Mom’s Turkey Soup

Classic turkey soup recipe. Every Thanksgiving my mother takes what's left of the turkey carcass and makes a delicious turkey soup that we enjoy for days.

The amounts shown are a guideline. Improvise at will depending on the ingredients you have on hand and how much soup you are making.

Ingredients

For the stock:

  • 1 turkey carcass, leftover from carving a whole turkey, including any leftover drippings or giblets (not the liver) if you have them
  • Cold water
  • 1 medium to large yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 to 2 carrots, roughly chopped (can include tops)
  • Several sprigs of fresh parsley
  • 1 to 2 sprigs of thyme, or a teaspoon of dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • Some celery tops
  • 5 to 10 peppercorns
  • Salt
  • Pepper

For the soup:

  • 1 to 1 1/2 cups each, chopped carrots, onion, and celery
  • A few sprigs of fresh parsley, leaves chopped (about 2 to 4 Tbsp)
  • A couple cloves garlic, minced
  • Seasoning  - a couple teaspoons or more of poultry seasoning (to taste) or a combination of ground sage, thyme, marjoram, and/or a bouillon cube
  • 2 cups or more of leftover chopped or shredded cooked turkey meat
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Egg noodles or rice (optional)

Method

Making Stock

1 Remove all the usable turkey meat from the turkey carcass to save for making sandwiches later or for adding to the soup.

2 Break up the leftover bones of the carcass a bit, so they don't take up as much room in the pot. Put the leftover bones and skin into a large stock pot and cover with cold water by an inch. Add any drippings that weren't used to make gravy, and any giblets (except liver) that haven't been used already. Add a yellow onion that has been quartered, some chopped carrots, parsley, thyme, a bay leaf, celery tops, and some peppercorns.

3 Bring to a boil and immediately reduce heat to bring the stock to a bare simmer or just below a simmer. Skim off any foamy crud that may float to the surface of the stock.

4 Add salt and pepper, about 1 tsp of salt, 1/2 tsp of pepper. It sort of depends on how big your turkey is. You can always add salt to the soup later.

5 Cook for at least 4 hours, uncovered or partially uncovered (so the stock reduces), occassionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface. To help maintain a steady, even heat, you can cook the stock in a 180-200°F oven.

6 Remove the bones and veggies and strain the stock, ideally through a very fine mesh strainer.

7 If making stock for future use in soup you may want to reduce the stock by cooking it longer, uncovered, at a bare simmer, to make it more concentrated and easier to store.

Makes 3 to 4 quarts or more of stock, depending on the size of the turkey carcass, and how much water you added to cover it.

Making the Turkey Soup

Prepare the turkey soup much as you would a chicken soup. With your stock already made, add chopped carrots, onions, and celery in equal parts. Add some parsley, a couple cloves of garlic. Add seasoning - poultry seasoning, sage, thyme, marjoram and/or a bouillion cube. Cook at a bare simmer until the vegetables are cooked through. (Or you can sauté the vegetables in a little fat rendered from the soup first, and add back to the soup right before serving.) You can add rice, noodles*, or even leftover mashed potatoes (or not if you want the low carb version). Take some of the remaining turkey meat you reserved earlier, shred it into bite sized pieces and add to the soup. You may also want to add some chopped tomatoes, either fresh or canned. Add salt and pepper to taste. Sometimes a dash or two of Tabasco gives the soup a nice little kick.

*If cooking gluten-free use gluten-free noodles.

 

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Comments

  1. Heidi

    When making turkey soup, I pretty much put many parts of the leftovers in – roasted potatoes, mashed squash, some of the gravy, even some stuffing. I then add sautéed mushrooms, and all of the other ingredients Elise mentioned. A little white wine never hurts. This makes a thicker soup than the clear broth one.

  2. Jan

    Thanksgiving is over, and it was a big success. I just put on my pot of Turkey Soup and I am going to sit down with a nice glass of wine. But first I have to give Thanks, I have learned a lot from your blog during the past year that I have been reading. Your recipes have been the first I turn to when I need some inspiration. This year for the first time I cooked my Turkey upside down, only for the first 1/2, my husband and I flipped it for the second 1/2. (I am a sucker for that golden brown skin.) It was the best turkey ever.
    I always make your green beans with walnuts, they were a huge hit today too. So today I take a moment to say thank you. Thank you, Elise. Your website has made me a better cook, my family thanks you too.

