Smoked Turkey and Bean Soup Recipe

Bean soup recipe with smoked turkey, including stove top, slow cooker, and pressure cooker methods.

Updated with Pressure Cooker Instructions! See recipe notes for more details.

Smoky bean soup and sweet cornbread go together like movies and popcorn—I cannot imagine one without the other. A big pot of bean soup with smoked turkey or ham is one of my favorite post-holiday meals because if its simplicity and delicious use of leftovers. This recipe uses smoked turkey, but a leftover ham bone or ham hocks can be substituted.

If you don’t have a smoker to make your own smoked turkey at home, Diestel Smoked Turkey Drums & Thighs make it easy to get the sweet, smoky flavor bean soup demands. We prefer Diestel brand because of their sustainable farming methods and natural, hardwood smoking process. The flavor is pleasantly smoky and lightly seasoned, giving me more control over the amount of salt. Each thigh or drumstick is individually wrapped so it’s easy to customize the amount or combination you want. In this case, two smoked turkey thighs provide plenty of meat for 5 quarts of hearty soup.

Still want to smoke your own turkey? Take a look at Charbroil’s instructions for electric smokers or Traeger’s instructions on their wood smoker.

Beans are a great source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals—one meal that can help you keep those New Year’s resolutions to take better care of yourself. Navy, Great Northern, Cannellini, pinto, black-eyed peas, or the 15 bean concoction sold in stores are all good choices for this recipe, so feel free to use whatever type you like best. Our favorite is Cannellini, which are like a white kidney bean with a soft, creamy texture.

I’ve prepared this soup in a slow cooker or in my stockpot for years, but lately I’ve been using my pressure cooker to make soups faster (see notes in recipe). The beans cook beautifully in the pressure cooker, however, the meat doesn’t quite get to the fall-off-the-bone stage in such a short time, but the flavor is the same. You can use canned beans if you’re in a pinch for time, but we prefer the taste and texture of dried beans along with a cup of lentils to naturally thicken the soup as they break down (no need to soak these). Note: Yellow or red lentils are best so the color brightens the soup; brown or green lentils can make the soup look dingy.

And whatever you do, don’t forget the whole grain cornbread. I start with one piece in my bowl to soak up the broth and crown another one with butter and honey (this also stands in for dessert).

Smoked Turkey and Bean Soup Recipe with whole grain corn bread is real comfort food. Make bean soup with smoke turkey instead of ham in the pressure cooker, slow cooker, or stove top.

4.8 from 5 reviews
Smoked Turkey & Bean Soup
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Soup, Turkey, Beans
Serves / Yields: About 5 quarts
  • 2 cups dry beans (soaked)
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion -- chopped
  • 2-3 stalks celery -- chopped
  • 2-3 large carrots -- chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic -- minced
  • 4-5 quarts of Basic Chicken Stock, or chicken broth
  • 2 Diestel Smoked Turkey Thighs or Drumsticks
  • 1 cup lentils (unsoaked)
  • 1 whole bay leaf
  • 2 cubes of homemade beef bouillon or ½ cup concentrated beef stock (optional)
  • 2 teaspoons Paul Prudhomme's Meat Magic
  • 2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • Sea salt and pepper -- to taste
  1. Dissolve 1 teaspoon baking soda in 4 quarts water in a large pot. Add beans and soak at room temperature for at least 8 hours. Drain and rinse well.
  2. Chop onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Heat oil in large soup pot or pressure cooker over medium heat and cook onion, carrot, and celery caramelized. Add garlic and cook until fragrant. (If using a slow cooker, transfer softened vegetables to the cooker at this point and continue with remaining instructions.)
  3. Add soaked and rinsed beans, lentils, turkey thighs or drumsticks, and bay leaf to the pot; cover with broth or stock. Be sure to add enough liquid to cover with 2-3 inches above ingredients to allow beans to absorb liquid. Add water, as needed. *See Note for pressure cooker method.
  4. Bring to a boil then reduce heat and simmer for 2-3 hours on the stove or 4-6 hours in a crockpot set on low. Add spices and bouillon the last hour or so, adjust until desired flavor is reached. Salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Before serving, remove bones and large pieces of turkey from the pot; allow to cool slightly on a platter. Once cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones and any unappealing connective tissue. Return meat to the pot and discard bones.
  6. Serve with cornbread and honey-butter.
Notes & Suggestions
Pressure CookerMethod: Once the onion, celery, carrot and garlic are softened, add all the ingredients to the pot, including spices. Bring soup to pressure based on manufacturer's instructions. Reduce heat enough to keep at pressure for 15 minutes. Beans should be soft and ready for salt and pepper, to taste.
Before serving, remove bones and large pieces of turkey from the pot; allow to cool slightly on a platter. Once cool enough to handle, separate meat from the bones and any unappealing connective tissue. Return meat to the pot and discard bones.

Optional additions or substitutions: turnips, rutabagas, parsnips, kale, red bell pepper, or hot green chilies

Easy Smoked Turkey Bean Soup served with hearty corn breadSmoked Turkey Bean Soup: simple to make on the stove or in a crockpot

Shared on the following Blog Hops:
The Nourishing Gourmet
Real Food Whole Health Fresh Bites Friday
Mom Trends Friday Food
EKat’s Kitchen Friday Potluck
Easy Natural Food Sunday Night Soup NightReal Food Wednesdays

More bean recipes to stir your appetite:

Tuscan White Bean Soup with Broccoli Rabe 
Red Beans & Rice
Beans, Bacon & Chipotle
Black Bean Confetti Salsa
Sausage & Split Pea Stew
Hearty Beef & Bean Chili

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  1. scarino says

    I love fall soups, this sounds like a perfect fit for a beautiful crisp day!

    Thanks for linking up with Friday Food on!

    ~Shannon (Food Channel Editor @ MomTrends)

  2. DebbieA says

    This soup turned out fantastic! I made the stock with the turkey legs while the beans were soaking, substituted some blackening seasoning I had on hand for Prudhomme’s Meat Magic, and left out the beef bouillon because I did not have any. Then added a couple of cups of smoked turkey and the seasonings during the last half hour of cooking. It made a bunch so I will happily have some to freeze for later!

    • says

      Hi Debbie, thank you so much for taking the time to let me know how much you liked the soup–feedback is so helpful to edit and improve recipes! Substitutions are the beauty of making soup, so easy to customize, and you can’t go wrong with homemade stock. 🙂 Glad you enjoyed this recipe and that you have some for later too!

  3. Dynamo of Dixie says

    Thank you for a great looking recipe. I can use this. Glad to see the Chef Paul Prudhomme’s Meat Magic. We use his Vegetable Magic like it’s going out of style.

  4. says

    This is a wonderful recipe for our dinner this evening but will have to replace the turkey with chicken. Lovely.
    Have a super week ahead.
    🙂 Mandy xo

  5. says

    What a nice soup recipe, definitely will keep as winter is coming fast our way. I may only have hard time looking for smoked turkey so I will be using chicken instead.


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