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Make Your Own Chicken Stock Using These Simple Steps

Updated on July 6, 2014
Simmering your own chicken bone broth is easy and offers a load of health benefits
Simmering your own chicken bone broth is easy and offers a load of health benefits | Source

Homemade Chicken Stock for Quality and Nutrition

Do you make homemade chicken stock, or do you purchase pre-made broth from the store?

You can make this useful broth that provides a delicious way to get a wide array of nutrients and save money on groceries.

Homemade chicken stock is much better for you than store-bought varieties in both taste and nutrients, so taking a few minutes to get a pot brewing is well worth the effort.

Store-Bought Stocks and Bullion are Not the Same

Store-bought broths are watered down versions of the traditional favorite. They lack the abundance of nutrients provided by homemade chicken broth.

Mass-produced stocks also contain MSG, and even go so far as to use other terminology to fool the consumer into thinking their product is MSG-free.

Homemade chicken broth contains mineral salts and glycosaminoglycans that come from the bones and connective tissues. You won't get these amazing nutrients from canned broths or bullion cubes!

The watery consistency of a commercial broth also reveals its lack of gelatin, a beneficial protein found in homemade chicken stock.

After refrigerating, the gelatin in your chicken broth should be noticeable, giving it a jelly-like appearance.
After refrigerating, the gelatin in your chicken broth should be noticeable, giving it a jelly-like appearance. | Source

Gelatin Makes Homemade Chicken Stock a Superfood

After you make chicken stock and put it in the refrigerator, it should thicken and get Jello-like. This is gelatin, which has a history of treating a variety of ailments.

Gelatin is full of amino acids, including glycine and proline. Glycine is effective in regulating blood sugar levels and it's great for detoxing the liver.

Chicken bone broth is also rich in proline, which is excellent for the brain and improves memory and mood.

Cook Meats on the Bone Provides Amazing Health Benefits

There's a reason why we love Thanksgiving turkey! Meat that is cooked on the bone is flavorful and tender, qualities that are often lost in boneless meats.

Today, most people buy boneless, skinless chicken breasts that lack many of the nutrients that nature provides in all elements of a chicken.

When you slow cook a whole chicken, water molecules work to sever strands of proteins in order to make the meat tender and flavorful. This process, called hydrolytic cleavage, breaks down the skin, bones, and connective tissue.

When you simmer the bones, skin, and connective tissue that's left over from your chicken dinner, nutrients that support strong bones, healthy joints, and radiant skin heath are released into the broth. These nutrients include glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid.

Your Body Prefers Food Over Pills

Things like glucosamine and chondroitin are called glycosaminoglycans, and can be found lining health food store aisles in their synthetic forms. Supplementing with bone broth is not only healthier, but also easier on the wallet.

Other nutrients like calcium, potassium, iron, sulfate, phosphate, sodium, and chloride are also absorbed more efficiently than dietary supplement pills.

For instance, most calcium supplements are made from limestone, which isn't easily assimilated into the human body. Therefore, these supplements harden arteries as calcium that isn't absorbed builds up into the lining of the vessels.


A Few Chicken Stock Tips

  • Always be sure to cover your stock as it simmers. You don't want that liquid gold to evaporate before you get the chance to enjoy it!
  • Having said that, it still may cook down quite a bit. If it does, simply add some more water. One time I forgot to check my simmering stock. It cooked down to nothing but some brown residue at the bottom of the pot. I decided to add water just to see how it would come out. It ended up creating a perfectly gelatinous chicken stock.
  • I get the best results when I let the broth come to a little more of a light boil. Best results, meaning that after refrigeration it becomes a thick gelatin.

Roast a Whole Chicken and Save the Bones

Roasting a whole chicken is simple and delicious.

  • Put several tablespoons of butter under the skin.
  • Sprinkle on some garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and poultry seasoning.
  • Cook the chicken in a 350 degree oven for about an hour and a half (about 20 to 25 minutes per pound) or until a meat thermometer reads 165 degrees.

This leaves a tasty combination of butter, drippings, and seasonings in the pan that add flavor to the chicken broth. Once you've finished your dinner and the chicken has cooled, cover it with tin foil and store it in the fridge.

There are only a few simple steps to starting your chicken stock the next day (or within the next several days):

  • Remove as much of the meat from the bones as you can.
  • Break up the bones up a little bit
  • Put everything that's left over into a stock pot or slow cooker and cover with filtered water. All of the skin, fat, and bones can all go in there to add flavor to create an amazing broth.
  • Add about a tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.
  • Simmer for eight to 10 hours.

That's it! You can also add several carrots, a few ribs of celery, onion, and parsley if you want. I leave it plain because If I make things too complicated, I won't do it at all. You can also flavor the chicken broth for each dish however you like.

