From Scratch Chicken Stock

I’m telling you… once you’ve made chicken stock from scratch, and you see how easy it is to throw together and you taste how delicious it is, you’ll think awfully hard about not buying store bought stock ever again.

I make my stock almost completely from kitchen scraps– the stuff that most people would throw away. A leftover roasted chicken carcass, the innards and neck that are usually bagged in the cavity of a store-bought whole chicken, onion skins and ends, carrot peelings and tips, celery stubs and garlic scraps. Whenever I’m cooking in the kitchen and end up with any of these tidbits I toss them all together into a freezer bag until I have enough to make a big pot of stock. When I’m ready to cook it all down, I usually chop up some fresh onion and carrots to add to the pot of scraps, and maybe toss in a few garlic cloves, just to give it a little more flavor.

Since it’s made with stuff that would have otherwise been tossed, it’s pretty much free to make.

If you freeze all of your scraps ahead of time, prep is super easy. Just toss the bones, meat and veggies into a pot, add some spices, cover it with water and let it go! Keep in mind that the stock will need to be refrigerated overnight before you use it, so plan to make it a day in advance.

I’m telling you, the flavor is incredible. Totally worth the effort.

Homemade Chicken Stock - made from kitchen scraps and bones

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

  • 1 whole roasted chicken carcass; or 4 lbs chicken pieces with bones (cooked or uncooked)
  • chicken innards, neck, and/or feet
  • onion peels and scraps, enough to equal about 2 large onions
  • carrot peels and scraps, enough to equal 2 large carrots
  • celery scraps, enough to equal 2 large celery ribs
  • 10 peppercorns
  • 1 head of garlic (leave skin on), broken into cloves
  • 2 Tbsp salt

Place all of the ingredients at once into a large stockpot, adding enough cold water to cover the chicken. Put a lid on the pot and bring it to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Skim off any floating fat and scum. Continue simmering on low for 4-5 hours (or you can cook in a crockpot on low for 9-12 hours). Turn the pot off and allow it to cool down, then strain the liquid through a colander or cheesecloth. Transfer the strained stock to the fridge to sit overnight. The next day remove any hardened fat from the top, then use the stock as desired.

Once all of the fat has been removed from the stock you can use it to make a nourishing soup, pressure can it, or allow it to cool to room temp. before transferring the stock to freezer bags. Learn how to pressure can chicken stock.

Homemade chicken noodle soup is a fantastic way to use chicken stock, especially when you’re feeling under the weather.  There are so many amazing vitamins and minerals in a nutritious bone stock. Whenever any of us are recovering from a stomach flu I like to add Black Lava Salt to a cup of hot chicken stock to sip a teaspoon at a time every 30 minutes until we can hold down more. Black Lava Salt is infused with activated charcoal, which will help absorb the bad stuff in your stomach causing it to be upset.

Do you have a favorite chicken stock or broth recipe you’d like to share?

32 thoughts on “From Scratch Chicken Stock”

  1. I do love broth! Another tip, when placing the doc in the fridge to solidify the fat, place a sheet of wax paper on the top of the broth…The fat will stick to it and easy removal with the waxed paper! Happy canning!

  2. I read that adding 2 Tablespoons of vinegar in the pot while cooking brings the minerals out of the bones to make your stock even more hearty.

  3. To me it isn’t worth the electricity or gas to can only 5 pints. Do at least 3 chickens worth of broth at a time or enough to fill the canner and have some left over to freeze or use right away with chicken and dumplings or pot pie using some of the chicken that was just cooked.

  4. Here is my post on canning chicken noodle soup from raw chicken. I use skin on thighs as they are the right size to fit in a pint jar and the skin/bones easily fall off later when you want to use it. I make a pot/crockpot of broth to add to the raw thighs before canning to make it double strength so you can add water just like the store bought kind. I don’t add the noodles when I can, as I just can’t imagine them not being too soggy. I read you should heat home canned food well before serving which is plenty of time to cook the thin noodles. If you have laying chickens, a pasta maker is a worthwhile gadget as you can make them for the cost of a pound of flour.

  5. I use a recipe from 100 days of real food to roast a chicken in the crockpot…we have some for dinner and de-bone the rest to save for more meals that week or freeze for later use….afte de-boneing I throw all the chicken parts back into the crockpot add a few carrots onion celery whatever I have on hand and fill up with water turn it pack on low all night…the next day on my lunch break i turn it off and when I get home from work (1-2hours later) its cool enough to pour out of the pot. I frequently put it in big bowls in the fridge to let the fat solidfy and scrape it off the next morning …but not always it depends on the fattiness of the bird….I’ve always frozen my broth in containers and ice cube trays but I like the idea of canning it too…I live in hurricane country so the power going out is a real possibilty! Thanks for Telling me how to can!!

  6. I preheat my oven to 250, bring my slightly chopped carcass and vegetable ends to a boil on the stove top in a dutch oven (starting with cold water and bringing the lot to a boil gently). When they are at a rolling boil, I put the pot in my oven and leave it overnight. I wake up to a slightly warmer kitchen (we turn our heat down to 55) and a great smell. I run the liquid through a mesh strainer and stick it in the frig. I generally get a great broth with lots of flavor and gelatin.

  7. I have an old pressure cooker I got from craigslist last yr but the seal is not good. Can I use my water bath instead until I get a new seal?

