Turkey Stock

Updated February 23, 2016
This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

When it is time to clean up and put leftovers away after Thanksgiving dinner, my husband assigns himself the task of “dealing with the turkey.” He carefully carves whatever meat is still left on the carcass and arranges it in a container. While doing this, he sips wine and picks at the carcass, nibbling on those delectable morsels of meat that cling to the bone, which is precisely why he likes this chore. He also offers to chop the carcass into large chunks and store them in a separate container, and this delights me. Come Friday morning, while I’m shuffling around in slippers and sweat clothes, drinking my coffee, I open the refrigerator and pull out the chopped carcass ready for the stockpot. While some may head for the mall to tackle their Christmas lists, honestly, I’m happier lounging with the newspaper, watching the stock simmer.

Making your own stock is a snap and there is just no comparison between homemade stock and canned chicken broth. Every time you buy a whole chicken or cut-up parts, save the neck, wing tips, back, rib (breast) bones, gizzards, heart, and tail-all the leftover parts except the liver and store them in a 1-gallon lock-top storage bag in your freezer. (Date the bag and label it “for stock.”) Keep adding to it, and when the bag is full, make a pot of homemade stock.

5 quarts



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

One Pot MealYes

Five Ingredients or LessYes

Taste and Texturelight, savory

Type of DishThanksgiving Leftovers, stock


  • 1 turkey carcass, chopped into large pieces
  • 2 medium carrots (do not peel), cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 large yellow onion (do not peel), cut in half
  • 1 large rib celery, with leaves, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley


Put the chopped turkey carcass in an 8-quart stockpot, and add cold water to cover, leaving 2 inches of space at the top of the pot. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat; then reduce the heat so that the liquid simmers steadily. Using a large spoon or soup skimmer, skim off the brown foam that rises to the top. After 5 minutes or so, the foam will become white, and no more skimming will be necessary.

Add all the remaining ingredients. Partially cover the pot and adjust the heat so that the stock barely simmers. Cook the stock for at least 2 but preferably 4 hours, adding water, if necessary, to keep the bones covered.

Using a slotted spoon, transfer the bones, meat, and vegetables to a large, fine-mesh strainer set over a large bowl to catch all the juices. Discard the solids. Pour the stock through the strainer into the large bowl. Let cool. (To cool the stock quickly, set the bowl in a larger one filled with ice water, or fill a sink with about 2 inches of ice water.) Stir the stock, occasionally, to help cool it down. Cover and refrigerate overnight.

The next day, lift and scrape the congealed fat from the surface using a large spoon. Discard the fat. Store the stock, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. To keep longer, transfer to a freezer container or several small containers, allowing 1 inch of headspace, and freeze for up to 6 months.


Follow the recipe for Turkey Stock, substituting 3 quarts (about 3 pounds) chicken parts for the turkey carcass.



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