Easy 24-Hour Crockpot Turkey Broth


One of my favorite things about holiday meals are the leftovers. Even if you aren't hosting, you might be able to make off with some goodies, as I did this Easter. I got a big ol' turkey carcass as my party favor!

Perhaps the word "carcass" doesn't sound that appealing to you—but it is the foundation upon which you can build the most delectable, nutritious broth. And, from there, you can use that tasty broth to start soups or stews, to use as the liquid in cooking grains (like brown rice or quinoa), or just to sip as a warm drink throughout your day. It is rich in nutrients and so dang tasty!

Did I mention it's also ridiculously easy? Everything will be strained out after cooking so you hardly need any prep—heck, you don't even have to peel the onion because its skin will help give a rich, golden color to the broth. Just pack in the leftover pieces of the turkey, veggies, and water and you're good to go.

These ingredients and amounts are suggestions; you can use whatever vegetables or herb cuttings you have on hand. Hey, I've been know to toss in an apple core! Experiment and discover combinations that you love.

  • 1 turkey carcass (or a couple of chicken carcasses)
  • 1 to 2 large onions, quartered with skin
  • 1 to 2 carrots, chopped into large chunks
  • 1 to 2 celery stalks and leafy tops, chopped into large chunks
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 3 Tablespoons apple cider vinegar 
  • salt and pepper
  • cold water 

Pick off most of the meat from the carcass and reserve for other uses, like sandwiches or soup. Depending on the size and shape of your slow cooker, you may have to break up the bones so that the whole turkey fits in your Crockpot. 

Put in all of the turkey (including skin, wings, neck, any pan drippings—everything you've got!) as well as the rest of the ingredients. Cover everything with cold water, filling almost to the top of your slow cooker. Set on low and cook for at least 24 hours.

Here it was at about 14 hours, already rich and brown and smelling terrific:

Check the pot every once in a while and add more water, if you have room.

When your broth is done, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into a pot. Save any bits of meat to use later in soup, but discard the bones and veggies. If you want to remove the fat, just refrigerate the pot of broth—or, in cold weather, cover it and put it on your porch. The fat will harden on the top; you can lift it off and save it for another use (like sautéing vegetables!) or toss it.

Store the broth in a glass containers in the fridge or in plastic containers in the freezer. It's very rich and delicious, with loads of flavor. You can use it immediately or freeze it in portions to use in various dishes. Because the flavor is quite condensed, you can use it as a soup or gravy or stew starter, adding additional liquid as necessary. When you have this amazing broth handy, I bet you'll find you that use it all the time!

I use this same technique for making chicken broth; I save the bones from when I roast a chicken—like for my Roasted Butterflied Chicken—and stick them in a freezer bag. Once I have a couple of chickens' worth of bones, I make up a Crockpot full of this 24-hour broth.


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