5 Tips for Homemade Bone Broth and Sure-Fire Chicken Broth Recipe

Are you wondering why your bone broth doesn't taste that great? Find out how to make bone broth that not only is great for you, but is great tasting too!

Plus we've got a sure fire chicken broth recipe for you as well.

homemade chicken broth in a stainless pot

As a Nutritional Therapist that specializes in digestive health issues, I ask all of my clients to start making homemade bone broth.

The reactions I get are nothing short of well… entertaining.

“Bone what? Broth? Um, what’s that?”

“You want me to use actual BONES? Really?”

“Chicken feet? Are you SERIOUS?!”

“Can’t I just get it in stores?” (Hint: The answer is “no”.)

These are just some of the more common reactions.

As crazy as it might seem to those of you who’ve been making bone broth for many years, the fact is that most people are new to it and somewhat intimidated by it.

If you’re my age (41), or younger, it’s HIGHLY UNLIKELY your mother made real, homemade bone broths.  Rather, she probably bought them in a store from a box, a can or God forbid, a bouillon cube.

Well thanks to the real food movement, millions of people are finally getting it – most store-bought broths are NOT real broths.  They are full of chemicals (even the organic ones) that mimic the flavor of real bone broth.

They’re also starting to understand that real homemade broth is a nutritional powerhouse, full of anti-inflammatory, gut healing and immune supporting nutrients.

And now, so many people want to learn to make broths the RIGHT way, like their grandmothers and great-grandmothers used to do.

It’s not complicated! But if you’re new to making bone broth, it can be a little overwhelming when you first start. So I want to share 5 tips to help you overcome any hesitations and get you started with making bone broth at home.

If you would prefer to buy bone broth, Kettle and Fire is a great place to buy it.

5 Tips For Making Bone Broth

Tip #1: You don’t have to use feet.

Or gizzards. Or heads. Or tails. Or any parts that gross you out.

Sometimes we traditional food bloggers forget that not everyone is hardcore into traditional food and that not everyone is super psyched about using things like feet.

I don’t blame you.

BUT it’s definitely good to use them!

You see all those animal parts that tend to make people cringe are rich in collagen. Collagen comes from the Greek word “kolla” which literally means “glue” and it’s the substance that in many ways keeps us glued together. It’s made up of proteins that form the strong but pliable connective tissues in things like tendons, ligaments, cartilage, joints, skin, and our digestive tract.

You can actually see proof of a collagen-rich broth when it cools. It will literally gel and jiggle like homemade Jell-O.

This is a good thing! That gelling comes from gelatin, which is simply collagen that has been broken down during the simmering process. Gelatin has many health benefits but in particular, it has been prized for centuries around the world for its ability to help ease gastrointestinal problems.

It’s one of the many reasons that historically, cultures used all parts of animals, not just bones, when making broths.

But I get it. You might be grossed out by those things. No big deal.

Just start with a simple chicken broth from a whole raw chicken or a chicken carcass that you’ve roasted at home.

In time, when you get comfortable with a simple chicken broth, you can gravitate to adding in more collagen-rich parts.

Tip #2: 5 simple steps that begin with the letter S.

Soak.

Skim.

Strain.

Simmer.

Store.

Memorize that and in a short time, you won’t even need a recipe to make a broth. Just about every homemade bone broth follows that simple formula.

Use my simple chicken broth recipe as an example (you can see this after the final tip.......

collage of homemade bone broth in jars and being made in a pot

Tip #3: Use a crockpot instead of the stovetop

For many, using a crockpot saves a lot of time. You might also be uncomfortable leaving your stove top on for long periods of time. I will also add that many in the broth-making community are raving about the use of an Instapot pressure cooker for making broth. I haven’t tried this yet so I can’t comment on it from personal experience. One reason I prefer a stove top pressure cooker (Adrienne LOVES this stove top pressure cooker) is that I like to make HUGE batches of broth at once, something that can’t be done in a crockpot or pressure cooker.

But if you’re just starting out, you’ll definitely want to start with smaller batches. In that case, a crockpot is perfectly fine. Basically, throw the bones in the crockpot, fill it up with water, turn it to the “low” setting and let it go until you’re ready to strain it.

Most people skip step 1 and 2 when using a crockpot and that’s OK. I get it. It’s the 21st century. Not everyone has time to soak the bones for an hour, skim it, and adjust the heat to get the perfect gentle simmer (which will often take some time to find the exact right setting on your stove top).

The only negative about using a crockpot is that you won’t be able to set the temperature to get the perfect gentle simmer which creates a nice, gelatinous broth. Most crockpots usually only have 3 settings – high, low and warm.

Usually both the high and low settings will boil liquids while the warm setting keeps it just below a simmer. That being said, I’ve had many people report to me that despite this, their broth gelled beautifully. Creating gelatinous broths can sometimes be a hit or miss.

Which leads me to tip #4…

Tip #4. Don’t be a perfectionist about it!

So many people get all crazy if you don't do it this way or that way.

