Monday Mission: How to Make your own Homemade Chicken Stock/Broth

This post may contain affiliate links, including Your price won't change but it enables free content & supports our family business.

homemade healthy chicken stock with gelatin

Your mission, if you choose to accept, is to make traditional homemade chicken stock.

Now that (hopefully) you’ve successfully planned at least one meal in advance, it’s time to try your hand at making chicken stock. It couldn’t be easier, really. If you’ve ever made any kind of recipe, you can do this. (By the way, if you’re not menu planning regularly, make it a goal to plan a meal or two a week and work up to regular planning.)  Stock/broth is one of the two fundamental KS recipes. It is super healthy, saves so much money, and keeps you in charge of the ingredients. I even submit that you can help the environment by making your own stock in your kitchen.

Better Than a BoxEvery real food cook needs some basic resources that everyone recognizes, just like this one. If you have a desire to cook real food more fluently or gain confidence in remaking some of your own processed style recipes using only whole foods, you’ll love the bestselling eBook Better Than a Box. With 60 ready-to-go recipes and 100 pages of kitchen tutorials, your family will be singing your real food praises in no time. Click HERE for more info on the premium package, including the Kindle version.

Today’s is a long post, but that doesn’t mean it’s a difficult task. It just means I want to share a lot and convince you to try stock, and I want to give you as many time-and-energy-saving ideas as I can.

Are you a visual learner? If you would like to see videos and more step-by-step for traditional basics like chicken stock, check out GNOWFGLINS Fundamentals eCourse, a 14-week session to help you learn how to cook real food, simply.

My Broth Journey

I’ve always made my own broth, even in college. It was the only way I really knew how to cook a whole chicken, so about once or twice a year I’d grab one on sale and make chicken noodle soup. Then when I got married and had a child – that’s when most people realize how important nutrition is, among other things – I made broth because I could be totally in charge of what was in it.

I love that about cooking homemade! The broth was a way for me to avoid MSGs, be in control of how much or how little salt my family consumed (which translated into some pretty dull broths when I was afraid of too much sodium), and be able to scoop the fat out almost 100%, for a fraction of the cost of purchasing good quality stock.

The final stage in my own broth transformation came this winter as I read in Nourishing Traditions about all the incredible nutritional benefits of properly prepared stock:  the gelatin and its advantages, calcium, readily available minerals, immune-boosting properties. (You can read them all again in the last Food for Thought.)  I made it a point to include broth in our meals a few times a week.

I realized I could and should make stock from leftover bones, not just whole chickens. I begged the turkey carcass from my in-laws at Christmas and will probably do the same at Thanksgiving, unless other family members are reading my blog and get there first! I even stopped skimming the fat (gasp!). I know, I can’t believe it either. I used to be militant about throwing away every last glob of fat and skin I could see. Now I understand that it will keep our family healthy, so… We’ve eaten a lot of broth this winter.

And no one in our family has had so much as a cold since October. My son goes to school once a week and nursery once a week, and my daughter is putting EVERYthing in her mouth these days. I can’t say for sure it’s the broth, as we’ve made many changes in our eating habits since November, but I’m not going to stop now!

How I Make Broth/Stock Now

When I make broth, I really make a batch. This is the pot my fabulous in-laws got me for my birthday (or a less expensive, slightly smaller Stainless Steel Stock Pot):

Exhibit A: Daughter-in-Pot

Exhibit A: Daughter-in-Pot

Aaaaand actually cooking with it:

Exhibit B:  Chickens-in-Pot

Exhibit B: Chickens-in-Pot

I found myself in a chicken quandary before making this batch of broth – whole chickens were 79 cents a pound, but I knew that the chickens hadn’t eaten proper food or gotten proper exercise. Chickens that do cost 6-10 times more! Hmmmm…Looking at our food budget for the month, I went for it and said a prayer.

This day I used three whole chickens:  one I had roasted for dinner the night before and pulled much of the meat off for wraps and sandwiches, the second I snipped out much of the breasts for stir fry, and the third was untouched. I have so many ways to use broth and slightly fewer ways to use cooked, shredded chicken, so I realized that in order to keep making broth, I had to use the chicken in other ways! You can see all the places these chickens hit our table at this meal plan. (To address the comment at the Food for Thought this week, absolutely you can mix up cooked and uncooked chicken and bones. I threw in a pork bone with my chicken once, but don’t tell my husband! 😉  You can even, I understand, use bones from people’s plates at dinner, because the long cooking will annihilate any germs that might have been there. This would be a good time to read my disclaimer in the sidebar, by the way! :))

Click here for the easy, one page recipe for Nourishing Traditions style chicken stock. You can use a normal stock pot, probably of a size you have in your cupboard, and just one chicken or one package of split breasts or parts for this recipe. Continue reading for the anecdotal, tip-filled version and don’t skip the last section filled with updates and even more helpful ideas!

The Long Part of the Story

After the chickens sat in cold water with a few tablespoons of vinegar (to draw the minerals out of the bones), I tossed in cut carrots, celery, and onions. I throw away the very outer skin of the onions but leave the non-dirty stuff on. You won’t be eating this part, anyway! If the carrots are organic, I scrub them well and leave the peels right on, because most of the nutrients that I want in my stock are in or just under the peel. My celery is usually ready to go in 3-inch chunks in my freezer, leaves and all. I just read that I should actually add the vegetables just at the end of the cooking, so I’ve changed the recipe to note that. I’m also going to add some garlic cloves for their health benefits next time I make stock.


I’ve learned that it’s important to skim the gunk off the top of the pot after the stock comes to a boil. Many of the impurities end up in what you can skim, so remember:  if there’s something to skim off, always skim!

Then I turn the heat down to low, and approximately 24 hours later, I add a bunch of washed parsley (or dried, usually, because I always forget to add parsley to my list when chickens are on sale). Ten minutes later, I can call the stock “done”. I always try to make a soup with the broth right away. This way I can save on storage dishes, and sometimes a pot if I’m making broth in something smaller than my gargantuan pot!

This night I made white chicken chili, but I often just make chicken noodle with fresh stock. I scoop a few quarts over to a clean pot with my liquid measuring cup and slice fresh carrots and celery (organic if at all possible). While the vegetables are cooking I get all the chicken out of the big pot and pull out 2-4 cups of it to add to my soup. I usually estimate that the carrots and celery will need 15-20 minutes to cook, so depending on what kind of noodles I’m using, I add them at the appropriate time. Whole wheat “egg” style noodles are good, but I’m a sucker for kluski noodles. They are what my mom used throughout my childhood and seriously make good soup. Grandma’s homemade noodles would be even tastier, but I haven’t yet tried them on my own! Seasonings include a generous teaspoon of French thyme, often some marjoram, salt and pepper. That’s it! We can sit down to dinner while the chicken from the pot cools down enough for me to touch it without pain.

Sorting the Chicken and the Stock

I like to “pick the chicken” – pull the meat from the bones – that night if I have time. It’s a little easier to differentiate meat from bones when the chicken hasn’t been refrigerated yet. Half the time I do end up throwing all the chicken in a big bowl in the fridge and addressing it the following day. I just mash everything between my fingers, tossing the meat into my glass measuring cup and “everything else” onto a garbage plate or bowl. Sometimes the bones are so soft that I can’t feel them, but I do my very, very best. I freeze the meat in 2-cup portions, because it seems most of my recipes that call for cooked chicken require about that amount, and it’s also just right for a pot of soup for my small family.

Carolyn commented at the Food for Thought that she doesn’t cook chicken on the bone very often. I have to admit, my husband seriously dislikes boned chicken. If I were to put a split chicken breast on his plate, even if it was drenched in the most delicious barbecue sauce, he would still find the meal only “acceptable” because he hates picking through the bones. So I don’t serve chicken on the bone, either! I just use the cooked chicken in LOTS of recipes, from soups to casseroles to our favorite grilled wraps. If your family really dislikes dark meat, by the way, and you wouldn’t be able to hide it in a soup or casserole, you shouldn’t use whole chickens. Split chicken breasts make stock just fine, albeit probably with less gelatin.

added bonus

Added bonus:  split breast are incredibly quick to pick!

After dinner I pour the stock through my colander into my biggest glass bowl, then into the next size down, and so on until it’s ready to be cooled or stored right away, depending on my time available. A slotted spoon is helpful to grab the veggies and chicken (which is totally falling apart) out. If you want really clear broth, use a small screened strainer and ladle everything through that a second time.

timesaver Timesaver:  I love making stock in the winter, because I just set it all in my garage to chill, usually leaving about half in the pot itself.

This time I accidentally waited too long to address the broth. It partially froze in the garage! It was like ice fishing to dip it out:


You do need to throw away the vegetables. I’m tempted to put them into my soup every time, (you know how I hate to throw food away) but I’ve realized that there’s nothing nutritionally left in them anyway (and they’re REALLY mushy). Just think of them as empty containers that released all their nutrients into your broth and can be thrown away/composted without guilt. *Unless anyone knows something different?

$The Bottom Line$

Now for the best part! I have to show you how much broth I got from these chickens, which ran me about $12 with that sale I mentioned. I figure the broth cost about $2-3, MAX, if you add up the vegetables (even organic!) and the cost of my gas stove for 24 hours. Here’s my broth, ready for storage, MINUS about 12 cups that I already used in soup and stir fry:


That’s 60 (8 oz) cups of broth, folks. A can of Swanson broth is 14 ounces, which means I prepared approximately 34 cans of broth, with all the nutritional benefits of the vinegar soak to boot. !!! Swanson broth happened to be on sale 3/$2 that very week, which means I made $22 worth of broth for two bucks. Woo hoo! If I bought the cheapest broth I could find, which doesn’t pass my palate test anyway, at 50 cents a can I would still have made $17 worth of broth. (If you’re a “low-fat” person, you can easily get almost all the fat out after the broth cools, and your savings would be even more significant, because generally “fat free” versions are only found with name brands.)

All that savings took about 5 minutes to plunk chicken in water, 5 minutes to prep the veggies, a few minutes to skim the gunk, and let’s give it a whole hour to pick chicken, strain broth and store in the freezer. PLUS environmentally I avoided 34 cans being produced, shipped, and thrown away or recycled. That’s a good deal of raw material and energy, in my book. Those results are worth it to me!

How to Freeze Homemade Stock

You’ll notice I’m freezing the broth in all sorts of containers. Glass jars are best, in my opinion, especially if you’re working with warm or hot broth. Be generous with the headroom for expansion – it’s such a bummer to break jars in the freezer. I always give an inch or two. Standard spaghetti sauce jars are great because they’re free. They hold about 3 cups. Quart canning jars are good too, but you’ll cry harder if they break, because they cost about $1 each. (More on How to Freeze in Glass Jars)

When I run out of glass containers, I go for number 5 plastic, and only when I’m using cooled broth. I like the price and accessibility of the large openings on cottage cheese containers. Plastic freezer bags are another option. They are usually number 4 plastic.

added bonus

Added bonus: With plastic bags, if you forget to thaw your broth, you can cut away the bag and dump partially thawed broth into a pot.

One last way to freeze the broth is in ice cube trays (see post). Do make sure you make a list of how much broth you have frozen and what sizes so you know what to grab for any particular meal.

How to Use Homemade Chicken Stock

chicken rice soup with homemade chicken stock

Like I said, I tend to use the stock faster than the chicken. I make soup, of course, but I also use it to cook rice, either just for stir fry or for a side dish I call Designer Imposter Chicken Rice-a-Roni. It makes a great gravy for mashed potatoes and also ends up in some random recipes that call for chicken broth. When I make a huge batch like the one above, I include it in place of water in things like chili or burrito sauce.

added bonus
Added Bonus: If you just use the carcass, you’ll get 1-2 cups of extra meat from the bones that you can’t really get until it’s been cooked to pieces!

Some Recipes using Chicken Stock

Seeking Gelatin:  An Experiment

I’ve always had trouble getting my broth to gel. I don’t know if it’s the fact that I use caged, supermarket chickens or if I just have too much water. But I’m following a recipe from a pretty reliable source, Nourishing Traditions. So one day I ran into a whole organic chicken marked 40% off because it was going to expire the next day. I was buying store-brand chicken on sale anyway, so I decided to do a side-by-side test in 2 pots. I used equal amounts of water, cooking time, etc.

I expected that the organic chicken would gel up much better than the store brand bird. What I found was that the two pots of stock were remarkably similar in consistency. I might give the organic stock slightly more gel. In this photo, the organic is on the left and store brand on the right:


I am surprised at the difference in color, aren’t you? I’m not really sure what my experiment proved. I’d like to think that the organic chicken SHOULD have had lots more gelatin…so since it didn’t, maybe that just tells me my broth is watered down and would gel fine if I let it boil off a bit. Since the taste is excellent, I’m fine with watery broth as long as the gelatin is in there somewhere.

The Updates

Adventures in making healthy homemade chicken stock have been plentiful since this post. Here are a few more tips and ideas to help you successfully (and easily) nourish your family with homemade chicken stock:

Let me know in the comments if you try this stock and love it/hate it/can’t figure it out! Any other suggestions for time-savers or delicious seasonings would make great conversation, too.
There are affiliate links in this post.

Click here for my disclaimer and advertising disclosure - affiliate links in this post will earn commission based on sales, but it doesn't change your price.

190 Bites of Conversation So Far

    • Kayler says

      Sorry I couldn’t figure out how to reply to the main article, but just wanted to say that I think more vinegar will fix the problem of no gelatin. I use one ounce of vinegar for every quart of water. I use only roasted bones, BTW, and about one quart of water for every pound of bones. I just eyeball it really – add water, counting the quarts to about cover the bones when they are pushed down into the water, then use the number of quarts of water to determine how much vinegar to put in. Also, I only boil the bones for 3-4 hours.

  1. says

    Thank you for posting this and all your recipes. I have been saving my chicken in the freezer for this experiment. I have used the bullion cubes and I’m excited to change that habit. I will let you know how it turns out.

  2. says

    Found your blog from Meredith’s! This is a very very helpful post… and I absolutely love the whole concept of your blog.

    BTW I have heard from my local Whole Foods that they will sometimes run sales of .99 cents/lb on their whole chickens… which are pretty decent chickens, and air-chilled. If I run across that price I intend to stock up.

    Specifically, I believe that WF supplyer is Bell & Evans…

    I have to verify that with my local WF though.

    OH I do have a question… so do you use the meat off the chicken after it cooks 24 hours in other meals, or is it not good for much at that point? I hadn’t thought of “butchering” the chicken for the breasts, etc before using it for stock. What a great idea. I have made my own chicken soup for years as well, but I usually take the chicken meat off the bone after less than 2 hours.

    • ~M says

      Why would you need air-chilled chickens if it’s just going to sit and simmer in a huge vat of water? Is there something I’m missing? Regular (ie, non-air-chilled) chicken is almost always cheaper, so if you’re willing to pay the cost of the air-chilled, wouldn’t it be better to just buy more non-air-chilled chicken for making stock/soup?

      • admin says

        I don’t know a lot about “air-chilled” vs regular processing, but if I’m going to pay more $ for a chicken, it will be because of what the chicken eats and how it was raised. Organic feed and pastured chickens actually have different and better nutrients in their meat, plus you avoid chemicals and antibiotics. So that’s worth the money, sometimes.

        • Candy says

          Chickens need to be chilled. It’s either a water bath or air-chilled. So do you want a chicken which has been soaked in water?

  3. Missy says

    I have a problem with gelling also. I have only been successful a hand full of times, and don’t know what the difference was.

    You have inspired me to take back my huge pot from my husband’s home-brew supply and us it for stocks again.

    Do you ever have trouble finding the perfect simmer? It seems I am always running too hot or too cold. I have successfully burnt my stock before. Any suggestions?

  4. Andrea says

    Homemade stock cannot be beat! re: freezing: I also like to ladle some into a muffin tin (about a scant half-cup per muffin cup) and freeze it, then toss the little frozen cubes into a ziploc for use in recipes that call for only a small amount, if I don’t have a jar already thawed in the fridge.

  5. says

    Katie — Thanks for submitting this post to the Fight Back Fridays carnival. It’s a great entry!

    I think the secret to getting the stock to gel might actually be removing the meat after it’s cooked and just cooking the bones for 24+ hours. It’s what I do, and it works for both pastured hens and your typical supermarket hens.

    Thanks again, and Happy Friday!
    (AKA FoodRenegade)

    • Katie says

      Elizabeth, The meat is totally soft, but it’s still yummy! It goes great in casseroles, hot dips and soups. Thanks for the note about WF — I wish we had them in our area!

  6. says

    Great information. I found your website looking for the caloric content of homemade chicken stock that gels. Any help on that? Also, I freeze milk and tomato sauce in ice cube trays to use later. I am cooking for 2.

  7. ~M says

    For a recipe that uses chicken broth/soup in it (but not a clear soup), I’ve read posts saying that you can ladle the limpy cooked carrots and celery in with the broth into the blender, puree, and use that. Just be sure to ladle “as normal” so you don’t have a super thick broth. I’d imagine that this would work great with a chili or stew, where you don’t mind if it’s thick.

    Also, when I roast my chicken, I got the idea to roast it in my large dutch oven (a huge Le Creuset). After baking, I remove the chicken for eating, obviously saving the bones for stock (by the way, how do you store your bones in the freezer when you wait for enough to make stock). I then add those bones to some frozen uncooked chicken into the same Le Creuset pot and add water and vegetables to make stock. This way, my husband has to wash that huge heavy pot one time less (all the fond – “burnt on pieces that have flavor” – goes into the soup) and sometimes it even gives the soup a tad of a kick (for example, if I am using chipotle seasoning when I roast the chicken). I love pots that go from stovetop to oven – and now, vice versa!

    nice blog!

    • admin says

      That makes me wish I had a dutch oven! We love doing fewer dishes at our house! I never thought about pureeing the veggies in the broth. If I just add them at the end of the cooking like I’ve done since writing this post, maybe there are some nutrients left in them. Great idea!

      When I store bones for stock (which doesn’t happen often as I usually just make the stock right away), I just throw them in a freezer bag and take a little care not to puncture the sides as I move around in the freezer.

  8. says

    Yeah! I finally got to the chicken stock mission Monday. And as we speak I am working on the yogurt mission. The chicken stock worked out great in the crock pot though I did not get as much as you do. I even added an ice cube amount of stock to some quesadillas I made tonight! Thanks so much for your help. I posted a few pictures on my site.

  9. Heather says

    Do you do any canning? If so does this stock can well? Although I have 2 freezers (1 regular and 1 chest) I tend to run out of room. I would love to make a ton of stock and be able to keep it in storage. I have summers off and try to stock up and prepare as many things as I can so that when I work the rest of the year I can still feed my family decent meals without having to overextend myself during the week.

    • Katie says

      Heather, I haven’t canned yet, but there’s some discussion between my Mom and Grandma that they’ll teach me how to do tomatoes this summer! I have never even considered canning broth, but it would be such a convenient way to store it. Have you ever canned meat products before? If you try and succeed, you must come back and let us know. I am very intrigued…

      • Heather says

        I haven’t done meat yet. My husband has a HUGE crop of tomatoes this year so I will be learning about canning them this year – I have two friends who will be helping me with that. I am hoping that one might have some ideas on canning tomato sauce with the meat for even easier meals! If they are helpful I will be sure to let you know.

  10. Meredith says

    I don’t know if you have access to a butcher (or a strong stomach) but the easiest way to get a very gelatinous stock is to add chicken feet to it. They apparently have much more gelatin than the rest of the bird. I usually use about half a pound of feet per 5 lbs of other types of bones and my stock cools practically solid.

    • Katie says

      I know, I’ve read that before…I’ve just never gotten up the guts to walk into a butcher’s and ask! Do they charge for the feet? I could totally do it if I could get the feet without too much hassle. That’s great to hear from someone who has actually done it and been successful! Thanks so much for commenting!

      • ~M says

        Yes, butchers do charge for the feet, but they should not be expensive. The cheapest place to get them is an Asian market. Chicken feet make such an amazing, gelatinous broth, like pure velvet. It’s full of minerals and very good for digestion. Here is some more info and a recipe:

        I follow Elise’s directions until step 3 and then use my own technique of making stock/soup (including adding 2-3 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar). What’s interesting is that very little skum rises to the service since the feet were already boiled once to rid them of impurities; also, very little fat rises/collects on top of the gelatin. I can’t wait to have chicken feet soup again :)

        I am sometimes able to get free backs and necks from butchers, which have more gelatin than other parts of the chicken, but way less than the feet.

        Good luck!

    • charlotte says

      If I can add my own 2 cents worth, I also add chicken feet to my pot and the results are night and day -the feet add more depth and flavor because of their gelatinous property.

      We have a lot of Asian supermarkets in my area (Northern NJ) and they sell many “select” animal parts that most folks aren’t accustomed to eating. While I’m not a fan of some items, I do find the chicken feet stocked in their poultry section and I pick up several to freeze for later use when I make my own stock. The feet are already cleaned so there’s not much to it aside from giving them a good rinse and tossing in the pot with the rest of the ingredients.

      If Asian markets aren’t an option, you can always speak to the store manager/ store butcher directly to see if they can get them in for you as well. Give it a try, I’m sure you’ll be very impressed with the results.

      • says

        I also use chicken feet in my broth, gels very nicely. I get mine from an organic farm when I get the rest of my meats. So…I think the feet are the key you are looking for.

  11. says

    I just plan to roast a chicken every other week or so and then throw the seasoned carcass in a pot with some water after dinner. It’s a great, quick way to make a small batch of stock. I haven’t bought chicken stock in forever! And then, I pick which “flavor” I want in the stock I use–maybe a rotisserie chicken taste for a simple pot of rice, a more bland version if I’m using the stock for stir-fry, and so forth.

    Betsy’s last blog post..Greens with Double Garlic

    • Katie says

      You bet! I know of people who have a crockpot of broth on the counter all the time, but I wouldn’t have the space. It must be nice to have fresh broth in the fridge all the time! Great tip, welcome!

  12. Sarah W says

    I’m having a hard time finding where… but I’ve just recently read that if you cook your broth on the shorter end of the time range there is more gelatin; on the longer end, more minerals (hopefully I’m not reversing that!) and the gelatin breaks down under the extended heat… maybe that’s why some stocks by the same cooks gel and others don’t? Have you read that?

    Also noticed your rec about freezing in bags b/c you can cut them open if you forget to thaw. This is why I like to freeze it in pint size wide mouth mason jars b/c the mouth is as wide as the body and once the edges have warmed a little, I can just slide it out of the jar!

    • Katie says

      I have not seen that info, but it would make sense, because no matter how great a chicken I start out with, I don’t seem to get gelatin well with my 24 hour cooking but I do with the roasting juices in the bottom. Hmmm…I know my next experiment will be to cook my stock about 6 hours and see what happens! Thanks for the scoop! Good call, too, about the wide-mouth jars.

  13. says

    Your comparison of organic vs regular is interesting. My 2 cents is the organic probably isn’t free range. I made stock (without the vinegar soak) from honest-to-god free range, pastured chickens, and the taste and quality compared to the ones I used to do from Perdue chickens is remarkable. I wasn’t expecting that at all.

    So you don’t skim the fat off???? Is that where the gelatin is?

    • Katie says

      The gelatin is in the bones and joints (cartilage), but the fat has immunity boosters (think Jewish grandmother’s chicken soup remedy).

  14. Callie says


    I was wondering if (after a few hours or so) you can pick some of the chicken off to eat (before it gets overcooked), throw the bones back in, and continue cooking. Would that disturb the process? Also, I know Whole Foods has rotisserie chickens on sale every Thursday. Could I get one of those and just use the bones for stock? Sorry! I am definitely an amateur!

    • Katie says


      That’s what I’m here for! Welcome! :)

      Yes and yes, to be simple. I think the chicken tastes best roasted, so I try to roast it first for dinner/sandwiches, then make stock. The rotisserie chicken would be just the same. You definitely wouldn’t interrupt anything by taking the chicken out after it’s cooked but not mush. 😉 Some have said that will actually help the gelatin content of your stock.

      Best of luck!

  15. Cindy says

    I have a question about the vinegar in the stock. I made 43 pints today. The stock has a decidedly sour taste to it due to the vinegar. Does yours taste like that too? I followed your recipe exactly except instead of bringing the broth to a boil I set the pans on low and let them simmer all night. I’m wondering if I used too much vinegar. I used 4 TB for 4 qts water.

    • Katie says

      Huh. I have honestly never noticed a sour taste, and I don’t like vinegar at all. If you boil the broth for a few minutes, does it boil off? I hope you can salvage and enjoy the broth!

      • Cindy says

        Katie, Well, I don’t really mind it so much. I mean the next time I’m going to try balsamic vinegar as that always tastes good straight up on any kind of meat. I used white vinegar only because I have some left after canning this past summer. We’ll use it and then try again. Perhaps next time I’ll try it in a smaller batch. Tonight I’m trying beef broth and want to pressure can it tomorrow. I’ll let you know how it turns out.

        • ~M says

          I use Bragg’s raw apple cider vinegar and don’t notice a taste at all…but I cook my stock for hours and hours.

  16. says

    I find that Turkey stock gels better than chickens. As for the veggies from the stock, I blend them in the blender with some of the stock and add them back to the stock for added fiber. You could just add it to the pot of chicken noodle soup that you are making for that night and leave the rest clear. My grandmother always blended the veggies into the stock. It is good if you have picky eaters as well to get them to eat their veggies. It wasn’t until I was older and eating soup somewhere other than home that I found that chicken broth was really clear.
    .-= Kristi´s last blog ..Autumn Harvest Soup =-.

  17. cindy says

    Hi Katie. Last night for dinner I browned chicken thighs, and chopped onion and celery in the cast iron skillet then added 2 jars of the homemade chicken stock and whole wheat noodles. The hubby didn’t know what I had done and commented that they were the best noodles he had ever eaten!! I agreed. BTW, the vinegar taste was gone. Not sure why but am glad as I really wouldn’t want sour anything! lol : )

  18. says

    Wow, what a lot of fantastic information you’ve compiled here. I’m definitely bookmarking for the future!

    I use split chicken breasts quite a bit in making my stock because I do find that my family really prefers the white meat. We’ll eat the dark meat, but we prefer white. :) I think that stock turns out really well and it doesn’t seem to have as much fat to deal with.

    Can I just confess right now that I have NEVER put a glass jar in the freezer? I had no idea that you even could! I thought for sure it would shatter, even if I left space. Even as I type this, I find myself feeling anxious about it and wondering if I’ll ever even have the guts to try it…
    .-= JessieLeigh´s last blog ..The 2009 Stock Exhchange Is Here! =-.

    • Katie says

      You are too cute. I get anxious about random things like that, too. The worst? Once I had JUST put a jar of turkey broth in the freezer and was rearranging (chest freezer) and *crack!* the bottom of the jar (not even frozen!) hit another just so and *sploosh* all the broth gushed down into the bottom of my freezer! Blech. I’m waiting for it to snow so I can take everything outside and thaw out my broth-y freezer! Don’t let that scare you , though, I usually don’t have problems! 😉 thanks for hosting a good round-up!

  19. Shebeeste says

    It looks like you folks have the stock thing just about covered, but I’ll tell you what I do. I cook for one, and I roast a chicken at least once a week. I “pick” each bird completely (sooner or later–I reheat it to make it easier) and throw the bones into a big Ziploc baggie in the freezer.

    I also put in the raw neck (The cat or I get the rest of the giblets! And I save the two fat pads near the opening for making schmaltz.) and onion, celery, carrot and parsley trimmings. When I have about two birds, or a bagful, worth I throw everything into my 5 1/2 quart pot (and put the bag right back in the freezer for the next round) with water, peppercorns, thyme and bayleaf and more veggies if I have them and it needs it. (More or less I use the turkey stock recipe from the Joy of Cooking.)

    I only simmer until it tastes good, a longer or shorter amount depending on how much meat is still on the bones, seasoning, variations in the chicken, amount of veggies, etc. If it’s thin I’ll let it cook down more. And it always gels, even though I can only afford cheap chicken right now. I always mash the carcass up pretty good, I don’t know if that helps.

    I end up with 3-6 pints of stock in the freezer each time–usually I drink some when it’s fresh too. (And I always have a couple containers thawing in the fridge.) Lately I’ve been adding fennel tops since I saved a bunch in the freezer and I don’t buy much celery. If you don’t put too much in it still works in most dishes.

    Another secret is that sometimes I let my poor chicken carcass get too dried out (in the fridge or because I reheated it too much) to pick, so I just go ahead and make stock with it. The extra meat on the bones makes great stock, and it no longer matters that it’s too dried out to eat. I suppose I could pick it afterward, but I figure I got pretty good value out the thing already and I let it go.

    Similarly, I worked in a restaurant where we roasted seasoned chickens (6-8 at time) on a bed of veggies, cooled them, picked them (separating the white and dark meat for different recipes), filled the roasting pan up with water and threw it back in the oven. Simplest best stock ever.

    Great blog–I’m approaching my eating from a primal/paleo standpoint but a lot of the nutrient dense/real food movement is right in line with that thinking. Cheers!

    • Katie says

      You are the stock guru of the world, I think. 😉 Incredible tips. I’m just realizing that I need to roast all my chickens first, even if I harvest the breast meat, just for flavor, instead of using the meat that I’ve cooked all day long.

      Thanks for adding to the info here!
      :) Katie

  20. says

    Great read! Like you, I’ve made broth all my life thanks to my mom and grandmother! Normally, I use roasted chicken bones and I cook mine a bit higher than you do, above a simmer but below a full rolling boil for 2-4 hours depending on how much time I have. Mine almost always gels.

    A suggestion for using the bones and bits of meat left over for those who have dogs (or cat’s who they are dogs) you can put the softened bones in the blender and pulverize them. Pour into a bowl and stick in the fridge to firm up. Most dogs really love it.

  21. says

    Hi Katie,
    I am just yesterday/today trying this recipe for the first time (got my NT finally, too!), and have struggled with the 24-hour cooking–struggled in that I can’t stop thinking that I’m “over” cooking it, or it’s not hot enough, or was too hot for too long, etc etc! And this morning when I checked it, the few veggies that had ended up above the water line are very dark brown from cooking. Is this bad? Or is this partly why you amended your recipe to add the veggies later? I didn’t expect to eat the veggies, of course, and I know the key is to extract all the goodies from all the ingredients…but still, I’m unsure, lol! I’ve never cooked anything so long. Any comments about this *greatly* appreciated! Thanks for this awesome post! After I finish mine, I’m going to post about my experience, and I am definitely referencing it. :)
    .-= Sara´s last blog ..Real food shoutout: Eggs from The Country Hen =-.

    • Katie says

      I’m so glad you tried it! I’ve never had a problem with the brown stuff being hurtful – my chicken pokes out sometimes. Just keep the lid on tightly and don’t worry. I’m actually posting 10 updated tips this week, so you’re in luck! I do wonder sometimes if it’s not staying hot enough because my pot is so darn big, but I figure if there’s steam coming out when I lift the lid, it’s hot enough to be safe. Bacteria can’t survive above 118 degrees, and 150 is low-temp pasteurization. So – my uneducated opinion is that as long as you’re over those temps, your food is safe! Good for you to try something new. :) Katie

  22. Bellingham Bob says

    I too cook my broth at home because of the nutritional value, BIG $avings, and great flavor. TIP: to avoid the danger of an open flame and gas cost for 24 hours, I use my crock pot on low. Everything goes in, skim 2 hours later, let set for 2 – 3 days. Once transferred to containers I’ve had the whole batch gel solid at room temp. Yup, the house smells great while cooking.

  23. says

    I use my crockpot for chicken stock, just because it’s easier. I cook the chicken in the pot first, which releases a lot of juices, then I strip the meal off and put the rest back int he pot. I keep it on high for at least 24 hours, sometimes longer. I only use organic, free range chicken, Trader Joe’s has them for $11-15 each, which I feel is worth it for the health benefits of eating organic.

  24. Baking fool says

    I usually make my broth from the carcass of chicken or turkey, although I once made it for my parents from chicken necks, which was the most affordable chicken I could buy where they lived (not in US). Anyway, you might like to try doing this in your crockpot. The energy saving is considerable. I put the stuff in the crockpot after dinner, and let it run all night. The broth stays very clear, the is little to skim, and I can dip out beautiful broth ready for freezing. The last little bit I pour through a sieve to get rid of the bones and spent veggies, and use for soup that day. It’s not that clear, so I tend to make something that will be buzzed with the stick blender.

    The crockpot won’t boil dry and is really effortless – give it a try.

  25. says

    Hi Katie,

    I’ve been making my own stock for some time now, but just recently learned a few new tricks. One is I keep a large baggie in the freezer and save all of my vegetable ends, peels and cores. Each night as I’m cutting up or peeling my veggies for dinner, I just toss the peels and ends and the cores in the baggie. Cabbage core, tomato ends, asparagus ends,parsley stems, carrot and celery ends and peels, squash and zucchini and onion ends and peels. When I get a baggie or two full, I’m ready to make stock. I also roast 2-3 chickens at a time. It takes no longer to roast 3 chickens than it does 1. I pick all the meat off the bones and package them in freezer baggies in 2 cup portions. Then I can pull one out for a casserole or tacos or soup. I save all the bones in another baggie just like the veggie ends. When I’m ready to make stock I dump all the veggies, the bones, a couple of cloves of cracked garlic (if I have none in my frozen baggie) some salt and a few peppercorns. I turn the crock pot on low, add about 10-12 cups of water and let it go all night. In the morning I turn the crock off and let it cool down, I dish out all the veggies and bones for a treat for my dog, and line up my jars/bottles for storing. I use a funnel with a small sieve placed over the top and just ladle it it into the bottles/jars leaving plenty of headroom for freezing expansion. The sieve catches any loose bits. This also works great for beef stock too, but it takes me a while longer to save up enough bones for the beef, sometimes I just get a package of beef ribs or beef short ribs to use. If I do the short ribs, I use the meat that night for stroganoff or beef and noodles or some other recipe. Nothing goes to waste when making stock this way. I hope this helps. P.S. My mom gave me the super large crock pot for Christmas one year, but I’ve seen them around for about $20.

  26. Baking fool says

    I now only make broth in the crockpot. No more worries about the pot boiling over or boiling dry. I put everything in in the evening and then have broth in the morning. I will use just bones, or pieces of chicken if I need the meat (but that I take out after three or four hours, otherwise it’s tasteless). I store in plastic freezer bags, which I place flat on a tray to freeze and then can store easily. This is one of the best uses of the crockpot!

  27. Wendy says

    I have heard that chicken feet have the most gelatin in them. I am making some right now with chicken feet and will see if that’s true.

  28. charlotte says

    I’m glad a few of you pointed out another use for the leftovers after the broth is made. I make my own dog/cat food and aside from the premium holistic dry food that I buy, I haven’t bought a single can of pet food in years. I’ve never really stopped to think of the savings because I do this mostly out of concern for their health and well-being, however I’m sure it’s substantial when comparing the cost to all the leading brand canned dog/cat foods out there.

    My two cats each lived 16 years and only became sick about a month before they passed; my dog lived to nearly 14 years and my current pup doesn’t know what it’s like to eat anything other then homemade food as well. She’s 2 years old and I’m hoping to have a lasting relationship for many years with her, too. She even knows when I’m cooking her food, she stands by the stove and watches me the entire time!

    After I’m done making my own stock I set a few cups aside in another pot and add all the leftover vegggies. At this point I then add about a cup or so of barley (depends on how much liquid you started out with) and add one or two peeled and diced sweet potatoes and anything else I might have on hand, such as diced celery, fresh parsley and chopped carrots -make sure to leave out onions and garlic because these are not something they should eat, and continue to simmer until everything is soft. The sweet potato is a must because it’s got likes of fiber and vitamins for them as well.

    By this point, the carcasses have cooled substantially and are ready to be picked. It depends on how many chickens you’ve added to your original pot to begin with (I usually have two minimum) and I do make sure to always have at least two, because some of the meat is set aside for me and the remainder is for the pooch. Like I said before, I don’t give my pets anything else therefore you can understand why I don’t mind sharing this plentiful stock with them).

    Now that I’ve set the meat aside, I turn off the heat, let cool slightly and grab my emulsion blender and blend until it’s almost a slurry. Once this is done, i then add the diced chicken and let it cool completely before portioning it out and freezing it for the next two-three weeks -depends on the size of your dog. There are some vitamins that can be added and sometimes I add bonemeal (for calcium) just to ensure they follow a proper nutrition. A small bottle of this can be picked up at the vitamin section of wal-mart and literally lasts forever.

    I guess I must be doing something right because my pets have all had a beautiful coat, nice strong teeth, clear eyes and nose, no skin rashes or irritations and as Caesar Milan would say, are well balanced in mind, body and soul. Just as humans, our pets are what they eat too, and quite frankly it disgusts me to think we’ve all been brainwashed into believing that pets can’t eat what we eat -my pets longevity are living proof that they in fact, should be given a healthy diet as well.

    I hope this gives you some inspiration to reuse instead of throwing out next time you make your stock.

    All the best,

    • Rebecca says

      Hi Charlotte,
      I have been feeding my cats a raw food diet, but my female is older now & I want to switch her over to cooked. That is why I’m on this site, trying to figure out how to make a broth for her (& us.) However, I’m not sure what is safe to include. I would love to get more details from you ASAP if possible! I cook for my dog, but my cat doesn’t like boiled meat. I have some whole chickens I was going to roast & then make stock, but don’t know where to begin. Leave the bird plain because cats can’t digest salt? That seems bland.

      • Katie says

        I don’t know anything about what’s safe for animals, but if salt is a problem, I wanted you to know that I actually never add salt while making my broth. I just add salt when I make a recipe, so it’s easy to make broth w/o it! 😉 Katie

        • Rebecca says

          Hi Katie,
          Thanks SO much for your response. I’ve need to roast a chicken today & make some broth to figure out a new way to feed my Maine Coon. After I do some research on safe ingredients, I will adjust it & follow your instructions for making the stock. However, can you advise me on the roasting recipe? I know how to roast them, but thought it would be bland by itself. Do you just roast the chicken entirely plain? I intend to use both the meat & stock for her cat food. Love your blog!

  29. Kimberly says

    I really enjoyed reading all about broths and stock. I have never made anything like this before except homemade salsa. So I am difinately going to start making it. We just got a farm, and I have been doing all kinds of research on raising organic animals, fruits,and veggies. I am so sick of not knowing what is in the food that we eat. And I am ready to get back to basics, and the good stuff. lol.

    I was wondering though….Out of all of the comments, I didn’t see anyone say that you can, can the stock or broth in canning jars and store them on a shelf. Is there a reason why everyone seems to freeze it instead?

    Oh just wanted to add that the other day, I learned how to make homemade Mozz. cheese and homemade butter. I never realized how easy it is to make your own healthy stuff.

    • Katie says

      I definitely know people who can homemade stock, and I wouldn’t think it would decrease the nutrient value at all since it’s already cooked at a high temp. Some who go the traditional foods route think that pressure cooking causes a bad breakdown in food quality…but I don’t know if that applies to pressure canning for meats, specifically, as well. Just be sure to follow safety precautions for this type of food if you can it!

      Good luck and enjoy! (and way to go on the mozz and butter!)
      :) Katie

  30. Kaelyn says

    Hi there! I am obsessed with your blog and tried my hand at making stock today/last night. (I’ve done the homemade yogurt and granola bars and soaked oatmeal already).

    I actually “roasted” a whole chicken in the crockpot all day yesterday (I had NO idea how to roast a chicken and the crockpot seemed like a good idea…don’t know if it was or not). I put butter, parsley, onions, and whole garlic in there. I picked the chicken last night and got 5 cups of meat. Then I left the water with onions and garlic in the crockpot, added the bones from the picked chicken (which were all separated and seemed so tiny) and added a bit more water and cooked it on high all night. This morning the water was half gone so I added more and let it cook on low all day. Then, I added the carrots and celery and let it cook another 2ish hours then got all the big stuff out and strained it. It’s like a BROWN color. Is that normal? Did I mess it up by putting butter in it?

    I get so overwhelmed with every little thing I do now, thinking I’m doing it wrong or buying the wrong thing or mixing things the wrong way. I did not grow up eating “real” food for the most part and am a very wasteful person. I am determined to change all of those bad habits though. It’s a lot about being a good steward! When I’m feeling like a failure at all of it (at least once a day!) I pray and let God’s grace cover my mistakes. He knows this is a HUGE undertaking and life change and He knows I’m doing it for HIM, so I know He will honor that. But—I still wish I had it all memorized and didn’t have to have a HUGE notebook that I carry with me everywhere full of your articles!! LOL

    • Katie says

      You’re cracking me up, girl! Your stock is probably just really concentrated, as it sounds like you didn’t have a ton of water for one chicken. ? If it tastes good, go with it! Was the chicken good? It sounds awesome. I think you need to let yourself be a diva in the kitchen, because there’s clearly one in there just a little afraid to come out. 😉 Can you mess anything up with butter? 😉 (Actually, if you ask my husband: smoothies. I didn’t have liquid coconut oil the other night and put a coconut oil/ghee blend in the smoothie. He couldn’t even drink it. Real food FAIL! Happens all the time.) Keep your head up, and keep working at it – sounds like you’re doing awesome! 😉 Katie

  31. Kaelyn says

    I am just wondering how many ounces/cups of broth I’m supposed to end up with from 4 qts of water to begin with. I added about 16 oz more water (to cover the chickens – I used 2 whole chickens without harvesting any meat first) also. How did you end up with so much stock from only 4 qts of water? If my math is correct you got 480 oz of stock from 128 oz (4 qts) of water that you started with. How is that possible? And I wanted to make chicken soup tonight with my stock I’ve been cooking all day, but if I took out 2-3 qts I’d only have 1 1/2 qts left to store. Where is my math (or water) wrong?!

    • Katie says

      When I made the batch of stock in the photo, I used 3 whole chickens, therefore a TON of water to cover. I don’t measure the water anymore but just make sure those birds are a’swimming. You end up with as much water as you put in, minus perhaps a bit for evaporation. I just have a super big pot! Perhaps your stock is quite concentrated and you can add some water when you use it in recipes without losing any flavor. Next time – more water won’t hurt with two chickens! I hope your stock was delicious in any case – :) Katie

  32. Raylor says

    My antique porcelain roaster is chipped so has some rust spots. I can’t find a repair kit that is heat resistant. It was mom’s so there’s no way I’m giving it up. Thanks!

  33. Baking fool says

    I do this in the crockpot – I’ve got most of a turkey carcass simmering in one now, and always use the carcasses from roast chicken or even rotisserie chicken from the supermarket. I use the onion whole – skin on – wash it really well, trim off loose skin, roots and any stem – it adds a nice gold color to the broth. Along with celery and carrots, I use a few whole peppercorns and a couple of bay leaves. This makes a nice basic broth,

    My crockpot will be on all night. There is much less skimming necessary than with the stockpot on the stove. And I will not fall asleep and let it boil dry and burn and smell, which I have been known to do with the stockpot.

    Do try the crockpot method for a care-free broth making experience!

  34. Missy says

    I want to encourage anyone who is wondering to try CANNING this wonderful stock! I have started doing that this year and it is very very simple. Just take the strained broth, bring to a boil, have jars ready..I put mine in the oven at 150 degrees to get them hot so they don’t break when you pour in boiling broth. Pour the broth into the hot jars leaving 1 inch of headspace, wipe rims clean and cover with a clean simmered flat and screw on the ring. Place in the pressure canner and process for 20 minutes for pints. Voila! Canned broth that you don’t have to thaw every time you want to use it. And it takes no freezer space either. Check the Ball blue book for more information as that is where I learned how to do it.

    • Katie says

      That is so tempting. I suppose getting a pressure canner instead of a bigger freezer would help solve part of my freezer problems! Thanks for the good idea! :) Katie

  35. RACHEL says

    Hi Katie! I have a question i hope you can help me with. I made chicken stock following the directions and when i was done the broth had no flavor at all! Actually it had a little bit of nasty vinegar taste to it. Also the color was pretty clear. I used a carcass of a 3.5 pound chicken. Any ideas about what i did wrong?

    • Katie says

      I never really taste my broth before seasoning it – a little salt – maybe a lot of salt! – and some thyme, pepper, garlic, maybe some other herbs – will help a lot if you’re just sipping the broth without incorporating it into another soup with its own seasonings and flavors. It’s possible you used too much water for a bit of a small chicken – remember that the bones weighed far less than 3.5 lbs after you picked the chicken off. I hope it is salvageable! You can at least cook rice with it or use it as the water in something with lots of flavor like chili or bean soup.
      :) Katie

  36. Kelly says

    I really enjoy your blog and although I’ve made stock plenty of times, I wanted to get your spin on it to see if I’m doing it ‘right’ 😉 How on earth do you cook the stock for 24 hrs? I’m not comfortable leaving a gas stove running when I’m not close by and with 3 kids, school, work, sleep, etc. I don’t ever have 24 hours to hang out in my kitchen.

      • Kelly says

        I was thinking that. I can’t fit a turkey carcass & bones in my crockpot, but that would work after the boiling stage for chicken parts.

    • Katie says

      Welllll…I just make sure there aren’t any flammable objects nearby and do it. ??? A friend will cook hers all day, set it in the garage at night, then start again in the a.m. (in the winter of course). I’m sure 8 hours or so is great too, and sometimes I think mine is almost overdone, because it can lose the gelatin. ???

      :) Katie

      • Kelly says

        My next door neighbor’s house burned down 1 year ago & I am really wary of open flame now!

        I ended up doing something similar to your friend. I cooked it on the gas top as much as I could, then before I went to bed, I heated my oven up to 425, turned it off and put the pot in there for the night. It was still nice and hot when I got up 7 hours later at which point I put it back on the stove for more simmering.

        Everything is frozen now and we’re leaving town, but can’t wait to make soup when we return!

  37. Ronnie says

    If you want more gelatin, use extra necks and backs. The cartilage and connective tissue that hold all those bones together are rich in gelatin.

    When I’m getting good (expensive) meat at our local butcher, I always ask if they have any poultry necks & backs. If they do, they’ll give them to me free of charge. Wonderful, well-raised organic bits ‘n pieces left over from people who ask the butcher to de-bone their birds. Whole Foods generally charges for necks ‘n backs. I’ve also seen frozen (factory farmed) turkey necks at places like Costco for 29 cents per lb.

    I save tops ‘n tails from all my veggies and add them to the bone broth a couple hours before I strain the broth. The stems from a bunch of basil or parsley adds amazing flavor that would have been lost to the compost heap. Same with peelings from organic beet, parsnip, carrot, yam, turnip, rutabaga and potato. What about the center rib from kale? All that “waste” contains precious nutrients.

    Scrub and peel a pile of root veggies, saving the peels in a tightly closed container in the fridge. Chop veggies into similar sized pieces, toss with good oil and a bit of salt and roast them 30-45 minutes while you roast the chicken.

    Add the peelings to the stock pot and simmer for the last couple hours. Strain and compost the peelings as you pick the meat.

    Hmm, a thought. Wrap a whole bulb of unpeeled garlic in aluminum foil with a drizzle of olive oil and roast alongside your chick while it roasts. Roasted garlic keeps almost forever in the fridge. It adds mild nutty flavor as well as nutrients to all sorts of dishes. Squeeze a clove out of its skin, mash with melted butter and toss with steamed green beans. Or mash roasted garlic into salad dressing. Roast garlic mashed potatoes? Roasted garlic would also be a delicious enhancement to chicken soup!

  38. Peter says


    Some thoughts –

    If you leave the fat, which is very healthy (info – ), in the stock it will keep the stock warm for a longer time if you have to turn of the heat for the night. I always find the stock to be mildly warm when I return in the morning, and this did not happen when I used to remove the fat.

    About taste, I often find the stock to not taste much, but when I later cook meat or fish in the stock it will get flavors and aromas from these. I read in a recipe book, think it was Nourishing traditions, that stock do not necessarily taste anything by itself or smell particularly good, but that it adsorbs flavors and aromas from the food you cook in it. I never use vegetables in the stock, but remember that the stock did taste more by itself when I did. Now I avoid vegetables because I don’t want all those minerals in the stock to be bound by any fibers in the vegetables and not being adsorbed in my body. The reason why I think like this is because of info like this –

    Also, I have no idea, but when it comes to adding seaweeds/kelp in the stock that may not be a good idea because the alginates (alginic acids) in seaweeds do attach themselves to quite a few heavy metals, making them unadsorbable by our bodies, which of course is a good thing. However, there is a lot of research about this, but not a single one say anything about the alginates do not attach themselves to regular minerals too. I believe this is suspicious. Many heavy metals are almost identical to regular minerals in their molecular structure, so how do we know alginates can “see” the difference between minerals and heavy metals?

    I know from plant research that plants often do adsorb heavy metals as a way to somewhat replace missing minerals when they are not found in the ground. The heavy metals are said to replace some of the missing minerals functions, but not all.

    My point is that if plants don’t “see”, intentionally or not, the difference between heavy metals and minerals, what about alginates in the stock or in our intestines?

    A last note, about cruciferous vegetables. These are okay in stocks, if you don’t bother about their fiber content, as the health damaging substances in these vegetables (goitrogens) are completely destroyed by long cooking – more info here –

    Have fun :-)


    • Katie says

      I never knew that info about kelp, thanks! Sure clouds the issue, but it’s interesting. 😉

      I hope this isn’t the last comment from you – I’m always appreciative of an educated addition to what I’ve got so far! :) Katie

  39. Mary Kathryn van Eerden says

    I am relatively new to reading your blog. I started back before Thanksgiving. Just before Christmas I dove into some less intimidating recipes – granola and granola bars and homemade Irish creme. All delicious and all gratefully received by family and friends as Christmas gifts. In the last three weeks, I’ve gotten more adventurous and have now made yogurt – twice! It is FABO. We all love it. My 5 and 7-year-olds have not missed a bit switching from store bought to homemade and are quite proud to tell breakfast visitors that it’s homemade. I was so pleased with how easy it is. As of tonight, I’ve made my first batch of chicken broth. It looks good. I’ll cook with it later in the week/weekend. I can’t wait to see how it tastes. Not only have I never made broth, I’ve made it to 42 without ever making anything with a whole chicken! I must say, I feel like I’ve crossed a rite of passage somehow. Thank you so much for the guidance. I have a new approach to two foods we consume often. I’m thrilled about the health and budget benefits! Cheers!

    • Katie says

      Mary Kathryn,
      I’m so proud! You tackled some biggies with huge health benefits, and I love that your kids are proud of the homemade yogurt, too. :) Katie

  40. says

    I’ve been making my own stock for a few years now (since I got my chickens), but I learned two things from your article: 1) I never heard of putting vinegar in to draw out the minerals in the bones (and it makes so much sense), 2) I always just tossed my veggies in at the start, but I think your way would also make them easier to retrieve because after a few hours they really do fall apart. I toss my veggies to the chickens and what they won’t eat goes on the compost pile, so nothing is wasted. :)

  41. Rebecca says

    Hi Katie,
    I read your new article on Real Salt. In it you mentioned that you add seaweed to your chickens stock- my question is doesn’t it make the stock extrememly fishy tasting and smelling? I use Dulse seaweed and it is strong. How much do you add?

    • Katie says

      No, not at all, I add one 4″ or so wide strip of kelp “Wild Atlantic Kombu.” Hope that helps! :) Katie

  42. Brooke Wilson says

    Hey Katie so I have been blessed to stumble across your blog as we prepare for baby number two and wanting to get some meals in the freezer and to make more meals with healthier food choices. So I’ve been reading like crazy and have a question which is probably going to be laughable to all that read this but here goes; Is Chicken stock and chicken broth the same thing and made the same way? Your Cream of X Soup called for Condensed Chicken Stock and I wasn’t sure if I could use the homemade chicken stock that you wrote about above. Is that considered condensed? I’m new to all this homemade stuff but I’m so excited to get started and get our family on the right path to healthier eating. Thanks so much for your help! Brooke :) <

    • Katie says

      Stock and broth are kind of used interchangeably on the blog; technically stock includes the bones and broth does not, so all my chicken stock is stock. You can just use the homemade for the Cream of X Soup, but you’ll get even greater flavor if you just condense it by boiling some of the water off once it’s all finished. It gets darker in color and just magnifies the flavor, which is nice in the cream of soups. But not necessary! Definitely use homemade no matter what. :) You’re doing great! :) Katie

  43. Brooke says

    Thanks Katie for your quick reply. I just had three questions that popped into my head. I started the stock today and was wondering after it is put in fridge for the fat to congeal if you aren’t throwing the fat away do you mix it with the broth before putting it into a jar. I ask b/c what if you use only half the jar for the recipe your making and when you pour it out you get the top layer only which is the fat and not what’s underneath it. Does that make sense? Also I don’t have a lot of glass dishes yet what are your thoughts on freezing the meals in aluminum pans covered in aluminum foil? Does that last long? For the three dishes in one day that you made I wouldn’t actually cook those first if I was freezing them for later. I would just put them together and then freeze them to be cooked for a later time, correct? Thanks Katie! :) <

    • Katie says

      The fat will still rise to the top again, so you just mix after thawing. Freezing in aluminum is okay, but aluminum isn’t great for you. I have seen people line their glass dish with aluminum foil, freeze that, then pop the foil out with a block of casserole – then you can freeze the casserole in plastic bag and use your glass dish to bake!

