Homemade Chicken Stock not only tastes better than store-bought stock, but it is also incredibly easy and affordable to make yourself.
Have an electric pressure cooker? Use it to speed up the process of making chicken stock with my recipe for Instant Pot Chicken Stock.
Why Homemade Stock is the Best
This recipe for Chicken Stock will save you money and make your recipes taste better, as the rich flavor of homemade stock is superior to anything storebought.
Not to mention that when you make chicken stock yourself, you are in control of the quality of the ingredients and the level of sodium.
While taste and quality are high up there on my list of reasons to make homemade chicken stock, one of my favorite things about this recipe is that it costs pennies to make.
Notes on Ingredients
To make chicken stock, the only things you really need are chicken bones, or the carcass of a whole chicken, and water. However, to amp up the flavor, I recommend adding herbs, vegetables, and salt.
- Chicken Bones: Use bones from cooked chicken, such as the bones leftover from a whole roasted chicken or bone-in chicken breasts, or bone-in chicken thighs,
- Vegetables: The classic vegetables used to season chicken stock are celery, carrots, and onions. They lend a classic, earthy flavor to the homemade stock that replicates the flavor of a store-bought stock.
- Herbs: I love using fresh thyme, as it pairs beautifully with the flavor of the chicken. Dried bay leaves also help to round out the flavor of the stock.
- Salt: I recommend using kosher salt to flavor the chicken stock. You can reduce or omit the salt altogether if needed. This recipe uses a similar amount of salt as a reduced-sodium stock.
- Peppercorns: Give the stock a bold, earthy flavor. Ground black pepper does not dissolve well into the stock, nor does it provide the same robust flavor.
Money Saving Tip
Instead of using whole celery stalks, fresh herbs, and whole carrots, you can use kitchen scraps to make a rich and flavorful chicken stock.
Kitchen scraps are simply things that may end up in the trash but can be repurposed into something delicious like this chicken stock.
Every time you chop an onion, peel a carrot, or chop celery, place the scraps into a freezer-safe gallon-size bag and store them in your freezer for up to 1 month and add to the bag as you collect more scraps. When you have chicken bones, pull out the scraps to use in place of the fresh vegetables and herbs, and you are well on your way to homemade chicken stock for free!
How to make Chicken Stock
This recipe for chicken stock walks you step-by-step so that you can easily enjoy rich, perfectly seasoned chicken stock that will elevate your cooking. Find the exact measurements in the recipe card.
- Place the chicken carcass or bones, carrots, onions, celery, thyme, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves in a large stock pan and cover with cold water.
- Bring the mixture to a rolling simmer, over medium heat. Don't be tempted to turn the heat to high as this will cause soluble proteins and rendered fat to emulsify into the cooking liquid. By slowly simmering the liquid, your stock will be clearer and less scum will form.
- Once the stock is simmering, reduce the heat to low and continue to simmer for 3-4 hours, uncovered. Check on the stock as it simmers, and if needed skim off any scum that rises to the surface as the stock cooks.
- After several hours of simmering, your broth will be rich and flavorful and it is time to remove it from the heat.
- Let cool slightly and carefully strain out the solids using a fine-mesh strainer over a large bowl or pan.
- Cool the stock to room temperature and then transfer it into storage jars or airtight containers.
- Refrigerate the chicken stock overnight.
- After refrigeration, skim off any fat solids that may have risen to the top of the broth with a spoon. You can discard that fat or use it to saute vegetables or soups for added richness.
Slow Cooker Chicken Stock
Instead of simmering your stock on the stove, you can use your slow cooker to make homemade chicken stock. It is the perfect hands-off method to develop a rich stock.
To prepare Crockpot Chicken stock, combine the ingredients in a large crockpot and cook on low for 8-12 hours. Once cooked, strain out the solids using a fine-mesh strainer and allow the stock to cool to room temperature before transferring it to storage containers and refrigerating.
Storing Homemade Stock
You can store homemade chicken stock in glass jars or airtight storage containers. The chicken stock will last for 5 days in the refrigerator. I like to store the chicken stock in two to four-cup increments, as that is what is needed for most recipes.
Alternatively, you can place your cooled chicken stock into freezer-safe containers or bags, being sure to leave 1-2 inches for expansion. Freeze the chicken stock for up to 3 months. When ready to use, defrost the chicken stock overnight in the refrigerator.
FAQs on Homemade Chicken Stock
Chicken broth is made by simmering the meat of a chicken, like chicken breasts, chicken thighs, or a whole chicken, with water and seasonings. Chicken stock is made by simmering chicken bones with water and seasonings. Chicken stock is darker in color and richer in flavor.
