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STOP! Don’t toss that leftover turkey carcass! Learn how to make a delicious, homemade turkey bone broth (turkey stock) from it. This recipe includes directions for both the stovetop and the Instant Pot (pressure cooker). The perfect way to use every part of your Thanksgiving or holiday turkey.

Three mason jars of turkey bone broth displayed on a white background.

You have feasted on a delicious, roast turkey dinner, stored the leftover meat and now are left with the carcass and turkey bones. Don’t toss it my friend! You spent good money purchasing a turkey for your Thanksgiving or holiday meal so make sure not to let any of it go to waste. Transform that turkey carcass into a delicious turkey bone broth.

Let me show you how to make it using either the Instant Pot (my preferred method) or the stovetop.

What Is Turkey Bone Broth?

Before we get started – what the heck is turkey bone broth anyways? Turkey bone broth is simply a type of stock made by simmering turkey bones in water usually along with some veggies, aromatics and a touch of apple cider vinegar (helps to extract minerals and collagen from the bones and connective tissue).

Is turkey stock the same as broth?

Turkey stock and turkey bone broth (which are essentially the same thing) are made by simmering bones that have a small amount of meat attached to them for a longer amount of time. The slight difference is that bone broth is sometimes cooked longer than stock and has a touch of acidity added like apple cider vinegar to help extract trace minerals and collagen from the bones and connective tissue.

Turkey broth, on the other hand, is made by simmering meat for a short amount of time and is usually more clear in color. All of these terms are typically used interchangeably though within recipes.

Three stacked up mason jars filled with turkey stock on a white background.

Why You Should Make It

Here are 3 reasons why I think everyone should be making homemade turkey stock from the leftover turkey carcass…

  1. It’s the perfect way to use every part of your leftover turkey! You also might like these delicious leftover turkey recipes.
  2. It’s super easy to make! Just throw everything in a large pot or the Instant Pot and let it simmer!
  3. It’s so delicious and makes the best turkey soup! Or check out other ways to use it below!

Ingredients Needed

To make turkey bone broth, you will need the following ingredients:

Labelled image of ingredients needed to make turkey bone broth.
  • Leftover Roast Turkey Carcass: You may need to chop it up into a few pieces to help it fit in the pot more easily. If your turkey is extremely large, use one half and store the other half in the freezer to make another batch of turkey stock at a later time.
  • Veggies + Aromatics: I like to add onion, carrot, celery, garlic and bay leaves for flavor. Feel free to add in herbs and seasoning if you like. I prefer to keep it fairly neutral and season to taste when using it so that I have more flexibility.
  • Apple Cider Vinegar: It won’t taste sour – I promise! Just a touch is added to help pull the nutrients and collagen out of the bones and connective tissue. This is the apple cider vinegar that I like to use.
  • Water: Everything gets covered with water and simmered.

Detailed ingredient list and directions located in the recipe card below.

How To Make Turkey Bone Broth (Stock)

This recipe focuses on making turkey bone broth from a roasted turkey carcass. After your turkey dinner, remove and store any leftover meat. You can then either start making your turkey bone broth right away or store the turkey carcass in the fridge for a couple days. I usually make mine the following day. If you won’t be able to get to it for a while, simply store the carcass in the freezer to use at a future time.

Here are step-by-step directions for both the Instant Pot (electric pressure cooker) and stovetop.

Instant Pot (Pressure Cooker) Method

This is my preferred method since using the Instant Pot (or any other pressure cooker) allows you to cut down the cooking time and walk away. Simply…

Step by step photo collage showing how to make turkey stock in the Instant Pot.
  1. Dump In The Ingredients: Add all the ingredients to the Instant Pot and fill with water until it just covers the bones (or 1 inch below the Max Fill line – whichever comes first). Be careful not to overfill. It’s ok if the bones are not fully covered. Secure the lid and set the steam release valve to the “Sealing” position.
  2. Pressure Cook: Press the “Soup” button (or Manual / Pressure Cook button) and set time to 120 minutes (2 hours), followed by a natural release. Note: I usually use the “Soup” function when making broth/stock since this setting controls the pressure and temperature to ensure that the liquid never goes into a heavy boiling state.
  3. Strain: Using tongs, pull all the large pieces out first. Then pour the rest through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher. Or you can make straining even easier by using a mesh steamer basket insert for the Instant Pot. Place the turkey carcass and veggies into the basket and then simply lift the basket out once finished.
  4. Store: Portion out for storage. See storage tips below.

New to the Instant Pot? Check out this helpful Instant Pot guide I created for beginners!

Stovetop Method

You can also make this turkey bone broth recipe using the traditional stovetop method. Simply…

Step-by-step photo collage showing how to make turkey bone broth on the stovetop.
  1. Place Everything In A Pot: Add all the ingredients into a large stockpot or Dutch oven.
  2. Simmer: Simmer for 3-4 hours. Or even up to 12 hours if you like in order to extract all the good stuff.
  3. Strain: Pull out all the large pieces first using tongs. Then pour the rest through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher.
  4. Store: Portion it out and store. See storage tips below.

