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How to Make Turkey Broth

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After the feast, turn the leftover turkey carcass into a rich, flavorful broth using some simple vegetables and herbs. You’ll have about 2 quarts of homemade turkey broth, 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.

At a Glance: Here is a quick snapshot of what ingredients are in this recipe.
Please see the recipe card below for specific quantities.

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. 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.
Skimming foam off turkey broth.
  1. 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. 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.
Turkey broth ingredients in a stock pot.
  1. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth. Place in a large bowl and chill covered overnight in the refrigerator.
Straining turkey broth.
  1. 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.
Scraping fat layer off chilled turkey broth.

Recipe tips and variations

  • Yield: This recipe makes about 8 cups (2 quarts) turkey broth.
  • Storage: 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.

Leftover Turkey Noodle Soup

Put your leftover turkey to work in this quick and easy Turkey Noodle Soup. It’s simple but delicious and perfect year-round. Also great with chicken!

35 minutes
View Recipe

More delicious soups to try

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Three mason jars with turkey broth in them on a tray.

How to Make Turkey Broth

After the feast, turn the leftover turkey carcass into a rich, flavorful broth using some simple vegetables and herbs. You'll have about 2 quarts of homemade turkey broth, perfect for freezing or making soup.
Author: Meggan Hill
5 from 11 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 30 mins
Total Time 1 hr 40 mins
Servings 8 cups
Course Pantry, Soup
Cuisine French
Calories 13

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 celery rib 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.

Recipe Video

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. Yield: This recipe makes about 8 cups (2 quarts) turkey broth.
  7. Storage: Store turkey broth in the refrigerator and use within 4 days.
  8. 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.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cupCalories: 13kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 1mgSodium: 884mgPotassium: 69mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 1589IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 12mgIron: 1mg
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Executive Chef and CEO at | Website | + posts

Meggan Hill is the Executive Chef and CEO of Culinary Hill, a popular digital publication in the food space. She loves to combine her Midwestern food memories with her culinary school education to create her own delicious take on modern family fare. Millions of readers visit Culinary Hill each month for meticulously-tested recipes as well as skills and tricks for ingredient prep, cooking ahead, menu planning, and entertaining. She graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and the iCUE Culinary Arts program at College of the Canyons.

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Comments

    1. Hi Annie, I’m sorry, I haven’t tried making turkey broth without the bones. Sorry! I think it will taste flat since it is not getting the flavor or gelatin from the bones. – Meggan

  1. This is my first time making broth. I had to add water (16c total) to cover all my turkey parts, and added a little more carrot and celery to make up for it. I’m about 2 hours in and it tastes soooo good (especially on this cold late November night). I’m totally kicking myself for not doing this sooner. Highly recommend and will be making a lot more broth from here on out. Thanks, Meggan!5 stars

    1. Hi Kiya, you’re so welcome! Sounds like you had quite a big turkey this year! So happy you enjoyed it, especially on a cold night. Take care! – Meggan

  2. First time making any broth. It was super easy and yielded an amazing broth that had great depth me flavor. I used it to make turkey noodle soup. I will be using this again for not only turkey, but also chicken.5 stars