How to Make Homemade Chicken Broth

With the chilly months descending upon North America, all thoughts lead to soup.   And gravy.  And outrageously dry skin.

This next recipe can help with 2 of those things, and if you’re really careful, all three.

If you’ve always been confounded by the thought of making your own chicken broth or stock (a thicker, more reduced, jelly-like version of broth) get ready to be unconfounded.  Once you learn how easy it is to make you’ll have no more excuses.  You’ll have to make it.  Why would you make your own broth you ask?  Well ’cause it tastes better.  A lot better.  Loads better.  Better.

There’s nothing to making your own chicken broth.  And it’s really hard to screw it up.   You can basically make it with some chicken and whatever junk you have leftover in your crisper, but I know a lot of people prefer a proper recipe with measured ingredients as opposed to “throw whatever isn’t mouldy into the pot”.

I start my chicken broth months in advance of making it.  Every time I cook a chicken, turkey or debone chicken breasts I take all the leftover bits and bones and throw them in a plastic bag and chuck the whole lot in the freezer.  I just keep adding and adding to the plastic bag until I have what I think is enough to make chicken broth.  10 pounds or so.  You can also just go out and buy 2 stewing hens.

Then when the day comes to make the chicken broth, I give myself plenty of time to cook it.  It isn’t a lot of work, it just takes a while to reduce.  Like a hyperactive child that’s bouncing off the walls after a big day, you have to give it time to simmer down.  You want to make sure you aren’t starting it at 10 o’clock at night, because it takes a minimum of 3 hours to turn bones into broth.

To make chicken broth, gather your ingredients.  Some carrots, onions, celery, parsley stems, salt and pepper.

 

 

Broth-1-revised

You’ll also need that whack of chicken parts I was talking about.  All this came out of my freezer, including the carcass from Thanksgiving’s turkey from a few weeks ago.  I have been known to auction off the turkey carcass after Thanksgiving dinner to the highest bidder at our family dinner.

 

Broth-2-revised

 

 

Just throw everything into a large stock pot …

 

Broth-3-revised

 

 

And cover everything with cold water.  The water should cover everything by at least 2 inches.

 

Broth-4-revised

 

 

Bring the whole thing to a boil, and then simmer for a mimimum of 3 hours.  After 3 hours give it a taste.  If it tastes like chicken broth, you’re done.  If you simmer it for another 2 hours or so, you’ll end up with chicken stock.  A more reduced, stronger, thicker version of broth.  Also, the more bones in relation to meat you use, the more jelly-like your product will be.

 

After you’ve simmered the broth down, strain it through a collander into a bowl.  Into a few bowls actually.  You’ve just made a LOT of broth.  Show off.

Broth-5-revised

 

 

Then strain it again through cheesecloth to remove any little bits of stuff.

 

Broth-6-revised

 

 

Once you have the broth fully strained stick it in the fridge overnight to allow the fat to rise and solidify at the top.  Once it’s done that, you can take it out off the fridge and remove the hardened fat with a spoon.

 

Broth-7-revised

 

 

At this point I measure out 2 cup portions into baggies and lay them flat in my freezer so they’re easy to stack and grab when I need them.  They do NOT make excellent weapons.  Just so you know.  They harden up quite nice, but if you’re looking to bash someone on the head, go for the steak or pork tenderloin instead.

This recipe ended up making me 21 cups of broth.  I used it the next night to make a delicious stew.  I also use it for most soup bases and whenever I’m roasting something, I use it in the bottom of the pan as the base for gravy instead of using plain water or potato water.  If you can’t boil down chicken guts, making the gravy with homemade broth is your next best option.

 

So to recap …

 Ingredients

2 stewing hens about 5 lb. each (or random pieces of leftover chicken)
3 medium onions cut in half (I don’t even peel the onions. The skins give a nice colour)
4 large carrots trimmed and peeled
1 root end of a whole celery stalk, 4 inches long
1 cup parsley, stems only  (I tie them together, you don’t have to)
4 Tbsps. salt
cold water to cover ingredients by 2 inches

Method

1.  Put everything into a large stock pot.  Cover with water by 2 inches and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer uncovered for 3 hours.  Skim surface guck for the first 15 minutes if necessary.

