Crockpot Turkey Stock is the most hands-off way to make post-turkey-dinner stock for soups, stews, sauces, and more. 10 hours of set-it-and-forget-it—then strain the broth and put it in storage containers. This recipe makes a rich, concentrated broth.
It’s the day after Thanksgiving here in the US, and that means that I have a gigantic turkey carcass hanging out in my fridge. Each year for the last 5 years, I’ve made gallons of turkey stock on the day after Thanksgiving. (Sometimes I put if off until Saturday if I’m extra tired.)
This won’t be one of those posts with gorgeous pictures on FoodGawker, because let’s face it—there’s nothing pretty about turkey bones jammed into a pot. But turkey stock is liquid gold, in my book. It’s a wonderful base for soups and stews, obviously, but also for sauces.
This year, I decided to switch it up and make the turkey stock in the crockpot. The difficulty with this is that it necessitates fitting the carcass of a 20-some-odd pound bird into a 7-quart crock pot (at least 7-quarts—obvo, smaller crockpots just aren’t suited to this task!). This was never an issue for the stovetop, since I always break out my beer kettle for just this purpose.
However, I found that the carcass breaks apart easily after the long roast so that I can jam some of the bones bones into the cavity to save space, and tuck here and there to make everything fit. It worked beautifully, and I still had space for herbs, an onion, and a celery stalk.
Then I added liquid: I used about 2 cups of chicken stock and then enough water to fill the crockpot to about 1″ from the top of the crock. There is meat and stuff sticking up over the surface of the liquid, but that’s fine: the ingredients on top will have condensation from the lid continuously dripping down on top. I did turn the bones once during the cook time, but it’s not a big deal if you don’t get the chance.
Then, I set the crockpot turkey stock on low for 10 hours and pretty much just walked away. Today’s weather was unseasonably warm and gorgeous—sixty degrees!—so the hubster and I got some much-needed yard work done while the crockpot turkey stock simmered away.
UPDATE: I now let the stock simmer on low for 2 days. That’s right: just check the level of the liquid to be sure it’s not too high or low, adjusting as needed by removing some of the stock to a refrigerated container or adding additional water.
A bit of hands-on work was involved with removing the solids from the stock, picking any remaining meat off the bones (for soup!), and then straining the liquid, but it’s totally worth it.
The obvious thing to do with this gorgeous crockpot turkey stock is to add in some of your leftover turkey meat with some sautéed mirepoix (onion, carrots, and celery) to make a clean, fresh soup. You could add in mushrooms, if you’re a fan. I like to add a couple tablespoons of dried herbs and either leftover rice or cooked pasta (small kinds like orzo or acini di pepe are my preference). Then S & P to taste and top with some chopped parsley and grated Romano cheese—you’ve got an easy, healthy dinner.
This year, I’ll be making turkey pho as my first soup (you can see the recipe here—just add the sachet of aromatics and spices and start with the step where you return the broth to a simmer. Simmer the stock on the stovetop rather than in the pressure cooker).
Turkey is such an economical meat—especially if you take full advantage of the bird and make crockpot turkey stock. With the meat and stock, you get a LOT of meals out of one bird. I freeze the crockpot turkey stock in freezer containers with screw-top lids (fill about 1.5″ below the top: the stock will expand as it freezes). I’ve kept the stock for as long as 6 months with no issues.
If you’re looking for a turkey recipe, be sure to grab my delicious ultimate classic roast turkey. And, if you’re still planning your Thanksgiving Dinner, check out my detailed Countdown to Thanksgiving Meal Plan, which is your complete guide to planning and shopping for your big event!
I hope you’ll get a lot of fantastic meals out of this crockpot turkey broth. Happy Holidays!
I am linking my crockpot turkey broth up with some great link parties:
- #CookBlogShare, hosted by Hijacked by Twins, Easy Peasy Foodie, Recipes Made Easy, and Everyday Healthy Recipes.
- #CookOnceEatTwice, hosted by Searching For Spice.
- #SlowCookedChallenge, hosted by Baking Queen 74.
- #BrillBlogPosts, hosted by Honest Mum.
Crockpot Turkey Stock is the most hands-off way to make post-turkey-dinner stock for soups, stews, sauces, and more. 10 hours of set-it-and-forget-it—then strain the broth and put it in storage containers.
- 1 turkey carcass* (see my Ultimate Classic Roast Turkey recipe, link in Notes)
- 2 cups chicken or turkey broth
- 1 celery stalk
- 1 onion, trimmed and cut in half
- 1 sprig fresh rosemary
- 1 sprig fresh sage
- 1 sprig fresh thyme
- 8 black peppercorns
- 1 dried bay leaf
- salt and pepper, to taste
Place all ingredients into the crock of a 7-quart (or larger) slow-cooker. Add enough water to bring the liquid level to 1" below the top of the crock. Lid the slow-cooker, making sure that the lid fits tightly. Set slow-cooker on low for at least 10 hours and up to 48 (if you have a digital crockpot, be sure that you can program it for that much time—or reset it every 12 hours [depending on the type of crockpot you have]).
If possible, turn the bones mid-way through the cook time.
After 10 hours, remove all solids from the stock. Pick any remaining meat from the bones and reserve for another use. Run the broth through a fine-mesh strainer at least once. To be extra careful, set a layer of cheesecloth or paper toweling into the strainer the second time that you run the broth through.
At this point, you will have approximately 3 quarts of highly concentrated stock. Dilute with up to 2 additional quarts of water. Add the crockpot turkey stock to screw-top freezer containers, leaving at least 1.5" at the top of each container. Store for up to 6 months.
*You will need to break the carcass down to make it fit into your slow-cooker.
You can add salt and pepper to taste, but I prefer to season my soups and sauces later. Be aware that the stock will have some salt already from the original turkey recipe.
Related tools on Sur La Table (affiliate)
|cheesecloth||fine-mesh strainer||wire skimmer||slow cooker|
|Ultimate Classic Roast Turkey: this turkey turns out perfectly juicy every time thanks to a wine-and-butter-soaked cheesecloth that keeps the turkey from drying out for most of the roasting time.|
|Pressure Cooker Pho Ga (Vietnamese Chicken Noodle Soup): Pressure-cooker pho delivers a rich, flavorful broth in a fraction of the time. Piled high with beautiful garnishes, this healthy soup really satisfies.|
|Slow-Cooker Rotisserie Chicken Pho Ga: make the most of your rotisserie chicken, whether store-bought or homemade. A slow simmer in broth, spices, and aromatics extracts amazing flavor from the roasted chicken bones.|