Making homemade chicken broth is one of my favorite ways to save money and pack in the nourishment too.
Last weekend I had a big party with some chickens in my kitchen. Three extra large chickens to be exact, purchased from a farm nearby that allows their chickens to do the chicken dance all over their yard while feasting on bugs all day long.
I decided that since I was going to cook one chicken, I might as well cook three. One mess, one day…all done. You can, of course, make this broth using only one chicken…but the pictures below are going to be of the big chicken party.
First, thaw your chicken. Or not. I got my chickens out of the freezer and put them in the fridge overnight, but they were still pretty frozen the next morning when I was ready to start my broth. No matter. Frozen chickens thaw quickly in boiling water (imagine that).
Check it out, it’s a tower of chickens.
How to Make Chicken Broth
Put your chicken into a large pot. I used my huge stock pot since I was going to be boiling three large birds. Fill the pot three-quarters full of water.
Add veggies to the pot…as many as you want and any variety you want. My favorites are: carrots, onions, leaks and celery. I pretty much throw in whichever veggies I have at the time. There is no rhyme or reason to my chicken broth making madness…you really can’t hurt your broth by putting in too many veggies. You can overflow your pot, but I’ll just assume you’ll use common sense on that one.
Shake a nice amount of sea salt into the pot.
Bring your pot of chicken, veggies, water and salt to a boil. Turn the burner down and simmer (with the lid on) for several hours. By several, I mean check it every so often in between clipping your child’s fingernails, matching up a basket of socks, and chasing your naked toddler down the street to bring him back into the house for his bath. When the chicken starts to spread apart and the meat is falling off the bone…ding! He’s done.
Carefully lift the chicken(s) out of the pot and onto another dish. Allow it to cool for a little while (but not too long because de-boning a cold chicken is a lot harder than de-boning a warm one). Take all the meat off the bone once the chicken is cool enough for you to touch it without screaming.
This is the part I usually like to hand over to Matt. I’m not a big fan of de-boning a chicken, even though it isn’t hard. Matt doesn’t mind doing it because he usually sneaks bites of cooked chicken while he works. And I let him because he’s de-boning the chicken so I don’t have to.
Use your chicken bones to make broth
Throw all the bones and skin back into the pot of broth, and fill the pot with water, onions, and carrots. Now you can make a second round of broth – getting the most out of your chicken and bones!
Cover the pot and simmer for 4-10 hours to really “suck the good stuff out of the bones and into the broth.”
In the meantime, you can put all your cooked chicken into containers for future meals. I happened to get TEN meals worth of meat from my three extra large chickens because I like to make my chickens stretch as much as I can. These jars went into the freezer (after they cooled completely). Yes, I put lids on them first.
After the bones and skin have cooked for a couple of hours, strain the carcass out of the broth with a colander. Lookie, a big colander of chicken carcass. I don’t really like the word carcass. And yet, I keep saying carcass. Someone stop me. (What is the plural form of carcass? Carcasses? Carci? Seriously, someone stop me.)
Mmm, look at that good, rich broth. I always run it through my blender (if I feel like it that day) to smooth out all the veggies. They’re usually pretty mushy by then anyway, and blending them into the broth adds even more nourishment and good flavor.
Now, I actually have a hard time letting go of my chicken bones and skin (otherwise known as the carcass), so if I have an ounce of energy left at the end of my full day of chicken cooking and de-boning and broth making, I will then put the contents of my colander into my crock pot, fill it with water and leave it on low all night to make yet another round of broth. It isn’t as rich, but it still makes a good broth.
Chicken broth freezes very well, you’ll just want to make sure it has completely cooled before you put it into the freezer. I freeze mine in jars and in freezer bags. If you freeze it in jars, be sure to leave several inches open at the top to allow for the broth to expand. Otherwise your jar will bust and it will be sad.
And there you have it. If this isn’t a great way to stretch chickens, I don’t know what is. From three big chickens I got four or more meals of chicken broth and ten meals of cooked chicken. LOVE. IT.
carcass….Good planning ahead with all those yummy chickens.
THANKS!! The weird thing is, I did I quick online search and carcus came up like crazy. Guess EVERYONE likes to spell it wrong, huh?
I tried making my own broth a few weeks ago for the first time and it was very greasy. Do you skim the top? Is that normal? I’m so used to the store bought can stuff that’s so watery. Thanks!
easiest thing to do is, when your broth is done cooking down, put it in a few bowls and leave it out to cool. after it cools, put it in the fridge for a day. the fat will rise to the top and solidify so you can just spoon it off and have yummy (non-greasy) broth :)
hope that helps :)
I lay some paper towels over the top. It soaks up all the grease.
I’ve never thought of mine as being greasy….I leave the fat in because it’s such a good kind of fat. Maybe mine IS greasy and I’ve never recognized it? :)
Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship says
I’m with Laura – that good grease adds immunities to your system. Grandma really didn’t feed people chicken broth for nothing. I used to skim, but now I leave it in.
Just depends on where you get your chicken from ~ Laura’s sounds like good fat b/c the birds were raised/fed well. =) Other chickens, on the other hand… (we don’t wanna go there!)
Thank you for sharing your wonderful tutorial on making broth. I just read another post on making this. Guess the cooler weather has everyone cooking and baking :-)
Great post Laura. I also have a husband who doesn’t mind boning chicken or a turkey:). I learned how to make chicken noodle soup from scratch from a Sesame Street episode years ago. How fun it was to watch the show together, take notes, go to the store with the kids and all make soup for supper. First time I ever used a whole chicken! I need to look into Northstar Neighbors.
