Homemade Chicken Broth

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Easy to make and full of flavor, this homemade chicken broth is a delicious way to repurpose leftover roast chicken. Vegetables and herbs add aromatic flavor to this simple recipe.

Soup season is upon us, and that means we’re going to need lots of vegetable broth and chicken broth.

While it’s definitely easy to just grab some chicken broth at the store, making chicken broth at home is so much more flavorful!

A bowl of chicken noodle soup next to a jar of broth.

Plus, it’s a great way to use up leftover chicken pieces as well as vegetables you have on hand. 

Homemade chicken broth is not only economical, it helps reduce food waste. Give it a try!

What’s the difference between broth and stock?

While the terms are somewhat interchangeable, there are a few differences between stock and broth.

Stock is made from from bones, vegetables and spices and simmered for hours. It is often not seasoned with salt or pepper to make it more versatile for adding to recipes.

Broth uses meat instead of cooked bones and often does not have vegetables added, so it needs extra salt to boost the flavor. 

Bone broth is more similar to stock, but with added seasoning. This particular recipe is for bone broth.

Ingredients for homemade chicken broth

You’ll need:

The ingredients for a chicken dish are shown on a white table.

Chicken bones – This recipe calls for cooked chicken bones. I always save the bones from when I make dutch oven roast chicken, or even if we buy a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store.

If you don’t want to make chicken broth right away, you can always freeze the chicken bones until you are ready to make it. The bones do not need to be thawed before adding to the pot.

Don’t worry about removing any leftover bits of chicken, as it will help flavor the broth. I do usually remove larger pieces of skin.

Carrots – The carrots do not need to be peeled or trimmed. In fact, if your carrots have the greens attached, you can add those!

You can also use baby carrots or just carrot peels.

Celery – Add the whole celery ribs, including any attached leaves.

Onion – Don’t worry about peeling the onion. The skin will add flavor as well as color.

I usually use white or yellow onion, but you can also use red onion.

Garlic – Add as many cloves as you like, smashing them slightly before adding. Again, you don’t need to peel.

Bay leaf – One or two dried bay leaves are key for soups and broths.

Fresh herbs – Use your favorite herbs. Classic herbs for chicken broth include parsley, thyme, and rosemary. 

You can put the herbs into a sachet to make a bouquet garni, but I just throw them in directly.

If you are using dried herbs, keep in mind that dried herbs are stronger in flavor. They are also a little more difficult to filter out later.

Salt – If you prefer, you can leave the salt out so that you can flavor to taste when using the broth. 

Peppercorns – Whole black peppercorns are a great addition. You can also use white or red peppercorns, or a mix.

Water – You will need enough water to completely cover the chicken and vegetables. This is approximately 12 cups, or 3 quarts.

A jar of chicken broth is sitting on a table.

How to make this recipe

If needed, remove large pieces of meat from the chicken bones and save for another use. Break the carcass into smaller pieces to help it fit into the pot.

Use a large stock pot (6 quarts or more) and add the chicken. Cut the vegetables into chunks and add those, including the ends and any peels.

Add the herbs, salt, and peppercorns.

Add 12 cups of water, or enough water to completely cover all of the ingredients.

Cover pot and place on a burner set to high. Bring to a boil. 

Once boiling, remove lid and stir, then replace lid. Lower heat to medium-low or low and simmer, covered, for 2 to 3 hours. 

You can stir the broth every so often to help break down the chicken and vegetables, but this is mostly a hands-off process.

If you find condensation is escaping through the top of the pot and falling onto the burner, you can place the lid slightly askew to vent.

Once the broth is cooked to your liking, remove from heat.

Set a colander over a large bowl and use a pair of tongs and/or a skimmer to scoop out the chicken and vegetables, placing in the colander to drain into the bowl. 

Once you have removed all of the vegetables and only broth remains, discard the removed bits.

Swap the colander with a finer mesh strainer. Use a ladle to pour the broth into the strainer, catching all the small bits as the broth pours into the bowl. 

