The secret to an excellent Thanksgiving feast is a Turkey Stock that is both rich and flavorful. This easy homemade turkey stock is perfect for making ahead of time, so you can enjoy the holidays a little bit more stress-free. This stock is perfect for all your holiday cooking needs, from stuffing to gravy to soup!
I typically make stock with leftover bones from roasted chicken or from turkey, and it gets stored in the freezer to use when I need it. When it’s leading up to Thanksgiving, I usually don’t have any leftover turkey bones, and so many of my recipes need some turkey stock.
Naturally gluten-free, this stock is suitable for Whole30, Paleo and keto friendly. This recipe gives instructions on how to make stove top, in an Instant Pot, or a slow cooker.
Can I tell you how heavenly your house will smell when you make this stock? As I'm writing this post, I have another pot simmering and the scent reminds me of the holidays! It smells amazing!
I really prefer the flavor of my homemade stock compared to a store-bought version, so this is how I make it. You'll learn how to make this delectable stock in stove-top, in a pressure cooker or slow cooker.
Making a homemade turkey stock is easier than you think!
Store-bought stock truly does not compare to homemade stock. Not only is this dish all-natural, but its rich flavor and wonderful smell will fill your whole house with comforting aromas of Thanksgiving.
My mom makes the most incredible stuffing and gravy. The secret to her perfect gravy is her turkey stock. It is her secret weapon to use in so many parts of her delectable Thanksgiving feast. The homemade stock adds such a depth of flavor to all of her dishes!
And now I use the stock to make my gravy and mom is super proud of me!
- Why you'll love this homemade turkey stock recipe:
- What ingredients are in this turkey stock recipe?
- How to make a turkey stock?
- How to make turkey stock recipe in a Crock Pot or slow cooker
- How to make turkey stock in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker
- What about salt in homemade stock?
- Can I freeze the turkey carcass and make stock later?
- What is the difference between broth and stock?
- How to Make Stock
- How long does turkey stock stay fresh?
- Can I freeze turkey stock?
- What’s the best way to freeze turkey broth in a freezer bag?
- Some other turkey recipes to enjoy:
- Homemade Easy Turkey Broth Recipe
Why you'll love this homemade turkey stock recipe:
- The gelatin from the bones gives homemade turkey stock a silky texture that makes your sauces, soups, and gravies taste even better.
- This turkey carcass soup comes together with ingredients you probably have on hand.
- You can use any uncooked turkey parts for this recipe, including wings, wing tips, legs, neck and backbone from roasted turkey carcass.
- This turkey bone broth can be stored in your freezer for up to three months–simply place it in an airtight container before freezing.
What ingredients are in this turkey stock recipe?
- Turkey wing tips is I what I used. You could use leftover turkey carcass - These are simply the bones from leftover turkey. You could even use a small 2-4 lb turkey breast bone-in.
- Vegetables- carrots, onion, and celery - This is the flavor trifecta! I ran out of celery and my neighbor shared his limp celery...which was just PERFECT to make stock.
- Fresh herbs- I used fresh thyme and sage. You could even use fresh rosemary, Fresh is best.
- Seasonings- Most stocks typically are not made with salt. I used some sea salt and freshly ground black pepper. You could leave out the salt.
How to make a turkey stock?
Gather up all your ingredients. I was being super frugal and used the wing tips, but you could use whole wings. I've made the stock with either one and it turns out great!
Line a large casserole or baking dish with foil paper or parchment paper (make it easier for clean up). Add in the turkey wing tips (wings or turkey carcass), vegetables, and herbs.
Drizzle on some olive oil and season with some salt and pepper.
Roast for about 3-40 minutes. Flip the wing tips (or wings) to the other side so they don't brown too much on one side and also the vegetables. Keep roasting for another 30-40 minutes.
When it is golden brown, it is ready.
Add the wing tips and vegetables to a large stock pot. Add some water to the baking pan to deglaze and add all of that liquid to the stock pot. Add some more water to the stock pot (it's about 15 cups total of water), and bring to a boil.
Cover and let simmer, skimming off any foam that comes to the top.
How to make turkey stock recipe in a Crock Pot or slow cooker
- Follow the recipe below on how to roast the wings (wing tips or bones)and vegetables (herbs + seasonings).
- Assemble all the ingredients in the slow cooker and fill the water just to nearly cover the turkey wings/tips or carcass.
- Cover and set the slow cooker to “Low” and cook for 6-8 hours or “High” and cook for 4 hours.
- When it's ready, strain the bones and solids from the turkey broth as discussed in the recipe below.
How to make turkey stock in an Instant Pot or pressure cooker
- Follow the recipe below on how to roast the wings (wing tips or bones)and vegetables (herbs + seasonings).
- Add the wings (wing tips or carcass), vegetables + herbs and seasonings to “Max Fill” line.
- Seal the pressure cooker and bring to HIGH pressure.
- Cook for 25 minutes.
- Carefully let the pressure release naturally and follow recipe below on straining and storage.
What about salt in homemade stock?
