How to Prepare Turkey Feet for Use in Stock

Give me just two minutes and I can explain.

You still here? Good. I was worried I’d scared you off with a few harmless little turkey feet.

Okay, big. Big turkey feet. Big turkey feet that somewhat resemble dinosaur feet. I get it. They’re not super pretty and yes, feet are gross. We can agree on that.

But you need them. We need them. I scream, you scream, we all scream for turkey feet.


Okay. Just bear with me. Why? Because adding feet to your homemade stock is just so darn good for you. It may be hard to swallow (ahem), but that is why I’m here. To show you why you need some big gross dinosaur feet in your life…or at least in your stock pot.


I’ve written about stock, bone broth, and their benefits before. Whether you’ve made your own or not, you’ve probably used at least chicken stock at some point in your life. It’s no secret that stock and broth are incredibly beneficial to our bone and joint health, gut health, liver function, immune system, even beauty health: hair, skin, and nails, among other things. It’s good practice to try and include bone broth in your daily life to reap these necessary benefits.

But what do turkey (or chicken) feet have to do with any of this?

Turkey and chicken feet are little more than skin, bones, tendons, and cartilage. But when they are added to your stock, they offer up glucosamine and chondroitin, calcium, and collagen. Collagen, when cooked, transforms into gelatin- giving you the highly desirable gel that you see in a quality batch of stock. Collagen also contains glycine, which assists the liver and keeps the detox system running well. Now, even though our liver can make its own glycine, it can only produce a limited amount to cover its basic needs. And because we are in need of pretty much constant detoxification due to the toxins we are unwittingly exposed to daily by way of the air we breathe, the water we drink, and the foods we may eat, we need a lot more glycine than what our bodies can produce on their own.

I don’t mean to get all technical, health-nut on you. But if you’re already making bone broth because of its health benefits, this is one super awesome way to take it to the next level.

And if you’ve made it this far in this post, you must be at least somewhat curious. Yes, you. Don’t turn away now. I see you looking out the window at your chicken coop wondering if there’s any good feet out there. Or your neighbor’s chicken coop. Or your butcher’s. Either way, read on for how you can easily prepare turkey or chicken feet for use in your stock. And do so in a way that is as clean and un-gross as possible. Yes, un-gross. {Forget you, spell check}.

how to prepare turkey feet for stock- yellow birch hobby farm

First, get yourself a bunch of feet. You can really use as many as you want in your stock; we recently butchered our turkeys and I plan for 2 feet per batch of stock, just to keep it easy and so that I don’t run out. Fresh feet are much easier to peel than frozen, so use fresh if at all possible.

Fill a stock pot with water and heat to a simmer (not a boil). At the same time, fill up a clean sink with cold water and add a handful of ice cubes.

Scrub the feet under running water (no soap necessary) and just clean them as good as you can. Don’t worry about being perfect or getting every last little bit off.

Take 2 feet at a time and drop them into your simmering water (don’t be tempted to work in larger batches; go Noahs’ ark style on this and stick to 2). Leave them for no longer than 30 seconds and remove with a tongs, placing them in your ice water. Swirl them around for about 5 seconds and then take them out. {You are essentially blanching the feet. You do not want boiling water and you do not want to leave them in too long as this will make it very difficult to peel. The ice water will stop the effects of the hot water}.

how to prepare turkey feet for stock- yellow birch hobby farm

Immediately begin peeling off the skin, starting at the top of the foot and working your way down.

how to prepare turkey feet for stock- yellow birch hobby farm

It should peel very easily. Pull the skin down over the toes.

how to prepare turkey feet for stock- yellow birch hobby farm

Much prettier, wouldn’t you agree?

how to prepare turkey feet for stock- yellow birch hobby farm

Most of the time, as you pull the skin over the toes, the nail will actually pop right off. It’s more like a nail cover- as there is a nail underneath it. You may find this freaky. I find it satisfying and fun. But let’s not allow our differences to divide us.

how to prepare turkey feet for stock- yellow birch hobby farm

The process for peeling one foot is pretty quick, taking only about 30 seconds to a minute to complete.

how to prepare turkey feet for stock- yellow birch hobby farm

If you prefer, you can cut the nails off. I only did the ones where the outer nail didn’t peel off. To do this, you can use a kitchen scissors or cut with a sharp knife. To remove with a knife, place the blade at the top of the nail where it meets the toe and chop downward. It should come off nicely.

how to prepare turkey feet for stock- yellow birch hobby farm

At this point, you can use your prepared turkey (or chicken) feet in a batch of stock, or freeze for future use.

And that, my friends, is it. Can you believe you’ve actually made it to the bottom of this post? It reminds me of that old Sesame Street book about the monster at the end of the book. The whole way through, Grover is insisting that there is a terrifying monster at the end of the book. But you just can’t help but continue to flip the pages because you kinda wanna know what is really on that last page. And in the end, it was just Grover and he wasn’t scary at all.

And neither are turkey feet.

Enjoy your power packed stock, you awesome readers you.


This post contains affiliate links. What this means is I link to a product on Amazon (that I love, use, and/or recommend), and if you decide it’s something you want, I will receive a small monetary compensation with no cost to you- just because you used my link! This helps support my blogging activities and I thank you. Homestead on, my friends.

About yellowbirchhobbyfarm

Hi! I'm Erin, a 19th-century homesteader at heart. Here at Yellow Birch Hobby Farm we practice self-sustainable living by way of organic gardening, canning & preserving, raising a variety of livestock, hunting, foraging, and cooking from scratch. And here at our blog, we share it all with you! So glad you've found us.

8 comments on “How to Prepare Turkey Feet for Use in Stock

  1. Hello Erin thank you for all the info you provide I love your blog! If they are washed cleaned is it necessary to remove the skin from the turkey feet to begin with? Thank you, Faith

    • Thank-you, Faith! I suppose it is a matter of choice. I choose to peel because I don’t feel you can really get them completely clean- there’s a lot of gross stuff those feet are exposed to in their life, and it all gets into the many cracks, crevices, and scales- so for my own peace of mind, peeling that layer away and leaving the untouched surface beneath is a necessary step before using them in my food. But- there are those who don’t peel, so it’s not unheard of. Totally your call. But if you choose to not peel, be sure you spend some good, quality time scrubbing.

      Thanks so much for reading πŸ™‚

  2. Mine are 4 to a pound, but these were pretty large turkeys, dressing out at 20-24 pounds for the hens, and 28-32 pounds for the toms. I’m about to use 4 right now, to make stock in an Instant Pot!

  3. Mine are 4 to a pound, but these were pretty large turkeys, dressing out at 20-24 pounds for the hens, and 28-32 pounds for the toms.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *