Chicken Bone Broth can also be called Chicken Stock and is valued in most cultures as the basis for a good soup. It adds not only flavor but also incredible nourishment. As the name implies, the broth is made by allowing bones a long slow cooking time to fully extract the nutrients and minerals from them.
Chicken broth is, like most things, more tasty, healthy and economical if it is homemade. There have been recent news articles on major networks about the benefits of bone broth but if you missed them or just need to be reminded, see 15 Health Benefits of Bone Broth.
Broth that Gels
One of the goals by many who are familiar with traditional preparation and cooking techniques is to have a bone broth that gels once it cools – this indicates that the broth is high in gelatin.
The secret of a rich bone broth is a long and slow cooking time. Another factor in having broth that gels is the quality of the ingredients used. For chicken bone broth, use pastured animals, fresh or frozen for the thickest gel.
Sometimes, even when cooked long and slow, conventionally raised chickens just will not make a broth that gels – it is still full of minerals and nutrients but just lacks the necessary amount of gelatin required for gelling.
Some people recommend using chicken feet in addition to the carcass for chicken bone broth – the feet, which are a great source of gelatin, are peeled and thrown into the pot.
Personally, I just cannot bring myself to do it! If you have ever seen chickens shuffling through your family milk cow’s cow-pies to get every last morsel of grain left in it, well, let’s just say, my family would die if they saw chicken feet in the stockpot!
Chicken Bone Broth or Chicken Stock Cooking Methods
So, how do you make chicken bone broth or chicken stock?
1. Crock Pot Method
Normally, I start with a whole chicken and place it in the crock pot, cover it with water and cook it on high for 4 hours (overnight) on high. In the morning, the crock pot has turned to warm and I remove the chicken from the water. Next, I separate the meat from the bones. If I am not using the meat, I freeze it. The bones are returned to the crock pot with the water the chicken was cooked in and 2 Tbsp of apple cider vinegar are added. Now comes the long cooking – I cook it on low for 24 hours.
I have reused bones when the first batch of broth gels very well – as long as the resulting broth will gel as it cools, you can reuse the bones for a rich broth.
2. Stock Pot Method
The above method can also be done in a heavy stock pot on the stove – bring the bones and water to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cook for 24 hours. This is one of the easiest ways to have a continuous supply of bone broth – add water as needed along with more bones, vinegar, vegetables and keep it going!
Ingredients Used in Chicken Bone Broth or Chicken Stock
1. Whole Raw Chicken
This is my favorite way to make chicken bone broth! I start with a frozen whole chicken and place it in the crock pot (or stock pot if you prefer). You can see more details in the printable recipe below.
2. Chicken Parts
For many, buying chicken parts like the legs or thighs is more economical. These can be put right into your crock pot or stock pot and continue with the recipe below.
3. Roasted or Rotisserie Chicken
Another way to make Chicken Bone Broth is to use a rotisserie chicken. Separate the meat from the bones. Use the bones for the following chicken bone broth recipes.
While the vegetables are not necessary to make a rich bone broth they do add extra flavor, as well as, nutrition. Even scraps can be used – carrot peelings, onion tops…
- 1 raw whole chicken, rotisserie chicken, chicken carcass or parts
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- 2 onions, chopped
- 4 - 6 stalk celery, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped (optional)
- If using raw chicken - cover the chicken with water in either a crock pot or stock pot. Cook until tender (4 hours on high in the crock pot), remove from water, separate the meat from the bones.
If using a roasted chicken - separate the chicken meat from the bones.
- Place the chicken bones in a crock pot or stock pot and cover with water. If the chicken was cooked in the crock pot covered with water, place the bones back into this water/broth.
- Add vegetables and vinegar.
- For crockpot - turn crock pot to high until it boils and turn to low - cook for 24 hours.
For stock pot - Bring to a boil and reduce the heat to simmer.
- Cook on low for 24 hours.
- Strain the broth and allow it to cool.