How to Make Easy Turkey Stock
As Thanksgiving draws near, an essential, make-ahead ingredient for the holiday meal is turkey stock. The main reason to make turkey stock is because it is used for homemade pan gravy. However, it can also be used for other recipes such as stuffing, glazed Brussels sprouts, and even Turkey Meatball Soup, which is made using leftover roast turkey. In this guide, we're providing step-by-step instructions for how to your own turkey stock.
Why make it in the first place? Homemade turkey stock is an economical and sustainable way to use turkey bones and scrap vegetables rather than letting them go to waste. Plus, the homemade version tastes richer and more flavorful than the boxed version found in grocery stores.
Before diving into our step-by-step guide, make note of these handy tips. The stock can be made up to three months in advance and kept in the freezer until time to use. When transferring the stock from pot to quart containers, leave approximately one inch of room at the top, since liquids expand when frozen. To defrost, place the stock in the refrigerator for 24 hours before using.
If you're making turkey stock after Thanksgiving, use the bones from the roast turkey to make a pot of flavorful stock. Otherwise, ask your local butcher for turkey bones with some meat still on them; they often will sell you a few pounds of bones for just a few dollars. The other ingredients needed to make turkey stock—whole carrots, yellow onions, celery stalks, black peppercorns, and fresh parsley—are easy to find and inexpensive.
What You'll Need
A basic turkey stock is made with turkey bones, vegetables, and fresh herbs. Here's exactly what you need to make your own:
- 5 pounds leftover turkey bones (with some meat still attached), broken into large sections if necessary
- 1 pound yellow onions, skins on, halved or quartered depending on size
- 1/2 pound carrots, cut into 4-inch pieces
- 1/2 pound celery stalks, cut into 4-inch pieces
- 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 8 sprigs parsley
In a three-gallon stockpot, combine all ingredients and fill with enough cold water to cover all ingredients (about six quarts). If you don't have a large stockpot, use two smaller pots and divide the ingredients in half.
Bring the stock to a rapid simmer over high (do not boil); reduce heat until bubbles barely break the surface. Simmer until flavorful, about two hours, skimming stock with a ladle every 30 minutes to remove the fat. Keep the stock at a bare simmer; a hard boil would evaporate too much liquid and make the stock cloudy. Any fat that remains after skimming should be removed once the stock is chilled.
Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve. Discard vegetables. Remove meat from bones and save for another use; discard bones. Let stock cool completely before refrigerating. (To store, refrigerate for up to one week, or freeze for up to six months.)