWO runs for milk. Your 3-year old asks you for apples and bananas and you say no, but you can have raisins! ALL THE RAISINS. And nothing else.

Slow Cooker Turkey Barley Soup from The Food Charlatan

I finally made it today. A leisurely trip, because there were no children doing acrobats on the cart, or taking huge bites of the cheese while I’m not looking (THROUGH THE WRAPPER people).

Yet for some reason, I still couldn’t muster the energy to put away all the groceries when I got home. I rushed to put away all the freezer and refrigerator items, and then I totally checked out.

Slow Cooker Turkey Barley Soup from The Food Charlatan This photo is from a couple months ago. I left my groceries strewn about, as usual, and Truman found a tomato and went for it. The exact same thing happened today. THIEF!!

Slow Cooker Turkey Barley Soup from The Food Charlatan

Can you believe Thanksgiving is next week? I’m excited. Most holidays are all about the food for me anyway. With Thanksgiving I don’t have to make any pretenses. The mashed potatoes/rolls/pies really ARE the reason we are here.

This is a great day-after-Thanksgiving soup. You can make the turkey stock from the carcass in the evening on Thursday (it’s so easy you might forget about it. I put mine on to simmer on low and forgot about it. I was already in bed reading when Eric’s like, did you want the stock to go all night? uhhh no.) Then on Friday use your stock and leftover herbs, carrots, and onions to throw this soup together. Easy peasy. And healthy to boot.

Slow Cooker Turkey Barley Soup from The Food Charlatan

I decided to add barley to this soup instead of noodles or rice. I’m still dreaming about this Beef Barley Soup from a few weeks ago and wanted to try a different version. Barley was a good choice. It balances so well with the carrots and celery.

Do you guys give up? Or are you thirsty for more?
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PS. If you are still looking for Thanksgiving recipe ideas, check out my recent round up for some inspiration, including this Sage-Butter Roasted Turkey.


Turkey Barley Soup

4.88 from 8 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 5 hours
Total: 5 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 8 Servings
Use that leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner to make a comforting barley soup. Make broth from the turkey carcass, and herbs that you already have on hand. A light and healthy soup to help you recover from your mashed potato coma. I know you. 


  • 11-12 cups turkey stock , from the bones*
  • 3 cups celery, chopped
  • 2 onions, chopped
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 8-9 medium carrots, shredded (about 4 cups total)
  • 1 large potato, peeled and shredded
  • 2-4 cups cooked turkey
  • 1 cup barley, rinsed
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1 teaspoon pepper
  • sage, fresh, chopped*
  • rosemary, fresh, chopped*
  • parsley, fresh, chopped (for garnish)


  • Add the turkey stock, celery, onions, and thyme to a large stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a low and simmer covered for about a half hour, or until the celery is tender.
  • Use a food processor or cheese grater to shred the carrots and potato. Add to the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to low and simmer, covered for another half hour, or until the carrots are tender.
  • Add the turkey (however much you want) and the rinsed barley. Bring to a boil, then reduce to medium low. Simmer for another 45-60 minutes, or until the barley is tender.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. (How much you need will really depend on how salty your stock is.)
  • Just before serving, stir in chopped sage and rosemary. (look for the photo below to see how much I used.)

Slow Cooker instructions:

  • Add the turkey stock, celery, onions, thyme, carrots, and potato to a slow cooker. Cook for 4-6 hours on low.
  • Add the turkey, barley, and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for another hour on low, or until barley is tender.
  • Add fresh sage and rosemary before serving.Top each serving with parsley.


*You can still totally make this soup even if you didn't make stock from your turkey. You can sub good quality chicken stock, or I've even seen Turkey broth at the grocery store lately. Remember, stock is always better, but use what you've got.
*Use whatever fresh herbs you have leftover from Thanksgiving.


Serving: 1bowl | Calories: 312kcal | Carbohydrates: 46g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 28mg | Sodium: 717mg | Potassium: 1035mg | Fiber: 8g | Sugar: 10g | Vitamin A: 10421IU | Vitamin C: 18mg | Calcium: 70mg | Iron: 3mg
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Calories: 312
Keyword: barley, soup, Turkey
Did you make this? I'd love to see it!Mention @thefoodcharlatan or tag #thefoodcharlatan!

