Here’s how to repurpose your roast turkey carcass into a rich and flavourful homemade turkey stock from scratch. All you need are basic vegetables, herbs, water, and stove top simmering time. Slow Cooker and Instant Pot instructions are included.
But the fun doesn’t stop there…the next step is using the turkey stock for gravy in a Turkey Pot Pie or adding it to a Creamy Turkey Wild Rice Soup. This turkey broth freezes well and adds extra flavour to many recipes for soups, stews, and comforting risottos.
Homemade Turkey Stock
When you roast a turkey, leftovers are inevitable. A turkey is the gift that keeps on giving and once the leftover turkey is put away, the bare bones of the carcass remain. It sounds a touch grim, but that turkey has more to give. It’s time to make homemade stock.
There’s nothing more satisfying than making turkey stock. Using the entire bird to its full potential (and reducing kitchen waste) gives meaning to the process. With minimal preparation and an afternoon of simmering, you’ll have a few quarts of this essential and versatile culinary ingredient.
This stock recipe contains all the necessary tips on how to make stock out of your Christmas or Thanksgiving turkey. However, you can also use this exact same method to create a flavourful stock with chicken. Reduce the water, veggies, and herbs by half to make stock with a single chicken or freeze 2-3 chicken carcasses and follow this recipe to make a larger batch.
The Difference Between Turkey Stock, Broth, and Bone Broth
One difference between stock and broth is that stock is made with bones while broth is made by simmering meat or vegetables. While you can make a delicious broth out of roasted vegetables, it is technically impossible to make stock out of vegetables since they do not contain bones.
Another difference is time. Broth is simmered for a short amount of time, resulting in a thinner less flavourful liquid. Stock has more flavour because the long simmering time brings out the flavor and gelatin from the bones. That’s why a great stock will become jelly-like when chilled.
Finally, Bone Broth is essentially a nutrient rich stock with a longer simmering period (up to 48 hours). Apple cider vinegar is often added to the broth to facilitate the release of glucosamine, amino acids, and electrolytes.
NOTE: All three can be used interchangeably in most recipes, although stock is generally more concentrated in flavour.
These are the basic ingredients you will find in most turkey stock recipes. Note that there is no additional salt. Stock is usually sodium free as it is intended to become part of a dish that contains its own seasoning.
- Turkey Carcass
- Bay Leaves
The most important part of this recipe is the turkey bones. They should be clean, with a tiny amount of meat remaining. You can blanch the bones first to remove impurities or roast the carcass to bring out even more flavour. However, these extra steps mean extra work and the difference in flavour is minimal.
As always, I encourage the use of fresh herbs in this stock recipe. However, dried herbs will do in a pinch.
Pro tip: To reduce food waste, many people save and freeze vegetable peelings to use in stock.
How to Make Turkey Stock from Scratch
Place the turkey bones, vegetables, peppercorns, and herbs in a large stockpot. Pour enough water over the turkey carcass (about 16 cups) to just cover it.
Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then immediately reduce to a gentle simmer. If the stock is allowed to boil rapidly for too long, it will become cloudy. Simmer the stock, uncovered, for 3 – 4 hours, or until stock has been reduced by half.
To strain the stock, use tongs to remove the large bits and place them in a fine mesh strainer over another large pot or large bowl. Allow them to drain completely, then discard. Strain the rest of the stock to remove the smaller bits.
If you want to make a more concentrated stock, return the stock to the stove. Simmer gently and reduce until the stock reaches your desired flavor concentration. Cool to room temperature.
Finally, chill the stock in the fridge overnight, then skim off the solidified layer of fat in the morning. The stock is now ready to use.
How to Make Turkey Stock in a Slow Cooker
This turkey stock recipe is easily adaptable to both the Slow Cooker and the Instant Pot. To make stock in a slow cooker, you’ll need a large unit; at least 6 quarts. I highly recommend roasting the bones beforehand. This extra step will enhance the flavour of the slow cooker stock.
From there, it’s as simple as placing the roasted turkey bones and other ingredients in the slow cooker and covering them with water. Cover and cook the stock on low for 12-24 hours. The liquid won’t reduce significantly using this method, rather it will become infused with flavour. Strain and chill as directed.
Instant Pot Turkey Stock
I LOVE making stock in my Instant Pot, especially if I am in a rush. This method is quick and produces a beautiful rich stock. Depending on the size of the turkey, you may have to break some bones up to get it all inside the pressure cooker.
Place all the stock ingredients in the Instant Pot and cover them with enough water to reach the maximum fill line. Place the lid on the Instant Pot and ensure the pressure release is in the closed position. Set to manual ‘high pressure’ and add 60 minutes.
Note that it will take a fair amount of time for all that liquid to heat up and begin to cook under pressure. When 60 minutes is over, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release the pressure. Strain and chill as directed.
Homemade turkey stock is full of healthy benefits including immunity boosting compounds, vitamins, and nutrients including calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous. These nutrients, along with collagen, are great for protecting joints as well as building bones and muscle.
We all know what happens after turkey dinner…turkey coma! The are compounds within turkey that act as natural sleep and digestive aids.
Additionally, stock is high in protein and low in calories, cholesterol, and sodium. I like to freeze small portions in an ice cube tray and defrost it to use on my dog’s food. They love the added treat!
How to Store Turkey Stock
Always cool hot stock to room temperature (but do not let it sit out overnight) before placing it in the fridge or freezer. It will keep for up to a week in the fridge and over 3 months in the freezer.
If you make this Homemade Turkey Stock recipe, please be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Be sure to follow me on Facebook and Pinterest for my latest recipes. Also, if you do make this recipe, please tag me on Instagram, I’d love to see what you guys are making! Thank you so much for reading my blog.
- turkey carcass; most of the meat removed and broken into pieces
- 16 cups (1 gallon) water
- 4 stalks celery; roughly chopped
- 4 medium carrots; roughly chopped
- 1 large onion; roughly chopped
- 2 cloves garlic; smashed
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 4 large sprigs fresh rosemary
- handful of fresh thyme
- 3 bay leaves
- handful of fresh Italian parsley
- Place turkey carcass, the vegetables, peppercorns, and herbs in a large stockpot.
- Add enough water to just cover the carcass (about 16 cups).
- Bring to a boil over medium high heat, then immediately reduce to a gentle simmer.
- Simmer uncovered for 3 - 4 hours, or until stock has reduced by half.
- To strain the stock, use tongs to remove the large bits and place them in a fine mesh sieve over another large pot. Allow them to drain, then discard.
- Strain the rest of the stock to remove the smaller bits. Cool to room temperature.
- Chill in fridge overnight and skim off the solidified fat from the surface of the stock. The stock is ready to use.
Optional: If you want crystal clear stock make an egg raft. For every quart of stock, whisk 2 egg whites with 2 teaspoons water and 2 teaspoons white vinegar. Add in the shells! Slowly warm the stock up to body temperature, then add the egg mixture. Stir and heat over medium high heat until you see the egg raft float to the surface. Try not to break it up as you gently scrape the bottom for any bits that may have stuck on. Bring to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 5 minutes then let it rest for 20 minutes. Use a slotted spoon to gently remove the egg raft without breaking it up. Discard the egg raft. Ladle remaining stock through a triple layer of cheesecloth.
Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 28mgSodium: 59mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 3gSugar: 2gProtein: 9g
Nutritional calculation was provided by Nutritionix and is an estimation only. For special diets or medical issues please use your preferred calculator.