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Turn What’s Left Of Your Thanksgiving Bird Into Healing Bone Broth

Elizabeth Rider
Blogger & Recipe Writer By Elizabeth Rider

Both broth is all the rage these days in the health community for good reason. It's been used as a healing soup for thousands of years, and it's incredibly easy to make at home, especially when you have a carved turkey on your hands. You can easily turn what is usually considered waste (i.e. the turkey carcass) into a wonderfully delicious and healing broth.

Making bone broth works with most animal bones, including any time you roast a chicken or turkey. The more bones the better. Ask your butcher if they have any extras in the back on days that you might need more. On Thanksgiving, however, you'll usually have more than enough.

Why Turn Your Turkey Into Bone Broth?

  1. You've spent good money on a great-quality bird — use every last ounce of it create even more natural food. (In my opinion, this honors the turkey, too.)
  2. Bone broth is incredibly healing to your gut and your health.
  3. It's delicious! You can drink your bone broth plain or use it as the base to make just about any soup.
  4. You probably have all of the ingredients on hand from preparing Thanksgiving dinner.

The method for making bone broth is essentially the same for making stock with a few differences:

In the case of bone broth, add 1 tablespoon of vinegar for every 2 quarts (8 cups) of water. The vinegar helps leach the good stuff (e.g. college and minerals) out of the bones.

Broth/stock is typically simmered for about four to six hours, but to make bone broth you'll want to keep it at a simmer from 12 to 24 hours to get the maximum benefits — minerals, collagen and gelatin — into your broth. You can easily do this on your stovetop. If you're not comfortable leaving the stove on while you sleep or not at home, transfer the whole thing to a crock pot and turn it up to high.

All you need to make bone broth is water, bones and vinegar. However, I like to add traditional stock aromatics, too, for a delicious flavor. Your stock will be unsalted so you can control the level of salt in the dishes you use it in. If you drink it plain, you might want to add extra salt for flavor. A teaspoon in the pot helps pull the juices from everything that's in there.

Turkey Bone Broth


  • A large pot with a tight-fitting lid. Grab the biggest one you have.
  • What's left of the turkey after you've served dinner and stored your leftover meat. You can discard the skin — the bones are the most important thing here. Any leftover organs can also go in the pot for flavor.
  • 1 large white or yellow onion, quartered. You don't even need to peel it.
  • 2 large carrots, cleaned and cut in half to fit in the pot
  • 2 large ribs of celery with the leafy tops if possible, cut in half to fit in the pot
  • 5 large cloves of garlic, smashed open. You can leave the skins on
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar (distilled white vinegar works, too)
  • 5 sprigs of fresh thyme and a small handful of fresh Italian parsley (if you have them on hand)

Note: If your pot is larger than 12 quarts (most aren't) double all of the add-ins above.


  1. Put everything listed above in your large pot, then cover with purified water leaving about a two inch margin at the top of the pan. How much water you add will depend on the size of your pot and the size of your ingredients. Again, use about one tablespoon of vinegar for every 2 quarts of water.
  2. Cover and bring to a boil. This takes about 30 minutes if you have an extra large pot.
  3. Turn down to a simmer and simmer for 12 - 24 hours, checking about every four to six hours and skimming the foam off the top if needed (not everyone will need to do this, it depends on your bones.) If you notice the water level decreasing, it's ok to add a few cups of water a few times to bring it back up. Just be sure to keep it covered to prevent the liquid from evaporating.
  4. When time is up, strain into a large bowl through a fine mesh colander or cheese cloth and discard everything that was in the pot. Your bone broth is ready!

Tip: Once cooled, you may notice some fat settling to the top of your bone broth, you an skim it off or stir it back in. If it's a small amount I usually stir, if it's a lot I skim it off.

Drink it plain, use it in a soup, or freeze it for later in airtight glass freezer-safe containers up to 3 months.

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