You are amazing! The good Lord did not gift me with culinary inclinations, so watching you in action is quite a treat (not to mention an education). Seriously, you really do have a gift. I will never be so kitchen savvy, but I am inspired by your posts. :)
i love making chicken broth! i usually cook my chicken in a crockpot (all day) while im at work. one tip ive come across is to splash a little vinegar (sorry no measurements here either) into the pot with your chicken carcass :). the vinegar brings out all the nutrients out of the bone marrow. very yummy!
Can this be done with a turkey? I have a turkey thawing in the fridge to cook this weekend. Can I roast it and then make the broth? Can you use turkey broth in place of chicken in recipes? Thanks! Love your site.
The day after Thanksgiving and Christmas I usually take the carcass of
the turkey (with some, not all of the meat left on) and do what Laura does
does for her chickens. Turns out great!
Yes, definitely. When you roast it, it will make it’s own broth in your roaster. Then use the carcass (oh, there’s that word again) and make another broth with it. SO good! And yes, you can use turkey broth in place of chicken any time!
Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship says
I was going to recommend the roasting first, esp. with 3 chickens, since the meat you’ll then freeze is so very much tastier than boiled meat, and you still get all the nutrition in the bones for your stocks. :) Katie
Sources tell me that a Tbsp of apple cider vinegar in the pot with the bones will help get more of the gelatin out of the bones and give you that rich broth everyone loves! I also save all of my carrot and onion ends and the leaves from my celery stalks in a bag in the freezer for making soup stock. Waste not, want not!
I love having homemade chicken broth on hand – it is so much better than the yucky store-bought canned broth! My method is slightly different than yours. I roast a chicken in the oven and then put the carcass (we really need to come up with a more appetizing word!) in the crockpot overnight to make broth. This has the added benefit of making your house smell really good when you wake up in the morning :)
Jessica Bish says
Boy I’ll tell you what – God is good. For the first time ever we are getting 5 live chickens tomorrow… well they will be live when my husband gets them but by time they arrive back at my house they should (better) be dead, plucked, skined and cleaned out. Never done this before but I’m going to cook all of them and now because of your blog make chicken broth as well. I was so nervous and unsure of what to do – thank you! God answered my unspoken prayers and worries through you! Have a great day!
Wow, $3 a pound for pastured chicken- I wish we had those kind of prices out here in California!
Question about your jars……do they have regular lids?? Or the 2 piece sealed kind? I never thought to use jars. I always thought all the air had to be out of the things you freeze. You know all those commercials with the sealing bags and such! lol I am on the journey of healthy eating with my family and whle I am scared to death of making home made noodles broth I can handle! :)
You can use whatever jars you want with whatever lids you have. It doesn’t matter since you’re just freezing them. I use plastic lids sometimes, or the 2 piece lids…just whatever I grab first!
Freedom Journey says
I’ve been wanting to make broth with the leftovers but am always a bit scared off by all the “stuff” left in the liquid. It never occurred to me to drain it! Ahhh the simple things…
Thank you, thank you, thank you!!! I have a small pastured bird in my fridge thawing as we speak, so this came just in time!! It is exactly what I needed!!! God is so good :) I love how you do it. I always followed Sally Fallon’s recipe, but I like yours better. Oh, and my sweet hubby does the deboning here too…for the same reasons as yours! I also do the vinegar thing and like my broth greasy (good fat) :)
I would like to know what brand of jars you use for the freezer.
Thank you so much for all the information you share.
You can use whatever brand of jars you want/have. I think the ones I used this time were a no-name brand from the dollar store.
I have to tell you that this was a huge excitement for me to read this blog today! I recently braved the task of cooking my own chicken for the first time ever- I don’t mean frozen, skinless chicken breast, I mean the holy-cow-theres-a-bag-of-guts-in-this-thing whole chicken. I was thrilled it turned out so well ( I did it in a roaster pot) but having been an avid follower of this blog for a while now, I knew that the broth was priceless, if only I knew what to do to make it broth…so I used the same pot I roasted the said chicken in and picked off all the meat I could and tossed in the bones and fattiness and everythign into the broth thinking all the while “this can’t be right, but I bet it will be tasty afterwards”. So THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for giving me the reassurance that I did it right! Here’s the pickle I’m in now….what on Earth do I do with all that broth?
We LOVE it for chicken and noodles and other soups. I also like to cook rice in it…gives it such good flavor and great nutrition. We go through it quickly because we can eat a big pot of soup in one sitting.
This is awesome! I can’t wait to get a bigger kitchen so I can do big jobs like this. I haven’t made my own stock yet but you make it sound so easy and with 3 chickens! btw, you know I’ve seen a few recipes on foodnetwork or the like and they actually tell you to throw away the chicken!!! :O Craziness!
Maybe you can answer this for me…
I have cooked a few chickens, just the chicken in the oven or crockpot maybe with a bit of water in the bottom and just salt and pepper on the chicken…well I took all that “juice” broth? that was in the bottom and just stuck it in a jar and froze it, and added to it with the other chickens. I just haven’t had the time or space to freeze the carcasses and try and make stock later..so I just kept the juice. Can this be used as stock or to add to stock?
and honestly what all do you use so much stock for? I am still coming around to cooking more from scratch…I’ve got a ways to go!
We LOVE it for chicken and noodles and other soups. I also like to cook rice in it…gives it such good flavor and great nutrition. We go through it quickly because we can eat a big pot of soup in one sitting.
Yes, the broth you made can be used in a recipe for sure!
Carolina Mama says
Making your own broth can be even more simple.:-) When ever you bake a chicken or do one in the crock pot. After you debone it, just throw your bones in your crock pot, add a splash of vinegar, celery, onions, carrots, garlic, fill with water and let simmer all night. In the morning, strain, salt to taste and pour into loaf pans and freeze. It saves a lot of time this way. Also, once your loaves of broth are frozen, turn upside down, run hot water over them, just long enough to release the block. Wrap in plastic wrap and return to freezer until you are ready to us it. When you are ready for use, just place in pan, unthaw on low and use in your favorite recipe. This is a very easy, nutritious and convenient broth to have on hand.
Oh that’s so easy too! Great idea!!! I think that may actually work best for me right now.
I really like the idea of pouring it into loaf pans and freezing it
that way. I know it will save on freezer space for me too. Thank you.
Great site and info. I’ve made my own stock for years, but never knew you could cook up a second batch. Wonderful! I think I’ll try adding the vinegar to that one like several suggested earlier. I put my stock in smaller containers so that whenever we want to flavor something or just need a little, we’ve the right amount.
I like making broth too. Never made this much before but like you said there’s no difference in time to make 1 or 3 chickens. This weekend is my monthly shopping trip so I may have to try this one day next week.
I noticed you didn’t have any herbs to your broth, have you ever added any herbs I love adding a few…..which few I had really depends on my mood for the day and always a garlic head split half.
OAN: Thanks for your posts, they are really encouraging and I truly enjoy them. I think I’m drawn here because you are a mother of 4 boys, just like me.
No, I usually don’t add herbs, but that would be yummy! I just add whatever herbs and spices to it later when I’m making it into soup or a casserole.
Katie @ Kitchen Stewardship says
I have to recommend adding a splash of vinegar, too, and then you leave it all sit COLD for 30-60 minutes to draw the minerals out of the bones. More details here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/03/30/monday-mission-how-to-make-your-own-homemade-chicken-stockbroth/ and a link to the nutrition of stock, which is AMAZING.
Thanks for making this all sound so doable for so many people, Laura, you’re a great teacher! :) Katie
Thank you! I had a frozen chicken in the freezer this morning, and I really hate trying to unsuccessfully thaw whole chickens in the fridge. I cooked the chicken in my stockpot this morning using your methods, and have deboned it. The stock-to-be is in a holding pattern in the crockpot so I can go pick up the kids, but it will go back in the stockpot later today.
I recently made broth for the first time, and it smelled wonderful, but didn’t have that wonderful taste I expected. I am glad you mentioned that stovetop is so much better, as I used the crockpot the first time.
Timely post for me! It’s also nice to know that I am not the only person who HATES de-boning the chicken. I seriously gag every time. I never thought to just ask my husband to do it! Instead I almost just gave up and started buying expensive pre-cut breasts from the grovery store again. I guess my pride wouldn’t let me admit my failure as a super-hero frugal housewife. Apparently I’d rather just pay more money instead. ;)
I do this to, but more like some of your readers than how you do it–primarily because I don’t really like to eat chicken that has been boiling/simmering for several hours.
I make chicken the way I make it, and then I put the carcass in the crock pot all night with veggies, yada yada.
Most recipes call for the number of cups of broth, so I freeze my broth in gladware in one and two cup portions. Once it is frozen I pop it out of the gladware, stack it in a big ziplock, and stick it back in the freezer. Then I have perfectly portioned broth.
(In case you’re having trouble imagining how I put gladware in my freezer, I always have one shallow shelf clear for freezing things–it fits six gladware containers or a cookie sheet of fruit or whatever needs to be frozen individually before being grouped)
I also buy split chicken breasts because they are cheaper than boneless, and then debone them myself, freeze the chicken breasts, and make stock out of the bones. My husband does not appreciate dark meat as I do. :(
I freeze some of the broth I make in muffin tins for smaller preparations/needs. Each disc is about 1/4 c of broth. After they are frozen, I pop them out and store in a freezer bag. Works great for making sauces (Asian, Italian, etc). I can the broth if I have the time or am out of freezer space.
freezing in muffin tins is a brilliant idea. I must steal this one. :-)
Jenelle @ Frugal Family Feasts says
Steal away. I use muffin tins to freeze/portion out lots of stuff.
When I read this, I thought, “That is an amazing idea!”
I’m off to freeze my broth in muffin tins overnight!
Didn’t know you could freeze glass jars….does this work with any glass or just tempered glass or canning jars. I have lots of jar waiting to be used.
As far as I know, any glass will work…just as long as you don’t fill your jars too full. Fill them only 3/4 full at the most so that there is room for the broth to expand.
Wow. Your timing is amazing! I love how you take everything and make it so straight forward and simple. You give us the courage to do something we were intimidated to do! I made a beef broth last night from a hunk of grassfed “short ribs”. It really MADE my soup (borsch, actually). And today I have been reading like crazy about the GAPS diet. *Sigh* I haven’t really said anything, but I have found that I have glutten and dairy allergies. No more of my wonderful raw milk! Anyway, the GAPS diet COULD help me heal and reverse allergies, but one of it’s major components (at least at first) is lots of healthy, homemade broths. This was perfect to read.
Hahaha! I actually laughed out loud reading about your carcass obsession! :O) I’m a new follower of your blog and I love home-made, home-grown chicken broth! So incredible for your health. Thanks for the beautiful pictures.
You could use the word “carrion” also! Thanks for this post, because a few months ago I had a very traumatic experience taking some of my chickens to be rendered. I had finally decided that I think I could stomach cooking one of them now, but wasn’t sure quite what to do with it. Still not sure how I will handle boning it, though… I guess time will tell. This certainly sounds more doable than cutting it apart raw.
Boning it wasn’t as disgusting as I thought it was going to be! About to strain out teh bones and get round 2 started in the crock pot with some extra veggie trimmings!
