Learn how easy it is to make Turkey Stock from the bones of your Thanksgiving turkey! All you need is a picked over turkey carcass and some vegetables and herbs that you probably already have on hand from cooking your turkey. You are going to love using this flavorful turkey stock in your next soup!

turkey stock

This post was originally published on November 21, 2012. I’ve made some updates to the recipe and added more tips at the bottom. Here’s a flashback to yesteryear, when my 8-year-old was just a baby and I was pregnant with my second (here we are years later, and I’m pregnant with another boy!)

turkey stock recipe

Some things:

  • We just found out we are having a BOY!! I’m still in complete shock. I was convinced it was a girl. (I think I just told myself that because I didn’t want to have to repaint Charlotte’s room.) Also, I thought Charlotte was a boy, so maybe my mother’s intuition is just in a state of perpetual Opposite-Day-ness. We are so excited to have a little boy!
  • Charlotte has recently learned the word “fox.” Except that she pronounces x’s like k’s. It makes for some interesting playtime conversations.
  • I decorated for Christmas over the weekend. There is nothing better than a lit Christmas tree, yes, even the week before Thanksgiving.
how to make turkey stock
  • Whose idea was it to let our toddlers sleep on mini trampolines? Charlotte’s favorite thing to do is jump in her crib (which, by the way, makes it not quite as formidable a time-out spot). You would not believe the height she gets. I know she is up from her nap not when she cries, but when I can hear the springs of her mattress getting a workout. One of these days she is going to go sailing over the edge. I should start lining the floor with pillows.
  • The people above us vacuum about once a week. (It’s pretty loud because the insulation in our building is practically nil.) And every time I think to myself Are they vacuuming again?? And then I immediately remind myself: Yes Karen, most people vacuum more than once every 3 months like you.

I made my first turkey last week, and wanted to get every last bit out of that bird as I could, so I decided to make some turkey stock. It was super easy. Throw everything in a pot and forget about it for a few hours.

And man is it good. I froze it in ziplocks, but if you have enough ice cube trays, you can freeze individual tablespoons and then throw them in a bag. That would have been awesome but I am way too lazy!

How to make Turkey Stock

Turkey stock is super easy to make, and if you are a part of the majority of Americans who are making this after Thanksgiving, you probably already have everything you need. If not, every year from now on just remember to over-buy a little bit on all your celery, carrots, onions, and herbs, and you are all set to go for your turkey stock.

turkey broth recipe

First you start by shoving your picked-over turkey carcass into the biggest pot you have. Depending on the size of your pot, you may need to break down the carcass to make it fit. If there is some meat left on the bones, that’s okay, but just know that once it’s done boiling for 4 hours, it’s going to be rather tough and not very tasty. So gather up the meat that you want to eat now and set aside.

how to make turkey broth

Next, add in all your veggies and herbs. There’s no need to be overly particular here. If you are missing an herb or two, don’t sweat it. The onions, celery, and carrots are the most important as far as flavor goes. Cover all of it with water. I filled my pot all the way to the top!

turkey bone broth

After about 4 hours, your water level will have lowered a bit, and the turkey and veggies will have softened and shrunk.

turkey stock

Drain through a colander into a large pot. I think it’s easier to use tongs to get the larger pieces out instead of dumping the whole pot of boiling hot stock all at once.

You can also make turkey stock in the slow cooker! Just put it all in the crock pot and turn it to low for 10-12 hours. SO easy.

How to use Turkey Bone Broth

Homemade Turkey stock is so versatile! You can use it in literally any recipe that calls for chicken broth. If you have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving, you can usually substitute it in place of the chicken called for in the recipe. Turkey and chicken are very similar. I find that turkey stock has an even richer, deeper flavor than chicken broth. It’s so good in any kind of poultry-based soup! See a list of soup ideas down below.

turkey stock recipe

What is the difference between Turkey Broth and Turkey Stock?

