Never made your own turkey stock? I've done it for decades, so let me show you how to make turkey broth. It's how to get the best Thanksgiving gravy and the best turkey soup afterwards. Homemade is the healthiest and tastes best! It's a little work, but I believe you'll love the results. And see that rich brown color? There's a trick.
Is turkey stock the same as turkey broth? Basically, yes. Technically broth is made with meaty pieces and stock with bones. Sometimes it's referred to turkey bone broth or stock. Is homemade turkey broth good for you? Absolutely!
Instead of using a roasted whole turkey carcass to make turkey broth, this recipe uses fresh turkey like you would for chicken stock. For 3-4 quarts of rich broth, start with 7 pounds of turkey pieces. See the recipe card for measurements.
- Turkey: Use what parts are available at the butcher or store. Remove as much skin as possible. This helps degrease the broth from the start. Buy legs, thighs, back or necks.
- Onions: Brown, yellow or sweet all work. Don't use red because of the color. Onions add a rich savory depth of flavor and are a basic part of all broth, soups, stews and many recipes.
- Carrots: For the sweetness. Carrots, onions and celery are the classic triangle to good flavor. It's the French mire-poix mix or the Italian soffritto.
- Celery ribs: For great base vegetable flavor and part of the critical three veggie components.
- Garlic: Use a nice whole fresh head of garlic, no need to peel or break into cloves.
- White wine: Wine or dry vermouth adds wonderful flavor and most cooks off (but not all). Don't buy a big bottle to cook with. The mini airline sized bottles are perfect and easy to keep in the pantry.
- Bay leaves: add another layer of complex and subtle flavor to many dishes. Use dried, and if you want to do something fun, plant a small tree (more of a shrub) in your yard for fresh leaves. I love mine.
- Parsley: Go fresh, not dried. Choose the Italian or flat leaf variety; curly is a bit more bitter.
- Thyme: Go with fresh sprigs, another essential herb and easy to grow. One of my top most used fresh herbs with an earthy, minty flavor. Toss in whole sprigs. No need to strip the leaves.
- Pepper: Use whole black peppercorns for a full bodied taste. Cracked or ground will taste spicy and overpowering. The world's most traded spice. A must for all broths.
Chef's tip: How much salt? None. Never add salt to your broth. Add salt to the dish you're cooking with the broth.
🦃Roasting: The Secret Step
Roasting is an extra step and great way to insure flavorful stock. Roasting the turkey meat, bones and and fresh veggies produces that rich flavor and color.
Distribute the turkey parts in a large roasting pan, then top with chopped carrots, celery, onion, a split head of garlic (unpeeled) and herbs. Roast the turkey and vegetables for 1 hour at 375°F, then add 1 cup of white wine or dry white vermouth and roast for another 30 minutes.
The wine is a great addition adding nice flavor, and deglazing the pan. If you don't use wine in cooking just skip it or use water or chicken broth.
Because I make a big batch for multiple uses, my preferred method uses a big stockpot (for bigger quantity) versus a pressure cooker, slow cooker, or crock pot (smaller quantity). While the turkey and vegetables are roasting, get out a large stock pot, a 10-12 quart size.
When the turkey and vegetables are finished roasting, place everything in the stock pot and fill to cover with 5 quarts of cold water to start. Add bay leaves, fresh thyme, parsley, and black peppercorns to the pot.
Turn up the heat to get the pot to a simmer, then turn down to low for a gentle bubble for 8-12 hours.
As the broth cooks down and the water level drops, add boiling water from a tea kettle. Over a 12 hour period I will add from 1-3 quarts to keep the water level up.
Cooking long and slow ensures extracting the most flavor and nutrition for fantastic turkey broth. The house will smell like roasting turkey and you will have a rich, golden brown broth, full of flavor.
Chef's Tip: Slowly simmer broth, don't boil, or the broth will be cloudy.
Quickly chill the strained broth by placing the container in ice water (ice bath). Fill a sink half full with with cold water and ice. To speed cooling, place something under the pot like a trivet so cold water circulates underneath.
Stir broth occasionally for faster cooling. You want the broth cooling as quickly as possible for food safety. Cool to 70°F before refrigerating.
🧊Refrigerate and Degrease
Place the cooled pot, covered, in the refrigerator overnight. In the morning, remove any fat that has solidified on top. Divide broth into containers, label and freeze for Thanksgiving and after. Homemade turkey broth will add big flavors to your Thanksgiving recipes.
Chef's Tip: Make the broth Monday of Thanksgiving week and it will be good until Friday. For longer use, freeze it.
Yes, it freezes perfectly. If you don't use all of the broth within 5 days, portion, label and freeze. Use within 3 months.
To thaw broth, place containers from the freezer into the refrigerator for 24 hours and thaw slowly. Alternatively, place frozen containers in a sink with cold water to start the thaw, then place semi-frozen broth into a pot and heat over low until liquid. Do not leave broth out on the counter to thaw at room temperature as this is not food safe. It's called food temperature danger zone.
Use this turkey broth recipe in place of chicken broth for soups, stews, risotto and more.
🍽More Broth and Soups Recipes
For more broth recipes, try my long-simmered chicken bone broth, Instant Pot chicken broth, or vegetable broth. And here's my terrific Thanksgiving stuffing recipe where you can use this turkey broth.
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Homemade Turkey Broth
- OR a large heavy duty disposable aluminum pan works You may need to double them up for strength or place the pan on a rimmed baking sheet pan for support. Dispose of after use.
- 7 pounds turkey pieces thighs, necks, legs
- 1 large onion brown, yellow, sweet, white
- 3-4 large carrots
- 3-4 celery ribs
- 1 whole head garlic
- 1 cup white wine, dry vermouth, or water
- 3 bay leaves fresh or dry
- ½ bunch Italian parsley
- ½ bunch fresh thyme
- 2 teaspoons whole black peppercorns
- 5 quarts cold water
- Boiling hot water to fill pot as needed
Heat oven, prep turkey
- Pre-heat oven to 375° (190 c) and get out a large roasting pan. Remove as much skin and any extra fat that you can from turkey pieces. Place pieces into the roasting pan in a single layer.
Prep veggies and roast
- Roughly chop onions, carrots and celery. Split garlic head horizontally through the center (no need to peel). Add vegetables and garlic to the roasting pan with the turkey. Place pan in the oven and roast for 1 hour. At the end of the hour, add the wine and roast another 30 minutes.
Make the broth
- Place roasted turkey and vegetables into a large stock pot (10-12 quarts). Add bay leaves, parsley, thyme, peppercorns and cold water. Bring the pot to just under a boil, turn down to low and barely simmer for 10-12 hours. You want the pot to be at a slow, gentle bubble to extract as much flavor as possible. When the water level drops about 2", add a little boiling water from a tea kettle, keeping the ingredients just under water.
- At the end of 10-12 hours, remove all meat, vegetables, herbs and discard, as they will be spent. Drain broth through a fine sieve into a clean large pot or bowl. Place in a sink filled with ice and cold water to cool quickly. Place pot on a trivet or small rack to help water circulation under the pot for faster cooling. Stir occasionally. You want the broth to cool as quickly as possible for food safety.
- When stock is cool, below 70°, cover and place in the refrigerator. The next morning, remove any fat solidified on top, place into containers, label and freeze.