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How to Make and Store Homemade Chicken Stock or Bone Broth

Craving rich, homemade chicken broth? Start with a whole chicken. Store-bought broth doesn’t compare to homemade’s depth. So lets get into how to make and store homemade chicken stock or bone broth.

Lets talk about my trusty scrap bag. It’s a mishmash of veggie peels, random scraps, and yes—leftover chicken bones. Every time we have scraps i add them to my freezer bag until it is full.

trusty scrap back for homemade chicken broth

Then, magic happens: we transform those seemingly inconspicuous scraps into a delicious, heartwarming chicken stock. Every carrot peel, every onion layer, and each seemingly inconsequential bone ads depth of flavor and nutrients to the broth.

I love the coziness of a large dutch oven simmering away on the stove! And every simmering bubble carries me back—back to the cozy, post-Thanksgiving kitchen of my childhood, where every leftover turkey bit was used to create a delicious soup.

But when we are in a rush the instant pot or slow cooker come in and save the day! So I have included instructions for all three methods below.

Homemade Chicken Stock Ingredients:

Whole chicken or leftover bones

Cold water

Fresh herbs (like parsley stems)

Vegetable scraps

Kosher salt, black pepper

Optional: chicken feet for added richness

ingredients for homemade chicken broth


  1. In a large stockpot, place chicken bones or whole chicken.
  2. Add enough water to cover.
  3. Toss in fresh herbs and vegetable scraps.
  4. For a richer broth, consider adding chicken feet.
  5. Bring to a low simmer. Skim off impurities using a large metal spoon.
  6. Let simmer for a long time, enhancing flavors.
  7. Once done, strain using a fine-mesh strainer. Discard solids.
  8. Cool the broth to room temperature quickly.
  9. Notice a fat layer on top? Skim it off.
Misen stockpot full of homemade chicken broth

Instant Pot Method

  1. Place chicken pieces or leftover bones into the Instant Pot.
  2. Add vegetable scraps, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
  3. Optional: Throw in chicken feet for added richness.
  4. Pour cold water into the pot, making sure not to exceed the maximum fill line.
  5. Secure the lid and set the valve to “sealing.”
  6. Choose the “Manual” or “Pressure Cook” setting. Set to high pressure for 45 minutes.
  7. Once done, allow natural pressure release.
  8. Carefully open the lid and strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl.
  9. Let the broth cool to room temperature. If a fat layer forms on top, skim it off.
photo showing how to straining the broth

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock Instructions:

  1. Place chicken pieces or leftover bones into the slow cooker.
  2. Add vegetable scraps, fresh herbs, salt, and pepper.
  3. Optional: Add chicken feet for additional richness.
  4. Pour cold water into the slow cooker, leaving about an inch from the top.
  5. Cover and set the slow cooker to low.
  6. Allow the broth to simmer gently for 8-12 hours.
  7. After simmering, turn off the slow cooker and let it cool slightly.
  8. Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer into a large bowl or container, discarding the solids.
  9. Let the broth cool to room temperature before storing. If a fat layer forms on top, skim it off.

Storage Tips:

Transfer the cooled broth into mason jars or airtight containers for refrigeration. If freezing, leave some space at the top of containers to allow for expansion. Use these awesome souper cube trays for small portions perfect for grabbing an individual serving as needed. Once frozen transfer cubes to a labeled freezer bag.

Remember, making stock in the Instant Pot retains the flavors and nutrients efficiently, giving you a rich broth in less time. It’s a kitchen game changer, perfect for elevating your favorite dishes and soups!

Storing Your Broth:

Pour broth into glass jars or airtight containers. Prefer small portions? Use ice cube trays or muffin tray. Once frozen, transfer cubes to gallon-sized freezer bags. Store larger quantities in freezer-safe containers. For the fridge, use mason jars. Remember, homemade broth’s shelf life is shorter than store-bought.

Using Your Broth:

Elevate a ton of recipes, like Bok Choy Soup, Chicken and Orzo Soup With Lemon, Chicken Pot Pie Soup or Classic Minestrone Soup. It’s a game changer for any dish that needs a broth base.

broccoli and cheese orzo

Quick Tips:

No large stockpot or dutchoven? Use a slow cooker or Instant Pot.

Store vegetable scraps in freezer bags. Use them next time!

Rotisserie chicken leftovers? Perfect for stock.

For a clear broth, avoid boiling. Maintain a low simmer. Be sure to skim the top of the broth regularly.

Picking Herbs for Broth

When making stock, the choice of herbs can deeply influence the aroma and flavor. Customize which herbs you use based on personal preference or the dish the stock is being used for! Here are some popular herbs that work well:

Bay Leaves: A classic choice for stocks, they impart a mild and slightly floral aroma.

Thyme: This herb offers a subtle earthiness.

Parsley: Stems and leaves both can be used. They add a fresh and grassy note.

Rosemary: A robust herb, it gives a pine-like flavor, so it’s best used sparingly.

Sage: With its robust flavor, sage is great for poultry stocks.

Tarragon: This herb infuses a delicate anise flavor.

Dill: Especially good for fish stocks, it imparts a fresh and slightly tangy flavor.

Basil: While not as common in traditional stocks, it can offer a sweet, peppery flavor.

Marjoram: This herb is milder than oregano and offers a sweet, floral note.

Oregano: A bit stronger than marjoram, it provides a peppery note with a hint of sweetness.

herbs in a woman's hand

When adding herbs to stock, it’s often best to use them as part of a bouquet garni—a bundle of herbs tied together with a string or contained in a cheesecloth pouch. Or you can simply use a slotted spoon to remove them! This allows for easy removal once the stock is cooked.

Always remember, fresh herbs are more potent than dried, so adjust quantities accordingly. It’s also beneficial to start with a moderate amount and adjust based on personal preferences.

Great Vegetable Scraps for Broth

Utilizing vegetable scraps for stock is both economical and eco-friendly. Here are some commonly used vegetable scraps that can enhance the flavor and nutrient profile of homemade stock:

Onion Skins and Ends: These add a rich color and deep flavor. Yellow and red onion skins especially contribute to a golden or deep brown hue in the stock.

Carrot Peels and Ends: They sweeten the stock and provide a vibrant color.

Celery Leaves and Ends: They impart a refreshing and slightly peppery note.

Leek Tops and Roots: These can be used to add a subtle onion flavor. Make sure they’re washed thoroughly to remove any trapped dirt.

Garlic Skins and Ends: Even a few garlic scraps can infuse the broth with a deep aromatic flavor.

Potato Peels: They can add starchiness and body to the stock, but should be used judiciously to avoid a too-starchy result.

Mushroom Stems: Perfect for adding a deep, umami flavor.

Parsley Stems: These are milder than the leaves but still impart a fresh, herby note.

Corn Cobs: After you’ve cut off the kernels, the cobs can be used to add a sweet undertone.

Fennel Fronds and Stalks: These provide a subtle aniseed flavor.

veggie scraps on a plate

Avoid adding scraps from vegetables that have a very strong or potentially bitter flavor unless you want those flavors dominant in your stock. Examples include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, green pepper, turnip, and radish. Also, always ensure the vegetable scraps are clean and free from mold or spoilage before adding them to the stockpot.

How long does opened chicken broth last?

Once you’ve opened a carton or can of chicken broth, its freshness begins to decrease. In the refrigerator, opened chicken broth remains good for about 4-5 days. Always ensure you seal it well to retain its flavor and prevent contamination.

How long is chicken broth good for after opening?

After cracking the seal, you should aim to use your chicken broth within that 4-5 day window when kept chilled. The broth’s flavors are most vibrant in this period.

Can you freeze chicken broth?

Absolutely! Freezing is a fantastic method to extend the shelf life of chicken broth. Using airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags, you can store broth for up to 6 months. Remember to leave some space at the top of containers for expansion.

Chicken base vs broth:

A chicken base, often thicker and more concentrated, delivers intense chicken flavor in a paste-like form. In contrast, chicken broth, a clear, flavorful liquid, is the result of simmering chicken pieces, vegetables, and herbs together.

How to store chicken stock:

A cool, dark pantry works well for unopened commercial chicken stock. After opening or for homemade stock, refrigerate in sealed containers for up to 5 days. For extended storage, consider freezing.

Chicken broth vs chicken bouillon:

While both serve to add chicken flavor, chicken broth is a liquid that comes from simmered chicken parts. Chicken bouillon, on the other hand, is often found in cube or granulated form, providing a more concentrated flavor once rehydrated.

How long does chicken broth last?

Commercially packaged chicken broth, unopened, can last up to a year or sometimes longer if stored in a cool, dry place. Post-opening, or if it’s homemade, aim to consume it within 4-5 days if refrigerated.

How long can you freeze chicken broth?

Frozen chicken broth maintains its best quality for about 6 months. Though you can store it longer, its flavor might slightly diminish over extended periods.

How long does chicken broth last in the fridge?

