Chicken Bone Broth (Revisited)

March 9, 2012 in Categories: , , by

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I have been experimenting with the best way to maximize the nutritional content of my chicken bone broth (learn why bone broth is a superfood).  Essentially, the longer you boil the bones, the more they break down, the more calcium, magnesium, phosphorous, proline and glycine you get in the broth.  By 48 hours, the bones are so brittle that you can eat what’s left of them when you strain your broth (which I do and find delightful).  I make this on my stove top, but this would be a great time to break out the crock pot if you have one (I still don’t, but it’s on my wish list).  I like to get my bone broth started first thing in the morning for supper the next night (or the one after that).  Enjoy on its own or use as the base for soups and stews.  Yields approximately 8-10 cups.

Ingredients-Chicken Bone Broth:

  • Giblets and carcasses from 2-3 chickens (I might use the carcasses from two chickens but also bones saved from a night of wings)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • 2 medium yellow onions, roots cut off and halved
  • 4-5 carrots, washed and cut in half (or about 2 cups of baby carrots)
  • 6-8 celery stalks, washed and cut into thirds
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 gallon cold water (enough to cover the ingredients)


1.    Place chicken giblets and carcasses into a big stock pot.  Add enough water to cover the bones (approximately 1 gallon) and the apple cider vinegar. 
2.    Cover and bring to a boil on top of the stove, then turn down the heat to keep a low simmer for 24-48 hours.  Stir once or twice in the first few hours, and then stir at least a couple of times over the next couple of days.
3.    Add the vegetables, garlic, salt and bay leaves to the pot.  Increase heat to bring back up to a boil, then cover and reduce heat to maintain a simmer.
4.    Cook for 4-8 hours more, stirring every hour or so.  Let simmer with lid off for the last 2-3 hours.
5.    Strain all the ingredients by pouring bone broth from one pot to another through a colander or strainer. 


What is the difference between this broth and buying broth from the store? We use Organic Free Range chicken broth. Is it the same thing?

Hi. I love your site. I have a few questions. I have seen at my local grocery store that they sell chicken backs, chicken necks and chicken feet. Would it be ok if I just use a bunch of those to make bone broth? Approximately how much of each should I use? Andonce cooled it should be gelatinous correct?

Absolutely! Just throw some in the pot and add water to cover about 2″ over the top of them. Usually feet give a wonderfully gelatinous broth. You’ll also want to skim the foam off the top for about the first half hour, especially using feet.


I’m a little new to making bone broth, but decided to try it when I ended up with the carcass of a grocery store rotisserie chicken I had bought for dinner. I put it in the crockpot on low for 24 hours, with a little ACV, onion, celery and carrots. I strained it in a mesh sieve and put it in the refrigerator. Only an extremely minimal layer of fat was on top and my broth didn’t gel at all. The broth tasted a little oily and sort of bland.

I was wondering if you have any advice?? I’d really like to get some of these nutrients/collagen.

I’m sure you still have nutrients in there. The gelling comes from lots of connective tissue and I usually only get that with chicken broth if I add feet. You’ll still have all of the minerals and some collagen there. As for bland, you could try adding a little sea salt to see if that helps, or simmer it down to concentrate it.

Reading up on your bone broth and its’ benefits. My husband is a renderer so getting an ample supply of bones isn’t a problem! What I am wondering, however, is how much I need to eat/serve to consume enough of it’s benefits per serving.

Look forward to hearing from you.

Someone else asked a similar question recently, Sarah’s answer was: “You can use them straight, but skim the foamy stuff off the top for the first 30-60 minutes of simmering.” — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

That is preferred, but not always possible for everyone. If you use a conventional chicken, it means there’s more omega-6s in the fat, which Sarah recommends skimming off (when using conventional chicken). — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

Yes, but the cooking time may vary depending the specific slow cooker. There are several comments from others discussing their experiences making broth in a slow cooker. — Tamar, Sarah’s assistant

So appreciate the valuable information on this website – and Sarah’s new book. I’ve purchased three for friends – hoping it will do some good!
Quick question re bone broth – and this question applies to chicken and beef bones.
Re: raw or roasted/precooked bones: are the health benefits increased using roasted bones over raw, or is it just the same either way – (as long as one skims the foam/impurities of raw) – re nutritional value and bodily absorption?