Slow Cooker Turkey Barley Soup from The Food Charlatan

Slow Cooker Turkey Barley Soup from The Food Charlatan

I like to chop my celery pretty small so that you can’t taste it. I MEAN wait, to add texture! The potato and carrots help make this soup thick and hearty.


Here’s the Beef Barley Soup that’s got everyone going crazy. It is the 6th most visited recipe on my blog to date, and I posted it SEVEN WEEKS AGO. That’s crazy, people:

Beef Barley Soup from

Some other leftover turkey ideas! You can sub your leftover turkey for most recipes that call for cooked chicken. 

Leftover Turkey Banh Mi:

Leftover Turkey Asian Sandwich (Turkey Banh Mi) from The Food Charlatan

Kale, Chicken (or Turkey!) and White Bean Soup with Parmesan Shavings:

Kale, Chicken & White Bean Soup

One-Skillet Chicken (or Turkey!) Pot PieOne skillet Chicken Pot Pie

More turkey soup from other bloggers!

Turkey Bisque Soup from Your Homebased Mom
Light Turkey and Corn Chowder from Cookin’ Canuck
Skinny Turkey and Wild Rice Soup from The Skinny Fork

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  1. YES! Celery so small you can’t taste it! SOUL MATES! :)

    If you were at my house you could basically eat cheese or Clif Bars. At least you have fresh produce!

  2. I am like you with the grocery shopping. I know that I need to go every week, but then before you know it, its been three weeks and we are eating out to much because my lazy butt didn’t go to the store once again. This soup looks delicious. I am so making this thanksgiving weekend!! Yum! :)

  3. How cute is Truman eating a tomato?! What a healthy little guy. I don’t think you could have bribed me to eat a tomato when I was little, I picked them off everything. This soup sounds delicious! We always make an extra turkey on Thanksgiving so we have plenty of leftovers, ha! Have a good weekend Karen!

    1. Oh I’m SO with you Natalie. I still would never take a bite out of a tomato. And for real, an extra turkey!!? Hardcore!!

  4. I love making soup the day after Thanksgiving, and this recipe looks wonderful Karen. And I totally know your pain with the groceries, my littlest one will bite through all of my banana’s peel and all before I make it to the check out line. Although my family would starve if I went two weeks without shopping, I don’t plan that far ahead.

  5. I wish I had a hot bowl of this right now! Great idea to use leftovers, and it looks SO good!

  6. I have a kid who would take a tomato over candy! Thanks for another fun post and the great recipe! Anything with rosemary has got to be good.

  7. There’s nothing like using turkey leftovers for soup. It’s my go-to! I’ve done beef barley but never turkey barley. Looks amazing and simple enough. Pinned!

    Have an awesome weekend Karen!

  8. Thought this was beautiful. Shared with my FB readers so they would have a great idea for those Thanksgiving leftovers.

  9. Oh yeah, stock is so the way to go. It makes me feel like a pro every time, and I love not having to pick the bird as thoroughly. I wish I hadn’t already made my turkey into a different soup this week….but there’s always next week’s turkey. Yes. Two turkeys in two weeks. We are THAT family.

  10. girl, I go to the grocery store like 3 times a week. . maybe I need an intervention. :P love love love this barley soup!! what a fabulous idea to use the leftover turkey from Thanksgiving dinner and the turkey carcass to make the broth!! brilliant!! and your son is the cutest!! and hey, raisins aren’t so bad :P

    1. I don’t know why it’s such a chore for me! I seriously need to get over it! Although raisins really AREN’T that bad, so maybe I just won’t. :)

  11. Hahaha- I like my celery cut up small enough to just give a hint that it exists, too! This soup looks great for a cold winter night :)

  12. Well, he is a pretty adorable thief! This soups looks so delicious! I love making soup with my T-day leftovers!

  13. Haha – I’m so glad your kids know the value of CHEESE. You bite it, you buy it? Mmm – I wish I had leftover turkey to make this soup right now. Why didn’t I make a turkey in October?! You’re just too good.

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