This homemade turkey broth recipe is the best way to use up the whole bird after your holiday meal! This broth is perfectly seasoned and makes a great base for your favorite soup.
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There are plenty of recipes you can make with your leftover Thanksgiving turkey: Ground Turkey Stuffed Acorn Squash, Turkey Kale Soup, turkey sandwiches, you name it. But what about the carcass that’s left over once you use up all that turkey meat?
This Homemade Turkey stock is just what you’re looking for. This bone broth is made with the entire leftover turkey carcass, a few aromatics and seasonings, and a couple of simple veggies.
It is a great way to reduce food waste. It’s a super hands-off recipe that can be made either on the stovetop or in the crockpot!
📖Why This Recipe Works
- Easy to make. Just combine everything in a pot and let it simmer for 3 hours. That’s it!
- Properly salted. Some broths are just way too salty. Not this homemade broth! It’s perfectly salted and has the best flavor.
- Can be used immediately or frozen. Use it right away in your favorite soup or store it for up to 3 months in the freezer to use whenever.
🦃What is the Difference Between Turkey Stock and Turkey Broth?
While broth and stock are often used interchangeably, they are technically slightly different.
Stock is made by simmering bones, veggies, and seasonings. Broth is made by simmering meat, veggies, and seasonings.
Bones can also be used to make broth, but they are not required.
This flavorful stock recipe only has a few ingredients and they are all kitchen staples.
Leftover Whole Turkey Carcass - You’ll use the bones from a 10-15 pound bird. Be sure to remove the meat first.
Fresh Vegetables- Our flavor base is created with the classic trio of onion, celery, and carrots.
Spices and Aromatics - We’re seasoning the broth with a simple combination of whole black peppercorns, kosher salt, garlic, and bay leaf.
Some people add apple cider vinegar to their broth. I don't find it necessary but you can add it if you like.
The same goes for fresh herbs. I typically hold off on adding additional seasonings like garlic, ginger, or fresh parsley because I am saving the stock for later and unsure of how I will be using it. I don't want to impart too much flavor.
See the recipe card for exact quantities.
⏲️How to Make Turkey Broth
First, remove as much of the meat of your cooked turkey off of the bones as you can. You can use the neck, but the heart and liver should be discarded or set aside and used for other things.
Now, onto the broth.
Step 1- Simmer the Broth
Combine all of the ingredients in a large stockpot, then cover with cold water. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce to low and simmer for 3 to 4 hours.
The stock may have foam on top. There is no reason to skim this off.
Step 2- Strain and Store
Use tongs to remove any larger bones, then carefully pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a smaller pot. Discard the leftover turkey bones and veggies. Optionally, strain the broth again through a cheesecloth-lined strainer.
If using immediately, you will want to use a fat separator to skim the fat from the homemade stock.
Otherwise, pour the strained broth into your containers. Cool for 30 to 60 minutes.
Once cooled the stock should be sealed and moved to the fridge.
Variation- Slow Cooker Method
Looking for an even more hands-off method for making turkey broth? Mix everything up in the crockpot instead!
Simply combine all of the ingredients in your slow cooker, set it to low, and let it work its magic overnight. Strain and store according to the directions above.
🥗What to Use Turkey Broth
Turkey broth makes an excellent base for your favorite soups, but it can also be used to boil pasta or add flavor to gravies, sauces, or even mashed potatoes. But I always save enough back to make my gluten-free turkey gravy for the next holiday.
Basically, any recipe that calls for broth can include this homemade turkey broth! You can also heat it up and sip on it as you would any type of bone broth.
👩🏻🍳 Expert Tip
Make sure you use or store the broth within two hours after removing it from the heat. If it sits out at room temperature for too long it will no longer be safe to use.
🌡️Storage and Freezing
Homemade turkey broth can be stored in an airtight container or mason jars in the fridge for 3-4 days.
If you’re freezing your broth, make sure you leave a little bit of headspace in the jars. It will expand when frozen. It will keep 3 to 4 months in your freezer and up to a year in a deep freezer.
Be sure to keep the fat cap in place until you’re actually using the broth. This helps preserve it!
You can also freeze your stock in ice cube trays or cube-shaped silicone molds. Once frozen transfer to a ziptop freezer bag or other freezer-safe container.
When needed grab a single cube. This is my favorite way to add extra flavor to pan sauces. Turkey has such a deep flavor that chicken stock doesn't have.
💬Frequently Asked Questions
If your turkey broth is a little bit cloudy, it may just not be strained thoroughly enough. If the cloudiness doesn’t bother you, you can totally leave it. If you’d rather it be a little bit clearer, strain the broth for a second time through a sieve lined with cheesecloth. This helps remove any smaller debris!
If you’re using it immediately, yes, you’ll want to skim the fat off the top of the broth. If you’re storing it, wait to skim the fat. It helps preserve the broth!
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Homemade Turkey Broth
- Large stockpot
- Fine mesh strainer
- Mason jars
- Place all the ingredients in an extra-large stock pot and cover with cold water. About 1 to 2 gallons of water. Bring to a boil over high heat.1 cooked turkey carcass, 1 large onion, 3 stalks celery, 3 large carrots, 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns, 2 teaspoons kosher salt, 3 cloves garlic, 2 bay leaves
- Reduce heat to low and simmer for 3 hours.
- Set a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl or smaller stockpot. Use tongs to remove the large bones then pour the brother through the strainer. Discard the bones and vegetables.
- OPTIONAL: Rince the strainer and line with cheesecloth. Strain a second time for a totally clear stock.
- If using immediately, skim fat from broth. Or refrigerate overnight, then remove fat from surface.
- Broth can be frozen up to 3 months. Keep the fat cap in place until using. Be sure to leave enough headspace in the jars when freezing.