    Jan

  3. Steve

    Definitely add any stuffing left in the cavity. You’ll need to strain the stock, but the flavor is worth it. Remove what you can (bones, veggies, etc.) with a slotted spoon, let it settle, then pour the warm stock into a bowl or another stock pot, leaving the fine solids behind. Let the new pot settle, then pour it SLOWLY back into the first pot (which you rinsed or washed). Again, leave behind the stuff that settled. Mmmmmm

  4. Andrea

    I want to echo the sentiments of Jan’s comment: I am very thankful for all the creativity and love you put into this site, Elise! The family recipes make it truly personal.

    Your turkey soup recipe is pretty much identical to mine, so I know it’s good. I usualy throw a bay leaf into the stock pot too.

    One comment: I have been taught not to boil the stock, as it causes proteins and fat to release which can cloud the stock. Perhaps bringing it to a boil but quickly down to simmer, as your recipe suggests, is sufficient to avoid that problem. (Maybe I worry too much about that, in other words). Also, is it really good to have skin in the stock? Once I wound up with a very greasy stock that was inedible, but my best stocks created a kind of gel when cold (the proteins from the bones, I think) that added lots of good flavor to the stock. Is there an optimal amount of skin?

    Note from Elise: Hi Andrea, you’re right, boiling the stock makes the stock cloudy. Though bringing it a boil for a brief moment initially will bring up the impurities that you want to skim off. That said, it really depends on what you are after. If you want a clear, fresh tasting stock, then you don’t want it to simmer. If you want a hearty stock, into which you are going to put a lot of different things (even mashed potatoes, as some do), then simmer away if you want. The taste of cloudy stock is fine, it’s just not consommé. Regarding the skin, most of the fat is rendered out when you cook the turkey, and there is a lot of flavor in the skin. We keep it in, but you could leave it out if you wanted.

  5. Barbara

    Just another suggestion: I refrigerate the broth before adding the veg., to bring the fat to the top and then defat it before adding the the veg.

  6. Alicia

    Hi! I just wanted to thank you all for your turkey soup tips. I’m making for the first time, turkey soup from the carcass. (and only the 2nd time ever had I made turkey!) Your tips are great. I had an idea of what I wanted in the soup, but wasn’t sure what spices, etc. I like the noodles idea, too. So, I’ll be putting in a bunch of veggies and add some pasta, too. I’ve been cooking the carcass off & on for the last 2 weeks, bringing it to a boil, then simmering for a few hours. It has been slow since I’ve been so busy I haven’t had time to finish it. My friend, an expert at making turkey soup said that you could do this forever practically (boiling it, simmer); interesting since I had no idea in the beginning. So, tonight, I’ll finally finish it!

  7. Elise

    Hi Alicia – I don’t know about boiling the bones over and over again. Once you make the stock you can cool it in the refrigerator and let the fat rise to the top to form a protective layer (protects against bacteria). You can reheat it to a boiling/simmer every few days to extend the life of the soup. But boiling the carcass over and over again? Somehow it just doesn’t sound like a good idea.

  8. cris

    Years ago I saw Jacques Pepin make a peasant turkey soup on television. It was the perfect solution for post turkey remains :-) Yours is very similar -except the skin.

    He did one thing which was a keeper. He took the skin and placed it fat side down on a baking sheet and sprinkled it with salt and baked it. It was like bacon, which he crumbled on the soup! I do this now -even with chicken. My husband likes these crumbles in his turkey/chicken sandwiches.

    Note from Elise: Crispy, crumbled roasted turkey skin? That sounds delicious!

  9. Mark

    We make soup stock often. One thing that really helps is to roast the bones in the oven for an hour or so before putting them in the stock pot. This browns the bones and adds a whole new dimention to your stock.

    Note from Elise: Hmm, never thought to do that as the bones have already roasted with the turkey for hours.

  10. Ashley

    Hi Elise,
    I want to thank you so much for your recipes. I made the pumpkin bread and now I am making the Turkey Soup. My brother, who is deceased now, was a chef and he used to help me make turkey soup from the carcass. He used to put the spices in a teet and hang it in the pot. I haven’t made soup since because I didn’t know what spices to put in. Thank you for bringing back the memories and for the information I need to carry on the soup making tradition:)

  11. Elaine

    Elise-
    I have been reading your blog for quite awhile now and love it. My spouse knows of whom I am speaking (re; food blogs) by their first names now!