    • Deborah,

      NO. It is definitely NOT safe to use a water bath canner when a recipe specifically requires a pressure canner. 🙂 And be sure that you don’t confuse a pressure COOKER with a pressure CANNER. You cannot can in a pressure cooker. Hope that helps!!

  8. This is going on my “must try” list! I just started experimenting with canning jams, apple filling, but I would use chicken stock more often! Great post.

  9. I’ve got a bunch of roosters running around destined to visit the canner soon. Too tough for anything else. Maybe I’ll can some stock also. My girls would love to grab a jar to add to noodles for a quick lunch!

  10. Oh, one more tip: This is something I’ve read and not done yet, just fyi. You can actually save your bones (freeze them) to make even more stock, out of the same chicken. Now that’s economical too. : )

  11. To save some time and bump up the healthy value in your stock:

    You don’t have to strain the fat. I know this sounds counter-intuitive to all the ‘low fat’ propaganda out there, but the fat you leave in the stock from the chicken is good-for-you fat w/ lots of extra protein and other vitamins and minerals.

    Also, not skimming/straining the fat is less messy! Win-win.

    At first it may look like your stock will be a mess if you don’t strain, but that’s not the case. It will just dissolve into your stock and really bump up the natural chicken soup flavor as well. I actually had a hard time (despite how long I would boil/simmer) my soup in the beginning – getting it to really have that thick full ‘chicken soup’ flavor that is so good. Then I learned about NOT straining the fat and decided to leave it in. All I can say is YUMMO! This works great and takes less effort to boot.

    • I’m so glad you posted this. I had read that if you’re using organic chicken/beef, the fat is good for you. Plus that’s where most of the flavor resides. We leave the animal fat in the broth. At first, I didn’t when I started making bone broth but ended up adding a pat of butter to each bowl when serving. Why not save money and leave the chicken or beef fat in the broth?

  12. I agree with Pam. When I first tried my hand at making stock I used whole vegetables. Not any more. To me the whole point of making stock is to use what otherwise would be thrown out. The chicken/turkey carcass and bits and ends of vegetables. Since I am going to strain it I really don’t even worry about peeling the vegetables. Onion skins give the broth a little more color. It taste soooo much better than the canned stuff you buy in the store.

    One more tip, if you are pressed for time. Since I found out that you can freeze in canning jars, I pour it into them and freeze it. I would suggest using wide mouth jars. Of course canning is better because you don’t have to worry about having electricity to keep it. But this works great if you don’t have time to can it.

  13. I love me some homemade chicken stock! We don’t even can it because we go through it as fast as we make it! I just keep it in mason jars in the fridge! I love having it around – it’s a kitchen staple! Done right, it is such a rich source of nutrients! Here’s a tip I’ve learned: when you put your chicken in, cut it into pieces and kinda break the bones a bit. This will help to release the nutrients from the bones and the bone marrow. YUM! I’m actually working on a post right now about how I used to make stock and how I make it now – progress and changes are always happening! 🙂 Hope the kiddos are feeling better!

  14. We’ve been making canned stocks for years out of chicken, turkey, duck, beef, pork, salmon, rabbit…I can’t even remember them all. I have a 38 liter stockpot specifically for the purpose. There’s a couple of tricks to note that we have learned over the years that may not be obvious to those new to it (all learned by losing too many jars of stock to bacteria). Depending on how much headspace you leave when filling the jars, you have to be careful NOT to allow any particles between the lid and the edge of the jar. It may look like it seals but in reality it does not and you will lose the jar to bacteria. A good trick that we have learned is after the jar is sealed and cooled, coat the top in parrafin wax. It seals it really well and you will also protect the edges of the lid from being accidentally caught on anything. Also, leave fat on the stock. Enough to give you a good quarter-inch (or more) layer on the stock when it cools in the jar. The fat will protect the stock from the air even if your lid fails. Done right, we’ve had canned stock that we used 5 years later that was still good.

    Oh, and canned stock is AWESOME. 🙂

  15. So glad to hear you’ve discovered the beauty that is homemade broth! Something else I do to be on the frugal side is to save all of my chicken (or turkey) bones in the freezer to make stock when I have enough. I also save all of the fresh veggie scraps from ends of garlic and onions, carrot and potato peelings, ends of asparagus, etc. in a bag in the freezer. Then I can add that to my bones for stock. Those scraps are still full of nutrients and I’m not wasting anything, as we don’t have a place for a composter at this point.

  16. Great post, Kendra! I make my chicken stock in the crockpot. Just put the carcass and veggies in with some water and spice and let it go on low overnight. So easy!

  17. I usually add a tablespoon or two of apple cider vinegar to mine while its initially cooking as well because it pulls the calcium out of the bones. When the broth is cool, it will be very gelatinous but works the same way. 🙂

  18. This is a great way to use the old birds, spent laying hens and roosters. The chickens with some age on them have the best flavor.
    I had heard that making broth with the chicken feet is very high in glucosamine and good for your joints. I have made it several times now and really think it is good stuff. It makes a very gelatinous broth when it cools. I now save all of my chicken parts, giblets and feet and bag and freeze them to use for broth. Good stuff!

  19. Hummm, I’d chop up veggies but put it in a mesh bag to be cooked in broth and then take out to be served for supper! That’d be extra veggies added…. I wonder how that would go? Oh by the way, I do have few whole chickens (5+ years) deeply buried in freezer needing to be used up somehow- mabe this!?! 🙂


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