You likely cooked the stock over high heat or vigorously boiled it. This can cause soluble proteins and rendered fat to emulsify into the cooking liquid. While still safe to eat, it does look unappetizing. Prevent this by slowly simmering the liquid, so that the stock will be clear and less scum will form.
Recipes using Chicken Stock
Use this chicken stock in any recipe that calls for chicken broth or stock. Below are some of my favorite recipes that feature chicken stock.
- Instant Pot Chicken Noodle Soup
- Slow Cooker White Chicken Chili
- Creamy and Cheesy Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Baked Potato Soup
- Cream of Chicken Soup
If you enjoyed this recipe for Homemade Chicken Stock, please be sure to leave a comment and review below.
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 chicken carcass
- 1 large carrot washed and cut into quarters
- 2 large onions peeled, and quartered
- 2 stalks celery leaves included
- 1-2 springs fresh thyme
- 1 tablespoon kosher salt
- 2 dried bay leaves
- 1 tablespoon peppercorns
- 16 cups cold water
- Place chicken carcass, carrots, onions, celery, thyme, salt, peppercorns, and bay leaves into a large stock pan and cover with water.
- Bring chicken stock to a rolling simmer slowly over medium heat. Once lightly boiling, reduce the heat to low and simmer and simmer for 3-4 hours. Check on the broth as it simmers, and skim off any scum that rises to the surface as the stock cooks with a slotted spoon.
- After simmering for 3-4 hours, remove the chicken stock from the heat and use a fine-mesh strainer to strain off the solids. Discard the solids and allow the strained broth to cool to room temperature.
- Transfer the stock to storage containers or jars and refrigerate overnight. After refrigeration, skim off any fat solids that may have risen to the top of the broth with a slotted spoon.
- Store the chicken stock in the refrigerator for 5 days or freeze in freezer-safe containers, leaving 1-inch room for expansion for up to 3 months. Defrost overnight as needed.
This post was originally shared in 2017 and then updated in 2022 with new photos and a video.
Really loved the flavor of this stock and it was so easy to make.
Turned out so good! This is one of my first times making my own chicken stock & it was amazing!
Look at you go! I hope it was not only delicious but easier to make than you thought!
Journa Liz Ramirez
This is a must-try chicken stock! It is so easy to make and tastes delicious. Thanks for this wonderful recipe Kristen, I'll surely make this again.
Your last comment - “Chicken stock is richer than chicken stock.” I’m assuming you meant that stock is richer than broth.
LOL! Yes! I need to fix that! Thanks for bringing to my attention.
Hello - can this be made in the Instant Pot?
Hi Addie! Here is my Instant Pot Chicken Stock Recipe.
Thanks so much for that! I'll be making this the next time I cook a whole chicken in the IP, and I'll also start saving my scraps - I never would have thought of that!
I am so glad you enjoyed the tip 🙂
Home with Dad
I have been making broths from the leftover vegetables when I buy in bulk and don’t use them all before they start going bad. Does anyone do anything with those solids leftover from the broth process? I realize much of the flavor etc will have leached into the broth but there’s got to be some use for them. A purée for thickening maybe?
I have not tried using the leftover vegetable puree myself, as I mainly use scraps to begin with. But we shall see how others weigh in 🙂
Put in blender then add to pet food, as long as not too many onions.
Rosemary K Rushford
I make stock and broth often; and while I was aware of the possibility to use my vegetable scraps, I was hesitant. Many volunteer hands at my church and a start up commercial business was where I learned about this method. After seeing your post, I decided to save my scraps and give it a go! My biggest concern was the dirt that's in the crevices of the onion ends, celery ends, etc. But I gave this a try, buying cheese cloth to help with the straining of fine particles at the end of the stock. Now mine tastes as good as the start up chef's, and I am thrilled! Thanks so much for just discussing this. I'm saving, and I'm making.
I am so glad you gave this a try Rosemary and that you were happy with the results. And what a great idea with the cheese cloth--thanks for sharing 🙂
What do you do with the bones and scraps afterward? All my scraps would usually go into the compost, but now they’re contaminated with meat oils. I’d hate to just throw them out!
Hi Kassie, for these vegetable scraps, I would probably throw away--or I do know some people place in bokashi bin that is safe for meat, fish and dairy. It's a closed bin so it doesn't smell and after about 2 weeks the bin contents can be mixed in on your compost heap. But I do not have experience with these.
Put the bones and scraps in a blender and make bone meal for your pets or your plants.