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The Best Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe (aka Bone Broth)

homemade chicken stock recipe

Once you learn how to make this homemade chicken stock, you’ll be hooked for life.

BTW, if you ask 10 different chefs what the difference between stock and broth is, you’ll probably get 10 different answers. The the purpose of this post, they are the same thing. You can make stock out of just about any animal bones by simmering them in a pot with water and aromatics, which are the veggies, herbs and spices that you might add to flavor your stock.

There’s a reason that chicken stock is used as the base of so many soups and sauces, it has a delicious flavor and is wonderfully nutritious.

The nutrition comes in part from the aromatics, but the biggest healing factor in stock is the minerals, collagen and gelatin that is extracted from the bones while it simmers. That’s right, the bones are the reason that mom’s homemade chicken soup really does help you get over a cold faster. Adding some vinegar and/or lemon (i.e. something acidic) to your stock recipe helps extract the good stuff out of the bones, and if you simmer it long enough you’re essentially making homemade bone broth.

Just like stock and broth, there isn’t a strict definition between regular broth and bone broth. The biggest difference is the vinegar and the amount of time that you let it simmer. You can make a wonderful stock in as little as 4-6 hours that is still quite good for you. To get the maximum benefit from the bones you’ll want to simmer it at least 12-24. If you’re not comfortable doing that on your stove, transfer it all to a slow cooker a few hours in and keep it at a simmer.

If you want to go the extra distance and make traditional bone broth, you’ll also want to add as many extra bones that you can use. Ask your butcher for any extra bones, even chicken feet, that they have behind the counter. Again, add a tablespoon of vinegar and simmer 12-24 hours. If you’re new to bone broth that might seem strange, but just remember, nutrition exists in nature and bone broth is incredibly good for you. It’s been used for thousands of years for it’s healing and anti-aging properties.

Back to traditional chicken stock. The chicken stock recipe below uses a whole chicken so you can use the meat in soup or another recipe, but you can also use this recipe with any bones that you have leftover, like from a roasted chicken or turkey. If you don’t have access to fresh herbs you can use a large pinch of dried instead. You can also get creative! Use whatever root veggies or herbs that you have on hand and like the flavor of. Parsnips and fresh dill are also great additions to your stock.

I’m giving you a long explanation below, just keep in mind that this is actually very simple and easy to do while you prepare other food or go on with your day.

Tip: Watch me make this from start to finish on Elizabeth Eats

Nourishing Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

Prep time: 10 minutes
Total time: 5-6 hours (or more)
Yields about 4 quarts of stock

  • 1 whole chicken (about 4 to 5 pounds), any paper inside removed
  • 1 white or yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 carrots, scrubbed or peeled and cut in half
  • 2 celery stalks (with leaves if possible), cut in half
  • 4-5 garlic cloves, smashed open or cut in half
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 3-5 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 stems fresh parsley (about 1 small handful)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • Optional, 2 slices of lemon
  • enough purified water to fill the pot

Recipe: (Stovetop Method) You’ll need a 6 to 8 quart pot with a tight fitting lid-I use a 6 quart pot for a 4 or 5 pound chicken. Be sure to check the inside of the chicken and remove the paper pouch that contains the organs. Discard the paper and the organs if desired. You can also add the organs to the pot—ff you’re new to stock this might sound strange, but there is a lot of good nutrition in there.

This method uses a whole chicken. You can also use this recipe the bones (and whole carcass) of an already roasted bird. Just use whatever is left from the whole chicken after you remove the meat.

Chicken Stock Recipe

Add all ingredients to the pot and cover with purified water to about an inch below the top of the pot. Put a tight-fitting lid on the pot, then set it on the stove and bring to a boil (this takes about 10-20 minutes) then reduce to a simmer. Simmer at least 4 and up to 24 hours. If you use a whole chicken, be sure to remove the meat from the chicken about 2 hours in to prevent over cooking it then put the bones back in the pot.

If you used a whole chicken you’ll want to remove the meat about two hours in so it doesn’t become tough. To remove the meat, carefully remove the whole chicken from the pot and set it on a large cutting board. It will be very hot, let it cool a bit so you can handle it. Use two forks or a knife to remove as much meat as possible. The meat will be nicely poached and you can shred it or just cut it up. Put the meat in an airtight glass container, then let it come to room temperature before you store it in the refrigerator, where you can store it for up to three days. Or, use it immediately. Then put all of the bones, skin, and the whole body back into the pot and let it simmer for at least another two hours. You can simmer your stock for 4-24 hours. The longer you simmer it the more flavorful and more nutritious it will be.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

Keep the pot covered to prevent your stock from evaporating, if you notice the liquid reducing too much you can add a few cups more of water at any time during the process. After simmering at least 4 hours, strain your stock through a fine mesh colander or cheesecloth into a large bowl or pot. Discard everything that was in the pot except the liquid you just strained, its all served a very useful purpose and by now, the veggies have been boiled to the point that they will fall apart.

Slow Cooker Method:

Follow the above directions but use a slow cooker instead. Add all of the ingredients and water to your slow cooker and put it on high until it comes to a simmer, about 2 hours. It will take awhile to simmer as the slow cooker heats at a slower pace than your stovetop. Remove the meat once it’s cooked through, about 2-3 hours in. Add everything back in just like the method above and let it all simmer on low for 4-24 hours. You may want to add another cup or two of purified water if you let it simmer overnight and too much liquid evaporates. Just keep it covered and let it simmer as long as you’d like. All slow cookers (aka CrockPots) are different, you may want to leave it on high if it’s not gently simmering on low. I leave mine on low overnight after being on high about 3 hours and it simmers all night.

Use your stock right away to make homemade chicken soup. To store, let it come to room temperature and store in quart containers in the refrigerator up to 3 days, or the freezer up to 6 months. If freezing, freeze in portions that will be useful to use in recipes, like 2 cup or 4 cup (quart) containers.

Recipe suggestion: My Homemade Chicken Quinoa Soup

You can watch a full demonstration of me making homemade bone broth/chicken stock in Season 1 of my healthy cooking show Elizabeth Eats on FMTV. Watch it here.

Happy cooking,


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  1. Cheryl Montgomery says:

    Can this be made in a crock pot or pressure cooker and do you have cooking times for those methods?

  2. I try and make homemade stock, once a week, using all the scraps and bones that I save. Of coarse, with my whole family having bad colds the past two weeks, I have made more soup than I care to mention! 🙂
    Anyway, I just wanted to add, I always like to add smoked turkey legs when making my stock. They are cheap, and add to the depth of flavor. I actually, have a stock pot simmering on the stove right now, and this time I’m adding in a couple of tablespoons of gelatin. 🙂

  3. Amy Warren Arahill says:

    Thank you for this simple and easy to follow recipe! You explained everything so nicely. I’ve read many recipes on making bone broth and yours makes it sound so easy! I’m making mine right now!

  4. Kris Slape says:

    It’s 2 am and I am starting my bone broth right now since i am feeling a cold coming on! Thanks for the recipe