Home Made Chicken Stock

by formerchef on April 1, 2011

Post image for Home Made Chicken Stock

A couple of weeks ago I posted about how to brine and roast a chicken where I wrote how I always assumed that everyone realized that roasting a chicken was easy and how that assumption made an “ass out of u and me.” My second assumption was that people also knew how easy it was to make chicken stock and did not need me to provide that information. Again, I was disabused of this notion.

So, here we are with my easy-peasy recipe for home made chicken stock. You don’t need much more than a big soup pot, the leftover bones from that roasted chicken, and some vegetable odds and ends. There are a couple of options here as to how you make the stock.

Option #1 is the recipe below where the chicken bones are roasted first with onions. This results in a nice rich stock with a dark brown color which is perfect for stews, some soups and darker beans where color is not important or the darker color is wanted. Roasting the onion also enhances the flavor of the stock. Within this option there is a secondary choice to be made (option “B” below) which is how you cook the stock; on the stove top or in the oven. On the stove top is faster and yields great results. Cooking the stock in the oven is a slower process but gives you a highly reduced rich stock (almost the chicken equivelent to a demi glace) without much effort.

Option #2 is for a light clear stock. In this one, don’t roast the chicken bones and the onion, just skip the roasting step and put everything into the pot of water and bring to a simmer. This is stock you would use in a cream soup, maybe in white beans, or something which calls for a light broth. It still has plenty of flavor and given that it has one less step is slightly easier. For this one, don’t use the oven method as it might darken the color too much.

As for the vegetables, don’t be afraid to use those limp carrots and celery from the back of the crisper bin, they will be just fine. I’ve been known to save the odds and ends and put them in a heavy plastic bag in the freezer until I’m ready to make stock as well. When I worked in a restaurant kitchen we used to throw the carrot peels, celery tops, parsley stems, and just about everything else into the stock.

Finally, I don’t add salt to the stock. I prefer to save the addition of salt for when I use the stock later. Most commercially made chicken stock is very high in sodium which is why you now see “low sodium” stock on the shelves.

Home Made Chicken Stock Recipe
Printable Recipe in PDF

1 chicken carcass (bones from roasted chicken)
2 onions, sliced or quartered, including skins
8 oz carrots
10 oz celery (ends and tips)
fresh herbs like parsley stems, thyme, rosemary, etc.
3 cloves garlic
1 tsp whole peppercorns
2 bay leaves
water (about 5 quarts)

Heat the oven to 450 degrees. Place the chicken bones and sliced onions in a roasting pan and roast for about 30 minutes total. After the first 15 minutes, turn the onions over so both sides get browned.

Transfer the browned chicken bones and onions to a 6 qt pot (I’ve had the All Clad 6 qt stock pot shown in these photos for over a decade, and I love it). Add the other vegetables; carrots, celery, fresh herbs, garlic, peppercorns and bay leaves.

Cover with cold water, about 5 quarts.

Bring to a simmer (do not boil) and cook for about 2 hours. If the amount of water gets below the bones and vegetables you can add more to cover. After a couple of hours, it’s ready to use. However, if you want it to be more concentrated, you can allow it to cook longer, until it reduces by about 1/3 the total volume.

Option B is to cook the stock in the pot (once you have brought it to a simmer) in the oven at 200 degrees, uncovered for 6-8 hours. This gives the stock a low, even cooking temperature and as it sits in the oven, it slowly reduces down into a very rich stock. Sometimes I do a combo; 2 hours on the stove, 2 in the oven.

When the stock is done to your preference, depending on cooking method, it’s time to strain it. I take the big pieces out with tongs (this reduces splashing later) and pour the stock through a fine mesh sieve.

Yield: 12 cups extra rich chicken stock

{ 35 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Cassie, mamamakesitbest.com April 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

Thanks for posting! I’ve been meaning to make my own stock for some time….but never have. Now I will! :) Quick question-not sure if I missed this above, but how long does it keep? Do you store in the fridge or freezer?


2 formerchef April 1, 2011 at 8:00 am

Cassie- You can store it in the refrigerator for about a week or freeze it for a few months.


