How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock in Five Minutes

Homemade Chicken StockIna Garten‘s “Barefoot Contessa” is one of my favorite cooking shows. She often references using homemade chicken stock in her recipes.  And even though Ina qualifies it by saying you can substitute store-bought stock or broth, the mere mention of homemade chicken stock only served to make me feel inadequate. At least it did until very recently when I finally figured out if you have five minutes, a few key ingredients and a crock pot you can make homemade chicken stock.*

Paleo eating means getting back to basics and eliminating as much processed food from your diet as possible. But, admittedly, this can take a decent amount of time in comparison to eating more processed foods. Our busy lives often mean we forego some of the more healthful practices. But good chicken stock does not take as much effort as you might think and the health benefits are tremendous.

Benefits of Homemade Chicken Stock

The importance of the homemade version is not only what is NOT in it (preservatives, the ever popular neurotoxin known as Monosodium Glutamate or MSG, gluten, etc…) but what IS in it. Chicken stock requires a lengthy cooking time to extract all the beneficial ingredients from the bones but the preparation time takes only a few minutes.
Here’s a list of some of the healthful things found in bones and bone stock:

  • Bone marrow
  • Collagen and gelatin
  • Glycine
  • Proline
  • Hyaluronic acid
  • Chondroitin sulfate
  • Calcium
  • Phosphorus
  • Magnesium
  • Sulfur, potassium, and sodium

Rather than spending money buying supplements for these vitamins and minerals you can ingest them in a form that is easily absorbed by your body  -delicious homemade chicken stock. (Talk to your doctor before changing any supplementation.) For more information about the benefits of bone broth please see the Weston A. Price website article on the subject, here.

Ingredients

  • bones and other parts of one chicken (Our youngest son has gymnastics class on Thursday afternoons so we have gotten into a routine of swinging by the grocery store and grabbing a roasted chicken to make dinner easier.  After we pick the bird clean I throw it in the crock pot.)

    chicken bones for chicken stock

    The deflated bones of one roasted chicken after we picked it clean like barbarians.

  • 2 carrots (or equivalent carrot scrapings you have saved)
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 medium onion – chopped into large chunks
  • 4 crushed garlic cloves
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar (helps to extract nutrients from the bones)
  • 8-10 cups of water (enough to cover ingredients completely)
  • 1 tablespoon sea salt
    homemade chicken stock ingredients

Instructions

Place all the ingredients (except the salt) in the crock pot and cook on low for 24 hours.

chicken stock ingredients before and after

Before and After

After the time is up, let everything cool then strain through a sieve into a large bowl and discard the solids.  I like to add about 1 tablespoon of celtic sea salt at this point but you can adjust the salt to your taste. Here’s a shot of my finished stock.  The color is dark and rich like the taste.

homemade chicken stock

The very last step is to fill some glass containers for storage.  You can keep the homemade chicken stock in the refrigerator for 2-3 days or freeze it.  While it is in the refrigerator it’s a good idea to leave the fat that forms on top.  It helps keep out bacteria until you are ready to use it.  You can even reduce the stock down to a more concentrated form for storage.  Some people like to freeze it in ice-cube trays so it is readily available to add to recipes in smaller amounts.

The last time I made chicken stock I used 8-10 cups of water (not sure exactly) and I ended up with enough to fill 2 quart jars. I used it to make a soup with some sausage, carrots, garlic and kale.  It was really yummy and I attribute a lot of the flavor to good quality stock.  So I may not have achieved Ina’s culinary status but I can now make a mean chicken stock and you can too!

ball jars homemade chicken stock

* you can use a stock pot too if you prefer but you will need to keep a closer eye on the progress of the chicken stock.

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35 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock in Five Minutes

  1. Lea, here is a suggestion for your stock recipe; If you regularly use the roast chickens you mentioned, why not put the bones in the freezer til you have a lot of them and do them all together with your other ingredients. Then you would have a richer stock. I have one now and I am going to save it in the freezer til I have two or three and make your stock. I like the idea. The only store bought stock I like the taste of has MSG in it, soooo, no good.

    • That’s a great idea. I’ve gotten into the habit of just throwing the “Thursday night chicken” in the pot after dinner. But you are right that it would be richer with more bones. And that means it would have more of the good stuff that comes from those bones!

