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How to Make Chicken Stock – Three Ways

The flavor and health benefits of homemade chicken stock can’t be beat! Once you learn how to make Homemade Chicken Stock, you’ll be hooked for life. This easy to follow tutorial teaches you three different ways to make delicious, nourishing and affordable chicken stock at home.

homemade chicken stock in jars on a white tray with rosemary and lemon

Homemade stock is one of the healthiest, easiest, and most affordable ways to introduce delicious nourishing food into your diet.  When I say easy – I mean EASY! I don’t lie. Ever.

^Ok, I just lied about that, but I didn’t lie about the stock.

I once saw a famous TV chef making chicken stock from two whole uncooked chickens and beautiful fresh vegetables. The stock was gorgeous, but I could have cried when she just tossed all the components in the garbage after the stock was completed.

When I spend the money on an organic free-range whole chicken, I am investing in quality and our health. Right now when I make a delicious roasted chicken I can get a meal out of it, and extra meat for things like Chicken Salad With Greek Yogurt and Dill or the Ultimate Chicken Gnocchi Soup. As my two boys grow I know that will seem laughable.

So to me, tossing a perfectly good chicken once it has served its purpose for just stock is not something I can get behind. This recipe uses the leftovers from something we have already enjoyed. It stretches the usefulness of the chicken and helps it become a more sustainable meal.

If I am in the mood to make chicken stock after we finish our roasted chicken, I will use one of the three methods I’m about to talk about. And if the idea of chicken stock making doesn’t really tickle my fancy at that moment, I’ll toss the chicken into a freezer bag and deal with it later.

When you’re cutting up veggies throughout the week, save all the peels, tops, and parts you aren’t going to eat and keep them in a bag in your freezer.  This will be a major ingredient for a healthy stock, and it’s something you were literally going to throw away or compost (you were totally going to compost it, weren’t you?  Just say yes because it will make me happy).

Leftover chicken carcass and veggie scraps turn themselves into liquid chickeny gold. Since it is basically made of trash, my husband calls it “garbage water”. Well, friends, that garbage water is packed full of nutrients, collagen, and all the good stuff your body needs. It’s just a bonus that it tastes absolutely delicious.

Three different jars of chicken stock on a white board with rosemary and lemons

Stock it to me

Are Chicken Stock and Chicken Broth the Same Thing?

Well, they’re both made from chicken…but they aren’t exactly the same thing. Chicken broth is made from simmering chicken meat and veggie scraps. Chicken stock usually includes the bones during the process. Both are delicious, but chicken stock has a deeper flavor and is known to be more nutritious thanks to the gelatin from the bones.

Can I Make Chicken Stock in the Slow Cooker?

Yes! And it is such a hands-off way to make it. Put it in the pot, turn it on, and walk away. I like using the slow cooker because it means my stove isn’t on for hours and hours.

Pressed for time? I also have an Instant Pot method for you.

How to Make Chicken Stock – Step by Step:

(note: stovetop and slow cooker instructions are included below in the printable recipe card)

Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot. Add water until it reaches the max fill line inside your pot.a whole chicken in an Instant Pot filled with water and vegetables

Secure lid. Press manual>high pressure>120 minutes.

When it has finished cooking allow it to do a natural release. Given the volume of the liquid in the pot, it may take 30-60 minutes to fully depressurize.completed chicken stock in an instant pot

a ladle pouring a serving of homemade chicken stock into an instant pot

Place a strainer/colander in your largest mixing bowl. Carefully pour the stock into the strainer (you may need to do half at a time depending on the size of your bowl and strainer) and allow the stock to drain into the bowl.cooked chicken and vegetable scraps in a red strainer

Optional: Once the stock has finished draining, place a metal sieve (fine mesh strainer) over another bowl and pour the stock through the sieve. Refrigerate until completely cooled. Skim the fat off and discard or use for cooking.A metal strainer over a bowl of chicken stock

I have also been known to use a smaller strainer propped over my canning jar while I pour in the stock to catch additional bits and bobs.A small mesh strainer and funnel in a canning jar

Homemade Chicken stock should be stored in the fridge (unless you are pressure canning it). If you are not planning to use the stock within five days, it is best to store it in the freezer.

My favorite freezing method is to use wide-mouth canning jars. Fill jars leaving 1 inch of headspace (amount of space between the top of the food and the top of the jar) to allow for expansion during the freezing process.

Pro tip: use different sized canning jars for storage. Pint jars will give the equivalent of a can of stock from the grocery store. A quart will give you the equivalent of a box of stock from the store.

Pro Tips on How to Make Chicken Stock

  • Stock that is cooked at too high of a temperature may produce a foam on the top. You can skim that off and discard it as it will produce a deeper and cleaner stock.
  • The fat that you skim off the cooled stock can be used for cooking or roasting veggies. You can also discard it.

    fat skimmed from the top of homemade chicken stock

    I don’t think you’re ready for this jelly…

  • If you want an even deeper tasting stock you can use two chicken carcasses per batch. This is especially helpful if you’re using a chicken that has been well cleaned of meat.
  • Use your favorite veggies to flavor the stock. I tend to avoid most root vegetables (except onions and carrots) because they can often give off a “dirt” taste. Potato peels are not recommended, and beets while delicious would turn your stock a very shocking pink color.
  • The herbs that are listed in the recipe are merely recommendations. Feel free to add your favorites. However, if you plan to can your stock, I would avoid garlic as it is a trickier ingredient to safely can. All meat products must be pressure canned for safety reasons.
  • You can add chicken feet to the stock during the cooking process for an even richer and more nutrient-dense stock.

Delicious Ways to Use Chicken Stock

It’s no secret that I have a soup obsession, but there are also so many other delicious ways to use homemade chicken stock. Like:

And um, just because I love soup and all things chicken broth, check out the Soup category on my Recipes page.

homemade chicken stock being poured into a small glass jar

Making this recipe or others?

Post a photo on my Facebook page, share it on Instagram, or save it to Pinterest with the tag #sustainablecooks. I can't wait to see your take on it!

homemade chicken stock in jars on a white tray with rosemary and lemon
Print
5 from 2 votes
How to Make Chicken Stock - Three Ways
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
2 hrs
Total Time
2 hrs 5 mins
 

The flavor and health benefits of homemade chicken stock can't be beat! Once you learn how to make Homemade Chicken Stock, you'll be hooked for life. 

Course: Main Course, Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken stock in Instant Pot, chicken stock in slowcooker, chicken stock on stovetop
Servings: 4 quarts
Calories: 149 kcal
Author: Sarah Cook - Sustainable Cooks
Ingredients
Instructions
Instant Pot Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot. Add water until it reaches the max fill line inside your pot.

  2. Secure lid. Press manual>high pressure>120 minutes.

  3. When it has finished cooking allow it to do a natural release. Given the volume of the liquid in the pot, it may take 30-60 minutes to fully depressurize.

  4. Place a strainer/colander in your largest mixing bowl. Carefully pour the stock into the strainer (you may need to do half at a time depending on the size of your bowl and strainer) and allow the stock to drain into the bowl.

  5. Optional: Once the stock has finished draining, place a metal sieve (fine mesh strainer) over another bowl and pour the stock through the sieve.

Slowcooker Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and fill with water up to the lid line.

  2. Cook on low for 8 hours.

  3. Place a strainer/colander in your largest mixing bowl. Carefully pour the stock into the strainer (you may need to do half at a time depending on the size of your bowl and strainer) and allow the stock to drain into the bowl.

  4. Optional: Once the stock has finished draining, place a metal sieve (fine mesh strainer) over another bowl and pour the stock through the sieve.

Stovetop Instructions
  1. Place all ingredients in a large pot and fill with water up to about 1/2 inch from the top.

  2. Place the lid on and cook on low for 12 hours. Stir occasionally. Pro tip: Either start this stock before you go to bed or first thing in the morning.

  3. Place a strainer/colander in your largest mixing bowl. Carefully pour the stock into the strainer (you may need to do half at a time depending on the size of your bowl and strainer) and allow the stock to drain into the bowl.

  4. Optional: Once the stock has finished draining, place a metal sieve (fine mesh strainer) over another bowl and pour the stock through the sieve.

