Liquid Gold: Homemade Chicken Stock

A few weeks ago I made chicken stock from scratch. While I was making it, I was thinking how similar homemade stock is to breast milk. You know how people say breast milk is liquid gold because its so nourishing? Well, homemade chicken stock is like that as well, and it really looks like liquid gold. The cookbook, Nourishing Traditions, quotes Ageless Remedies from Mother’s Kitchen, when describing chicken stock, saying it “heals the nerves, improves digestion, reduces allergies, relaxes and gives strength.

Homemade Chicken Stock

Its also very tasty. Just yesterday, I was doing my Once A Month Cooking and I made Chicken Pot Pie with some of my broth. I have made the dish before, but this time using my own broth, it was much more flavorful.

Homemade Chicken Stock

When I made stock before, I froze it in large mason jars and it was really cumbersome to store, defrost and actually use the stock. Back then we didn’t have a deep freezer so that was part of the problem. This time I went about it differently and stored them in plastic bags. That way, you can freeze them flat like bricks and they take up less room in the freezer. I did several 3 cup bags and lots of 1 cup bags, so I could just pull them out as needed and not waste any stock.

Here is the recipe from Nourishing Traditions:

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe


  • 1 whole free range chicken or 2 to 3 pounds of bony chicken parts
  • 4 quarts cold filtered water
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
  • 2 carrots, peeled and coarsely chopped
  • 3 celery sticks, coarsly chopped
  • 1 bunch parsley


  1. Place chicken pieces in a large stainless steel pot with water, vinegar and all vegetables except parsley
  2. Let stand 30 minutes to an hour
  3. Bring to a boil, and remove scum that rises to the top
  4. Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 6 to 24 hours
  5. The longer you cook the stock, the richer and more flavorful it will be
  6. About 10 minutes before finishing the stock, add the parsley
  7. Remove chicken pieces with slotted spoon
  8. Strain the stock into a large bowl and put in the fridge till the fat rises to the top and congeals
  9. Skim off this fat and reserve the stock in covered containers in your fridge or freezer

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  • Sarah, the Healthy Home Economist
    August 13, 2010 at 9:39 PM

    Hi Stephanie, thanks for stopping by Monday Mania to share this important post. Folks NEED to be making their own stock and chicken is certainly the one to have on hand at all times. I have some duck stock (from a duck we had over Easter) thawing as I type this .. am going to make a super tasty sauce with it tonight for dinner! Hope to "see" you again at future additions!

  • Stephanie
    August 14, 2010 at 1:25 AM

    Hi Sarah! I can't even imagine cooking duck, let alone duck stock…one day though! You will "see" me again for sure. I am a newbie to WAP, but I am committed to making traditional and healthy foods for my family!

  • Roohi
    May 18, 2011 at 5:23 AM

    What did you do with the strained left overs??

  • Stephanie
    May 18, 2011 at 5:56 PM

    Hi Roohi! I either compost them (because the nutrients and flavors have been sucked out of them) or give them to my dog. 🙂

  • meg
    August 1, 2011 at 4:15 AM

    Right then I'm making my first ever pot of stock right now… I have tried before but didn't know to put in all the other veges doh!

  • Stacy Westman
    August 2, 2011 at 7:16 PM

    I like to cook stock in my crock pot overnight on low while we sleep 🙂

    • Ashley N.
      December 29, 2015 at 9:42 PM

      me too! 🙂

  • Stephanie
    August 3, 2011 at 4:21 AM

    @meg, that is really funny. It will have so much flavor. Let me know how it turned out. Did you get lots of gelatin? That is supposed to be the really nutrient dense part.
    @Stacy…I have never tried in a slow cooker before! I do leave ours on the stove top overnight on low too.

  • Ange
    August 5, 2011 at 8:04 AM

    I also make my own stock – vegetable and chicken stock. I make the vegetable stock out of the normally wasted bits of vegetables and it is delicious!
    I keep a large snap bag in the freezer and pop my onion, leek, carrot and celery ends, as well as carrot peelings in there until the bag is about 3/4 full. Then I pop the lot in the slow cooker with a stick of cinnamon, a bouquet garni (this is like a tea bag full of mixed herbs) and some fresh lemon thyme, a bay leaf and some peppercorns and fill the slow cooker to the top with warm water. I simmer on low overnight and when I get up around 5-6am I turn the slow cooker off and pop in 2 lemon wedges while it cools. After breakfast is done, I strain the liquid and freeze. I use a 6 litre slow cooker. Not sure how many quarts that is.
    If making chicken stock, I use frozen carcasses from when we have roast chicken. 2 carcasses and a bag of 'chicken stock bits' from the market usually make a lovely combination. I use tarragon in place of lemon thyme for the chicken stock.
    These stocks are almost free to make and help me save money and reduce my household waste going in to land fill. The worm farm misses out a little bit – but they have plenty of other things to eat!

  • Anonymous
    September 26, 2011 at 2:07 AM

    Can you poach a whole chicken so you have the cooked chicken as well as the broth or do you need to use the left over bony parts?

  • Stephanie
    September 26, 2011 at 2:13 AM

    You can poach the whole chicken. In fact, I think that is how some people prefer to do it, so the broth has more nutrients.

  • Unknown
    November 13, 2011 at 4:00 PM

    I'm sorry I'm trying to make better choices for my family and am a complete newby to scratch cooking. Do you just buy the "bony parts" or how do you come up with them and which ones do you use? Thank you for your direction.

  • Stephanie
    November 13, 2011 at 8:58 PM

    @Unkwown…no need to apologize, gotta start somewhere! I usually roast a whole chicken and use all the meat and then use the bones to make a broth.

  • Odd for my age but love being me!
    December 5, 2011 at 8:15 PM

    I make my stock with whole chickens then you can shred the chicken and put it in ziplock bags to use for meals then pressure can the chicken stock. I know not a lot of people my age (24) are comfortable using a pressure canner but It works so much better for us. You don't have to take up freezer space or wait for it to thaw out when you need it! 🙂

    • jill
      July 21, 2012 at 10:57 PM

      You know I did my first batch of Pressuer Canned Chicken stock this year and love it. Its great and I have the basement space for that more then freezer space, and it makes it easier to use because I don’t have to thaw it out.

  • Michele
    December 30, 2011 at 6:14 AM

    Another clueless cook here trying to do better- what kind of vinegar do you use? Thanks! 🙂

  • Sylvia
    February 12, 2012 at 1:41 AM

    I make stock with the leftover vegetable bits (carrots,celery,onions, leeks, garlic) and peels.(Onion peels are a natural dye and will give your stock a nice color). If I have a ham, chicken or turkey that I roast, I then make stock with all the dripping, fat, skin and bones. I mix in the veggies cover with water and cook on low overnight in the crockpot. Add seasonings if you wish, but do not add salt. If I can’t make stock right away, I take all the drippings, fats and skin and bones and freeze it. In the morning, after cooking all night, I strain the broth from the ingredients and put stock in a large covered bowl and refrigerate. After the stock has been refrigerated for about 8 hours all the fat will rise to the top. Depending upon the type of stock, I either spoon or lift off the fat for a ‘fat-free’ stock. I then freeze this flavor-laden stock.

    • Erin
      July 21, 2012 at 11:36 PM

      Crock Pot–brilliant! Why have I never thought of this before? I haven’t made stock in months–way too hot for simmering on a stove for hours, and frankly, I’d rather be outside! But a Crock Pot, that I can do. I just learned how to make bread in the Crock Pot, so now summer doesn’t have to be devoid of homemade bread, so this is another similar idea! And thanks for your method of vegetable stock. I end up composting all the odds and ends of vegetables, but I’m going to start saving and freezing them now for stock later.

      Does anyone know how to buy chicken bones for stock sans the meat? We usually have chicken pieces (breast, tenderloin, etc.) around, but a whole chicken is rare for us. But I’d like to have the bones. However, butchers seem only to sell beef bones for stock/dogs, but not chicken.

