Turkey broth is easy to make, and loads cheaper than store-bought broth. After you polish off that Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey, use the carcass to make your own broth. Here’s how.
Watch me make a batch of turkey broth in this video, or follow the written instructions below.
How to Make Turkey Broth
Spices: peppercorns, salt, bay leaves, etc.
What You Do:
Pick off any remaining meat from the turkey, and set it aside. Retain the bones and any uneaten skin for your broth.
Break the carcass up into smaller pieces. Be sure to break several of the bones, while you’re doing so. This will help the turkey to fit in your stockpot better, but it’ll also add considerably to the flavor of your broth.
Chop up some onion, carrots and celery for your broth. I used three stalks of celery (leaves and all), a couple carrots and a medium onion.
Place the turkey carcass in a stockpot; and add cold water, until it reaches an inch above the turkey.
Add the vegetables (and any spices that you’d like to include). Then, bring the pot to a simmer. If you seasoned your turkey before you roasted it, you can skip the spices.
Keep the pot at a low simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring regularly. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Your broth is done when it’s developed a rich color and flavor. Give it a taste test, and add salt, if necessary.
Strain the broth, and discard the bones and vegetables. Allow the broth to cool a bit; then, stick it in the fridge overnight. This will cause the fat to separate and settle on the surface.
Skim off the fat with a small strainer or a spoon. This particular batch didn’t have much fat. It’s more typical to see a hard skin of fat on the surface.
If you own a fat separator, you can strain the fat from your broth as soon as it comes off the stove. There’s no need to chill it first.
Transfer your finished turkey broth to freezer-safe containers, and freeze it until you need it. I like to freeze my broth in both pint and quart-size containers, so it’s easy to grab just what I need for a recipe. This batch went into Ball’s wide-mouth pint jars (they’re freezer-safe). I also use these BPA-free quart-size freezer containers.
Prefer to store your broth in the pantry? Then, you’ll need to pressure can it. As a low-acid food, it’s not safe to boiling water can. Refer to these instructions from the National Center for Home Food Preservation for processing times.
I usually get around six quarts of broth from a 15-lb turkey.
Don’t be alarmed if your broth looks like Jello when you pull it out of the refrigerator. That just means you did a good job of extracting the collagen from the bones. It’s one of the many good-for-you nutrients that you get with bone broth. As soon as you warm it up, your broth will turn right back into a liquid.
A Note About Turkey Roasters
If you use a turkey roaster to roast your turkey, you’ll probably have a fair amount of liquid in the bottom of your roaster when you’re done. Just add some veggies, and allow it to continue cooking until it turns into broth.
You can also use your roaster to make broth from your turkey carcass. So, if you’d prefer to not be tethered to the stove, try this instead. It’s roomier than a crockpot, so it’s perfect for the job.
- Veggie peels and ends work just as well as whole veggies. Save your veggie scraps in the freezer, and pull them out whenever you want to make a batch of broth
- If you plan to freeze your broth in jars, be sure to use freezer jars. They have thicker walls, and are far less likely to crack than regular canning jars. Only fill your jars to the headspace line, so there’s plenty of room for expansion
- Turkey Carcass
- Spices: peppercorns, salt, bay leaves, etc.
Place turkey bones and skin in a stockpot. Break some of the bones, to release flavor and nutrients.
Add cold water to the stockpot, until it reaches an inch above turkey.
Chop up an onions, a couple carrots and a few stalks of celery, and add them to the pot. Add spices, if desired. If you seasoned your turkey before you roasted it, they probably aren’t necessary.
Simmer for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally. Your turkey broth is done when it develops a golden color and deep flavor.
Taste, and add salt, if needed.
Strain out the vegetables, and bones. Then, allow the broth to cool, and refrigerate overnight.
Skim the fat off the top, and transfer your finished broth to freezer-safe containers.
Your broth may gel in the fridge. This just means you did a good job of extracting the collagen from the bones. It’ll turn back into a liquid, when you heat it up.
A 15-lb turkey makes around 6 quarts of broth.
You can also make turkey broth in a turkey roaster. Since it’s bigger than a crockpot, it’s perfect for the job.
Did You Make a Holiday Ham, Too?
Use the bones to make a batch of ham broth in the crockpot. It’s hands-down the tastiest broth you’ll ever make.