This easy turkey bone broth recipe uses leftover turkey bones or the carcass. It's rich and nourishing and makes an excellent base for other dishes. Learn how to make it on the stovetop, instant pot, and slow cooker.
A whole turkey for Thanksgiving, roasted turkey legs, or wings are delicious! But what to do with the bones? The simplest answer is to make stock or, even better, a delicious turkey bone broth.
Make a homemade turkey bone broth with basic ingredients like turkey bones, veggies, and water. Learn to make this wholesome broth easily from scratch and use either a pot, the instant pot, or the slow cooker. Enjoy this homemade elixir's health benefits and rich taste; it adds depth to your favorite meals.
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🍲What is bone broth?
The liquid is obtained by slowly simmering the bones, bits of meat, and connective tissues of animals for a long period of time. It can be made from turkey bones, chicken stock, beef bone broth, pork, lamb stock, or venison. I often use the bones of our Christmas duck or geese.
Broth versus stock
Broths are made by boiling pieces of meat for a relatively short time.
Stocks are made by simmering the bones for a bit longer, usually 4-6 hours. I prefer making homemade turkey stock or chicken stock as they are more flavorful than simple broth and allow me to use the bones I would not use for any other purpose.
Bone broth is made by cooking bones that still have bits of meat attached to them in water for a long time, about 24 hours. The long cooking time extracts lots of nutrients from the bones. More collagen and amino nutrients are released into the liquid. The liquid will have a gelatinous texture once cool.
Bone broth benefits
- Flavor enhancement: Bone broth adds depth and richness to various dishes, making them more flavorful.
- Versatility in cooking: It is a versatile base for soups, stews, sauces, and gravies.
- Economical and reduces waste: Utilizing leftover bones and veggie scraps minimizes food waste, making it a cost-effective cooking ingredient.
- Homemade goodness: Making bone broth at home allows you to control the ingredients, ensuring a wholesome and preservative-free product.
- Healthy: Bone broth contains essential stuff like collagen, amino acids, and minerals such as calcium and magnesium, which can help your body stay healthy.
- Bones: You can use the leftover carcass from your Thanksgiving turkey or any bones from your holiday meals. You can also make bone broth using fresh bones, but in this case, you should roast them first; roasting will deepen their flavor.
- Vegetables are optional, but I always add them to any bone broth or stock I make. I usually have celeriac or celery stalks, carrots, onion, and garlic.
- Spices: Fine sea salt or kosher salt, black peppercorns, bay leaves, a splash of apple cider vinegar (or another vinegar), parsley. You can add other fresh herbs for extra flavor, such as one sprig of rosemary or a few small thyme sprigs.
👩🏻🍳How to make turkey bone broth?
- Roast the bones, but only if they are fresh. Leftover carcasses or other bones from a roast don't have to be roasted again.
Instant pot bone broth instructions
- Advantage: It cooks much faster compared to other methods.
- Disadvantage: The instant pot has a smaller capacity than regular soup pots, so you'll need to prepare a smaller batch of bone broth, using approximately 1.7 – 2 lbs/ 800 – 900 g of bones.
Place all the ingredients in the instant pot and cover them with cold water.
Pressure cook for 2 hours. Natural release 30 minutes.
Slow cooker turkey bone broth instructions
- Advantages: You can begin the preparation in the morning and complete it upon returning home in the evening, or let it cook overnight.
- The slow cooker has a larger capacity, allowing you to prepare a bigger batch than an instant pot.
Place all the ingredients in the instant pot and cover them with cold water. Slow cook for 12 hours.
Stovetop turkey bone broth instructions
- Advantage: No need for special gadgets, though you'll have to be okay with letting the broth simmer on the stovetop overnight (24 hours).
- Disadvantages: The necessity to leave it simmering on the stovetop for an extended period might be a concern. This is why I prefer using the instant pot or slow cooker. The stovetop method is ideal for making turkey stock, usually ready in about 6 hours.
Place all the ingredients in a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil on high heat.
Turn down the heat immediately, and simmer for 6 hours for stock or 24 hours for bone broth.
Strain the liquid through a sieve and discard all the solids. Strain again through a fine mesh strainer or a clean cloth.
How to remove the excess fat?
Let the bone broth cool down completely in the pot. Cover it and put it in the fridge overnight. The fat will become solid on top, and you can scoop it out easily with a spoon.
Or, pour the broth into jars and refrigerate once it's cool. When you take out a jar to use, simply remove the fat layer from the surface.
- Use this recipe to make bone broth from fresh or leftover chicken bones, goose, duck, veal, beef, lamb, pork, venison bones, or any of them. If buying fresh bones, ask for “soup bones” and add some beef marrow bones, if available.
- Also, include parts like knuckles, feet, or wings; these parts contain more cartilage.
I use turkey bones for this homemade broth. They are either already roasted after making roasted turkey legs, for instance, or fresh. Regarding the fresh parts, I use the neck, wings, and backbone.
You can buy these parts at the butchers and make sure to include some parts like knuckles, feet, or wings; these are the parts that contain more cartilage, which contains a lot of collagen.
You can also make it using the carcass of a Thanksgiving or Christmas bird; never throw that away. I always use the Christmas goose or duck carcass.
When using fresh bones, it is recommended to roast them first. Place the wings/neck/backbones on a baking tray and roast them in the oven for about 1 hour.
Salt: Begin with a small amount as you cook. As the liquid reduces, adding too much salt might make it overly salty. It's better to adjust the flavor towards the end or add more salt to taste when using the broth in other dishes.
About 12 cups/ 3 liters, butI can't accurately measure how many cups of stock it yields. The amount depends on the quantity of water used, combined with other ingredients. You can estimate the output by measuring the cups of water added to your batch.
That is usually the result of boiling the stock instead of simmering it.
The secret is never to let it come to a boil, which will cause the proteins to break into small particles, making the stock cloudy. You should also never stir it either.
However, apart from it not being as pretty anymore, the cloudy broth is just as delicious as the clear one.
It's what it is supposed to happen. Cooled bone broth turns into a very rich, dark jelly, which is incredibly deep-tasting and delicious.
The jelly will become liquid again when reheated.
🏺How to store?
- Sieve through a large sieve to remove the bones, vegetables, and spices and through a finer sieve to remove the small impurities. Pour the liquid into large jars with lids or other containers. Let cool on the counter.
- Refrigerate once cool. Pour it into large mason jars or an airtight container. It can be safely stored for 4 to 5 days. Always check that it is still okay before using it; if it starts to smell weird (sour), discard it.
- Freeze it in freezer-safe containers; it will be good for up to 1 year. It can be frozen in freezer containers, freezer bags, or cube trays. Freezing it in cubes will allow you to defrost smaller portions needed to enrich the taste of a soup or stew to make sauces or gravies.
🍽️How to use homemade bone broth?
Make soups, stews, sauces, or gravies.
Turkey Bone Broth Recipe
- Instant Pot OR
- Slow cooker OR
- Large soup pot
- Fine mesh sieve
- 4-5 lbs turkey bones or leftover turkey carcass 1.8 - 2 kg Notes 1, 2
- 2 tablespoons oil optional if roasting the bones
- 3 large carrots unpeeled, large chunks
- 4-5 celery sticks or 1 piece of celeriac, large chunks
- 3 onions unpeeled, halved
- 3-4 garlic cloves unpeeled
- a bunch of parsley stalks optional
- ½ tablespoon coarse salt + more at the end Note 3
- 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
- 3 bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon cider vinegar
- cold water Note 5
Instant Pot (Note 4):
- Ingredients for instant pot: If using the instant pot, you might need to make a smaller batch, as the pot usually has a smaller capacity. You will need about 1.7 – 2 lbs/ 800 – 900 g of bones, 2 carrots, 2 onions, 3 celery sticks, 2 garlic cloves, 1 teaspoon coarse salt, ½ teaspoon peppercorns, 2 bay leaves, and ½ tablespoon vinegar.
- Pressure cook: Place all the ingredients in the instant pot and cover them with cold water. Pressure cook for 2 hours. Natural release 30 minutes.
- Slow cook: Place all the ingredients in the instant pot and cover them with cold water. Slow cook for 12 hours.
- Turkey stock: The necessity to leave the broth simmering on the stovetop for an extended period might be a concern. This is why the stovetop method is ideal for making turkey stock, which is usually ready in about 6 hours. Bone broth will need 24 hours.
- Simmer: Place all the ingredients in a large pot, cover them with cold water, and bring to a boil on high heat. Turn down the heat immediately, and simmer the turkey stock for 6 hours (bone broth 24 hours). Add more water if necessary; the bones and veggies should be permanently submerged.
Finish turkey bone broth:
- After such a long cooking time, the bones should begin to crumble; that is a good sign that all the nutrients have been extracted.
- Strain and discard the bones and vegetables. Strain the bone broth again through a fine mesh sieve or a clean cloth.
- Remove fat (optional): Chill the bone broth completely in the pot, covering it before refrigerating overnight. As it cools, the fat will solidify on the surface, making it easy to scoop out with a spoon.Alternatively, pour the cooled broth into jars before refrigerating. When you use a jar, remove the layer of solidified fat from the surface before using the broth.
- Transfer: Pour bone broth into jars or other containers (suitable for freezing if you want to freeze the bone broth).
- Bones: You can use any bones to make bone broth—chicken, turkey, duck, goose, beef, veal, lamb, pork, or a mix.
- Roast fresh bones: If the bones are fresh, lightly oil them and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast on a baking sheet lined with foil or parchment paper at 400°F/200°C for around 1 hour, flipping halfway through.
- Salt: Begin with a small amount. As the liquid reduces, adding too much salt might make it overly salty. It's better to adjust the flavor towards the end or add more salt to taste when using the broth in other dishes.
- Add as many bones as will fit snugly in your pot or kitchen gadget. For an instant pot, which is usually smaller, you might need to reduce the number of bones cooked at once.
- Water: Use as much as needed to cover the ingredients with it. If cooking the broth on the stove, you might need to add some water as the broth cooks; the ingredients should be submerged in water permanently.