2.  Your broth will have reduced by about 1/3rd by the end of 3 hours.  Strain everything through colander and then again through cheesecloth.  Add salt if necessary.

3.  Refrigerate broth overnight to solidify the fat.  After refrigeration, remove fat from top of broth with a spoon.  Measure into baggies and freeze.

 

Now get the hell off this website and go make some chicken broth.  Now that you know how to do it, there’s absolutely nothing stopping you. Unless you’re a vegetarian.  Or a vegan.  Or are currently being held hostage by a gigantic stuffed bunny rabbit with robot arms that shoot fireworks.  These people are excused.

Wanna can your extra broth?  Here’s how …

 

 

 


 

46 Comments

  1. Marti says:

    Great post!

    I toss leftover carcasses from the birds I buy fully-roasted at Costco in the freezer and do this with them. (Including the bits / juice at the bottom of the container) This is the ONLY way to get really great homemade chicken soup is by boiling the bits!

  2. Teela says:

    I have a chicken broth question and I’m commenting on your website for the first time to ask it. (Love your site!) We make a lot of ethnic cuisine around here so I’m as likely to be using my chicken broth in Thai soup as I am in something North American-style. That’s always made me wonder if I should just boil the bones on their own so that I can add cuisine-specific aromatics and ingredients later? Do you think by doing this I’m missing out on something in my broth?

    • Karen says:

      Teela – Welcome to your first comment! I would recommend you do add the vegetables. You don’t taste them in the broth, they just give it more depth. The vegetables actually bring out the chicken in the chicken flavour. Also, make sure you use meat along with bones. Just bones will give you a jelly. Once your broth is made you can add your ginger, lemongrass etc. 🙂 – Karen!

  3. Robyn says:

    So I don’t have any carcasses to broth up, but I did make your Cake In A Cup today! Abso-lip-smacking-lutely YUM! Been following for a while, but catching up on the oldies. Gonna blog about it too!

  4. Leena says:

    Happy world vegan day! 🙂
    It’s held on 1 st of 11.
    (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_Vegan_Day)

    I need to start collecting chicken scraps. Should I also start collecting cow and pig scraps. Any broth recipies on those?

  5. wouldn’t the “fat on the top” be the goodness loaded with gelatin? according to the book nourishing traditions, this is the whole point of making homemade broth…

    ?

    • Karen says:

      Nicolette – No it isn’t fat on the top when you’re making homemade broths or stocks. It’s “scum”. Basically broken bits of stuff that happens when you rapidly boil something. ~ karen

    • Locololo says:

      Dont get rid of the fat! That IS the good stuff. You got rid of the “scum” when you ran it through the cheesecloth. When the broth (or stock) cools, the fat globules rise to top and stick together.

      Also..best thing that ever happened to my broth was apple cider vinegar. Idk wtf it actually DOES. But I read somewhere to add just a smidge of it. (like a teaspoon or two) and you’ll get more flavor from the bones. Works like a charm. Rocked my brothy world.

  6. Jan says:

    So happy this morning to see this post! Some friends and I processed our own chickens and ducks for the first time on Sunday. I ended up with a good-looking stewing chicken and wanted to make stock today. I will “take stock” in your directions and, now, confidently proceed. Thanks so much. (Your site is sooo much fun!)

  7. Tracy says:

    How cool is your new advertiser Catttails Studio ?!?!?!?!?!?!?!? OMG, love, love, love the oyster board ! Might have to get one of those for our annual ” Wobblin’ & Gobblin’ Thanksgiving Party “…..oysters & Bloody Mary’s in the morning before everybody’s big turkey meal !

  8. Pati says:

    This is always how I make it. When me and Joe first married, I saved ALL the chicken/turkey carcasses (always have) & he’d never even HEARD of that before. He went in the freezer,one day,and said “Whatcha got all these BONES in here for ?!?!?!” He thought it was hilarious ! But “scoffing” became limited after I made some chicken & dumplings with it ! ;o)

  9. Langela says:

    This is similar to my method of making homemade chicken noodle soup. I use chicken quarters in the crockpot all day with a few boulion cubes, debone the chicken. Then I use the broth (fat and all. makes a tastier soup), the chicken, and homemade noodles. Yummy! In fact, it’s on my dinner list for Wednesday.

