Homemade Chicken Stock is easier to make than you may think! In fact, it can be made on the stove top, Crockpot, or Instant Pot – whichever is most convenient for you. This recipe yields the best tasting broth no matter which method you use.
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Homemade chicken stock is super easy to make and so healthy. You can use any chicken cuts you’d like as long as it has bones in it. It all gets combined with vegetables and herbs. There are few simple ingredients required for making chicken stock and it can be made on the stove, Crockpot, or Instant Pot.
I keep chicken and beef stock on hand at all times because I use it several times a week. It’s not only soups that call for stock, many sauces and dinner recipes also require some addition of stock. That’s why I always several portions in the freezer ready to go! (More info on freezing below).
It’s very easy to make your own stock. It’s also healthier than store-bough and cheaper, too. Packaged broth and stock is full of preservatives and other ingredients to help increase shelf life. When it comes to homemade, you know every ingredient used to make it and every ingredient is hand-picked by you.
What Kind of Chicken to Use for Stock
Any type of chicken can be used, as long as it’s bone-in. You can use anything from the whole chicken to a chicken carcass to make your stock.
Whole Chicken – If using a whole chicken, make sure to remove the giblets from the cavity first. Whole chicken can be seared as well, just make sure to sear it on all four sides.
Chicken Cuts – Use bone-in chicken thighs, chicken legs, bone-in chicken breast, and/or wings and drums. When using bone-in chicken breast halves, I highly recommend that you also add some bone-in chicken thighs for the marrow bones. Marrow bones is what you need for the stock to be full of nutrients.
Carcass – You can use leftover roasted chicken carcass to make stock as well. It’s a good way to utilize the carcass but it’s not my first choice for homemade stock. Since chicken bones have already been cooked, there won’t be as many nutrients available to be transferred into the stock. If you have access to raw chicken carcass, it would be much better to use.
Chicken – It must be bone-in chicken (read section above).
Celery Bottoms – I always recommend rinsing celery before using it. Celery tends to have residue on it from wherever it was grown. Remember to save the stalks for your soups and other recipes!
Carrots – Peel them and cut them in half. They should be on the larger side.
Onion – A yellow onion is my favorite because it has a natural sweetness to it that beautifully compliments the rest of the stock.
Herbs – You’ll need a medley of bay leaves, fresh thyme and fresh parsley for the best flavor.
See the recipe card below for the full list of ingredients and instructions.
What is bone marrow?
Using marrow bones is what makes the best stock that is rich, meat-flavored, and nutritious. Bone marrow is the soft tissue found inside the large, hollow bones. Marrow is chock-full of nutrients like collagen, iron, calcium, zinc, omega-3 fatty acids, Vitamin A, and so much more. It is definitely a super-food that will give your soups cold-fighting super powers.
Nutrition in bone marrow helps promote skin health, joint health, digestive health, and boosts the immune system. If you’ve ever wondered how a bowl of soup can actually make you feel better, this is how. When prepared with the best broth and lots of meat and vegetables, a bowl of soup can provide a lot of vitamins and nutritional benefits that will help your body fight the virus.
By cooking meat with bones (and just bones) for a long time, it releases all these nutrients into the stock. You will have the best chicken broth your time and money can buy, even though there was minimal effort involved and it’s budget friendly.
How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock
Sear the chicken. Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat, add some oil, and add chicken. (You may need to sear the chicken in batches so you don’t over-crows the pot.) Sear on both sides until chicken skin is golden brown (1).
Boil, cover and cook. Add vegetables, herbs, peppercorns, salt, and water (2, 3). Bring mixture to boil, lower heat to low, cover with a lid loosely, and cook for about 2 hours. Take the lid off and cook another 2 hours uncovered (4).
PRO TIP: For my chicken stock, I take an extra step of searing the chicken first for additional flavor. It takes a few extra minutes and it’s worth it.
Strain. Pour the stock through a fine strainer and let the chicken and vegetables sit in the strainer for 10-15 minutes so that all the liquid comes out (5).
Save the meat. Separate chicken from bones and skin and save it to be used in soup (6). Discard the vegetables.
How To Make Chicken Stock In the Instant Pot?
Absolutely! Chicken stock can be easily made in an Instant Pot in about an hour. One thing to remember is that an Instant Pot can’t be filled all the way up, so make sure to fill it to the recommended fill line. Depending on the size of your Instant Pot, you may need to cut the recipe in half.
Set Instant Pot to sauté setting and preheat. Add some oil and sear chicken until golden brown. Combine vegetables, herbs, peppercorns, and salt in with the chicken and pour in water to the fill line.
Close the lid on the Instant Pot until it’s latched, close the valve to “seal,” and set to cook on high pressure for 45 minutes. Once time is up, let it release naturally for 10-15 minutes and then do a quick release.
