Learn how to make chicken stock for more flavorful soups, pastas, and casseroles! This cooking tutorial will help you turn kitchen scraps into a delicious, nutritious golden broth.
What is Chicken Stock?
Chicken stock is made when you cook chicken bones, meat, skin, and cartlidge in water, drawing out the nutrients and flavor. It can be cooked with only chicken products, but the tastiest stocks also use flavorful ingredients like onions, garlic, carrots and even dried or fresh herbs.
One of the best things about stock is that you can make it from your kitchen scraps. When you cut onions, garlic, celery, carrots, or shallots for other recipes, toss the ends, peels, and skins into a freezer bag for your stock. These add great flavor for free!
Save the bones from any whole chicken roasts, wings, thighs, or legs you’ve eaten as well. Stock up on whole chickens, cut them up, toss in the giblets (minus the liver), and enjoy your broth! After using fresh leafy herbs in other dishes, set aside the stalks to use in the stock, too. Finally, you can roast it all together for a broth you’ve made for just the price of your electricity.
This recipe reduces waste and your grocery bill while also adding a ton of flavor to any soups, gravies, casseroles, and more. Make this easily in the Instant Pot, on the stove, or in a slow cooker for a versatile, inexpensive, delicious kitchen staple!
Is chicken stock the same as chicken broth?
While chicken stock, chicken broth, and chicken bone broth can be used interchangeably in some recipes, they are NOT the same! When comparing the three, you’ll find that they all take different amounts of time and ingredients to make, and they produce different tasting results.
- Chicken broth: Quickest process, least flavorful of the three but aromatics and vegetables can be added. Can use a whole chicken to produce both chicken broth and cooked chicken to shred for meal prep recipes.
- Chicken stock: Takes several hours, noticeably more flavorful than broth in soups and gravies. Nearly all parts of chicken can be used, and certain vegetables and aromatics are included for added flavor.
- Chicken bone broth: Takes nearly a full day, extremely flavorful. Nearly any chicken parts can be used, but specific cuts (chicken feet, wings, drumsticks, necks, backs) are used more because they have more collagen and minerals.
Chicken Stock Ingredients
Here’s a quick overview of what you’ll need for this recipe. Stock doesn’t require strict measurements, but scroll down to the printable recipe card for general measurement guidelines you can follow.
- Bones, meat, skin, etc. – These can be raw or cooked and can include lesser-used parts like chicken feet for more collagen. Most parts of the chicken can be used, just make sure to leave out the liver to avoid a bitter flavor. Expect to use about 2 pounds of chicken bones (and etc.) to produce 10 cups of stock.
- Vegetables – Onions, Garlic, Celery, and Carrots all provide fantastic flavor to the stock. Every part, including the papery skins, ends, and peels, can go in to add both flavor and color.
- Herbs – Fresh herbs aren’t necessary because they can turn bitter in the long cook time. It’s best to use dried herbs because they can withstand the heat. I use Herbs de Provence, but your favorite Italian seasoning mix would work well, too.
- Apple cider vinegar or lemon juice (optional) – This acid can draw out a little more vitamins and minerals from the bone. This isn’t necessary, but it does help if you’re trying to get the most from your bones.
- Water – Nothing fancy needed here. As long as your tap water is safe, you’re good!
What NOT to Put in Chicken Stock
How to Make Chicken Stock
Chicken stock is incredibly easy to make in the Instant Pot, on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker! Here’s a quick step-by-step guide with instructions for all 3 methods.
Roast (optional but recommended)
Roasting bones adds a ton of flavor and color to your stock. It’s not mandatory for a delicious broth, but it sure makes it easier to produce a great flavor. Whether your bones are raw or have already been cooked, you can roast them for 45 minutes to an hour at 425 degrees F. You might as well toss in your onions and garlic as well — Even more flavor!
Chicken Stock in the Instant Pot
Add all of your ingredients to the pot. Ten cups brought me right to the “max fill” line and covered the bones well. Close the lid and venting valve, then set pressure cooker to 3 hours. Once finished, allow to naturally release pressure before opening.
Stove Top Chicken Stock
Place all ingredients in a pot with water and bring to a boil for 5 minutes. Lower heat so that it keeps a steady simmer. Continue simmering for 4 to 6 hours, uncovered. If it looks like it is reducing too much, simply add more water during the process. Once an hour or so, skim off any foam or bits that come to the surface.
Slow Cooker Chicken Stock
Add ingredients into your slow cooker and cook on low for 12-18 hours. I wouldn’t recommend making stock on high in most slow cookers as they get so hot. This could cause the stock to rapidly boil for hours which can overcook it.
Once stock is cooked, pour it through a strainer to catch all of the bones and vegetables. Then place two layers of cheesecloth in a wire mesh strainer and pour the stock through. This should help catch the dried herbs and any other bits and pieces floating around. For perfectly clear stock, you may have to strain it multiple times.
Once your stock has cooled, you’ll notice a white fat cap forming on top. This is natural, and it actually helps protect the stock from bacteria while in the fridge! I often leave the fat cap on until I’m ready to use the stock, but you can skim this off right after making it if you prefer. This can be especially convenient if you plan to freeze it all–The cold temperature will protect the stock instead of the thin layer of fat.
Stock will keep in the fridge up to 4 days in an airtight container. If you’ve left it in the fridge an extra day or two, simply bring the stock to a boil for at least 1 minute before using it.
Freeze cooled stock in wide-mouthed jars (best to leave room for expansion) or in molds. These meal prep containers allow you to freeze stock into 1/2 cup bricks! Once frozen, just pop them out and transfer to a freezer bag. This makes it super easy to pull out just the right amount for future recipes. Freeze some in an ice tray to easily thin out gravies or add flavor to rice.
Onions, garlic, carrots, celery, leeks, shallots, mushrooms, tomatoes, and scallions are all very popular in stock. Beets can also provide great flavor, but they will alter the color of the broth.
Yes, you can make a general broth using beef, poultry, and pork bones! Large bones (like those that come from roasts) provide a TON of delicious nutrients.
Generally 2 pounds of animal product (bones, skin, meat, etc.) in 10 cups of water will create 10 cups of delicious, nutritious stock. Make sure only small amounts of meat are included as bones provide more collagen. The more skin included, the more fat (and flavor) there will be; this can be skimmed off the top later if it’s unwanted.
If your stock has come out cloudy, that likely means there was some disturbance during the cooking process. This is perfectly fine, and you can still use it. You can usually avoid having cloudy broth by making sure to never stir the stock until it’s been drained.
How to Make Chicken Stock
- 2-3 pounds chicken bones meat, cartlidge, organs, etc.
- 1 1/2 onions
- 4 carrots
- 4 garlic gloves
- 3 celery stalks
- 2-3 bay leaves
- 2 teaspoons herbs de provence
- 1 handful parsley stems
- 10-12 cups water
- Roast bones, onions, and garlic for at 425 degrees F. If all of the bones are raw, roast for 1 hour. If the bones have been previously cooked, roast for 30 minutes.
- Place all ingredients in the Instant Pot, finishing with water up to the max fill line. Close the lid and venting valve and set pressure cook to high for 3 hours.
- After stock has cooked for 3 hours, allow the pressure to naturally release completely before carefully opening the lid.
- Pour stock through a strainer and discard of the bones and vegetables, and other bits.
- Line a mesh strainer with cheesecloth and pour stock through 1-3 times until clear of particles.
- Once stock has cooled, you’ll notice a thin layer of fat collecting and solidifying at the top. You can skim this off immediately or leave it as a protective layer until you are ready to use your stock.