In Traditional Food circles you hear a lot about ‘bone broth'. That term can throw people off a bit and sound ‘yucky' to the uninitiated! Instead of bone broth, think of chicken broth…that doesn't sound so bad, huh?
Chicken broth (and beef broth) made properly (with bones from, preferably, a pastured chicken) can be delicious and a nutritional powerhouse. The benefits of bone broth are astounding.
*Bone broth is a great source of easily absorbable minerals, particularly calcium, magnesium and phosphorous.
*Bone broth is also a terrific source of gelatin, collagen and a variety of amino acids.
*Bone broth can help heal your digestive tract
*Bone broth is very economical. You can get quarts and quarts of broth from the bones of 1-2 chickens.
As you read different recipes for making broth, you will see some variations, in the vegetables used (or not used), in spices used (or not used), in vinegar (used or not used).
There really isn't a hard and fast recipe. You essentially need bones, water, heat and time. However, adding some additional items to the broth can make it more flavorful and help to release more of the minerals from the bones!
I have a pot of chicken broth going at least once a week. I love bone broth and talk about bone broth quite often!
When I make broth, I usually use the following steps:
Gather vegetables: I coarsely chop carrots, celery and onions. I like to leave the peel of the onion on as this gives the stock a dark brown color. If you want a lighter broth, ditch the peel!
You can also use vegetable scraps as the vegetables are used simply to flavor the broth. Sometimes I save veggie scraps (peels and ends of onions and carrots, bottoms and tops of celery) in a freezer bag and dump them in my broth. It isn't supposed to be pretty, just tasty!
Gather chicken bones. These are the bones, skin and cartilage of two small pastured chickens. I am sure there is a little meat left too. I am not a fanatic about cleaning every bit of the bones.
If you cook a whole chicken, use those bones! If you eat a lot of cut chicken, save the bones in a freezer bag until you have a full bag. Then make broth! You can even bring home leftover bones from restaurants to save for broth. (I do, recommend, using pastured chickens for broth…this will be difficult to find most restaurants).
Put the vegetables and bones in a crockpot. Fill with filtered water. Sometimes I add a bay leaf or two. I hold off on salt and pepper until the end.
Add a couple tablespoons of an acidic liquid (I use raw apple cider vinegar). This helps draw the minerals out of the bones. Have you ever done or seen the science experiment where you soak a chicken bone in vinegar for 24 hours and the bone becomes all rubbery? This is because the calcium and other minerals have been leached from the bones! In the crockpot, these minerals wind up in your broth!
Cover and cook on low for 24 hours. Strain and you have delicious, nourishing chicken bone broth!
From this batch I was able to get over 4 quarts of broth! Think of how economical that is! 4 quarts of organic chicken broth at the store can easily cost $15-20 and those broths aren't nutrient dense bone broth! I just made 4 quarts of nourishing broth from bones that would have been thrown away!
You can store your broth in freezer safe mason jars in your freezer for 6 months or longer. You can also keep in your refrigerator for a couple of weeks.
- a mixing bowl of chicken bones and cartilage (preferably from a pastured chicken)
- coarsely chopped carrots, celery and onion
- 2 bay leaves (optional)
- 2 tbsp raw apple cider vinegar
- Filtered Water
- salt and pepper to taste after cooking
- Add vegetables and bones to crockpot
- Add bay leaves if using
- Fill with filtered water
- Add 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
- Cook on low for at least 24 hours
- Strain and store
- If you have cooked a crockpot chicken, keep all of the drippings and vegetables in the pot. When you are done eating, add the bones back to the pot along with a fresh onion or two, fill with filtered water and 2 tbsp of vinegar and cook on low for 24 hours. I do this a lot when I make a whole chicken. Your broth will take on whatever flavors you used on your chicken, which is usually a delicious thing!
If you feel overwhelmed at making your own bone broth, you can order delicious bone broth from Wise Choice Market and have it shipped to your door!
Learn More About Bone Broth
Worried you might mess up? Grab our book and you will learn to be a bone broth master in no time!
What do you use your bone broth for? Give us your answers in the comments below!!!
Delicious Recipes with Chicken Bone Broth:
Creamy Chicken Soup Recipe from Our Small Hours
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Can you can bone broth instead of freezing it?
I’m sorry, I am not too sure what you are asking. Can you try again?
The question is whether you can safely can bone broth, like you can vegetables. Hot water process or pressure canning.
You can not water bath can chicken broth. I believe I have read you can pressure can but I have never done that! Google probably has some answers for you!
I think you can pressure can but I have never done this. You can not water bath can chicken broth.