Recipe Notes

Stock that is cooked at too high of a temperature may produce a foam on the top. You can skim that off and discard it as it will produce a deeper and cleaner stock.

 

The fat that you skim off the cooled stock can be used for cooking or roasting veggies. You can also discard it.

 

Store for up to five days in the fridge or six months in the freezer.

Nutrition Facts
How to Make Chicken Stock - Three Ways
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 149 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 1g 2%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 107mg 4%
Potassium 493mg 14%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 9g 36%
Sugars 0g
Protein 7g 14%
Vitamin A 231.1%
Vitamin C 29.1%
Calcium 6.1%
Iron 12.7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

This post contains affiliate links and we may earn a commission at no additional cost to you if you click through and make a purchase. This allows me to continue to provide free content, and I only share products that I use and love myself.

This post was originally published in October 2011. It has been retested and updated with reader feedback, new photos were added, Instant Pot directions were added, and the recipe was made printable.

The flavor and health benefits of homemade chicken stock can't be beat! Once you learn how to make Homemade Chicken Stock, you'll be hooked for life. This easy to follow tutorial teaches you three different ways to make delicious, nourishing and affordable chicken stock at home.#sustainablecooks #chickenstock #instantpot #slowcooker #soup

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29 comments on “How to Make Chicken Stock – Three Ways”

  1. I have managed to save a lot of chicken bones from some Nelson’s Port-a-pit (a smoked chicken people usually get for fundraisers) and wanna make stock with this. I hope it’s good cuz they smoke the shit outta that bird and it is melt in yo’ mouth good. Super excited to try your recipe!

    • Mmmmm smokey chicken broth? YUM!

    • Not to discourage your kick ass idea, but I did that once with a smoked Turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, and the stock was OVERWHELMINGLY Smoky. To the point of being useless. Let me know if yours turns out differently. 

  2. I don’t know this pressure canner, but in my country (sounds silly to say it this way but we are in the global community now)we do it the old fashioned way. My mother told me to wash the bottles and lids, but not to dry them as the dish towel has germies on them, then to heat them in the oven to sterilize them (think 100 degrees Centigrade – or the temp at which water boils will do)- the glass bottles that is, the lids was just doused with boiling water.

    This is a tricky method, because if your extremely hot bottle comes in to contact with say, a cold breeze, it will POP! I’ve had 3 bottles crack on me when trying to ladle in my still boiling jam (think it was tomato). I guess the sugar syrup was waaay hotter than the bottles or something like that. Mom had to come help me, and voila! 5 bottles of lovely red sweet gingery tomato jam! No cracking either and still stashed away in a cupboard somewhere to be enjoyed on toast some future date – when I’m not on a low carb diet!

    Canning stuff is a great way of not wasting the excess of your tomato or any other crop and can totally last for years if stored correctly. My Granny made a fig conserve that turned as black as sin and which my dad would’ve sold his first born for, as he likes figs. Anywho, he opened it up about 10 years after she had died and it was still great – according to him… The sugar didn’t go sandy, the figs did go black, but I don’t know how much of what he reportedly tasted was wishful thinking. I find jams and fruit taste best nearest to bottling. You can still taste the fruit and not the sugar.

    I find it interesting that we are returning back to the old way of doing for ourselves as life gets more and more expensive. Soon we will all have a little pen with chickens and goats and even dare I say it, pigs and a cow? And of course some vegetables and fruit trees too. There are worse skills to teach our children I guess.

    Good entertaining blog, and keep the ideas coming!

  3. Can you use potato peelings in the stock?

  4. I think it’s just the mirepoix “meer-pwah” (look at me all fancy!) french term for celery, onion, and carrots basically. Used in a lot in stocks, soups, sauces, etc. 🙂

  5. I make this almost but i add chicken feet.
    Kellie

  6. chicken feet are inexpensive and readily available at your local ethnic supermarket.. they add the nutrient filled jelly like consistency to the broth, also don’t add any salt until after the cooking process because it hinders the
    mineral leeching process. I am obsessed with making my own stock and work it into our meals as much as possible!

  7. Great idea to use the crockpot. The next chicken carcass will go straight into stock this time.

  8. Yummy! This turned out great for me. I ended up freezing it into ice cubes as I don’t have any canning supplies. Thanks you so much!

