How to Make Turkey Stock

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The glorious centerpiece of a giant roast turkey may be amazing for your holiday meal, but what do you do with all of those leftovers? The pile of bones, fat, and cartilage that remains after a successful dinner should never be thrown away – why not use it to make your own homemade turkey stock?

Why not use this homemade turkey stock to make some Turkey Noodle Soup?

Turkey Stock
Turkey Stock

How to Make Turkey Stock

Making your own stock at home is one of those things that sounds like it should be challenging and difficult to do. However, just like with making chicken stock, it is surprisingly easy – with the right flavorings and enough water and time, you’ll be left with a delicious, homemade stock that you can use in any recipe. If you are wanting an easy roast turkey recipe you can make this Deconstructed Turkey

This turkey stock makes for an excellent replacement for chicken stock in any recipe, or even just heated up on its own and eaten as a soup.

We’ve also written about the difference in chicken stock vs broth, which is the same for turkey as well!

Turkey Stock Ingredients

Don’t forget to check the exact ingredients needed for this recipe at the bottom of the page.

  • Turkey carcass (fat and meat)
  • White or yellow onion
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Salt
  • Peppercorns
  • Bay leaves
  • Fresh parsley
  • Water
Turkey Stock ingredients

How To Make Turkey Stock on the Stove

You can also make this in a slow cooker. Follow these instructions but place it in a slow cooker, place the lid on top and cook it on low for 12-15 hours. I like to leave mine overnight!

  • Break the turkey carcass completely apart at the joints
  • Remove all of the skin and fatty parts
  • Put all of the turkey pieces into a large stockpot, adding in the onion, carrots, and celery stalks
  • Add in the salt, whole peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsley, and then completely cover the turkey with water
  • Simmer for 3 hours until the bones start to break down and the meat is falling off of the bone
  • Remove the carcass carefully and strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer
  • Refrigerate the broth for about 3 days or freeze in a freezer-safe container for 6 months

How To Make Turkey Stock in the Instant Pot

  • Break the turkey carcass completely apart at the joints, fitting it carefully into the Instant Pot
  • Remove all of the skin and fatty parts
  • Put all of the turkey pieces into the Instant Pot, adding in the onion, carrots, and celery stalks
  • Add in the salt, whole peppercorns, bay leaves, and parsley, and then completely cover the turkey with water
  • Put the lid on the Instant Pot and set the valve to sealing
  • Cook on high pressure for 90 minutes and then let the pot naturally release and remove the lid
  • Remove the carcass carefully and strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer
  • Refrigerate the broth for about 3 days or freeze in a freezer safe container for 6 months

How To Break Apart The Turkey Carcass

One of the biggest difficulties in trying to prepare a carcass for stock making is to figure out how actually to break the carcass down.

While you don’t need to break it down into equal pieces like you were preparing to make fried chicken, you will still probably need to break it apart so that you can easily fit it into your pot.

The best thing to do is to rip the entire thing in two. Using your hands, grip both sides of the inside of the carcass, and pull them apart. Since the carcass is cooked, it should break apart very easily.

For a less messy alternative, break apart the easily separable joints, like the thigh and the breast sections. This will take a little longer but will result in small pieces of less collapsed and destroyed carcass.

Don’t worry about how it looks, though – it’s all going in the same place.

turkey stock in large glass containers

How Much Salt Should You Add?

Shopping for any kind of stock at the supermarket, you will likely discover that they are separated into two distinct categories, regardless of what animal they are made from, salted or sodium-free.

The salt-free options aren’t just for those looking to watch their sodium intake, but a  great way to give more control to home cooks.

While pretty much all stock applications are going to involve savory ingredients, there are times when you don’t want the standard level of salinity in your recipe, so a sodium-free option would be best.

This is equally true when making your own turkey stock at home – it will always need a little salt, but you don’t want to overdo it. It can be tempting to make it as salty as you would a soup, but you will likely be using the turkey stock in recipes.

You don’t want to be adding a ton of heavily salted stock to a recipe you might have already salted, right?

How To Use This Turkey Stock

The great thing about making a turkey stock at home is that you can use it for pretty much anything you want.

