This easy Smoked Turkey Chowder is a delicious way to use up Thanksgiving leftover turkey. Made in a single pot, it’s lightly creamy with a warm, smoky flavor, and loaded with tender sweet potatoes!

Closeup of a bowl of smoked turkey chowder

Easy Thanksgiving Leftovers Recipe

Whenever our family spends Thanksgiving at our own home, you can bet that we’re enjoying a smoked turkey. Blake gets up before the sun to prepare the smoker for another delicious bird to grace our table. And the big bonus? It makes for especially awesome turkey leftover recipes!

This easy Smoked Turkey Chowder is packed with flavor, an irresistible bowl that features leftover turkey. It’s perfectly lightly creamy, loaded with tender sweet potatoes, and has just a touch of chipotle heat. It’s warm comfort through and through!

Overhead view of leftover turkey chowder in a white bowl

We first enjoyed a smoked turkey many years ago, when extended family joined us at our house for Thanksgiving dinner. It was our first time hosting the big meal, and in the middle of piecing together a menu, picking up bottles of wine, and strategizing the seating in our very small dining room, I decided that there was no way I’d be adding a baked turkey to my to-do list!

Smoked turkey it was! And Blake was more than happy to take it on. He definitely enjoys Thanksgiving day, watching football and tending to a turkey on our Big Green Egg!

Close up of a bowl of smokedturkey chowder with a piece of crusty bread

Ohhhhhh, what a little smoke can do to that poultry!

Everyone loved it, and the next day I made this smoked turkey chowder. It was another holiday weekend hit!

I’m a super fan of leftover turkey. Here are a few more of my favorite leftover turkey recipes: Swap out chicken for turkey in my (almost famous!) Chicken Wild Rice Soup. Add it to Turkey Pot Pie Soup. Or a childhood favorite of mine, Leftover Turkey Casserole!

OVerhead view of smoked turkey chowder ingredients

What You’ll Need

This easy leftover turkey chowder comes together with a handful of kitchen staples, a bunch of fresh veggies, and BACON!

  • Unsalted butter
  • Bacon – Because bacon makes everything better!
  • Vegetables – I used celery, yellow onion, red bell pepper, carrots, and canned corn.
  • Mushrooms – Use fresh, not canned, for the best flavor and texture.
  • Garlic
  • Chipotle powder – For a warm, smoky flavor. Add as little or as much as you like!
  • All-purpose flour
  • Chicken broth – I always use reduced-sodium.
  • Sweet potato – Peeled and cut into cubes.
  • Half and half – Lends a creaminess to the chowder.
  • Soy sauce – This may seem like a random ingredient but I love to add it to many of my soups. It adds a salty flavor with more depth.
  • Fresh parsley & thyme – Fresh herbs make this soup extra wonderful.
  • Smoked turkey – Leftover Thanksgiving turkey works perfectly for this! If you don’t have smoked turkey, substitute regular turkey – the soup will still be great!
  • Salt & pepper

How to Make Smoked Turkey Chowder with Sweet Potatoes

Since we’re using leftover turkey, this chowder recipe is especially easy to make. It’s just a matter of cooking a few slices of bacon, adding some vegetables, and then simmering until everything is tender!

  • Cook the bacon and vegetables. Melt the butter in a heavy pot and cook the bacon until it begins to brown. Add the celery, onion, red pepper, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic. Cook until the onion is completely softened. Sprinkle in the chipotle powder, then the flour. Stir until it starts to bubble.
  • Add the broth. Stirring constantly, turn up the heat to bring it to a low boil for a minute. Then reduce heat and add the remaining ingredients, except for the turkey.
  • Add the turkey. After the sweet potato is tender, add the turkey and simmer for 20 minutes.
  • Serve. Add salt and pepper as needed. Serve with crackers or warm, crusty bread.
A bowl of smoked turkey chowder

Tips & Variations

It’s hard to go wrong with this recipe because it’s so versatile. Switch things up if you like!

  • Can I make this with regular turkey? While I’m partial to the smoked turkey flavor, you can absolutely make this with an oven-baked turkey. You won’t get that smoky flavor, of course, and may want to increase the other seasonings for flavor – but the rest of the recipe will still work!
  • Swap the turkey for chicken or ham. You can easily adapt this recipe if you have leftover ham or chicken as well. Just swap the turkey for ham (smoked ham would be amazing here) or chicken (including rotisserie chicken)!
  • Use the seasonings and vegetables you have on hand. Get creative with your seasonings or simply add the vegetables you have on hand, like regular potatoes instead of sweet potatoes. Cumin and green chili are great ways to add flavor as well. I often add extra ground chipotle or stir in some hot sauce when I’m craving heat.
A spoon stirring a bowl of smoked turkey chowder

Serving Suggestions

I like to serve a bowl of steaming smoked turkey chowder with some crackers or crusty bread. The crusty bread is my favorite because it helps you soak up every warm, smoky bite of the chowder.

When I’m craving more flavor, I like to add a little more chipotle powder or stir in some hot sauce.

I’ve found this soup requires no other sides but if you want a lighter meal, you can easily do a soup and salad combo with a fresh green side salad!

How to Store Leftovers

Store any leftover turkey chowder in an airtight container in the fridge. It will be good for up to 5 days. Reheat on the stovetop or in the microwave.

You can also freeze this chowder. Just allow it to cool completely and then transfer to freezer bags or containers. Allow to thaw overnight in the fridge, reheat, and enjoy!

Overhead view of smoked turkey chowder in a white bowl with a spoon.

More Turkey Recipes:

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Close up of a bowl of leftover turkey chowder with a piece of crusty bread

Smoked Turkey Chowder with Sweet Potatoes

Yield: 8 servings
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 5 minutes

Loaded with mushrooms, sweet potatoes and veggies, this easy Smoked Turkey Chowder is a great way to use up Thanksgiving turkey leftovers. It's lightly creamy with a warm, smoky flavor. Delish!


  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 4 slices bacon, cut into 1/2'' pieces
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
  • 8 ounces fresh button mushrooms, thinly sliced
  • 2 large carrots, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground chipotle powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 8 cups reduced-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 can (15 ounces) corn, drained
  • 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cubed into 1/2'' pieces
  • 2 cups half and half
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme
  • 4 cups shredded smoked turkey
  • salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large heavy pot or stock pot over medium heat, melt the butter. Add bacon and cook until bacon begins to brown.
  2. Add celery, onion, red pepper, mushrooms, carrots, and garlic. Cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is transparent and completely softened. Sprinkle with chipotle powder and stir to coat evenly. Blend in flour and cook until it starts to bubble.
  3. Gradually add the broth, stirring constantly. Turn up the heat a bit and bring the soup to a low boil. Lightly boil for 1 minute.
  4. Reduce heat slightly and add the corn, sweet potato, half and half, soy sauce, parsley, and thyme. Cook for about 10 minutes, or until sweet potato is tender. Add turkey and simmer for 20 minutes or until thoroughly warmed. Test flavor and add salt and pepper to taste. Serve with crackers or warm, crusty bread.


from a farmgirl's dabbles

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 362Total Fat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 93mgSodium: 2450mgCarbohydrates: 35gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 26g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated by Nutritionix. I am not a nutritionist and cannot guarantee accuracy. If your health depends on nutrition information, please calculate again with your own favorite calculator.

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Close up of a bowl of leftover turkey chowder with a piece of crusty bread

This post was first published in 2012, and then updated in 2021.