    In any case, I read this while I was making stock and loved the idea of cooking it down, making it more concentrated and easier to store. We purchased a chest freezer last January and I thought it would never get full. How naive I was; it has been full since we started getting CSA boxes over the summer and I am constantly trying to juggle food around so I can store more. Your idea of cooking the stock to concentrate was sorely needed.

    Thanks much for all of the great recipes and insights you post. My day would not be complete without reading your post!

  12. Lori

    Elise,
    Thank you for this soup recipe. I have made turkey soup before, but most of the recipes I used called for canned tomatoes and/or broccoli. I prefer yours. This was yummy.

    Also, you’ve closed down comments on your mom’s turkey recipe, but I want to THANK YOU – and YOUR MOM – for persuading me to try the upside-down turkey roasting method! Out of the oven, flipped, and ready to be carved, the bird looked a bit… well… anemic. The ten guests looked at it with a “what the heck?” expression. I was momentarily worried, but I trusted you and thought: “who cares what it looks like – all that matters is how it tastes.” It was the best tasting – and moistest – turkey our family has ever eaten. Your mom’s recipe will now be a tradition in my home (20 miles south of Boston) thanks to you, your mom, and the internet. Thanks again. – Lori

  13. CE

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! I am newly married and just moved to Germany from Alaska to be with my husband, who is German and had never celebrated Thanksgiving before. I made your roasted turkey recipe, your stuffing recipe and this turkey soup the next day. Unfortunatly, it was impossible to find cranberries in rural Germany, otherwise I would have loved to try the cranberry relish also. Everything turned out wonderful! And my husband loved everything! He raved and raved about the turkey and this soup. I could not have done it without your website. Happy Holidays!

  14. Sweeti

    I make Turkey soup with homemade noodles from mine also but I jar mine when done and pressure can it. We save it for days when someone is under the weather or to bring to a sick friend. It makes you feel better always.

  15. Raquel

    Amazing labor of love this site must be; I cooked my first turkey for my in-laws and followed elise’s instructions and, along with those onion potatoes and sweet glazed carrots, found myself in the middle of the most oohs and ahs I’ve ever heard! My in laws now adore me (they equate food with love) and the turkey soup is going to MY grandma tonight. She’s been ill and my grandpa is bitter that he never gets a cooked meal. :) The love will keep coming! Thanks, from the bottom of my heart, Elise, for your wonderful effort. You enrich my life.

  16. Joyce

    Just want to comment on the turkey soup.I have not tried roasting the bones before making soup, but will try it on boxing day.
    I always have a huge amount of gravy left over, so I add that to the soup. It thickens it as well as adds so much flavor.

  17. Doug

    Excellent recipe, thank you!

  18. Carol Woods

    Hi, I have a question about the broth from cooking the carcass. I would like to make soup but the broth has turned like jelly. I removed the fat from the top and just have a jelled broth, is that Okay ?
    I would appreciate your help.
    thanks…..

  19. Elise

    Hi Carol – That’s perfect! Just what you want. Just heat the jelled broth, taste it, and add a little water to it if you think it’s too strong.

  20. Vancouver, BC girl (Canada)

    I have been a vegetarian for almost 20 years and only recently started to incorporate a bit of poultry into my diet. Needless to say, the thought of cooking my first Christmas turkey was a bit daunting – some of it was psychological, and part of it was worry that my Christmas dinner guests would be disappointed by my lack of turkey cooking prowess. Thankfully, I found your roast turkey recipe! It was fantastic and highly complimented. I did flip it to brown the breast for the last 25 minutes and it didn’t lose too much moisture. Now, I am making soup stock from your recipe. Thanks for a simple, delicious meal!

  21. Paul

    Alicia, there’s probably no harm in boiling the carcass over and over, they do this with items like fish heads and to make head cheese out of mammalian heads like cow, pig etc. The bones will eventually melt into the liquid and you will reap the benefits of eating the gelatin which is important for building your tendons and bones etc. but in terms of flavor I wouldn’t think you’d get much out of it after the first or second boiling.

    -Paul

  22. Paul

    I’ve picked the bird clean over the past week. The concern I had was with its age– I wasn’t sure if that was going to affect the quality of the broth. From what I can tell by the delicious aroma filling the house, it’s not going to be a problem. I threw all of it in a big pot with plenty of water, a whole onion, a large carrot, and some celery stalks. Brought to a boil and then set on LOW to simmer for several hours. Will strain out all and discard/compost. I will then skim the fat off when it rises and hardens. From the remaining broth I will be able to make anything I want.