Make It In the Slow Cooker
To make chicken stock in the slow cooker, start it in the pot on the stove to build flavor. Begin as recipe states, by searing the chicken in the pan over medium-high heat.
Transfer the seared chicken and the liquids accumulate in the pan into the slow cooker. Add veggies, seasoning, herbs and water as recipe states.
Close the lid and cook on LOW for 10-12 hours. Finish the recipe as instructed in the recipe: strain the stock through the fine mesh strainer and save the chicken for the soup.
Chicken broth is thinner, usually has less intense and rich flavor, and most importantly, it’s made with chicken meat. Chicken stock is a bit thicker, more rich and deep in flavor, and it is made with chicken bones. What makes the biggest difference is using chicken bones, they add marrow into the stock, which adds more flavor and health benefits.
Personally, I keep the lid on most of the time but I do take the lid off for the last couple of hours. Keeping the lid on does keep the heat in and helps cook a little faster, and it also keeps the moisture in and prevents liquids from cooking out (reducing). Sometimes, you don’t want the liquids to cook out but other times, cooking out some liquid intensifies the flavor. So letting some liquids cook out (reduce) in the stock is good for a deeper, more intense flavor.
Yes, chicken stock is packed with protein, vitamins, and nutrients from the veggies and chicken and bone marrow. At the same time and being full of nutrients, it’s also low in calories. There is a reason why it’s said that homemade chicken and vegetable soup is so good to have when you’re sick, because you can pack it with many vitamins to boost your immune system and give your body the strength it needs to fight the cold. No, it will not cure your cold, but it will help relieve some symptoms and help your body fight it.
Store homemade chicken stock in the refrigerator, in glass jars with lids. In the refrigerator, homemade stock will last for up to 3 days. I always recommend using the stock within a day or two or freeze it.
Homemade stock, not matter beef, chicken, or vegetable, does NOT have a long shelf life. So use it relatively soon or freeze it!
PRO TIP: Homemade stock should not be left of the counter for too long because bacteria will start to grow and it will lessen the shelf life. Refrigerate stock as soon as it cools down.
How to Freeze Chicken Stock
Homemade stock is very easy to freeze large batches or divided into smaller portions.
Freeze stock in zip-top freezer bags and plastic air-tight containers for larger amounts, or muffins pans and ice cube trays for smaller portions. Smaller portions can be used in sauces and other recipes that call for just a little bit of stock and broth.
Larger containers – Divide cooled stock among the plastic, freezer friendly containers or freezer bags. Make sure to fill them no more than 3/4 of the way full to allow room for expanding as it freezes. Seal, label, and place in the freezer. Plastic bags can be laid on a large cutting board to freeze and then stacked when frozen. That will save room in the freezer.
Muffin pans and ice cube trays – Ladle cooled chicken stock into the muffin pan cups or ice cube trays. Carefully place in the freezer and freeze for about 3 hours until completely frozen. Once it’s frozen, transfer the cubes into freezer zip-top bags, seal, label and freeze. (You can portion the cubes into several smaller freezer bags as well.)
Keep homemade stock in the freezer for up to 3 months.
More Recipes That Use Chicken Stock
The most obvious use of chicken stock is in soups, of course.
Don’t think too small though, its has many more uses as well. Use it when making sauces when the recipe calls for sock, broth, or even water to add more flavor. Chicken sauces, pasta sauces, and seafood sauces both benefit from it. If you don’t have beef stock for your steak sauces, you can use chicken stock.
You can also use it to cook rice and pasta for a much more flavorful dish!
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Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe
- 2 tbsp canola oil
- 2.5 lbs bone in chicken legs, thighs, or whole chicken
- 1 large yellow onion peeled and cut in half
- 2 large carrots peeled and cut in half
- 2 celery bottoms (save stalks for soup)
- 1 whole garlic bulb separated and peeled
- 2 bay leaves
- 10 springs of fresh thyme
- 10-12 springs of fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
- 1 tbsp salt (optional)
- 16 cups water
- Preheat a large pot over medium-high heat, add some canola oil, and add chicken. Sear on both sides until chicken skin is golden brown.
- Add vegetables, herbs, peppercorns, salt, and water. Bring mixture to boil, lower heat to low, cover with a lid loosely, and cook for about 2 hours. Take the lid off and cook uncovered for another 2 hours.
- Pour the stock through a fine strainer and let the chicken and vegetables sit in the strainer, over the pot, for 10-15 minutes so that all the liquid comes out.
- Separate chicken meat from bones and skin and save it to be used in soup. Discard the vegetables and herbs.
- Store homemade chicken stock in the refrigerator, in glass jars with a lid. In the refrigerator, homemade stock will last for up to 3 days. I always recommend using the stock within a day or two or freeze it.Homemade stock, not matter beef, chicken, or vegetable, does NOT have a long shelf life. So use it relatively soon or freeze it!
Originally published on Will Cook For Smiles in August 2019.