whole food ~ well made

Turkey stock how to at

Good Poultry Stock from Your Thanksgiving Turkey

By now you’ve probably scraped off most of the meat from that turkey carcass for sandwiches or soup or one of the hundreds of ways to use leftover turkey. {This link offers up many creative but simple ideas I love.}

Maybe you’re even sick of the sight of it. But don’t toss that turkey carcass or any of the bones away. This is your chance to make a bounty of good stock. Or broth.

Whatever you want to call it–the product of bones simmered slowly with a few cast-off vegetables–is pure liquid gold.

Bone Broth or Stock?

Laugh all you want about the bone broth craze. Meat broths are the basis of civilization as we know it. The most restorative of foods that also kicked off the modern-day restaurant.

And while you may not be one to sip a bone broth for your health {yeah, me neither}, a good stock or broth is the foundation for so many other things to love. Namely, soup and stew and sauce and gravy…

And your giant picked-to-the-bone turkey carcass is the ideal opportunity to make a batch. Even if you’ve never done it before.

Turkey stock how to at
A large stockpot and fine-meshed strainer are all you need to make exceptional stock from your leftover turkey bones and scraps.

The difference between stock and broth is really academic. Basically a broth is flavored with more meat while a stock is generally all bone.

So, if your turkey still has a lot of the meat attached to the bone, or you toss in a leg or two that nobody ate, plus all the good meat scraps left on the platter, you’re making a broth.

On the other hand, if the turkey carcass looks like it was picked clean by a pack of coyotes, you’re making stock. Same difference in the making.

How to Make Turkey Stock

Just stuff all the bits into your biggest stockpot, cover with cool water with a few hunks of onion, carrot, celery, bay leaf and peppercorns and put it over very low heat.

Then go chill out for about 6 hours, padding by the pot just to be sure it’s got lazy bubbles rising to the surface.

I’m not going to lie: straining the stock is the one and only challenge of this most worthwhile endeavor. Do not attempt this in your PJs as I have done too many times. That’s because splashes are inevitable.

Using Turkey Stock Now & Later

If you’re wanting to use the stock right away, try this turkey udon soup that is a nice change up from the classic turkey rice soup {also terrific}.

If you’re still deep in other leftovers, freeze the stock in resealable quart or gallon bags. {Be sure to use official “freezer bags” because others are prone to leak.}

Here’s how to freeze homemade stock for maximum space saving:

  1. Label the bags before filling with the date and contents.
  2. Fill the bag 3/4 full, then seal, leaving a little gap along one edge. Then, slowly lay the bag on its side, and let the air release as the liquid fills the air space. Seal completely. Repeat with any remaining filled bags.
  3. Freeze on a rimmed baking sheet in the freezer until solid. Then, store stacked or upright.

Wouldn’t it be great to store away future meals from this major feast? Unlike other Thanksgiving leftovers, stock can be frozen for up to one year.

Here’s to a weekend of leisure, family and limited kitchen time. You’ve earned it!


and become a forager

Turkey Stock or Broth

This is a guide for making turkey stock or broth, not a rigid formula. You can simmer it anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, depending on your schedule. Then, use it right away or store it for future use. Substitute the bones from two roasted chickens for the turkey carcass.
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Servings 2 quarts
Author Lynne Curry


  • 1 turkey carcass, plus any other turkey bones, necks or meaty leftovers
  • 1 medium onion, outer skin peeled and roughly chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 8 whole peppercorns


  • Stuff the turkey bones and scraps into a large stockpot. Cover with water just until the water level is above the bones, about 12 cups. Add the onion, carrot, celery, thyme, bay leaf and peppercorns.
  • Bring the broth to a simmer over low heat partially covered. Simmer for at least 4 and up to 6 hours to extract all of the flavor from the bones, skimming and discarding any foam that rises to the top with a slotted spoon.
  • Continue to check on the pot to be sure that it maintains a low simmer, with bubbles rising lazily to the surface. 
  • Set a strainer over a large storage container or another stockpot. Use tongs to remove the carcass and any large bones, then strain the stock and discard all of the solids.
  • Allow the stock to cool to room temperature, preferably in a sink filled with ice water, for about 30 minutes. Store in the refrigerator for up to 1 week and in the freezer for up to 1 year.

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