Opened or homemade chicken broth should ideally be used within 4-5 days when stored in the fridge to ensure the best taste and safety.

How long does homemade chicken broth last in the fridge?

Homemade broth, due to its lack of preservatives, typically lasts about 4-5 days in the refrigerator. Always store in clean, airtight containers.

Can you substitute chicken broth for chicken stock?

They can often be used interchangeably. However, broth is generally more seasoned and may be a tad lighter than stock. Chicken stock, simmered longer, might have a fuller mouthfeel and richer flavor, thanks to the gelatin released from bones.

How to store homemade chicken broth:

Cool it quickly after preparation, then transfer to airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags. Refrigerate if using soon or freeze for longer storage, ensuring there’s space in containers for the liquid to expand when frozen.

Always trust your senses. If the broth smells off or has any mold or signs of spoilage, it’s best to discard it. Safety first!

Note: Always check the broth for signs of spoilage like sour smell or mold before use, especially if stored for prolonged periods.

For those trying this the first time, it’s easier than it seems. By the end, you’ll ask why you ever settled for store-bought stock. This homemade chicken stock recipe is truly liquid gold. Dive into the rich flavor of homemade stock and never look back!

Customizing Your Broth

I typically prepare a versatile chicken stock to keep on hand in the freezer. When it’s time to decide on a meal, I love enhancing the broth’s depth by simmering it with specific aromatics tailored to the cuisine. Let’s dive into some flavorful examples.

Customizing your broth to fit a specific cuisine allows you to create a foundational flavor that complements and elevates the final dish.

When customizing a broth, it’s essential to taste as you go. The nuances in ingredients (like the saltiness in different soy sauces or the heat in various chilies) can vary, so adjust accordingly to your preference and the requirements of the specific dish you’re creating.

Here are some other go to aromatics you can add based on the cuisine you are making!


To use your broth in your favorite pastas add basil, oregano, thyme, garlic, rosemary, sun-dried tomatoes, tomatoes, fennel, and bell peppers.


To make your favorite French dishes add tarragon, parsley, thyme, and bay leaf, leeks, shallots, and mushrooms.


If you want to make things like Tom Kha Gai or Thai Curry Soup add lemongrass, kaffir lime leaves, galangal, thai basil, thai chilies, ginger, and shallots.


To make dishes such as hot and sour soup or Bok Choy soup add star anise, ginger, szechuan peppercorns, and cloves, shiitake mushrooms, bok choy, and green onions.

Middle Eastern:

For dishes like Lentil Soup or Harira add cumin, coriander, cardamom, and saffron, garlic, onions, and bell peppers.


For a Caribbean inspired broth consider adding all spice, thyme, ginger, scotch bonnet peppers, onions, and bell peppers.

African (varying by region):

For a broth perfect for African cuisine add cumin, coriander, cardamom, and fenugreek, tomatoes, bell peppers, and garlic. This makes the perfect base for dishes like peanut soup!

Asian (General):

We love making asian inspired broths! For asian soups add fresh ginger, garlic, and green onions, bok choy, mushrooms, and daikon radish.


For dishes such as tortilla soup or posole add cilantro, oregano, and cumin, jalapeños, tomatoes, onions, and garlic.

These flavor profiles provide a rich variety of tastes that can elevate your chicken stock to match any dish’s requirements. Mix, match, and experiment to find your perfect broth balance!

Remember, these are just starting points. The beauty of cooking lies in experimenting and adjusting according to your own taste preferences. Enjoy the journey of exploring different flavor profiles in your broths!

Homemade Chicken Stock
Yield: 1 large pot

Homemade Chicken Stock

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Take a mishmash of veggie peels, random scraps, and with some magic, learn how to Make and Store Homemade Chicken Stock


  • Whole chicken or leftover bones
  • Cold water
  • Fresh herbs (like parsley stems)
  • Vegetable scraps
  • Kosher salt, black pepper
  • Optional: chicken feet or wings for added richness


  1. In a large stockpot, place chicken bones or whole chicken.
  2. Add enough water to cover.
  3. Toss in fresh herbs and vegetable scraps.
  4. For a richer broth, consider adding chicken feet.
  5. Bring to a low simmer. Skim off impurities using a large metal spoon.
  6. Let simmer for at least 2 hours..
  7. Once done, strain using a fine-mesh strainer. Discard solids.
  8. Cool the broth to room temperature quickly.
  9. Notice a fat layer on top? Skim it off.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 111Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 65mgCarbohydrates: 1gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 12g

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