Best Chicken or Turkey Broth

The Best Chicken or Turkey Stock - truly IS the best!!

I’m pretty sure I “stole” this recipe from Cook’s Illustrated. Although the wine is part of what makes this broth amazing, I often leave it out – I think it pairs better with many dishes without it. I usually save my vegetable peelings and scraps and use them in the instead of the carrot, onion and celery.

Best chicken or turkey stock/broth

Best chicken or turkey stock/broth

For awhile, so busy with the kids, I had stopped making my own stock, then my daughter talked me back into it – and what a difference it made in the taste of my recipes. Plus, I knew I wasn’t adding a lot of additives into my foods, and I make so many recipes that call for stock, going home-made saves me a ton of money. It also helps to eliminate waste from my kitchen.

For smaller amounts I use my Pressure Cooker, but I don’t have a large one – but Pressure Cookers do make short work of stock and seem to extract every ounce of flavor from the bones. It’s easy work, making stock, even if done on the stove-top, and with vegetable parings saved up in a bag, its super simple to do. If it can’t be done all at once, the whole pan can be refrigerated and then brought back up to a warm state to strain and divide.

Best Turkey (or Chicken) Broth

  • Servings: 2 - 3 quarts
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Print

  • 1 turkey carcass, break into pieces to fit pot or chicken bones
  • 1 large onion, halved
  • 1 large carrot, broken
  • 1 stalk celery, in pieces
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed
  • 2 cups dry white wine (optional, see below)
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 5 sprigs parsley
  • 5 sprigs fresh thyme (or I use about 3/4 teaspoon dried) or sometimes I use Marjoram – there is something about marjoram and poultry that is just magic – it can be a little strong, so go with a little less than the amount for thyme.)
  • 8 peppercorns

Bring all ingredients except parsley & thyme (or marjoram) to a boil in a 12 quart stockpot over medium high heat, skimming foam that rises to the surface.  Reduce heat to low and simmer, uncovered, two hours or more.

One of the keys to making good stock is to reduce the heat just after it comes to a boil. You want to slowly leach all the goodness from the marrow inside the bones in a very gentle simmer – a few bubbles coming to the surface now and then. A hard boil solidifies and cooks this marrow, making it harder to extract. If your soup doesn’t gel, or isn’t rich with some body, you’ve either boiled it too hard or not simmered long enough.

If there is a lot of meat left on the carcass you’d like to use, pull it out as soon as it has softened enough to easily remove, usually about 45 minutes to an hour, and then replace the carcass and continue to simmer. You can then use the chicken or turkey in the soup or a casserole.

Add parsley and thyme (or marjoram) and continue to simmer till stock is rich and flavorful, about 2 hours longer. I often let mine go much longer, the more time the better, although you may wish to watch the volume of the water for longer simmers.

When finished, strain stock. Cool stock about 20 minutes, skim fat from surface. Use as a base for soup or portion and freeze.

Safety note:  If you make large amounts of stock, cool it quickly by putting in smaller containers in the fridge, uncovered, until chilled. I like to use plastic or metal bowls because the heat dissipates faster.

From the kitchen of


This “raft” of vegetation will clarify the soup without skimming or fussing. I save carrot, onion and celery scraps just for stock!

Money and Time Saving Strategies:

  • I often save my vegetable scraps – the peelings of onion, carrot and the root end (or leaves) of celery and use them instead using “new” vegetables. The vegetable parings can be frozen until ready to use.
  • I also make this basic recipe when I make chicken and remove the breast from the bones, or have extra wings.
  • The wine is completely optional and I don’t use it for my every day stock. If you want to brighten the flavor a bit, try a squeeze of lemon or a dash of vinegar. The acidity of wine, vinegar or lemon helps dissolve the carcass into the stock.
  • Keep a Ziploc bag in your freezer labeled parsley stems – and add to it when you chop parsley.  Use just the stems for the soup.
  • Bag this broth and freeze if you’re not going to use it within three days or so. If, after three days, it’s still in your fridge, bring to a full, roiling boil for several minutes before using. You can replace any lost liquid with water.

Put Your Own Spin on It: 

There are several other additions and variations I like to put in my stock:

  • 7 or 8 whole peppercorns, and if I have it on hand a turnip. Yep – a turnip!  It helps lend a beautiful color and a bit of acidity – if you don’t have one, try a parsnip or part of a rutabaga.
  • You can never go wrong with a dash of white wine, white wine vinegar or a squeeze of lemon to brighten your stock.
  • I have to say – this is an odd one, but if I happen to have a small piece of fried chicken, like a wing, languishing in the fridge, I’ll throw it in. I did this once just to use it up, and it flavored my stock wonderfully. Years later, I found that there is a French technique whereas the stock is make, then several pieces of chicken are sautéed to a deep brown and added, then the stock is simmered again.
  • Roasting bones:  When I want a really rich, dark stock, sometimes I’ll roast the chicken or bones and vegetables.

Helpful Links

If you came to this recipe looking for a way to use leftover turkey or chicken, be sure to check out the link below for 12 Days of Turkey. You might want to see the sister post for 12 Days of Ham, too.


6 thoughts on “Best Chicken or Turkey Broth

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