      Thanks for the good reminder, Stephanie! I’m going to pull out my turkey bones from Thanksgiving and make some stock soon. Especially great in the summer, when herbs and vegetables are super-fresh and economical.

  • Leah
    May 2, 2012 at 1:48 AM

    Great tips! I wish I had more freezer room! I am curious about what type of vinegar as well.
    My friend told me she freezes her broth in ice cube trays and keeps her “cubes” in freezer bags to use for quick sauces or flavor for saute’s.

    • Stephanie
      May 2, 2012 at 1:49 AM

      Thanks! I use raw apple cider vinegar.

  • Sarah
    June 6, 2012 at 8:13 PM

    I have a question about your crockpot cooking ecookbook. Some of the recipes say that each freezer bag feets 6-8. But there are several that just say it serves 8-10 – but doesn’t specify if that is per freezer bag or for the entire recipse – which you say is doubled. For example, one I was looking at is the Healthy Mama’s BBQ chicken. Is that 8-10 servings for the whole doubled recipe and therefore 4-5 servings per bag? Or is it 8-10 servings per freezer bag? I am counting my calories, fat, carbs, etc. and it will make a big difference on how big the serving size is. Thanks for your help!

    • Stephanie
      June 6, 2012 at 11:32 PM

      All servings are approximate and just based on how my family eats. But they are based on per bag.

      • Sarah
        June 6, 2012 at 11:35 PM


        • Stephanie
          June 6, 2012 at 11:36 PM

          My pleasure!

  • Veronica
    June 8, 2012 at 2:59 AM

    Hi Stephanie – I make stock and usually freeze in mason jars, but as you mentioned that can be a hassle. I always worry a little about freezing in plastic bags though because of chemicals possibly leaching into the food?? Is that an irrational worry? Just curious… Thanks!

    • Stephanie
      June 8, 2012 at 11:32 AM

      It’s not irrational, but the chemicals would only get in the food, if you heat up the foot inside the bag. So if you are putting room temperature food into a plastic bag and then put it in the freezer, then as far as I know and have read, nothing gets leached into the food.

  • TaiLeah
    July 14, 2012 at 1:32 AM

    Another cooking newbie, what do you use/how do you strain the broth? Through a fine mesh strainer? Cheesecloth? TIA

  • Jayne
    July 25, 2012 at 11:17 PM

    When I make chicken stock, I put it in the crockpot and cook it 12-24 hours. Then I don’t have to watch it, it can simmer while I sleep or go to work. I also add a couple of bay leaves and some fresh ginger to mine.

  • Genevieve
    October 9, 2012 at 3:50 PM

    Thanks for this, I will certainly be using it in the future!

  • Keli
    October 13, 2012 at 6:40 PM

    How do you get the stock in the ziplock bags? Wouldn’t the stock be too warm to handle?

    • Stephanie
      October 17, 2012 at 2:01 AM

      I wait till it cools. If you want to cool it down fast, you can put it on your porch in the winter or put the the bowl in a ice bath. Then I just laddle the soup into the plastic ziploc bags.

  • Heather
    November 24, 2012 at 4:52 PM

    I have started making my own stock. I am also canning my own tomatoes and beans. I am missing the salty flavor. Is there any way to make up for the lack of salt? Thanks

    • Stephanie
      November 25, 2012 at 2:42 AM

      Have you tried adding more salt? It does take awhile for your taste buds to adjust to non-processed foods and foods that don’t have MSG in them.

  • Katie
    February 25, 2013 at 7:01 PM

    Why do you skim the froth and the fat out of the broth? I just assumed that leaving the natural fats in would make it healthier for you…

    Another question, nutritionally, is it better to make the stock with the meat as well as the bones, or are the bones the main source of nutrients? Since I’m on a tight budget, I don’t want to waste the chicken meat if I could use leftover bones from earlier roasts.

