Homemade Chicken Stock

Stocks (which are interchangeable with broths) are the base for many homemade soups and sauces. I used to always cook with store-bought chicken broth, but now there are several reasons why I prefer making it at home (using this recipe below that has been adapted from the Joy of Cooking). While it takes a little bit of time to cook, it is fairly easy to make, the end result has no sodium or preservatives, and it can be stored in the freezer. I usually divide up my finished stock into 1 or 2 cup sized Tupperware containers so I can easily pull out only what I need when it is time to use it.

Once you are done making this stock you also end up with a whole cooked chicken. Definitely don’t let that go to waste and plan something special like a chicken pasta dish, enchiladas, chicken fajitas, chicken salad, or even something like a chicken noodle soup recipe that utilizes both the stock and the chicken. The cooked chicken could also be frozen just like the stock.

 

boquet-garni

 

Homemade Chicken Stock

Stocks (which are interchangeable with broths) are the base for many homemade soups and sauces. I used to always cook with store-bought chicken broth, but now there are several reasons why I prefer making it at home (using this recipe below that has been adapted from the Joy of Cooking).
5 from 6 votes
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 3 hrs 30 mins
Total Time: 3 hrs 40 mins
Print Recipe
Servings: 16 cups

Ingredients
  

  • 1 whole chicken (4-5 pounds), or a whole chicken in parts
  • 16 cups water or just enough to cover chicken in pot
  • 1 onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 carrot no need to peel, coarsely chopped
  • 1 stalk celery coarsely chopped
  • 1 leaves bouquet garni See note

Instructions
 

  • Combine the chicken and water in a large pot. Bring to a boil and then simmer gently for about 30 minutes. While it is simmering, occasionally skim off the impurities (whitish bubbly stuff that rises to the top) with a slotted spoon.
  • Next add the chopped onion, carrot, celery and bouquet garni to the pot.
  • Simmer for 3 hours uncovered, adding water as needed to cover the chicken.
  • Strain stock through fine mesh or cheese cloth before storing in fridge or freezer.
    When ready to use remove the white layer of fat off the top. Also when cooking with the stock don’t forget that this version has far less salt/sodium than the typical canned variety, so you may need to season to taste.

Notes

A bouquet garni is comprised of - a small bunch of parsley, 8 sprigs fresh thyme, 1 bay leaf, and 2 or 3 celery leaves. It's tied together with cheese cloth or cotton twine.
We recommend organic ingredients when feasible.
Nutrition Facts
Nutrition Facts
Homemade Chicken Stock
Amount Per Serving
Calories 5 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 1mg0%
Sodium 17mg1%
Potassium 29mg1%
Carbohydrates 1g0%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 1g2%
Vitamin A 655IU13%
Vitamin C 0.8mg1%
Calcium 13mg1%
Iron 0.1mg1%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

 

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68 thoughts on “Homemade Chicken Stock”

  1. The last few times I have tried to freeze this in Mason jars, the jars have shattered in the freezer, even after allowing it to completely cooling and leaving room at the top of the jar (only filling about 3/4). I have also tried gallon ziplock freezer bags but have had issues with the seams cracking or bags leaking when thawed. Either way, I end up losing/wasting the stock that I wanted so badly. Anyone else have this experience or any ideas what else I can try?

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Megan. Are you using freezer safe, wide mouthed jars? It is important that you do not use jars with a shoulder.

  2. Hello. I know that making your own chicken stock is preferred but if you’re in a pinch and need to buy some at the store, which brands pass the rule test? I normally shop at Trader Joe’s, but can also make it to a Mariano’s or Whole Foods. Thanks! This website has been so helpful in my lifestyle transformation!

    1. Amy Taylor (comment moderator)

      Hi Hillary. Look for an organic brand. I like Pacific but there are several. Just do a quick ingredient scan first. ;)

  3. 5 stars
    How long will this stock be good for in the freeze? I have some that is a little over 6 months old and I’m not sure if it’s still safe to eat..thanks!! Love this recipe!

  4. Assistant to 100 Days (Amy)

    Hi David. We do not have one. Our other stock recipe is a slow cooker recipe. Sorry. ~Amy

  5. Can I use this method to make stock, pull all the meat and make stock again with the carcass? Will the second time around be ‘weak’ stock? Thanks!