You can indeed! Use a pressure canner and otherwise follow the directions above to make the broth. You can get complete canning instructions here: http://nchfp.uga.edu/publications/publications_usda.html
Click on Guide 05 and scroll down to page 7.
I raw pack can chicken all the time and the boney pieces always form the most beautiful broth, with serious gelatin. You can turn the cooled jars upside down and nothing moves. It just jiggles a bit 😀
Thank you for this receipe! I don’t have enough bones yet, where shall I store them and how long can I store them for? Thanks. Sorry for silly questions, I am a newbie cook!
Store them in the freezer in a freezer bag. They will keep for awhile (6 plus months). Constantly add bones to your bag and when full make broth!!!
Sorry Tamara! Got you mixed up with Kelly!
So the bones have to be cooked before making the broth? In order words can I use raw bones?
Well I have only ever used bones from cooked chicken. I have added raw chicken feet and chicken backs and that has been fine. You could try all raw bones. I bet it would be fine. I do know with beef the roasting is key for flavor. I do not think chicken has the same issues… Let me know!!
Ok so I have OCD when it comes to cooking. How much water are we suppose to put in, x=?cups Thanks!
Depends how big your crockpot is. So you will want to fill your crockpot leaving an inch or two space at the top.
Marissa, when I make broth on the stove in a big pot, I just am sure to cover the bones by at least 2 inches.
I have been making my own chicken broth for a couple of years now. I sometimes use a whole raw chicken in the crockpot (if I get a good deal).
I freeze it in ice cube trays and then dump the cubes in freezer bags, makes it easy to use when cooking. I use it in so many things for flavor and nutrition……fried potatoes, vegetables, sauces, gravies and dog food. My little dog has diabetes so I make his food, mostly chicken, sweet potatoes and lots of good broth. I even put some of the soft chicken bones thru the food processor with some broth so he gets the bonemeal.
Great ideas! Thank you!
We stopped using bone broth in our animals’ food when we read that onions are toxic to them. Might want to read up on that.
Onions are extremely toxic to dogs.
So make a batch without onions.
I frequently use my pressure canner to can homemade chicken stock. Be sure to start the canning process with boiling hot stock, sterilized jars, lids, rings, etc. Leave 1 inch headspace and process at 10 lbs (adjust for sea level) for 1 hour 15 minutes for pints and 1 hour 30 minutes for quarts. I like this method because I can store the broth in my pantry and it’s already ready to go whenever I need it. It also travels well when we are on vacation. (the process times are from the Ball Blue Book guide to preserving)
Thank you for the info!!!
Just had to link to this tutorial for a Yahoo group I’m on. There are so MANY people who are only getting food through the use of “tummy tubes” (though they don’t always link to the stomach). It is one of the greatest health tragedies that formula is the only food substance these people get, once a tube is placed. Luckily, there is a growing movement to get them OFF formula and ONTO a whole foods, blended diet (think VitaMix). It is astoundingly difficult to convince physicians that moving from formula to blended is in the best-interest of their patient. Gastro-enterologists like to know exactly how many calories, and in what form, a patient is getting. To say this is absurd is an understatement. My son, who is nine, suffered oxygen deprivation at birth and now has cerebral palsy (brain injury affecting muscle movement). As I was already well-entrenched in the Weston Price world when he was born one thing I haven’t had to struggle with, for his benefit, is good nutrition. Thankfully, I’ve therefore also been able to be a voice, joined with some others, advising “newbies” about how to leave formula, and their doctor’s fear, behind. Because many people on tubes struggle mightily to maintain their weight, and the physicians are morbidly stuck on maintaining control, even at the expense of long-term health, it can be quite frightening to trust your own voice (as a caregiver) and move into the “garden” of light!
All this is a word-y way of saying; Thank you! Your tutorial will be shared by me again, and again, and again. After years of abuse by formula, their guts are crying out for the healing benefits of bone-based broths.
Wow, thank you for sharing your story! Yes, bones broths are incredibly healing. I am glad you are sharing the information with so many others. Good luck to you!!!
What size crock-pot do you use to yield 4 quarts of broth? I have a 6-quart crock pot, but the bones and veggies take up much of the room so I don’t get quite 4 quarts.
Thanks for the great post!
I think mine is a 7 qt. I love it for broth. Sometimes I think it is too big for other things, though!
You had me at bone broth.
Lol- Actually I have been looking for a good bb recipe for a while – have a daughter who needs to gain weight and this recipe has been awesome. Thank you.
So glad you like it!
Is there a reason this has to cook for 24 hours?
