How to Make Turkey Broth (or Stock)

Iva Carter
Published by Iva Carter
Last Updated On: May 24, 2024

I hate waste, so it always pained me to throw away the entire carcass after Thanksgiving turkey dinner.

While searching for ways to make use of leftover bones, I came up with the idea to craft a turkey broth. It’s rich and flavorful and an excellent foundation for countless dishes.

I’ve experimented with adding different turkey bones, herbs, and vegetables to get the perfect blend of taste and nutrition. Today, I’ll give you my homemade recipe for a delectable turkey broth.

Recipe Overview

A close up shot of turkey stock on a bowl
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 12 hours
  • Total Time: 12 hours and 10 minutes
  • Number of Servings: 8

Ingredients

  • Roasted turkey carcass
  • 16 cups of water (or enough to fill the top of your crock pot)
  • 1 cup celery stalks, halved
  • 2 carrots, halved
  • 2 medium onions
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 1/2 tablespoon black pepper

Instructions

Turkey stock ingredients in a cooking pot
  1. Use kitchen sheers and make a few cuts on the turkey carcass. Use your hands and pull the carcass into about five pieces.
  2. Add all ingredients to the crockpot, cover with water, and cook on low for 12 hours.
  3. Once your homemade turkey broth is cooked, let it cool and run through a fine mesh strainer into a large pot.
  4. Place the carrots, onion, and celery from the fine mesh strainer and put them into a blender. Puree until you get a smooth mixture. Add the puree to the turkey broth and store it in the fridge.

Recipe Notes

A bowl of turkey stock with a spoon on the side

Here are some recipe tips for making homemade turkey broth:

  • Turkey broth is very forgiving. You can add what you have, and don’t worry about the exact measurements.
  • The longer you cook the turkey bones, the richer the broth. However, you shouldn’t go over the 24-hour mark.
  • Make sure the leftover turkey bones are covered with water at all times. Add more water if needed throughout cooking.
  • Prep the stock while you’re cooking for Thanksgiving. Set out a large zip-top bag and throw in chopped celery, extra carrots, turkey neck bone, etc. This way, you have a pre-made kit for homemade broth.
  • Store the broth in the fridge for up to four to five days.

Nutrition Facts (Per Serving)

  • Calories: 20 kcal
  • Total Carbs: 1g
  • Protein: 6g
  • Fat: 2g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Net Carbs: 0g

A Note on Ingredients and Substitutions

A close up shot of a turkey stock on a pot

Here’s which ingredients and substitutions you can use for a homemade turkey broth:

  • Leftover turkey carcass — If the whole leftover carcass can’t fit into your pot (which is likely the case), cut it into a few pieces using the shears of a knife. You can have some meat left over on the bones.
  • Bones — The recipe works with any kind of bones. For example, use chicken bones to make chicken broth.
  • Vegetables — These are optional, but you can use carrots, onions, and garlic for more flavor. You can use a whole head of garlic or slice it in half. Use an entire carrot without peeling.
  • Organ meats — You can add the heart and the gizzard, but not the liver.
  • Water — Use cold water to make sure your turkey bone broth is clear and not muddy. The amount of water you use will determine broth intensity.
  • Herbs and spices — You can use fresh herbs, such as fresh thyme, parsley stems, bay leaves, peppercorns, garlic, and more. Place them in a piece of cloth tied with twine or in a tea ball to make it easier to take out of the broth later. Or strain at the end.

Note: You can use various herbs depending on what kind of broth you want. For example, add ginger and turmeric for health benefits. Ginger boosts the immune system, and turmeric is anti-inflammatory [1] [2].

Storing and Freezing Tips

A top view of turkey stock

Store turkey broth in a glass jar with a lid in the fridge for up to five days.

Or, you can freeze the broth and use it as needed.

Make sure your turkey or chicken stock is cool. Divide the broth into freezer-safe containers.

If you’re freezing in a glass container, make sure to leave about an inch of space on top for expansion.

Label the containers with the date and name, and keep them in the freezer for three months. Once you want to use the broth, thaw it overnight in the fridge.

“If you’ve made a turkey this Christmas, don’t throw away the carcass. Use it to make a flavorful stock and bring your soup to the next level. Add the turkey carcass to a large stock pot. It may not look appetizing, but the bones are full of flavor.”

- Dished, YouTube Channel

Generally, I don’t recommend freezing in glass because it can break easily. Instead, freeze in ice cube trays. This is also great for when you’re making a turkey noodle soup or another dish that only needs a little broth. This way, there’s no need to defrost the whole jar.

How to Use Turkey Broth?

Turkey broth on a white bowl with a spoon

Turkey broth is extremely versatile and flavorful, and you can use it in a wide range of dishes, such as:

  • Soups and stews — Use the broth as the base for soups and stews. Its rich flavor adds depth to the turkey soup.
  • Gravies and sauces — Use it to deglaze the pan after cooking meats for a flavorful sauce that complements the main courses.
  • Rice and grains — Substitute water with turkey broth when cooking rice, quinoa, or other grains. This gives more flavor to the simple dishes.
  • Mashed potatoes —  Substitute water with broth for added richness and a hint of turkey flavor that elevates the dish.
  • Casseroles and baked dishes — Broth in casseroles, stuffing, and baked dishes ensures even moisture distribution and creates an enticing aroma.
  • Pan sauces — After roasting or sautéing turkey or other meats, create a pan sauce by deglazing it with homemade turkey broth. The caramelized bits in the pan combine with the broth for a delicious sauce.
  • Poaching and braising — Use the broth as a poaching or braising liquid for meats and vegetables. The broth gives tenderness and flavor to the ingredients.
  • Marinades and brines — Enhance the flavor of your poultry by marinating or brining it in a mixture of turkey broth, herbs, and spices before cooking.
  • Sipping — Have a soothing cup of warm broth on its own. It's not only delicious but also a comforting and nourishing drink.

You May Also Like:

FAQs

Is Turkey Stock the Same as Turkey Broth?

No, turkey stock isn’t the same as turkey broth. Broth contains only water and roast turkey bones. Stock can contain vegetables, fresh parsley, thyme, and other herbs. However, most people use these interchangeably, as both are liquid made from bones.

 

Is It Healthy to Drink Turkey Broth?

Yes, it’s healthy to drink turkey broth. It’s rich in calcium, magnesium, and many other minerals. The broth can improve your gut health, strengthen the immune system, and provide pain relief.

Is It OK to Drink Bone Broth Every Day?

Yes, it’s OK to drink bone broth every day. Drinking bone broth daily decreases the appetite because it’s rich in protein. It also improves gut health.

Can You Add Acids to a Turkey Broth?

Yes, you can add acids to a turkey broth. Acids help break down the connective tissue and can even help release nutrients from bones. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Don’t add too much because you’ll change the balance of the broth. You can also use lemon or lime.


References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3665023/ 
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0944711305000371
Was this article helpful?
YesNo

About the author

Iva Carter
Associate Editor
Iva Carter is a FBP certified foodie and influencer who loves to share delicious yet quick dinner recipes. When she's not in the kitchen concocting meaty delights, you'll find her playing with her dog, Sylvie.
Learn more about our editorial policy
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *