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How to Make the BEST Chicken Stock (Mom’s Recipe)

homemade chicken stock recipe

There’s a reason chicken stock is the base of so many soups and sauces—it has a delicious salty chicken flavor and is wonderfully nutritious. Home cooks and professionals alike need a great recipe for chicken stock. You can genuinely tell the difference from store-bought!

How do you make chicken stock from scratch? You can make chicken stock from scratch out of just about any part of a chicken. Just simmer it in a pot with water and aromatics, which are the veggies, herbs, and spices that add to flavor your stock.

The nutrition comes in part from the aromatics, but the most significant healing factor in stock is the minerals, collagen, and gelatin extracted from the bones while it simmers.

Adding some vinegar, lemon, or something acidic to your stock recipe helps extract the good stuff out of the bones. If you simmer it long enough, you’re essentially making homemade bone broth.

The chicken stock recipe below uses a whole chicken. You can use the chicken meat in chicken noodle soup or another recipe.

You can make this recipe with any leftover bones, like from a roasted chicken or turkey. I prefer not to start with raw chicken, but it shouldn’t change the recipe if you do.

This chicken stock recipe is simple, even for your first time! The prep time is minimal, and your chicken stock can just simmer away while you prepare other food or go on with your day (or even while you sleep).

The Difference Between Stock, Broth, & Bone Broth

Are chicken broth and chicken stock the same thing? Chicken broth and chicken stock are essentially the same thing. If you ask 10 chefs what the difference between stock and broth is, you’ll probably get 10 different answers.

In this post, stock and broth are the same thing.

Just like stock and broth, there isn’t a strict definition between regular broth and bone broth. The most significant difference is probably 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 great for your health. To get the maximum benefit from the bones, simmer for at least 12-24 hours. The only appropriate way to make chicken stock more quickly is with a pressure cooker.

If you want to turn your chicken stock recipe into traditional bone broth, you should add as many extra bones as possible. Ask your butcher for any leftover bones, even chicken feet, that they have behind the counter. Add a tablespoon of vinegar and simmer for 12-24 hours.

Nourishing Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

The printable version of this recipe is below. I can’t wait for you to see how easy it is to make homemade chicken stock. This recipe calls for a whole chicken, such as a rotisserie chicken you can buy at your local grocery store.

You could also make this recipe using just the chicken bones (with the meat removed). If you ever roast a whole chicken or turkey, simply use whatever is left from the whole chicken after removing the meat (bones, skin, and juices all make great additions to your stock)!

whole chicken and veggies in pot on stove

First, add all ingredients to the pot. Cover with filtered water to about an inch below the top of the pot.

Second, place a tight-fitting lid on the pot. Set it on the stove, bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a simmer. Allow to simmer for at least 4 and up to 24 hours.

If you use a whole chicken, remove the meat from the chicken for about 2 hours to prevent overcooking it. Put the bones back in the pot, including the chicken wings, chicken breasts, and the entire chicken carcass.

To remove the meat from the whole chicken, follow these steps:

  1. Carefully remove the whole chicken from the pot and set it on a large cutting board. It will be very hot, so let it cool a bit before you handle it.
  2. Use two forks or a knife to remove as much meat as possible. The meat will be nicely poached. You can shred it or just cut it up.
  3. Put the meat in an airtight glass container. Let it come to room temperature before storing it in the refrigerator, where you can keep it for up to three days. You can also use it immediately.
  4. Place all of the bones, skin, juices, and everything else back into the pot to continue making chicken stock.
  5. Let it simmer for at least another 2 hours, or up to 24 hours. The longer you simmer the stock, the more flavorful and nutritious it will be.
  6. 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.
  7. After simmering at least 4 hours, strain your stock through a fine-mesh strainer, colander, or cheesecloth into a large bowl or pot.
  8. Discard everything that was in the pot except the liquid you just strained. The veggies, herbs, and bones are no longer usable for other recipes.

Chicken Stock Simmering on Stove

Chicken Stock Recipe In A Crockpot Method

You can follow the above directions but use a slow-cooker (aka Crockpot) instead. This easy recipe also works in an Instant Pot (pressure cooker), but you don’t need to leave the ingredients in for as long.

  1. Add all of the ingredients and water to your slow-cooker.
  2. Turn the heat to high until it comes to a simmer—probably about 2 hours. It will take a while to simmer, as the slow-cooker heats at a slower pace than your stovetop.
  3. Remove the meat once it’s cooked through, roughly 2-3 hours in.
  4. Add everything back in just like the method above. Let it all simmer on low for 4-24 hours.
  5. Just keep it covered and let it simmer as long as you’d like. You may want to add another cup or two of filtered water if too much liquid evaporates.

All slow-cookers 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 set to high for about 3 hours and allow it to all night.

To store, let it come to room temperature. Then store in quart containers in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, or the freezer for up to 6 months.

If freezing, freeze in portions that will be useful to use in recipes, like 2-cup (1-pint) or 4-cup (1-quart) containers.

Chicken Stock Recipe Suggestions

What can I use chicken stock for? You can use chicken stock for hundreds of delicious recipes, including:

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homemade chicken stock recipe

Best-Ever Chicken Stock Recipe

  • Author: Elizabeth Rider
  • Prep Time: 10 mins
  • Cook Time: 5 hours
  • Total Time: 5 hours 10 mins
  • Yield: 4 quarts 1x
  • Category: Soup, Healthy
  • Method: Simmer
  • Cuisine: American

Description

This chicken stock recipe was a staple in my home growing up. I remember my mom making chicken stock on the stove every weekend, all winter long. 

Long-simmered homemade chicken stock (AKA bone broth) is wonderfully nutritious and filled with protein, nutrients, and minerals. Plus, the flavor is unbeatable. If you love it, please leave a 5-star rating in the comments below to help other readers in our community.


Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds), any paper inside removed
  • 1 white or yellow onion, quartered
  • 2 large carrots, scrubbed or peeled and cut in half
  • 2 celery ribs, with leaves if possible
  • 45 garlic cloves, smashed open or cut in half
  • 1 large bay leaf
  • 35 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 5 stems fresh parsley (about 1 small handful)
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
  • enough filtered water to fill the pot

Instructions

  1. Get out a 6- to 8-quart pot with a tight-fitting lid. I use a 6-quart pot for a 4- or 5-pound chicken.
  2. Be sure to check the inside of the chicken and remove the paper pouch that contains the organs. 
  3. Discard the paper and the organs, if desired, or add the organs to the pot for extra nutrition.
  4. Add all ingredients to the pot. Cover with filtered cold water to about an inch below the top.
  5. Put a tight-fitting lid on the pot.
  6. Set it on the stove and bring to a boil. This takes about 10-20 minutes.
  7. Immediately reduce to a simmer. Simmer for at least 4 hours or up to 24 hours. The longer the simmer, the better the flavor.
  8. If you use a whole chicken, remove the meat from the chicken after 2 hours to prevent overcooking it. (See the sections above for my method to remove the meat).
  9. Keep the pot covered to prevent your stock from evaporating. If you notice the liquid reducing too much, you can add a few cups of water at any time during the process.
  10. After simmering at least 4 hours in total, strain your stock through a fine-mesh sieve, strainer, or cheesecloth into a large bowl, pot, or a large stockpot.
  11. Discard everything that was in the pot except the liquid you just strained. The veggies, for example, are beyond saving, but they served a very good purpose.

SLOW-COOKER METHOD:

  1. Follow the above directions, but use a slow cooker instead. Add all of the ingredients and water to your slow-cooker
  2. Turn on high heat until it comes to a simmer—probably about 2 hours. It will take a while to simmer as the slow-cooker heats at a slower pace than your stovetop.
  3. Remove the meat once it’s cooked through, roughly 2-3 hours in.
  4. Add everything back in just like the method above. Let it all simmer on low for 4-24 hours.
  5. Just keep it covered and let it simmer as long as you’d like. You may want to add another cup or two of filtered water if too much liquid evaporates.

All slow-cookers 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 setting it on high for about 3 hours, and it simmers all night. (The house smells fantastic in the morning!)


Notes

  • This method uses a whole chicken. You can also use this recipe with just the chicken bones, skin, and whole carcass of a roast chicken
  • Use your stock right away to make homemade chicken soup or any other delicious recipe. It’s also great to sip plain in a mug with a big pinch of sea salt.
  • To store, let it come to room temperature, then store it in quart containers. You can refrigerate it for up to 3 days or freeze it for up to 6 months.
  • If freezing, store the chicken stock in portions that will be useful in recipes, like 2-cup or 4-cup containers.

Keywords: Chicken Stock Recipe, Homemade Chicken Stock, Stock, Bone Broth

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  1. Tony says:

    This is the first chicken stock that I made instead of bought and it is so good I never bothered with any other recipe. The difference in flavour with store bought stock (even the best ones) is amazing. Originally I followed the recipe exactly, but now, instead of using a whole chicken I cut the drumsticks, thighs and breasts off 2 smallish chickens and then use the carcases (which still have a lot of meat on them) for the stock.

    • Hi Tony, so glad to hear this. This is my all-time favorite, too, and SO much better than anything storebought. Love your idea for how you use the chicken. Thanks for stopping by to comment. ~E

  2. Andrew says:

    Hello, thanks for posting this! 🙂

    I have been trying to find some nutritional / calories information on chicken stock, and seem rather difficult to find based on what you get out of a whole chicken boiled, and then boiling the bones for a further couple hours.

    If you had any details on that would be super helpful…

    Thanks very much,

  3. Tony says:

    Tired of shop bought stock I decided to make my own, this is the first chicken stock recipe I tried but it’s so good and easy I won’t bother trying others. Just excellent.

  4. Brandon says:

    Is there any nutritional information available for this recipe?

  5. Christine says:

    I’ve made this several times now. I was intimidated by other broth recipes, and this one seemed more realistic. It’s 9 AM, I just strained my stock and had a big mug of it straight away. So delicious.

  6. Hannah says:

    Hi there,

    The recipe doesn’t mention anything about “ “ “skimming the scum“ During the initial boil. Is it necessary? Some chicken stock recipes highly recommend it while others never mention it.
    What are the benefits (If any) from not skimming?

    • Hi Hannah, I generally find that you don’t have to with this recipe. If a lot of scum forms you can skim it off, but again I generally find that it doesn’t happen if you use the method above. I’ll add a note to the recipe notes about it. Thanks! ~E

  7. MEL says:

    Hi! This recipe looks great! I haven’t made chicken stock yet but so far this is the most helpful and straightforward post I’ve found. If I wanted to freeze some of the broth and chicken (separately) afterwards how would I do that? Just bring the chicken and broth to room temp and put them into freezer safe containers?

  8. Bill Baerg says:

    By far the best recipe I have been able to find after 2 hours of reading online! This is worth 5+ Stars!
    Thanks Elizabeth for keeping it REAL.

  9. Jordan Ritchey says:

    Could I pressure can this recipe? Is there any reason I should not?

  10. Andrew Mis says:

    This was a most wonderful broth recipe! I took my time with this because I had six frozen bags of bones, fat, leftover meat to place in a much larger stock pot. I never added salt 🧂 for the summer. I felt there was enough residual salt from all the birds and juices from the saved roaster contents. Simmered for about seven hours. First straining was to get rid of all large bits and pieces. The second was where I for the first time in my life used cheesecloth with my fine mesh strainer. Golden broth! 😋 I tasted the broth in its gelatinous state, and I knew this recipe was a winner. Thanks 🙏🏻 for sharing the recipe! Best regards

  11. Darrell Drake says:

    even better is making bone broth in an instant pot (pressure cooker). Set on soup setting, then set time for 2 hours. Use slow release method which should add another 30-45 minutes. Tastes like 12-hour results on a stove in less than 1/3 the time!

  12. Lyn says:

    Thank you for sharing your recipe! Will try it this week. But what can I do with the meat part after boiling? Am into Chinese dish. How long should I freeze these cooked meat for future cooking? Appreciate all guidance and advises. ☺️

  13. Christine says:

    Adding chicken feet makes a huge difference in the resulting broth… I can get them at Walmart, in 1ish pound packages…they are truly disgusting to look at, but the gelatin and the flavor they produce is amazing. I use 1ish lb chicken feet with a 5ish lb chicken and aromatics.

  14. mitchell Budkley says:

    I added a whole lemon , and a red onion instead, added Parsnips and carrots chopped, and simmered about 3/4 hours, tasted the stock , and was the best i ever tasted..Mmmmmmm.
    Removed the meat, left the bones and the vegetables, after about or less of 24 hours, tasted it,,,,,,YUK!!! threw it out.

    Will try again, and stop after 4 hours.

    • Hi Mitchell, If you include a whole lemon (including the peel and rind) the broth will become very bitter. Never include a whole lemon for that reason. Instead, squeeze the fresh lemon juice in at the end. ~E

  15. Suzanne LaRose says:

    I recently made your chicken broth recipe and loved it. However, the corners of the quart-sized bags that I used for storage, broke while in the freezer. Is this normal? Perhaps I should have used half-gallon size bags. Where did I go wrong? Thanks.

    • Hi Suzanne, was it specifically a freezer bag? There is a difference between regular sandwich bags and freezer bags (the freezer bags are thicker and air-tight, while the sandwich bags are not.) Make sure the product you use is specifically meant for the freezer. Also, I’ve gotten away from freezing in plastic bags for environmental reasons, I think a freezer-safe glass storage container is better. Thanks for being here! ~E

  16. Richard says:

    I would not recommend using lemon with the rind from the beginning. The lemon oil will become bitter if you simmer it for more than 45 minutes or so. You should specify when to use the lemon.

  17. Joan says:

    Could you explain the use of vinegar and lemon slices?

    • Hi Joan, the acid in vinegar and lemon helps pull collagen out of the bones, which makes for a more nutritious broth. The amount is so small that you can’t taste them, but it helps make more use of the bones. ~E

  18. Elly says:

    I am making the chicken stock removed the plastic pouch with organs but did not take any notice of the paper pouch and left it boiling with the chicken for two hours is the stock still good to use.

  19. Kim says:

    I have never made chicken stock or broth before, but I plan to make this recipe today. I have a question: Sometimes I purchase the rotisserie chickens from the grocery store for a quick meal during the week. Can I use the carcass of the cooked rotisserie chickens in this stock recipe? If so, how long — how many days — could I safely save up the carcass before I need to cook it in a stock?

    • Hi Kim, this is a great question. I generally don’t use the rotisserie chickens for stock and they are coated with canola oil, and usually have very small bones. I’ve tried it before and it’s hard to get the stock to gel/solidify in the fridge. I think using a chicken you roast yourself, bones from chicken you roast yourself, or a whole chicken from the meat section is a better option. After roasting, use the carcass within a day for stock. Good luck! ~Elizabeth

  20. Kate C says:

    Thanks for the recipe and the explanation about the bones and the vinegar. I love to make soup in the winter. I usually make a beef vegetable soup, but when simmering the stock (I use beef bones and beef shank), I leave the lid off the pot. This adds welcomed humidity to the dry closed up household and makes the place smell delicious. I just make sure to check the pot periodically to make sure there is sufficient water to keep the meat covered. After all, it’s just the water evaporating and not the flavors, right?. Also, after I’ve removed the meat and put the stock/broth thru a sieve/cheesecloth, I return the liquid to the pot, make sure it has a tight fitting lid (don’t want any critter interference), and place the pot outside overnight, sometimes even in a pile of snow. By morning, the fat has all risen to the top and can easily be removed. I only do this in the cold winter of course – cheap and fast refrigeration and I don’t forget the pot on the stove waiting for it to come to room temperature. Thoughts? Thanks again!

  21. SUSAN GROSSI says:

    I’ve made this a few times now and it’s really good! I especially like the fact that I’m boiling a whole chicken and can save most of the meat.
    I freeze 1-2 C shredded chicken in zip lock bags for future meals–soup, tacos, enchiladas, chicken salad etc. Much more moist and tasty from the broth.
    I freeze the broth too:)

  22. John Hirsch says:

    After making chicken stock with your wonderful recipe, I read further and realized that you directed everything towards women cooks. Should I discard the results of my efforts, or enjoy them with the hope your blog, etc. will become bisexual?

    • John, this is an absurd question. I adore men and often mention that everyone is welcome on my blog. I can’t be all things to all people, and the way I write my blogs is generally towards the largest demographic. About 95% of my online community is women but all are welcome here. I’ve never in any way said that men shouldn’t make my recipes, and certainly would never suggest that one would discard good food. And bisexual has a different meaning that what you insinuated here. All are always welcome here equally. ~Elizabeth

  23. A Harris says:

    Why do you use purified water in your chicken stock?

    • Hi there! In general I used purified water in everything because if you don’t filter it, then your liver has to. It just eases the burden on your digestive system, liver and kidneys. Boiling the water helps with some of that, but there are often pharmaceuticals and other things in tap water that boiling doesn’t take care of. From a culinary perspective, it can also help with the flavor of your dish because tap water can sometimes have a taste to it. Using purified water instead of tap water is optional but recommended. ~E

  24. Maria says:

    Thank you so much for this recipe!! I made this today for the first time, my whole house smelled divine and it’s taste is AMAZING! In love…..Thank you for sharing this great recipe.

  25. Susan Glousher says:

    Should I de-fat the broth?

    • Hi Susan, this is a great question. It’s really a personal preference. I usually leave it because there isn’t a lot when making chicken or turkey broth, and having some of the fat is good for you. If there is an excessive amount you can skim some of off (after it chills in the refrigerator it will float to the top). But if it’s a small amount, it will dissolve back into the stock when you heat it and it’s perfectly healthy. We need some fat in our diets, and when it’s from a natural source like this it’s perfectly healthy. Hope that helps! ~E

  26. ann says:

    I’ve been making stock and broth for 35 years. For some reason, I don’t like carrots in mine. Celery, onion, bay, other seasonings/aromatics (except thyme, tarragon) are fine. Carrots add a sweetness I just don’t care for. Anyone else?

  27. Tiffany says:

    I made this with what I had on hand: a whole chicken, carrots, garlic, peppercorns, dried parsley, onion powder, bay leaves, and salt. I heater in the crockpot on high for several hours (I believe it took about 4 to boil), then low for 18 hours. It was perfect for my favorite chicken soup! Thank you!

  28. Cliff says:

    Followed the instructions to a T. Simmered it for 6 1/2 hrs and tasted very bland. What could I have done wrong?

  29. Alex Nicole Marcelo says:

    This is my new go to chicken broth along with your recipe for chicken soup… so yummy! Love that it makes my whole house smell good and the chicken soup has helped ward off the crazy flu everyone is getting. Thank you Elizabeth!

  30. Ayanna says:

    I make gumbo every New Years and have typically used store bought broth. This year, I decided to use homemade stock and found this recipe. So easy and delicious! I plan to try to make this every weekend – especially during this winter. Thanks!

  31. 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

  32. 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!

  33. Tara says:

    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. 🙂

  34. Cheryl Montgomery says:

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

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