I need chicken help!!! What breed are your chickens? We just bought 15 chickens from our dairy farmer at $9 each…it was an experiment for him to sell, but what his family is used to. We were SO disappointed. They are bard rock (not sure on the spelling). They are all skin and bones…they look emaciated. I can barely get 2 c of meat off each one when I stew them and pick every little shred off. And the meat is tough.
He is talking about raising cornish rock crosses next time, but apparently they have a higher mortality rate because they’ve been bred to have a rediculously large breast. The chickens, you know.
Anyway, yours look so chubby, and you got SO MUCH MEAT! Some farmers at the farmers market sell cornish rock (don’t know if they’re cross, though) for $3.50 a pound for whole birds. Is that a good deal?
Oh, skinny little chickens are frustrating. :( I really have no idea what kind of chickens I get – one reason I get so much meat off of them though is because I get the EXTRA large chickens. They truly are huge birds. I guess you’ll still be able to get some good broth from yours, even though you’re getting such little meat.
I don’t have any experience with cornish rocks, did you call them? Maybe someone else will chime in with their expertise on the subject of how much is a good price to pay?
We raised our first batch of chickens this year. We had three Cornish Crosses. They are the ones you find most often in the stores because they were bred to grow quickly and into larger birds – although most breeders only let them grow for 4-6 weeks before butchering. Ever notice that the birds you find in stores are so small (2-3 lbs)? We let our Cornish Crosses grow for 2 full months (just 8 weeks) and had 6-7 lb birds! I don’t think Cornish Rocks are the same as the Crosses.
We also bought a mixture of some “heavy” breeds – including some Barred Rock. I have to agree that I was surprised at how tough the meat was on some of them (we’ve only eaten a couple). We’re going to take most of ours and pop them into a pressure cooker. I know that works to tenderize old stewing hens and should make excellent creamed chicken!
As for the price, I know last year I bought an organic chicken from the farmer’s market and paid $20. Granted it was a larger-sized chicken, but still probably only 4-5 lbs. I thought was a bit over-the-top in price. Keep in mind that the locally raised chickens are kept alive longer than those you buy in the store – which means more grain and feed, unless they are also allowed to free-range to get fresh greens, bugs, etc.
Thanks for the advice! It sounds like $3.50/lb is a fair deal for the Cornish Rocks. And I’ll be sure and request the biggest ones! I’m so disappointed with the barred rock chickens that I will never get them again. But I still think it was worth a try and I’m really happy to support small farmers.
Carol E. says
Laura, you should break your bones before putting them back in. This helps get even more of that wonderful bone marrow into the broth. I use clean pliers to do this. The bones are usually very soft and break easy by this point. But they are slimmy and hard to get a good grip on.
Erin F. says
I use ice cube trays to freeze my broth and then pop them out and store them in freezer bags. I just started making my own broth and made some vegetable broth the other day. I’m trying to get better about cooking ahead so it’s not such a battle to figure out what to have for dinner each night.
Wow, shame on me! just the other day, I didn’t know that chicken broth could be home-made…. So after boiling my chicken… (You might want to sit down for this)… I poured out the water. :-( all that chickeny goodness gone. From now on, I’m keeping it. And I bet my food tastes yummier too :-) thanks, laura!
What recipes do you add the chicken to? I made broth froze the chicken and added the chicken to 2 different recipes and it was VERY tough! Any suggestions?
Hmm, your chicken was tough? That’s a bummer. I usually add my chicken to chicken and noodles or different chicken casseroles (recipe in my What to Do With the Chicken in Your Kitchen ebook).
Shannon W. says
Thanks Laura. I made the broth tonight to use in chicken noodle soup tomorrow and I’m planning to try your sourdough biscuits too!
Julie Grinnell says
Hi Laura :)
I had two chickens in the freezer that I’d gotten from a local farm, and this sounded like the perfect way to put them to use! It took me 13 hours, and 3 batches of boiling, but I got 3 pounds of meat (which I divided into meal size containers for freezing) and 9 quarts of broth! 3 quarts are nice, strong broth from the first boiling (with the chickens whole). 3 quarts are strong, but also rich and ‘creamy’ tasting (minus the cream lol). I think the difference in the taste was due to the bones and cartilage being exposed to the boiling, what do you think? And then the last 3 quarts were about 1/2 the strength. Not too bad, but I will probably use them for boiling pasta or in recipes that call for plain water. I probably would have had a 10th quart, if I had been able to keep myself from standing there with a spoon, eating it while it was cooling :D. It’s just sooooooo good!
I used a quart of the broth, and a container of the chicken, tonight for chicken tortilla soup, and Oh, was it yummy with the ‘real’ broth!!!
All I added to the water during boiling was a couple yellow onions, quartered, 4 HUGE cloves of garlic, sliced (both came from the garden), sea salt, and black pepper.
Thank you so much for the inspiration!
Thanks for this post, last night for the first time ever – I made my own chicken broth! I usually cook my chicken in a crockpot (without adding any water), so I had to alter your methods a little, but it worked! We just took the juices from the crockpot and added it to a large pot on the stove, tossed in the skin & bones, and added more water to cook and viola! Chicken broth! So easy, even for a work-outside-the home mom like me! (crockpots are my best friend on work days!) We were able to let the broth simmer while the family ate dinner and then cleaned up. So easy! Can’t wait to turn it into chicken noodle soup tonight!
Thanks! I love making my own broth too, but have never tried it with the whole chicken. Going to do that today! I like to freeze some of my broth in ice cube trays. This makes it really easy to throw in a few at a time when I don’t need a lot. For instance, when I need to thin gravy or soup. It freezes great this way and thaws faster.
