How To Make Your Own Chicken Or Turkey Stock

Disclosure: Links to products may be affiliate which means I get commissions for purchases. Sponsored posts will always be clearly disclosed as such.Privacy Policy

Heather says:

Want killer -figuratively, you do keep a sanitary kitchen, right?- dressing, gravy, or mashed potatoes? The secret is in the stock. Before Tom the turkey heads into the oven (or deep fat fryer, just sayin’), remove the neck from the cavity and fearlessly reach up under the neck flap and pull out the bag -o- mysterious bits known as giblets. Don’t worry, we’re not going to chow down on the giblets themselves, we are going to extract the good stuff they bring to the table. Well, except the liver, if you really want to add that to your dressing, that’s your deal, not mine, just don’t tell me about it.

how to make turkey stock

The ratios I’m giving are for 1 turkey, double everything if you cook two.

Tools needed: large pot, colander, large bowl
Nice to have: cheese cloth, skimmer


  • 1 turkey neck (or 1 lb chicken bones / pieces)
  • contents of the giblet bag, except the liver (that’s the slimy squishy one), optional
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and cut into chunks
  • 2 ribs celery, washed, cut into chunks, with the leaves
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 onion peeled, washed, and cut into quarters
  • 6 cups of COLD water

Turkey Necks and Giblets no LiverToss all the turkey bits into your large pot.

Cold water turkey stock ingredientsAdd everything else (this is tough, huh?)

Turn the heat to medium high and bring to a full boil.

Skim the foamSkim off the foam that forms. Then turn the heat down to low and keep it at a simmer for at least one hour, it doesn’t need any attention.

Strain Turkey StockRemove the pot from the heat and pour through 2 layers of cheese cloth, if you don’t have cheese cloth, a sieve, strainer or colander will work into your large bowl. You may need to scoop out any bits. For even better stock, gather the corners of the cheese cloth and form a sack. Give it a few minutes to cool off enough to handle, then squeeze every last drop into your large bowl.

Set the stock aside for a moment and scrub out your pot. Whee! That’s fun, isn’t it?

Pour the stock back into the clean pot, bring to a steady simmer (not a roiling boil, but not a few random bubbles) and let the stock cook down until it is half of its original volume.

If you had one turkey, you now have 3 cups of awesome stock to use in your dressing, your gravy, or your mashed potatoes.

After the meal is over, don’t throw out the turkey’s bones. Repeat the same process, with enough water to cover all the bones, use the ratio above to the amount of water used (ie if you use 3 quarts -that’s 12 cups- double the ingredients). Follow the same process and you have the base for an amazing batch of turkey soup for the leftover / picked over bits of turkey.

Alternately cool then freeze in one cup portions for future recipes.

I also use this instead of Better Than Bouillon and water for turkey or chicken noodle soup.


P.S. Working on Thanksgiving food? We have a lot more information that you should check out!

Send your domestic questions to

Sharing is caring!

16 thoughts on “How To Make Your Own Chicken Or Turkey Stock”

  1. Pingback: Calculated Crunch News » Blog Archive » Choosing Sides, Meal Plan Primer Part IV
  2. just to clarify:

    I throw out the first batch of stuff strained out of the first batch of broth. The "left-over" that I leave in my stock pot is left-over broth. I really do this because I am lazy. I just don't want to have to package up the broth and do something more purposeful with the broth yet. Sheesh, I usually just spent a whole day roasting a turkey and making all the customary fixings, baking a pie or two and having a feast with or without added guests and then cleaning up from said event… I really don't want deal with making room in the fridge or freezer for broth or anything else like a carcass! In fact, that is why I started making broth this way: I throw the broth ingredients into a pot and let it simmer overnight and into the next day, over night and into the next day after that. By then, I'm good and ready to deal with the broth.

    • Simmering the stock for that long of a time period used to seem like a great idea to me. When I did this, I found that I would have the same reactions to the homemade stock that I have to canned stock with MSG. From my very wise friend (who is a Weston A Price chapter leader and lectures and makes videos on traditional foods for health and how to prepare them!), I found out that when you cook it so long, free glutamates are formed in the stock, which act like monosodium glutamate (MSG) in the body.

      I still make my own stock, but I only simmer about 6 hours max now. No more reactions.

      Just FYI 🙂

      My recent post Confession time!

  3. I use lots more water (like twice that amount) and the stated amount for ingredients but i let it simmer for hours (as many as 6) while I roast the turkey. Then I strain it just before I take the turkey out and use the broth with my gravy.

    Anything left over, I leave in my stock pot, add the carcass and any skin and other assorted bones from the turkey (and those wing tips!), adding additional water to cover generously. I add the same seasonings and a carrot, 2-3 ribs celery with leaves, a scrubbed and halved potato and the quartered onion. I bring this to a boil, skim and then I let it simmer for 2 days, yes that says DAYS! I cover with a lid that has been tilted to leave a large "vent" during this time.

    The bones and skin and veggies as well as seasonings give up all their goodness to the broth during this process. [you can do this in a crock pot but mine just isn't big enough for all the broth I want to make – an electric roaster is another great option]. Strain through a cheese cloth or paper towel lined colander for the clearest broth but if you don't have cheese cloth, just do your best to get the debris out by straining through a wire sieve or unlined colander like Heather says.

    This makes a very flavorful broth without the boiling down process. However, if you want double strength broth, you can return your strained broth to your washed stock pot and heat at a slow boil until reduced by half in volume.

    I have canned broth once or twice but find it time consuming and a hassle [I do my canning in my travel trailer because my ceramic cook-top is not suited to my pressure canner as the canner extends more than 1 inch beyond the heat element's circle] since I have a large deep freeze, I just freeze my broth in quart size freezer ware.

    Man-o-man, it looks like I wrote a whole volume on the subject. But, I just wanted to elaborate on the basic turkey broth idea. Once you get the hang of making your own broth (which is virtually free) on a small scale, it just makes sense to go larger and make your time really count and exact every bit of flavor out of those ingredients as possible.

  4. I made a big batch of stock with turkey wings and thighs this weekend too.
    In fact, I make a batch every couple of weeks. Then use the thigh meat for soups, sandwiches, salads, last minute addition to stir frys or cassseroles. Love having real stock on hand.

    Your tutorial is wonderful. Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

  5. Great tutorial, Heather. I was at the store this morning and saw assorted turkey parts in the meat case as well as whole turkeys, so that made me think how easy it would be to make sure you have plenty of stock for gravy & dressing (especially if you're hosting gravy fanatics). Just grab a package of turkey wings to add to your pot — they make great stock. You'll have plenty for the holiday meal, and perhaps some left to give you a head start on turkey soup.

    (Whenever I'm cooking a turkey, nobody's going to see it before I cut it up, so I clip the wings off before I roast it and simmer those w/giblets)

    Whenever I've got one lonely liver from a turkey or chicken, I cook it quickly in my tiny cast iron skillet and give it to my daughter (she likes it and needs the iron!)

  6. Making stock/broth is a fantastic way to extract every little bit of goodness from the turkey. I like to do mine in the slow cooker a lot of times, especially when I have a turkey or chicken carcass to work with. you end up with a nice rich stock with lots of extracted gelatin in it that's great for making gravies and soups

    • I have to run out and grab some carrots and celery in a bit. I have two more turkey carcasses to cook down. My goal is to try to can some of the stock this year, but I haven't managed to yet.


Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.