What do you think about using a pressure cooker and how is this different from chicken soup? I usually toss about 3 pounds of chicken quarters (they’re cheap) into the pressure cooker along with the veggies and water. After about 30 minutes of pressure it’s done with the meat completely falling off the bones. I could take the meat out at this point and cook the bones longer but it always turns to jelly in the fridge like this.

It turning to jelly is a sign you’ve made good bone broth. Bone broth has more nutrients from the bones than removing the bones with the meat yields. You can make bone broth in a pressure cooker in 30-60 minutes. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I’m not sure what you mean but I think you’re saying that it’s ok to remove the cooked meat before it turns to mush but to continue to cook the bones longer. Is that correct? 30 to 60 minutes in a pressure cooker sure beats 24 to 48 hours on a low simmer and saves a lot of energy.

I’m confused please help me. I’ve been cooking the chicken bone broth for 48 hours on the stove for the best nutrients are you saying if we have a pressure cooker we can do it that way and get the same healthy benefits from the bones?

Yes, remove the meat when it starts to fall off the bones, but return the bones to the pot and cook until they begin to crumble. This is about 48 hours on the stovetop, or about 1 hour in the pressure cooker. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Just made bone broth with chicken feet for the first time this past weekend. Amazed at how much more incredibly wonderful that was over my regular bone broth!

Do you follow the same steps for beef bone broth? Can you add a ham bone for flavor? How often should you eat this for optimal benefits?

Hi, do you have to keep putting water in, since 24-48 hrs it’s a long time and i guess the water will evaporate? I wonder…..

Ok.I’ve been doing the beef bone broth and just last week I was “up all night”. I mean “up”. The only thing I can think of is the bone broth kept me up because every other food I ate I have eaten many times and no reaction. I think it was the glutamates. I thought that if a food was “natural” it could not harm you. So even though I was “up” could the glutamate harm my brain or is it just like coffee…harmless? Can it actually damage brain cells? Also if I don’t cook the broth as long maybe 3-4 hours that would be better for me?

Others have found that bone broth bothers them, possibly due to the glutamates. You could try reducing the amount you consume, reducing the cooking time, or trying packaged gelatin instead. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

OOPs! I did not do that. I did not add it in until after 48 hrs for the last few hours. Will that do anything? And the water pretty much was gone so I added more is that supposed to happen? I am all new to this. Sorry! Any help you can offer I would appreciate it. Thank you!

The liquid should not evaporate during cooking. The seal on your lid may not have been tight enough. You will not get as many nutrients out of the vegetables if you add them at the end, unless you leave them in and eat them with the broth. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I use my crock pot to cook the bones for days. I see 1″ of evaporation per day which i just top off with more water. Also i don’t add the veggies since they seemed to add a burnt flavor with the long cooking time. I just add veggies to whatever i am using the broth in instead.

I didn’t skim the fat off the top in the first 30-60 minutes….I accidentally mixed the soup before skimming it off, and it never came back up. Is that a big mistake? What’s the effect of not skimming the stuff in that first hour?

The fat will separate when you refrigerate the broth. You can scrape it off then. Taking the fat out yields a less-greasy consistency, and I also recommend removing the fat if the bones you used were not grass-fed/pastured. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

The instructions aren’t that clear as to when you input the vegetables as the last commenter made above, it makes it seem like you add them after the 48 hours and then cook for additional 8 hours? So you basically add everything in at first and cook everything for 48 hours?

Sorry, yes, Sarah does add the vegetables 4-8 hours before the stock is done. She has an older bone broth recipe that places them all in at the beginning, which I was getting this one confused with. My mistake! – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I wouldn’t worry about the veggies. The important ingredients are the bones not the veggies. You get an abundant amount of veggies on this diet. As long as you cook the bones long enough, make the broth the way you like it. Veggies could be added the last 15 – 30 minutes if you want to eat them whole or even cooked for a short time in finished, strained broth. You could even cook them as long as the bones cook so that they become completely liquefied and part of the broth. IMO

Thanks so much! I put everything in all at once and it’s been 24 hours, 1 more day to go. Really looking forward to it.

