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5 from 4 votes

Homemade Chicken Stock

Recipe By: Bruce Bradley
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time8 hrs
Total Time8 hrs 10 mins
Course: and Broths, Chilis, Soups
Cuisine: American
Servings: 12 -16 cups

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Ingredients

  • Leftover chicken bones — at least the equivalent of one medium sized chicken, but I prefer more (See my notes for details. Also, this is a perfect recipe to make after you've made roasted chicken)
  • 1-2 medium onions peeled and quartered
  • 2-3 ribs of celery or some leafy celery tops
  • 1 carrot unpeeled, chopped into large chunks
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 6 grinds of pepper

Instructions

  • Strip down all the edible meat from the chicken bones and carcass and use for leftovers, or reserve for use in any recipe.
  • Place the remaining bones and carcass in a 6-quart slow cooker (if you have a smaller slow cooker, you can divide this recipe in half). Add in any remaining skin or cooking juices as you see fit.
  • Add the vegetables and spices right on top of the bones.
  • Cover the with water, leaving about 1/2" at the top so it doesn't simmer over.
  • Set your slow cooker on low and cook the stock for 8-10 hours. I've cooked the stock overnight, or I've started it up in the morning before heading to work. Both options turn out great!
  • When the stock is done, it will be clear and any remaining meat will have fallen off the bones.
  • Set a colander or sieve on top of an 8-quart pot and line it with cheesecloth.
  • Ladle the stock into the lined sieve/colander and let drain.
  • Discard the contents of the cheesecloth/sieve.
  • Let the stock cool, then refrigerate or freeze for future use. I usually try to keep on hand a variety of sizes. So, I'll set aside some 1-cup portions, some 1-quart portions, and some 2-quart portions. I'll also freeze some stock in ice cube trays when I only need a small amount for a recipe.

Notes

First, I don’t salt my chicken stock since I try to season the final dish lightly versus pre-seasoning all the ingredients I cook with. If you’re more comfortable seasoning your broth, add a teaspoon of salt to the above.
Second, there’s nothing exact about making chicken stock. As long as you have enough chicken, your stock will turn out great. So if you’re missing any of these ingredients don’t let that stop you (although I'd say onions are pretty important too)! Also, stock is a great time to make use of vegetables you might ordinarily throw away or compost. Cutting off the tops of celery or carrots? Use it in your stock. Root bottoms or outer layers of onions that you were going to throw away? Carrot peels? Don’t throw ‘em out—make use of them in your stock. So if you know you’re making stock that week, collect your vegetable cuttings in a plastic bag and store them in your fridge until it’s time to make stock. It’s easy, economical, and a great way to add flavor to your stock.
Third, this may sound crazy, but I collect chicken bones and remnants for my stock. When I roast a chicken or cook pieces of chicken, or have chicken trimmings, giblets, necks, skin, etc., I add them to a container I keep in my freezer. When I've collected the equivalent of 1 1/2 to 2 chickens worth of bones/remnants, then I'm ready to make some chicken stock when I have a few minutes to spare. Simple & easy — gotta love it!
Finally, we recommend using organic ingredients when possible.
P.S. Although this recipe is my own, the cooking method was inspired by Lisa Leake over at 100 Days of Real Food. I had never used a slow cooker to make broth, and I've found it a very convenient timesaver. Thanks, Lisa!