Making bone broth in the Instant Pot is an excellent hack for saving time and money in a real food kitchen.
There are two different Instant Pot methods that work with chicken, beef, or pork bones. The result is a healthy, nutrient-dense stock that you can drink on its own or add to recipes to boost the flavor and health factor of your meals.
We’ve often talked about the benefits of homemade stock here at Kitchen Stewardship®. And whenever I am giving anyone either time-saving or money-saving tips, I come back to great big batches of soup with homemade bone broth.
I’ve been making broth (also known as stock or bone broth) for almost 20 years now since it was one of the techniques passed down to me from my mom. I can still remember calling her from my first college apartment, asking her what she did with all those bones from a chicken after it was in the slow cooker.
I even made homemade bone broth while in labor with my third child. That’s how easy it is.
My systems have changed over the years, because while it’s not hard to make bone broth on the stove, there probably are some serious risks to leaving a gas stove on for 24 hours, including overnight.
I used to do that regularly with three chickens in a huge canning pot. Praise God nothing ever happened to burn down my house! But I still look back and wonder about the potential toxicity from the fumes of having a gas stove on that long.
I can’t change what I’ve done. But I will say that when I got my 8-quart Instant Pot and started using it exclusively to make bone broth, life got remarkably easier.
Sourcing Ingredients for Instant Pot Bone Broth
One of the very best things about bone broth is that it takes ingredients that would normally be composted or discarded in the trash and turns them into one of the most nutrient-dense foods we can consume.
You primarily need bones from previously cooked meat like roasted chicken or spare ribs, vegetable scraps like onion peels or celery or carrot tops, and time – with one of these methods even the amount of time needed is minimal!
A super-easy way to gather these items is to keep a covered container in your freezer specifically for broth ingredients.
Chopping an onion to go with tonight’s dinner? Toss that peel into the broth container.
Grilling some spare ribs or drumsticks for a cookout? Pick the bones clean and add them to the broth container.
Roasting carrots as a side dish? Peels and tops go into the broth container.
You get the drift.
Once the container is full, it can be as simple as dumping the container into the Instant Pot with water and a little vinegar and getting cooking.
Where to Buy an Instant Pot
This is the 6-quart Instant Pot I started out with. After a few years, we added an 8-quart partly because I knew I would use two at the same time often enough, partly because it was the Prime Day sale, and also because I wanted more space for certain recipes. Both are a pretty basic model and you don’t need more bells and whistles than that!
If you’re deciding on size, most people say it’s better to get a deal on the 6-quart and just have 2 rather than go big, BUT if your family has 5 or more people or you really like to batch cook or do more than a pound of beans, the 8-quart may be the best choice. My full Instant Pot review and buying guide for features, size, and model.
If you’re still on the fence about adding an Instant Pot to your kitchen appliance arsenal here are my Instant Pot pros and cons.
How to Make Bone Broth in the Instant Pot (2 Ways)!
Using the Instant Pot for bone broth ensures my burner is not left unattended and is not occupied for so long, and I can still make a really big batch of stock.
In fact, since you can make up to three batches with chicken or pork bones and six or more with beef bones, I could keep my Instant Pot full with broth nearly all the time.
The Instant Pot can either make a batch of bone broth quickly or act as a slow cooker with a non-toxic, stainless-steel insert that will make the stock overnight. In this post, I will include instructions for both styles.
If you don’t have roasted bones saved in the freezer, your first step will be to cook a whole chicken (or maybe a rack of ribs). You can do that either by roasting the chicken in the oven or by cooking a whole chicken in the Instant Pot.
Pick all the meat off the chicken, no matter how you cook it and put the bones right back in the Instant Pot. If you have beef soup bones, you can roast them in a roasting pan or on a rimmed cookie sheet in the oven at 400 degrees for 40 minutes to boost flavor, but this step is optional.
Then, depending on if you’re moving quickly or slowly, the instructions diverge.Print
A slower method for making traditional bone broth in the Instant Pot.
- 1–2 lbs chicken or pork bones (you can use more beef bones, but because they are large you may want to make several smaller batches instead)
- Up to 1 gallon of water
- Vegetable scraps
- 1–2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Salt (Use the code kitchenstewardship for 15% off of your first purchase)
- After picking the meat off your bones, put them back into the Instant Pot and cover with water up to about two inches from the top. When you’re using the slow cooker function instead of the pressure cooker, you can fill the pot more full, which I love, too: more broth per batch.
- Turn on the slow-cook function for at least 12 hours. There’s a lot of play here, where you can be finished completely in about 14 hours or go a full 24 hours. Generally, I’m going to use the broth the next night for dinner, so I want it done at about 4 p.m.
- A few hours before you want your broth to be done, open the lid, and add those onions, celery, carrot, and garlic ends and trimmings. This will add a lot of flavor to the broth. If your Instant Pot has switched over to a “low” setting, hit the Cancel button and turn the slow cooker function back on. We want the broth to continue cooking.
- After another hour or two with all the vegetables in there, your broth is finished. You can strain through a colander into a large bowl and use immediately in soups, stews or rice. Remember to add one teaspoon salt per four cups broth to make it taste like store-bought broth.
Why not add the vegetables at the beginning? Long cooking of onion skins, in particular, can create a rather bitter taste in the broth, so it’s better to add them just a few hours from the end.
The apple cider vinegar isn’t strictly necessary, but the acid can help make the nutrients in the bones more available.
You can still make multiple batches with one set of bones. Grab some fresh veggies or veggie scraps and you can start this process all over again for more broth ready for the next night’s dinner.
Keywords: bone broth recipe, bone broth in the Instant Pot, chicken bone broth, beef bone broth
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Bone Broth in the Instant Pot – the Quick Method
In my normal life, typically, I’m cooking a chicken for dinner. And then, after dinner, I’m coming back to pick all the meat off and sort it out into the freezer.
That means if I did a quick pressure cooker broth, it would be finished about the time I want to go to bed, and I don’t really want to be messing with storing broth at that point. So, as a general rule, my bones go back into the pressure cooker, and I use the slow cook function.
However, the quick method can be handy if you realize you don’t have any broth or haven’t thawed it but need it for dinner.
In this method, all the traditional benefits of bone broth are preserved, but the power of cooking under pressure shaves off valuable hours – without sacrificing nutrients!
The last time I was sick, I only had frozen broth in the house, but I had some bones in the freezer, too. It was actually quicker to make broth in my Instant Pot than to thaw a jar of frozen broth not using the microwave. I cannot tell you how glad I was to have warming, nourishing broth in a mug going into my parched body.
Quick Method Alterations
- Put all your ingredients including the vegetable scraps in the Instant Pot at the beginning. Only fill the water to about 2/3 of the way full. Since you’re using high pressure you can’t fill it as high as when using the slow cooker function.
- Set the Instant Pot for 30 minutes on high or use the SOUP button if your Instant Pot has it for 70 minutes.
- Let the pressure naturally release for about half an hour before opening.
- This takes about an hour and a half total.
That’s it. The only time I’m unhappy that I’m making chicken stock in my Instant Pot is if I realize I want to make a really big batch of beans the next day as well, and I only have one 8-quart pot. Who knows, maybe someday even that will change.
Different Ways to Use Bone Broth
Let’s start with the obvious – pour it in a coffee mug and drink it! That honestly is one of the best ways to enjoy this lovely nourishing liquid—especially the first batch made from the bones, which I find to be super flavorful and rich.
Bone broth can also be used as a substitute for water in almost any savory recipe. This is an excellent use of those second and third batches, which will be a little lighter in color and flavor than the first.
Add extra flavor to rice, mashed potatoes, soups, or casseroles – you could even use it for sauteing up a bunch of leafy greens or other fresh veggies.
Have you tried batch cooking? It’s one of my favorite kitchen hacks to save time while cooking real food, but my take may be slightly different than the ones you’ve seen before.
Instead of making large batches of food and saving them for later, I batch together kitchen tasks and link one night’s dinner to the next. Think of it as getting a head start on your next meal. The net result is time savings AND fresh dinners every night.
The current trend in meal prep seems to be focused on taking several hours on a weekend day to chop and prep veggies, cook meats, and then assemble the leftovers into a multitude of containers.
This is great if it works for you, but my family gets sick of eating leftovers all the time and I get tired of keeping track of all the containers in the fridge! Plus, spending 3-4 hours in the kitchen on a Saturday or Sunday afternoon is usually the last thing I want to do.
My Real Food Head Start 7 Day Dinner Plan provides a framework for incorporating my technique each day to save time on future meals and even start stocking your freezer if you want, while still making and serving a fresh dinner. The best part is, you use the time you are already in the kitchen – no extra prep day needed!
Several ways to incorporate bone broth, too!
If you still need a little inspiration, try it in a few of these recipes –
- Smoky Mexican Chicken Soup
- Thai Chicken Stir Fry Soup
- Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes – No Drain!
- Instant Pot Mexican Brown Rice
What about Freezing Bone Broth?
Freezing bone broth is a great way to keep this great nourishing liquid on hand at all times or preserve it if you find you have too much to use at once. You can freeze bone broth in several different ways.
Mason jars, also known as canning jars, are a great way to store bone broth in the freezer. It’s important to remember to leave enough ‘head room’ at the top of the jar to allow for expanding in the freezer.
All this means is you need to leave about a 1-2 inch space between the top of the liquid and the top of the jar. That way, when the broth freezes and expands against the glass, it has somewhere to go (up) and doesn’t explode (out). Ask me how I know… #facepalm
Note that some sizes/styles of mason jars are freezer safe and some are not, so make sure you know what you have!
These stainless steel reusable lids (available in regular and wide mouth) are great to use for storing broth in the freezer. They also make storing leftover soups, homemade mayo, homemade ranch dressing, or any other liquid or semi-liquid foodstuffs a breeze in the fridge or freezer.
Make your Instant Pot work for you!
I won’t tell if your Instant Pot is still in its box, pinky swear. 😉
I left mine abandoned in the basement for almost a YEAR because I have a new-thing-instructions phobia, but now I have TWO Instant Pots and they’re both in constant use!
Turns out it’s so easy, a kid can do it — I’ll send you a quick video of my children unboxing and setting it up when you grab your FREE download mini eBook:
Get the Instant Pot Guidebook for FREE!
What’s in the Guidebook?
You’ll love the simplicity of your Instant Pot, and the free downloadable guidebook will help you:
- Adapt your own favorite recipes from the slow cooker
- Cook FROZEN ground beef
- Hard boil eggs perfectly
- Cook squash, steam veggies, and make applesauce in your IP
- Make dry beans in an hour and perfect rice without boiling over
- Steam veggies al dente and make Paleo cauli rice in minutes
- Cook a whole chicken and make FAST bone broth
Whether yours is still in the box or you’ve used it a little but want to know more about those techniques, or if you’re still pining for an IP on your wish list, I can’t wait to give you these simple baby steps to success!
Stainless Steel or other BPA Free Storage Container
These stainless steel, glass, or other BPA free storage containers have the edge over mason jars in my book because of their stackability! Several different designs are available for purchase on Amazon.
Remember to leave some extra space in the container, especially if you are using glass, to allow for expansion.
Reusable Storage Bags
This is an excellent solution if you don’t have a ton of extra room. These BPA free reusable storage bags come in various sizes (I think quart size is best for freezing broth) and, once frozen, can be stacked neatly in the freezer.
Frozen as Ice Cubes
Frozen broth cubes are great to have on hand if you want just a little pop of extra flavor in your rice, to saute some leafy greens, or to add to some leftovers to aid in reheating.
Just pour cooled broth into ice cube molds. Once frozen, remove the bone broth cubes and store in a BPA free reusable store bag or other freezer-safe containers, as mentioned above.
Putting Your Instant Pot to Good Use
The Instant Pot has been such an essential tool to help me save time and money while cooking real food. Check out these other great posts to learn more about putting your Instant Pot to good use in your kitchen.
- 10 Basic Instant Pot Techniques
- 10 Instant Pot Recipes Even My Husband Can Make
- 5 Ways to Save Money on Real Food with the Instant Pot
- Convert Slow Cooker Recipes to the Instant Pot
- How to Cook Frozen Ground Beef in the Instant Pot