For the best results, use free-range chickens. The fresher the better, so if you have a local supplier, you're going to get the healthiest, richest broth of all. Include all of the chicken parts available so that you can get the most abundant range of nutrients.

But chicken stock is still beneficial and delicious even if you have to use conventionally raised chickens. Even the leftovers from a store-bought rotisserie chicken can be used to produce a good stock.

I Love This Slow--Cooker!

Hamilton Beach 33262 Stay or Go 6-Quart Slow Cooker
Hamilton Beach 33262 Stay or Go 6-Quart Slow Cooker

I'm a big fan of slow-cooked meals. I've had this slow-cooker for years and it works great. It even has a rubber seal around the edge of the lid along with sides that lock. This way, you can cook and take it with you.


Slow Cooker or Stock Pot?

Using a slow cooker is the easiest way to make chicken stock. A slow cooker also works out better if you need to leave the house.

Place your bones in the crock and cover with water. Allow a couple of inches at the top so that it doesn't spill over. Set to low and let it cook for about 10 hours.

Some people like to let their broth simmer for 24 hours, which provides plenty of time to get all of those nutrients out of the bones.

Slow cookers have a tendency to contain lead, especially certain colors. I had a red crock pot that I disposed of recently because of its lead content. It was sad.

Now I use a stock pot on the stove and let it simmer for about 10 hours.

The only problem with this technique is that you shouldn't leave your stove on while you leave the house because it's a fire hazard. If you need to leave the house, there's no harm in turning the burner off and letting it sit covered for an hour or two.

Freeze in Portions for Future Use

If you're not going to use all of your broth within the next several days, you should freeze it in portions so that you can thaw as needed. There are a few ways you can do this:

  1. Add cupfuls to plastic storage containers, leaving some room at the top,
  2. freeze cupfuls in jars, leaving a few inches at the top so that it has room to expand, or
  3. pour it into ice cube trays in tablespoonful portions.

© Liz Davis 2012 Homemade Chicken Stock

Do you have your own chicken broth recipe?

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    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 4 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thanks, Nature Nat! Chicken stock is so delicious, I try to keep it on hand all the time. I have some simmering right now, as a matter of fact :)

    • profile image

      Natalie 4 years ago from Luton

      Great hub, I will defo be doing this with my leftovers from Sunday dinner, thanks

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thanks, Billy!

      I love bone broth. I wish I could convince everyone of how simple, healthy, and delicious it is.

    • billybuc profile image

      Bill Holland 5 years ago from Olympia, WA

      Your profile picture is great and your daughter is a doll.

      Great hub! We used to make this all the time when I was growing up, but somehow got away from it over the years. Thanks for the suggestion and reminder.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      I'll be right over, homesteadpatch! lol

      Sometimes I think that many people have forgotten what real food tastes like, so they end up choosing the ready-made stuff that isn't nearly as good. Thanks for stopping by!

    • homesteadpatch profile image

      homesteadpatch 5 years ago from Michigan

      Homemade stock is far superior to anything from the store. Indeed, most stocks from the store are little more than flavored salt water. I've got a New Hampshire rooster in the roaster right now, once we eat up the meat, the leftover carcass will be used to make stock.

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Thank you, Patricia :)

    • Patricia Di profile image

      Patricia Di 5 years ago

      This is an excellent hub. I am a foodie too. I will be watching for your next hub!!!

    • Radcliff profile image

      Liz Davis 5 years ago from Hudson, FL

      Rachel: I wish I could have fresh chickens right out of the backyard like you can! Enjoy your fresh chicken stock and please let me know what you make with it. Thank you!

      mvillecat: I'd like to learn more about pressure canning--it's something I definitely need to get into. Thanks for your comment and for sharing!

    • mvillecat profile image

      Catherine Dean 5 years ago from Milledgeville, Georgia

      I love making my own stock but have always froze it. But, as of two weeks ago I am pressure canning so I can put up several jars. My freezer space is limited so I am excited about the possibilities of canning anything I want to. Thanks for this great hub. Yes, broth from the store is horrible. I pinned, tweeted and voted up.

    • Farmer Rachel profile image

      Rachel Koski 5 years ago from Pennsylvania, now farming in Minnesota

      Radcliff, this is exactly what I needed right now! I have several chickens, about 10, that are ready for harvesting and have been planning to make stock because I need it for my squash soups. I'm so sick of buying "chicken broth" from the store, and you and I are totally in agreement about MSG - I avoid it at all costs. This hub is literally exactly what I need, because I've never made stock before and have been wondering how I'm going to pull it off! Great hub :) Voted up and more!