How to Make Chicken Stock - Recipe

There is no substitution for real stock.  Luckily it is easy to make when you are eating mostly whole and fresh food and it's a great for the frugal chef.  The hardest thing about making stock is finding the time to let it simmer on the stove.  It takes about five hours start to finish.  It's definitely worth the time.  Stock will not only add incredible flavor to your food but it is very nourishing.  Diane over at Spain in Iowa did a very detailed report on the health benefits of homemade stock

If I ever get a deep freeze I would love to make a big old vat of stock and keep it frozen on hand.  I know it is also possible to can stock.  I may look into this more once we have our own place.  For right now I just make one big pot worth at a time. 

If you eat rotisserie chicken or anything that still has the bones save the bones and freeze them until you have enough to make stock. 

I haven't been buying meat - it's too expensive for our budget.  I insist we only buy local chicken, which is about twice as expensive as the Concentrated Animal Feeding Operations (CAFOs) chicken you will find sold in the average grocery. 

But I did find I can buy very inexpensive chicken carcass which is sold as Chicken Soup Bones.  For about $3 I get 2 pounds of bones (two chicken's worth of bones, necks included).  Here's the recipe I use to make stock:

Homemade Chicken Stock

 2 pounds chicken bones
1 yellow onion, quartered
2 carrots, chopped
5 cloves garlic
3 bay leaves
1 tablespoon dried thyme
1 tablespoon dried rosemary
1 tablespoon white or apple cidar vinegar

Step 1:  In a 5 quart pot add all the ingredients then fill the pot with water about an inch from the top. 

Step 2:  Bring the pot to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Allow the pot to simmer for 2-3 hours. 

Step 3: Strain out the bones and bits. I compost the vegetables and throw out the chicken bones.  I don't know of any good use for them.  Return the stock to the stove and continue simmering uncovered for an additional couple hours.  This reduces the stock to about half its volume, making it really potent.  I often dilute the stock when I use it - but it takes up much less room in the fridge or freezer this way.  I usually let the bones cool then pick the extra meat off the bone to use in future soup. 

Step 4: Take the pot off the heat and let it cool to room temperature before pouring it into a container and putting it in the fridge. 

Step 5: When the stock has chilled it will turn very gelatinous.  Like the picture below.  A skim of solid fat will form at the top.  Once the stock is chilled it is easy to scrape the fat off with a spoon.  I use the fat for baking breads and browning vegetables.  It adds some great flavor.  Don't throw it away it's good stuff!

Step 6:  The stock is ready to use.  It will keep in the refrigerator for up to three days or in the freezer for 4 months.  I use my stock to make polenta, soup, as the liquid in making the filling for enchiladas, and in almost every savory sauce I can recall. 

Below is a picture of the chilled finished stock.  Interesting, it almost looks like apple sauce. 


  1. I've never made chicken stock before. That's cool!

    Oh man... that did look like applesauce.

  2. It is so easy, i do it a little different though (i think i blogged it, but can't find it there). I simmer it aaaaall day then put it in the fridge to cool, with the bones. the next day i skim off the fat (feed to dog since i don't bake much) and fish out all the bones and fat into a colander. I pour super hot water over the bones in colander over a bowl - this gets the last of the good gelatin off - and pour into the stock pot. I don't use carrots in my stock. I have a bay tree - and let me tell you fresh bay leaves make the difference! by leaving the bones in and simmering longer, those chunks of cartilage actually melt into the stock for more nutrition. Sometimes i feed the bones to the chickens and they peck out the rest of the marrow.
    A. gelatinous soup fills me with energy and is super good for you
    B. fishing out the bones gets the gelatin and fat all over my hands which moisterizes them to no end.
    C. i usually freeze mine in tupperware or in ice cube sizes for ease of use in every dish.

  3. Anonymous1/26/2010

    It does look like applesauce! Now I'm hungry for applesauce. Everything you cook looks so good!

  4. Anonymous1/26/2010

    Two questions:

    1. Some recipes I've seen direct you to roast the bones first. Have you ever tried that, and if you have do you notice a difference?

    2. What is the difference between stock and broth?


  5. My recipe is similar to this one, but I throw mine in my 7 qt crock pot and just let it cook on low overnight, then strain it the next morning when I get up.

    @Clarissa: Roasting the bones makes for a darker stock with a deeper, sort of caramelized flavor. You can roast the vegetables with the bones when you do it that way, for even more flavor. It's very good, but not as "neutral" as light chicken stock, so it's not quite as versatile.

    Stock is made mostly from bones not meat, with more gelatin extracted from the bones in cooking, and stock shouldn't be seasoned with anything more than herbs (no salt), so it's more neutral for using in a variety of applications. Broth is similar, but made with meat as much as bones, seasoned so that it can stand on its own as a dish, and it's generally not cooked as long. Some stocks can cook for days.

    But, in most recipes, they're interchangeable as long as you take the salt content into account (or use low sodium broth).

  6. Foy, what beautiful gelatinous broth! Can I ask, where did you buy the chicken pieces for broth! That is an incredible deal!!

  7. That is beautiful, virtually how I make mine, the only difference is that I use celery too.
    Loved yours ...great

    Rico-Tried and Tested Recipes

  8. Anonymous10/06/2010

    I've never made my own stock before, but definitely want to try! Where did you buy the chicken pieces for the stock?

  9. Thanks for the post. That is very helpful.

  10. I found the chicken bones at a local co-op when I lived in Iowa. Now I get them from our local butcher.

  11. I haven't made a stock in a while and you inspiring me to do another one. Great for teh freezer! Yours look so flavorful!

  12. Thanks for the post. Your chicken stock must taste wonderful. I make mine , without adding the dried herbs. Just chicken bones , carrots, onions and celery. The next time I will add in the dried herbs...it must be tasty :)

  13. I usually simmer mine for a good 24 hrs. The bones (and veggies too for that matter) are good to feed to dogs and/or cats. After cooking this long there is no danger of them splintering and choking your pet; they are so soft you can mash them with a fork. I recently gave a batch to a friend with large dogs and he stirred them into their regular food. He was amazed at how they devoured it. For my cats I usually crush them into a paste then thin them out with a bit of warm water... but my guys are a bit elderly.

    I also use this method to make beef broth; using grass fed beef bones purchased from the butcher along with any bones I've collected from roast or steaks we've eaten (I keep them in the freezer until I have enough for a batch). I tend to roast the beef bones and veggies.
    It has never occurred to me to roast the chicken bones! duh. Next time!

  14. Wow, thanks for posting this. I am kinda new to the broth-making process and was worried when my chilled stock came out looking, well, just like applesauce! Your photo and these comments are reassuring. Love the link to Spain in Iowa, too. I can't wait to use the stock in some soups this fall.

  15. Anonymous2/04/2012

    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 www.chickenbrothrecipes.com.