      On the 3 casseroles I made, I would probably cook the ones with potatoes, just because raw potatoes don’t freeze great. Then thaw and reheat. Enjoy! :) Katie

    • ~M says

      Try mason jars, which are glass and relatively inexpensive. They also are great use of vertical freezer space. :)

    • Katie says

      Yes! I don’t have a pressure canner, which you’d need (find some reputable directions to follow), but I know many people who can stock. Enjoy! :) Katie

  44. jeanne says

    I’ve made my own stock for years. No preservatives or MSG in this family’s food! Here’s a tip I’ve learned for getting more gelatin into the broth: cut the bones before simmering the carcass. This opens the marrow and allows more of that good stuff to be released into the stock. Also, this improves the flavor. The cutting takes some work, so unless you are really strong and have good utility scissors or a very sharp clever, ask the butcher to do it for you.

  45. Anonymous says

    In order to get the stock to gel, first try cutting the bones in to 3-4 inch pieces. This will expose more surface are so more collagen (connective tissue) will break down. Also, younger birds have more connective tissue and to maximize the gelatinous effect, don’t pre-cook your chicken or the bones will start to break down. You could also try adding raw parts such as knuckle bones, necks, feet, legs or wings; parts with lots of joints will have more connective tissue, thus more collagen.

  46. Candy says

    Chicken feet…that’s the key for a broth that jells.

    On my stove top I usually have pot of cold filtered water with some seaweed. It can set for 24 hours without a problem. Cold water leeches different nutrients than when you put the heat on. I use this as the basis for all soups, for cooking beans, etc. An easy way to get extra nutrients.

  47. Tim says

    I’ve been making my own stock for years but it never occurred to me to do a vinegar pre-soak. My wife can use all the calcium she an get. I’ll definitely try that next time.

    Because I like to be able to have more control over the flavor in the final dishes, I make my stock with just the chicken (no veggies). This way I just add lots of veggies to a creamy veggie soup but I don’t have to have that extra homogeneous floral bouquet smudging up my starkly meaty tarragon gravy. I also rarely use raw parts for the stock simply because I have so many excellent and tasty uses for roasted chicken and so few uses for meely mush. On the occasions that I cut up the bird raw to use in specific recipes, I throw the carcass in the oven to roast along with another bird (or whenever I next have the oven going) simply because I prefer the roasty flavor in the stock. That said the only extra-chicken flavor I never regret adding to my stock is the honey I rub into the breast (under the skin) before roasting. I’ll even add a little honey to a carcass if I’m not using another whole roasted bird (with honey) in the batch.

    To strain I use a heavy cotton waist apron (from a restaurant supply) and a second (gargantuan) pot. I line the inside of the second stock pot with the apron and use the waist ties to tie it off under the lip (so that the entire edge of the fabric is hanging outside the ties). Since I’ve already removed all the edible meat by the time I make the stock, I don’t have any sorting to do. I dump the entire contents of my first stock pot into the lined second stock pot, carefully gather the edges and untie the apron, lift up, squeeze out from the top down till it wont drip on the trek to the trash, open the apron over the trash. Done. Straining takes 5 min. including prep (provided my other gargantuan stock pot is clean). To clean the apron I use the first stock pot to give it a good stovetop bath over medium-high heat with lots of soap and stirring, rinse thoroughly, repeat, and toss it in the laundry. I’ve tried other more lazy methods involving long unattended soaking but I have a pair of jeans and a few towels that still smell like chicken fat. The clean-up is a bit worky (10 min. of cooking and manhandling an initially disgusting apron) but the resulting stock is absolutely beautiful –it looks like liquid gemstones –and my first stock pot is clean and ready for the next part of my stock routine (see below).

    As to gelatin, it does come from the marrow of the bones not the fat (making true stock very not kosher) and if cooked adequately WILL be in the stock whether or not the stock gels. I can’t think of any reason why organic chicken would have different amounts of gelatin than “inorganic” chickens, not even happy vs sad chickens should make a difference there (flavor and nutritional differences not withstanding.) However, over heating gelatin (easy to do) causes it to curl up (molecularly) and you don’t get the happy gelatinous goo that we all love. Reading this post has inspired me to do a slow batch again. I started using the pressure canner (very high heat) to make the stock one summer because the prospect of having my burner going for an hour instead of 24-48 hours is super sexy when you live in a small bungalow sans AC. The convenience of freeing up the range coupled with the fact that the nifty gel thing is only a bragging right since the gelatin invariably gets over-heated in the subsequent recipes anyway means that I’ve kept it up even during winter when the extra heat and humidity would be otherwise welcome. (I’ve modified my technique to “simmer” at high-ish pressure with just enough heat to keep it pressurized above the ambient atmospheric pressure overnight. This seems to get everything I want out of the birds (they’re quite inedible and fallen apart) while still shortening the time its taking up space on the range. The gel is, however, very comforting and soul-satisfying when your sicker than a dog and can’t keep anything nutritious down besides plain stock. (Disclaimer: your true soul will not actually be nourished or satisfied by stock, gelatinous or otherwise. Only, your mouth and the part of your brain that wearies quickly of consuming only liquids will be satiated.) I could be dead wrong but I’m pretty certain the gelatin in stock is just as good for you (nutritionally not emotionally) whether “over cooked” or not. However, the low and slow method is the ONLY way to get all of the gelatin out intact and I’m elated to find another person with a true low and slow stock recipe (most call for simmering only a couple hours or just plain boiling it to death).

    Also, since I have a pressure canner, I use it to put up the stock too. (This is why I don’t mind cleaning my straining apron in this pot.) I usually go through the chicken stock pretty quickly so freezing (and keeping it frozen) isn’t a big energy sink. But for ham, turkey, or beef stock that I make seasonally or infrequently and eek out over the following year it is WAY more energy efficient to spend an hour putting my range though its paces and then letting the canned stock sit at room temp for months till I use it. I still can the chicken stock too because I have a small inconvenient freezer and a large convenient pantry with custom-built shelves for home-canned foods.

    Incidentally, a pint mason jar filled to one inch below the rim (appropriate level for canning stock) yields exactly 14 oz. Swansons didn’t invent the size of their cans to cheat us 2 oz out of a pint but to make their product conveniently interchangeable with real home-canned stock. (c: This also makes my price comparison pretty easy. I currently have 20 14 oz. jars of eat-your-heart-out-Swansons chicken stock cooling on the counter from the carcasses of two honey roasted chickens (at $.99/lb), not to mention the moist and sweet roasted breasts, the juicy fall-off-the-bone (in a good way) thighs and legs, plus all the other bits and pieces that have all already gone into vast quantities of soup and pasta dishes.

    • Katie says

      You are a master! The apron trick is genius. Someday I’ll have a pressure canner, if only for saving stock and canning some meats for emergency purposes.
      Thanks for the great tips! :) Katie

Take a Bite (of conversation)

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *