Turkey Stock

updated Nov 15, 2023

An easy method for making turkey stock with the leftover bones from your roast turkey.

Makesabout 2 quarts

Prep10 minutes

Cook3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours

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When you really think about it, the whole Thanksgiving meal is one giant twofer. Next-day leftovers are just as important as the perfect day-of meal. The turkey, however, is even more generous. You roast your turkey on day one; have the leftover meat for sandwiches, cheesy turkey enchiladas, and chilis in the days after; and now you get this glorious sunny stock from the bones and bits leftover even after the meat is gone.

Credit: Lauren Volo

The Best Turkey for Turkey Stock

When it comes to making turkey stock, the best turkey is roasted turkey. Because turkeys are a larger bird, the leftover bones and bits of meat from one are plenty enough for making stock. When preparing your bird for roasting, remember to save the neck bone for stock-making too.

Stock- and broth-making is typically dependent on collagen from the bones for thickening, and even roasted bones contain a fair amount. This stock won’t set up as thickly as gelatin, but it will still be plenty rich and full of body.

Credit: Lauren Volo

The Secret to Making Turkey Stock: Be Prepared

If internally you’re saying, “You really want me to make turkey stock after I’ve already spent hours cooking a glorious feast?” let me tell you my secret: While I’m prepping for Thanksgiving, I prep for the stock as well. I put a gallon-sized zip-top bag in the fridge; throw a few ribs of chopped celery in there when I make stuffing; chop an extra carrot while making glazed carrots; put the neck bone in there after I prep the turkey; and then when we’re done eating turkey, when the bird is picked clean, I already have a pre-made kit for turkey stock requiring nothing more than water, a big pot, and patience.

When to Season Turkey Stock

Because the turkey has been seasoned before roasting, season the stock after it has cooked, or season it when you’re using it. A few stems of herbs, such as parsley or thyme, are nice additions to the stock while cooking, as are peppercorns, but these are purely optional.

How to Use Turkey Stock

Turkey stock can be used in just about any way you use chicken or vegetable stock. The most obvious is to make turkey noodle soup, but once you’ve had your fill, try it in these recipes instead:

Turkey stock freezes wonderfully well, so stash some away in pint containers and you’re ready to add some delicious homemade flavor to what you’re cooking in the future.

Turkey Stock Recipe

An easy method for making turkey stock with the leftover bones from your roast turkey.

Prep time 10 minutes

Cook time 3 hours 30 minutes to 4 hours

Makes about 2 quarts

Nutritional Info


  • 1

    cooked turkey carcass (about 4 pounds), meat mostly removed

  • 2

    large yellow onions

  • 4 medium stalks


  • 4

    large carrots

  • 1 teaspoon

    whole black peppercorns

  • Few sprigs fresh parsley or thyme (optional)


  • Large stockpot

  • Large bowl

  • Fine-mesh strainer

  • Tongs


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  1. Fill the stockpot. Prepare the following, adding each to a large stockpot as you complete it: Break 1 cooked turkey carcass into large chunks. Peel and quarter 2 large yellow onions. Coarsely chop 4 medium celery stalks. Peel and coarsely chop 4 large carrots. Add 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns and a few sprigs fresh parsley or thyme if desired. Add enough water to cover, about 1 gallon.

  2. Bring to a boil. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  3. Simmer about 3 hours. Reduce the heat to maintain a simmer. Simmer until reduced by about half, 3 to 3 1/2 hours.

  4. Strain. Fit a fine-mesh strainer over a large heatproof bowl. Use tongs to transfer the big bones and vegetables from the stockpot to the strainer. When only small bits remain, pour the stock through the strainer and into the bowl. If you'd like a cleaner, clearer stock, clean out your strainer, line it with a coffee filter or cheesecloth, and strain the stock again into another bowl or clean pot.

  5. Cool and store the stock. If not using immediately, divide the stock between several small jars or storage containers. Let cool completely, then cover and refrigerate for up to 1 week, or freeze for up to 3 months.