I wanted to hit you guys up before Thanksgiving so you can think ahead, or you got sick of eating leftover turkey and before you threw it away. Keep that carcass! It produces liquid gold folks … if you treat it right.

Don't throw away that turkey carcass! Make good use of those bones - Toss it in a pot and make your own gorgeous turkey stock. Easy to can or freeze. Perfect for turkey and dumplings, gravies, or anything else calling for poultry stock!

So I’m thinking ahead to Christmas. I plan on making some turkey and dumplings and also some turkey gumbo at some point. It would be a shame to use store bought stock for either of these, so I’m gonna use my turkey carcass. It’s really simple and while it does take time, it’s all pretty much passive time and you’ll have a food hangover anyway, so you’ll be hanging around the house.  Might as well do something productive.

It might seem like more than you want to do after you’ve had a houseful of cranky in-laws and kids running about and a huge mess to clean, but it’s homemade stock y’all. That’s all I have to say about that. Sooo much better than that silly broth you buy in the box.

And truthfully, if you just can’t face it after Thanksgiving, break the carcass apart and stick it in a zip lock bag and freeze it. You can always make the turkey stock next weekend 😉


turkey carcass
5 stalks of celery
cold water to cover
1 large onion or a handful of shallots, quartered and skin on
4 carrots
3 bay leaves
sprigs of fresh herbs, like parsley, thyme, sage
1 teaspoon salt


Take your carcass and put it in a very large pot. You may have to use two pots if you don’t have a really large one. Sometimes I’ll stick the wings and legs in one pot and the body in another. If it still has some meat on it, great. If it doesn’t, that’s ok too. If your skin is fatty, don’t include all of it or you’ll get an oily stock. Cover with cold water.

Throw in the celery, carrots, peppercorns, herbs, a large onion quartered skin on, salt, and bay leaves.

Bring to a boil and then simmer for 2-3 hours. Just a simmer, not vigorous in any way. You want a gentle thing going on here.


Same as above, put carcass and remaining ingredients in your pressure cooker. Pressure on high for 45 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. I will say that unless you’re just using the wings, this will not work with your Instant Pot or electric pressure cooker. It would be much too full. I use my pressure canner for this when I pressure it. (Yes, you can cook in that thing.)

For either method, let cool and strain the pieces parts with a fine mesh strainer or a cheese cloth. I have a super fine one for beer grains and it works perfectly.

Now you need to decide how you’re gonna store this stuff. You can freeze it in ziplocks or you can freeze (if you’re brave and careful) in wide-mouth mason jars. If you have a vacuum sealer, you can freeze, let’s say, two cups of stock in a bowl. When frozen, remove from the bowl, vacuum seal it. Keep frozen, then when you want to use it, you just put it back in the bowl you froze it in and leave it in the fridge to defrost or use your microwave or pressure cooker to defrost.

Got a pressure canner and want to can it? Here’s how I do it!

26 thoughts on “Homemade Turkey Stock – Use Your Leftover Holiday Turkey”

  1. Great idea! I I have made soup before with the carcass. This year I will have to make the soup on my Instant pot! Thanks for sharing at Home Sweet Home.

  2. I love homemade stock, there’s nothing better! Thank you for sharing. This week you will be featured on the Whisk It Wednesday Link Party. I hope to see you again this week! – Carrie @ Carrie’s Home Cooking

  3. There is absolutely nothing like homemade stock. It tastes so good, and it’s so good for you too! Your turkey stock sounds fantastic, Jaxx. Thank you so much for sharing it with us at the Hearth and Soul Link Party. Hope to ‘see’ you again at the party this week. Have a great week!

    1. Thanks April! By the way, I can’t get that Christmas pudding out of my mind since I read your post. I’m still trying to…well a few things imagine what that tastes like. Never had anything remotely like it. But if I could steam in my pressure cooker and then where do I store it. I’m gonna leave it floating in my head for a while and see what happens. 🙂

  4. Your post is awesome and thanks so much for sharing it with us at Full Plate Thursday. Hope you have a great week and come back to see us real soon!
    Miz Helen

    1. I do too! I actually like the turkey sandwiches way better than the turkey fresh and hot. I may have to put a few pieces aside for sammies because a fried turkey will fly off the bones.

  5. Such a good use of leftovers! Thanks for contributing to the To Grandma’s House We Go Link party this week! Be sure to follow us and we’d love to see you next week!

  6. Taking notes! Amazing how you can make a leftover turkey carcass stretch, isn’t it? and so delicious! Thanks for sharing this week on Encouraging Hearts & Home Blog Hop

  7. Mom, always made soup using a broth from the carcass after Thanksgiving. I followed in her footsteps, but haven’t the last few years. I need to again. Thanks for sharing with SYC.

    1. lol Funny you should say that, I was just asking my wife what’s the deal with the “bone broth” craze. Wasn’t that just stock and haven’t people always done that? lol

      I too love making my own stock, but only with birds. I never have beef bones for stock and have you priced beef bones for stock lately? Expensive! At least where I’m at.

      Thanks for coming by Vicky! Love your blog, by the way, you’ve got a new fan!

    1. Oh yeah, I remember those sandwiches. Now I’m usually pretty excited about left over turkey and every year I have amazing plans for the all the left overs. They never happen because since I’ve been frying my turkeys there is nothing left. I mean, nothing, nada, zip! Just bones.

      Can’t complain about that, but I miss my turkey leftovers!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

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