    Apparently you can make a lot of broth from a 12-pound bird. Right now I’m experimenting with 5 gallons. It doesn’t look like it’s going to be weak.

    -Paul

  23. Sulli DeStefano

    I just love the site and the recipes bring me back to my mothers home made cooking..where everything was done from scratch. When she would make her soups, no matter what type of soup it was..chicken noodle…turkey…italian wedding..she would always add her secret ingredient…one I continue to use to this day in my soups…some fresh grated Locateli or Pecorino Romano cheese. It brings the soup to another level and adds a subtle flavor hint that leaves people wondering what is giving the soup this marvelous undertaste.

  24. Bruce

    I tried this recipe in January and we loved it. It was so good my family requested it again so we’re having it for dinner tonight. Thanks, I am a soup lover and this recipe is one that has won over my wife who genrally isn’t big on soups. Give your mom a hug for me.

  25. patricia saunders

    I’m making turkey soup tonite, and I at 77 years old don’t know and can’t find out the difference between broth and stock. What’s the difference?
    Also, I have 1/2 cup of turkey fat. Do I add it to the soup or throw it out? I already have celery, onions, carrots in there, and lots of turkey meat to add later. My grandsons really love the soup, in past years with the dumplings I add to the soup. Flour, egg, and seasoning, and milk. Drop into liquid soup and they rise as they cook. Deelishus.

    Hi Patricia, broth is seasoned, you can even eat it straight. Stock is what you make when you simmer bones, but before adding seasoning. Regarding the turkey fat. Do not add it to the soup. Or at least not that much to it. If you want keep it in a jar in the fridge and use it for cooking like you would chicken fat or bacon fat. Otherwise, throw it out. That said, if you are making stock, it helps to store the stock with a layer of fat on it if you are storing it in the refrigerator (not if you are freezing it). The layer of fat will help protect the stock from bacteria and help it keep longer in the fridge. ~Elise

  26. Jack

    I’m posting a comment here bout Mom’s Roasted Turkey. This is the first time Misti and I have ever cooked a turkey and I found this recipe here on Simpley Recipes. We have never heard of cooking a turkey breast down and the ingredients sounded really good. We must say that this is the best tasting turkey we have ever made, beings it is the first. Thank You for making this Roast Turkey recipe available for us to find. It was awesome.. Now, we gonna use the left overs for the turkey soup where we also will follow your recipe! If the roasted turkey ended up this good, imagine what the soup will taste like. Once again thank you for a great recipe, it made our first time cooking a turkey the best first turkey it ever could of been.. Thank you… Misti and Jack

  27. John Kennedy-Farrell

    Hey Elise,

    Thanks for your great tips! My wife and I just finished roasting our first turkey for Thanksgiving. We had her family over, and it went well. I’m making broth now following your instructions, and I see that you write that it can be refrigerated with the fat layer on top to protect it, but what about freezing it? I’d like to store some of the broth for soups throughout the winter….does that work? –John

    We don’t freeze our stocks, though I’ve noticed that people who do take the layer of fat off before freezing. ~Elise

  28. Leah

    I’ve been making turkey soup for years. It’s wonderful. Also turkey broth makes a fabulous wedding soup. Just thought I’d mention it. I make it all the time and my family loves it. I’ve had nothing but raves on my wedding soup.

  29. Nancy

    First and foremost – thanks for this great website!

    Yummy – This is an excellent recipe for leftovers. I didn’t really feel like cooking much more after Thanksgiving – so this is perfect. It was cold and rainy and all weekend there was a hot pot of soup on the stove. Mmmm. Basic, warm and a definite keeper! THANKS

  30. Noel

    I always see people say that they refrigerate their turkey stock before making the soup – is this necessary, or can I go straight from stock to soup without having to cool it in the middle?

    The main reason you refrigerate the stock first is so that the fat rises to the top and solidifies and you can easily remove what you don’t want in your soup. You could also use a fat separator or just use a large metal spoon to spoon off the excess fat from the top of the stock, if you wanted to go straight to soup making. ~Elise

  31. Viki

    Hey, Jan, you might want to try a few drops of the wine in your soup; my parents used to do that. They were from the old country, and it is really good.