  6. 5 stars
    My grandma always added a couple of splashes of vinegar to her stock to pull calcium from the bones. Is there a reason you don’t do that? I was getting ready to make this & just wondered. Thank you.

  7. 5 stars
    I learned a very frugal way to make this same recipe in culinary school. I love it because it utilizes the parts of food that would ultimately go into the compost, the food scraps. Whenever I peel carrots or an onion, I save the scraps in separate ziplocs in the the freezer, the same for celery trimmings and chicken or other animal bones. I also save all of the stems from fresh herbs: parsely, thyme, sage, etc, the stems have flavor too! I usually butterfly my chickens before roasting them and to do that I have to cut the backbone out, so into the chicken scraps bag it goes! I also save roasted chicken bones too, they add a complexity to the stock.
    Then, when my freezer supply is down I pull out both crockpots and add the “scraps,” cover with water, and simmer overnight, in the morning the house smells wonderful and I have quarts of stock ready to be strained and stored in the freezer.
    I usually use a small amount of animal compared to 100dorf’s recipe, just a handful of bones or parts adds all the flavor I need.

  8. I just used this recipe to make stock from the carcass (and a little extra meat) from our Thanksgiving turkey. It was a turkey from a local farm that grazed outside and had a happy life. I hated to not use every last bit so I decided it was finally time to make my own stock. It always intimidated me but it couldn’t have been easier!!! I didn’t have dried herbs but since it was well seasoned from roasting I think it will be fine. It’s so healthy and a good way to respect the bird and not be wasteful.

  9. 5 stars
    I made this tonight, it was my first time homemaking my own and it turned out wonderfully! I now have enough cooked shredded chicken for 2 meals and 4 quarts of homemade broth!

  10. I wanted to comment on the chicken stock. In order to get the maximum nutrition of the bones, the bone building marrow, this is what I do. I roast the chicken, and when we have picked off all the meat, I take the skin, bones and junk leftover and put into the crock pot with whole onion cut into fourths (skin included, that is where the vitamins are), couple carrots and celery stalks chopped into 4 in pieces, 3-4 freshly pressed garlic (pampered chef is best because you dont have to peel it first, just press and them pluck out the empty skin), fresh shaved ginger, and a tad of salt and pepper. Cook on low for 12-14 hours, then pull out vegies, and throw away, pull out all chicken parts into sep bowl, strain broth into a jug and put in frig, then dump all the chicken parts into the crock pot again and add all new vegies. Do this whole process 3 times total. On the 3rd time, combine all the broths together in a large pot and reheat in order for the final and best marrow extracted from last batch to be mixed in with all the broth, and the most flavorful broth will be from first. This way all broth tastes best. Then I can it so it wont take room in the freezer. This whole batch gives me about 7 quarts of broth, plus enough to make soup with for supper that night. Simmering bones for a few hours will not give you the maximum benefits from the bones…in fact, the last time you simmer in crock on low, you can do it for about 15-18 hours if need to…I find that after supper first night and through night is first batch, then all day the next for 2nd batch, then over night for 3rd batch, and then I have plenty of time to can the broth that second day. Its super flavorful and I will never buy store bought again!

  11. What about making vegetable stock? Is there a recipe or link on Lisa’s page for a similar recipe? I thought I had seen one before. I am searching around, but unable to find anything.

  12. would this work with like chicken breast my husband and i dont eat chicken with bone it in or mess with it for that matter

    1. Assistant to 100 Days (Jill)

      I think the bone helps to give it some flavor, but, you could give it a try. Good luck. Jill

    2. The bones are actually far more important to make a good stock than the meat is.
      You could try making a vegetable stock, though — no bones there!

  13. I’m going to do the 10 day challenge and hopefully will continue, but as a college student who will be moving back on campus next semester there are somethings that I won’t be able to do, are there any brands of chicken broth that can be purchased, like kitchen basics, or pacific foods my mom has to buy these because she has a gluten allergy or stock-in-a-box?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I am not sure which ones are gluten-free, but I would definitely go for an organic chicken broth if you can!

  14. So I made stock for the first time this weekend from the bones of a chicken we had earlier, let it simmer in the crock pot overnight. The problem was it smelled so yummy we kept waking up in the middle of the night hungry! LOL

    Here is my question. Hubby and I work full time so only get to really do major cooking on the weekends. We are saving in the freezer veggies to stockpile for stock. If we have a chicken during the week, and wont be able to make the stock for a week or more, is it okay to freeze the carcass so I can just make stock when I have more time?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I think that should work, but admit I have not tried it myself. I know for a fact you can freeze seafood shells (from lobster or crab) to make stock later so I don’t see why this wouldn’t work with chicken.