Quick Chill Tip: Cool down the strained broth quickly by using an ice bath. Simply fill a sink or big bowl with ice water and place your bowl or vessel containing the strained bone broth into it. Alternatively, you could also place it outside if you live in a cold climate. Quick chilling prevents bacteria from growing and your fridge from heating up.

How To Store It

Turkey bone broth (turkey stock) can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days or in the freezer for 4-6 months.

Storage Container Options

Here are a few great storage options to use when portioning out your turkey bone broth:

  • Mason Jars: I like to use wide mouth mason jars with screwtop plastic storage caps. I use the Ball mason jars in 3 sizes: 16 oz, 24 oz and 32 oz. These are a great size for recipes requiring larger quantities like soups or stews. Tip: A wide mouth funnel makes filling jars easy and less messy.
  • Souper Cubes: These silicone Souper Cubes allow you to freeze your broth in 1 cup segments which is super handy and you don’t need to worry about glass.
  • Silicone Muffin Trays: Both full-size and mini silicone muffin trays are a great way to portion out smaller amounts of broth for all those recipes that only call for a bit. Simply, place your silicone muffin tray on a baking sheet and fill each muffin cup with broth. Put into the freezer and once frozen, easily pop out your broth “pucks” and store in a freezer bag or container.

Tips For Freezing In Glass Jars

I love using mason jars for storage but they can break in the freezer if you aren’t careful. Make sure to follow these tips for freezing in glass jars to prevent them from cracking!

Two mason jars of turkey stock stacked on top of each other.

Ways To Use It

What can you do with the turkey bone broth? It can be used in a wide variety of ways:

  • Soups + Stews: Probably one of the most obvious ways but so yummy! I love to make this Easy Turkey Soup with it.
  • Sauces + Gravies: Perfect for flavorful sauces and gravies that call for broth or stock.
  • Sip it: Drink it on its own for a healthy, warming pick me up.
  • Rice + Grains: Use instead of water to cook rice or grains with a nourishing boost.
  • Any recipe calling for stock or broth: Use it in place of chicken broth or stock in all your favorite recipes.

A Few Questions Answered

Can you reuse the turkey bones for another batch?

Yes you can! I would replace the veggies though with each new batch. The bones can be reused until they begin to disintegrate. However, future batches tend to be less flavorful but still good.

Is turkey bone broth good for you?

Not only is turkey bone broth delicious but it also offers a number of benefits. It’s nutrient rich, immune boosting, supports joint and skin health, improves digestion and more! Here are a few articles to check out if you are interested in learning about the benefits of bone broth in more detail: The Bountiful Benefits Of Bone Broth by Chris Kesser and What Are The Benefits Of Bone Broth? by Medical News Today.

Should it look like jello once cooled?

So your broth cooled down in the fridge and now it looks like jello – that is amazing! It means your broth is rich in gelatin and will turn back to liquid once heated. Don’t worry if it didn’t gel since it is still nutritious (just probably didn’t have enough collagen rich bones or too much water). Tip: You can also add in some of your own gelatin (I like this one) for an added boost.

Can I make turkey bone broth with raw turkey parts?

You most definitely can! This recipe focuses on making the turkey bone broth with the leftover roasted carcass. However, if you want to make some using raw turkey parts, check out my Make Ahead Turkey Gravy recipe. It outlines the process of making a delicious turkey broth using raw pieces like the neck, backbone and wings. Or you can simply roast up the raw turkey parts and continue on with this recipe.

Three mason jars of turkey bone broth on a white background.

More Bone Broth Recipes

What are your favourite ways to use turkey bone broth/stock? Let me know in the comments!

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Three mason jars of turkey bone broth displayed on a white background.

Turkey Bone Broth (Stock): Instant Pot + Stovetop

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star 5 from 18 reviews
  • Author: Vanessa | Maple + Mango
  • Prep Time: 10 min
  • Cook Time: 2 hours (up to 12 hours with stovetop method)
  • Total Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
  • Yield: Varies
  • Category: Soup
  • Method: Stovetop, Instant Pot
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Learn how to make a delicious, homemade turkey bone broth (turkey stock) from the leftover turkey carcass. This recipe covers 2 different cooking methods: Instant Pot (pressure cooker) and Stovetop. The perfect way to use every part of your turkey!


Ingredients

Scale
  • Leftover roast turkey carcass (see notes)
  • 1 onion, roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots, roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, roughly chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, halved (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Water, to cover

Instructions

Instant Pot Method:

  1. Add ingredients: Place all the ingredients into a 6 quart or 8 quart Instant Pot and add enough water to cover everything or until you are just below the Max Fill line (whichever comes first).  Be careful not to overfill (it’s ok if the bones are not fully covered by water).  Secure the lid and set the steam release valve to the “Sealing” position.
  2. Pressure cook: Press the “Soup” button (or Manual / Pressure Cook button) and set to cook for 120 minutes followed by a natural release.
  3. Strain: Strain the broth by first using tongs to pull out all the large pieces and then pouring the rest through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher.  Or you can make straining even easier by using a mesh steamer basket insert for the Instant Pot.

