Turkey Stock for Freezing

Make your own turkey stock to get more use out of your Thanksgiving bird! // savvyeat.comLet’s talk turkey. Turkey stock, specifically. Do you toss the turkey bones as soon as Thanksgiving dinner is over, or are you giving them a second life and turning them into stock?

Listen, you put a lot of time, energy and money into that roasting that turkey. Sure, you’ll get to enjoy it for multiple meals – both at the big Thanksgiving feast, and then in plenty of leftovers. But why not extend the use of your turkey a little further, and use the bones to make a turkey stock that you can use all winter long? Bonus: it also allows you to use up all those vegetable odds and ends that you surely generated while cooking all your sides.

Making your own turkey stock is as easy as 1-2-3:

  1. Save your veggie scraps as you’re cooking dinner – carrot peels, onion skins, celery leaves, herb stems. If you’re cooking in advance, just toss everything in a freezer bag and freeze until it is stock-making time!
  2. After Thanksgiving dinner, remove all the turkey from the bones to refrigerate or freeze for leftovers, and set the bones aside. If you aren’t making your stock until the next day, refrigerate the carcass now too.
  3. Simmer your turkey bones with the veggie scraps and maybe a few spices. Strain and refrigerate or freeze.

Easy as that! You’ll need to set aside a few hours for the stock to simmer (the longer it cooks, the more flavorful it will end up being). BUT it is nearly all inactive time, so you can use those hours to digest your turkey dinner, relax after a long day of cooking, or decorate for the next holiday.

Turkey Stock

Cook Time: 3 hours

Turkey Stock

This turkey stock is super flexible, so feel free to alter the amounts of vegetables and herbs to your liking. If you have a bunch of onion skins, toss some of them in the pot. Same goes for the tough green parts of leeks, shallot skins, carrot leaves, rosemary stems or sage sprigs.


  • Bones from one turkey
  • 3 stalks celery OR the leaves from 6-9 stalks of celery
  • 2 carrots OR the peels from a bunch of carrots
  • 4 sprigs oregano OR the stems of 6-8 sprigs of oregano
  • 3 sprigs thyme OR the stems of 5-7 sprigs of oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • Water to cover the bones


  1. Put the turkey bones, celery, carrots, oregano, thyme, peppercorns and optional bay leaf in a large stockpot. Pour in water until the liquid sits around 1" above the top of the solid ingredients.
  2. Simmer over medium-low heat for at least 3 hours, up to 8 hours.
  3. Remove from the heat and skim any fat or foam off the top that you can.
  4. Strain the stock. You can either do this by pouring the stock through a fine-mesh sieve set over a large container, or by lining a colander with cheesecloth and pouring the stock through that. Discard the solids and refrigerate the stock.

Make Ahead and Storage

If you don’t plan to use the stock within 3 or 4 days, you'll need to freeze it. Pour it into freezer-safe containers (be sure to leave at least 1" of head space to allow for expansion!) or into ice cube trays to freeze. If you go the ice cube tray route, move the stock to freezer-safe plastic bags or containers once the stock is frozen through. Use within 6 months.


And before we go, one safety note for you: If you plan on using the turkey leftovers or making your own turkey stock, be sure to refrigerate your bird within two hours of it coming out of the oven. If it sits at room temperature for longer than that, dangerous bacteria can multiply, making your poultry unsafe for consumption. Nobody wants that!

PS: Still feeling overwhelmed by Thanksgiving planning? Use this flow chart and planning tips for a low-stress Thanksgiving menu!

PPS: This is the turkey recipe I’ve used for the last four years. It has never let me down!

Homemade Limoncello


I have apparently taken on the philosophy that I must “Infuse all the things!” In the past week, I’ve started big batches of both limoncello and a clementine spice liqueur. I’m already daydreaming about the next batches of strawberry vodka and new summer fruit infusions.

It is just so easy: Put fruit in jar. Cover with alcohol and shake once a day for a week or so.  Strain. Maybe add a simple syrup for a liqueur. Boom, done.

And it is just so satisfying, making even the cheapest (okay, close to the cheapest. I have this thing about not buying the absolutely cheapest alcohol) vodka or rum not only palatable, but a thing of beauty, in both color and taste.

Homemade Limoncello

Yield: About 4 cups

Homemade Limoncello

Making limoncello is a long, but easy, process. If I waited to share the recipe with you until it was done, Meyer lemons would be long out of season. So start it now, while Meyer lemons are still in the markets. I promise you won't regret it.


  • 1 pound Meyer lemons
  • 2 cups vodka or white rum
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water


  1. Zest all lemons, and reserve 2 teaspoons of zest for Meyer Lemon & Ginger Scones (you can also use all of the zest in the limoncello if you don't want the scones!).
  2. Put the rest of the zest in a quart-sized Mason jar. Pour the vodka or white rum over the zest and seal the jar. Shake well, then allow to infuse for 10-14 days, gently swirling the jar every day.
  3. Create the simple syrup: combine the sugar and water and heat over medium-low, stirring occasionally, until the sugar is completely dissolved. Allow to simmer for another minute or two to truly make sure everything is dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool completely before adding to the alcohol.
  4. In the meantime, line a colander with two or three layers of cheesecloth. Strain the alcohol through the cheesecloth, squeezing the zest to get all the alcohol out.
  5. Measure out 2 1/4 cups of the simple syrup and stir into the strained alcohol. You may choose to add a little more or less of syrup according to how sweet you want it.
  6. Cover and refrigerate for 45-60 days before serving. You can drink it earlier, but the time allows the alcohol to mellow out.