I absolutely LOVE making my own broth with leftovers from making chicken! However, I have never done it this way and I plan on trying it soon! I wanted to add that I have about 12 ice cube trays that I use for food only. I freeze my broth into cubes and then I can pop as many or as few as I need out of the freezer with ease. I just put them in a ziploc bag and they are ready for me!
This is a great recipie! I tried it the other day because I didn’t have any broth for homemade chicken and noodles and it came out pretty good but I am assuming your recipie will be much better! (It normally is)
Just a questions for you though. Does the food not get freezer burnt when you put chicken in the jars? I thought there wasn’t supposed to be air in it. We only have a family of 3 so far so we don’t go through food fast, but we do eat it within a month or 6 weeks. Will it not matter?
I haven’t had any trouble with them freezer burning, but we do try to eat them within a month or two.
Awesome timing for this article! I have 2 good size containers of turkey broth w/ veggies sitting in my freezer from Christmas. I had my grandma on the phone making sure I did everything correctly. This is the first time I’ve made homemade broth. Soup is in our near future, maybe I’ll borrow your chicken noodle soup recipe.
Question for you. How much chicken do YOU put in each jar and how much broth do YOU put in each bag or jar? Do you do a cup each? I’ve been meaning to do this again, thanks for the reminder and the step by step recipe!
I probably put a cup to a cup and a half of chicken in each jar. As far as broth goes…I freeze it in half gallon jars, but fill it only 3/4 full. So what would that be (calculating…) 6 cups?
Cammie M says
Do you label all of the things you freeze? How do you keep track of
what’s in your freezer?
No, but I sure should. I’ve learned the hard way that I don’t always remember what I’ve put into the freezer!! I use masking tape usually and a sharpie to write the name of the food and the date I put it into the freezer!
Melinda S says
As usual, full of knowledge and tons of fun. I’ve made homemade broth for years, but I never thought about making two batches. I’ll try that next and add the vinegar.
Also, per dictionary.com, more than one carcass is carcasses. And, for my two cents and for something I’m eating, carcass is a much better word than carrion :-).
Thank you for the write-up, Laura!
I’d like to add a little time-saving tip:
Once I separate the bones I boil them again in a (smaller) fresh pot of water, rather than throw them back in with the stock.
This way I can easily strain and add the new broth to the original without having to pick any bones out of veggie-mush [which hides tiny bones very well].^^
Annie Shindel says
GREAT idea!! I was just wondering how to get around this and hoping that we don’t find any surprises when we have soup!
Thank you for the recipe. Maybe you could mention something like, “Don’t forget to remove the giblet bag before cooking.” Or is it ok to cook the giblet bag? See, novices like me need explicit instructions! ;) On another note, I purchased some of your vanilla and, oh my goodness, it is amazing!
Oh yeah…my chickens come from farmers and don’t usually come with a giblet bag, so I forgot all about that! I’d open up the giblet bag and throw it in with the chicken to help enrich the broth. Then I’d fish them out and chuck them later because I just couldn’t make myself eat them. :) So glad you are enjoying the vanilla!!! :)
I am learning a lot of things today from you. I have no idea how to make chicken broth but i don’t like the canned ones:). I will try to do it. Thank you so much for sharing your experience.
This is going to be a silly question, but I have no idea what I am doing with a whole chicken. This is the first time in my life I have bought one, or even touched one (kind of yucky!). I bought a whole fryer because I didn’t have access to a farm, and there wasn’t a “bag” of guts, just a piece (maybe the next?) and some sort of organ. Am I supposed to leave both of those pieces in there or throw them away? This time I tossed the organ because it grossed me out a little, but I am wondering what to do for next time. Thanks so much for your help! I love your site!
You can definitely throw the organs into the pot of water and chicken…it will help make the broth even better! After it’s cooked, you can toss it or eat it, whichever you want to do!
Could the broth be added to the chicken in the jars and canned instead of frozen? Hot chicken, hot broth?
Yes, you can do this, but you have to use a pressure cooker to can meat or broth, which is something I’m not familiar with yet. :)
This inspired me to make my very first batch of broth, and it was awesome! I surprised myself with how well it turned out! :)
1 pkg thighs, bone in, skin on (what I had in the freezer)
celery, carrots, onions, garlic
salt, pepper, herbes de provence (or whatever you like to use)
water, white wine
*Salt and pepper thighs, brown on both sides to extract fat.
*Reserve fat to make dumplings (I froze them, raw, in batches)
*Remove skin and reserve.
*Salt and pepper thighs again, roast until done.
*Remove most of meat and reserve for later use.
*Brown carrots, celery and onion (very important!)
*Add skin, bones, water, accumulated chicken juices, garlic, and simmer for a while. A couple hours, give or take.
*Add wine, herbes de provence, and salt and pepper. I may have added a pinch of brown sugar.
*When happy with flavor, cook about 20 mins.
*In a large container put several cloves of chopped garlic, 2+ stalks of minced celery, and 1+ grated carrots. Top container with seive or colander.
*Pour hot broth through seive onto raw garlic, celery, and carrot, let sit until cooled, then strain again.
Voila! It’s done!
The reasoning behind my recipe: Long cooking mutes the flavor of the vegetables and spices. Browning the vegetables intensifies their flavor and adds complexity, putting the spices in towards the end keeps the oils from breaking down as much, and infusing the broth at the end with garlic, celery, and carrot puts a fresh punch of taste and nutrients back in the broth.
I can’t wait to make it again! I think this time I’ll try just simmering the carcass in water, then add the browned vegetables towards the end with the wine and spices instead of at the beginning with the chicken bones, see if that changes the broth’s flavor. I might also use a clove-studded onion (my mom’s secret weapon). And I, too, am going to steal the muffin tin idea!
