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How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock or Broth


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I know it’s getting into spring and who wants to think about hot soup or stock when the weather turns warm? But, making your own chicken stock is one of the best things you can do for yourself and your family. Broth is a  highly nourishing food and should be eaten all the time, not just when your sick. A good batch of broth is good enough to drink by the glass – you don’t even have to wait to make it into soup. It’s economical and full of nutrition. Also, making a rich, flavorful stock is somewhat of a lost art form in today’s modern world.

Stock is so nutritious because it contains minerals from cartilage, bone, marrow and vegetables in an electrolyte form, which makes them very easy to absorb and be used by your body. Throughout the centuries, stock has been a remedy for what ails you and modern studies have shown that stock does indeed help prevent and heal infection. Also, properly made stock with good ingredients should contain a high level of gelatin, which is an important digestion aid. Gelatin isn’t a complete protein, but it contain the amino acids arginine and glycine, which help the body metabolize the protein you eat.

If you want to learn more about gelatin and its benefits for our health, I highly recommend this book, The Gelatin Secret: The Surprising Supergood That Transforms Your Health and Beauty, from my affiliate partner, Sylvie McCracken. This book is packed with incredible information on how gelatin helps all aspects of our health and also features delicious recipes!

Gelatin-Secret

Stock Making Tips

When it comes to recipes, you really can just throw your ingredients in a pot and let it cook. However, there are a few tips that make it easier.

1. Keep a ziploc bag or a container in your freezer and add all of your celery, onion, and carrot scraps in there. I keep one container for the veggie scraps and one container for chicken bones and scraps. Then, when I’ve collected enough for a batch of stock, I typically don’t have to buy anything, except maybe some fresh parsley.

2. Always remember to let the bones soak in filtered water and some apple cider vinegar for at least one hour before starting your broth. The vinegar helps leach minerals from the bones and make them more accessible in the broth.

3. When you bring your stock to a boil, always skim off any foam that rises to the top. These are impurities that you need to get rid of.

4. Once it has boiled out the impurities, reduce the heat and simmer for as long as possible. I like to do a minimum of 8 hours, but if you can get up to 24 hours, that’s even better. Note: You can also use your crockpot, which I seem to prefer. I find the flavor is better than on the stove top, plus, you don’t have to worry about keeping the stove on all day and night! I just keep my crockpot on low and it comes to a very gentle simmer, but not a hard boil.

5. After the stock has cooled, a layer of fat will rise to the top. DON’T throw this away! It’s good for you. Skim it off and store in an airtight container in the fridge or freezer. You can use it in all sorts of things from frying food to mashed potatoes and more. Some people say that the fat goes bad if heated too high, but I personally have not experienced that. If you don’t want to save it, you could certainly just skim it off and throw it out.

As many of you know, I rarely follow recipes when I’m in the kitchen. That is one thing that has been hard for me to change when I’m cooking – I am constantly reminding myself that I have to slow down and measure. I can’t tell you how many recipes I’ve created in excitement to post on the blog, only to realize I never wrote down the recipe. I am getting much better at that!

Here is the basic recipe from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions (affiliate link). Pretty much all chicken stock recipes are going to be the same. This is the one I recommend.

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About Jessica Espinoza

Jessica is a real food nut, coconut everything enthusiast, avid reader and researcher, blossoming yogi, and animal lover. She has had a life-long passion for food and being in the kitchen is where she is the happiest. Jessica started Delicious Obsessions in 2010 as a way to help share her love for food and cooking. Since then, it has grown into a trusted online resource with a vibrant community of people learning to live healthy, happy lives through real food and natural living.