  32. Jeanne Riecke

    My Mom made her own noodles, which of course made turkey soup after Thanksgiving even more special. It is easy.

    MAMA’S NOODLES
    2 eggs
    1/2 tsp of salt
    Flour-as much flour as needed

    Mix all these ingredients together until it becomes very elastic. Roll out on floured surface. Make into long roll and slice in 1/2 to 3/4 inch slice rolls. Separate egg noodle slices before tossing them into the Turkey soup. Multiply for larger recipes.

  33. Catwuvr

    Many years ago I found a recipe for leftover chicken, or turkey, soup that calls for adding a couple tablespoons of vinegar when making your stock. They explained that the stock is much healthier because the vinegar leaches the calcium out of the bones and disperses it into the broth, making it very calcium rich. The flavor of your soup is also much richer when made with the seasoned stock, and yet, no one will know that it’s there, if you don’t tell them.

    Another addition that isn’t your usual ingredient, but adds a subtle yet marvelous flavor, is a good sized chunk of fresh ginger root, unpeeled. Just add it with the vinegar, bones and veges when making stock.

    I never leave out these two secret ingredients when making my very delicious soups!

  34. steve8714

    Mine tastes flat, any ideas on a fix?

    Salt. And a dash of Tabasco. ~Elise

  35. Suzanne Espenlaub

    This is only my second batch of turkey broth, and unfortunately I did not read your instructions before I boiled the carcass. I boiled for about an hour, I cooked my veggies in a separate pot (same veggies as yours). Is it okay to now put it all in the fridge and then marry them together tomorrow, or should I just do it now and let them cool off together on the stove over night?

    At this point I would keep them separately or together in the fridge, bring them all to a simmer for at least 10 minutes tomorrow. ~Elise

  36. Suzanne Espenlaub

    After I refrigerate them tonight and then add noodles etc tomorrow, how long is it O-kay in the fridge? And can I freeze individual ones again for later days?

    If you are going to freeze, I would freeze the stock separately from the turkey. I would add fresh vegetables and noodles to frozen stock and turkey when wanting to make soup again. After you make the soup, it lasts a few days in the fridge. The stock can last for a couple weeks in the fridge as long as you reboil it for 10 minutes every few days. ~Elise

  37. Jane

    Stayed home sick from work today, and what better opportunity than to use the turkey bones from Sunday’s half-turkey and make some stock? Just the smell has made me feel better! Thank you, Elise, for the simple and yummy recipe.

    My question is this: What is it that makes a stock clear or cloudy? Is it particles of meat, veg, etc that are agitated by boiling? I tried my hardest to keep it at barely a simmer, most of the time below a simmer, and yet it’s cloudy. It doesn’t really matter; I’m not going to chuck it out or anything! Just curious. I will cool it and freeze for a later use. Thanks!

    Great question. According to Harold McGee one reason is that some of the proteins break down and get suspended in the stock. Another is that boiling causes the fat to emulsify in the stock. If you really want clear stock, make sure you are starting with cold water and you never let the stock even simmer. You can do this by putting the pot in a 180°F oven for several hours. Personally I’ve made stock both ways and I prefer the cloudy stock. It has a fuller flavor. It sort of depends on what you are reaching for in terms of flavor and aesthetics. ~Elise

  38. Mary Beth

    Cris – thank you so much for passing on the tip from Jacques Pepin, to bake the turkey skin to make a sort of turkey bacon! Just tried it in a 350 degree oven, after salting & peppering; baked it until it looked like crispy bacon. And it is DELICIOUS! The only thing I’ll do differently next time is use a baking sheet with higher sides, as there was more grease run-off than I anticipated.

    Elise – thank you for this site! It is the first place I turn to for ideas and recipes. Making the turkey stock now. And I’m going to cook another turkey tomorrow (not enough leftovers!) and will try your mom’s way.

  39. Roxanne

    The difference between stock and broth is the use of mostly all bones in stock and mostly all meat in broth. Traditional broth doesn’t use bones, or very little. The resulting liquid from simmering a leftover turkey carcass is technically a stock, a very rich one since there is still, typically, meat on the bones. It doesn’t have anything to do with the liquid being seasoned or not. A properly made stock jells under cold temperatures. This is the result of gelatin being pulled from the bones after very long simmering (at least 6-8 hours). A broth, being made mostly from meat, will not jell. The high amounts of gelatin in stock is what gives it its body and luscious mouth feel.

