Saturday, March 24, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock - Slow Cooker Method

A few weeks ago when I completed my Operation Use My Crockpot, I mentioned that I had made Chicken Stock in the crockpot.  A few of you asked me if I'd share the recipe, but really it doesn't even involve much of a recipe (basic instructions were shared by coworker). Just a chicken carcass or bones, water, a bit of apple cider vinegar, some veggies, and about a day. And look how gorgeous...

Seriously easy and you know exactly what you'll be putting into your soup or whatever recipe calls for chicken broth or stock.  (As far as I understand, the difference between stock and broth comes from the bones--stock is used by simmering bones whereas broth does not. But I use stock and broth interchangeably).

Homemade Chicken Stock (Crock Pot)

Chicken Bones (I used whole carcass--skin and all from when I roasted chicken in the oven)
Roughly Chopped Vegetables (celery, carrots, onion, whatever you have on hand)
About 12 Cups of Water (at least enough to cover the bones and veggies)
1 Tablespoon Apple Cider Vinegar
Bay Leaf and other seasonings you like (parsley, thyme, Italian, etc)

1. Place chicken bones, veggies, and seasoning in crockpot
2. Cover with water (I used about 12 cups)
3. Add seasoning and apple cider vinegar
4. Allow mixture to sit for an hour and then simmer on low for 18-24 hours.

Basically I started this one evening and then the next evening it finished cooking.

After the Simmering
1. Strain into a big bowl and place bowl in an ice bath in the sink to cool (if you have time to let it cool normally that's fine, too).
2. Allow broth to cool in fridge so that you can skim the layer of fat from the top of the stock
3. Store in containers and freeze for a few months. I use these Ball Freezer Jars and love them (and yes, I realize just what the picture below looks like...but...).

Now some disclaimers. When I first tasted the broth I was struck by how bland it was. But then it dawned on me--because it doesn't have all the salt that normal broth does! In fact it doesn't have any salt at all (which you can add to taste).  Don't be disappointed if this doesn't taste quite like your canned Swanson's.  Also Debbie and I were talking on twitter about the "greasiness" of homemade broth. I'm not sure if it's necessarily a greasiness rather than a richness. It should be a little thicker than you'd expect. But when I used it in my homemade chicken pot pie it was delicious!


Every weekend, Beth Fish Reads hosts Weekend Cooking.  "Weekend Cooking is open to anyone who has any kind of food-related post to share: Book (novel, nonfiction) reviews, cookbook reviews, movie reviews, recipes, random thoughts, gadgets, fabulous quotations, photographs."  Hope you'll join the fun!


  1. I prefer stock without salt. This sounds so easy!

  2. Hi Trish. :)
    I make my own stock or broth all the time, too. [I make mine on the stove top.] So easy, right? My daughters used to ask for canned chicken noodle soup all the time when they were little but now they love homemade so much more that they snub the canned stuff! I'm so proud. LOL!

  3. I like homemade stock in part because it doesn't have salt. That means I can add as little or as much as the dish needs.

    I use a degreasing cup as the last step to stock-making, although I suspect the refrigerate it method is about as effective.

  4. I've never made stock, but your instructions make it seem doable. I do like organic stock, like Whole Foods stock.

  5. I too have found that chicken carcasses make the best stock. I save a few in the freezer then make a pot, but I have to tell you, that slow cooker idea sounds fab!

  6. *Bermudaonion - So easy! Just takes a bit of time.

    *Christine - It's always a happy day when others realize how much tastier the natural stuff is, huh? Unfortunately I think I've put on a bit of weight from the Eat it Real challenge just because of how good everything tastes. ;)

    *Joy Weese Moll - Exactly--it's nice to include exactly as much or little salt as you'd like. I don't think I own a degreasing cup but taking the fat layer off the next day worked fine.

    *Diane - I've never tried the Whole Foods stock but I do like the Pacific brand that doesn't have any sodium. If you ever have any bones leftover, this is a great way to use them again!

    *Caite - I haven't yet frozen any carcasses but I've thought about it! Definitely better than letting them go to waste. And the thing I like about the crockpot is I don't have to babysit it while it's on the stove.

  7. If I buy stock or broth (which I use interchangeably) I always buy no or low sodium. I'd much rather salt my dish when I'm cooking. I don't always make my own now because we go thru it like crazy.

  8. What a good idea - using the crockpot. I make stock sometimes but it's a bit of a chore. The crockpot babysits itself, which would be liberating. :)

  9. Thank you for this. I haven't done my own stock yet but intend to. I think your adding apple cider vinegar sounds like a great idea.

  10. I've been meaning to try to make my own stock. I've done it a couple of times with turkey parts to make gravy for thanksgiving, but never with a chicken carcass. I like the idea of doing it in the crockpot.

    I have some of the those containers in my cupboard that I've never used and totally forgot about them. I'll have to get them out and wash them up so I can have something to store my broth in.

