Learn how to make roasted turkey stock for your Thanksgiving feast and you'll never buy store-bought again! Easy to prepare and homemade stock adds so much flavor to your stuffing and gravy!
You can also use this staple for homemade matzo ball soup.
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Why you’ll love this recipe!
Homemade turkey stock is an absolute must for my Thanksgiving meal. Make it ahead and freeze - one less thing to do Thanksgiving week. It adds so much flavor to your stuffing and gravy - it will become a staple in your house too.
Thanksgiving, to me, is the season for scratch cooking. I am always one for shortcuts, especially for mid-week meals. But on Thanksgiving I focus on cooking as much from scratch as I can.
And I learned long ago that cooking on the actual day, except for the turkey and gravy, is not the best approach for me. So I do a little bit each day (download my planner), with the most work done the two days prior. Even when I was working full time out of the house, I cooked ahead by cooking at night -- it was better than a marathon on Thanksgiving day.
This stock fits right into the prep-ahead paradigm - make it when it's convenient for you. But please, please make it!
Check out my homemade turkey stock story for a quick visual guide on how to make this recipe!
Ingredients you'll need
The ingredients for roasted turkey stock are similar to what you would use for chicken stock. And, like any stock, you can improvise the ingredients to some extent as well. Use the herbs and vegetables you have on hand. The real key here is the process - roasting, deglazing, then boiling. You'll end up with a richly-flavored, beautifully-colored stock.
- Turkey parts: If you want to make the stock a few week's ahead of time before the turkeys arrive in stores by the truckloads, scour your grocery stores' meat section or talk to the butcher about finding the turkey parts you'll need. Backs, necks, wings, thighs, and giblets are all great for making stock.
- Carrots: No need to peel or cut them perfectly, Just rough chop and throw them in the pan.
- Onions: I remove the skin but you don't really need to. Quarter them (depending on size) and toss them in.
- Garlic: I don't use a lot but adjust up or down to your taste.
- Fresh herbs: For the roasting stage I usually use sage and thyme and for the boiling stage, I'll add in some fresh parsley as well.
- Brandy: I've decided over the years that I like to deglaze the roasting pan with brandy but other choices could be white wine, vermouth, sherry, water, chicken stock - but don't leave those yummy drippings in the pan. They add another layer of flavor and color to your developing turkey stock.
- Peppercorns: I like to roughly smash the peppercorns with a mortar and pestle and toss them in the pot with the liquid but if you don't have peppercorns around, just add ground pepper!
How to make this recipe
1. First, gather your turkey parts and vegetables into your roasting pan and slather them with olive oil and salt and pepper.
2. Roast at 400 degrees F for about 30 minutes.
3. Place the roasted vegetables and turkey parts into your stock pot along with the water and additional herbs and spices.
4. While it's still hot, deglaze the roasting pan and add that mixture into your stock pot.
5. Bring the stock pot contents up to a boil, partially cover the pot and let it simmer for 2 - 3 hours.
6. Let the turkey stock cool and then remove the large pieces of turkey and vegetables and strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer.
Expert Tips and FAQs
My pro tips for making homemade roasted turkey stock are:
- Roast the turkey and veggies first before adding to the stock pot with water and aromatics.
- Deglaze the roasting pan and add the deglazing liquid and yummies from the bottom of the pan to your stock pot.
- Add more fresh herbs to the stock pot and let it cook away low and slow to develop the full, rich flavor.
Absolutely but if you use glass jars, be sure to leave at least an inch of headspace at the top for expansion. I learned this lesson the hard way.
It is gelatinous because you made rich and delicious stock full of flavor and the collagen from the bones. It is not fat that is causing the gelled texture. This is a sign of a really well made stock!
According to the USDA, 3-4 days. I've kept it refrigerated longer but to be safe, if you make it farther ahead than a few days, just freeze it.
Besides Thanksgiving dishes, use it to make any soup that you would make with chicken stock or any sauce calling for chicken stock. Really, any recipe calling for chicken stock, will work with turkey stock. One of my favorite swaps is in this turkey pot pie that started out as a chicken pot pie!
More Inspiration for your Thanksgiving Menu
- Dry Brine Turkey Breast with Pomegranate Gravy
- Pumpkin Banana Muffins with Pecans
- Cranberry Orange Jam: A Simple Staple for the Holiday Season
- Honey Cornbread with Olive Oil and Sage (Dairy-free option)
- Turkey Pot Pie
- How to Dry Brine Turkey for a Stress-Free Thanksgiving
- Persimmon Bread: A Perfect Way to Use Hachiya Persimmons
- Vegetable Wellington: An Elegant Vegetarian Entree for your Holiday Meals
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Homemade Roasted Turkey Stock
- 3-4 turkey wings
- 2-3 turkey necks
- 3-5 cloves garlic (peeled and crushed (to your taste))
- 5 medium carrots (roughly chopped in 3 inch pieces)
- 2 medium onions (quartered)
- 3-4 sprigs thyme
- 5-6 sage leaves
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
For Stovetop after Roasting
- ¼-1/3 cup brandy or your alcohol of choice
- 12-16 cups of water
- 8-12 peppercorns crushed
- parsley sprigs (about 8 - 12)
- more thyme and sage 2-3 sprigs each or to your taste
- kosher salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees convection or 400 degrees regular bake.
- Grab your big roasting pan and place the wings and necks in it, then spread the vegetables - carrots, garlic, onions - all around. Brush the olive oil all over - doesn't have to be precise or cover everything. Then sprinkle the salt and pepper all around. Spread the fresh herbs on the top. Roast for about 30 minutes. The turkey should be browned and you should hear some sizzling coming from the bottom of the pan.