I have attempted to make bone soup a few times but can not tolerate the smell. I could use some help. For some reason it smells like bad cheese. Is this normal? I don’t know what to do to make it smell better. My whole family makes a big deal about the smell and I end up having to throw it out. I cook it in the crock pot.

Bone broth does have a strong smell, which may become more appetizing when a taste for bone broth is acquired. You could try adding aromatic herbs and/or spices, like cinnamon, to see if that helps make it more palatable. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Crock pots can be really bad about letting off a lot of cooking aromas. I have three slow cookers in three different sizes and none of them have tightly sealing lids. A friend uses hers in her garage and I put mine outside on a covered patio when I was cooking a curry dish. So, if you can’t move the crock pot out of the house, maybe you could switch to a cooking vessel that has a tighter sealing lid.

I have made broth in a large crock pot (7 quarts I think) and the lid does not have a tight seal so I do add water once in the 48 hour cooking time. I added water once I’d seen my original liquid level drop by a couple inches. It dropped again a bit later but I added all my veggies at that point so didn’t need to add more water. I used once carcass, a few drumsticks and skin, and a couple feet (all chicken) and put in as much water as the crock would hold. It gelled like a champ. If your pot or crock has a tight seal and you’re still losing too much liquid maybe that means your cooking temp is too high? I eventually want to switch to a pressure cooker but I do wonder if those newer slow cookers with the lids that lock for traveling have a tighter seal.

What do y’all do with the bones, meat, and skin that you strain out once the broth is done cooking. Toss all of it? Eat some of it? I know we can eat the veggies just wondering if people do anything with the bones and skin other than tossing them.

I plan to grill some pork spare ribs (from grass-fed pigs). Is it a bad idea to make bone broth out of bones that have been on the grill? I can’t bear to throw bones away until I’ve made a batch or two of broth!

That should be fine. Roasting bones prior to making broth tends to improve their flavor, and I think the only concern about grilling is that very high temperatures can produce carcinogenic compounds (only a very small amount, not enough to concern most people for occasional grilling). – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Recently I was informed by my MD that bone broth does not contain all the calcium that the experts (Sally Fallon) have claimed it has. However he did say that it contains minerals collagen etc. that help build bones but said that because I am autoimmune and going through menopause I must supplement calcium and not rely on broth for the calcium. Very disappointed to hear this as this was a major part of my meal plan. I really thought all this information had been researched but now I must question the validity and science behind all the recommendations especially when it comes to preventing bone loss. Your thoughts would be appreciated. Thank you.

Ok. Glad you pointed out her list and I will include more fish bones (sardines or salmon) in my diet. Is it safe to eat sardines out of the can daily since they are coming out of aluminum cans? Thanks again for your prompt response.

I roasted my chicken first, picked off the meat, and put the bones with some meat still on them plus the giblets in a crock pot with water and veggies for 48 hours.

My question is should I break the bones to get more marrow in the broth?

Sarah states in her book that “ideally” the bones should be sawed open with the exception of fowl and fish bones. It would be interesting to know how much of a difference this makes. I can’t see it being an easy task unless you have some surgical tools handy :)

I just use a large serrated knife (on chicken bones). You only need to cut part way through and then they’ll snap fairly easily. If I’m making beef broth, I just buy the joints which have been cut from the main bones by the butcher.

One more question. Why skim off the fat? Isn’t the fat one of the reasons it’s more nutritious than store bought brands?

