Make homemade turkey stock from your leftover turkey bones. A great way to stretch the dollar. This also works for chicken!
I love making homemade stock because I take what would have been simply thrown away – the carcass of my Thanksgiving turkey, and with that I make lots of wonderful stock that can be used for many future meals. All it really costs me is a few vegetables for flavor, and the time it takes to do it.
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What is the difference between broth and stock?
To me, not much. I use them interchangeably in recipes, I really do.
But technically speaking, broth is made from cooking a bird with the meat on. You save the liquid after and use the meat for recipes.
Stock is made from cooking the bones, cartilage, and whatever is left after you’ve used as much of that edible bird as you can. Stock usually has a slightly darker color than broth..
Now I use this method for making both turkey stock or chicken stock. The only real difference is the quantity that you get when you are done. A big bird, more stock. Smaller bird, less stock.
When I make a turkey, I always make the biggest turkey I can possibly find. This year I was cooking for 5 people, and I made 30 pound turkey!
I figure if I’m going to all that work, why not get lots of meals out of it? Half of the turkey was served for Thanksgiving and the usual leftovers. The other half was immediately frozen in portions for future meals.
TIP: Don’t have time to make stock during the crazy holiday time? Freeze the carcass in a large freezer bag and thaw it out when you have time in the next couple weeks.
So how do you make it?
Take the carcass of your turkey or chicken and place it in a pot that is big enough to hold it. You can cut it into pieces if you like. You can also break the bones to give the water better access to the nutritious marrow inside. It’s up to you.
Because I cooked an
ostrich really big turkey, I used a canning pot to make my stock in. But generally most people would be able to use a stock pot, soup pot or even a Dutch oven.
Add in celery, carrots and whole onions – chopped in half, apple cider vinegar and a tablespoon of peppercorns. The onion skins will give your stock a wonderful color.
You can cut the carrots & celery into chunks if you like, but my pot was huge so I just tossed them in there.
For a chicken, or much smaller turkey, you could cut those in half, or use the same amount. It’s up to you. I don’t add salt to my stock when I am making it though, because I like to control it when I am using it for recipes.
TIP: As you make every day meals, don’t discard your vegetable scraps. Celery hearts? Carrot ends & peels? Onion skins and ends? Save them! As you acquire these, store them in a gallon sized zip-lock bag in your freezer. When the bag is full, you can use it for making broth like this, instead of adding the whole vegetables. Or you could make a batch of vegetable broth.
Save all those veggie pieces – scraps of herbs are great too! I’m really big on not wasting things and if you can find a use for what normally would be thrown away, why not!? If you do happen to have a bag of veggie scraps, use those and the peppercorns.
Add enough water to the pot to cover the carcass. Bring everything to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer – you don’t want active boiling, but you still want motion in the liquid. Let this cook for 12-24 hours. The longer the better.
How do you know when the stock is done? Give it a taste. If it tastes weak, let it cook longer. The point is to create a rich, flavorful liquid. When you have that, you are done cooking.
After it has gone through that long simmering process, place a sieve over another pot (or other large containers) and ladle the stock through it.
Discard the carcass and vegetables.
Refrigerate the stock for a few hours or overnight.
As you do this, the fat will come to the top and harden. Then you can easily scoop it right off.
Now – what to do with all of that stock? You really have two options.
First, you can pour it into heavy freezer bags or containers and freeze it by the pint or quart. Or you can pressure can it. Freezing is easier, but if you have a pressure canner, jarred stock doesn’t take up freezer space and doesn’t need to stay frozen to stay good.
Watch me canning the Turkey Stock in the video below:
If you are pressure canning, the stock processes at: 20 minutes for pints and 25 minutes for quarts.
This is a general guide for adjusting the recipe to your elevation. However for the most accurate information, reference your pressure canner’s user manual.
|Altitude in Feet||Dial Gauge Canner||Weighted Gauge Canner|
|0-1,000||10 lb pressure||10 lb pressure|
|1,001-2,000||11 lb||15 lb|
|2,001-4,000||12 lb||15 lb|
|4,001-6,000||13 lb||15 lb|
|6,001-8,000||14 lb||15 lb|
|8,001-10,000||15 lb||15 lb|
Remember, things like broth are low acid and must be pressure canned. They can not be canned in a hot water bath or steam canner.
You have wonderful stock for future meals!
TIP: For a smaller bird, you could make stock in your slow cooker. Simply place the ingredients inside, cover with water and let it cook all day or overnight. When the liquid is nice and flavorful, preserve it by freezing or canning.
You May Also Be Interested In: Instant Pot Ham Stock
How to Make Turkey Stock
- turkey carcass
- 3 whole onions, skins and all, quartered
- 5 carrots
- 4 stalks celery
- 1 Tb whole peppercorns
- 1/4 c apple cider vinegar
- 2 gallons water, this is approximate. See instructions
- Break your turkey carcass into pieces if you can. As brutal as it sounds, if you can cut or break bones to expose the marrow, even better.
- Place the turkey carcass and all of the remaining ingredients in your large soup pot or electric roaster.
- Pour in enough water to cover the carcass, about 2 gallons.
- Stove Method: If cooking in a soup pot, bring it to a boil, and reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Simmer very low for at least 6 hours, up to 24 hours.
- NOTE: I make this in an electric roaster, that way the stove isn't on when we are sleeping. I let this cook at 300° for 24 hours.
- Once the stock has finished cooking, strain the liquid through a fine sieve or cheese cloth. Discard the solids.
- Refrigerate the stock overnight.
- Carefully scoop the solidified fat from the top of the stock and discard.
- Prepare your pressure canning supplies, and heat your stock to a rolling boil. Reduce the heat to a simmer.
- Pressure can the turkey stock using basic pressure canning practices.
- Processing time for quart jars is 25 minutes, pint jar time is 20 minutes.
- Use your turkey stock any way you like!
- Turkey stock can also be frozen if you don't want to can it.
Nutritional information is auto-generated and the accuracy is not guaranteed.
This post was originally written in 2015, and updated in 2022.