Stovetop Method:

  1. Add ingredients: Put all the ingredients in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and cover with cold water.
  2. Simmer: Bring to a boil and then immediately turn heat down to low to maintain a gentle simmer.  Simmer for 3-4 hours or even up to 12 hours if you like.  Note:  You may need to add a little extra water after a few hours if too much has cooked off.
  3. Strain: Strain the broth by first using tongs to pull out all the large pieces and then pouring the rest through a fine mesh sieve into a large bowl or pitcher.

Storage:


Notes

  • Making Turkey Carcass Fit: You may need to break apart the turkey carcass into a few pieces to help it fit in the pot more easily.  If your turkey is extremely large, use half and store the other half in the freezer to make another batch of turkey stock in the future.
  • Herbs + Seasoning:  Feel free to add in herbs and seasoning.  I usually keep it fairly neutral and prefer to season to taste when using it so that I have more flexibility.
  • Instant Pot Method:  This is my preferred method since it cuts down the cooking time and I can walk away. I usually use the “Soup” function on my Instant Pot when making broth/stock since this setting controls the pressure and temperature to ensure that the liquid never goes into a heavy boiling state.  However, you can also simply use the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” button.  New to the Instant Pot?  Check out my tips for Instant Pot beginners.
  • Can raw turkey be used instead?  If you want to make turkey stock with raw turkey parts, you can first roast them up in the oven until browned and continue on with the recipe.  Or you can check out my Make Ahead Turkey Gravy recipe which outlines the process of making turkey broth using raw pieces like the neck, backbone and wings.
  • How to use turkey bone broth?  Check out the Ways To Use It section in the post for ideas.  My favorite is this delicious turkey noodle soup.

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Pinterest photo collage graphic with text overlay "How To Make Turkey Bone Broth"

Originally published November 2019. Updated to include new photos and information.

About Vanessa Gilic

I want to help you make delicious food using real ingredients! Explore a variety of easy to follow, real-food recipes ranging from healthy eats to comfort food. Welcome to Maple + Mango – I'm so happy you're here!

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46 Comments

  1. Cristin says:

    Can you use a frozen turkey carcass?

  2. Lee says:

    Will be making this weekend! looks so easy. Is there usually fat you need to separate ?

    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      Your kitchen will smell amazing this weekend! Separating the fat is a personal choice. I tend to leave it. It will float to the top when the broth is cold which provides a nice protective layer if freezing. You can easily scoop it off then before using or simply warm it all up and it will distribute back into the broth.

      1. Lisa says:

        I am thinking of keeping the vegetables in the broth and just removing the carcass. Is that an option ?

        1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

          It is but the veggies are really soggy and kind of ugly looking after making the bone broth. My husband sometimes snacks on some of them from the strainer though since he thinks they taste good so there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. However, if I am making a soup with the broth, I will add in new veggies for it.

    2. Sherry says:

      I made this. Everything was good until I put it in the fridge and it jelled and very thick.
      Don’t know why.

      1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

        Congrats! The broth gelling up in the fridge means that it is rich in gelatin which is a great thing. It will turn back to liquid once heated!

  3. Sabrina says:

    This was so easy and really tasty. Such a nourishing broth, thanks!






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      You’re welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

  4. Terri Gilson says:

    I love making bone broth and I never thought to store it – thanks for the storage tips:)






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      You’re welcome! I love having some in the freezer in order to make great soups in the future or to add to dishes.

  5. nancy says:

    Now i know what to make with my leftover turkey carcasses !! thanks for the recipe






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      Yay! It makes me happy to hear that they won’t go to waste:)

  6. Shelby says:

    Yes! I make bone broth about once a week (normally chicken) but do turkey after big dinners. I love that you add in veggies too!






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      I usually have these veggies around from the turkey dinner prep…so in they go lol.

    2. Cristin says:

      Can you use a frozen turkey carcass?

      1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

        You sure can! Sometimes when I know I went get to it within a few days, I just freeze the turkey carcass and make the bone broth when I have time.

  7. Colleen says:

    This is such a helpful detailed post! It’s so great to use up every last part of the turkey and bone broth is wonderful to have in the freezer. Thanks for sharing!






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      I’m so happy that you found the post helpful! I agree that it is a wonderful thing to have in the freezer.

  8. Bernice says:

    Oh man. It’s a constant fight with my husband on Turkey day. He’s always so quick to discard that turkey carcass. I love making bone broth and I make it very similar to this recipe. It’s a keeper!






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      Mine would be in such big trouble if he did that lol.

  9. Rosanna Pt says:

    I really loved the smells and taste of the turkey bone broth I made yesterday into turkey noodle soup. We all loved it, easy scrumptious recipe. The meat turned out so tender after 2 hours. Thanks Vanessa






    1. Vanessa | Maple + Mango says:

      It smells so comforting, doesn’t it? I’m so happy to hear that you enjoyed it!

  10. Rosanna P says:

    Oops forgot to add a rating, sorry…5 stars for me.