    • I never thought of that! How long will the cubes keep in the freezer with regular door opening? We have just the normal fridge/freezer combo.

      • Once frozen, pop them out and store them in a freezer zip lock bag and they’ll be good for a while!

  9. All year I save up the chicken carcasses and when I remember veggie bits, then when wood stove season returns I did out the BIG stock pot and make a huge pot of stock because it can simmer for a day or more on the wood stove with no effort on my part. Then I chill it and remove some of the fat, divide it into family size yogurt containers and into the freezer.

  10. I save the stems from my herbs in the freezer bag of veggie bits for stock too. Works great and less waste

  11. I use the carcasses from roasted chickens to make stock. After we eat the roasted chicken, I de-bone it, use the meat for something else and then that carcass turns into beautiful stock. If I don’t have time right then, I bag it and stick it in the freezer. My husband makes fun of me, saying the freezer looks like a scene from a horror film.

  12. Holy carbohydrates Batman! I’m assuming those just come from the veggies you use and are not in the final product because you’re not eating them.

    • Hmmm, I’m not sure. I use a third-party nutrition generator. I’ll need to look into it more.

      • You probably will never know the exact nutritional information because of using scraps, each stock is technically different. When I make my own, I assume there’s a few carbs due to the veggies putting their goodness into it as well. Just not 31 total, 22 net, carbs.

  13. Mmm, I love bone broth! I usually cook mine in the slow cooker for 24 hours. If I had lots of bones, I’ll even strain it, toss everything back into the slow cooker and make a second (weaker) batch.
    Also, roasting the whole chicken gives the bone broth a more delicious flavor than cooking the whole chicken in a slow cooker first.
    And bone broth made from Thanksgivings’s turkey is the best!

    • I have totally reused it too! The weaker broth is awesome for rice and veggies. I save the good stuff for soup.

      How do you cook your Thanksgiving turkey broth? I have to put mine in my giant pressure canner because it is the biggest pot I have. I then have to drain, clean, and decontaminate the canner to then can the stock. It’s an annoying process. But worth it.

      • I just cook the turkey bone broth in our slow cooker. I might mash the bones down a bit to make them fit…

  14. Call us old school, but we have a chicken roast in our slow cooker every Saturday. We throw in some chopped veggies, and there’s dinner for five minutes of work. We then throw the picked clean carcass (such a gross word) back in the slow cooker with a splash of apple cider vinegar and a top up of water. 12 hours later and we have chicken stock. We don’t even bother with veggies scraps (the chickens in our community garden need to be feed)!

    The chicken stretches to two more dinners (usually soup now that it’s winter here in Australia and rice paper rolls).

    And we cook rice in chicken stock. I promise you’ll never go back to cooking it in water.!

    • I love adding veg to a roasting chicken. what are your favorites?

      I’m surprised (given your profile name) that you didn’t call the “chooks in community garden”. I find it such a sweet name for chickens!

      Yes, stock in rice all the way. I’m always shocked at the taste difference when I have rice somewhere else.

      • Any and all vegetables in season. Right now it is winter here, so we’re full of brussel sprouts, carrots, onions, broccoli, and cabbage.

        Chicken stock rice is heaven. We also use it in stews.

        Ha! I refuse to call them chooks. I’m an American turned Aussie. There are a few Aussie phrases I refuse to use.

        ta= thank you (really is it that hard to even say thanks?)
        rubber=eraser (you’ll never hear that coming out of my mouth)
        thongs=flip flops (ditto on this one)
        arvo=afternoon
        Chrissie=Christmas
        piss up=party
        yous=plural of you

        Love your posts Sarah! And thanks for your kindly wisdom this time last year with the drama with my daughter’s preschool. Changed schools and have a happy Little Lady one year later.

      • Oh yes, I remember you! You’re originally from the (forgive my brain if I get this wrong)…the upper midwest? So glad to hear that the new school is working out better for your kiddo.

        How often do you say “good on you”? Jack had a Leap Frog reading game where the narrator was Australian and “good on you” was seared into my brain from having it listen to it so often.

        Do you say “brekkie” for breakfast? I’ve seen that on Instagram and don’t really get the appeal.