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November 20, 2023

How to Make Turkey Stock

Simple, flavorful ingredients and a basic method—just boil water and add ingredients to the stock pot—make this the best turkey stock recipe that you can use in any number of recipes.

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Homemade turkey stock in a glass jar

Turkey for me, and turkey for you

A Super Simple Homemade Turkey Stock

Here’s an easy homemade turkey stock recipe that puts that leftover turkey carcass to good use. Top it with water. Add a few things to make the stock taste really terrific, and that’s about it. The big secret is that stock is easy to make, and with Thanksgiving around the corner, you know you’re about to have a big old turkey carcass to deal with. Make sure you also try your hand at Turkey gravy, Turkey Noodle Soup, Turkey Pot Pie, Wild Rice Soup with Turkey, and our famous Turkey Pozole.

cooked turkey pieces, carrot, celery, onion, parsley, salt and pepper for homemade turkey stock

Ingredients For Homemade Turkey Stock

  • Leftover turkey carcass (from a cooked turkey), aka turkey carcass soup

  • Celery stalks

  • Carrots

  • Onion

  • Garlic

  • Bay leaves

  • Whole peppercorns

  • Fresh thyme

  • Fresh parsley

ingredients for turkey stock in a pot: onion, garlic, celery, carrots, thyme, parsley, salt, bay leaves & peppercorns
homemade turkey stock in a pot made with onion, garlic, celery, carrots, thyme, parsley, salt, bay leaves & peppercorns

How to Make Stock From a Turkey Carcass

  1. Dump everything into a stock pot. Yep, stuff that turkey carcass—bones and whatever meat is left on them—into the biggest stock pot you’ve got.

  2. Top it all off with cold water until the water covers the carcass almost completely.

  3. Bring the pot to a rapid boil and simmer the turkey stock for 6 hours. Yes, that’s right, exactly long enough to watch three holiday movies of your choice. Or two movies and get some shopping done.

  4. Strain the turkey stock. Turn off the heat and set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Take the big pieces of bone and vegetables out of the pot with tongs and then pour the rest through the strainer.

  5. And you’re done! You made homemade turkey stock!


How to Make Turkey Stock Ahead of Time!

  1. Instead of using a leftover turkey carcass, purchase 3 pounds of turkey wings and 1-2 turkey necks. Turkey necks are optional, but they add so much flavor. You can ask for them at the meat counter at your local grocery store.

  2. Roast the wings and necks in the oven, turning halfway through, until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

  3. Use the roasted wings and necks in the recipe in place of the turkey carcass. This way, you can have homemade turkey stock to use in all your favorite Thanksgiving day recipes!

homemade turkey stock being poured through a fine mesh sieve

What Can Turkey Stock Be Used For?

You can use roasted turkey stock in most any recipe that calls for chicken stock. Cooked with the same aromatics, it’s a simple one-to-one swap that’ll work beautifully. Here are a few of our favorite recipes to make when we’ve got homemade stock in the fridge or freezer:

homemade turkey stock in glass jars
homemade turkey stock in glass jars

How To Freeze Turkey Stock + Tips

  • Invest in some really great freezer-safe containers—we love these 1-cup portioned ones—and they’ll earn their keep many times over. Especially when it comes to making stock, you’re bound to end up with more than you can use right away. That’s where freezing comes in! Cool the stock completely and then pour it carefully into the freezer-safe containers.

  • Save plastic restaurant quart soup containers or buy your own plastic deli containers with lids for this purpose. They freeze expertly and stack nicely in the freezer.

  • Making homemade stock is not an exact science. Have some fennel butts leftover from making Roasted Fennel or our Easy Fennel Salad? Throw them in there. You get the idea!

  • For more recipes that go the distance check out Mashed Potatoes and our Thanksgiving Roundup.

Homemade turkey stock in a glass jar

All Of Our Best Turkey Recipes

Homemade Stock And More!

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How to Make Turkey Stock

  • Serves: 12
  • Yields: 8-12 Cups
  • Prep Time:  5 min
  • Cook Time:  6 hrs

Ingredients

  • 1 leftover turkey carcass
  • 2 celery ribs, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 2 large carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 yellow onion, halved
  • 1 head garlic, halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley

Method

  1. To a large stock pot, add the carcass, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt (if using), peppercorns, thyme, and parsley. Fill the pot with cold water until the carcass is almost covered. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, for 6 hours, checking on it and stirring occasionally. The liquid will reduce by about one third. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

  2. Remove and discard the carcass and any large turkey pieces and vegetables from the stock. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Strain the stock into the bowl.

  3. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze, divide the stock between several, preferably 1-cup, containers.


To make in slow-cooker:

  1. To the base of a slow cooker, add the carcass, celery, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt (if using), peppercorns, thyme, and parsley. Add eater to the slow cooker until the carcass is almost covered, leaving at least 1 inch of space at the top. Cook on HIGH for 8-10 hours or LOW or 12-16 hours.

  2. Remove and discard the carcass and any large turkey pieces and vegetables from the stock. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Strain the stock into the bowl.

  3. Let cool completely. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze, divide the stock between several, preferably 1-cup, containers.


Make ahead version:

  1. Instead of using a leftover turkey carcass, purchase 3 pounds of turkey wings and 1-2 turkey necks. The turkey necks are optional, but add so much flavor. You can ask for them at the meat counter at your local grocery store.

  2. Preheat the oven to 450°F with a rack in the center position. Arrange turkey wings and neck (if using) on a large rimmed baking sheet. Roast in the oven, turning the turkey halfway through, until golden brown, about 45 minutes.

  3. Transfer wings and necks to a large stock pot. Add the celery, carrots, onion, garlic, bay leaves, salt (if using), peppercorns, thyme, and parsley. Fill the pot with cold water until the wings and neck are almost covered. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low. Simmer, for 6 hours, checking on it and stirring occasionally. The liquid will reduce by about one third. Remove from the heat and let cool completely.

  4. Remove and discard the wings, neck and vegetables from the stock. Set a fine-mesh sieve over a large bowl. Strain the stock into the bowl.

  5. Store refrigerated in an airtight container for up to a week or in the freezer for up to 3 months. To freeze, divide the stock between several, preferably 1-cup, containers.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories33
  • Protein2 g
  • Carbohydrates0 g
  • Total Fat1 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol1 mg
  • sodium89 mg
  • Total Sugars0 g

How to Make Turkey Stock

Questions & Reviews

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  • Jenn

    This was my first time making stock and it turned out so amazing and I felt great that I was able to do it! I ended dup making your creamy chicken orzo with the stock which was also wonderful.

    Thank you Jenn, so glad you enjoyed both dishes!