Many people can’t stomach the taste or texture of the fat if drinking the broth plain, and if you aren’t using grass-fed bones, it isn’t recommended to eat the fat. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

So let’s say I cook a whole chicken tonight- after I pick the meat off the bones is it ok to freeze the carcass to save for enough bones for making the broth? And also- this may be a dumb question- but do you all worry about leaving your stove on all night? Maybe I’m dumb but that makes me nervous…I do have a slow cooker but I don’t think I can fit a lot in it…

Yes, you can save the bones in the freezer. If you’re worried about the stove, you might consider a larger slow-cooker. Mine is 6 quarts and fits an entire chicken or 3 carcasses. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Just a thought, please do your research on slow cookers . Lately I have, because mine dyed after 20 years. Some Slow cookers are glazed with that pretty glossy shine from china that when heated it can expose lead into your food. Food for thought.

Christina, Thank you for your answers! One more question. Can I add unflavored gelatin from the store (Knox brand, etc) if my broth doesn’t gel?

One more dumb question. Can I pressure cook a whole chicken, then debone it, then make broth from the bones? Or does pressure cooking not have to be done twice because the bones will be too done? Just making sure.

I pressure cook a whole chicken or parts in plain water for about 20 – 30 minutes, debone it and remove the meat. If you pressure cook the meat too long it won’t have a good texture. Then I pressure cook the broth, bones and some veggies and spices for another 30 – 60 minutes. I don’t think you can over cook the bones. I then strain the bones out and if I want a clearer broth I’ll also strain out the veggies that haven’t dissolved. If you want it as a soup leave the veggies in and maybe add some more to cook under pressure for a very short time so they don’t get mushy. I’m going to make broth tomorrow with the frozen bones from about 10 pounds of chicken quarters I roasted last month. I’ll add 2 or 3 fresh drumsticks because I don’t like the taste of broth made just with bones. My broth has never not turned to jelly using fresh chicken so it will be interesting to see if it jells using mostly roasted bones.

I just made beef bone broth, it does have an oily consistency. Is it better to let it cool and skim the fat? Will I be missing out on any of the benefits if I don’t eat the fat?

If you used grass-fed beef, the fat is full of fat-soluble vitamins and can be saved to use for cooking after you skim it off. Otherwise, it’s fine to throw it away. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

I’ve made my own broth for months but have never had it gel. My recent batch gelled completely! Do I just reheat it for cooking and soups or is there another use for the gel?

I just made the chicken broth in the crock pot. After straining it through a cheesecloth I do notice a thin and what I would call a waxy layer on top. It’s not foamy. I’m wondering what this is?
I have already put some of the broth into muffin tins to freeze is this okay?

It’s probably the fat, which you can remove if you want to by refrigerating the broth and then scooping the solid fat off the top. Freezing it is fine. – Christina, Sarah’s assistant

Has anyone canned their broth instead of freezing? Is there a significant loss of nutrients with canning versus freezing? I like to make large batches of broth but this time of year the freezer is just too full!

Does anyone have any idea why my broth is pink? I used one chicken carcass, one liver, and a handful of necks and gizzards. The first batch was a beautifully golden color,. then I added some more water to the pot after straining to make one last batch and its pink! Any ideas?

You may have answered this question already but I am new to bone broth. I just came across a site where they say not to cook the broth but 3 ot 4 hours. Here is the statement: When making bone broths (a good source of some of these non-inflammatory amino acids including glycine), it’s important to simmer for no longer than 3 to 4 hours or you’ll degrade delicate amino acids, while increasing toxic free-radicals.
I need it for healing and want to do this right. Please advise which is correct. Thank you.

Can this be done with a turkey? When making this do the giblets have to be cooked before putting them into the pot? I’m new to this and don’t want to mess it up!!

Relax. It’s hard to mess it up. I think about the only way to do that is to forget to put water in or to put it on and forget about it for a week. I simply throw in any any kind of bones (I just stick to one species at a time, i.e. all chicken, or beef or lamb, etc.). Fill up the crockpot with water and turn it on low. Come back 48 hours later, strain the contents and store it away. I freeze it in 1 and 4 cup amounts. I don’t bother with the veggies because I figure I’m going to be adding veggies to whatever dish I’m making anyway. I”m mostly interested in the minerals and gelatin. If you add things like extra necks or feet (for chicken) or joints (for beef), you’ll see how much more gelatinous the broth will get (noticeable after it’s refrigerated).

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