Discussion

32 comments

  1. Nice post. I hadn’t heard about using vinegar to soak the bones beforehand, so I will have to try that. I did learn from Mark Bittman that you can squish your cooked veggies through a strainer at the end to give more flavour to the broth. It’s “dirty broth”, but it works well. I always get frustrated with skimming off the foam and not taking out the veggies at the same time, but find that easier when I bring it to a boil slower. –Renee

    reply 

    Renee @ Loca-Faces
    Posted 04/04/11

    • Thanks Renee! I’m glad you liked it. I had never heard of the vinegar step either until I read Nourishing Traditions. Makes sense though! Thanks for the tip about smushing the veggies. I like that idea. I don’t care of the broth is “dirty”. The more nutrition in there, the better! Skimming is also a little hard, but I try to keep the veggie pieces big enough that they don’t float too much. Thanks for stopping by and commenting! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 04/05/11

      • In the NT recipe you put the vinegar in when making the broth, not soaking the bones beforehand. Do you know what the difference in end result would be?

        reply 

        Jennifer
        Posted 09/28/13

        • You can do it either way. I have always been told to let the bones soak in the vinegar before hand because it supposedly pulls out more minerals. That said, I seem to always forget that step, so I often just add a splash as it is cooking!

          reply 

          Jessica
          Posted 09/29/13

    • I used to get frustrated with skimming foam too, because the veggies would get in the way. Now I wait until after I skim to add the veggies. It’s so much easier!

      reply 

      Jen
      Posted 04/11/11

      • Jen – BRILLIANT!!!! Seriously. A major “duh” on my part! I love that idea. Thanks for stopping by and sharing! :)

        reply 

        Jessica
        Posted 04/11/11

        • Jessica,

          LOL! I know… I felt pretty “duh” myself, when this idea finally occurred to me. :) I usually simmer my stock for 24 hours, so there is plenty of time for the veggies to do their thing and flavor the stock, even when I add them a bit later.

          reply 

          Jen
          Posted 04/12/11

    • Your articles are for when it absoteluly, positively, needs to be understood overnight.

      reply 

      Jasemin
      Posted 01/22/12

  2. I am very bad at making chicken stock. The twice I tried it was disgusting. Don’t think I remember any foam though so maybe I need to pay more attention & skim the impurities off.

    reply 

    Nicola
    Posted 04/04/11

    • Really? I can’t imagine what went wrong. Stock is usually so forgiving. Just throw all the stuff in a pot and cook. Don’t give up! Use my tips to save your scraps in a bag in the freezer, or try making it using NT’s recipe. Stock is so good for you and it’s so affordable. It’s pretty much made with all the stuff you’d throw away anyways! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 04/05/11

  3. Thanks for linking your
    great post to FAT TUESDAY. This was very interesting! Hope to see you next
    week!

     

    Be sure to visit RealFoodForager.com
    on Sunday for Sunday Snippets – your post from Fat Tuesday may be featured
    there!

    http://realfoodforager.com/2011/12/fat-tuesday-december-6-2011/

    reply 

    Jill
    Posted 12/06/11

  4. This is an easy and tasty recipe to use for stew, pasta, and more! You might also like to check other chicken broth recipes at http://www.chickenbrothrecipes.com.

    reply 

    Nica
    Posted 01/13/12

  5. Another idea… if you get a roasted chicken from the grocery store or a BBQ place, save your bones and bits, and toss those in the crockpot with your veggies. I did that yesterday from a Costco chicken and I now have a quart and a half of stock in the fridge ready to go!

    reply 

    Jackie
    Posted 02/03/12

    • Yep! I do that quite often. I know that Costco chickens aren’t the best quality chickens, but we have to make do with what we have! I usually get 3-4 batches of broth from one set of bones. I guess I should go update that post!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 02/04/12

  6. Totally newbie in the kitchen here…i have been experimenting with doing a whole chicken in crock pot (so far they both came out really bland). So, here is my newbie question…how can i use the jelly like stuff I get left with after cooking the bird? Thanks! Love your posts!

    reply 

    Jennifer
    Posted 03/09/12

    • Hi Jennifer – Thanks for stopping by! Congrats on experimenting! That’s the best way to learn things — I do A LOT of experimenting in my kitchen, that’s for sure!

