After carving your Thanksgiving turkey, SAVE THE BONES! The bones from the body of the turkey make an excellent base for Vietnamese Turkey Pho. I’ll show you my favorite shortcut, which produces a rich, savory turkey pho broth in a fraction of the time.
Tips for using Thanksgiving Turkey Bones to make Soup
- From the package, save the turkey neck and the giblet for the stock.
- Do not use the liver in the stock. Boiling the liver will make your entire stock gritty and bitter. Just discard the liver, or roast the liver with the turkey — and it becomes a treat for your favorite dog or cat!
- If you are making Asian-style broths, try not to include any turkey skin in the pot. Most people season their birds before roasting, and tastes like Thanksgiving. You want your new broth to taste like something different, whether it’s pho or ramen….and not like Thanksgiving. That’s why I only use the bones from the body, and not wing tips. You can even give the bones a quick rinse before using, just to make sure any herbs or seasonings are washed off.
- You can cook this stock on the stovetop, in a slow cooker, or an electric pressure cooker.
- Lastly, learn about our shortcut to supplementing flavor and cutting the simmering time in half in the next section.
The result? A delicious, mouthwatering broth that has all of the flavors you worked so hard to get in that roasted turkey. (Don’t have roasted turkey bones on hand? No worries — just use chicken stock instead!)
Our Turkey Pho Shortcut
Starting with leftover turkey bones will not give you as much flavor as starting with fresh, uncooked bones. While you still achieve amazing flavor, we add a little shortcut to get an even more rich, savory broth: a combination of beef and chicken base.
This base, which is a highly concentrated broth in paste form, provides a huge punch of flavor for the broth. It’s much more flavorful than bouillon cubes, and a container will last you far longer than quick-to-spoil boxed broth.
Win-win! For this pho recipe, I use a combination of roasted chicken and roasted beef base from Better Than Bouillon.
Spices and Herbs for Pho Broth
My guideline for spices and herbs is to use what you can find. I grew up in North Platte, Nebraska, and the nearest Asian market was a couple hours away. We made do with what we had!
A traditional Vietnamese Chicken Pho (pho ga) recipe uses whole coriander seeds and whole cloves. Vietnamese BEEF Pho uses additional spices like cinnamon stick, cardamom, star anise and fennel seeds.
For our Vietnamese Turkey Pho, you can use any combination of the above. In fact, if you’d like to use a packet of Pho Spices that’s traditionally meant for Beef Pho, that’s perfectly fine too.
These spice packets come with a little mesh bag that makes it convenient to remove the spices after cooking. Using the spice packet will make your Turkey Pho stock more intense, more flavorful (more like beef pho flavor).
For the Turkey Pho, we like the combination of the flavors between chicken and beef. So, our choice of spices reflected that.
Here’s what you need to make turkey pho stock:
- 1-2 pounds roasted turkey bones
- 2 tablespoons roasted chicken and/or beef base – I used one tablespoon of each
- ½ onion
- 3” knob of ginger, sliced
- 4 garlic cloves
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 3 star anise
- 2 tablespoons fish sauce
- 1 tablespoon sugar
To make the turkey pho stock, place the roasted turkey bones, broth base, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anise into a large stockpot and fill with 2 ½ quarts of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 30 minutes. Using a strainer, remove all the solids and discard. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar. Taste the broth. If it tastes bland, add a little more fish sauce.
Flexible Cooking Method
This recipe calls for cooking in a large stock pot, but if you’re one of the lucky ones who has an electric pressure cooker, this is your time to shine! Simply add all of the ingredients to the pressure cooker, add two quarts of water, and cook on high for ten minutes. Voila!
Other Ingredients for the Vietnamese Turkey Pho Recipe
First, grab all of the ingredients to assemble your pho bowls.
- 1 pound dried rice noodles
- sliced leftover turkey meat
- ¼ red onion, sliced
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro
- 1 cup bean sprouts
- Fresh Thai or regular basil
- 1 lime, cut into wedges
- 1 jalapeno, sliced
Cook the rice noodles correctly according to their packaging directions in their own pot, then toss with a tiny bit of cooking oil so they don’t clump up. Grab your finished broth, then let’s get eating!
To assemble your pho bowls, return the pho broth to a boil, then turn off the heat. Set out four large bowls, and add some noodles, and turkey slices to each one. Ladle broth over the bowls, then let everyone customize their own pho with the veggies and herbs at the table.
Main Course, Soup
leftovers, turkey, vietnamese pho
Calories: 240 kcal
For the Shortcut Pho Broth
roasted turkey bones
roasted chicken or beef base
like Better than Bouillon
knob of ginger
For the Pho
dried rice noodles
For the Table
- Fresh Thai or regular basil
cut into wedges
To make the pho broth, place the roasted turkey bones, broth base, ginger, garlic, cinnamon, star anise into a large stockpot and fill with 2 ½ quarts of water. Bring to a boil and reduce heat, simmer for 30 minutes. Using a strainer, remove all the solids and discard. Stir in the fish sauce and sugar. Taste the broth. If it tastes bland, add a little more fish sauce.
In a separate pot, cook the noodles according to the package instructions (this should be in a different pot, not the broth pot). Drain the noodles and toss with just a bit of cooking oil so that the noodles don’t clump.
To assemble the pho: Return the pho broth to a boil and turn off heat. Lay out 4 large bowls. To each bowl, add some noodles, turkey slices, and ladle in the broth. Let everyone customize their own Pho with the veggies and herbs at the table.
If you have an electric pressure cooker, this is the time to use it! Place all broth ingredients in the pressure cooker with 2 quarts of water. Pressure cook on high for 10 minutes.
Shortcut Pho Broth
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories from Fat 45
% Daily Value*
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Vitamin A 127IU3%
Vitamin C 15mg18%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.