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How to Make Homemade Turkey Broth

Updated on December 2, 2017
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Jan has been cooking and writing about food for over twenty years, and has cooked on multiple television stations, including Food Network.

Homemade Turkey Broth

Rich and delicious on it's own or as the base of soup or a casserole, homemade turkey broth helps stretch out every last bit of goodness you can get from a leftover turkey.
Rich and delicious on it's own or as the base of soup or a casserole, homemade turkey broth helps stretch out every last bit of goodness you can get from a leftover turkey.

Waste Not, Want Not!

I adore homemade broth and stock of all kinds, and I love making use of every scrap of ingredients that I purchase. This method for turkey broth yields the best of all things - vibrant, homemade taste and maximizing an ingredient's usefulness.

You've already put work into making sure your turkey was delicious, so stretch out that effort with very little additional effort and capture all those beautiful flavors for extra dishes.

I also like the economics of stretching a dish out for everything that it can give. I cook for a crowd all the time, but if your family is smaller, this turkey broth freezes beautifully. Just pack it in one or two cup portions, and pop it in the freezer.

Ingredients

You really don't need much - all it takes is:

  • the carcass from a smoked or roasted turkey
  • enough cold water to cover
  • optional - 1 tablespoon white vinegar

How easy is that? A couple of notes - if you used whole citrus when you roasted a bird, toss it. The pith of the citrus will leave a bitter note. On the other hand, any herbs, vegetables or spices that were used to flavor the interior of the bird should be chucked right in with the turkey carcass.

Directions

  1. Pick the meat off the turkey carcass and reserve for another use.
  2. Place the bones and any vegetables used for roasting in a large stockpot and add enough cold water to cover. If there are juices in the roasting pan left from cooking the bird, add those as well.
  3. If you want, add a little vinegar. Honestly, I almost never remember it, so it's no big deal. Vinegar does help pull more of the calcium out of the carcass, so it's great if you're more organized than I am!
  4. Bring the pot up to a simmer, and allow the pot to simmer for a while. Two hours is minimum, and I've let them go for 6-8 hours before. The longer it simmers, the richer and deeper the flavors will be.
  5. Remove most of the large solids from the pot, and ladle the broth through a fine mesh strainer. Once strained place the broth in the refrigerator and allow it to chill completely.
  6. Once cold, the fat will have risen to the top, and you'll be able to skim it right off. The broth is now ready to use!

Some folks through in a little white wine, and that's great as well. I prefer to wait until I finish the broth and know for sure how I'm going to use it.

Start with the Carcass of a Roast or Smoked Turkey

Once you've picked every bit you can from a turkey carcass, place it in a large stockpot and cover it with water. Try to use just enough water to barely cover - the finished broth will be richer and less diluted.
Once you've picked every bit you can from a turkey carcass, place it in a large stockpot and cover it with water. Try to use just enough water to barely cover - the finished broth will be richer and less diluted.

Simmer Several Hours

Bring the broth up to a simmer and allow it to barely simmer for several hours. I've left them on the stove for half a day or more at times. The longer it simmers, the richer the finished broth.
Bring the broth up to a simmer and allow it to barely simmer for several hours. I've left them on the stove for half a day or more at times. The longer it simmers, the richer the finished broth.

Strain the Broth

I find it easiest to strain the finished broth by placing a fine mesh strainer over a large container. Ladle it at first, until you can remove most of the large solids. That makes the big pot easier to handle.
I find it easiest to strain the finished broth by placing a fine mesh strainer over a large container. Ladle it at first, until you can remove most of the large solids. That makes the big pot easier to handle.

The Fat Rises to the Top

You'll notice that the fat will rise to the top - that's fine. Stick the broth into the fridge and let it chill completely. This will make removing the fat super easy.
You'll notice that the fat will rise to the top - that's fine. Stick the broth into the fridge and let it chill completely. This will make removing the fat super easy.

Remove the Fat

Once the broth has chilled thoroughly, the fat will solidify in an even layer on the top. Simply lift it off - it will separate easily and you can toss it.
Once the broth has chilled thoroughly, the fat will solidify in an even layer on the top. Simply lift it off - it will separate easily and you can toss it.

The Broth May Solidify!

If you remove the fat cap and it looks like you've accidentally made jello - perfect! The gelatin leaches from the cartilage and connective tissue and gives the broth body. It will liquefy immediately when reheated, so no worries.
If you remove the fat cap and it looks like you've accidentally made jello - perfect! The gelatin leaches from the cartilage and connective tissue and gives the broth body. It will liquefy immediately when reheated, so no worries.

Ready to Use!

The homemade turkey broth is ready to use! Use it in place of chicken broth or stock, or use it to make dishes such as turkey and rice or turkey tettrazzini.
The homemade turkey broth is ready to use! Use it in place of chicken broth or stock, or use it to make dishes such as turkey and rice or turkey tettrazzini.

Check Out the Quick Tutorial!

Make Homemade Turkey and Rice

Or Make Turkey Tettrazzini!

© 2017 Jan Charles

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    • Glimmer Twin Fan profile image

      Glimmer Twin Fan 2 weeks ago

      Wish I had this a couple of days ago. I never know what to do with the turkey carcass and this would have been perfect. Usually my mother-in-law takes it home for soup, but didn't this year so I threw it out. Nice and helpful hub!