You say bone stock, I say bone broth. For the most part the words “stock” and “broth” are used interchangeably. Some say a bone broth is cooked for less time than a bone stock and some say the complete opposite.

Other differences in opinion include how long to simmer broths for, whether or not to roast bones first and techniques for creating a gelatin-rich broth.

Listen, I don't care if you can only simmer your broth for one hour, if that’s all the time you have.

I don't care if it doesn’t form gelatin.

I don't care if you don’t roast the bones first and I don't care if all you have are a few chicken bones.

Heck, I don’t even care if it doesn’t taste good! You can always flavor it after the fact with things like salt and pepper, soy sauce or fish sauce and other spices and herbs. Some folks prefer blander broths for this very reason.

And I certainly don't care if you call it a stock or a broth. Call it a “brew” or "stone soup" if you want! Just put what you got in a pot, simmer it for as long as you can... and good things happen.

It will be infinitely better than anything you can buy in a store.

Tip #5: Make Delicious Soups!

OK, you've got some delicious homemade chicken broth. Now what?

Well, you can certainly add some chicken meat and veggies to your chicken broth and voila...chicken soup.

Honestly though, I NEVER make chicken soup anymore. It’s just, well, I find it SO BORING!

And that’s one of the many reasons I wrote Fearless Broths and Soups

Fearless Broths and Soups

Included are 60 simple recipes for a wide variety of different soups. As the tagline says, I truly wrote this book for “real people on real budgets.”

It’s geared to all you stressed out moms and dads and workaholics trying to figure out how to eat well with limited funds and time.  Which is pretty much everybody these days, right?

And it has lots of soup recipes made from chicken broth so you’ll have plenty of choices.

Here’s a summary of the different chapters:  

  • Simple recipes for the most basic homemade bone broths
  • 20 quick and simple Broth for Breakfast recipes for those rushed morning hours
  • 10 Creamy Vegetable soups including Potato Leek, Butternut Squash and a Carrot-Apple with Cinnamon
  • 10 Asian Noodle soups including Thai Coconut Curry, Vietnamese Pho and Burmese Mohinga
  • 10 Soup from the Sea recipes including Cioppino, Clam Chowder and Bouillabaisse
  • 10 Simple Sausage and Meatball soup recipes including Italian Meatball and Portuguese Kale

How Long Can You Freeze Homemade Broth for?

You can store your homemade broth in the freezer for about 6 months in the back of a regular freezer, or for 12 months in a deep freeze. After that point, you can still consume the broth--it will be safe to eat, but the flavor may be diminished somewhat.

Ingredients

Optional Chicken Parts:

  • Chicken Backs
  • Chicken Feet
  • Giblets (but not the liver) - these include the neck, heart, and gizzards

Ways to Use Broth

Of course you can just eat broth plain, but it's a great base for all kinds of recipes including this Easy Butternut Squash Pear Soup, this Low-carb Shepherd's Pie, Egg Roll in a Bowl, and Lentil Curry.

Recipe Notes and Substitutions

  • Chicken Option: Instead of a whole raw chicken, you can use either raw whole chicken parts, cut up, or 1-2 chicken carcasses from a roasted chicken, meat removed.
  • Trim Healthy Mama: If you are on the Trim Healthy Mama plan, this recipe will fit in as an "S."

NOW....here is the sure fire recipe......

Making Bone Broth - 5 Tips for Awesome Homemade Bone Broth and a Sure-Fire Chicken Broth Recipe

New to making bone broth? Don't worry – here are 5 great tips on how to make homemade bone broth that's extremely nourishing and healing!
4.78 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Dressings, Seasonings, etc., Soup
Cuisine: AIP, Dairy-Free, Gluten-Free, Grain-Free, Keto, Low-Carb, Paleo, THM:S, whole30
Keyword: making bone broth

Ingredients

  • 1 whole raw chicken
  • vegetables (coarsely chopped – 2-3 carrots, 2-3 stalks celery, 1 medium to large onion)
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • filtered water (to cover chicken)

Optional chicken parts:

  • 1 - 2 chicken backs
  • 1 - 2 chicken feet
  • giblets (but not the liver – giblets include the neck, heart and gizzards)

Instructions

  • Soak: Place chicken and/or chicken carcasses and optional parts in bottom of stock pot and cover with cold water and add vinegar. Let sit for 30-60 minutes. Soaking bones in cold water with a little vinegar helps to pull the minerals from the bones. This is not mandatory and if you’re short on time it’s OK to skip it.
  • Skim: Bring to a gentle rolling boil and skim any scum that forms on the surface. True to its name, “scum” is not very pleasant looking but it can’t hurt you. Simply skim it off with a ladle or a small mesh strainer which will easily latch on to the scum. Once you’ve skimmed the broth add in your chopped vegetables.
  • Simmer: Turn the temperature to low and simmer very gently, covered, for 4-24 hours. The key is to GENTLY SIMMER and not boil the bones which can prevent gelatin from forming (but won’t ruin the broth). So once the water has come to a boil and the scum is skimmed, immediately turn down the heat. Simmering should only be slightly perceptible – a few bubbles rising to the surface here and there are a good indicator of a nice, gentle simmer.
  • Strain: Let the broth cool to about room temperature. Strain broth from bones, parts and veggies using a fine mesh strainer.
  • If using a whole chicken, remove the chicken and place on a cutting board. Remove the meat from the bones and save for use in meals.
  • Store: Ladle the broth into your storage containers. If you’re filling glass jars that will be stored in the freezer, always leave a few inches of headspace at the top of the jar. Broth will expand when frozen and can crack glass jars if they’re overfilled. Store in fridge for up to 7 days. Freeze whatever you won’t use within a week.

Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy and is merely an approximation. Optional ingredients are not included and when there is an alternative, the primary ingredient is typically used. We cannot guarantee the accuracy of the nutritional information given for any recipe on this site. Erythritol carbs are not included in carb counts since they have been shown not to impact blood sugar. Net carbs are the total carbs minus fiber.

Have you made homemade bone broth?  If so, what kind?
If not, why not?

Craig Fear

Craig Fear is a certified Nutritional Therapy Practitioner (NTP) and real food blogger. In addition to his video e-course, he also just released his second book, Fearless Broths and Soups. Craig's other interests include hiking, playing his guitar, travel, hanging out with his golden retriever, Lipton, and rooting for his beloved New York Giants. He also loves coffee and claims to be only mildly obsessed to it. You can connect with Craig over on his blog, Fearless Eating, on Facebook, Pinterest, and on Instagram.

 

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114 Comments

  1. If you are making the broth for your dogs can the bones be put in the fridge and used again for a second batch or can you use the bones only ones after boiled?

    1. I'm not a canning expert at all so please do consult a better resource for this but I am reading that you would process quart jars at 10 pounds of pressure 20 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft and quart jars at 10 pounds of pressure 25 minutes at altitudes of less than 1,000 ft. If need be, adjust for altitude. Hope that helps!

  2. Hi Adrienne - I made chicken bone broth for the first time yesterday using a whole chicken in my large crock pot. I cooked it on low for 24 hrs. Then deboned and drained everything. Let it cool then put in the frig. I was hoping it would gel up but it didn't and very little fat on the surface.

    My question is did it not gel because I cooked it in the slow cooker?

  3. 5 stars
    Hello, thanks for this recipe.

    I currently have my first carcass soaking! Assuming all goes well, how long is it safe to freeze this for?

  4. Do I need to take the chicken out after a couple hours and remove the meat from the bones and then return the bones to the pot?

    1. Hi there. No, you can just cook the chicken the whole time and remove the chicken and everything else at the same time. I will edit the post to reflect that - good question!

  5. 5 stars
    Thank you for the recipe, I’ve been making our own broth for a year now and just keep a bag of veggie trimmings from the week that I throw in with bones. Super economical.

    Can I ask why you don’t recommend using liver from the giblets? Thanks!

    1. You are so welcome! I need to work on the veggie trimming thing more and get back in the routine of making broth.

      The liver can cloud the broth and it can leave a livery taste, which is of course up to you, but many won't want it.

  6. When my broth is simmering it is forming a crisp film on the top. Should I be skimming this off, or is it gelatin?

      1. I would normally assume it was fat, but I was skimming onto a plate and it didn’t melt like the fat did. It was more solid. I did skim most of it off in the end and have been using the stock for soup, curry and chili all week. It set beautifully. I was just curious.

        1. This is very confusing. I have asked in a broth group and everyone had a different thought. I know it doesn't seem like scum to me!

        2. Hi again! I just heard another possible explanation. Someone is saying that it's protein that has broken down--which sounds like the most reasonable answer to me! Hope that helps!

  7. This is delish!!! I’ve made 2 batches and both were wonderful. I do have a question though, after the bone broth is finished should the fat be skimmed off? Wasn’t sure how health it was.

    1. So glad to hear it! Toxins accumulate in fat so this would mainly be a question about the quality of meat that you bought as well as your body's need for fats. Personally from my research I think that healthy fats are important (I used to eat a very low fat diet and it was part of what made me ill) but I would consult w/ your physician if you are concerned about your fat intake. Thanks and hope that helps!

    1. Hi there. Are you asking about a whole chicken? You can do this w/ a whole chicken but most will do it w/ a carcass. Hope that helps!

  8. 5 stars
    thank you for making bone broth so much simpler and tastier! My question is when simmered
    it overnight, it reduced the liquid by 2/3. I didnt want to over dilute it by adding water but now I only have about 3 cups of broth from about 10 that I started with. Any advice?

    1. You are so welcome--it's not my original post, but it's a guest one, but I think I can help. I would think that you might have simmered at too high of a temp and I would just add some filtered water to it and reheat. Hope that helps!

  9. 5 stars
    This article was very informative! Bone broth is so healthy for you on so many levels for long term health. It is great to drink when fasting as well!