After-Thanksgiving Turkey Stock

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 it in a separate container—this delights mel Come Friday morning, while I’m shuffling around in slippers and workout 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, ready to tackle their Christmas list, honestly, I’m happier lounging with the newspaper, watching the stock simmer.

NotesDo Ahead:

The stock can be covered and stored 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.

Makes4 to 5 quarts



Total Timea day or more

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, halal, kosher, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Type of DishThanksgiving Leftovers, soup, stock


  • 1 meaty 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
  • 2 large ribs celery, with leaves, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 6 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme


  1. Put the chopped turkey carcass in a 8-quart stockpot and add cool 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 to maintain a steady simmer. 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.

  2. Add the carrots, onion, celery, peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley, and thyme. Partially cover the pot and adjust the heat so the stock barely simmers. Simmer the stock for at least 2 but preferably 4 hours, adding water. If necessary, to keep the bones covered.

  3. Using a large slotted spoon, transfer the bones, meat, and vegetables to a large, fine-mesh sieve set over a large bowl to catch all the juices. Discard the solids. Pour the stock through the sieve 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.

  4. 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 and reheat when ready to use.


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