One of the best things about making a turkey at Thanksgiving is the fact that you can so easily make a large pot of homemade turkey stock afterwards. There is nothing better than a rich homemade stock to add flavor to many of your recipes. Using that turkey carcass for something new and delicious is a must, and my favorite part of the after Thanksgiving weekend.
Homemade Turkey Stock Recipe
I get almost giddy seeing the turkey carcass on the counter after a big Thanksgiving meal. It means there are turkey sandwiches, turkey pot pies, and turkey chili in my future, but most importantly, it's all about the rich and almost buttery homemade turkey stock I will make. This has become an annual process that I love. Just like many go out on Black Friday to shop, I prepare my kitchen for a slow cooking process of turkey stock to use in future meals.
Before you get started making this stock recipe, you'll probably need to use up the leftover turkey. Some of my favorite ways to use the turkey include my beet and turkey salad with goat cheese or the sunflower crunch salad with turkey. Of course, if you want something warm, the Indian spiced beans with turkey is another favorite.
What is the Difference Between Stock and Broth?
You may see recipes referencing both of these interchangeably, but in fact, they are different things. A broth, which is a bit more traditional, is simply a reduction of boiled meat bones in water. It is a way for the marrow to escape the bones and the rich bits of flavor attached to create a flavored base that starts with just water and meat.
A stock is similar to broth, but with vegetables and herbs included in the simmering process. This adds tons of extra flavor to the recipe and will create a richer choice for adding more flavor to recipes.
Broth, to me, is ideal for use as a lightly flavored liquid in cooking things like pasta, rice, or added as a liquid in casseroles. Stock, is my preference for soups, stews, or dishes where I want not just a light flavor, but a richer flavor to give a dish more warmth and depth of flavor.
Do I Have to Have a Whole Turkey For This Homemade Stock?
While it is nicer to have that whole turkey carcass, you don't have to have a whole carcass to make stock. Instead, you can use any amount of leftover bones or even bits of fat and meat from a turkey. While we often use just a turkey breast at meals throughout the year, occasionally I buy a whole turkey outside of the holidays.
You'll find chicken stock or broth are easier to whip up any time of year as you can so easily find chicken bones with many of your favorite meals. Turkey bones are not often found when you purchase turkey cutlets or ground turkey throughout the year, but you can ask your local butcher if they have them on hand or in back. Many butchers are happy to sell you the carcass of a turkey they have butchered.
What Goes into Stock?
When I make turkey stock, I like to add in a mixture of herbs and spices to go along with my turkey bones. Another thing I think adds a ton of flavor is the skin or fat off of the bird. Below are a few of the herbs that I find bring the best flavor.
- Sage, thyme, rosemary, bay leaves, and Italian parsley.
- Whole garlic cloves, slightly mashed to release flavor.
- Yellow onion, carrots, celery, and their skins, leaves, or peels.
- Mushroom stems, broccoli stems, asparagus tips.
- Salt and whole peppercorns.
How Should I Store Leftover Turkey Stock?
There are a variety of ways to store your homemade turkey stock for future use. My go-to method is the freezer but you may prefer to can your homemade stock. This will depend upon your skills, room in your home, and room in your freezer.
When freezing turkey stock, make sure to first let it cool completely. Then pour into freezer soup containers or freezer storage bags. When using soup containers, leave 1" of space at the top for expansion when freezing. If using freezer storage bags, make sure you double bag the stock and remove as much air as possible from the bag before sealing.
Mark your container or bag with the date the stock was made and what it contains. Then, when freezing bags, lay them flat stacked together so they freeze evenly. Once frozen, you can move them to a shelf to stack or lay together to save space.
Turkey stock is good in the refrigerator for up to one week and up to three months in the freezer. The labels and dates will keep them rotated and used well within the designated time.
How Many myWW Points are in Turkey Stock?
Homemade turkey stock is a great choice for a low point option on all myWW plans, both new and old. When the fat is skimmed off of the stock, the process renders it into a flavorful stock with zero points. The points below are calculated for a 1 cup serving of stock.
- myWW Blue: 0
- myWW Green: 0
- myWW Purple: 0
- Points Plus: 1
- Turkey carcass
- Skin and fat from turkey
- Bay leaves
- Whole peppercorns
How to Make Turkey Stock on the Stovetop
In a 6 quart stock pot, add the turkey carcass and cover with 1 gallon of water.
Add in roughly chopped onion, carrots, and celery then gently smashed garlic cloves.
Sprinkle in the roughly chopped herbs, peppercorns, and salt.
Cover and bring to a boil over high heat. Allow the mixture to boil for 20 minutes.
After 20 minutes, reduce the heat to low and let the mixture simmer for 1 hour.
At one hour, bring the mixture back up to a rolling boil for 10 minutes.
Turn off the heat and let the stock cool completely.
Strain the stock through a fine sieve and into a large bowl or container.
Place this into the refrigerator for 2-3 hours until completely cooled and any fat has settled on top.
Skim off the fat and discard.
Measure into freezer containers, freezer bags, or jars to can and label to store.
Note: There are directions for Instant Pot and slow cooker methods in the recipe card below.
How to Make Turkey Stock on the Stovetop
How to make Turkey Stock in the Slow Cooker
How to Make Turkey Stock in the Instant Pot
Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 23mgSodium: 248mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 2gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g