Thanks for a wonderful website. :-)
I also put a splash of cider vinegar in with the water at the beginning. Sorry, I forgot!
Thanks for explaining so wellt! I love coming here to check out your recipes and have sent many of my friends here. :)
I just have an 8 qt stockpot and would love to get one big enough for cooking two chickens Iike this. Do you think a 16 qt would be big enough? Also, when you make broth like this, do you get the kind of broth that turns into gel? Or does it remain liquid? I cannot figure out how to get the gel kind when you use already cooked chicken bones to make broth. Any help please? :)
I can’t remember how big mine is, but yes a 16 quart sounds big enough for this. Sometimes when I make broth, it does turn into gel which is WONDERFUL!! Sometimes it remains liquid. I think the difference is when I cook it longer on lower heat, it tends to gel better.
Also, sometimes I think I put too much water into my pot it says more liquidy.
I just love everything I’m learning from your site!! Now, I have a silly question..can you make turkey broth the same way as your chicken broth?
Yes, sort of. Here is how I cook a turkey: https://www.heavenlyhomemakers.com/holiday-help-the-easiest-way-in-my-opinion-to-cook-a-turkey. This produces wonderful broth. Then, after deboning the turkey, put the bones in the crock-pot and make more broth as directed in this post!
The last time I cooked a turkey breast in the oven, I made turkey broth in my slow cooker from the bones. The broth turned out fine, but now the lid to my slow cooker has a terrible odor I can’t get rid of; I think it may be in the gasket on the lid. I’ve scrubbed it & ran it through the dishwasher & it still smells awful. Any suggestions ? I feel DUMB asking this. I’m afraid the odor will ruin anything else I slow cook. When I made chicken broth, I didn’t use the slow cooker so don’t know if this ever occurs.
I let mt husband (also a Matt) de-bone our chicken, too. Chicken bones give me the creeps so I’m glad he doesn’t mind. Thanks for the how to :)
I’m not sure where I picked this idea up, but I started a bag of chicken scraps for my freezer. We eat a lot of chicken. Whenever I clean the breasts I throw the scraps in my freezer bag. Whenever we have a roasted chicken I also throw the scraps in the bag. When the bag is full I throw it all in a pot with lots of h2o & veggies for some homeade broth. Nothing wasted!
FYI: If you have a pressure canner, you can can your own broth and have it sitting on your shelf ready to go anytime! It’s a WONDERFUL thing to have on hand.
Freezing it allows the retention of more nutrition, but there are definitely some benefits to the convenience of having it on hand.
I want a pressure canner for this very reason. :) And to be able to can the meat itslef.
Thanks so much for this post! I had 2 birds and now have 6 meals and several jars of broth! I love your site!
I’m just making this for the second time. Wow, do I love this or what! Although I am quite disgusted by the bird… ;)
the last time I made it took forever to take the meat off!! did I overcook it or something? It’s just hard to fish out all the bones…
also. can you keep/eat the meat that looks a little darker/brown? All the chicken in your jars look so perfectly white…
When I pureed the broth, it turned orange! The whole thing! Like orange paint! I have a vitamix, so could it be that the carrots just over took the color? Should I just mash it up this time?
Thanks, Laura, for all your amazing recipes. Thanks to you my husband is finally really liking me cook healthy food and we have soo much food in the freezer!
[email protected] says
You should be able to use all the meat. Laura’s also turns orange from
the carrots. :)
Just an additional tip, you can throw a splash of raw apple cider vinegar in the slow cooker broth to leach out more good stuff from the bones…then you have a very nutritious calcium rich bone broth!
You can also take a nice sharp knife and hack into all the bones… helps leach more marrow out of them for a richer broth. More of a stock really. (Yes there is a diffrence broth is weaker…stock is nice and rich)
Never EVER thought of boiling the bones a second time! In the process of doing this right now, thank you Laura!!
Thank you Thank you!!!! I’ve recently become a stay at home Mother again and I vowed to become more cost conscious!!! Your website has helped me tons!!! This recipe is not only delish but totally worth the time and little effort.
I just boiled 6 boneless chicken breasts in water with salt, pepper, and butter. There is a lot of liquid and I usually have thrown it down the sink, however, I am learning. What do I do from this point to come up with a good broth to freeze?
[email protected] says
Usually if you have scraps that have fat on them with some of the chicken or bones left you can put them in the liquid to boil until it reduces down. You can add any seasonings you want. You also could try sticking some celery and carrots in there to get the flavor and just strain them out when you are done!
Can u cook the chicken and make the broth in the crockpot? And about how many hours would it take a 5 lbs chicken to cook?
Yes, that would work fine. It would probably take 8 hours on low – just a guess.
Just now started boiling the chicken. Can’t tell you how much I have enjoyed your page so far.! Haven’t had much time to really get in to your site yet. It’s late so I’ll just cook it, de-bone it and do some chicken and dumplings tomorrow. Just wanted to say thanks.
Laura, how would you go about making some beef broth? Would you just use bones from a steak or roast?
[email protected] says
That should work out fine! Give it a try! :)
Rach Stewart says
I’ve been given some beef soup bones. Can I do anything with them other than make broth?
For beef broth, do you use the same veggies, etc. as for chicken broth?
Roast the beef bones first, for outstanding flavor and a much more pleasant aroma wafting through the kitchen as the broth simmers.
Since you are cooking with the skin, do you strin out the fat?
No, I leave it in since it adds extra nutrition. :)
Do you put the giblets in?