Use it to thin out sauces or stews, or serve it with rice, and you have a delicious rice soup; anything you would use regular carton stock for, you should just replace it with this.

A great tip is to ladle some of the cooled-down stock into plastic, flexible ice cube trays. After a few hours in the freezer, they will have become completely frozen, and you can pop them out.

Store these ready-portioned cubes of stock in a Ziploc freezer-safe bag, and you can grab as much stock as you need whenever you want it!

Looking for delicious ground turkey recipes? Try these out:

Turkey Meat Loaf

Ground Turkey Chili

Turkey Burgers

Enjoy! This is the recipe I use every single time we have a roast turkey for dinner! I have a container of it frozen and ready to use in my freezer right now!

Love,

Karlynn

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How to Make Turkey Stock

How to make delicious turkey stock using the bones from your roast turkey dinner! Makes a large batch, enough for two soup recipes. Instant Pot and stove top instructions.
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time
20 minutes
Cook Time
4 hours
Course
Soup
Cuisine
American
Servings
16
Calories
8
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients
  

  • 1 turkey carcass cleaned of skin, fat and meat
  • 1 large white or yellow onion peeled and quartered
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 large stalks celery
  • 1-2 tablespoons salt
  • 5 peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh parsley or 2 tsp dry
  • water to top

Instructions
 

  • Break the turkey carcass apart at the joints where you can, in order to be able to fit it into the soup pot. Remove all the skin and fatty parts as well, save any extra meat for later use.
  • Place the turkey pieces into a large stock pot. Add the onion, the carrots and the celery stalks ( if you have the leafy tops those are amazing for flavour, add them in!) .
  • Add in the salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, fresh parsley, and then cover the turkey with water, just to the top of it.
  • Simmer for 3-4 hours until the turkey bones are starting to break down, the meat is falling off the bone and the broth is looking cloudy.
  • Remove the carcass from the soup pot carefully and set aside. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer then place in another pot.
  • Refrigerate for 3-4 days, or freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months.

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Break the turkey carcass apart at the joints where you can, in order to be able to fit it into the Instant Pot. Remove all the skin and fatty parts as well.
  • Place the turkey pieces into the inner metal Instant pot. Add the onion, the carrots and the celery stalks ( if you have the leafy tops those are amazing for flavor, add them in!) .
  • Add in the salt, peppercorns, bay leaves, fresh parsley, and then cover the turkey with water, just to the top of it.
  • Place the lid on top, close properly and set the valve to sealing.
  • Cook on high pressure for 90 minutes. Let the pot naturally release, then carefully remove the lid.
  • Remove the carcass from the pot carefully and set aside. Strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer then place in your containers of choice.
  • Refrigerate for 3-4 days, or freeze in a freezer safe container for up to 6 months.

Recipe Notes

  • nutritional values will vary on how much fat you put in, etc.
  • you don’t want too much fat in a stock, you are using the bones and some of the fat for the richness. Leaving the skin and fat in the recipe makes a really greasy stock. The choice is up to you!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 8kcal, Carbohydrates: 2g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 1mg, Sodium: 882mg, Potassium: 52mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 1298IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 8mg, Iron: 1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the Canadian prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

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Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Karlynn Johnston says

    Bone broth is usually cooked longer and once you are done the bones are literally dried out and can snap in your hands. You are leeching everything out of the bones moreso than a stock. It’s a fancier name for stock that’s cooked longer.5 stars

  2. Rob says

    I have found that roasting the carcas in the oven to a toasty brown color before simmering improves the flavor of the stock. Also the fat and skin contribute flavor, and the fat will float on top of the finished stock where it is easy to blot it off with paper towels.

    • Karlynn Johnston says

      You can absolutely roast the carcass, but it gives it a ..toasted flavor and turns the broth a darker brown, and it definitely is a personal taste preference! And maybe it’s the turkeys I get here (we usually get local farm ones) , but there is SO much fat in the stock already ( you can see it swimming on top in the Instant Pot picture) that I find it almost unpalatable if you add in the skin and fat from the turkey. Again, though, it’s super personal preference!5 stars

  3. CJaxon says

    Is this considered ‘bone broth’? If not what is the difference to make it.

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