  10. Meg says:

    Can I just say that I’m loving that we not only get a recipe here, but also a top tip on how to defend yourself using things around your home? You can add self defense guru to your resume, Karen! Might I suggest frozen peas if you’re trying to do that “slip up the burglar with ball bearings” trick and you don’t have ball bearings?

  11. angela says:

    i also throw it all into a crockpot and let it go overnight and then in the morning turn it off and let it cool down during the day, works wonders and is MUCH yummier than anything store bought. Homemade also lets you control the salt!

  12. cred says:

    I love this- I, too, make my own stock by collecting tidbits in the freezer. I also save veggie trimmings, as well- butts of onions or celery & carrot peelings. Especially if you buy organic veggies- you want to use every last bit of the veggies that you’ve paid top buck for.
    I love that something economical yields a far superior product that what you buy from the store- it doesn’t always work like that-just ask my family. But they will tell you I make a mean chunky chicken soup.
    Mmmm… I’m making some soup today.

  13. Liz S. says:

    I don’t have a stock pot (on my Christmas list.. Come on Santa, I’ve been good!), but I do have a big pressure cooker that I adore. Basically same ingredients, but cut the cooking time in half?

  14. kate says:

    ah! chicken stock – a good recipe for good food! here is one hint for those who don’t have bones with meat bits to simmer for stock and don’t want to wait to “collect” them. Go to the Chinese/Vietnamese market and buy a bag of chicken bones with meat on them – they are always in the meat department and work quite well for stock.

  15. Deb J. says:

    We have been making stock this way for years and use any old chicken bones we have – KFC, wings, leftover turkey. Means each time we make it the stock is a little different. Rarely matters. We use the stock in rice, curries, stews, and yes, even soups. Lately my hub has been making Thai soups. And we had tortilla soup Sunday night (stock still waiting to be packaged and frozen). All yum. And here in Canada you don’t always have to give up fridge space for cooling your stock – the garage or screened porch will often do the job. Just be careful in the dead of winter- a whole stock pot frozen solid is a complication.

  16. Katharine says:

    I just made my own homemade stock last week. I think I didn’t add enough salt. Will totally be referencing this in the future!

  17. itchbay says:

    Ever since I’ve learned to make stock, my life has not been the same. It’s so simple and so much more delicious than anything you can buy at the store.

    Plus, I’ve learned to expand past chicken stock, to stock made with ham bones, beef stock, and even seafood stock. It’s so simple.

    Also, I’ve turned into one of those people who eye the chicken leg bone on a guest’s plate, and wonder how tacky it would be to snag it to put in the freezer bag. 🙂

  18. gloria says:

    Hi Karen,
    If you’re saying that the stuff that rises and hardens on the top is just the scum (love that word), then are you saying that the fat is still in the stock? I always thought the fat rises as well. I usually scoop the scummy stuff off as the pot simmers and always assumed what was left after cooling was fat. Which I DON’T scoop off because I’ve been told that’s where the medicinal part of chicken soup comes in.
    Great blog, glad I found it.
    ~gloria

  19. Carole McGinnis says:

    This is perfect timing – over the weekend I made your fire broth sausage soup. It was wonderful and the hubby loved it as well. As I was opening up cans of stock I was thinking to myself that I really need to learn how to make soup stock. Thank you for continuing to inspire me to cook, craft and create. I can’t tell you how much I look forward to your posts.

  20. Michelle says:

    Karen, I just tried your cake in a cup just now. Robyn’s post made me want to look it up and try it. Glorious! FYI-if you are in a pinch (like I was) and don’t have cocoa around you can substitute 3 tbsp of sugar and 3 tbsp of hot cocoa mix instead of the 4 tbsp of sugar and 3 of cocoa YUM I will be making this all the time now! I blame my soon to be added 5 pounds on you! 🙂

  21. lori says:

    Hey Karen you are the best!! you should consider writing a book. bet it would be a best seller!!
    love your blog!