      Regarding the jelly like stuff, most likely, that’s broth and once it cools, it sets up like Jello. That’s because broth contains high amounts of gelatin which is good for all sorts of things in the body. I usually use that for gravy. If you pour off the liquid before it cools, then you can bottle it and freeze it too. Hope that helps! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 03/11/12

  7. This looks yummy and easy! I’ve never made stock before but I plan to try making some this weekend ( hence the trolling for recipes that led me here :) )
    One question though, most real food stock recipes stress filtered water? Does refrigerator filter water count? Mine has a pur filter. I know it’s about the fluoride and have been wanting to get a reverse osmosis filter forever but they are soo dang expensive!!!

    reply 

    Shravya Maranganti
    Posted 06/21/13

    • Hi Shravya – Thanks for stopping by. Filtered water is recommended, just due to the fact that not only is there fluoride in much of the water today, but there is also chlorine and other chemicals. A lot of water is even being found to contain residue from prescription drugs, because so many people flush their drugs or wash them down the drain. All in all, city water is just not that safe. I am not familiar with how well the Pur filters work, but I have heard good things. I say just do the best you can with the resources you have! Getting that broth is is going to be highly beneficial, even if the water is not “perfect”. Hope that helps! :)

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 06/21/13

  8. I’ve heard that if you cook the chicken over, say, 2-3 hrs it causes the chicken fat to turn into the ‘bad fat’ and it won’t be good for you. They said its because the fat is cooked too long. Now, reading from your instructions, you want to save the fat that comes to the top after it cools. I’m confused! What do I believe is best to do?

    reply 

    Karon
    Posted 09/28/13

    • I have heard that too, but I’m not sure if I believe it. I have been making my stock in my crockpot on low/warm, so it doesn’t get to a boiling state. I typically let a batch go for a full 24 hours because I find that yields the best flavor. I personally am not too worried about the fat “going bad”.

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 09/29/13

  9. ..the 24 hour part…if on the stovetop do people leave their stove on 24 hrs/day and never leave the house.

    reply 

    jayne
    Posted 09/28/13

    • It would depend I suppose. I am finding that I much prefer to make my stock in a crock pot. I find the flavor is better and I can leave the house if I need. I thought I had updated the post with that tip, but maybe it didn’t save!

      reply 

      Jessica
      Posted 09/29/13

      • NO, you did say that….sorry. :-)

        reply 

        jayne
        Posted 09/30/13

        • :)No problem at all!!!

          reply 

          Jessica
          Posted 09/30/13

  10. Thanks for the info. If i’m making the stock in the crock pot it’s not gonna come to a boil, do i still need to skim foam off the top? i made some turkey stock with the left over bones after christmas dinner, it turned out great but i didn’t skim foam.

    reply 

    Grace
    Posted 01/22/14

    • Hi Grace – Honestly, I never do. The whole point of me using the crock pot is to be able to set it and forget it. :) I really don’t think it’s a huge deal if the foam is not skimmed off, so I wouldn’t worry about it! :)

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 01/26/14

  11. Hi Jessica, do you happen to know why my broth doesn’t congeal or solidify? I cook it on low in a crockpot for 24-48 hours, the recipe I’ve followed before says to use 1/2 of apple cider vinegar. Do you think that’s too much? I typically use all the chicken bones from a whole chicken and a couple feet. Any thoughts?

    reply 

    Lauren S
    Posted 01/22/14

    • Hi Lauren – Broth’s gelling ability is from the amount of gelatin that cooks out of the bones. It could be that the bones you’re using don’t have a lot of natural gelatin. My broth varies from batch to batch. It’s odd that it’s not gelling even with the feed. When you say 1/2 apple cider vinegar, how much do you mean? I recommend a tablespoon or so, depending on how big your crock pot is. I make mine the same way as you too – 24 hours or so on low in my crock pot.

      reply 

      Jessica Espinoza
      Posted 01/26/14

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