How to Make Turkey Broth

After the feast, turn the leftover turkey carcass into a rich, flavorful broth using some simple vegetables and herbs. Afterwards, you’ll have about 2 quarts of homemade broth, which are perfect for freezing or making soup.

Jars of turkey broth.

Even if I’m a guest at Thanksgiving dinner, I secretly hope someone offers me the leftover carcass just so that I can make this broth. Yep, I’m that person toting the bones home. Not sad about it at all.

And why not when you can eke every last bit of flavor from the Thanksgiving bird? Turkey broth makes amazing soups, like leftover turkey noodle soup, but can also be used in place of chicken broth in all your favorite recipes.

Recipe ingredients:

Turkey broth ingredients labeled in bowls.

Ingredient notes:

  • Turkey carcass: Bones and all. To help the turkey fit in a pot, cut it into 4 or 5 pieces with kitchen shears or a knife.
  • Organ meats: The heart and gizzard can be added to the broth if desired, but the liver should be discarded or reserved for another purpose.
  • Cold water: Always start with cold water. This helps keep the broth clear, not cloudy. The amount of water used and the length of simmering time will determine the intensity of the broth.
  • Vegetables: Some cooks save old vegetable trimmings to add to their broth. I prefer to start with new, fresh vegetables because I think the broth will taste better. So yes, we peel the carrots, and save your vegetable scraps for composting!
  • Herbs and spices: A sachet is a fancy term for parsley stems, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and optionally, garlic or cloves, tied up in a piece of cheesecloth with twine. You could also use a tea ball or loose leaf tea bag to hold them. It makes it easier to pull these small ingredients out of the broth later. Or, you can just add everything straight to the pot since you strain the broth at the end.

Step-by-step instructions:

  1. Grab your biggest pot and arrange the roasted turkey carcass inside it. Cover the turkey with cold water and put the pot on the stove with the heat set to medium-high. Once the liquid comes to a full boil, turn the heat down to low. Skim off any foam that rises to the surface of the liquid.Skimming foam off turkey broth.
  2. Then add the onion, carrots, celery, and any flavorful herbs you’re using and simmer gently for at least one hour. When it comes to cooking times, there’s no hard and fast rule with this recipe. Cook long enough so that the turkey releases its flavor, one hour, but yes, of course cook it longer if you like. It will only get richer and more delicious.
    Turkey broth ingredients in a stock pot.
  3. When you’re ready, strain the broth through a fine-mesh sieve or a layer of cheesecloth into a bowl. Pop the bowl into the refrigerator.
    Straining turkey broth.
  4. As the broth cools, the fat will float to the top. The next day, the fat should have solidified enough for you to scrape it off and throw away.  Afterwards, portion the turkey broth into containers for freezing, or start on the most delicious soup ever.
    Scraping fat layer off chilled turkey broth.

Recipe tips and variations:

  • Refrigerate: Store turkey broth in the refrigerator and use within 4 days.
  • Freezer: Divide the broth into freezer-safe containers (I like to use 16-ounce glass jars) and leave 1/2-inch head space for expansion. Label and date, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Turkey stock vs. broth: Technically, stock is made with just bones, while broth is made with the bones and meat.

Delicious soup recipes:

Jars of turkey broth.

How to Make Turkey Broth

Put your leftover turkey carcass to work with simple vegetables and fresh herbs. At the end of it, you'll have about 2 quarts of delicious, flavorful turkey broth. Use it for Leftover turkey noodle soup or freeze for future use.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Pantry, Soup
Cuisine: French
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 13kcal
Author: Meggan Hill

Ingredients

  • 1 roasted turkey carcass cut into pieces (see note 1 & 2)
  • Cold water about 12 cups (see note 3)
  • 1 medium onion peeled and halved
  • 1 large carrot peeled and coarsely chopped (see note 4)
  • 1 rib celery coarsely chopped
  • 1 tablespoon salt

Sachet (see note 5):

  • 6 fresh parsley stems
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Instructions

  • To a Dutch oven or large stock pot, add turkey carcass and cold water to cover (see note 2).
  • Over medium-high heat, bring to a boil. Immediately reduce heat to low and skim the foam off the top.
  • To the pot add onion, carrot, celery, and salt. If desired, tie parsley stems, thyme, garlic, bay leaf, and peppercorns to make a sachet or add loosely to the pot (see note 5).
  • Simmer gently (bubbles should barely break the surface at irregular intervals) until the turkey has released its flavor, at least 1 hour or up to 4 hours. The longer the broth simmers, the more flavor it will have.
  • Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Place in a large bowl and chill covered overnight in the refrigerator.
  • The next day, scrape off the accumulated fat from the top of the stock and discard. Divide the broth into freezer-safe containers (leaving at least 1/2-inch for expansion), label, and freeze. Or, refrigerate and use within 4 days.

Notes

  1. Turkey carcass: Bones and all. To help the turkey fit in a pot, cut it into 4 or 5 pieces with kitchen shears or a knife.
  2. Organ meats: The heart and gizzard can be added to the broth if desired, but the liver should be discarded or reserved for another purpose.
  3. Cold water: Always start with cold water. This helps keep the broth clear, not cloudy. The amount of water used and the length of simmering time will determine the intensity of the broth.
  4. Vegetables: Some cooks save old vegetable trimmings to add to their broth. I prefer to start with new, fresh vegetables because I think the broth will taste better. So yes, we peel the carrots, and save your vegetable scraps for composting!
  5. Herbs and spices: A sachet is a fancy term for parsley stems, thyme, bay leaves, peppercorns, and optionally, garlic or cloves, tied up in a piece of cheesecloth with twine. You could also use a tea ball or loose leaf tea bag to hold them. It makes it easier to pull these small ingredients out of the broth later. Or, you can just add everything straight to the pot since you strain the broth at the end.
  6. Refrigerate: Store turkey broth in the refrigerator and use within 4 days.
  7. Freezer: Divide the broth into freezer-safe containers (I like to use 16-ounce glass jars) and leave 1/2-inch head space for expansion. Label and date, then freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  8. Turkey stock vs. broth: Technically, stock is made with just bones, while broth is made with the bones and meat.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 13kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 884mg | Potassium: 69mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 1589IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
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