  22. Kate S. says:

    I use a vinegar and water base for making stocks and broths; I’ve read that acidic wine or vinegar actually helps draw minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and potassium, out of the bones and into the broth. I use a tablespoon of vinegar for every two quarts of water and let the meat/bones soak in it for 30-minutes to an hour before heating.

    Also, somewhat interestingly, yours was the third blog I’ve read today to feature a stock recipe. I guess it’s that time of year!

  23. Nancy says:

    Only you would think of attacking people with frozen food Karen..I woke up this morning thinking “I am hungry for chicken corn soup”..I will take your post as a sign that I am indeed supposed to make the soup..I also make my own broth which is much yummier than anything in a can..Since this our month for Thanksgiving turkey I will have a bag in the freezer to save odds and ends of bread for stuffing also..

  24. Jamieson says:

    I’ve been soaking in this stock for hours now and still no dry skin relief. What am I doing wrong?

  25. Jessica says:

    I always add a splash of vinegar to the pot when I’m making stock. Supposedly the acid in the vinegar helps to pull more calcium and nutrients out of the bones.
    I don’t know if it actually works, but it doesn’t change the flavor, and I might as well try to make a healthier stock or broth!

  26. Susan says:

    Easy way to get the fat off the top:

    Put in fridge until fat hardens on the surface, then lay a paper towel on it carefully. Then lift it off and the fat sticks to it and comes off with it. xx

  27. Lindsay says:

    I just made my first homemade broth a few weeks ago. I bought “whole cut chicken” (total oxymoron) on sale – it was about 1/2 the price of boneless skinless breasts. I boiled the whole thing with my veggies and once cooled I pulled all of the meat off and used it for various meals that week, plus I have a bunch of broth in my freezer, I love it!!!!

    • Jen says:

      We do the exact same thing, and it is great. When we need a quick meal, we can pull out the meat we’ve divided into servings, thaw it (which is quick) and toss it into a stir-fry, rice dish, or anything else we happen to come up with. Two birds with one stone- homemade broth and cooked chicken ready to toss into a quick dinner.

  28. I make a small quantity of stock each week or so with the carcass of the Costco barbeque chicken – my freezer is way to small to stuff up with bones unfortunately. I’m going to try the vinegar trick though.

  29. Angela says:

    Great broth!! Thanks for the directions!!

  30. Mary Werner says:

    I keep frozen peas for nibbling – similar to having a snack of ice cream for me and I love the LONG time it takes to eat them. Usually only have 3 peas on the spoon at a time since I have cold sensitive teeth but they are good for diabetics – low on glycemic index. Kids seem to enjoy this strange tasty treat also BUT never if asked do you want ice cream or pea balls. Just ask if they want frozen pea balls. Their expression is so funny.

  31. mmarg says:

    Another way to add flavor to your chicken broth, is to brown the bonew and scraps in a hot (400) oven for 20 mins before you put them in the soup pot.
    Marg

    • Karen says:

      Marg – True. But since my soup bones are from already cooked roasted chickens there’s no need for me. ~ karen!

  32. sara says:

    I know somebody said this earlier, but I’m saying it again- now that you have your garden, you should consider saving the extra parts of your vegetables you don’t eat! Whenever I cook, I throw the ends and peels of carrots, ends and skin of onions, ends of zucchini, stems of peppers, celery scraps and leaves, even potato peels in a container in the freezer, and once it’s full, I make broth out of it. That way, it’s for free!

  33. Alisha says:

    Make it a little richer tasting and add saved rinds from parmesan cheese! It’s the best food hack ever.

    • Karen says:

      Hi Alisha! You’re right. Paremesan rinds in soup is delicious! I do it with Tortellini En Brodo all the time! I’d rather leave the parmesan until after you’ve made your basic broth though because not everything would benefit from the parmesan flavour in the broth. Now I want Tortellini En Brodo. ~ karen!

  34. Mary says:

    I make all my chicken stock in the pressure canner. It only takes about 30 minutes once the pressure comes up. I strain it, leave it in the fridge overnight for the fat to solidify & then the next day I skim off the fat & pressure can it like normal. WAY easier than simmering for hours. You should have a recipe in the Ball Blue Book & I know that there’s one in the instruction manual/recipe guide that came with my canner.

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