You can also strain directly into quart mason jars or deli containers.

Let the broth cool to room temperature before transferring to the refrigerator or freezer.

Note that your chilled broth will likely have a bit of fat that has collected at the top. Skim it off before using, or just mix it back into the broth as you heat it.

FAQ

Can I add other vegetables to chicken broth?

The great thing about making homemade broths is that you can add whatever veggies or veggie scraps you have on hand. Each batch will have a slightly different flavor!

Some great options include leeks, mushrooms, corn cobs, shallots, or leafy greens like bok choy. You can even add some tomato or apple!

Avoid using starchy vegetables like squash or potatoes, or brassicas like broccoli or Brussels sprouts.

Can I freeze chicken broth?

Freezing chicken broth is a great option for making it last longer, especially if you don’t have plans to use it immediately.

To freeze the chicken broth, pour it into freezer-safe containers, leaving at least 2 inches a the top to allow for expansion during freezing. This will help prevent your containers from cracking.

Let the broth cool completely before placing in the freezer.

Thaw overnight in the refrigerator.

You can also freeze the broth in smaller portions using ice cube trays or souper cubes, which are designed for soups and purées.

Can this chicken broth be made in a slow cooker?

If you don’t like to leave your stove on for extended periods of time, or you don’t want to attend to the broth as it cooks, use your slow cooker!

Place everything in the pot and cook on LOW for 8-10 hours, or HIGH for 4-5 hours.

Two mason jars of chicken broth on a table.

Uses for homemade chicken broth

You can use this broth anywhere you’d normally use a boxed broth or stock.

It’s wonderful for flavoring rice dishes like chicken poblano or parmesan risotto.

Use for white bean chicken chili, chicken and dumplings, or chicken wild rice soup.

Try it in Southern green beans, lemon chicken, Instant Pot buttered cabbage, or borracho beans.

Or, simply warm it, add your favorite spices, and have a comforting sipping broth!

This versatile homemade chicken broth is the perfect stand-in for so many recipes. Give it a try!

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A bowl of chicken noodle soup next to a jar of broth.

Homemade Chicken Broth

Make flavorful chicken broth at home using vegetable scraps and cooked chicken. It's a great way to reduce food waste!
Author : Megan Myers
5 from 42 votes
Print Pin Save
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 20 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Course Soups & Stews
Cuisine American
Servings 12
Calories 15 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1 chicken carcass, from a 3-4 pound chicken
  • 4 carrots
  • 2 ribs celery
  • 1 to 2 onions
  • 2 cloves garlic, plus more as desired
  • Handful fresh parsley
  • 3 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 3 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tablespoon fine sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 12 cups water

Instructions

  • Add chicken to a large stockpot (at least 6 quarts). Wash and roughly chop vegetables (no need to peel) and add to the pot. Add herbs, salt, and peppercorns. Add enough water to cover chicken and vegetables, about 12 cups.
  • Cover, set over high heat, and bring to a boil. This can take as long as 20 minutes, depending on your stove efficiency.
  • Once boiling, reduce heat to low and simmer for 2 to 3 hours, or longer as desired.
  • Turn off heat and let cool slightly. Strain stock into containers, or strain into a large bowl and portion from there.
  • Let cool to room temperature, then store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or freezer for 6 months, until ready to use.

Notes

  • If freezing, make sure to leave 2 inches of headspace in containers to allow for expansion and prevent containers from cracking.
  • Makes about 2 quarts.

Nutrition

Calories: 15 kcalCarbohydrates: 3 gProtein: 0.4 gFat: 0.1 gSaturated Fat: 0.02 gSodium: 613 mgPotassium: 105 mgFiber: 1 gSugar: 1 gIron: 0.2 mg

Nutrition information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate based on online calculators. Any nutritional information found on Stetted should be used as a general guideline only.

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megan

About Megan

I focus on fresh ingredients and easy methods, with spins that keep meals interesting. Dinnertime shouldn’t be stressful or complicated, and I’m here to help you enjoy the time spent in the kitchen. Read more…

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