    2. I know this is a long time later, but maybe you still have those bones in your freezer. ;-)
      Yes, you can freeze them to make your stock later. I do this often, as I generally cook just a few pieces of chicken at a time.

  15. hey…i love your blog….i just wanted to add that we like to add whole spices to our stocks….all spice, black pepper, cinnamon, and cardamons…it give the stock great flavor and smells great…
    thanks for the recipes….

  16. This may be a dumb question but I am new to all this –including cooking in general LOL– I want to start making my own stock and putting in jars to freeze. What would the recommended size be to freeze — a cup? two cups? What is typically used in cooking?

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Not a dumb question at all! First of all make sure you use freezer-safe jars. Secondly when you buy a can of chicken broth it’s just under 2 cups so that might be a good place to start. I also freeze a little stock in ice cube trays (then transfer the cubes to a zip lock bag) in case I just need a little. I find that freezing the stock in different amounts can help in case you need a lot for risotto or just a little for some soup. Good luck!

      1. How do you determine if a glass jar is freezer safe? I’ve been reusing old spaghetti jars for my chicken broth and soup. And what happens if it’s not freezer safe?

      2. Late to the question, but if the neck is much narrower than the rest of the container, you probably should not use it for freezing. It’s when the liquid freezes and expands but runs into the narrowing of the neck that most of the breakage occurs.

  17. OK I put leftover chicken fluids in fridge over nite. the next day I had a thin layer of yellow fat on top and then was presented with a large bowl of chicken JELLO (for the best description) nuked it back to a liquid base and added 3 cups of water. today I have a bowl of chicken jelly. not as thick as yesterday. My intentions are to make a chicken soup. Just how do I fix this into a stock?????

    1. I know this is old, but maybe it will help someone else.
      “Chicken Jello” is good, sign of a healthy chicken from what I have read. I believe it will turn to liquid when heated up in your soup.

  18. This is the first time I am doing a whole chix in crockpot and have a question in regards to your reply to Amy’s question about the stock and the fattiness of whats left over after cooking. After I remove the chix from the crockpot should I just put the pot in the fridge overnite prior to making the stock(to remove oil and fats) and then commence with the making of the stock? OR make the stock then refrigerate , remove fats the next day and then freeze?

    thanks
    George

  19. I have made the chicken stock twice (both from the whole chicken in a crockpot recipe) and have struck out twice. The first time, after cooking the chicken, I dumped everything out and then put the carcass back in with water and veggies. Came out super “blah”. So I read these comments and made it last night with keeping all of the juices and onions, etc…and it came out so oily and greasy we had to through it out. I don’t want to give up on this recipe but am not sure what to do differently next time.

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      Amy – If you thought the second batch was too oily all you need to do is refrigerate the stock then the oil/fat will rise to the top and become a solid layer that you can scrape off if you want. There’s definitely fat that comes from cooking a whole chicken and all its parts, but it’s okay to use/eat the fat…it’s just personal preference at that point.

  20. As someone mentioned above, keep a baggie in your freezer for veggie scraps – carrot, onion, and celery ends, as wel as garlic, shallots, herbs that won’t be used in time. Then just toss that in instead of using a perfectly good whole veggie!

  21. I just tried the “whole chicken in the crock pot” and am using the bones to make stock. I was wondering if you keep the juices and onions from the chicken and add the bones, veggies and water back to what is left in the crock pot or do you start all over?

    1. Shoot…I just read on the other page that you do leave everything in. I started over and didn’t have alot of bones in the bottom of the pot…am I going to have a very weak stock? This is my first time and as I was getting rid of the leftover veggies and juices I was thinking it would’ve been good to keep it. What are my options if it’s weak? I was looking forward to some chicken noodle soup!

      1. 100 Days of Real Food

        Don’t worry…no two batches of stock are exactly the same. You could still use it to boil rice or something like that.

    2. 100 Days of Real Food

      I might be a little late answering you, but yes you leave everything (including juices, onion, bones) in crock pot when you add the other stuff to make the stock.

  22. This may be a stupid question, but it there a difference in the amount of water used depending on if you use a whole chicken vs carcass? I just made a stock out of a carcass and used about 10 cups of water in a crock pot (partially bc I didn’t have a whole chicken and partially bc my crock pot is not that big). It yielded about 8 cups of broth after cooking for 6 hours.
    Can I use 16 cups of water with a carcass if a use a regular pot or do I have to use less water to get the flavor? I need to get as much stock out of each chicken as possible. I LOVE soup and ’tis the season!!

    1. 100 Days of Real Food

      I haven’t experimented to that level of detail, but I do know the less water you use the richer the stock will be and vice versa. It will still be “stock” no matter what…but I’ve learned that not all stock is created equal!

  23. I’m with Rachel and Fiona. I roast the chicken first and then boil the carcass. This also lets you break the bones and get the marrow in there and your stock will gel. It’ll be so flavourful you’ll have to water it down!

    I’ve also found adding some sea salt tends to bring the flavors out of the veggies, chicken and herbs more. You don’t have to put much in, but for me it helps.

  24. I was taught that if you use chicken meat to make stock you throw the meat out after boiling. The meat is what flavors your stock, so leftover meat is flavorless. In the interest of not being wasteful, I have never used a chicken with meat to make my stock; instead I use a carcass from a roasted chicken which we already enjoyed.

    I read your comment about the meat being tender. Have you found it flavorless as well? Have you eaten it on its own, or is it always part of a dish? I’m kind of obsessed w/wastefulness, so I’m very interested in your opinion.

    1. We actually think it tastes pretty good right out of the pot although we do usually add it to a dish that already has some flavor on its own (like a pasta dish, quesadillas, a soup, etc.). I have just always made the stock with a whole chicken that I serve afterwards and I have never heard a complaint about it!

  25. I started doing this because I can only imagine the types of chicken they use to produce conventional broths…I haven’t researched but I’m thinking it may really gross me out! I actualy make vegetable stock more often from the veggie scraps I have leftover and freeze it…way cheaper and I know exactly what is in it. Do you mind me asking where and what type of chikcen you guys purchase? I have a hard time cooking whole chickens.

    1. I get our chickens either from the farmers market or through our CSA membership (one of their partner farms). Either way it is locally raised. But no matter where I get it from my husband always has to deal with the skin and whatever may be stored inside for me…I don’t like that part!

    2. We do the same thing with out veggies. I have a freezer bag full of scraps and keep adding to it and at the end of the month have a great big bag for making stock. I also do this with meat scraps and left over pieces of meat.

  26. Another great way to make chicken stock is to roast the chicken first and enjoy the meat when it hasn’t been boiled. Then make chicken stock with the bones, skin, and bits nobody wants to eat. If you do it this way, you can add your veggies right at the start. We don’t usually boil for more than an hour or two because we are lazy, but it’s still plenty tasty. Also because we are lazy, we just strain this in a sieve. The yield is less, but it’s also less work.

    @Kathy: we freeze in pyrex glass or in mason jars. As long as there isn’t too much air in the container and you don’t keep it too long in the freezer, there’s little to no risk of freezer burn.

  27. I was just wondering, does the chicken actually taste good after boiling that long? It would seem like it would be really chewy or tough….

    Thanks!

  28. Hi there! I’m SO enjoying your posts here and especially on the 100 Days blog. Your family is amazing and inspiring! I just have a totally random question… What do you freeze your foods in? I’m new to giving up on processed foods and I realize I’ll be doing a LOT more “from scratch” cooking, which will result in freezing lots of stuff to keep on hand for use as needed. I’ve tried freezer ziploc bags but the food inevitably ends up with ice crystals all over it, even after just a few days. As for soups, sauces, etc… is it safe to freeze in tupperware? I’m curious what you do. I want to be sure whatever method I use is safe (no chemicals leeching into the food) and effective (doesn’t result in freezer burn). So sorry for the long comment/question!

    Thanks!
    Kathy

    1. Thanks for your comment! I actually use tupperwear (ziplock brand I think) for just about everything in my freezer, and I have not had any issues like you mentioned. If you are using the freezer zip lock bags and still getting freezer burn you may want to try double-bagging items first (and also make sure you get as much air out of the bag as possible). In addition, you may want to double-check that your freezer is set to the right temperature if you continue to have problems.

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