Roasted Turkey Stock

As everyone starts to get into holiday mode with Thanksgiving right around the corner, I thought now would be an appropriate time to do a post on an often overlooked and underutilized but so very important component of a successful Thanksgiving dinner: stock.

Stock is the very first recipe we made in culinary school.  Before you could move on to any other recipe,  you had to master chicken, beef and vegetable stocks.  I didn’t understand it at the time – in fact, it was quite infuriating.  I was in culinary school, gosh darnit – I wanted to cook something!  I was to be the next Emeril!  They never make stock on the Food Network!  Let me cook!  Why am I spending days on some silly liquid that I will never use!?!

Ahh, how foolish I was.  Clearly, I didn’t understand the importance of stock back then, despite my culinary instructors’ insistence on it.

Fortunately, I’ve gained some wisdom in the last 13 years since my first culinary school class.  I now understand that many, many recipes start with good stock.  And I’ll admit – working full time and parenting 3 young boys doesn’t leave much room for homemade stock in my life.  I often cheat and use store bought.  But, for special occasions such as Thanksgiving, I like to take the time to make homemade.  It will make a major flavor difference in whatever I put it in.

This year, I plan to use this turkey stock in my gravy, mashed potatoes, stuffing and for basting on my turkey.  Think about that – four major components of Thanksgiving dinner all needing stock!  So, learn from my mistakes and appreciate the importance of homemade stock and make a batch for Thanksgiving this year.  It really is quite easy and fairly low maintenance.  I made mine last week and froze it.  You can do the same!  It’s November 15 as I write this, which means you have 12 whole days before the big day is here!  Give it a shot – you won’t regret it!

Homemade Roast Turkey Stock

Roasting the vegetables for an hour really concentrates their flavor and gives the stock great flavor depth.

Roast Turkey Stock

After roasting, dump everything into a pot and let simmer for 90 minutes.

Turkey Stock

  • Prep time:
  • Cook time:
  • Total time:
  • Yield: 12 cups
  • Difficulty: easy
  • Recipe type: Stock, Soup


  • 4 – 5 pounds turkey drumsticks
  • 1 yellow onion, quartered
  • 1 red onion, quartered
  • 5 large carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch pieces
  • 4 celery stalks, cut into thirds
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half crosswise
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 tsp. Kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper
  • 5 – 6 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 1 tbsp. black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Pre-heat oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Spread turkey, carrots, onions, celery and garlic on a large sheet pan. Drizzle with oil and season with salt and pepper.
  3. Roast for one hour until vegetables are softened and skin on turkey is crispy.
  4. Place everything into a large pot, including any bits you scrape from the bottom of the sheet pan.
  5. Add thyme, peppercorns and bay l eaves to pot.
  6. Cover with water and simmer for 1 1/2 hours.
  7. Remove from heat and strain using a cheesecloth lined strainer.
  8. Let cool and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

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