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

The information provided in this post is for information purposes only and should not be construed as medical advice.
It is not a substitute for your doctor's care plan or advice.

New to making bone broth? Here are 5 Tips for making Homemade Bone Broth and an Easy Chicken Broth Recipe.{Bone broth – it's touted as one of the most healing foods out there, but I didn't make it for years. Why? Mainly because I didn't know how to make bone broth.

Seemed daunting to me, between getting the bones, what kind of pot to use, what recipe to use — and on and on. If you want to make broth but don't know how to get started, or you'd like tips to make the best broth you can — you've come to the right place. Craig Fear of Fearless Eating is here to teach you about making great homemade bone broth and shares an easy chicken broth recipe so you can get started now.} 

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 – 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.

By the way, any of the following links may be affiliate links. If you click on them and make a purchase, I might make a commission. Your support is much appreciated and helps keep this free resource up and running.

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 hard core 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 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.

Let’s use a simple chicken broth recipe as an example.

New to making bone broth? Here are 5 Tips for making Homemade Bone Broth and an Easy Chicken Broth Recipe.

What You Will Need:

Optional Chicken Parts:

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

4.3 from 3 reviews
Making Bone Broth - 5 Tips for Awesome Homemade Bone Broth and a Sure-Fire Chicken Broth Recipe
 
Author:
Recipe type: DIY Foods
Cuisine: Gluten-Free, Dairy-Free, Sugar-Free, Grain-Free, Low-Carb, Vegan, Paleo, AIP
Serves: about 4 quarts
 
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!
Ingredients
  • 1 whole raw chicken (or raw whole chicken parts, cut up) or 1-2 chicken carcasses from a roasted chicken, meat removed
  • vegetables, coarsely chopped – 2-3 carrots, 2-3 stalks celery, 1 medium to large onion
  • 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Filtered water to cover chicken (read this post on how to best filter water)
Optional chicken parts:
  • 1-2 chicken backs
  • 1-2 chicken feet
  • Giblets (but not the liver) – these include the neck, heart and gizzards
Instructions
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. Strain: Let the broth cool to about room temperature. Strain broth from bones, parts and veggies using a fine mesh strainer.
  5. 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.

 

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 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: Seeing how it’s done can be VERY helpful if you’re just starting out

In meeting with clients through the years, I’ve realized that no matter how well I describe it in words, on a handout, or even in a book, video demos can be a lot more helpful.

And so I wanted to create a visual resource that was SUPER SIMPLE, all in one place, specifically for homemade bone broth-making beginners.

In How to Make Bone Broth 101, I use:

– the 5-step formula above and in
5 simple videos, demonstrate how to make the
5 most basic broths at home – chicken, beef, fish, pork and a leftover bones broth.

The way your grandmother (or maybe great-grandmother!) used to do it.

New to making bone broth? Here are 5 Tips for making Homemade Bone Broth and an Easy Chicken Broth Recipe.

Here’s a little preview:

Included in How to Make Bone Broth 101 are:

5 Simple Videos on making bone broth showing you how to make the 5 Most Basic Broths
15 bonus soup recipes (so you can start using your broth right away),
2 bonus overview videos to get you started (including a summary of the best kitchen tools)
printable handouts of all the recipes and
a private Facebook community to ask questions and connect with others.

Want to go from a broth-making beginner to a broth-making expert in a very short time?

New to making bone broth? Here are 5 Tips for making Homemade Bone Broth and an Easy Chicken Broth Recipe.

It’s not rocket science!

Click here to learn more about How to Make Bone Broths 101.

Craig FearCraig 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 addicted to it. You can connect with Craig over on his blog, Fearless Eating, on Facebook, Pinterest, and on Instagram.

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

These comments do not necessarily reflect the opinions of Whole New Mom, LLC.

Comments

    Speak Your Mind

    *

    Rate this recipe:  

  1. Michaelene Bush says:

    No, I do not see the recipe! Hate it when I am clicking on to see a recipe and I have to go thru the whole site just to find NO recipe.

