Homemade Turkey Stock

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Don’t throw out the bones leftover from your Thanksgiving turkey meal! Use them to make a delicious and healthy homemade turkey stock to use in countless other recipes. And it couldn’t be easier.

glass jars full of turkey broth

Thanksgiving is approaching and since we raise our own turkeys, our meal is extra special for us. We raise several turkeys, save a whole one for Thanksgiving, and then cut up the remaining turkeys to use the meat in other ways. I like to use the breast meat for canning and the leg meat for grilling.

I keep all the carcasses and freeze them to make stock throughout the year as needed. Making homemade turkey stock is a very simple process and here’s how I do it.

Ingredients for Homemade Turkey Stock

  • 1 turkey carcass (if frozen, no need to thaw)
  • 1 onion
  • 5 carrots
  • 5 sticks of celery
  • 1 leek
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • herbs such as thyme and parsley
Ingredients for homemade turkey broth, carrots, celery, leeks, and an onion sitting on a cutting board

Tools You Will Need

  • Large stock pot-the one I use is 22 quarts and fits a turkey carcass nicely. Unfortunately, my slow cooker won’t accommodate such a large bird so although I make chicken stock in the slow cooker, I do turkey stock on the stovetop.
  • Knife and cutting board-to cut up the vegetables
  • Large spoon-for occasional stirring
  • Glass jars-for storage. I use either quart or half-gallon glass canning jars.
Broth ingredients in a stock pot

How to Make Homemade Turkey Stock

Place the turkey carcass into the stock pot.

Roughly chop the vegetables and toss into the pot. There really is no exact amount, it’s whatever you have on hand and feel like adding! I usually grab some carrots and celery that are in storage from the garden as well as any leeks I might have. You can still make stock even if you’re missing an ingredient or two!

Add in some apple cider vinegar and any fresh herbs you have on hand. I keep a few growing on the windowsill as far into winter that I can so I usually clip a few sprigs of thyme and parsley. I don’t add salt because I use there stock for other recipes and the salt will be added then.

Fill the pot with water to within a few inches from the top. Cover and set on high heat.

A stock pot full of water and broth ingredients

Bring to a rolling boil and then reduce the heat. Slant the lid to release some of the steam and keep at a nice, gently simmer. Stir every once in a while as you go about your day but let the stock simmer for as long as possible, ideally around 8 hours.

During the winter, when the wood stove is burning throughout the day, I like to simmer my stock on top of it. I get it to a boil on the electric stove and then transfer it to the top of the wood stove to keep it going. Any time I can use the heat provided by the wood stove for cooking is ideal.

stock pot full of boiling broth

After the turkey and vegetables have been simmering for several hours, remove from the heat and allow to cool down for a bit. Ladle out the large pieces of bones and meat, and vegetables and set aside for other uses.

Storing Stock

You can pour your stock through a strainer but once I remove the large chunks of ingredients, I’m fine with the very small pieces staying in our broth.

glass jar with a funnel and homemade turkey broth being poured into it

Use either quart or half-gallon size glass jars and a small jar funnel. Ladle the stock into the jars, taking care to leave some headspace to allow for freezing or pressure canning, depending on what method of storage you’re using.

If I have the time, I like to pressure can the stock so it’s shelf-stable and ready for immediate use when I need it. However, I typically end up freezing it because it’s much quicker! This means I have to pull it out of the freezer in the morning if I’ll need it for supper.

glass jar full of homemade turkey broth

Uses for Homemade Turkey Stock

The uses for homemade turkey stock are just about endless! I use it the same as I do chicken stock so if a recipe calls for chicken stock, I’ll replace it with some turkey stock and it works just as well.

This includes any kind of soup, meat or vegetable stews, sauces, pot pies, stroganoff, or any recipe calling for stock.

several glass jars full of broth

How to Use the Leftover Ingredients

Because all of the meat was already removed from the carcass, there probably isn’t much leftover after boiling it for the stock. However, sometimes pieces of meat are left behind.

After boiling for hours, the flavor and moisture has been cooked out of the meat so it will be dry and not very tasty. We reserve any of these small pieces for our dogs, which is a treat when mixed in with their food. Be extra careful that all bones are discarded as they are dangerous if ingested.

The vegetables are also not going to be very palatable so we pass them along to our chickens, which they are thankful for!

glass jars full of broth

I hope you can see how simple it is to make turkey stock as well as how versatile it is. Save the bones from your Thanksgiving meal and make even more food to have on hand for delicious and healthy family meals.

Homemade Turkey Stock

Use Thanksgiving leftovers to make this delicious and healthy homemade turkey stock to use in countless other recipes.
Print Recipe
glass jars full of broth
Prep Time:10 minutes
Cook Time:8 hours


  • Stock pot


  • 1 turkey carcass
  • 1 onion
  • 5 carrots
  • 5 celery sticks
  • 1 leek
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • thyme and parsley sprigs


  • Place turkey carcass in large stock pot.
  • Roughly cut up the onion, carrots, celery, and leek and add to the pot.
  • Toss in the apple cider vinegar, herbs and salt, if desired.
  • Fill pot within a few inches of the top with water.
  • Bring to a boil over high heat.
  • Reduce heat and simmer gently for about 8 hours.
  • Allow to cool then pour into quart or half gallon glass jars.
  • Freeze or pressure can according to manufacturer's instructions.

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