[email protected] says
Hi! I made some homemade chicken broth as directed… it looked and tasted lovely fresh and frozen, but as soon as I took it out of the freezer and let it thaw in the fridge, it turned a brownish green color. Is that normal? It still smelled OK, but I was afraid to use it. I can’t find anything on line indicating why that would happen! Thanks!
It’s totally fine as long as it smells good.
What size of chicken portions do you freeze at a time? Is 2 cups an average amount of cooked chicken for recipes?
I guess the same question for the broth too…
[email protected] says
Laura freezes 2 cups chicken and 1/2 gallon of broth. I don’t know if that is average or not… :)
Oh. My. WORD! I cannot believe how much FOOD comes out of plain raw chicken! I read this post when it was new and never got up the nerve to try it. I was raised in a Taco Bell house, not a homemade bread and gravy house!
Then one day we had a rotisserie chicken from Kroger and I looked at the leftover carcass and thought: Hmmmmm… Couldn’t hurt? Doesn’t cost anything?
So I put it in a pot of water and boiled it for a while. Lo and behold, IT MADE CHICKEN BROTH! Not to mention another solid two cans worth of shredded chicken that we were going to throw away! Dinner plus leftovers, for practically nothing.
This time, I got up the nerve to try with a package of 99c chicken thighs. $5.50 got me at least $6 worth of shredded chicken plus two cans worth of broth — on the first go! Now I have a “carcass” left over that’s larger than what I started with last time! o.o I didn’t even attempt to get all the meat off, since I’m now starting dinner with my “leftovers”.
Next time, I think I’ll spring for the whole chicken. I bet I could come up with breaded chicken patties before I boil the rest… Clearly it’s time to try another three-year-old idea! :-D
OK, maybe a silly question, but I have never frozen chicken in jars, in ziplocks yes. Do you have any problems with frost forming on the meat? (I always squeeze the air out of the ziplocks) or do you top with juice or squish down the meat more to prevent this? How long can do you keep the cooked chicken in the freezer for? Love this idea!! Reuse the jars, no bags to throw out! Awesome, and who knew that making ‘homemade’ chicken broth could be so easy! Wow, totally got to try this!
I have frozen chicken in jars, but really freezer bags work better. :)
May I suggest adding a few peppercorns to the original batch? They don’t make it spicy, but you’ll be amazed at the lovely flavor they add.
I, too, am loving your site. You cook like I do…kind of seat-of-the-pants cuisine!
I just did this the other night with a roasted chicken we’d had for dinner. I’m going to freeze the broth. I’m going to freeze the broth in ice cube trays for quick use of smaller amounts.
We love chicken noodle soup at our house. Every time I’ve made my own broth though no one will eat it. I’ve tried letting it cool then removing the layer of fat, I’ve left it in there, seems like no matter what it leaves kind of a greasy taste in our mouths. I just can’t seem to do it right and I’m following these same directions that everyone else on here seems to love. Is that how it’s supposed to taste and we just don’t like it because we’re used to store bought? Am I the only one having this problem? I’ve also tried making the broth without the chicken skin…same outcome. Any help would be appreciated:)
I agree. I have the same problem.
[email protected] says
Hmmmm. I am kind of stumped! I have never had this happen. It does end up greasy and I always scrape that off but I haven’t had it leave a greasy feel in my mouth. I was going to say make sure to take off the skin but it looks like you tried that. Maybe try reducing it longer??? Possibly add a smidge extra salt? I am throwing out guesses….sorry to not be very helpful! I hope it works for you!
Luree Johnston says
Ok, so I’ve always known that chicken feet make excellent, gelatinous broth, but I’ve never had chicken WITH feet until now. So, I’m kinda freaking out. The feet are ugly! Any experience with your whole chickens having feet, and what I should do with them? I’m thinking I will cut them off at the “knee” but include them in my broth-making. But I will cut off the claws? I would love any advice you have.
I just throw in the whole feet while making broth. It’s kinda creepy looking, but hey, it’s making great broth. :)
Luree Johnston says
If the chicken feet are still on the bird, they probably will need to be scalded to easily remove the outer layer of skin and claws, which will then just peel off (pop off for claws).
They do add a lot of extra goodness to your broth if you can get past the “yuck” factor.
Karen S. says
This year, we cut the wings, legs, and thighs off our turkey. My oven is broken, and we’re currently using a toaster oven. We roasted the turkey breast in the toaster oven and boiled the rest in a stock pot. The meat was tender and very flavorful, and I don’t normally like the dark meat. We used only the dark meat to make turkey noodle soup. We also put all the skin and bones into another pot of water to make additional broth. It’s so much better than what you can buy.
Whole or cut up whole chickens are expensive where I live. They cost as much or more than a rotisserie chicken already cooked. I’ve been making my broth from the rotisserie chicken carcass & skin plus throwing in the legs which don’t have much meat & often don’t get eaten. I also add carrots & celery. My broth is improving, but what I’m using doesn’t yield much broth & I end up adding a carton or can of broth to have enough to make anything out of it. If I used fresh dark meat like thighs, legs or wings which are less expensive than a whole chicken, would the broth be ok? We don’t really like dark meat, but it seems ok in soup or a casserole. Thanks for any suggestions.
I’d add more water to the pot as you’re making broth. I typically fill my big stock pot quite full so that I get a larger yield. :)
Zurainny Ismail says
I’ve gained a lot of info not only from your post here but also from the comments above. Never thought of using leftovers from roasted chicken and other chicken dishes for making broth. And definitely didn’t know that we can make broth twice using the same chicken. Great to know! :D
Laurie V. says
Hi ….. I love your site !
