Making turkey or chicken stock at home is easy, saves money, and adds so much flavor to your home cooking! Follow this easy step-by-step process for fresh homemade turkey stock.
Another Thanksgiving has come and gone. The feast is over. The turkey has been gobbled up. You saved the turkey bones and other leftover turkey parts, right? It makes the best homemade turkey stock!
Making stock is so easy. In just one afternoon, you can have enough stock to use fresh within four days or to freeze and use for the next three months!
I make turkey stock the same way I make chicken stock. This year, because we unexpectedly ended up with a 25-pound turkey (read about our Instacart story over on Instagram), I made a LOT of turkey stock.
And I just realized that I have never shared my homemade stock recipe here on the blog. So here it is, friends!
What's the difference between stock and broth?
It's very common for people to use the terms "stock" and "broth" interchangeably. But, there are differences between the two. The most important difference between stock and broth is that they are each made from different ingredients.
Stock is made with turkey or chicken bones and vegetables. Because the bones impart collagen and gelatin into the liquid, the result is usually a thicker liquid compared to broth.
Broth is typically made with vegetables and meat. It's thinner than stock, but in general, more flavorful. Have you seen any broth bars popping up in your city? It's a thing. People sipping on broth. Personally? I use it to cook with.
How do I make turkey stock from scratch?
It's super duper simple.
- Start saving your vegetable scraps. And your chicken bones while you're at it. I keep mine in a freezer bag and just add scraps to it as I cook each day. Everytime I chop onions and garlic, the peels go into the bag. When I chop carrots and celery, the chopped off ends and the carrot peels go in the bag.
- Once you have a decent amount of scraps and bones, make the stock. I usually wait until I have a gallon size freezer bag full.
- Place scraps into the biggest stockpot that you have. I just recently received the DaTerra Cucina 8-quart Dutch Oven and it is PERFECT for making stock! Before that, I used a 6-quart stockpot. You can even use a 4-quart stockpot to make a small amount of homemade stock if you want!
- Pour enough water to cover the vegetable scraps and bones. Sure, you can measure, but this isn't rocket science or baking, folks. No need for exact measurements here. As long as you use enough water to cover and submerge the bones and scraps, you'll have flavorful stock!
- Add a handful of your favorite herbs plus a bay leaf or two, depending on how much stock you are making. I always find that the combo of thyme and rosemary makes a delightful stock. You can also use basil, sage, oregano.
- Bring the contents of the stockpot to a boil. Then cover, and reduce the heat and simmer for at least one hour, and up to three hours. The more you are making, the longer you want allow the flavors to infuse into the stock.
- Turn off the heat, and remove the turkey or chicken parts.
- Allow the rest of the stock and vegetable scraps to cool down for at least one hour.
- Over a large bowl, strain the stock and discard the vegetable scraps. You can use a cheesecloth, but I find a fine mesh strainer (<-- like this one) to be super effective and stronger to hold heavy scraps.
- Pour the beautiful golden stock into whatever containers you are using to refrigerate and/or freeze the stock.
- Enjoy your amazing homemade turkey stock for up to four days in the refrigerator. Or freeze and enjoy for up to three months!
How can I use turkey stock?
Now that you've got your home cook's liquid gold, what can you do with it? A LOT! There are SO MANY uses for homemade turkey stock or chicken stock!
- Use stock as a base in soups, stews, and chilis. I love it as a base for Wonton Soup, Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup, or Instant Pot Lentil Soup.
- Make gravy with your homemade stock.
- If you're cooking with an electric pressure cooker, use your delicious homemade stock as the liquid instead of water.
- Enhance the flavor of rice when you use stock instead of water to cook the rice. You can even use it in place of water to enhance the already flavorful Instant Pot Mushroom Risotto.
- Add even more flavor to this delicious Seafood Paella.
- Use it to make this Easy Homemade Ramen recipe.
- Freeze in an ice cube tray, and then place frozen cubes into a freezer bag. You'll have easy access to portioned stock ready to go for sauces, braises, soups, stews, and roasts!
Can I freeze turkey stock?
Yes! Absolutely! Keep stock in a freezer-safe container for up to three months.
Two ways to freeze:
- Pour stock into clean ice cube trays (as shown in the photo above), freeze, then place frozen cubes into a freezer bag.
- Add the stock to freezer-safe storage bags or food storage containers. This can be any freezer-safe container, including popsicle bags like the ones I used in the photo below (hey - use what you've got, right?).
Don't forget to label
Be sure to properly label and date your turkey stock or chicken stock. I love to use inexpensive, colorful washi tape in fun patterns to label my food. This makes it easy to remember what's in each container, and helps you use up stock in the order in which you made it.
I also like to include the measurement on each container. This makes it easy to just grab what you need when you're ready to cook with it!
Homemade Turkey Stock
- turkey bones
- any vegetable scraps and other turkey or chicken bones you've been saving (*see NOTES for what to use if you don't have any scraps saved up)
- handful of herbs, such as basil, thyme, rosemary, parsley, bay leaf.
- In a large stockpot, place all of the bones, vegetable scraps, and herbs. Pour enough water to fully submerge the scraps and bones, and bring to a boil. Once the water reaches a boil, reduce heat to a simmer. Cover and allow to simmer for 2 hours.
- Turn off heat. Discard the turkey bones, then let the rest of the stock and scraps cool in the stockpot for one hour.
- Over a large bowl, use a strainer or cheese cloth to catch vegetable pieces and strain liquid into the bowl. Discard vegetable pieces. Pour stock into mason jars or other containers, seal, and store in the refrigerator or freezer.