3 Amy Kramer April 1, 2011 at 10:11 am

Could your timing be any better? Passover is just around the corner and I have to make matzah ball soup. Thank you!


4 Jenn @LeftoverQueen April 1, 2011 at 11:02 am

I love making stock! There is something so fulfilling about it, and of course the taste is unbeatable!


5 lo April 1, 2011 at 11:47 am

No matter how many times I read a post on making stock, it always gives me that warm fuzzy feeling. There is absolutely NOTHING like homemade stock. Easy or not, it’s worth any effort you put in.


6 Mandy April 2, 2011 at 5:18 am

I love from scratch recipes which is why I’m not sure why I haven’t tried making my own chicken stock. Thanks for the step by step instructions. I have a frozen turkey carcus that has been in my freezer for two years….my plan was to make stock out of it, but I never got around to it. I wonder if it’s too late?


7 formerchef April 2, 2011 at 5:35 am

Mandy- Two years is a long time, even for the freezer. I think it depends on how carefully it was wrapped. It might be ok, but I would check it for freezer-burn. It might not be bad for you, but it’s possible it would not taste good.


8 Tiffany April 2, 2011 at 6:35 am

This could not have been a better post right now. My co-worker and I were talking about her vegetable patch on her farm, her brand new canning equipment, and the animals she’s planning on adding soon. Your site was the first I told her to go to along with the USDA, which I think has good info on canning safety.

That makes TWO people I know who are highly sustainable in their eating. A third is planning on using his 45 acres to raise heirloom cattle. They’ve all said that once their crops have extras past what their families eat they’d start selling. Guess who’s first in line with their numbers???



9 formerchef April 2, 2011 at 7:20 am

Thanks! Lucky you to have access to all that produce and sustainably raised meat. We have a friend who is going to start raising a few chickens. I’ve offered to help in exchange for eggs. Can’t wait!


10 Torrie @ a place to share... April 2, 2011 at 7:31 pm

Finally having the brined/roasted chicken tomorrow for dinner, and I’m so happy you posted this. I’ll definitely make the stock soon after!


11 Sarah June 12, 2011 at 1:12 pm

The chicken is brining away right now! You said in that recipe that you kept all the juices for the stock, but this recipe doesn’t mention adding that. I’m guessing you just throw the leftover juices in the pot with the rest of it? Love your how-to’s…keep them coming! : )


12 formerchef June 12, 2011 at 1:20 pm

Hi Sarah-Did I say that? I don’t keep the juices for the stock, but I certainly keep all of the carcass/bones. For sure, don’t throw the brine in there if that’s what you’re talking about, but I suppose you could put some of the pan juices after roasting in the stock (though it might be a littly fatty).


13 Sarah June 12, 2011 at 1:29 pm

Thanks for such a quick reply! Yeah, re-reading the article, I think my brain added that part in itself. : ) Do you ever keep the pan juices for anything? To be honest, I’ve never made gravy…is that what it’s used for? Thanks for the step-by-step on tomato peeling and making sauce…looking forward to that one. : )


14 formerchef June 12, 2011 at 1:35 pm

Yes, you can use the pan drippings to make gravy, my mother always does! However, she’s the expert on that, not me, so I don’t have a recipe for that here yet. Enjoy the tomatoes..


15 KenG January 28, 2012 at 5:29 pm

A word of thanks. I stumbled across this page several months ago and have become completely addicted to making stock using your roasting method. During this winter I have conjured up a batch every few weeks and use it to make a chicken and tortellini soup. A couple times I have had friends over and whenever I give them a preview taste of the broth, they literally say it’s the best they’ve ever had. Thanks again.


16 formerchef January 28, 2012 at 5:40 pm

Thank you so much for letting me know! So glad you enjoy cooking with it.


17 Olga March 21, 2012 at 12:07 pm

An interesting way, you must try!


18 Stefan Jones April 2, 2012 at 4:49 pm

Nice simply summary. I hope to do the chicken roasting and then this. I’d likely use the stock in a bean soup.

Can you do anything with the vegetables from the stock making? Are they just totally boiled to death and only worth throwing out?