    When you reduce stock down to a quarter of its original amount (i.e. 4 cups of stock down to 1 cup of stock), you have demi-glace. One of the most beautiful and delightful substances on earth, and one of the great French mother sauces.

  40. Linda In Washington State

    I have never made roasted turkey stock but I make chicken stock. One of the dishes my husband will cooked is roasted chicken in pieces.
    I have to prepare the 2 free range chickens for him. I save the wing tips, the neck, the and the back. Lately, I have been removing the skin before freezing the parts. About 3 bags of chicken parts of 2 chickens each I put in my stock pot and boil till the scrum rising then I skim this off. Then I add, chopped onion, celery, whole baby carrots, salt, pepper, juice of and half of a squeezed lemon and half of a red bell pepper and let it simmer for at least 2 hours. Adding the 3rd vegetable of the trinity really perked up my broth/stock.
    My stock has a kit of gelatin so it is firm like Jell-O
    I refrigerated my stock then remove the fat and freeze my stock in snack size baggies/ about a cup of stock.
    Fill baggie gently pressing out as much air as then seal. then stack the baggies in a gallon
    size Ziploc and seal then put in the freezer. Primarily I use my stock to make gravy for roasted chicken night.

  41. jeannettedixon

    Hi I have just made your turkey soup for the first time and it tastes very strong. Is there anyway of making it more bland please? thanks jeannette

    Yes, you can add water to it to dilute it. ~Elise

  42. Elizabeth

    I made a turkey for New Year’s Day and made turkey soup from the carcass following the directions here. It was the best turkey soup I’ve ever had. I did not put the skin in so I didn’t have much fat to skim off. I had brined the turkey and used an herb paste (Cook’s Illustrated Herb Roasted Turkey). The broth was incredibly flavorful. I didn’t need to add any salt or other seasonings to the finished product. I may have to make more turkeys than usual this year just to make more soup.

  43. mantha

    Jeanne’s idea of acidifying the cooking water or stock a little to leach out the good calcium from the bones is very sound. I’ve used juice of a large whole fresh lemon, which also adds a bright taste and makes less salt seem necessary, but vinegar is perfectly good too. And her idea of putting in a bit of fresh ginger is wonderful for a hearty winter soup of chicken or turkey. Just the thing to come in out of the cold and eat.

  44. Frances McKay

    I have made turkey soup essentially as you described for years except that I put the carcass in the crock pot to simmer as I am cleaning up after dinner. That way it is cooking without having to be watched and I never have to find room in the fridge for it.

  45. Kate @ the wooden spoon

    Thanks for posting this! Using your method, I made turkey stock to save for later soups. I love that I just created a DELICIOUS food out of something that was destined for the garbage, had I not intervened.

  46. Patrick

    I have made turkey soup for only the last couple of years, but this is the first time that I have taken the time to find out how to do it correctly. In the past, I have just boiled the bones for a few hours then I removed the bones and added turkey, veggies and seasoning. Then I cooked it down until the veggies were tender. I know my soup will turn out so much better this year. But, I have a question. Is there a reason for disgarding the veggies that were used to make the broth? Thanks, this site is great.

    By the time the cooking is done, the nutritional value of the vegetables has been cooked out and is now in the stock. ~Elise

  47. C

    Hi & thankyou 4 the recipie. I am wondering how long one has to make the stock? The bones have been in the fridge from Thanksgiving I didn’t read up on the soup right away. So the carcus is about 3days in the frideg now Is it to late ? Also haven’t cooked the neck&gibblets yet is it ok to or should I throw them out? Thanks

    Hi C, you’re still good on the carcass. I would say 5 days on the carcass in the fridge. You can always put them in the freezer where they’ll be good for months. The neck and giblets are still raw? Then throw them out. They’ve likely been sitting around too long in the fridge. ~Elise

  48. Susan T

    I just made my turkey soup yesterday. The only thing I do that’s different is that I tie up the carcass and bones in some cheesecloth. Makes it easy to fish out of the pot later.

  49. Tracey N

    I have a question for all the you stock experts. This year I just dropped the whole carcass (unstuffed but full of herbs/veges) into the pot of water and left it to simmer and forgot about it. It did boil and half the liquid evaporated. The stock was yellow — this has never happend before, and cooled down it’s the consistency of thick jello. What happened? To fix, I plan to strain with cheese cloth (after reheating) and clarify with eggwhites. Joy of Cooking says to include the crushed shell and implied that cooking stock in aluminum was a bad idea. Any other suggestions?