Salt is essential for a flavorful homemade broth, but in stock, it's typically left out. It depends on what you're doing with the stock. I decided to add some salt.
If you'll be using the stock to make a soup and it will be simmering for a long time in a Crock Pot, you should probably go lighter on the salt and add more at the end, as it's needed.
Once it is ready, you could strain it. It will take several times straining it to get out all the bits and herb pieces.
Can I freeze the turkey carcass and make stock later?
Yes! It’s exhausting after the holidays to think about making homemade stock. A quick solution is to freeze the turkey carcass the day you make it! When you get your energy back a week or so later, pull it out of the freezer to make the stock.
What is the difference between broth and stock?
Stocks and broth are not exactly the same, but can be used same way in recipes. Let's go over some of their differences:
- The main difference is that broths are made with meat and stock is made with the bones (no meat).
- Stock starts out by roasting the bones only (from turkey, chicken, meat), to give it a richer flavor and color.
- Broth is made with poultry, fish, or even vegetables simmered in water. Stock adds thickness to a recipe while broth will adds more liquid and also seasoning. You could water down stock to make it more like a broths' consistency.
- They both have the addition of vegetables, but typically, stocks are not seasoned.
- Stock is used in so many recipes, it's typically left unseasoned (although, I did add some salt and pepper to my stock).
How to Make Stock
Stock is made with a combination of animal bones, mirepoix (onions, carrots, and celery), and also aromatics like bay leaves, peppercorns, and even stems from fresh thyme, parsley, or other herbs. It all gets simmered for hours. Even limp celery could be used (that's what I had on hand!).
The longer that it simmers, the thicker and richer flavored your stock will be. Typically, 4-8 hours This combination of ingredients is simmered for 4 to 8 hours, depending on the desired consistency. The longer the cook time, the thicker the stock becomes. I simmered mine about 3 hours.
How long does turkey stock stay fresh?
Turkey broth will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Can I freeze turkey stock?
Yes. Let the stock cool down completely and then store it in 2-4 cup plastic containers or even large zipped lock freezer bags. I do not recommend freezing in a glass jar. Will stay fine in the freezer for up to 2-3 months (or longer if vacuum sealed), provided it's stored correctly.
What’s the best way to freeze turkey broth in a freezer bag?
Take a large zipped lock freezer bag. Carefully transfer some of the stock into the bag filling halfway. Press out the air, seal the bag, and lay it flat on a sheet pan. Place the sheet pan in the freezer.
When the stock has set in the bag, take out the sheet pan and leave the bag in the freezer for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight in the fridge when ready to use.
- Gravy: This homemade turkey stock is the perfect start to a delicious, flavorful gravy. Simply thicken the stock with a roux and season to taste.
- Stuffing: Use the turkey stock as a liquid in your Thanksgiving stuffing. It will add a depth of flavor that cannot be matched by store-bought stocks.
- Soup: Post-Thanksgiving, use the turkey stock as a base for a comforting turkey soup. Add in leftover turkey, vegetables, and perhaps some noodles or rice for a hearty meal.
- Basting: During the roasting of your Thanksgiving turkey, use this stock to baste the bird. It will enhance the flavor and help to keep the meat moist.
- Risotto: For a different take on Thanksgiving leftovers, use your turkey stock in a risotto. The rich, flavorful stock will be absorbed by the risotto rice, resulting in a creamy, delicious dish.
- Sauces: Enhance the flavor of various sauces by using your homemade turkey stock. Whether it's a white wine sauce, a creamy mushroom sauce, or a classic béchamel, your sauces will benefit from this delicious stock.
Variations and Substitutions for this turkey stock soup
- Vegetables: You can substitute or add to the celery and carrots with other aromatic vegetables such as parsnips or leeks for a unique flavor twist.
- Herbs: Feel free to experiment with the herbs used. If you don't have fresh thyme or sage, dry herbs can be used as a substitute. You could also consider adding rosemary or bay leaves for additional depth of flavor.
- Turkey parts: If turkey wings or wingtips aren't available, you can use the neck or back of the turkey instead. These parts are often overlooked but can create a rich, flavorful stock.
- Salt and Pepper: Experiment with different types of salt and pepper to find what suits your taste best. Sea salt, pink Himalayan salt, or even smoked salt can add unique flavor profiles to your stock. Similarly, white or green peppercorns can provide a different taste sensation.
- Oil: If you do not have extra-virgin olive oil, you can use other types of oil such as avocado oil, grapeseed oil, or even a flavored oil like garlic-infused or truffle oil to add an extra layer of flavor to your stock.
No, turkey broth and turkey stock are not exactly the same. While both are flavorful liquids derived from simmering turkey parts in water, stock is typically made from the bones and contains more gelatin, giving it a thicker, richer texture. Broth, on the other hand, is often made from meatier parts and has a lighter, more delicate flavor.
You can use the skin when making turkey stock, but it's not mandatory. Including the skin can add flavor and richness to the stock. However, it can also make the stock greasier, so if you prefer a leaner stock, you may want to omit it or remove as much fat as possible before using.
