Turkey Bones

The best part of Thanksgiving leftovers — the turkey bones.

Vince took all the meat off the bones and then we had three ziplock bags of bones.  No matter what I’m making, I simmer the bones with celery, onion, a bit of salt and pepper and whatever else might get tossed in.

For this batch, we made turkey noodle soup.

Once all the bones, celery and onion were strained out, I added chopped celery, carrots, and leftover turkey.  That simmered til the carrots and celery were tender.  Then I added noodles, spices and once the noodles were done, thickened it up with a bit of flour and it was good!

Considering how many meals we get out of a turkey, I think we should have turkey more often.


  1. 1


    I noticed about 3 seconds too late that my in-laws threw away the turkey carcass after we pulled off all the meat. I nearly had a heart attack right there. About a year ago, I got fed up with shelling out way too much money for “flavored water,” as you put it, so I started making all our stocks and broths in the crockpot. They just don’t get it.

    • 1.2


      Me too! I’ve been known to fish something out of the trash and save it . . so long as it hasn’t been in there but just a minute and I can wash it and make it look presentable! 🙂

  2. 2


    I just don’t have the patience to pick off all of the meat. My family won’t eat the dark meat so after we eat all of the white meat, my dog has a feast. I’m told not to give the carcass to my dog, but she is 11 and has eaten the turkey carcass every year she has been alive and hasn’t had a problem yet. She buries half of it to save for a couple days and digs it up when it is good and stinky! Love that dog 🙂

    • 2.1


      marilyn, my dog that passed away this april was 14 and she was the sneakiest pup around when it came to stealing the turkey carcass almost every time we had a turkey. in fact, the only time she ever growled at my husband was when she had that carcass and he would take it away!

    • 2.2


      Me either. I can’t stand to get meat under my nails but Vince doesn’t mind picking it off and he does a great job. I’m way too cheap to throw anything away that we could use in another meal.

      • says

        This time of the year, my dry hands are happy to pull the meat off the carcass! The fat from the turkey moisturizes my hands as I do it! (Of course, I wash my hands with soap and water before I leave the house afterwards so the neighborhood cats don’t all follow me and my turkey-smelling hands!! LOL!!)

  3. 3


    I cooked our turkey carcass too after DH and DIL picked off the bones(I really hate that part! I used to make a chicken on the days my grandma would come to visit just so she could pick it off, although she picked a little too much if you know what I mean!) I did not have any celery though. It always seems to go bad on me too fast.
    We now have a giant pot of turkey corn noodle soup.

    • 3.1


      @Tracy, buy celery and chop it up and freeze it in freezer bags. It’s not great just thawed, because it loses its crispness, but it’s still great in cooked things.

      • says

        Celery is really good for you and I love to munch on it so it rarely goes bad around here. Like Maria, if I have some that is starting to fade, I chop it and freeze it.

    • 3.2

      Darlene S says

      Another idea to make celery last longer — wrap it in aluminum foil, nothing showing – per Martha Stewart. It lasts for weeks. Dar

  4. 4

    Karen Petersen says

    The best thing about Thanksgiving is the turkey soup. I’m curious…what spices do you add to yours?

  5. 5


    I cooked a turkey last week for our homeschool group Thanksgiving dinner. It fed 40 people, PLUS our family for 2 meals, 3 quarts of stock and a pot of turkey veggie soup. It was a 15.5 pound bird. I definitely think I got my money’s worth out of it. Poor Mike, now we had our turkey for dinner Thursday….he can’t stand the thought of more turkey right now LOL. So tomorrow I’ll make more stock and freeze the extra turkey meat for meals later in the winter.

    Yes, turkey is really a great deal, especially if you buy a couple to keep in the freezer when they are on sale at this time of year.

  6. 6

    Peggy says

    I was the only one at our house who wanted Turkey this year. So I ate mine at a restaurant. It was good, but I like my stuffing/dressing better. The part I missed the most is the turkey soup. Even the day before Thanksgiving I looked at the Turkeys in the grocery store, contiplaiting having one cut in half.

    • 6.1


      Peggy, I so understand! We didn’t have Thanksgiving at our home for the first time in 15 years! I would really have missed the turkey soup, but my daughter didn’t want to fool with it, so I bagged up the carcass, brought it home, and we will be enjoying turkey soup for the next week! 🙂

  7. 7


    i boiled the carcass this afternoon and picked off the meat. since we are turkeyed out, i froze the meat and stock for another time. i don’t know if i’ll make soup out of it, or pot pies, or turkey and dumpling noodles. but that’s another day and we are done with the bird for now. the bad part is that i have to go to the grocery store tomorrow because we don’t have anything else in the house for the main dish!

  8. 8

    Evelyn says

    My nephew’s wife made 2 20lb turkeys (and we ate both!). She gave me 1 carcus – she laughed and said you knew you were family when you offered someone turkey bones for left-over and they were happy! So, I didn’t cook turkey, but made my broth today – turkey/barley soup tomorrow! Cheers! Evelyn

  9. 9


    Gumbo! I made two pots of gumbo today. I am having surgery on Thursday and I put up 4 meals of gumbo (all he has to do is cook rice and defrost the wheat buns) and tomorrow I will use the ham bone and make red beans and rice.

    And we have meat loaf dinners I froze last week and I made cookies and froze them in quart bags for munching. Then I made a huge pot of spaghetti gravy and meat balls and froze that!

    We will eat well while I recuperate!

    glen: we will just need dog food and yogurt!

  10. 10

    pdudgeon says

    yep, i made my turkey soup yesterday and had the first bowl last night for dinner. heavenly!

  11. 11

    trina says

    The turkey carcass I have in the freezer waiting for soup. We had the chicken tetrazzi but used turkey in place of the chicken for dinner yesterday. That was the best tetrazzi I have ever had. The other thing I like about the tetrazzi is that there was not so much of it. Thank you Judy for the recipe. Later this week my DD is going to use turkey leftovers for a recipe that she made up.


  12. 12

    Helen says

    We usually have turkey at Christmas, my favourite part is the turkey sandwiches and the soup I make. I don’t really have a recipe, but thyme and barley are the two things I put in which make it “turkey soup” for me.
    My mother said that they were visiting my aunt in Canada when my cousins husband insisted they throw away the bones that Uncle Bert had chewed on! It seems the bones were normally included in the soup pot. Lunch the day before had been chicken soup, my mother wonders to this day if the drumstick bones had been on Uncle Bert’s plate first!!!!

  13. 13


    So far, from our leftover turkey, I have made and frozen 6 quarts of turkey quesadilla mix and one large foil pan of turkey tetrazinni! Today, after church, I’ll start making and freezing more dinners with the turkey!

  14. 14


    We love a turkey deal $.39 cant be beat ! Anything made with chicken can be made w turkey ! I put the carcass in the crock pot with some meat still on plus the neck, we got couple cups of meat for soup just from that, mmm and the stock too !

  15. 15

    KarenInTucson says

    I do a very similar thing with my turkey bones. I also add potatoes and then either rice or noodles. Look forward to hearing you on the radio show with Pat Sloan. I missed it live on Monday but will listen on Tuesday.