19 formerchef April 3, 2012 at 7:52 am

Stefan- The vegetables in the stock tend to be pretty boiled to death (as you said) and fairly flavorless. They are also, very very soft and you might have a hard time separating them from all the small bones of the chicken.


20 Ellen September 22, 2012 at 3:05 pm

Help. I am right now brining but I used a recipe that called for Buttermilk. I think the last time I used buttermilk, the meal was sour. I wish I would have found your site first. What purpose does the sugar give to the equation?


21 formerchef September 22, 2012 at 3:15 pm

A chicken brine with buttermilk? Interesting. I’ve heard of yogurt marinades, but not buttermilk brine. I think the sugar helps offset the salt in terms of taste, and a small amount of it will cling to the skin and aid in the browning of the chicken during cooking.


22 Natalie Parkin January 20, 2013 at 11:33 am

Hi there….

Am from the UK and am just making chicken stock and come across your link.

Quick question….. am making a massive pot full of chicken stock and was wondering about the concentration of it? Other people mention about putting it in cube trays and freezing it then when needed, using a cube with boiling water in order to use for receipes. My thoughts are wouldn’t you use all of it in a receipe fully concentrated rather than a cube and water?

Hope to hear from you soon


23 formerchef January 20, 2013 at 12:24 pm

Natalie- I’m not sure. I always use it full strength in soups and such and then add water as needed. Maybe they are talking about reducing it down to a demi-glace or something like that, very highly concentrated. I never bother with that. I just freeze it in quart sized containers.


24 steven markussen March 11, 2013 at 6:38 pm

Mom always put a pint to a quart of chix broth under a chix or turkey roasting…always moist
The other day I roasted 2 big chix with pint of chix broth and 16oz of beer
Slow roast 4 hours at 250 then up to 375 til 160…..WOW was super
Made half gal gravy with dripping from roaster pan….never better!!!


25 Lucy July 26, 2013 at 7:45 am

Thanks for this great post. Have made stock mny times but never browned the bones. Will be adding that step today and can’t wait to see results.


26 JHaskins October 21, 2014 at 9:15 am

I love making broth from a whole chicken that I cooked earlier in the week! I have never roasted the bones before making the stock though; I will definitely try that next time! I have a question on freezing the broth. I really prefer to not use plastic, but freezing glass often leads to a cracked container and that is just no good. Do you have any advise? Or do I need to cave and freeze the broth in a plastic container or freezer bag?

Thank you so much for sharing your recipes!


27 formerchef October 21, 2014 at 12:06 pm

I usually freeze in plastic, but with glass you just have to make sure you leave enough room for expansion and use something which is tempered I think (meaning that it can withstand hot/cold).


28 Kim January 25, 2015 at 6:42 am

Anyone ??
What takes more energy – Simmering stock for 24 hrs. on stove, or slow-cooking at 212 degrees in oven for 24 hrs???


29 formerchef January 25, 2015 at 11:18 am

Good question! Though I don’t think either one would really need 24 hours. Twelve at the most, and that’s only for a BIG batch.


30 roxanne February 21, 2015 at 6:31 am

so i am browning carcass but do you add the pan juices from the browning to water as well????? I think it would have extra flav and I will skim fat off tomorrow anyways,,,what do you think??


31 formerchef February 21, 2015 at 7:48 am

Sure, you can add the pan juices as long as they aren’t actually burned.


32 roxanne February 21, 2015 at 9:07 am

thx!!!!! i am doing mine in the oven …so at 200 F ..is that hot enough,,,mine has been in oven for 2 hrs now and not doing anything…turned it up to 250 F


33 formerchef February 21, 2015 at 10:36 am

Did you bring it to a simmer before putting it in the oven? 200 should be ok, but 250 will be fine too. It may be in there 8 hours or so, kind of like a slow cooker.


34 roxanne February 21, 2015 at 10:58 am

i forgot to bring to simmer…but its at 250 and smells good!! i like that there is no salt added. hope it taste good…will let you know….still has about 4-5 hrs to go. thx

35 formerchef February 21, 2015 at 11:49 am

Well, that’s why it took so long for something to happen. :-) It should be fine. You’ll want to add salt when you use it for cooking.


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