They’re the same thing, right?? Almost. Stock is:

  • always cooked from bones
  • often gels when it cools due from the bone marrow (today’s recipe will gel)
  • is usually left unseasoned (there is no salt in today’s recipe)
  • cooks for longer (usually 3-6 hours depending on the recipe)


  • can be made from meat without bones
  • is seasoned with salt
  • is usually cooked in less than 2 hours

The good news is that you don’t really have to remember any of this. You can use stock and broth interchangeably. Just remember to check the salt level in your final dish when using stock.

turkey stock recipe

And there you have it my friends! I have a friend (she commented on this post years ago, you can still see it below) who would go to her friend’s houses to pick up their turkey carcass after Thanksgiving if they weren’t using it, and make tons of turkey stock from it. “Because people were just going to throw away their turkey bones. The INSANITY.” I love you, Ami. Waste not want not!

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving! Stay tuned because now it’s time for CHRISTMAS RECIPES! Yes bring it on!

Soups that you can use this turkey stock to make:

Other stock and broth recipes you will like:

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Turkey Stock Recipe (Made from the Bones)

Learn how easy it is to make Turkey Stock from the bones of your Thanksgiving turkey! All you need is a picked over turkey carcass and some vegetables and herbs that you probably already have on hand from cooking your turkey. You are going to love using this flavorful turkey stock in your next soup!


  • 1 12-15 pound turkey carcass, picked over
  • turkey neck, if you have it (it’s ok if you don’t)
  • giblets, if you have them (it’s ok if you don’t)
  • leftover turkey drippings, if you have them (it's ok if you don't)
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 4 cloves of garlic, smashed
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled, chopped into thirds
  • about 1/3 a head of celery, leaves included
  • 1 large bunch of parsley, roughly torn or chopped
  • 1/2 bunch sage, roughly torn or chopped
  • 3-4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 5 sprigs thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8-10 whole peppercorns
  • about 4 quarts of water


  • Place your turkey carcass into a very large stock pot (at least 6-quart capacity.) Add in your turkey neck, giblets, any skin, and leftover turkey drippings, if you have them. It’s okay if you don’t, you will still get a great turkey stock from just the carcass.
  • Add the onion, carrots, and garlic. Chop off about a third of a head of celery, the end that has the leaves preferably, but use what you have. You should have several short stalks. Add them to the pot.
  • Add a bunch of parsley, half a bunch of sage, 3-4 sprigs of rosemary, and about 5 sprigs of thyme.* Tear the herbs up a bit so they start releasing flavor faster.
  • Add 3 bay leaves and 8-10 peppercorns.
  • Cover the turkey and vegetables with about 4 quarts of water, or however much you need to submerge everything in the pot (at least mostly, some parts sticking out is okay.)
  • Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. After if has come to a rapid boil, turn the burner down to just below medium, or wherever you can maintain a low simmer. There should be gentle bubbles but nothing too active.The liquid should be gently moving at all times, not still.
  • Simmer for about 2-4 hours. See how chill this recipe is? I would say 2 hours is the minimum, 4 hours will get you a super duper rich stock. Check on it every now and then, and skim off any foam or scum that may settle on the top. If your water is boiling off too quickly and the bones start to stick out of the water, add more water to cover it up, and bring back to a simmer.
  • Pour the stock through a colander into a large bowl (or two), catching any bones or vegetables.
  • At this point I like to use a gravy fat separator to easily discard all the fat that will rise to the top. You can also just wait for the stock to cool (or refrigerate/freeze it) and skim the fat off with a spoon.
  • Allow stock to cool before moving to an airtight container and placing in the fridge or freezer. I like to use mason jars if you plan to store in the fridge, or quart size ziplocks if you plan to freeze.
  • Use this turkey stock as a base for soups or anything that calls for chicken broth!
  • Stock can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for about 3 months.

Slow Cooker Instructions:

  • Add all the ingredients to a large crock pot. Cook on low for 10-12 hours. Pick up with the recipe in step 8, when you strain it through a colander.


*You can adjust the herb amounts to your taste. It’s also okay if you are missing an herb or two. The parsley is important, but if you’re out of sage or something, it’s okay. Just use what you have. 
Makes 12-15 cups total. 


Serving: 1 g, Calories: 14 kcal, Carbohydrates: 3 g, Protein: 1 g, Fat: 1 g, Saturated Fat: 1 g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1 g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1 g, Sodium: 12 mg, Potassium: 89 mg, Fiber: 1 g, Sugar: 1 g, Vitamin A: 2441 IU, Vitamin C: 9 mg, Calcium: 21 mg, Iron: 1 mg