HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Bitter stock

I started my turkey stock early this morning with a turkey neck, a couple of cloves of garlic, 2 sprigs of fresh thyme and a sprig of rosemary and salt. It tastes incredibly bitter...how do I fix it. It's beautifully clear and rich, just a bitter aftertaste.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am not sure how to fix it, but sometimes it occurs if you make teh stock with the liver and other innards that some separate with the bird. maybe add carrots, celerly water adn boil it down, maybe a pinch of sugar.

    1 Reply
    1. re: jundomania

      No innards, I'm doing a turkey breast and it came with just the neck attached. I might try adding a pinch of sugar and some carrots--thanks for the suggestion.

    2. You could take a small bit out, add a bit of rice wine, and see if it improves the taste.

      1. I wonder if it was the rosemary? It can be a little sappy. Not sure how to fix -- carrots sound like a possibility.

        1 Reply
        1. re: gridder

          That was my first thought as well. Rosemary can leave a bitter taste. But I also agree with sgwood415; you can't remove the bitterness. You can only try to balance it. I hope it works out!

        2. It's all about balance. You can't remove the bitter flavor. It came from one of your ingredients and is there now. But sweet will balance bitter. It's like a cup of coffee, you add sugar to cut the bitter coffee. The suggestion of carrot is good because they are loaded with sugar. You could whisk in some carrot juice or make a quick carrot puree. A simple syrup would work. I've rescued stocks with a squirt of corn syrup too (cheap trick, but it works in a pinch).

          1. Yeah, the rosemary--that's gotta be it. I left it off of my turkey breast just so I wouldn't ruin the flavor there. The carrots helped, but it's not salvageable. So, it looks like I'm gonna be using some good ole canned stock along with the pan drippings for my gravy. Lesson learned. Thanks for the input!

            Happy Thanksgiving!

            1. It could also be the garlic -- depending on how fresh or old it is, garlic can sometimes give a sour/bitter edge to a broth.

              Next time, I'd used only 1-2 cloves of garlic, no herbs except maybe parsley (you can always season the broth with herbs later if you want an herby flavor), and add carrots, celery and onion to the stock while cooking to round out the flavor.

              1. Too late I know but... if you slice and brown (but don't burn) some mushrooms (then add them to the stock) I find that often helps to counterract bitterness. It doesn't remove it but...
                I recently had this problem with some vension stock and that certainly didn't contain any offal! I also added a pinch of sugar, the end sauce was tangy rather than bitter. (I thought it odd by none of my guests complained and as they were family I'm sure they would have!)

                1. Yah, too late, but still a worthy discussion. I don't like garlic in my stock at all, so maybe that was it.
                  A few times, I've left the it going too long and it got bitter on me. I guess there's a point at which the stock just won't get any more flavor and will eventually get kinda nasty.

                  How long did you have it on the heat?