What to Do with Turkey Giblets

Learn, Primers, Thanksgiving

Giblets are those extra parts of the turkey you don’t roast on Thanksgiving: the heart, neck, gizzards and liver. Although most people don’t usually eat them on their own at the Thanksgiving table, there are a few great ways to use them to add maximum flavor to your holiday dishes.

Safety Tip

If you do forget to remove the giblets before roasting your turkey, all may not be lost. Giblets wrapped in paper can cook safely inside the cavity. If the giblets are wrapped in plastic, however, the plastic may melt inside the turkey and release harmful chemicals. In this case, discard the giblets and the turkey if the plastic has started to melt.


First, whether you’re using the giblets or not, remember to take them out of the turkey. They are usually packaged in a paper or plastic bag placed inside the cavity of the bird, so you definitely don’t want to cook your turkey with the bag still in there.


Turkey giblets are most commonly used to make a giblet gravy. The parts (besides the liver, which becomes bitter when boiled) are simmered with herbs and vegetables to make a flavorful giblet stock. Then, the turkey pan drippings, stock, flour and cream combine to form a thick gravy, and the chopped giblets are stirred back in at the end. The final step can be optional if you want the flavor of the giblets but don’t actually want to eat them.


Although the liver isn’t used in the turkey stock, it can still be incorporated into the gravy if you roast it instead of simmering. Alternatively, some people mix it into their stuffing for a deep, savory taste.


Tell us: How do you use your turkey giblets?


40 comments about “What to Do with Turkey Giblets

  1. Cyndy

    Boil them with some stock and make an extra special Thanksgiving for the dogs 😉

  2. Vickis

    I cook the giblets and use the cooking broth to make dressing, then I cut up everything except the liver and put in the dressing.

  3. Julia

    I use them in the stuffing, except for the neck. If I make extra stuffing I put the neck whole in with the stuffing, where the juices can flavor the stuffing. I keep the neck for Turkey soup, a few days later.
    The dogs get a whole meal of thanksgiving each. the one time of year we allow them people food. They eat as well as the family. White meat and gravy.

  4. Rosalyn Traylor

    I cook the giblets and the neck, using the broth for the dressing and for the gravy. I add all to the dressing. Delicious.

    1. Kim

      So you use the giblets to make the stock used for stuffing? Can you send me the recipe> My mom passed away and this will be my 1st Thanksgiving to cook without her.

    2. Sharon

      Glad to see someone else does too…couldn’t imagine stuffing without them!

  5. Jean Taua

    My brother and I use to sneak the liver out of the giblet stock just when it finished cooking. We both love liver and it was always a fun race. I usually put the giblets on to simmer, with a small amount of celery, onion, sage, black pepper corns, and chicken stock. I keep water in the pan so it won’t boil dry. When the turkey comes out, I strip the neck meat, and dice the giblets. When I make my turkey gravy from the pan drippings using the chicken stock I cooked the giblets in, I add the diced meat, making a hearty and delicious giblet gravy.

    1. Angie

      Thank you for the play by play! This is my first time using the giblets so I appreciate it very much!

  6. Gregory von Hausch

    Ok cool, so I’m just going to trash them…this is the first site that actually told me the options…thanks!

  7. Linda

    I’m going to give the to Hope, Faith, and Blackie~~~ my cats. I wonder if they will eat them.

  8. Paul Zent

    My father loves the gizzard, neck and heart. At Thanksgiving, as a special treat for him, I wash them and place in aluminum foil, lightly coat with butter or oil, salt and pepper. I wrap them up and place in the roaster and cook with the rest of the bird. He looks forward to this treat every year. It makes me feel good that he enjoys the gizzard so much.

    1. Karyn

      Wow i thought my father and i are the only ones who liked them lol How long do you cook them for?

        1. carrena

          wow… im amazed my mother makes the thanksgiving meal and i just found out what giblets are i dont know why but now im kinda craving some giblets is that weird?
          well my mom refused to tell me what she used the giblets for so i used the internet
          i guess she was afraid that i wouldn’t try it… i dont blame her considering im only 14 thank you guys for some answers

        2. carrena

          wow… im amazed my mother makes the thanksgiving meal and i just found out what giblets are i dont know why but now im kinda craving some giblets is that weird?
          well my mom refused to tell me what she used the giblets for so i used the internet
          i guess she was afraid that i wouldn’t try it… i dont blame her considering im only 14 thank you guys for some answers!

