Don’t Throw Out Your Turkey Carcass! How To Make Mineral-Rich Stock

by lydia on November 28, 2011

Right about now, thousands of home cooks across America are creating a delicious bone broth out of their Thanksgiving turkey carcass. Growing up, this was an annual ritual I had assumed was something every family took part in but now I realize it’s not. I can’t remember who, but someone recently asked me how to make turkey soup. I was like, ‘huh?’  You see to me, it’s just rote. I had to stop myself for a minute to realize not everyone grew up eating homemade soup like I did. So, I thought I’d post how I make turkey soup for those who are wanting to make the endeavor without prior know how from childhood.

Whatever size turkey you have you can make lots of broth. You will want to save the neck, and even the giblets if you don’t already use them for gravy be sure to add them to your stock. They are loaded with nutrition. Go ahead and strip most of the meat off of the turkey carcass and place it in a large stock pot. If you have any more turkey bones on hand, add those too to make a larger pot of stock, or add some chicken feet to get that good gelatin in your broth.  To that pot add a few coarsely chopped carrots, onions,

If you have any more turkey bones on hand, add those too to make a larger pot of stock, or add some chicken feet to get that good gelatin in your broth.  To that pot add a few coarsely chopped carrots, onions, celery, and garlic. (I often have a bag of chopped celery, carrots and onion pieces leftover from the discard pile after chopping for other meals, so I almost always have on hand what I need to start up a batch of stock.) If you have some bay leaves and peppercorns throw those in too, about 4 or 5 bay leaves and a tablespoon or so of peppercorns.

Add a good long pour of raw apple cider vinegar if you have it, and let it sit for about an hour. This helps to draw minerals out of the bones and infuse them into your stock. If you don’t have the vinegar that’s okay, you will still have a wonderful stock. Turn the pot on and bring to a gentle boil, then reduce the heat and simmer for up to 24 hours, but a minimum of about 4. Once your stock is done, allow it to cool for a bit. Then proceed to straining the stock into a large bowl through a colander. You may want to pick any meat off the bones, or the neck to add it into your soup.


At this point, you can put the finished stock into containers and either refrigerate or freeze for future use. I just go ahead and get my soup going by sauteeing minced garlic, chopped onions, carrots and celery in a large pot with either some olive oil, butter, ghee or lard. I saute my veggies until tender and then add as much chopped meat as I have set aside from the bird, and as much stock as I want to have soup.

I personally prefer to add some rice to my soup, you can add a cup of rice right into the pot and cook it until it is done. Or, I actually like to make large batches of rice at a time and I make about 10 cups in my rice maker cooked in some kind of homemade stock if I have it. I’ll freeze my rice in meal sized amounts to pull out when needed. Go ahead and add a few cups of cooked rice to your finished soup if this method is easier for you. I season my soup with whatever dried herbs I have on hand, such as parsley, oregano, basil or thyme and salt it with sea salt rather liberally. I also often throw in a stick of butter, cause butter makes everything taste better! It’s as simple as that! It really doesn’t take a whole lot of time, just a little forethought.

I love having all that soup on hand after a busy holiday week so I don’t have to cook as much. It’s a great way to be super frugal/economical while nourishing your family and taking some time of of the regular cooking routine. Go ahead and freeze some so you have some down the road when you don’t feel like cooking and also to ensure you don’t burn out on turkey soup all at one time!

What about you? Do you make turkey stock every year to make soup?

Homemade Chicken Broth and soup

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Want to learn all the ins and outs of making bone broth at home?

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Patty has tried it all and she pulls important information together and puts into one handy guide to save you time on finding all the answers to the questions you are bound to have.



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Ann December 11, 2011 at 8:07 am

I can totally vouche for your turkey soup. It was delish :)!

Patricia August 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

I know this may seem like a silly question, but I’ve never made bone broth before so I’m wondering how much water to add for a turkey? I’m assuming enough water to just cover the carcass? Thank for sharing this! I’ll definitely be making some turkey soup the day after Thanksgiving this year!

lydia August 12, 2013 at 4:42 pm

Yep, you got it -enough water to cover the carcass. Save the wing tips if you can and add them as well, they help make the broth gel better.

Anna Dawson September 24, 2013 at 8:11 am

My kids don’t eat cereal–so I’m glad they enjoy my soups.
Thanks Lydia, for a great healthy soup post. This will help me to make sure my kids get a healthy breakfast before they leave to the school.

Maury Brooks December 2, 2015 at 2:10 am

I cook my turkey bones until they are soft and disintegrate to get all the minerals from them. Why do you say up to 24 hours.

lydia December 15, 2015 at 7:02 am

That’s just how long I do it to get a good rich stock.

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