Turkey Gumbo

turkey gumbo in a bowl with rice and french bread
Diana Rattray
Prep: 40 mins
Cook: 2 hrs
Total: 2 hrs 40 mins
Servings: 8 servings

If you're looking for a way to use that leftover Thanksgiving turkey, look no further! This rich and delicious gumbo is an excellent choice. The recipe makes enough for about eight satisfying entrée servings, and much of the prep work can be done in advance. Don't worry if you have leftovers—the soup is even better the next day!

The majority of the required hands-on prep time is for stirring the roux. You can cut prep time significantly by preparing the roux a day or more in advance. Store cooked roux in a covered container in the refrigerator until you are ready to make the gumbo. Homemade is best, but ready-made Cajun roux can be found in stores and online.


  • 8 strips bacon (diced)
  • 3/4 cup vegetable oil (divided use)
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 pound smoked sausage (preferably Cajun-inspired, such as andouille)
  • 2 cups onion (chopped)
  • 1 cup green bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1/2 cup red bell pepper (chopped)
  • 1 cup celery (chopped)
  • 3 green onions (chopped, white and light green separated from dark green)
  • 3 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 2 to 2 1/2 quarts chicken stock (or turkey stock, low sodium)
  • 3 to 4 cups turkey (cooked, chopped or shredded)
  • 3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 cup chopped parsley (plus more for garnish, if desired)
  • Optional: hot sauce, for serving
  • Optional: steamed rice, for serving

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    ingredients for turkey gumbo
    Diana Rattray
  2. Put the bacon in a large skillet and place the skillet over medium heat. Cook until the bacon has rendered its fat. With a slotted spoon, remove the bacon pieces to paper towels to drain. You should have about 1/4 to 1/3 cup of drippings left in the pan. Refrigerate the crumbled bacon to use as a garnish or save it for another use.

    cooked bacon pieces
    Diana Rattray
  3. Remove 2 tablespoons of oil from the 3/4 cup and set it aside. Add the remaining oil—about 2/3 cup—to the bacon drippings. Add the flour to the bacon drippings and oil mixture and cook over medium heat, constantly stirring, for about 25 to 30 minutes, or until the roux is the color of milk chocolate. Remove the roux from the heat and set it aside.

    dark roux in a pan
    Diana Rattray
  4. Heat the remaining 2 tablespoons of oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add the smoked sausage and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

    sausage is sauteed in a dutch oven
    Diana Rattray
  5. Add the onions, celery, green and red bell pepper, and the white and light green parts of the green onions to the sausage; continue to cook for about 4 minutes, or until the vegetables are soft. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute longer. 

    add the vegetables to the sausage
    Diana Rattray
  6. To the vegetables and sausage, add the reserved roux; stir to combine. 

    roux is added to the vegetables
    Diana Rattray
  7. Gradually add 2 cups the chicken stock to the pot a little at a time, stirring constantly. Add the chopped turkey, Worcestershire sauce, bay leaves, salt, Cajun seasoning, thyme, and black pepper. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 1 1/2 hours, stirring occasionally. If too thick, add more stock in small amounts.

    turkey gumbo in dutch oven
    Diana Rattray
  8. Stir the parsley and chopped green onions (dark green parts) into the gumbo and serve it over hot steamed rice.

    turkey gumbo with sausage over hot cooked rice
    Diana Rattray
  9. Garnish the turkey gumbo with extra green onions, parsley, and the crumbled cooked bacon, if desired.

    turkey gumbo with rice in a bowl
    Diana Rattray

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