    • It’s so true. When I use homemade stock I have to use far fewer spices because the stock lends such a rich taste to the soup or other dish I happen to be preparing.

  2. Thanks for sharing this recipe! This is my first time making chicken stock and I love the ease of being able to use the crock pot. My stock has a couple more hours to go and I can’t wait to see how it tastes!

    • I’ve started paying attention to the price of chicken stock in the grocery store. It makes me feel so frugal when I make my own. Good luck with it!

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  5. Hi Lea. I came across your lovely blog by Googling Paleo pancakes. Going to try yours tomorrow! I’m also interested in this stock recipe. Is it really possible to put a mason jar with broth in the freezer? I have never put glass in the freezer, always afraid it might expand and break. But if there’s a little space above the stock, it should be okay?
    Thanks for these posts – I’m new to Paleo, will try more of your ideas! (And… I worship the Creator too). :)

    • Hi Brenda, Someone else asked me about this on Facebook the other day so I should probably update the post. I don’t put the mason jars in the freezer. I put them in the fridge and almost always use the stock within a few days. I’ve been using some Pyrex glass containers with rubber lids for the freezer.
      I’m glad you found my site. Paleo has been great. I hope the pancakes turn out well for you!

      • Check out the Ball canning book (or site) for tips on freezing… they make white plastic lids for freezing and they work very well! And yes, leave some head space in the jar and you will be just fine.

    • If you wait to put the lid on until after the stock has frozen it should be fine. That’s what I always do and have never had any issues.

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  9. Thank you for your stock recipes! Your posts have helped me tweak my own version (also inspired by Ina) and I will get a more consistent result.

    May I warn against using commercially roasted chicken (a previous convenience for us) because of additives (MSG and other mysteries) used in the herb mixtures and oils they prepare. This might transfer into the stock. Unless its from a wonderfully reliable “whole foods” type store–steer clear. I found out the hard way and my preschooler and I suffered the ill effects.

    Just an FYI to the group.

    Thanks again,
    Jennifer

    • Hi Jennifer,
      I agree about the chickens. The majority of the time when I make stock it is from chickens I roast myself. I’ve also used chickens from Costco, which, although not ideal, do not have MSG or gluten or preservatives, etc. I took a look at ingredients on chickens at a Super Wal-Mart once just out of curiosity. It had horrendous ingredients! I definitely recommend checking the ingredient list.

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  11. Thank you so much for this post! I have my first-ever batch of chicken broth in my crock pot–I feel like Ma Ingalls. (If she had had a crock pot.) :)

  12. I just want to share two suggestions:

    When I make bone broth or meat stock, I prefer to do it in large batches, so when the broth has cooled down completely then I actually transfer it into large yogurt containers and then put it in the freezer. This way I don’t need to worry about class breaking.

    The other suggestion I have was given to me by a butcher at my local grocery store. When I was trying to decide what parts of the chicken to use to make bone broth, he suggested that I could use chicken wings which they sold by the pack for a good price. I have used frozen chicken backs as well, but if you can’t find parts like that, the wings work fine. The downside to the rising popularity of making our own meat stock and bone broth is that the stores have caught on and bones are now becoming pricier. :-)

    • Why not use the broth to make a great paleo chicken soup. Quite a few great Paleo recipes online for stuff like that. Easy to make. Roast up some chicken or buy a roasted one. Then some veggies and your stock. Some spices and water and cook on the stove for a while. Should be delicious when it is done.

  13. Thank you soooo much. I just made this last night. What a great way to make a delicious bone broth. I used a store cooked chicken carcass much the same as you did. It was so easy and turned out great! Thanks again.

    • It’s not a huge problem to add salt in the beginning, just not necessary. It ends up in the veggies that get thrown away so it’s a bit of a waste. But not much more devastating than that. I hope the stock turned out well for you.

  14. Help!!!! I’ve made stock before but this is my first time making it in the crock pot. Even after 7 hours, it still has very little flavor. Is that normal? I do plan on “cooking” it longer, but I would expect more than just a watered down taste at this point. :(

  15. Thank you so much! Super easy way to get the stock I crave. I just don’t have the time to watch a stock pot for hours. I roasted a turkey Sunday night and by Monday morning my kitchen smelled like heaven. Now I have frozen stock ready and waiting. Thank you again.

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