Make something delicious from almost nothing! Learn how to make Chicken Stock in the slow cooker or on the stovetop for the best tasting soups, gravies, and sauces.
Making homemade chicken stock is one of the easiest ways to make something from nothing. Okay, almost nothing.
When you roast a chicken, a lot of the flavor is left in the roasting pan, in the drippings, skin, and bones that one doesn’t eat. These are valuable ingredients, friends, that you might otherwise throw away! Simmered with water, the flavor ends up in the stock.
So, whenever you roast a whole chicken or bake chicken pieces, save the bones, skin, and drippings to make a delicious broth or stock to use in soups, gravies, or pilafs. The resulting, golden brown goodness will taste much better than anything you could buy in a can or jar.
What is stock?
Chicken stock is a savory liquid that is used as a base for soups, sauces, and stews and used to flavor rice dishes. It is made by simmering chicken bones in water with vegetables and other seasonings.
Are broth and stock the same?
Chicken broth is made from simmering chicken meat in water with seasonings, while stock is made from simmering the bony leftovers of the chicken. Chicken stock is richer in flavor and may be more nutritious thanks to the gelatin released from cooking the bones in water over a long period.
While there is a slight difference in the composition of the two liquids, their basic purposes are the same. Each is a chicken-flavored liquid used in cooking.
Is stock the same as “bone broth”?
Pretty much. The true definition of a broth is that it’s made from meat cooked in water, whereas a stock is made from the bones cooked in water. Bone broth, while hip and cool, is a misnomer.
Chicken stock can be served on its own as a hot, flavorful beverage or soup, but it also can be used in recipes as it lends fantastic flavor to any number of dishes, such as soups, pilafs, stews, and sauces.
You don’t need much to make chicken stock, basically just chicken bones leftover from a meal, water, salt, pepper, and maybe a bay leaf.
That said, there are ingredients to add to your stock or your bone broth, such as celery, mushrooms, onions, garlic, herbs, carrots, and even sea vegetables, that will impact its flavor and nutritional composition.
Got turkey instead of chicken? You can do the same thing with the Thanksgiving turkey bones, only it will be turkey stock!
Simply combine the chicken carcass with seasonings and water in a pot. Cook over low heat for several hours. Remove the solids, strain the stock, and use in recipes for soup, gravy, and even rice pilaf.
The process is pretty easy to make chicken stock, especially if you use a slow cooker. The traditional method of making chicken stock isn’t hard, of course, but it involves long cooking over an open flame, so using a slow cooker to make chicken stock is a little bit safer and foolproof.
How to make this in the slow cooker
Combine the ingredients in a slow cooker and allow to cook anywhere from 6 to 24 hours. Some say the longer you let it go, the more nutrients will be imparted to the stock.
How to make this on the stovetop
If you don’t have a slow cooker or don’t want to use it, you can make chicken stock in a pot on the stove. Combine the ingredients in a sturdy stock pot on the stove. Bring to a rolling boil, reduce the heat, and simmer, covered for 3 to 4 hours.
How to store your stock
Carefully strain out the solids and allow the steam to blow off. Divide into containers and chill in the fridge.
As it cools, the fat will rise to the top and solidify. You can discard this prior to using the stock.
Homemade stock is good for about 4 days, refrigerated. If it’s got a hefty layer of fat on the top, it should be good for about a week.
For longer storage, divide the stock into 2-cup portions in freezer-safe covered containers, allowing for ½-inch headspace. Once it’s chilled in the fridge, transfer the containers to the freezer.
If you’re short on freezer space, you can boil the stock down to a concentrate or even homemade bouillon cubes that you can reconstitute later with more water. When I’ve done this in the past, it took hours to boil down, but the cubes were very handy to have stashed in the freezer.
Since chicken stock is made from ingredients that you’d probably chuck in the trash otherwise, it’s a practically free recipe. Making your own stocks and broths is a great way to save money as opposed to buying it in boxes or cans at the store.
At the base of it, the chicken carcass, water, and salt cost a few pennies. However, to enhance the flavor you’ll want to add some other items, such as:
- carrots $0.15
- onion – $0.25
- celery – $0.20
- bay leaf – $0.05
Half a gallon of homemade chicken stock costs about 65 cents or about 8 cents/cup. Compared to packaged stock at the store which costs $2.49/32 oz or 62 cents/cup, it’s definitely better to make your own chicken stock.
Chicken Stock Recipe
- bones, skin, drippings from a roast chicken skin, and drippings from a whole roasted chicken or bone-in chicken pieces
- 8 cup water
- 1 carrots peeled and chopped
- 1 onion peeled and quartered
- 2 ribs celery trimmed and cut into chunks
- 6 peppercorns
- 1 sprig fresh thyme or 1 teaspoon dried
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 bay leaf
- Place all of the ingredients in the crock of a 5-quart slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 4 hours or on LOW for 6 hours or overnight.
- Alternatively, place all of the ingredients in a heavy stock pot on the stove. Bring to a gentle boil, reduce, cover, and simmer 3 to 4 hours on low.
- Strain the stock and discard the solids.
- Use the stock in your recipe as needed or pour it into containers and allow it to cool.
This post was originally published on April 11, 2014. It has been updated for content and clarity.