Don't throw away your turkey carcass! Make use of the whole bird from Thanksgiving or Christmas by roasting the bones to make a delicious homemade turkey broth.
Our homemade turkey broth recipe is made with leftover turkey bones and other pantry staples. Let's talk about the ingredients.
- Turkey Carcass: We used the bones from a leftover 14-pound turkey and removed the meat and skin.
- Vegetables: We used carrots and celery stalks and their tops, and yellow onions with the skin attached.
- Spices: We used fresh thyme and parsley, bay leaves, peppercorns, and salt.
- Liquid: We used a little bit of white cooking wine and a lot of filtered water.
See recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.
- Try using red onions, shallots, or leeks instead of yellow onion, but leave the skin on as it will help darken the color.
- Want to use other spices? Try fresh sage or rosemary.
How to Make
Preheat the oven to 450 F. Break up the turkey carcass, removing the skin (it's greasy) and most of the cooked meat off the bones.
We used frozen bones leftover from Thanksgiving, but you can also use bones from a freshly roasted or smoked turkey.
- Roast the bones for 25 minutes at 450°F. Remove the bones from the pan and place them inside a large crockpot.
- Quarter two large onions, leaving the skin on. Wash and cut the celery into 3-inch lengths. Wash, peel, and cut the carrots into 2-3 inch lengths. Roast in the oven for 20 minutes.
3. Put the metal roasting pan on top of a stovetop element that is set to medium-high heat. Pour 1 ½ to 2 cups of white cooking wine into the pan, then scrape the bottom to release the browned bits. Reduce the liquid to half of its volume.
4. Remove the vegetables from the roasting pan and place them on top of the bones in the large crockpot.
5. Pour the deglazed wine over the roasted vegetables and roasted bones that are in the large crockpot.
6. Pour in 12 cups of filtered water, or enough to completely cover the bones, vegetables, and spices, and put the herbs on top.
Cover and cook on high for ½ hour, then reduce the heat to low and cook for at least 12 hours (up to 24 hours). Here's what it looks like after 17 hours of cooking on low.
7. Pour the liquid from the crock pot through the fine mesh sieve into a large bowl or pot. Discard the peppercorns and other small bits.
To get it clearer, strain a second time. This time, wet two pieces of paper towels to line the sieve. Pour it through the sieve and into a large mixing bowl.
8. Cool on the counter and refrigerate in an airtight container like a mason jar or glass carafe. If you want to freeze it in a mason jar, make sure to leave about an inch of head space for expansion.
If you've never tried making homemade broth, you'll be in for a pleasant surprise. Using the crockpot makes it super easy, plus it frees up your stovetop. The results of your labor will be one that is a rich dark color, full of flavor, and packed with nutrients.
When it's cold outside, nothing is better than a big bowl of homemade soup. We encourage you to make our turkey stock recipe in your crockpot. It's so easy and it makes the house smell wonderful.
Use it as a base for soups and stews, replace it for water when cooking dishes, to make gravy, stroganoff, or tetrazzini and it's perfect to drink warm for bone broth.
The ingredients in turkey stock and broth are almost the same. The main difference is that stocks are generally cooked with bones and broth is generally made with meat and vegetables. The gelatin released from the bones gives the stock a slightly thicker consistency than broth. The two are virtually the same and are used in the same way.
Drinking bone broth and eating soups with homemade broth have good health benefits. It is a good source of gelatin, which is healthy for skin, hair, nails, and joints. Turkey bone broth contains antioxidants, amino acids that boost gut health, and many vitamins and nutrients.
Yes, in many preparations you can use turkey broth in place of chicken broth. They are both types of poultry and do have a slight difference in flavor but not enough to greatly alter the final dish.
If you're looking for other soup recipes, you'll want to try these recipes for Thai red curry noodle soup, cock-a-leekie soup, lemon chicken soup, Chick-fil-A chicken tortilla soup, and creamy chicken noodle soup.
Freezer: There are a few different options for storage. First, you can transfer it to wide-mouth canning jars leaving a little headspace to allow for expansion. Another option is to pour it into ice cube trays at first, then dump the 24 ice cubes into one freezer bag. Third, use one cup freezer storage containers to freeze it in measures to cook rice dishes and make gravy. Last, transfer it to freezer zip-top bags and squeeze out all the air and seal tightly.
- If you don't have leftover bones, just roast up some drumsticks, then remove the skin and meat.
- Don't leave the skin on the bones; it will make it too greasy.
- The easiest way to remove the fat is to allow it to cool completely, then refrigerate. The fat will rise to the top.
- Rub the leftover bones with seasoned salt before roasting them.
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- Leftover turkey carcass, with the skin and most of the meat removed
- 4 carrots, peeled and cut into 2 inch lengths
- 5 celery stalks, cut into 2 inch lengths
- 2 large onions, quartered with skins on
- 1 ½ cups white cooking wine
- 12 cups filtered water
- celery tops from the 5 stalks
- 4 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 sprigs fresh parsley
- 1 teaspoon peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 bay leaves
- Preheat oven to 450 F. Place the turkey bones (with skin and meat removed) in a large metal pan with sides and roast for 25 minutes. Remove the bones from the pan and set aside.
- In the same roasting pan, roast the vegetables for 20 minutes at 450 F. Remove the vegetables from the pan and set aside.
- Put the empty metal roasting pan on top of the stove over medium high heat. Pour the wine into the pan and scrape all the browned bits off the bottom with a wooden turner. (This is called deglazing the pan.) Reduce the liquid to half.
- Place the roasted turkey bones and roasted vegetables in a large crockpot, then top with 12 cups of water. Add the fresh thyme, parsley, celery tops, peppercorns, salt and bay leaves.
- Cover and cook on high for 30 minutes, then reduce heat to low. Let it cook for a minimum of 12 hours to a maximum of 24 hours. (I cooked mine for 17 hours for the photos.)
- Skim off any fat with a large spoon and place in a small bowl. Cover and refrigerate so the fat can rise to the top. The rest of the broth can be reused.
- Remove the bones, vegetables, fresh herbs, peppercorns and bay leaves from the crock pot by using a large slotted spoon.
- Strain the broth by pouring it through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl. If desired, strain a second time, this time lining the sieve with damp paper towels. The paper towels will catch more of the small particles than cheesecloth would, and look clearer.
- Cool on the counter, then refrigerate. Once cold, it's easier to remove any remaining fat floating on top.
- To freeze, pour completely cooled broth in large airtight mason jars, leaving about 1 inch of head space to allow for expansion, and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also store it in freezer bags for soups or in ice cubes for gravies or rice dishes. If you plan on drinking this bone broth in a mug, store it in 1 cup freezer containers.
- No turkey bones? Use drumsticks, then remove the skin and meat.
- To reduce the grease in the broth, remove the skin.
- Allow the broth to cool completely, and the fat will rise to the top then skim it off and refrigerate.
- Before roasting, rub the leftover bones with seasoned salt.
Serving sizes and nutritional information are only an estimate and may vary from your results.