Join Real Plans today!

How to Make Chicken Bone Broth

Mastering the fairly simple skill of how to make chicken bone broth will level up your kitchen game. And you’ll soon realize there’s nothing quite as versatile as a whole bird.

RealPlans-RECIPES-Chicken-Stock

Bone broth. Until very recently when this traditional food became mainstream trendy, the name alone would get strange looks like you uttered something medieval – certainly something that modern folks simply don’t eat. But when you learn how to make chicken bone broth, you realized it’s just chicken stock with a new flashy name.

More and more, people are falling in love with bone broth made from the bones of chicken, beef, lamb, fish, etc for both superior culinary flavors and old-fashioned healing properties. For some, a warm cup of this elixir has replaced their morning cup of coffee. It’s THAT good. Rich and restorative, without the jitters.

If you’re new to how to make chicken bone broth, the idea above may put you off – but please read on. Mastering the fairly simple skill of making stock will level up your kitchen game. And you’ll soon realize there’s nothing quite as versatile as a whole bird.

For example, besides a morning cup of broth, you can pack away meat for use in other recipes throughout the week, like Teriyaki Chicken (AIP) . Transform the carcass into chicken stock to make the base of your Chicken Zoodle Soup . Or use bits of leftover meat in a morning hash .

Is store-bought chicken broth unhealthy?

Only a few years ago it was practically impossible to find good quality bone broth at the store or online. These days, there are several brands that know how to make chicken bone broth /a.k.a. chicken stock the right way. We love to stock up on this and other top-quality kitchen staples from Thrive Market. Look for a simple list of ingredients that include water, organic chicken bones, organic vegetables, spices, apple cider vinegar, and sea salt.

Here are the ingredients from a well known “organic free-range” chicken broth – the kind you should try to avoid:

Organic chicken broth (filtered water, organic chicken), organic onions, organic celery, organic carrots, sea salt, natural chicken flavor, organic spices, organic expeller pressed canola oil and/or safflower oil and/or sunflower oil.

At first glance, this list may look fine, even wholesome. But there’s no reason why you’d have to add “natural chicken flavor” to chicken stock unless it wasn’t very good chicken stock to begin with. Furthermore, a good stock will certainly have plenty of nice chicken fat in it, so there’s no reason to add vegetable oil to it either. And did you know that “natural chicken flavor” is essentially MSG? (source) Whether or not you’re sensitive, there’s no need for MSG in the real stuff.

The health benefits of bone broth

Every chef and foodie knows the key to a good soup or sauce is the stock, and it’s also loaded with nutrients that its packaged cousins lack – minerals, gelatin, and glycosaminoglycans (which include substances like chondroitin and glucosamine, keratin and hyaluronic acid and more.) These nutrients are known to benefit teeth, bones, hair, nails, and joints.

Bone broth is also a digestive elixir that helps to heal the gut lining for those who suffer from digestive problems, food allergies, and nervous system conditions including anxiety and depression. There are even numerous claims I’ve read that regular consumption of bone broth will make cellulite disappear. I don’t know about you, but that seems worth the broth for me!

Option 1:

Chicken bone broth for squeamish beginners and folks who “don’t cook”

So you want the health benefits of bone broth, but haven’t cooked much beyond boiling water for spaghetti and heating up sauce or grilling a chicken breast in a pan? No problem. Even the most remedial beginners can master the basics of how to make chicken bone broth.

You know those rotisserie chickens that they sell at grocery stores? Perfectly cooked whole chicken, ready for you to take home for dinner = Real food for no effort…brilliant. If you are a true beginner, you probably buy the roasted chicken, pick off the meat and toss the bones in the… WAIT! Don’t throw the bones away. This is where the fun begins.

You will need:

  • 1 rotisserie chicken
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • Filtered water
  • A crockpot or pot with a well-fitted lid
  • A fine metal sieve
  • Optional – onion and/or onion peels, carrots, celery

Beginner’s bone broth method

  1. Eat your store-bought rotisserie chicken (preferably organic and free-range if you can find it).
  2. Place the remaining ‘frame’ of the chicken (the bones, skin, and cartilaginous bits) into a slow cooker or pot.
  3. Cover the bones with water, adding a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar per chicken frame.
  4. Cover and cook on low for a minimum of 6 hours up to 24 hours or until the bones crumble when pinched.
  5. Carefully strain the broth through a fine metal sieve and discard the bones.
  6. Use the broth immediately, store in the fridge for about a week or freeze for future use in ice cube trays for quick defrosting. If saving for later, I prefer to concentrate my broth by simmering it until it is half of its volume to save on space in my fridge or freezer.

What do I do with bone broth?

Now that you’ve made your chicken bone broth, it can be very simply consumed by sipping from a mug like tea for its therapeutic benefits. Beyond that, use it as the base for soups and sauces; to cook rice or quinoa or in any savory recipe that calls for water or broth.

Option 2:

Chicken bone broth – A simple classic preparation

(This is the recipe in the recipe card below)

If you regularly roast your own chickens at home, you can follow the instructions above. While I love a down-home chicken dinner complete with mash and gravy, I actually find that poaching a whole chicken in a crockpot yields more consistently tender meat that is easier to completely remove from the bones.

You will need:

  • 1 whole chicken, including giblets
  • 1 T. apple cider vinegar
  • Filtered water
  • A slow cooker
  • A fine metal sieve
  • Optional – onion and/or onion peels, carrots, celery
  • Optional – rubber kitchen gloves

Classic chicken bone broth in a crockpot – method

  1. Remove the (defrosted or fresh) chicken from its packaging. Take care to remove any giblet bag inside the cavity, rinse and place the chicken and giblets in the crockpot.
  2. Add filtered water to just cover the chicken.
  3. Turn the crockpot to low and cook for 3-4 hours (depending on the size of the chicken and the heat of your pot) until the chicken is just cooked.
  4. Gently remove the chicken to a bowl and allow it to cool slightly. Wearing optional gloves to protect your hands from the hot meat, remove the perfectly cooked chicken and place it in a separate bowl. Put the bones, skin, and other ‘bits’ back into the crockpot with the broth.
  5. Add apple cider vinegar to the pot of bones and broth, cover, and continue simmering on low for 6-12 hours or until the bones break easily.
  6. Carefully strain the broth through a fine metal sieve and discard the bones.
  7. Use the broth immediately, store in the fridge for about a week or freeze for future use in ice cube trays for quick defrosting. If saving for later, I prefer to concentrate my broth by simmering it until it is half of its volume to save on space in my fridge or freezer.

Option 3:

Add feet and heads to your bone broth (!!?!?)

Once you’ve mastered classic chicken bone broth, you may start to find yourself curious about the strange chicken parts that your farmer or butcher may sell. Today, in a boneless-skinless-chicken-breast culture, we are trained to think that lean muscle meat is the best source of animal protein. Au contraire! It is indeed the offal, the bones, and the fat of properly raised animals that provide us with the important fat-soluble vitamins and micro-minerals that are completely lacking in ‘white meat.’

Throughout human history, the traditional cultures worldwide that enjoyed vibrant health intuitively knew that the practice of eating the whole animal (be it bison, fowl, or fish) would provide the most profound nutritional benefits. They prized the organ meats, cooked with rendered animal fats, and made soup broth from the bones. (source)

Chicken stock made with unusual parts is a wonderful way to incorporate the nutritional benefits of the ‘whole animal’ without having to sit down with a knife and fork to these parts on a plate. When you receive the heads and feet from your farmer, they most likely have already been cleaned, so there is nothing more to do other than gingerly or exuberantly dump them in your stockpot.

Prepare the stock using the classic method above, adding as few or as many heads, feet, necks, and giblets as you may desire or have on hand. I tend to do a weekly stock with my leftover chicken bones, throwing in a couple of heads and a handful of feet plus the contents of the giblet bag. Then every few months or so, I whip out my monster pot and make a massive batch to have on hand with necks, backs, heads, feet, and organs.

What’s the difference between broth and stock?

While technically speaking broth and stock are not the same thing, for the sake of even the most experienced home cook, they can be used interchangeably. 

But should you get this question in a game of Trivial Pursuit or you’re trying to impress a culinary erudite, let’s look understand how they differ.

The main difference is that broth is made with meat (and sometimes bones) and stock is made with bones. When chilled, the resulting liquid is thick and gelatinous for stock and more liquid for broth. 

Both are simmered in water, usually with mirepoix (a combo of onions, carrots, and celery) and aromatic herb and spices including peppercorns, parsley stems, and bay leaves).

Interestingly when you learn how to make chicken bone broth (or any bone broth for that matter) you’ll quickly learn that you’re always using the bones for its superior nutritional quality and ability to stretch your food budget, even though it’s not called “chicken bone stock”.

For most home cooks whether you buy it premade (we keep a backup stock of both beef and chicken bone broth in our pantry from Thrive Market) or make your own, it’s always made with the bones and you can call it by whatever first comes to mind.

How to Make Chicken Bone Broth

  • 5.0 stars
  • 15m
  • 6h

Ingredients

  • 4 lb whole chicken
  • 2 qt filtered water, more or less depending on the size of your crock pot
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • onions, optional
  • carrots, optional
  • celery, optional

Instructions

  1. Remove the (defrosted or fresh) chicken from its packaging. Take care to remove any giblet bag inside the cavity, rinse and place the chicken and giblets in the crockpot.
  2. Add filtered water to just cover the chicken.
  3. Turn the crockpot to low and cook for 3-4 hours (depending on the size of the chicken and the heat of your pot) until the chicken is just cooked.
  4. Gently remove the chicken to a bowl and allow it to cool slightly. Wearing optional gloves to protect your hands from the hot meat, remove the perfectly cooked chicken and place it in a separate bowl. Put the bones, skin, and other ‘bits’ back into the crockpot with the broth.
  5. Add apple cider vinegar to the pot of bones and broth, cover, and continue simmering on low for 6-12 hours or until the bones break easily.
  6. Carefully strain the broth through a fine metal sieve and discard the bones.
  7. Use the broth immediately, store in the fridge for about a week or freeze for future use in ice cube trays for quick defrosting. If saving for later, I prefer to concentrate my broth by simmering it until it is half of its volume to save on space in my fridge or freezer.

Nutrition

  • 4
  • 1
  • 536
  • 96g
  • 10g
  • 3g
  • 315mg
  • 355mg

Read Reviews
See what other people are saying about How to Make Chicken Bone Broth


  • Tender and Juicy Chicken, Delicious Bone Broth. “This is the first recipe I made with my new instant pot. Way faster than cooking all day on the stove top, saved a lot of electrical energy ($). I can use the chicken and the broth: win-win.”

Share your review of How to Make Chicken Bone Broth

Your email address will not be published. All fields are required *

*

Your Rating


More Recipes Like This