How to Make Homemade Turkey Stock for your Thanksgiving Feast

If you enjoy my content, please share!

Learn how to make turkey stock for your Thanksgiving feast and you’ll never buy store-bought again! So easy, can be made ahead, and adds so much flavor to your stuffing and gravy.

Roasted Homemade Turkey Stock: A Make-Ahead Staple for Thanksgiving

turkey stock in glass jars

Homemade turkey stock is an absolute must for my Thanksgiving meal. You can make it ahead and freeze – one less thing to do Thanksgiving week. But it adds so much flavor to your stuffing and gravy – it will become a staple in your house too. 

open jar of turkey stock with herbs, peppercorns and carrot

The Season for Scratch Cooking

While I am always one for shortcuts, especially for mid-week meals, 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 started cooking at night — it was better than a marathon on Thanksgiving day.

Secrets to Making Homemade Turkey Stock

4 panel how to shot from raw turkey to cooked stock

You can see the turkey, vegetables and herbs transform from raw to roasted to broth in these four shots of homemade turkey stock in process.

Turkey stock is perfect as the base for your gravy and to pour on your stuffing of choice. If you scour your grocery store’s meat section or talk to the butcher, you can find turkey parts even before all the turkeys arrive by the truckloads at the market. Backs, necks, wings, thighs, and giblets are all great for making stock.

My top secrets to making homemade turkey stock are:

  • Roast the turkey and veggies first before adding to the stock pot with water and aromatics.
  • Deglaze the roasting pan with some brandy – 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 stock.

  • Add more fresh herbs to the stock pot and let it cook away low and slow to develop the full, rich flavor. 

top down view of open jar of turkey stock

More Inspiration for your Thanksgiving Menu

The Best Thanksgiving Menu Plan (including a calendar printable and a vegetarian entree)

thanksgiving table set with candles and gourds






How to Make your own Stuffing Cubes

DIY Stuffing Cubes - so easy to make for Thanksgiving - you'll never buy a package at the store again!






How to Make Sage Sausage Stuffing

Sage sausage, cornbread, and challah stuffing - our family's Thanksgiving tradition: with dried fruit, nuts, apples and lots and lots of love.






How to Dry Brine your Turkey (including a day by day printable guide)

Whole Dry Brine Turkey Roasted on a white plate with fresh sage and oranges






This post contains Amazon affiliate links – if you click on one and purchase something, I receive a very tiny percentage of the sale. Your price is never affected.

Also check out my Amazon shop that includes some of my favorite food and food-related products. I am always updating it – please visit often. And let me know if you need specific product recommendations – I am happy to help!

turkey stock in glass jars
4.86 from 7 votes

Homemade Turkey Stock

Make this once and it will become a Thanksgiving staple! You can prepare it weeks in advance and freeze it so don't let the time lapse of letting the stock cook for a few hours stop you. Perfect project for a lazy fall Sunday. Trust me, the effort to flavor ratio is very favorable!

Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword Homemade, Thanksgiving, Turkey Stock
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 40 minutes
Servings 12 cups
Calories 124 kcal


For Roasting

  • 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

  • 1/4-1/3 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


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees convection or 400 degrees regular bake.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. 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.

  6. 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.

Thanksgiving Basics: Homemade Turkey Stock by

, , , , ,

20 Responses to How to Make Homemade Turkey Stock for your Thanksgiving Feast

  1. Jenni November 21, 2019 at 7:33 am #

    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! 🙂

    • Beth Lee November 21, 2019 at 7:46 am #

      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!

  2. Rita Held November 9, 2019 at 12:08 pm #

    So you get turkey wings etc from your butcher? separate from the whole turkey you buy, of course

    • Beth Lee November 9, 2019 at 3:46 pm #

      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.

  3. Claire November 4, 2018 at 2:15 pm #

    5 stars
    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.
    thank you

    • Beth Lee November 4, 2018 at 2:17 pm #

      Oh you are lucky – not easy to get turkey pieces here except right before Thanksgiving!

  4. Tayler Ross November 2, 2018 at 12:13 pm #

    5 stars
    I love this! I will never use store bought stock again!

    • Beth Lee November 2, 2018 at 12:14 pm #

      Yay! Then my work is done for today

  5. Wilhelmina Wessel November 2, 2018 at 11:49 am #

    5 stars
    Homemade stock is worlds above store bought! Roasting the turkey before hand is a great idea o build flavor!

    • Beth Lee November 2, 2018 at 12:05 pm #

      It’s a magical but simple thing that makes the gravy taste so much better!

  6. Krissy Allori October 21, 2018 at 8:19 am #

    5 stars
    This is absolutely the best way to enjoy Thanksgiving. Great recipe!

    • Beth Lee October 21, 2018 at 8:22 am #

      Thank you! Also makes the house smell so good!

  7. Patty K-P October 20, 2018 at 11:28 pm #

    5 stars
    What a great idea to roast the turkey before making the stock! Gonna give that a try this year 🙂

    • Beth Lee October 21, 2018 at 8:21 am #

      It’s so good – just did it yesterday for an early thanksgiving and the stock is so rich!

  8. Little Cooking Tips November 23, 2015 at 8:57 am #

    5 stars
    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!

    • Beth Lee November 23, 2015 at 11:07 am #

      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.

  9. Deb|EastofEdenCooking November 22, 2015 at 9:24 am #

    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!

    • Beth Lee November 22, 2015 at 12:25 pm #

      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!!!

  10. Liz Schmitt November 22, 2015 at 8:25 am #

    4 stars
    This is one beautiful recipe for turkey stock – I have been enjoying your TG prep posts and ideas!

    • Beth Lee November 22, 2015 at 8:30 am #

      Thanks Liz! I, for one, have been incredibly impressed by your one-handed cooking! How’s recovery going?

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Beth Lee

Get New OMG! Yummy Posts via Email

Absolutely no spam. Just an occasional email to share a yummy post.

You have Successfully Subscribed!