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Turkey Stock

Mom’s Homemade Turkey Stock [A Thanksgiving MUST]

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4-24 hours
  • Total Time: 4-24 hours
  • Yield: About 4 quarts (varies) 1x
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American


Use what’s left of your Thanksgiving turkey to make a delicious and nutritious homemade stock. Sip on it out of a mug, or use it as the base of a soup.


  • 1 cooked turkey (or chicken) carcass, including all bones and skin leftover
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, quartered
  • 45 celery stalks
  • 23 large carrots, washed but not peeled, greens trimmed away
  • 45 cloves garlic, smashed open
  • optional: 1 dried or 2 fresh bay leaves
  • herbs: 5-6 thyme sprigs + a handful of fresh parsley from leftover from Thanksgiving cooking (or a small handful of any fresh herbs you have such as rosemary or sage, or 2 teaspoons dried thyme)
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • Enough water to fill the pot


CrockPot Method:

  • Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker. If your turkey has a lot of butter or oil on it you can give it a quick rinse, but I almost never have to do that. Put the bones and any non-greasy skin in the CrockPot. You may have to break apart the whole carcass if it’s too big. It’s ok to leave the skin on the onion and garlic, just rinse away any visible dirt on the veggies.
  • Fill the CrockPot with enough water to cover the carcass and veggies, stopping 2 inches below the top of CrockPot. Put the lid on; do not latch the lock if your CrockPot has one, that is only for transporting the slow cooker.
  • Turn on high heat until it comes to a simmer—probably about 2 hours. It will take a while to simmer as the slow-cooker heats at a slower pace than your stovetop. Turn it to low, then let it all simmer on low for 4-24 hours. You can also start it on low if you want if you’re leaving it for more than 8 hours.
  • Strain through a strainer. Discard all solids and enjoy your stock.
  • Use within 5 days for a soup or sip in a mug. Freezes well up to 4 months.

All slow-cookers are different. You may want to leave it on high if it’s not gently simmering on low. I leave mine on low overnight after setting it on high for about 2-3 hours, and it simmers all night. (The house smells fantastic in the morning!)

Stove Top Method:

  • A slow cooker is more energy efficient and safer to leave on for extended periods of time so I recommend it. If you don’t have one, no problem! You can use the stove top.
  • Add all of the ingredients to a 6-to-8-quart pot (the biggest one you have with a lid). Follow the instructions above to add the ingredients and water to the pot, leaving a 2-inch gap from the top so it doesn’t simmer over. 
  • Put the lid on and turn it to high heat until it comes to a rolling simmer—probably about 30-90 minutes. Once at a rolling simmer, turn it to low, then let it all simmer on low for 4-24 hours. 
  • Strain through a strainer. Discard all solids and enjoy your stock.
  • Use within 5 days for a soup or sip in a mug. Freezes well up to 4 months.

Instant Pot Method:

  • I recommend a CrockPot if you have one because turkey carcasses are usually too big for an Instant Pot. However, you can cut it in half and freeze the other half for stock another time.
  • Place all of the ingredients in your instant pot and fill with enough water to just cover everything, being sure not to fill the pressure cooker more than about ⅔ full (a pressure cooker can’t come up to pressure if it’s too full). That means you may have to reduce the ingredients.
  • Set to pressure cook on high for 40 minutes. 
  • It will take about 20 minutes to come up to pressure, and do a natural release for 30 minutes. All in, it will take about 90-100 minutes to make turkey stock in a pressure cooker.

Keywords: Homemade Turkey Stock