Cheater’s Turkey Stock Recipe (2024)



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1. The "kidneys" are not the kidneys, they are the gizzard and they are great in stock.2. Liver makes a stock bitter and should never be used in a stock - it's fine broiled by itself as a little snack.


My mom always did this to make a quick 'stock' for the dressing that she baked outside the turkey. She also used finely minced turkey neck meat in the dressing. The neck bones are very small so if using, extract meat very carefully. If you simmer this a bit longer, say for an hour or so, I'd add a bay leaf or two. They add something a bit hard to describe but undeniably there. The flavor can be a bit pungent (eucalyptus-like) if left in for a short time but mellows if simmered for an hour or so.


If you have some brown skin on the onion, cook it with the other veggies in the stock, it will add some nice brown color to the gravy.

Diana Kane

I also like to add fresh or dried mushrooms to any stock. I have a jar of dried porcini that I ground into powder to use in stocks. It adds that special umami je n'ais ce quoi.


I've been doing something like this for years. Put on the stock before you put the turkey in the oven and it has plenty of time to simmer. I put about half a fennel bulb, diced, in with the other vegetables. If you like a brown stock, brown the vegetables before you add the liquids. Do NOT add the liver to the stock. Roast it in a foil packet with the turkey for a few minutes and either use it as a cook's treat or give it to the dog.


You absolutely have to watch Alison's YouTube video of real time Thanksgiving dinner prep! I LOVED it and wish she could join me for dinner at my house! What a fabulous cook she is! This ol' gal learned lots of new tricks, but most of all.... have more fun and don't take life too serious! Thanks Alison! You are one heck of an inspiration!

Suzy Thompson

“Kidneys” are actually the gizzard and it has a lot of flavor. Definitely include it either heart and neck and liver. As has been mentioned, wing tips too! And, FYI, gizzard of chicken is delicious when peeled ( cut away all the gristle) and sautéed in butter. Just don’t overlook it. Gizzard of turkey might be good too but I don’t really know because I always use it in my turkey stock.


The kidneys and the gizzard are separate organs. The gizzard is the organ in the digestive tract that helps the bird (and some other creatures that don't have teeth) break down food the kidneys filter blood. You can (and many people do) eat gizzards though they require much longer cooking than the kidneys. You can also eat the kidneys. Liver may or may not be bitter. Giblets bags usually contain the neck and heart and may also have the liver, kidneys and/or gizzard.


Give the kidney (chopped up raw) to your cat or the cat of a guest: that's what my grandmother would do.


For the past few years, I've made turkey stock with the bones and leftovers of my Thanksgiving turkey and frozen it. The following year, I use it when making my stuffing and basting the turkey. After 12 months in the freezer, it has lost a bit of flavor, so I have boiled it for a short time to concentrate the flavor. It didn't occur to me to "doctor" it the way you suggest. Great idea! That's what I'm going to do this year. Thanks!

Patricia Garcia

For Suzy Thompson: Gizzards are not the kidneys; the gizzard is basically a bird's stomach. I love it, and consider it the cook's treat for all her hard work! I do not consider the liver to be good for making stock though. I always throw in a carrot too.


Never, never liver. NAFS - not appropriate for stock. Results will be cloudy, bitter, and metallic. If you like liver, enjoy it separately.


To expand on a note previously posted, even the NTY cooking page for making gravy explicitly calls for leaving out the liver: "anything but the liver."


This is how my family made gravy with one or two tweaks. Heat oil in pan, add a little sugar and caramelize it to add a nice brown color. Season the turkey neck etc the way you would the whole turkey. Then brown the neck etc in the oil. Note: the sugar doesn't add any noticeable sweetness but adds nice color. Simmer broth as in recipe and enjoy.

Anne Bailey

I save up poultry parts and turkey legs ahead. Make broth & freeze. Thaw T Day minus 1, season, add dry sherry and minced giblets plus commercial poultry broth if needed. Day of, thicken with arrowroot. Done.


If you have some brown skin on the onion, cook it with the other veggies in the stock, it will add some nice brown color to the gravy.Put on the stock before you put the turkey in the oven and it has plenty of time to simmer. I put about half a fennel bulb, diced, in with the other vegetables. If you like a brown stock, brown the vegetables before you add the liquids.


This is the way my family has always made gravy. But my grandmother and mom never used the liver. But the heart, neck and gizzards yes.

High Desert Sharon

If you have a cat(s) and the kidneys do NOT smell bad, don't toss the kidneys! My cats loved kidneys!


I’d already made some chicken stock from scratch and used that to deepen the turkey stock — wow! Best turkey gravy ever came from this.


OMG - by far the best turkey stock I've ever made. So flavorful! (Did not use the liver - did use the gizzard.) Definitely a keeper.


I am glad I did this. It was part of an amazing gravy. I imagine you could enhance the stock any way you wanted. That's the point, isn't it?


I used the liver as suggested - stock was not bitter


Fantastic quick turkey broth. Used it to make my gravy for the turkey.

Lady Anabelle

OMGoodness this is a great recipe. Thank you for the idea. Happy Thanksgiving to all!


The organic chickens we get in North Carolina do have teeth and my grandma’s recipe always included instructions to be sure to strain them from the stock using cheesecloth. She also used a little chicken milk to thin the gravy to the right consistency a wonderful tip that works wonders!

Elle Kaye

Whole fresh turkeys in this region no longer include the giblets. I miss the little mini-paté I made from the liver! I do try to buy extra necks and backs (when I can find them) to make extra stock.

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Cheater’s Turkey Stock Recipe (2024)


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