- Place your largest stock pot on the stove top and put all the roasted turkey and vegetables in it. Don't wash the roasting pan yet! Place it stovetop as well over medium to medium high heat and pour in the brandy or your liquid of choice to deglaze the pan. (To deglaze is to mix around the liquid while gently prying the pieces of meat or veggies that have been left behind on the bottom of the pan). If using brandy, be careful if you pour it into a hot pan - it could flame because of the high alcohol content. I usually pour it in before the pan is fully reheated. The liquid should get hot very quickly and the yummies should release easily from the pan bottom. As soon as they are released, turn the heat off and pour this liquid carefully into the stock pot. If you deglaze too long the liquid will quickly evaporate.
- Add 12 - 16 cups of water to the stock pot - basically you want to completely cover the turkey and veggies. Add the peppercorns and parsley and more thyme and sage if you'd like.
- Bring this to a boil, then partially cover and turn the heat down to maintain a simmer (you should see some movement in the liquid and an occasional bubble but it shouldn't be a rolling boil). Let it cook for an hour and a half or even up to 2 or 3 hours.
- Take it off the heat and let it cool off a bit. Then take the large pieces of meat and veggies out and strain them (I like to get every drop but you could just put the large pieces on a plate and nosh on the overcooked carrots and dark meat on the necks and not bother with straining them). Then line your biggest strainer with cheesecloth if you have it, pour the broth through into a large bowl or another pot. Let the strained broth cool for a bit - maybe a half hour and then put it into your storage container of choice and refrigerate or freeze. Any fat will congeal and you can remove it when you use it.
OH this is much easier than the one I've used forever from Cooks Illustrated! It's the same idea, just a lot easier to just roast everything than to fry it in a pan. Thank you!!! Now I just have to figure out where I'm gonna put 12 cups of stock (very small, already over-stocked, freezer).
One question, though, can you taste the brandy at all? Alan's not always a fan of alcohol in cooking. I could just use the apple cider I always use for brining the turkey. Oh, and, I know it sounds silly, but parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme is my favorite herb combination, especially for Thanksgiving. It's the only time I use rosemary.
The beauty of this is that you should adjust it to your taste buds. Prefer no alcohol? Deglaze the pan with water, juice, other stock - whatever you like. Simon and Garfunkel approve of your herb combination. And so do I! Sounds like you need to eat up something in the freezer quickly so you can make room for your really delicious homemade stock!!! Sending Aloha.
Homemade is definitely the way to go! I grew up in a household where mom would roast the turkey in the pan, pour off some of the fat, and then make a roux right in the roasting pan with all the drippings. I guess it was a bit of a shortcut way to get around not using homemade stock. She was able to capture every bit of that flavor in the roux and then used the cooking water from all the vegetables to make the gravy. Now, I love starting with homemade stock--and yours is gorgeous with all those fresh herbs in it! I still make a roasting pan roux, though! 🙂
I love hearing how others make their gravy. Actually the roasting pan roux is brilliant. My hubby is sauce and gravy man. He always uses the pan drippings day of no matter how good the stock is! So much flavor!
So you get turkey wings etc from your butcher? separate from the whole turkey you buy, of course
So the short answer is yes. I either go to a store with a butcher counter or if I'm lucky, I might find them packaged in the meat section. This year I found the jackpot at Sprouts a couple of weeks ago and put it in the freezer. Will take it out tomorrow and make my stock. But usually a trip to whole foods or any market with a butcher will yield back or necks or wings especially as you get closer to T-Day.
This is just the best!!!
It is SOOOO much better than store bought stock and I love that I can freeze it ahead f the big day.
We can buy the turkey offcuts from the butcher all year round here, most people buy them for their dog! Not me, I have bought them for a big batch of stock, ready to make Christmas gravy.
Oh you are lucky - not easy to get turkey pieces here except right before Thanksgiving!
I love this! I will never use store bought stock again!
Yay! Then my work is done for today
Homemade stock is worlds above store bought! Roasting the turkey before hand is a great idea o build flavor!
It's a magical but simple thing that makes the gravy taste so much better!
This is absolutely the best way to enjoy Thanksgiving. Great recipe!
Thank you! Also makes the house smell so good!
What a great idea to roast the turkey before making the stock! Gonna give that a try this year 🙂
It’s so good - just did it yesterday for an early thanksgiving and the stock is so rich!
Little Cooking Tips
Wonderful, rich recipe dear Beth! Thank you for sharing it with all of us. What you wrote, about your recipes, used by your kids in the future, as your legacy online was wonderful! Indeed that is the case. We all leave our footprints and hopefully other people will expand, without having to start from zero, right?:) That's what food blogging is about after all. Sharing our love for food and cooking:)
Have a beautiful day in California!
Always puts a smile on my face when I read your comments! And I agree with you about what blogging is about - it really is an additive experience - we all share and make so much cooking lore available that might otherwise stay hidden or undocumented forever. We learn from each other and then keep creating. Hope things are ok in Greece - so much anguish all over the world - have to stop and enjoy when we can.
Fabulous post Beth! I also follow in my mom's cooking footsteps and do exactly the same thing she did... make the turkey stock for the gravy the same the turkey cooks, Thanksgiving. What a great make ahead recipe! There is never enough time on Thanksgiving day!
Hi Deb! You know we used to always take the neck and giblets out of the turkey on the big day and just boil them up. But now I dry brine 3 days before and I've really taken a liking to the depth of flavor you get from roasting the turkey parts and veggies which is something I wouldn't do on Tday. I'll probably save those parts when I clean the turkey tomorrow and make a stock with the carcass post Thursday and add them in. I hope you have a great Thanksgiving -- I really want to come to your house for dessert!!!
This is one beautiful recipe for turkey stock - I have been enjoying your TG prep posts and ideas!
Thanks Liz! I, for one, have been incredibly impressed by your one-handed cooking! How's recovery going?