How to Make Chicken Stock and Why You Should

Homemade meat stocks are a traditional food that not only add flavor to meals but also add significant nutritional punch. For centuries chicken stock, a.k.a. Jewish Penicillin, has been served to the ill.  Unfortunately, these days most Americans purchase boneless cuts of meats and have lost the skill of creating this healing liquid.

Properly prepared stock contains high amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, gelatin and electrolytes.   The stock is gentle on the stomach and the nutrients are easily absorbed.  Homemade stock is the cornerstone to the GAPS Diet, a diet designed for natural digestive healing.  According to Dr. Campbell-McBride, “Meat and fish stocks provide building blocks for the rapidly growing cells of the gut lining and they have a soothing effect on any areas of inflammation in the gut.” It’s no wonder that stock has been recommended for cold, flu and just about whatever ails you for centuries.

While I am sure foodies could argue over the proper way to make stock, in my opinion you can be creative and use what you have on hand.  Stock can be made with a whole chicken or leftover bones.  It can be made with fresh vegetables or vegetable scraps.  Get in the habit of throwing all leftover bones and veggie scraps in the freezer.  When you are ready to make stock, just dump them in the pot!

Good stock should gel when cooled.  According to Sally Fallon, author of Nourishing Traditions, “Farm-raised, free-range chickens give the best results.”  Adding vinegar helps to pull minerals out of the bones and vegetables.  She also says that chicken feet, found at oriental markets, really helps the stock to gel.  Let me know if you try this!

Making homemade chicken stock is easier than pie!  It’s also extremely frugal!  This is how I typically prepare chicken stock:

Homemade Chicken Stock in the Crockpot

  1. I cook a whole chicken in the crockpot and serve the carved meat for dinner.
  2. After dinner, I pick the rest of the meat off the bones and refrigerate or freeze for soup, stir-fry or casseroles.
  3. Then I toss the bones back in the crockpot.  Breaking the bones help release the good stuff into the broth.  I break the bones if I feel like it.
  4. If I have “gizzards,” I toss them in the crockpot too.  Organ meat actually contains more nutrients than the muscle meat.  Most Americans are uncomfortable eating the organs.  By cooking them in the broth, you can transfer many of the nutrients into the stock.
  5. Next, I add vegetables.  I like to add onions, carrots and celery if I have them.  Sometimes I buy bags of frozen carrots and celery and dump that in.  You can use whatever tickles your fancy. This week I used the tough part of asparagus that I did not use in my asparagus and artichoke salad.
  6. Cover the bones and veggies with cold water and add 2 tablespoons of vinegar.  Let stand 30 minutes to 1 hour.  This will really help leach the minerals from the bones and veggies.
  7. Turn the crockpot on low.  Cook 6-24 hours.  The longer you cook, the richer the broth.
  8. For additional minerals, add parsley 10 minute before you turn the crockpot off.  I rarely have parsley, so I rarely do this step.
  9. After the chicken and stock cool, remove the bones and veggies and strain the stock.  Pour the stock into glass jars or freezer bags.  Homemade stock will keep in the fridge 5-7 days or can be frozen indefinitely.  Many people cook the stock down and freeze the concentrate into ice cubes.  The ice cubes can be stored in a plastic baggie in the freezer.
  10. One last time, I pick through the bones for more meat.  I can usually get 2-3 more cups of meat.  This meat is especially good in soup.

It is important to note that most store bought stock is over-processed and contains undesirable ingredients such as MSG. I do keep organic, free-range stock on hand for times when I don’t have homemade stock but I prefer homemade stock any day.

You may also enjoy Asian Chicken Noodle Soup and Rotisserie Chicken in the CrockPot.

Photo Credit: The Culinary Geek

This post is part of What’s on the Menu, Made it on Monday, Whatcha Makin’ Wednesdays, Gluten Free Wednesdays, Real Food Wednesdays, What’s on Your Plate, What’s Cooking Wednesday, What We’re Eating Wednesday, Show and Tell, Works for Me Wednesday, This Chick Cooks, Full Plate Thursday, Real Food Weekly, Simple Lives Thursday, It’s a Keeper Thursdays, Strut Your Stuff, Thrilling Thursday, Recipe Swap Thursday, Frugal Food Thursday, Hookin Up with HoH

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39 Responses to “How to Make Chicken Stock and Why You Should”

  1. This is a great guide to stock-making and includes some things I’d never thought of before ( really need to read Sally’s book!). Part of me wants to try the organ meat thing in the broth, but the other part of me is skeptical. In particular the liver; I’m not sure if it can be so healthy if it was essentially the filter for all the crud that goes through a body. But I definitely would be more willing to cook it in a broth than eat it straight! I actually do that for my DH with lots of different veggies: he won’t (can’t) eat them plain, but I put them in the stock so he gets at least some nutrients from them anyway. I really believe making your own stock is one of the healthiest things a person can do.

  2. I’ve done this for a couple of years now and I do add vinegar. It does create a gelatinous stock once cooled. And it’s DELICIOUS!

  3. Wow, thank you for sharing this, Nancy! I’ve been wanting to make my own chicken stock, but my complete-and-utter lack of freezer space is hindering me (we don’t even have room for ice cube trays!). I’m going to save this for the day when we finally get a chest freezer!

    Feel free to swing by my blog to see how I made dairy-free healthy ice cream…no ice cream maker required! Just three natural ingredients to ice cream bliss (Sunbutter substitution to make it to your allergen-free standards!).

    -MJ @ MD School Mrs

  4. Jessica says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this! I have been wanting to make stock but it’s a little intimidating. Your post made me feel better about it and I think I’ll try it soon.

  5. Miz Helen says:

    Hi Nancy,
    This is a great post for the chicken stock or broth. I make my own all the time and it is so much better than the canned product. Your recipe is very good. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and hope to see you next week!
    Miz Helen

  6. mindie says:

    I would love for you to link this and more up to my linky party that runs Friday evening through Sunday night. You can find the button for the party at

    Our last party, the first ever, had over 300 links so this week there will be a special give away just for linkers, hope to see you soon.

    Come strut your stuff!

  7. cheerful says:

    great post and really informative, thanks for sharing all of these things! wishing you a great weekend! 🙂

  8. Arlene says:

    thanks for sharing this.

    happy food tripping!

  9. Debs says:

    It’s funny, i just went to turn off the crock pot containing my chicken stock before clicking the link to your post!

    One additional thing I do is that if I don’t have time to make stock right away, i throw the bones, skin, whatever in a bag and stick it in my freezer. Today I took out 3 bags of bones to make my stock, giving a super concentrated yummy result. I think tomorrow I’ll make soup, just gotta find a good soup recipe…!

  10. All the great chefs make their own stock. Thanks for the inspiration and for sharing on the Momtrends Friday Food LInky

  11. KB says:

    Looks delish!

    We’d love for you to share this recipe with us at
    Simply Delish Saturday

  12. Whitesnake says:

    I came, I read and I was impressed!

  13. KB says:

    Thanks for sharing your recipe with
    Simply Delish. Hope to see you again next week.

  14. Mindie says:

    Thanks for linking up to Bacon Time Party Mindie Style, hope to see you link up every weekend!

    Feeling tired today, could use some homemade chicken stock.

  15. Vanessa says:

    Great information!
    Thank you so much for linking to {nifty thrifty things} last week!
    I hope to see you again tomorrow!

  16. Nora says:

    Love your site. It has given me some new ideas for allergy friendly meals. The first thing I remember learning when my son was diagnosed with food allergies was how to make stock (thanks to a good friend for the lesson). We did manage to buy some chicken feet from a Mexican grocery store (another option besides Asian markets). I love your idea of making it in the crock pot.

    • Nancy says:

      Ah, Mexican grocery store. Those are much more prevalent in this area than Asian Markets. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Great post. I have made stock for many years. I first learned how when I was a missionary in southern Mexico. And yes–we did use the feet in the broth. It gives the broth a rich yellow color, and adds flavor. When purchasing the feet, the nails have been clipped off, and the outer layer of skin is removed. I would recommend adding the feet whenever possible. 🙂

  18. Thanks for this great idea for Chicken Broth! I’ve made and posted this recipe now on my blog and I use it all the time!

  19. Ruth says:

    Hi, just read your post , great stuff. Recently diagnosed with food allergies , I am looking at redoing alot of recipes including using homemade stock. I was wondering if you keep the lid on or off while cooking down the stock ? I have always had a problem getting it concentrated enough to really have a strong flavor so will be anxious to try the crock pot method. Good idea about adding the vinegar.

    • Nancy says:

      I keep the lid on the crockpot. I also keep the lid on the stove. Maybe you’re not cooking it long enough? I hope you have better success with the crock pot.

  20. Kimberly says:

    My son was recently diagnosed with allergies to everything possible and I am new to “clean” eating…I have been struggling finding alternatives for things like flour because of the wheat, bread, etc. (I live in a small town and our grocery store does not sell many gluten free items or strange ingredients I’ve come across like guar gum. So thank you for your recipes. I am able to go through them and see which ones I can make for my family. I just made your mojo chicken (delish by the way) and was wondering if I could use the juices from that chicken to make stock?