Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables

BudgetTurkeyTurkey Stew

Filling, delicious, and affordable, this turkey stew is made with turkey thighs or legs, slow cooked with onion, celery, carrots and other root vegetables.

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

One of my father’s favorite dishes to make in the winter is a hearty turkey stew with lots of root vegetables like rutabagas, turnips, and carrots.

It’s warming, filling, and a big batch will last all week for several meals of leftovers.

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It’s also very easy on the budget, which is probably why we had it so much growing up. You make it with turkey thighs (or legs), which, in addition to being the tastier dark meat, you can usually get for $1.50 per pound or less.

Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables

Slow cooking the turkey thighs bone-in, you get all of the healthy goodness and flavor from the bone marrow. Cooking them with skin on also coats the turkey with flavor.

Turnips and rutabagas, which can be rather strong tasting, hold up beautifully with the also strong-tasting dark turkey meat.

Turkey Stew with Root Vegetables Recipe

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 2 hours, 30 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 6 to 8

Save time by prepping the root vegetables during the first stage of the stew's oven cooking.


  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3 pounds turkey thighs (preferred) or legs (skin on, bone in)
  • 1 medium-large yellow onion, peeled and roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped (about 1 1/2 cups)
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 quart (4 cups) chicken, turkey, or vegetable stock
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled, 1/4 inch slices (about 1 1 /4 cups)
  • 1-2 medium turnips, peeled, 1/2 inch cubes
  • 1 medium rutabaga, peeled, halved, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices
  • 3 medium Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and quartered
  • 1 teaspoon Herbes de Provence*
  • Freshly ground black pepper

*Herbes de Provence is a delightful French blend of herbs - Winter savory, thyme, basil, tarragon, and lavender flowers. If you don't have Herbes de Provence, you can substitute with an Italian herb mix.


1 Brown the turkey thighs: Preheat oven to 300°F. Heat olive oil on medium high heat in a Dutch oven on the stove top. Wash and pat dry turkey pieces. Working in batches if necessary, brown the turkey thighs, first skin side down, 2-3 minutes on each side. Sprinkle the thighs with a little salt as you brown them.

2 Cook the onions and celery: Once the thighs have browned, remove them from the pan and set them in a bowl. Add the onions and celery to the pot. Cook for about 5 minutes or so, until the onions are translucent and starting to brown at the edges.

3 Add turkey thighs, salt, half of the stock: Return the turkey thighs to the pot. Add 2 teaspoons of salt and half of the stock. Bring to a simmer, remove from the stove top and put in the oven, covered, for an hour and fifteen minutes.

4 Add rest of vegetables and remaining stock: After an hour and fifteen minutes, remove from oven and add the rest of the vegetables—carrots, turnips, rutabaga, and potatoes, the herbs, and the rest of the stock.

Return to the oven, covered, and cook until tender, another 45 minutes or more.

5 Strip meat from turkey thighs, return to stew: Remove the turkey thighs from the stew and place in a bowl to cool. When cool enough to handle, strip the meat off the bones. Discard the bones and skin. Cut the meat into bite-sized pieces (1 1/2-inches or so chunks) and return to the pot.

Sprinkle with black pepper and add more salt to taste.

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Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

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33 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Michelle

    I have made this at least 10 times . I now will substitute root vegs., with what is on sale. Jerusalem artichokes for potatoes, Golden beets, chopped up turnip greens…if you follow the directions, it is no fail every time I freeze it in canning jars, & have it for breakfast ( I am allergic to eggs & milk) Thank you Much!!!


  2. Andrew

    If you were to swap out the root vegetables for say egg noodles, at one time would you add them in?

    Show Replies (1)
  3. Ariane

    Delicious. Thank you for the recipe.


  4. Marty

    So every year after Thanksgiving I go to Whole Foods where they have turkey thighs for…( wait for it..) 99 cents a pound. I buy a whole bunch, freeze some for later and usually roast them. But today I had this idea to make a turkey stew.
    So I made your recipe and it is ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS!! Followed the recipe and when it came time for the root veggies I used what I had..butternut squash, big fat sweet organic carrots in chunks —
    and at the end I threw in some nice fresh string beans
    I served it in a bowl with some yellow rice..and let me tell you..it was spectacular! Wow. Thank you so much.

    I did add just a wee bit of curry powder to the mix early on.. but you can’t tell..it just gave it a slightly exotic oomph in addition to the Herbes


    Show Replies (1)
  5. ellen

    Thanks so much for this recipe. It was perfect for hunkering down in this snowy week in Santa Fe. I added okra which worked out really nicely.

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