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  10. Cyn

    I’ve always boiled the neck and giblets in a pot for stock. Afterwards, I toss the neck and finely chop up the rest of the giblets. I used to eat the heart when I was a kid. It was a treat for me. After they’re chopped, I use them for my stuffing. I honestly never knew what else to do with them.

  11. The Piranha

    Turkey Giblet Pot Pie, made with gravy from Turkey drippings. Use the stuffing as a filler for pie and add potatoes.

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  13. carnivore

    I just throw them in with the turkey in a bit of foil seasoned with a bit of butter and pepper and eat them. I’m not a huge fan of liver or gizzard, but you won’t find a better bite than a nicely seasoned turkey heart. Plus, as an added bonus, you get to freak out all of the little kids at Thanksgiving dinner. 🙂

  14. Jeff Linkous

    My mother calls liver, gizzard, neck and heart the hard bargains of the bird. These are my favorite parts. I guess I like the parts most people throw out. I jump at the chance to do the carving. Get all the parts everyone wants and I turn the thing over and the best or at least my favorite meat is in the back.
    A friend and I raised our turkeys this year. We butchered one for each Of our families. I have now 6 sets of these hard bargains. I’ve read all the comments and I’ve made a decision to take you folks spices and make a Pate. That is a funny word but MY mom says it’s what we call liver cheese. I have everything in my crock pot now. My intent is to grind this and make a spread to serve on crackers as an appetizer. I’m re tired now and enjoy meat dishes. Let you know

    1. Edward

      My Dad’s family always said the last of the turkey to cross the fence, referring to the tail. My Uncle and him would argue over who’s turn it was to receive the prize. Thanx for sparking that memory, it is gold.

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  16. Linda Aikey

    I am going to sauté the heart, liver and neck and then put some celery, parsley, carrots and green beans and peas in to lightly cook. I will chop the meat up fine, cool it and add some dog kibble softened in water, a quarter cup of JIF peanut butter stirred into the mixture and then freeze it for dog treats in kong or into their meal as a mix-in topper. I also do up rabbit this way and liver. My Golden Retrievers had gained too much weight feeding them the recommended amount on Taste of the Wild so now they have to lose at least 10 to 15 pounds. They are down to two cups per day vs. the 4.25 cups on the packaging so I came up with the other ideas to keep them from starving!! My poor boys!!

    1. Linda Aikey

      Yesterday I made homemade dog treats with Quinoa flour, ground oatmeal, flaxseed, baked sweet potato, some honey, a bit of olive oil, some peanut butter and chopped apple and spread on a large cookie sheet and baked then cut with a pizza cutter and bagged and froze them. This morning the dogs gave up their bacon cheese filled chew bone for a piece of their baked dog treat. I guess they liked them alright. I tasted them and they were not the greatest but I guess I am not a connoisseur for dog treats…

  17. Ed Schrader

    In a stock pot, brown the neck pieces halved heart and gizzard in melted butter, then add minced; onion, parsnip, carrot and celery stalk, clove of garlic sweat the aromatics until soft. total time 10 min. Next add to taste; salt, black pepper, poultry seasoning and a bay leaf cover with 6 to 8 cups of water, bring to boil than reduce to a simmer and cover. Cook 4 hours at a simmer until the neck meat releases freely from the bones and the giblets are fork tender. I use the giblets chopped finely in the gravy. the neck meat is used in a turkey noodle soup made with some of the extra stock.

    The Liver is cleaned of all vessels and the gall bladder cut into thin strips and cooked “confit style” in a tablespoon of melted butter with a minced clove of garlic at a very low temp stirred until cooked through but still tender. about 10 min. it is then pureed with the melted butter and garlic in a food processor reserved and refrigerated until ready to incorporate into the turkey stuffing.

    From comments above if the liver not cleaned and is boiled or over cooked it will be bitter and only fit for dogs. If prepared as stated above it will add a savory depth of flavor to your stuffing that will rival any recipe out there.

  18. Bec

    This is really good info – but I still find the giblets kind of off-putting – wonder if I could delegate gravy to someone else – lol!

  19. Edward

    The offal is either boiled or loaders with veggies and herbs, except the liver. I sauté in olive oil and butter with fresh herbs, I like Rosemary. Then diced up to add to the gravy. Had a guest express concern using liver, till I explained process and she sampled a bit.Changed her opinion. Now I’ve never used the neck and open for suggestion.

  20. Fitemi Forgwe

    Thank you Ed Schrader for your clearly explained and pertinent advice on how to best use the turkey giblets. I can tell that you know how to cook! This will be very useful today.


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