    • Hi there. I just went back through and changed the fonts of the directions portion a bit. Can you see it now? It’s in a box with a different shade around it. Please do let me know if you don’t see it b/c it’s there. Thanks!

  2. So, where is the recipe!

  3. I HATE far too many ads. I, ll try not to come back because of these ads

    • Hello Sue.

      I’m so sorry for the negative experience that you had on my site. I’ve had some issues with my ad network this past week and have been talking with them and they just told me about a positive change that they made, so hopefully things are better now. I would greatly appreciate it if you would try again and see what you think. I’m more than happy to listen to readers’ experiences to make things better. I’m sure you know that it’s a fine line to walk – I work very hard on my site and the costs of keeping it running are very very high and so I need to strike a balance b/t income and reader experience.

      Would you mind telling me what ads bothered you the most or was it just too many? Again, thanks for taking the time to comment and hope you to have you back. Thanks again.

  4. Lauren Tilbury says:

    Have you ever made broth out of baby back ribs that were barbecued/smoked?

  5. Hi there, just wanted to know if you have any tips for Beef broth. I had my first attempt recently. It had no colour and smelt rank. Just a big pile as smelly, greasy gloop!

    • Hi Carole, that actually sounds pretty normal. Beef bones naturally have more collagen in them and so you’ll often get a more fatty and greasy broth. That’s not necessarily bad as when you cool it the fat will rise to the top and you can skim it off. And it can often smell not great. Don’t worry about that! The point is to use it for other things like soups and stews where it will transform into something delicious!

  6. Dear Craig. Thank you for not being a health snob. I just started making bone broth in my crock pot and I love it. I do not know if it is true but my skin is Flawless now. Much plumper. My question is if I might gain weight from drinking an 8oz. cup twice a day chicken broth that might still have some of the fat in it. I microwave it and it goes down smooth. I also worry that I am going to be enjoying too much salt form the broth. What are your thoughts?

    • Craig Fear says:

      Hi there! You definitely should not gain weight from drinking bone broth. The fat in bone broth, especially if it’s from a healthy animal on its natural diet, can actually help with weight loss. A low carb diet, which basically means healthy fats and protein with moderate to low amounts of carbs (especially refined sugars) has been proven time and time again to be the best approach for sustainable weight loss. As for the salt, here’s an old blog post I wrote that can explain more: http://fearlesseating.net/why-sugar-will-raise-your-blood-pressure-more-than-salt/

      Hope that helps!

  7. If you use bones that are already cooked or roasted, you dont have to skim. The scum is coagulated blood. If you roast the bones first the broth doesnt form the scum. It also tends to be richer and more flavorful. Instant pots are awesome for broth. If you have a histamine intolerance, its amazing because you can make broth that gels in 90 minutes instead of letting it simmer for 24-48 hours, which develops a lot of histamines.

  8. My Mom always made bone broth and I have recently started to do the same. As a matter of fact i have a pot on the stove right now. In order to be able to make bone broth with a very busy life style, I do the following, which makes bone broth a very simple task: I keep 3 freezer bags in the freezer; 1 for veggie scraps, as I cut the ends off of carrots, celery and onions I put them in the veggie scrap bag. The other 2 bags are for chicken bones and beef/pork bones, as I make meals with cuts of meat that have bones, I place the bones in the bags after the meal is finished. This way, I always have the makings for bone broth in my freezer, just throw some bones and veggies in a big pot, cover with water and start the process. This can also be made in the oven. Start the process on the stovetop. once skimmed, move the pot to a 250-300 degree oven and let it cook away. After a busy day at work, I’ve often put a pot of bone broth “makings” in the oven after dinner and let it cook all night @ 250. Also, if making a huge batch, I’ll freeze some in my muffin tins. once frozen, pop them into a freezer baggie – I always have broth to use in convienient 1/4 cup “ice cubes”

    • Interesting – so do you do this in the warmer months as well? Seems like you are heating up the oven for a pretty small thing? Maybe the flavor is better? I do what you do for bones :).

      • Typically I have enough broth in the freezer to last the summer months. We do a lot of grilling in the summer and I tend to use less broth (just for sautéing and for use in other recipes that call for broth, not necessarily in soup). I usually use the oven method either when I am short on time and need to cook it overnight, (something about an open flame on the stovetop overnight bothers me). Also, when I am overly ambitious it is easier for me to have 2 or 3 (maybe 4) pots going at the same time in the oven – since it freezes so well; I like to make “lots-o-broth” at one time. I have not soaked the bones before, I will need to start. If I was going to roast the bones prior to making stock – would I also soak the bones or skip that part? If soak – when, before or after roasting? Your video looks like it holds a lot of good info!!! I like the fact that your dog was photo bombing you 😉

  9. Thank you for your recipe. You stated 2 chicken carcasses. What is the equivant if we are using beef bones?

    • Craig Fear says:

      Hi Jessica, for a good beef broth try to get a variety of beef bones like some meaty rib or neck bones, some marrow bones and a knuckle bone. Beef bones are all different sized so it’s hard to say what the equivalent is but those knuckle bones are pretty huge. So I’d say one knuckle bone, one or two marrow bones and one or two meaty bones would be an equivalent (if not more).

      • Thanks, Craig. Is there a weight equivalent to go for? I have used some broth recipes that call for, say, 2 pounds of chicken bones. Thanks!

        • Craig Fear says:

          I’ve never weighed the bones I used but I’d guesstimate that one knuckle bone, a few marrow bones and meaty bones would be about 2-3 pounds.

  10. So I decided to make a bone broth from my thanksgiving turkey bones. I followed all the steps above and I let it simmer for 20hr and now I have almost zero liquid left in my pot. I never lifted the lid and never touched it for those hours. Why did all my liquid disappear. Is that normal? What should I do? Please help I’m concerned I did something wrong and all that work/energy was for nothing.

    • Craig Fear says:

      Hi Erin,

      I don’t know what happened but I’m guessing the lid may have been slightly cracked/ajar in some place. Because if it was securely on, it shouldn’t have all evaporated. Next time, make sure to check it every few hours and also make sure to keep it at a very gentle simmer. Sometimes a gentle simmer without the lid can turn into an aggressive boil when the lid is put back on. Sorry it didn’t go well. Don’t let it discourage you from trying again. We’ve all had our missteps and failures in the kitchen!

  11. Wow! Great article! I’ve been too intimidated to try bone broth but this gave me courage! Is it ok to mix animals? I’ve been storing bones in my freezer for when I’m ready. I’ve mostly got a few lamb necks, chicken turkey thighs and legs… I’ve also got a giant goat leg with meat on it (not sure how to cook it but that’s another issue… haha). Do people ever do that with bones from different meats? I only ever see recipes for chicken broth or beef broth. Never a recipe that’s says “throw in whatever bones ya got!”

  12. The InstaPot Pressure Cooker makes about 10 cups of bone broth at a time. It’s a good sized inner pot. You can brown the bones in butter/coconut oil in the pot and then add your water and other seasonings/ ingredients. The beauty of the process tho is that it only takes 2-2 1/2 hours to do what you would have to do in 24 hours or longer on the stove or slow cooker, with much less energy usage.. I can make back to back batches of bone broth in a fraction of the time it would take on the stove or in a slow cooker. And at 2 1/2 hours in the InstaPot, the bones are super soft (takes 48 hours or more in the crock pot) and will mush between your fingers…..and then can be mashed or blended, or left whole (and soft) and given to your pets….both my cats and dogs get them and they feel like they are getting contraband. ( I have a friend who blends hers with some of the bone broth and consumes the bones herself!) Since a good clean chicken is expensive, nothing is wasted on a chicken in our house….not a bone, not a piece of skin or fat, not a drop. The InstaPot is phenomenal for bone broth!

    • I’ve been looking at those – thanks!! I don’t know what the real advantage is over a pressure cooker though, besides not needing a burner. What do you think?

      • For me, time is of the essence. When I can ‘bake’ regular potatoes and sweet potatoes in the InstaPot in 15 minutes instead of 40, and have incredibly moist results….When I can not only cook a whole stewed chicken in 25-30 minutes…without having to ‘watch the stove’….(the InstaPot shuts itself off after the timing is over, and keeps your food warm til you get back to take it out)….then to be able to lift the chicken out, literally pull the bones right out of it and plop back into the stock, add the other ingredients and then having 10 cups of bone broth in 2 1/2 hours, while I am doing a dozen other things…..with less energy used (both electrical AND mine!)….then I am a very happy camper….er…cook. (Whew….sorry…that was a long sentence!) And all of that is just for starters! And I love the way I can saute and brown my meat in the inner stainless pot and then add water or whatever without having to transfer from another pan…..and well….I could go on and on. I am not a ‘gadget’ person….I usually detest appliances that take the place of good old fashioned cooking….like rice cookers, etc. BUT…when an appliance takes the place of SEVERAL appliances….it’s mine. I’ve used the InstaPot both as a pressure cooker AND a slow cooker, Depends on the meal you are cooking and when it needs to be done. I’ve cooked brown rice in it to perfection in less than half the time as usual, steamed fresh vegetables from the garden in just 3 minutes….yes, and if it SAYS just 3 minutes…then don’t do it for 5…just in case!!! I’ve even made yogurt in it as well. Also, wild game, is a snap to bring to savory tenderness with the pressure cooker. I can have a pot of fall-apart braised venison tips and gravy on the table with brown rice or whipped potatoes in a fraction of the time with any other method of cooking it quickly. I’ve not been disappointed with anything I’ve cooked in it….. I cannot say enough about it. After everything I have read, it seems that the pressure part of the pressure cooking actually does a better job of keeping the nutrients intact in your food. Eliminates high heat cooking for prolonged periods of time. All around plus for me..

  13. I love this! This is the way my grandmother cooked and since we started raising our own chickens, I’ve begun to do this again. Do you break or crush your bones to get more nutrients? Is there any amount of time ( I do it in a crock pot) that is too long to cook it?

    • Hi Julie, you could certainly do that with the bones to facilitate a more nutrient rich broth, especially with a shorter cooking time. And as far as I know, you can cook the bones til the cows come home and it’ll still be great. Some people report that if they cook it a really long time, they’ll notice a burnt taste from the veggies. Personally, I’ve never noticed this (probably because I tend to make soups with lots of seasonings) but I think there’s something to be said for that. In that case, add the veggies in the last 6-8 hours or so.

  14. THANK you so very much. Sometimes I am so overwhelmed by the “rules” to “healthy” eating that I decide not to do anything new. I agree, HOMEMADE will win out over ANYTHING store-bought every time. Thanks for this informative and encouraging post. Off to make bone broth!

  15. Would it be possible to can homemade bone broth, or would that make it too hot and ruin it? I really want to make a huge batch but don’t have room in my freezer.

    • Hi Chelsea, I”ve never canned bone broth but I know people do it. From what I’ve read it’s important to use a pressure canner (as opposed to a water bath canner) due to the low acid levels in bone broth.

  16. These are great tips! I like the way the fear factor is taken out of the process and the versatility is kept in. That said, I make the broth in my pressure cooker on medium pressure for about 3 hours, and it gels fabulously. I roast the bones on a cookie tray first to add lots of great flavor.

  17. Do the bones and parts have to be from organic meat sources? Thank you for the great article!

    • Hi Jan,

      It’s definitely good to get the best quality bones and parts as you possibly can. Pasture raised and grass fed sources are ideal and will give a more nutrient-dense, flavorful broth. But I know that’s not always possible for everyone so just do the best you can.

  18. Is there a reason for leaving the liver out? Thanks!

    • Hi Angie,

      Liver can cloud the broth. More importantly, it can leave a livery taste, which is definitely not something you want!