Elevate your home-cooked meals with homemade chicken broth. Homemade Chicken Stock not only tastes better than store-bought stock, but it is also incredibly easy and affordable to make yourself.
Why Homemade Stock is the Best
- Superior Flavor. This recipe for Chicken Stock will make your recipes taste better, as the rich flavor of homemade stock is superior to anything storebought.
- Quality Control. Homemade chicken stock is made without added food coloring, MSG, yeast extract, and preservatives. You also can control the level of sodium.
- Costs Pennies to Make. As this recipe uses leftover chicken bones and vegetable scraps, you really only need water to make the most incredible-tasting chicken stock. Talk about a money-saver!
- Makes a Ton. This recipe for homemade chicken stock makes quite a bit and freezes beautifully. Make a big batch and then keep it in the freezer to use as desired.
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, 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. You can also add 1 teaspoon of poultry seasoning for an earthy, warming flavor.
- 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 ∗
Use your trash! Instead of using whole celery stalks, fresh herbs, and whole carrots, you can use kitchen scraps to make a rich and flavorful chicken stock. Every time you chop an onion, peel a carrot, or chop celery, place the scraps into a freezer-safe gallon-size bag, 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!
Tips for Making the Best Chicken Stock
You will find detailed instructions and exact measurements in the recipe card. The following tips will help you to have rich, perfectly seasoned chicken stock.
Simmer over Medium Heat. Don't be tempted to turn the heat to high to speed up the cooking process, 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.
Remove Scum. As the stock simmers, use a slotted spoon to skim off any scum that rises to the surface as the stock cooks.
Remove Fat Solids. After cooking, straining, and chilling, it is very natural for a layer of fat to form on top of your homemade chicken stock. Simply use a s spoon to scoop out the any fat solids that may have risen to the top of the broth. 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.
How to Store Homemade Chicken Stock
Regardless if you plan to refrigerate or freeze your homemade stock, I like to store the chicken stock in two to four-cup increments, as that is what is needed for most recipes.
- Refrigerate: You can store cooled, homemade chicken stock in glass jars or airtight storage containers for up to 5 days in the refrigerator.
- Freeze: 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 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.