  11. Apple cider vinegar...I'm trying that next time. I love having this stock on hand. Best thing ever!

  12. Never heard apple cider vinegar as an ingredient in the stock I will try this! Thanks Trish and thanks for stopping over at my post

  13. Liquid gold! Looks delicious! Never heard of apple cider in the stock, sounds good! I like the idea of the crockpot.

    LOL, at the picture!

  14. This sounds pretty easy to do really. Making my own stock isn't something that I have really contemplated doing. I really need to get a big freezer so that I can actually have space to do this kind of thing.

  15. I've never made my own stock, but you've convinced me to give it a try!

  16. I made my own stock, not in a crock pot, awhile back and had the same feeling. It doesn't taste like, say, Swanson, but it was good. And adding a little more salt helped too.

  17. *Beth F - I need to find more uses for chicken stock! Have been thinking about using it in rice instead of water for some added richness! Do you use mostly for soups?

    *Libby Rodriguez - Aren't crockpots the best? Love throwing it all in and leaving it for later!

    *Carole - I think adding the vinegar and letting it sit for an hour before cooking allows the minerals to be drawn out of the bones, but I'm not 100% on that. Could probably skip if you'd like!

    *Kristi - I haven't used the plastic containers a whole lot but they also came in handy when I was freezing the spaghetti sauce. I usually use heavy duty ziploc bags for freezing stew but the thought of doing that with stock seemed weird!

    *Jenny Girl - It's nice to be able to pull out some stock that you've made yourself, huh?!

    *Peggy Ann - As I mentioned to Carole above, I think the vinegar is to help draw out the minerals. It definitely didn't affect the taste at all.

    *Carol @ Always Thyme to Cook - Liquid Gold is right! :-) And with the crockpot you don't have to worry about simmering too much or too little. Just let it do it's thing!

    *Marg - Making the stock was really easy--it just took time (especially since I'm mostly away from home during the day). Big freezers definitely come in handy!

    *JoAnn - Maybe a little late for stew/soup season with the warm weather, but I've also used the stock in other dishes and want to try in more things like rice.

    *Kim (Sophisticated Dorkiness) - Adding salt makes all the difference! One can season as little or as much as you like and it doesn't have the outrageous sodium content. The crockpot takes longer than regular methods but doesn't require as much watching.

  18. I'm tagging this one to try someday- I've always thought of making my own stock but just never took the trouble. With a crockpot it sounds so easy!

  19. I've made stock many, many times, but I've never thought to use my crockpot! I'll have to try it next time. I like the idea of not having my gas stove on for such a long time. And I love those jars! Interesting about the apple cider vinegar, which is supposed to be very healthy, so you get the extra benefit there. I agree about the "greasiness" of homemade stock, but I always chill it and skim off all the extra fat, so like you said, it really isn't greasy but rather "richness." Mmmmm, mmmm, good! :)

  20. *Jeane - It was easy in the crockpot--no babysitting the stove. Probably does take longer timewise, though.

    *Les - I really liked the crockpot method and will definitely try again. Was nice to just forget about the stock for a while. And absolutely agree with the richness--canned stock just isn't quite the same! I'm sad the weather is already turning too hot for soup!

  21. Hmm, will have to try the apple cider vinegar next time. I actually just made another batch the other day and added peppercorns and it was so much more tasty! I also had some left over garlic skin and bits I threw in that I didn't have last time I made it. I removed the skin this time before cooking and definitely much less fat. I still stuck it in the fridge and skimmed off the fat the next day but no where near as bad as last time.

    I wish I had enough to freeze. So far every time I've made it I've used it all up. lol. I made a chicken noodle soup this time with homemade noodles. It was so yummy! I had shredded up the chicken and tossed it back in for the soup. I did have enough left over shredded chicken that I'm freezing that to use in other recipes that call for shredded chicken.

    I've also heard that using it to cook rice is really good. I use broth when I make chicken marsala too. I have to admit though the most amazing thing for me was the fact that the pin that says to put a pair of wooden chopsticks to keep the broth from boiling over really did work! I wonder why.

  22. *Debbie - I didn't think to add peppercorns--or maybe I don't have any in the pantry, but that's a great idea! I definitely am going to add a bit more spice next time and make sure I have carrots on hand. Also great idea for the garlic. I can't remember if I added some of that or not. Did you use a crockpot to make your broth or stovetop? Haven't seen the chopsticks pin.

  23. I just did this! I used your directions and made stock this weekend. It worked perfectly! Thanks Trish!

  24. I love using chicken stock in my rice. so delicious. plus you get a little more added protein. And that does look gorgeous!

  25. *Melissa - I'm SO glad that this worked out for you! I was actually reading in Kitchen Counter Cooking School (book) that roasting the bones before throwing them in the stock makes the flavor even more intense. Haven't tried it yet, though!

    *Michelle - I definitely need to try this with rice. Keep forgetting!! :)


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