In order to get all the benefits of the gelatin, collagen, minerals from the bones, it must cook at least 24 hours. (Some say 18…but you get the idea…a long time). You can make stock or soup by cooking for a shorter time, of course, but you will not have all of the health/nutrition benefits with the shorter time.
Hi, thanks for the info. I attempted to make my own bone broth and it came out looking nothing like yours. I used the bones from one whole chicken, 4 quarts water, celery, onion, carrots, and a little garlic. I know you said leaving the skin on the onion will add color to the broth, which I decided to remove. I added the raw apple cider vinegar and let it cook for 24 hours. My broth is very light in color and many other blogs I have read say the broth usually turns into a jelly like consistency after it has cooled, mine did not. I don’t know if maybe there was too much water for the amount of bones I used, or if I just managed to mess it up. Does the water to bone ratio make a difference? Thank you!!!
Light in color is fine. Mine usually is dark because of the onion skins. No worries there. Yes, the water to bone ratio does make a difference. More bones, less water equals more ‘jelly-like’. Regardless, the gelatin is still in the broth, just watered down. I have a hard time getting my chicken broth to a nice gel. Beef broth, no problem.
I used to have that problem also, but then I read that using pasture raised organic chicken as opposed to typically farmed chicken makes a HUGE difference on the amount of minerals/nutrients/gelatin left in the bones. Since only using pasture raised chicken bones, I don’t have that problem.
Thank you! My bone broth is in the crockpot now :). Question – when it’s done, will there be a layer of fat on the top from the skin, etc? And if so, should I skim it before storing?
Yes there will be fat. Usually I put it all in mason jars and refrigerate or freeze . The fat solidifies at the top. Then when I go to use it I skim some then. Don’t toss it though! It makes a tasty fat for cooking!!!
I do this every week using the bones I have saved plus some feet and necks from the farm stand. It gels beautifully when I use the feet. I freeze in one cup and two cup containers (seems to be what is often called for) and then use the rest for a soup. I have yet to catch a cold this year and chalk it up to the soup. (I work in a school library with many germs spewed about!)
I use this method for making broth, it’s awesome! I just thought I would add that a super easy way to store bone broth is to reduce it to about 1/4 then pour it into a lined baking dish and set in the refrigerator. Once it’s chilled, the gelatin will slightly solidify allowing you to slice it into ‘bouillon’ cubes. All you have to do is reconstitute it with equal parts water (if you had 4 quarts of BB, reduced it to one quart, sliced into 12 ‘1 cup’ cubes — reconstitute each cube with 1 cup water). Re-reading it, it sounds like a lot of effort, but truly it is not! 😉
Awesome tip! Thanks! I will try that with my next batch for sure!!
I love making my own bone broth! I use pretty much the same ingredients as you although I like adding fresh rosemary and thyme as well. However instead of using a crockpot I put mine in the pressure cooker for 2 hours and voila! I add the salt and whole peppercorns in the beginning. Why do tou wait until the end? Is there a specificreason?
I just got a pressure cooker for Christmas. Haven’t tried broth yet but plan to soon! I wait until the end for salt and pepper only because I tend to do too much 🙂 No other reason!
I’ve never had very good luck with my pressure cooker broth. It always turns out white and gritty. I might have to give it another try.
Crock pot chicken broth always turns out great for me though.
Where do you get your beef bones and do you rinse them off when in their raw state before roasting them? I’ve made beef bone broth once from bones I got from the grocery store and it seemed like it was gritty and the bones splintery after cooking it for a day in the crockpot. Also do you dig out the marrow to add to the broth?
I get all of my bones and meat from my local farmer. And, yes I do scoop out the marrow!!!
At what point in time do you scoop out the marrow?
Mine must sort of falls out. If it doesn’t you can scoop out at the end.
I am completely new to all of this so bear with me please. Why do you have to use filtered water? We live on a ranch so we have well water verses city water. Can I use water out of our tap?
Yes you can use any water. The best quality water is always best.
Don’t skim the fat off. It congeals on the top and protects the broth from mold and bacteria. You can take it off when you are ready to use it. I once did a comparison of a jar with and without the fat layer. The one without had mold growing after about 2 weeks. The one with the fat still in it didn’t have mold growing even after 6 weeks. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend using it then (although I have when I use a food saver jar sealer), but I thought it was a really interesting test.
So silly question- what if I only have white vinegar?
Any acidic liquid will work! Any vinegar, lemon juice, wine…. Good luck!
I am wondering about leaving a crockpot on for 24 hours. I have a crockpot, and I called the company to ask about it. They said no longer than 20 hours. Has anyone ever done it in a crockpot for longer?