    You just have made highly concentrated stock. That’s what ours looks like when we reduce the heck out of it. At that concentration it should jell up like jello. Personally I wouldn’t bother with the egg whites or shells, because it should taste fine as it is. Just when you go to use it, you’re going to need to add a lot of water. For example, if you need a cup of stock for a recipe, use 1/3 a cup of your concentrated stock, add 2/3 a cup of water. Or whatever proportion works best for you. If the stock doesn’t taste good (which can happen if you use an aluminum pot), no amount of egg whites is going to help. ~Elise

  50. Cindy

    Thanks, great simple recipe

  51. Patricia Melsted Chabot

    The best turkey or chicken soup needs just one more simple step.
    Roast the bones in the oven for a couple of hours, or more.
    Brown the bones real good.
    That’s where the flavor is.
    Then boil. So delicious!

  52. Steve-Anna

    Usually, when I roast a turkey there is not enough left over to make soup. This year, however, I made a 16 lb. turkey – for four! So, there was plenty leftover for soup.

    I made this yesterday, and it is soul warming – perfect for a rainy snowy winter day, which we are now having in Tucson. I added a little cayenne for some heat, and chopped up some fresh cherry tomatoes and stirred them in at the last minute to brighten the flavor.

    This one’s a keeper~!

  53. Michael

    Hi I would like to know why is it important to begin with cold water when making a stock. And what makes a stock cloudy?

    Starting with cold water allows more collagen to seep from the bones and cartilage of the turkey into the stock. If you plunge the carcass into hot water, you will not get this, and your stock will be thin. There are lots of reasons a stock can go cloudy, but the most common is boiling. A boiled stock will often still taste fine, but you lose that clarity. ~Elise

  54. Rachel

    Hi – thank you so much for all your info! One question – can I mix turkey and chicken bones for a stock/broth? Would it taste okay?

    Yes, it would taste fine. ~Elise

  55. Sandi

    I found years ago that if I let the bones hard boil or simmer for too long, I got an almost orangish, oily residue (not the same as the yellow white fat), that really spoiled the taste of the broth and couldn’t be skimmed off. Did I just get a couple weird turkeys or has anyone else experienced that? I just make sure not to let them more than simmer now and remove them as soon as the meat pulls easily off the carcass and haven’t had the problem since.

    • Elise

      Many many years ago a doctor told me I should make soup from bones to help me with anemia. This was before the Internet and I had no idea what I was doing, so I got a bunch of beef bones from the butcher and I boiled them at a hard boil until the bones themselves were disintegrating into the stock, 6 hours maybe? Really didn’t taste good. But I’m sure the calcium was great!

      • Sandi

        Lol, I’ll stick to taking calcium as a pill or in my cheese and milk. Never made anything from beef bones, I just use boneless beef and store bought stock or broth for stew or beef mushroom and barley soup, so thanks for the tip as I have been branching out and want to try making beef stock. If I spend hours making it, I want it to taste good! Years, as in 40+ ago, my aunt’s Dr Rx’d a 4 oz glass of red wine with lunch and dinner to help her body make use of the iron in all the red meat, liver and greens he had her eating for pregnancy related anemia. He had to write it out because my uncle came unglued. But it worked and sounds like a much tastier solution than soup du ossements.

  56. Tammy Sammarco

    My first try at making soup. Do I read this right? I add the vegetables twice?

    • Elise

      Hi Tammy, yes you read this correctly. The first vegetables get simmered with the bones. All of their goodness goes into the stock. By the time the stock is ready, you don’t want to eat those vegetables, so they get strained out with the bones. When it comes time to make the soup with the stock, you add vegetables that you will be eating in the soup.

  57. george

    Sweet Elise Bauer thank you for all your recipes till now!You tought me how to cook and how to get on well in the kitchen your site is a mirracle ,I just made my thanksgiving dinner and by the ways HAPPY THANKSGIVING DAY and have lots of happiness.Sincerely George

  58. Roberta

    Made the stock yesterday and making the soup today. Keeping it gluten free and adding rice. Two questions….would brown rice work and do I cook the rice prior to adding. Thanks….LOVE your site! Have made many of your recipes! Keep ‘em coming!