Here’s an a few additional tips that work Great
1. Sage … sage and chicken go together. Depending on the amount of chicken you have, the size of the pot and resulting broth and of course how much you like sage. Add anywhere from 1/2 tsp – 3 TB sage when making broth (start with a smaller amount to test how much you like in there)
2. GARLIC ! I always add 10 or more cloves to the simmering pot. This seems like a lot …… but trust me; after your broth is done and you taste it …you too will love it. Its really not a heavy garlic taste at all.
3. Whenever you have a tomato thats still good but not good enough for salad etc…….. Throw it into a small bag or container in the freezer to use in any broth. You can use a “good” tomato too, just put it into the freezer at least 24 hrs ahead of time. Now when you’re ready to make your broth put the entire whole tomato into the water……….. no need to cut or smash it down…just let it do its thing as is. It will later be strained off anyways. You’ll find this give a very slight additonl flavor thats amazing.
4. Before doing the 2nd round of bones for a 2nd broth: Let the bones cool enough to handle them. Put on a pan in the oven to “roast” to a nice light brown- to medium brown color. Now put them into the broth pot and continue as usual to make your 2nd broth. The “roasting” add a wonderful flavor that will help to boost the resulting flavor of an otherwise pale broth.
Luree Johnston says
Can you fill your ziploc bags too full of broth? I’m kinda freaking out that they are going to blow in the freezer down there!
[email protected] says
I suppose if you didn’t leave any room for expansion that could happen. :) Although, it seems like you would have to stuff those amazingly full for that to occur. Good Luck!
What size pot do you use to boil 3 chickens? I would like a big stock pot. I feel like you, if I am going to go to the trouble , I might as well make it worth my while.
[email protected] says
Laura uses a 24 Quart stock pot.
Hi. Great post! Question: when it’s time to put the carcass back in, is it going back into the existing broth and topping the pot off with water and new veggies to further cook and enrich it, or are you actually removing the first broth entirely and making a separate batch out of the carcass, new water/veggies, etc?
Thank you :)
I remove the first batch and start over to make more with new water/veggies. That way I get a lot more goodness out of my bones/carcass!
Thank you! About to try this now.
Kind of a dumb question, but since I’m reading so many contrasting opinions on various sites I wanted to ask when you turn the burner down to simmer the chicken/veggies after bringing them to a boil, how far down are you turning the heat? Do you keep a lighter, steady boil, or do you turn the heat down further to where the water just simmers, and rarely bubbles, like on low, or med-low?
I’m not nearly as particular about these specifics as I’ve read on other sites so I’m rarely consistent. BUT I try to bring it to a boil then turn it down to simmer on low for several hours. It keeps a slow boil typically this way.
Thank you :)
Old Texan says
The reason your chickens are tough after cooking is that they are OLD. One lady said her chickens were just skin and bones, in that case they are probably sick, or starved. No wonder the farmer wanted to sell them. You can be assured that “farm raised” is not always better. The supermarket chicken will be disease free. ONLY BUY LIVE OR FRESHLY PROCESSED ANIMALS FROM SELLERS YOU KNOW AND TRUST OR RECOMMENDED BY FRIENDS, WHO DO KNOW THEM. Folks, the USDA is not out there to just spend tax money, they are there to assure you get disease free, healthy foods. Chickens and poultry are inspected by the supplier to state or federal guidelines and by the FDA’s FSIS department. I grew up on farms. You would be shocked to learn what unscrupulous growers will sell you. Pastured or free range chickens should be raised in enclosed pastures with no other animals or access to other animal areas. Chickens will eat anything, (read other animal’s poop here. including dead chickens), so they must be contained. Same goes for eggs as for chickens.
Your chicken should appear a deep yellow after the feathers are removed. A blue looking chicken is a skinny chicken. Hens are fine for baking and stewing, but they should be young hens.
Any breed of chicken is fine. Heavy breeds such as the Barred Rock, Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red make for bigger hens, hence more meat. They are excellent for frying when young, in the “fryer” stage of growth, usually just as the chicken is fully feathered. Any breed of chicken can be used for whatever you want, baking, frying, boiling, grilling, etc. just make sure they are in the right stage of growth. Fryers are young chickens at their optimum for, well, frying. Pullets are young hens just beginning to lay eggs. Hens are fully grown chickens and may be used for baking, boiling, etc. Just make sure they are not old hens. Roosters are also excellent for frying when young, boiling or baking as they get older, but forget them when they are old, as they are really tough meat.
Old Texan says
P. S. I forgot to add that you can do the same for beef broth. I usually boil chuck roasts and when the meat is done, boil the beef tea until it is reduced in volume and tastes more beefy than watery. It’s called “tea”, unless you make broth out of it using vegetables.
The boiled meat can be used many ways, usually better with sauces. I will slice it cold for sandwiches. But don’t do that with roasted or already cooked beef. The result is horrible.
Carcass sounds better than dead body, and I have the same revulsion to the non-word “veggies”. Probably invented baby talk to disguise vegetables from your picky eater kid.
I don’t care for boiled meat, but I save bones in a bag in the freezer and when I have enough I throw them in my big dutch oven along with vegie stems, peels and whatnot that I have also saved in the freezer along with anything in the veg drawer of the refrigerator that is looking limp or like it needs to go into the stock pot, then I boil it all day long. Somewhere in the boiling process I use the “kitchen only” pliers to break up the bones and boil some more. After a day of boiling I run it through the colander put the broth in the refrigerator and the other stuff (including the bones) into the compost bin. Win Win Win!!!
Bethany Lotulelei says
I love your ideas for making homemade broth! I, too, keep a bag of bones/veg in the freezer, and it is so nice to collect all the scraps over time in order to make broth later on. I love your idea to compost everything afterwards. Brilliant!
-Bethany (Laura’s assistant)