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How to Make Chicken Bone Broth – {Whole30, Paleo}

This easy to follow tutorial teaches you how to make chicken bone broth three different ways. Homemade stock from bones can be made in a crockpot, Instant Pot, or on the stovetop, and has so many wonderful uses for meals and soup.

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

Homemade bone broth 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 broth.

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 paleo roasted chicken I can get a meal out of it, and extra meat for things like Instant Pot Chicken and Dumplings or the Copycat Olive Garden 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 bone broth 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.

But sometimes there are days when you’re just not into making your own bone broth and that’s ok too! If you’re looking to purchase quality storebought versions, check out this post on where to buy bone broth. It even has a nerdy download that breaks down the protein and sodium content as well as the price per ounce for various brands.

Ways to Make Bone Broth Affordable

If I am in the mood to make chicken bone broth 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 making it 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 for meal prep, save all the peels, tops, and parts you aren’t going to eat and keep them in a bag in your freezer. 

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”.

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

Stock it to me

Are Chicken Bone Broth and Chicken Broth the Same Thing?

No. At its core, bone broth is what our grandparents called “stock”. Bone broth is stock with a better marketing team. 

Ok, in reality, bone broth has many of the same components as stock, but it’s been simmered a lot longer to extract even more nutrients and goodness from the bones.

  • Basic broth is made by cooking meat (usually chicken, beef, or turkey), maybe some bones, aromatics, vegetables, and water.
  • Basic stock involves using those same aromatics and vegetables but making sure there are bones being simmered as well.
  • Bone broth takes it to the next level and cooks the veggies, aromatics, and bones for a long time. A really long time – like 18 to 24 hours! However, if you use the Instant Pot, it will considerably cut down the cooking time.

Where Do You Get Affordable Organic Free-Range Chicken?

I’m blessed that we have a local butcher for buying organic meat, but we also have a monthly Butcher Box subscription. Butcher Box sources only organic and free-range meat for their customers and ships them to your home once a month.

Can I Make Chicken Bone Broth 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 Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth – Step by Step:

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

If you are new to pressure cooking and the Instant Pot, check out this post on recipes for Instant Pot beginners.

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

Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle (valve on top) to “Sealing”. 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 bone broth 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 bone broth 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 with cooled stock 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.

Recipe Notes/Pro Tips

  • 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 to 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 Bone Broth

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

homemade chicken stock in jars on a white tray with rosemary and lemon
Print Recipe
5 from 5 votes

How to Make Chicken Bone Broth - (Whole30, Paleo)

Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 hrs
Depressurizing time45 mins
Total Time2 hrs 5 mins
This easy to follow tutorial teaches you how to make chicken bone broth three different ways. Homemade stock has so many wonderful uses for meals and soup.

Ingredients

Instructions

Instant Pot Instructions

  • Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot. Add water until it reaches the max fill line inside your pot.
  • Lock the lid into place and set the steam release handle (valve on top) to “Sealing”. 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.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Place all ingredients in the slow cooker and fill with water up to the lid line.
  • Cook on low for 12 hours.
  • 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.
  • 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

  • Place all ingredients in a large pot and fill with water up to about 1/2 inch from the top.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Optional: Once the stock has finished draining, place a metal sieve (fine mesh strainer) over another bowl and pour the stock through the sieve.

Notes

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 Bone Broth - (Whole30, Paleo)
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 149 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 0g0%
Cholesterol 0mg0%
Sodium 107mg5%
Potassium 493mg14%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 9g38%
Sugar 0g0%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 11555IU231%
Vitamin C 24mg29%
Calcium 61mg6%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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This post on How to Make Chicken Bone Broth 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.

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37 comments on “How to Make Chicken Bone Broth – {Whole30, Paleo}”

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

  2. 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.

  3. 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!

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

  5. 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!

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

  7. 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. 🙂

  8. Can you use potato peelings in the stock?

  9. 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!

  10. 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.