    • Elise

      Hi Roberta, brown rice takes 3 times as long to cook as white rice (45 minutes versus 15 minutes), so if using brown rice I recommend putting it in the stock before the vegetables.

  59. Sam

    My turkey stock tastes funky, sorta sour. What did I do incorrectly? The only thing that I can think of is that I boiled the carcass in a slow cooker for 18 hours.

    I didn’t think i could mangle a broth recipe! Help?

    • Elise

      18 hours? Yikes! I think that’s where your problem lies. Sorry to say but if your turkey stock, or anything for that matter, tastes “funky”, then don’t eat it.

  60. Carl

    Excellent recipe!! Made great use of our 21# T-Day carcass. Delicious. Ended up with 4 qts of stock. Two went in to your soup recipe and two are frozen for future use.

    Thanks very much!!

  61. Rosita

    I spent countless hours making this soup and I’m very disappointed with the results. I followed the instructions to the “T”, but found this soup to be rather bland. My husband, who likes virtually everything, only finished it because there was nothing else to eat at home. It’s just not worth all the effort. We could barely taste the turkey. What a collosal waste of time. Sorry to be so negative, but I thought others should know of my experience.

  62. Kayla

    My first time making stock from scratch. Turned out great! Also made your soup from the stock a few days later, and it was a HUGE hit. And I don’t even like soup! Needless to say, both of these recipes are getting written down and put in the Family Recipe Box. Win!

  63. Cheryl R.

    Hi if you use the vinegar to add to the soup, do you used regular or apple cider vinegar? Will it give the soup a vinegar-y taste?

    • Jen

      I saw someone else made a comment about adding vinegar. I would imagine it would cook down the same as wine..? But I’d be curious to hear from an expert as well!

  64. Lisa

    Can you make the stock with the leg and wing bones? The carcass got thrown away. :-(

  65. Jen

    Thank you so much for the recipe! This was my first time making stock & soup from a carcass. I appreciate everyone else’s comments as well.. I followed the recipe, and added some wine, a little stuffing, and a little gravy. I also cooled the stock overnight so it was easier to remove the fat.
    When we made the turkey, we put a “bacon blanket” over the turkey while roasting. It made a VERY flavorful stock.. so pleased none of the turkey went to waste this year!! :)
    Jen

  66. turkey breast

    One of the best stocks I’ve made. My husband and 6 year-old loves the soup that I prepared for them for lunch. It always warms my heart to hear praises from loved ones for giving them delicious and healthy food. As the saying goes, ‘Health is wealth’, I would always go for organic and antibiotic-free turkey. I know that it’s a bit pricey but prevention is better than cure. :)

  67. Anita

    I just love your recipe, pity I didn’t find it years ago. I have a problem though with one thing…I put everything I had in a crock pot and let it cook just under a simmer for several hours. Almost immediately after I put the egg noodles in they went very soggy and don’t even look like noodles anymore. I am worried that if I had cooked them separately then added them, they still would have turned out soggy when stored in the fridge. What should I do? HELP! I need Turkey Soup 911

  68. Larry Chester

    I’ve been learning to be a cook for the past 2 years, but this is the first time that I’ve made stock, though I have helped my ex many times over the years. This year, I disassembled the turkey before I roasted it, so I had the entire backbone of two turkeys and the thighbones and neck uncooked to throw into the stock. The rest of the carcass (already roasted) was added as well. I have put in more veggies to the stock for added richness, including cilantro (rather than parsley), parsnips, leeks and turnips, in addition to what you have in your recipe. After 4 hours, I have from 6 – 8 quarts of stock, and lots of “remains.”

    I plan on taking the meat off of the remaining bones to add to the soup later along with some rice and new veggies, but I’m wondering about all of those cooked veggies that I used to make the stock. They have been cooking in that rich turkey stock for hours, and it would be a shame to just throw them away. Is there some way that I can use them in a meal at a later time? Would they make a thicker stew type soup if blended and then added to several kinds of beans and barley? What do you think?

    • Elise

      Hi Larry, congratulations on your first stock! Here’s the thing with the vegetables. They’ve been cooking for so long in the stock pretty much all of the nutritional value has been leached from them into the stock. You might benefit from some of the fiber left in them at this point, but not much else. This is why they are discarded after making the stock.

  69. Jeff

    A crock pot worked great to make the stock in.