Cozy and completely delicious, these bowls of creamy turkey and dumplings will satisfy you and put extra Thanksgiving turkey to good use. Now this how you make leftovers exciting!

This soup is easy to make with shredded turkey, fresh veggies and herbs, and fluffy dumplings that melt in your mouth. The secret? Cooking the dumplings right in the soup, where the starch serves to naturally thicken the broth.

Bowls of turkey and dumplings, garnished with fresh parsley.

Thanksgiving dinner is pretty much the one meal that people actually look forward to the leftovers! That said, there are only so many turkey sandwiches you can eat, and to be honest, I personally just eat leftover stuffing and macaroni and cheese and skip the rest. So what to do with all the extra turkey?

This soup is the answer. It’s a meal that doesn’t feel like you’re eating leftovers, but conveniently uses up extra turkey and relies on pretty much all the same ingredients you probably had on hand for Thanksgiving anyway.

Of course, none of that would matter if it didn’t taste good, and this soup tastes phenomenal. Creamy, rich broth, tender vegetables, hearty garlic and Italian herbs, and fluffy homemade buttermilk dumplings cooked right in the soup. Thanksgiving leftovers don’t get better than this!

Related: Chicken and Dumplings

Ingredients & Common Substitutions

Here’s the quick run-down of what you’ll need to make this soup happen. As always, look to the recipe card below for amounts and instructions.

  • Shredded turkey. Use white or dark meat, whatever you have left over! Looking to make this and there’s no leftover turkey in sight? No problem! As noted below, you can easily follow this exact recipe using shredded chicken, either homemade or from a store-bought rotisserie chicken.
  • Carrots, celery, and onion. Also known as a mirepoix, this trio is my personal holy trinity of flavorful, quick-cooking soup veggies!
  • Turkey or chicken stock. You can use homemade turkey stock if you care to make it, or store-bought turkey or chicken broth works well, too. I prefer using a low-sodium variety so that I can salt the soup to taste at the end.
  • Garlic.
  • Cream. You can swap in half and half if you prefer; the soup will still be creamy thanks to the richness of half and half and the extra starch released by the dumplings while cooking.
  • Staples: butter, Italian seasoning, kosher salt, black pepper.
  • For the dumplings: flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, more cream, and buttermilk.
Prep bowls with shredded turkey, carrots, onion, celery, broth, cream, butter, and seasonings.

Can I make this without leftover turkey?

Craving this soup and there’s no leftover turkey in sight? No worries! You can make this cozy soup using shredded chicken, even rotisserie chicken to make it super quick and easy any time of year.

Two bowls of creamy turkey and dumplings soup.

What are dumplings?

Dumplings are part of many different cuisines around the world and can take a variety of forms, but in their simplest American style, dumplings are small pieces of dough cooked in simmering liquid, as opposed to being baked or fried.

A classic dumpling recipe calls for just a few basics: flour, baking powder as a leavener, salt, and milk. In this recipe, we’re just adding a pinch of cayenne pepper and swapping the milk for a combination of buttermilk and cream. Why? Compared to milk, these ingredients add far more richness and tang.

How To Make Turkey and Dumplings

Begin by cooking the carrots, celery, and onion with a smidge of butter in a large pot or Dutch oven. Once softened, add garlic and seasoning, followed by the broth, then the shredded meat.

Meanwhile, prepare the dumpling dough by combining flour, baking powder, salt, cayenne pepper, buttermilk, and cream in a small bowl. Stir into a soft, shaggy dough.

Drop spoonfuls of the dumpling dough straight into the simmering soup. Cover and cook for 5 minutes, then uncover, gently flip the dumplings upside down, and cook 5 minutes more.

Stir in the cream, add salt and pepper to taste, and serve!

A sprinkling of fresh flat leaf parsley makes the perfect garnish, adding color and a final pop of freshness. A sprig of thyme would also be lovely.

Finished turkey and dumplings soup in Dutch oven, garnished with parsley and being served with a ladle.

This is one soup I literally look forward to making all year long. To be honest, I enjoy this more than Thanksgiving dinner!

More Cozy Soup Recipes

Bowl of creamy turkey and dumplings soup with a spoon, ready to eat.

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4.91 from 11 votes

Creamy Turkey and Dumplings Soup

Cozy, easy to make, and completely delicious, these bowls of creamy turkey and dumplings will satisfy you and put extra turkey to good use!


For the Soup:

  • 1 tablespoon butter
  • 1 large yellow onion chopped
  • 4 medium carrots peeled and chopped
  • 2 medium celery ribs chopped
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • kosher salt and fresh-ground black pepper
  • 6 cups turkey stock or chicken
  • 2-3 cups shredded turkey
  • 1 cup heavy cream

For the Dumplings:

  • 1 and 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream


  • Melt butter in a large stockpot or Dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Add onion, carrots, and celery. Cook 4-5 minutes, stirring frequently, until vegetables just begin to soften.
  • Stir in garlic, Italian seasoning, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and a few turns of black pepper. Cook 1 minute more, just until fragrant, then pour in turkey stock. Bring mixture to a rapid simmer, then add shredded turkey meat.
  • To make the dumplings, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cayenne in a medium bowl. Add buttermilk and 1/2 cup heavy cream, then stir with a rubber spatula until the mixture comes together into a shaggy dough.
  • Drop spoonfuls of dough directly into the simmering soup. Cover the pot and let cook for 5 minutes, then remove lid. Gently flip dumplings over, leave the lid off, and simmer for another 5 minutes.
  • Reduce heat to medium-low, then stir in cream and cook for 1-2 minutes, just until warmed through. Taste and season with more salt and pepper to taste. Serve piping hot with fresh herbs as a garnish, if desired.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 525 kcal, Carbohydrates: 38 g, Protein: 28 g, Fat: 29 g, Saturated Fat: 16 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9 g, Trans Fat: 1 g, Cholesterol: 138 mg, Sodium: 893 mg, Potassium: 879 mg, Fiber: 3 g, Sugar: 8 g, Vitamin A: 7872 IU, Vitamin C: 5 mg, Calcium: 178 mg, Iron: 3 mg
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