I have left my crockpot on for a week when I do perpetual broth (you remove the broth you need and add back water…keeping it going all week) and never have had a problem.
Wow. Good to know. Thanks!
WOW what a GREAT tip on the veggie scraps & other loose bones kept in the freezer I never even thought of that…Thanks
I’ve made broth before in my giant roaster oven after saving the bones from multiple turkeys (holidays) and it turned out great, so that is what I’m planning to use. I also raise rabbits for meat, so I will be using a lot of rabbit bones as well as chicken/turkey/beef. I have a lot of health problems and I’m 100% sure it all stems from a bad diet of processed and refined foods. I’m in the planning stages of drastically changing my diet to hopefully reverse some of these health problems.
I do have a couple of questions though. I’ve never put anything acidic in my broth. I love the idea of using ACV, but can you taste it once the broth is done? Also, I have heard that some people drink bone broth every day, do you know if there is a recommended amount?
If you just add a couple tbsp of vinegar you can not taste it. It is just to help leach the minerals from the bones. I am not sure of a recommended amount. I know people who drink a cup a day. I know people who drink a quart a day! Good luck!!
I have your crock pot chicken cooking right now. Yum!!! I’m excited about making my first batch of bone broth. Quick question. I pulled the gizzards/liver etc.. Out of the chicken. I put it in the freezer, because I read I could add it to my broth. I wasn’t sure though. Should I thaw it out and add it to the bones or discard. Thanks!! I do love chicken liver. I’ve just never cooked it, so I usually discard it. Do you save/cook the liver?
I add it all to the broth when I am making it. I don’t thaw out, just toss it in! I sometimes save the liver for other purposes (adding to chili or soups, etc.) but often just toss it in the broth!!
Do you add the gizzards at the very beginning so they also cook for 24 hours, or sometime after you have started making the bone broth?
Thanks for all the helpful info. Can’t wait to try our first batch!
Usually when I begin because I would probably forget otherwise! 🙂
I am wondering if you ever make bone broth from pork bones? We buy a locally farm raised pig every year and have it butchered locally. I always have plenty of pork bones that just get tossed.
I have not but am sure it would work fine!
I found this site and bookmarked it back in June of ’13. I’ve just finished a crockpot full of chicken broth and was checking around to see what others do about re-using the bones again; I remember reading some that do on other sites. Scrolling through the Comment section, I just noticed your comment about the perpetual broth. Are you using the same bones, veggies, etc. or adding a new batch of everything?
Mine has been cooling for awhile and I was thinking I should get it refrigerated soon after draining. Speaking of draining it all, do you have a special cloth or sieve? I’ve got an old fairly large sieve that’s aluminum, and I do use it occasionally when necessary, but try to avoid aluminum when possible.
Also, wish I’d read through the comments yesterday before starting, as I have a lot of chicken feet and backs (uncooked) in the freezer but wasn’t certain if I should mix some feet & backs with the cooked bones. Next time I’ll know.
Hi! I made a chicken in the crockpot tonight and put the bones back in with the liquid and veggies. Would I start the 24 hr countdown from when I put the chicken in the crockpot raw or tonight, when I added the liquid to the bones? Thanks!
When you add the liquid and start cooking the broth!! Good luck!
Can you make bone broth on the stove top? I’m a little leery having my crockpot running continuously while I’m not home.
Yes. Same type of technique. Just leave on a very low simmer for 24 hours. I have a gas stove and am more comfortable leaving crockpot on while I am away. But, that is a personal preference!
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I have some raw venison bones I want to make broth with. They are frozen. Can I make broth with them without cooking them first? I was just planning on adding everything to crock pot raw and cooking 24 hours. This is my first try. Want it to be good.
I would roast them first for better flavor!
Hi Tamara, I have a question.. How do I know when the bone broth is ready.. Do the bones disintegrate after the 24 hours mark? And if they haven’t disintegrated do I keep cooking until they do.. ?
It is ready after simmering for 24 hours. Some of the smaller bones might be disintegrating but the larger ones will not be. You can reuse chicken bones for up to 3 batches of broth. After that, they will be very mushy.
Can you mix beef bones with chicken bones to make broth? Also, I have uncooked beef bones from a grass fed steer we purchased. I saw you said to roast them first. What temp and how long? Do you season them in any way? Thanks. Great information.
Yes, you absolutely can mix bones from different animals for broth! I would definitely roast the beef bones first. I vary what temp and how long but 400 for 45-60 minutes is fine!