Bland turkey stock can result from a variety of factors. It could mean that it was not simmered long enough for the flavors to fully develop, or that not enough turkey parts were used. Additionally, the lack of sufficient seasoning, such as salt, herbs, and vegetables, can also result in a bland taste.
Yes, it is possible to simmer stock for too long. If simmered for an excessive amount of time, the stock can become overly concentrated and the flavors can turn bitter. A general guideline for simmering stock is between 2-6 hours, depending on the type of bones used.
While you can technically add any part of the turkey to your stock, the liver is generally omitted because it can impart a bitter flavor. Its strong, distinctive taste can overwhelm the other flavors in the stock. Therefore, to maintain a balanced flavor profile, it's common to leave out the liver when making turkey stock.
Did you make this? Please RATE THE RECIPE below:)
Some other turkey recipes to enjoy:
- Apple and Onion Braised Turkey Tenderloin
- Slow Cooker Turkey Bolognese Sauce
- Turkey Pot Pie
- Pumpkin and Turkey Pasta
- BEST Slow Cooker Whole Chicken Soup Recipe
Homemade Easy Turkey Broth Recipe
- 3 pounds turkey wings or wing tips
- sea salt
- freshly ground pepper
- 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 large onion peeled and cut in half
- 1-1/2 cups roughly-chopped carrots 1/2 pound, about 2 large carrots
- 1-1/2 cups roughly-chopped celery 1/2 pound, about 2 large celery ribs–remove any leaves and reserve
- 6 sprigs fresh thyme
- 1 handful fresh sage
- Roast and Prep: Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a roasting pan with foil paper (or even parchment paper). Place the wings or wing tips in an even layer.
- Place the wings in a baking dish and sprinkle all over with salt and pepper (about 1 teaspoon salt and pepper).
- Brush with 1/2 tablespoon of the olive oil. Roast for 30 minutes, then flip and roast again for 30 to 40 minutes more, until they are golden brown.
- Roast for 30-40 minutes and when the wing tips (or wings) are golden brown, flip them over. Flip over the vegetables. Roast for another 30-45 minutes.
- When the wing tips (or wings) are golden brown, add everything from the roasting pan to a large soup pot.
- Deglaze the roasting pan by adding 2 cups of water, use a wooden spoon to scrape out all the bits. Add this water to the soup pot.
- Simmer the Stock: Add more water (cold) to the stock pot to cover the turkey parts by 1 to 2 inches and bring to a boil (14 cups). Once it comes to a boil, lower to a simmer.
- Let it simmer for 30 minutes and add some water if it too much has evaporated.
- Cover the pot and let it simmer for 2-3 hours, checking on it and stirring occasionally. Skim off and discard any white foam that may come to the surface.
- Strain the Stock: Strain the bones and vegetables from the stock. You’ll probably need to use a couple of large bowls to strain all the stock. You could use a strainer and then a fine mesh for the final strain.
- You should have about 8 cups of stock. In case it seems to be much more than 8 cups, return the stock to the pot and let it simmer and reduce some more.
- Skim, Cool, and Store: Let the stock stand for 10-20 minutes until the fat separates from the stock. You could remove the fat layer and save it to make gravy.
- You could also completely cool it down quicker using an ice bath.
- The stock should cool down before storing in the refrigerator. If you're using the stock right away, let it stand for about 10 minutes for the fat and stock to separate.
- Use a spoon to skim the layer of fat from the surface. (As with the fat in the roasting pan, I like to refrigerate this for making gravy.)
- Transfer the stock to storage containers or jars and refrigerate for up to 5 days. In case you do not spoon off the fat from the stock, it will separate into a gelatinous layer on top.
- Once it’s chilled, you could remove that fat layer and discard (or use in another recipe).
- The chilled stock does turn into a thick, jelly-like consistency when it’s chilled. When it warms, it does liquify.
- Use this stock in your Thanksgiving recipes.
Please keep in mind that the nutritional information presented below is an approximation and may vary depending on the exact ingredients used.
- Turkey wing tips or wings: I make it with wings or even the wing tips. Either or both, is great.
- Turkey carcass: IF you have a leftover carcass, use all the bones. Cut with kitchen shears or a sharp knife to help fit it into the pot.
- Turkey neck: The neck could be added to the stock.
- Cold water: Best to use cold water, as that will help keep the stock clear. Depending on how much waterhe broth.
- Vegetables: I used limp celery, since I wasn't using it for another recipe. But you could use fresh vegetables. You could peel the carrots, if you're planning on eating them (we did!)or leave with peel on (just wash them up).
- Herbs and spices: Add everything to a cheesecloth and tie with twine or to make it easier, add directly to the stock.
- Yield: This recipe makes about 8 cups (2 quarts) turkey broth.
- Storage: Store turkey broth in the refrigerator and use within 5 days.
- Freezer: Divide the broth into large zipped lock freezer bags or freezer-safe containers. Don't forget to label and date, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.