    • Cassandra
      February 26, 2013 at 3:35 PM

      It does make it healthier for you, but if you leave the fat in, it can be hard to control the fat content when you make soups or other recipes using the broth. Most people skim out the fat and save it to be used separately. The froth is just a cloudy scum that gives the broth a slightly sour flavor. You could leave it in if you really wanted to (I do), but it will alter the flavor. I know it has something to do with the proteins or fats being changed, but honestly I can’t recall right now.

      It is nutritionally better to use the meat, and in my opinion tastier, but it is not necessary. You can make a plain bone broth if you want and most people do. There is usually a bit of meat left on old bones anyway so you’ll still get that, just not as much.

      • Katie
        February 26, 2013 at 6:53 PM

        Thanks Cassandra! This is really helpful.

  • Brooke
    February 27, 2013 at 5:46 PM

    1st timer here.. Do you keep the veggies in the broth to freeze, use them seperatley with the chicken for something else..? Or does it matter?

    • Stephanie
      February 27, 2013 at 6:12 PM

      After I had make the stock/broth I compost the veggies. There is not much you can do with them afterwards other than compost because the nutrition has been sucked out of them during the stock/broth making process.

  • Carlie
    March 11, 2013 at 6:56 AM

    Hi There, also new to your blog. Just wondering, I have read a few times that if you freeze the stock and then use it in your cookinng its not a good idea to refreeze or reheat the leftovers… do you generally use up all of one recipe for a meal, or do you think its fine to refridgerate and reheat to eat the next day or refreeze like you would when cooking and freezing in bulk 🙂 ?

    • Stephanie
      March 11, 2013 at 2:21 PM

      Generally I use up everything by eating leftovers for a couple of days, but it’s fine to refreeze too.

  • Jennifer
    June 17, 2013 at 2:52 PM

    So, I made a big pot of this broth 8 days ago, but had a busy week and just put the pot in the fridge, bones and all. Could I still strain and freeze it or would it be bad at this point. I would rather not throw it out, because I bought higher quality chicken than I normally do. (Not local or anything like that, but it was hormone-free, which I feel like is a step in the right direction.)

    • Stephanie
      June 18, 2013 at 2:25 PM

      That is a really great question and that has never happened to me so I am not sure, but my first gutteral reaction would be that because it was in the fridge all week it is totally fine to strain and freeze. Or you could bring it back to a boil just for a few minutes to ease your mind, and kill off any possible bacteria from the fridge, and then turn off the heat and when it cools portion it out for the freezer.

  • Betsy
    July 17, 2013 at 4:40 PM

    Stephanie I use Real Salt in my kitchen. Do you add any salt to your stock? If so, at what point in this receipe do you add?

    • Stephanie
      July 17, 2013 at 8:32 PM

      I dont’ add it when I am cooking. I want it to have no salt so I can flavor the broth as I need according to whatever dish I am making.

  • Alexis
    August 17, 2013 at 3:33 AM

    I made this stock with a whole chicken and simmered it for around 8 hours. My first stock making attempt. Once I had removed the layer of fat on the top, I was left with jelly. It was stock jelly. Is this normal? I then used it to make a chicken pot pie with the shredded chicken (I couldn’t bring myself to throw away a whole chicken) and it was the most delicious thing I have ever cooked. ( Not sure why my stock was jelly though? Any suggestions? I probably only got around 4 cups out of the whole exercise. Is this a normal amount?

    • Stephanie
      August 20, 2013 at 12:54 AM

      Um, that is awesome! That jelly is gelatin and a lot of people have a hard time getting their stock to gel! Give yourself a pat on the back!

  • Kristi
    November 16, 2013 at 10:49 PM

    Ok I am wanting to make this…if I use a whole chicken can I take the chickout of after a couple hours shred and freeze the meat and then use the bones/leftovers to finish the stock?? This is my first time and really want to be able to use it all 🙂 Thank you and hope to hear back soon

    • Stephanie
      November 18, 2013 at 2:11 PM