Homemade Turkey Stock 101

  • Active Time 10m
  • Total Time 2h 15m

Makes about 2 1/2 quarts

Every Thanksgiving Eve, I put on a big pot of stock to simmer overnight. Then I use it all Thanksgiving Day long. It is one of the secrets to a moist, beautifully colored roast bird with wonderful gravy. Some of the stock also goes into the stuffing, some usually gets turned into soup and I often use it in my side dishes as well. The recipe is easily doubled or even tripled, assuming you have a stockpot big enough to hold the ingredients. Any leftovers can be frozen, or used the next day to make a terrific soup.


  • 3 pounds turkey wings
  • Turkey neck and giblets (liver reserved, if desired)
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 medium carrot, chopped
  • 1 medium celery rib with leaves, chopped
  • 6 parsley sprigs
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/4 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf


Using a heavy cleaver, chop the wings and neck into 2-inch pieces. (Or ask the butcher to do this for you.) Using a sharp knife, trim away any membranes from the giblets.

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. In batches, add the turkey wings, neck and giblets and cook, turning occasionally, until browned on all sides, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a plate. Add the onion, carrot and celery to the pot and cook, stirring often, until softened, about 6 minutes.

Return the turkey to the pot. Add enough cold water to cover the turkey by 2 inches. Bring to a boil, skimming off the foam that rises to the surface. Add the parsley, thyme, peppercorns and bay leaf. Reduce the heat to low.

Cook uncovered at a bare simmer for at least 2 hours. The longer a stock simmers, the better, up to 12 hours. As needed, add more water to the pot to keep the bones covered. Never let stock come to a rolling boil, or it will become cloudy and have a less refined flavor. A great alternative to the stove is to make the stock in a 5 1/2-quart slow cooker. Transfer the browned turkey and vegetable mixture to the cooker, add the herbs, and pour in enough cold water to cover generously. Cook on Low, and the stock will barely simmer all night long, to make a clear delicious stock.

Do not add salt to your stock. The stock is often used in recipes where it must be reduced, and the final dish could end up too salty. To check the stock's flavor, ladle some into a cup and season lightly with salt before tasting. Without the salt, it may taste deceptively weak.

Strain the stock through a colander into a large bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then skim off the clear yellow fat that rises to the surface. If desired, remove the giblets, cool, finely chop and refrigerate for use in gravy. The neck meat can be removed in strips, chopped and reserved as well. Cool the stock completely before refrigerating or freezing. (Turkey stock can be prepared up to 3 days ahead, cooled, covered, and refrigerated. It can also be frozen in airtight containers for up to 3 months.)

Recipe reprinted by permission of Broadway Books. All rights reserved.

RecID 2467

nutrition information per serving

81 calories; 5g total fat; 39mg cholesterol; 28mg sodium; 1g carbohydrates; 0g fiber; 9g protein

These nutrition facts are calculated according to the ingredients listed in this recipe. Any substitutions will change these facts. Although we strive for accuracy, please note that food manufacturers occasionally change their food formulas, which could affect the calculations as shown.

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