How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock

By Jennifer Spaide

Chicken broth is one of those pantry staples you never want to be without.  And when you know how to make your own, you never will be.  Although it takes several hours, it’s a simple, hands-off process that reaps delicious rewards.

Carrots, celery, onions and parsley are traditional aromatics for stocks and broths.

Chicken stock and broth are very similar.  Generally, stock is made by simmering bones and scraps with aromatics (like onion, carrot, and celery) and herbs.  It is typically unsalted, and used as the base for other foods, like soup and risotto.  Broth, on the other hand, is made more from the meat, and can be served as is.

If you have a supply of chicken bones tucked away in the freezer, then by all means, use them in this recipe and make yourself some stock.  However, I find that by using a whole chicken, you get a double bang for your buck:  super flavorful broth, and deliciously tender meat, that can be used in soups or stews, tacos or enchiladas, even quiches.

Makes about 4 quarts


  • 1 5-7lb farm-fresh or organic chicken, rinsed
  • 1 large onion, trimmed & quartered
  • 2 carrots, trimmed & quartered
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed & quartered
  • 4 parsley sprigs
  • 1 large bay leaf (use 2-3 if small)
  • 1 sprig of thyme
  • 10 peppercorns
  • Cheesecloth
  • Cooking twine


  1. Make a bouquet garni (fancy French term for a sachet of herbs and spices) by placing the bay leaves, thyme and peppercorns in a piece of cheesecloth.  Wrap the cloth up around the herbs and tie it off with the cooking twine.  Set aside.
    A bay leaf, peppercorns and thyme sprig are easily removed if tied up in cheesecloth first.

    The bouquet garni sealed with kitchen twine.
  2. Place the chicken in a large stock pot.  Add the onion, carrot, celery, parsley and bouquet garni.  Cover completely with cold water.
    Just add water and you're ready to start cooking.

    Place the pot on the stove and bring to a boil over medium-high heat.  Reduce heat to low and simmer gently for 3-4 hours, skimming any foam off that rises to the top.  The longer the chicken and veggies simmer, the more flavorful the broth.  Season with salt to taste.

  3. Let the broth cool slightly before straining through a cheesecloth-lined strainer into a clean container.  Remove the chicken, pick off meat, and reserve.  Refrigerate the broth for several hours, to overnight.  Any fat from the chicken will solidify on top of the broth so you’ll be able to easily skim it off later.

    Store fresh stock or broth in glass mason jars. If you freeze stock in glass, remove the lid first and seal after the liquid is frozen.
  4. Homemade broth will last in the fridge for 3-4 days or 3-4 months in the freezer.  If freezing your broth, store it in plastic quart-sized containers and always chill before freezing.

Jennifer Spaide is a natural foods chef, writer, and mother. Spaide received her Masters in Human Nutrition at Columbia University and attended culinary school at The Institute of Culinary Education in New York City. Jennifer grew up with an innate appreciation for fresh-from-the-garden foods and wants to share that passion with others. Her online magazine, Simplicious, gives readers fresh recipes that are healthy and easy to prepare, bites of tasty information that help bring health into the home, and breaks down complex topics into easily digestible table-talk that even the kids will understand. In addition to her magazine, Spaide maintains a bi-monthly column in the New Canaan Advertiser, and continues to work as a freelance writer and recipe developer.

3 thoughts on “How to Make Homemade Chicken Stock”

  1. I love to do the same, only I take the chicken off the bones sooner, following more of a poaching time schedule so the chicken doesn’t get too dry. Then I toss the carcass back in. I will never buy broth again. Even the natural/organic ones have the suspect “natural flavors” that can mean msg or other glutamates. Now if I could only find a place where I can get organic beef soup bones and ham hocks…

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