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Is it safe to leave the crock pot on overnight while you are sleeping? Do you know if the crock pot manufacture has any warning or comment on this?
I leave my crock pot on overnight all of the time.
THIS IS A VERY INFORMATIVE AND BENIFICIAL ARTICLE AND SUSEQUENT CHAT BY THE EXPERIENCED LADIES . I MADE MY BROTH FIRST TIME IN THE SLOW COOKER AND KEPT IT ON FOR 24 HRS AND DID ALL THAT IS SAID IN THE ARTICLE . IT IS VERY GOOD AND TASTY .
MAY GOD BLLESS ALL
So glad you love the broth!!!!
🙂 I’m a huge fan!!!!!!
Is it better and more tasty to pressure cook high for 2 hours or slow cook low for 24 hours for bone broth?
Unsure! Why not try both and see which you like best? -Kelly
can dogs have some with their din din?
yummy! my wife loves this!
When you roast a chicken in the crock pot and you are going to make broth right away, should you discard the liquid that forms and start with just fresh water? Is that liquid just waste? Thanks!
I usually keep the liquid in the pot!
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When making bone broth on the stove, a layer of foamy impurities forms at the top that should be scraped off. Will this happen in the crockpot as well, or do the impurities stay in the broth?
Having read all post…if you are suppose to soak bones in the acid approx. one hour in cool water to draw out minerals, when do I do that with regard to roasting them. Do I roast first or soak in acid first. Secondly, I made a batch and refrigerated, the solidified fat on top was a yellow greenish color as was coating on bones. Is that normal? Thank you so much in advance for taking time to respond as I have searched all over the Internet about the color of the fat layer on top. I have made many a chicken soup and ham and bean soup, NEVER have I seen a top layer looking this color.
If you are roasting, you do that first. Then when you pile all the bones in a pot you add the water and acid. I am unsure about the green color. The only time I have had that is when I used a lot of green herbs in the broth/soup. Not sure about your situation. That is odd!
Thanks for all the info in the posts, this is truly helpful! Today is a first for me as I have my crock pot full of chicken bones and cooking up a storm!! I have used your receipe to make this broth for my daughter. She is going to drink the broth every day in hopes to repair her colon from ” leaky gut syndrome”. We have read other blogs that people have used the bone broth as a gut healing tool to restore the colon to health. She also has an auto immune disorder which further complicates matters along with multiple food allergies. Glad to read the chicken bones can be used 3 times before replacing with new ones. Can you tell me how to best store the bones if I wait a few days between using them again?
I just pop the bones in a freezer bag in the freezer! So excited for you to get started with bone broth! 🙂
I bought a couple of packages of chicken feet at a local grocery store thinking I would make bone broth… Have you ever tried it with the feet?… Sounds awful, I know…
Yes! Adding chicken feet really gets a nice gel!
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Why does my chicken broth taste like vinegar? I used 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar to 2.5 quarts of water and cooked on low for 12 hours.
I’m doing an elimination diet and cannot use vinegar, citrus or really any acid, can I still get the health benefits without it?
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I love all the health benefits of bone broth but hate that it takes so long for it to be ready.
When you say pastured chicken does it mean free range chicken or just organic?
My fur baby is diabetic ? I have been making ALL his meals – chicken, barley, rice, carrots, spinach, broccoli florets, string beans, cabbage & celery. He has gotten a little tired of the same thing so I tried to change it up occasionally (a little more of one or two vegetables than the last batch). I recently tried your recipe for chicken bone broth,. WOW! HE ABSOLUTELY LOVES IT! I pour a little broth over his meal ?? I’m on my second batch of chicken broth now and can’t seem to make it gel. The thing is,. I can’t cook.. just really never learned ??. But I’ll try anything for my baby boy ??. I’ve tried so many of the prescription diet or hypoglycemic dog foods. . He just will not have any of it ? I want to thank you so much – I still have to get down on my hands and knees and feed him the first couple bites by hand. But he is EATING!,. Which he must do before his insulin injection. Again, THANK YOU ??
Oh this is wonderful!! I am so glad he loves it!!! Our Gizmo loves bone broth too…particularly chicken broth! So glad this is helpful for you!
Great soup recipe!
I’m now gonna try to make it before my GF gets home (I’m in the dog house for forgetting our anniversary!!!) This is her favorite so hopefully it will do the trick.
Keep up the great work!
Thanks for this recipe! Trying it now 🙂
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For those who recook their chicken bones until they become soft, we blend the bones with a little water making a thick paste. I freeze it in ice cube trays and add a cube to the dog’s dinners with the kibble. You waste nothing.
Thanks for a great blog!
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