Once there was a girl.
A girl who thought chicken only came in the way of nice little packages without bones or skin.
Yes, that girl was me. The very thought of bones and skin frightened me. “You mean I have to touch the bones of an animal and cook them? NO WAY!”
It’s amazing how a little knowledge can really change a person!
Once I started to include nourishing grass fed meats in our diet, I found it was cheaper (and sometimes the only thing available from local farms) — the whole chicken. Bones and skin, oh my! At $4.25/lb on average for a 4-5lb whole chicken, I felt I really needed to use every ounce of chicken I bought, out of respect for the animal and my budget.
I quickly discovered the joys of making my own golden homemade chicken broth packed full of vital nutrients.
Now, it’s easy to pick up a carton of broth at the store, however, there is a huge difference between that box of Swanson Broth and fresh homemade broth made from pastured chicken bones and veggies. If you look at a box of chicken broth from the store you are going to find a lot of ingredients that are plain ol’ FAKE. Additives that extend the life and flavor of broth, stripped of all nutrients.
Homemade chicken broth is traditional, having been been prepared for generations!
Homemade broth is somewhat of a magical food and has many health benefits:
- Promotes digestion and protects your digestive tract
- Contributes to strong bones, connective tissues, and tendons, and healthy brain growth (bone broth is awesome for growing children, read more about a nutrient-dense diet)
- Boosts your immune system. Ever wonder why chicken noodle soup is recommended when you are sick?
- Rich in glycine, an essential amino acid for our bodies. The Paleo Mom has an awesome post about the great benefits of glycine and proline, two very important amino acids found in homemade broth.
- Provides our body with essential minerals, including magnesium (a mineral many of us are greatly deficient), calcium, phosphorous, and other trace minerals
- Rich in collagen. Looking for healthy hair, skin, and nails? Skip the Botox and drink the broth.
Homemade broth is such a rich source of nutrients and super inexpensive to make. It’s perfect for stocking your freezer with and including in your family’s meals.
I use our homemade broth in soups, cooking rice, steaming and roasting veggies, mashed potatoes, and any kind of gravy.
Because I am a busy mom, I need to be able to make broth without spending a lot of time in the kitchen, so I choose to make mine in the crock-pot. This works well for me since I can just transfer the leftover chicken bones from our dinner to my crock pot and leave it on all night, waking up to the wonderful smell of homemade chicken broth!
Homemade Crock-Pot Chicken Broth
- 1 leftover chicken bones from a whole chicken and skin, preferably from a pastured chicken
- veggies and herbs 1 onion, 2 large carrots, a few sprigs of parsley, 2 stalks of celery, No need to chop the veggies into small pieces. Just cut the veggies in half.
- salt and peppercorns to taste
- Place the chicken bones in the crock-pot (I use this one). Top with veggies and herbs. Add salt and peppercorns, if using.
- Fill the crock pot with water, leaving a little space at the top.
- Cook for 10 hours on low heat.
- Allow the broth to cool.
- Place a large colander (like this) inside a large bowl.
- Pour the broth into the colander, to separate the bones and veggies from the liquid. You will now have your bones and veggies in the colander, the bones may be used to make another batch of broth. The veggies need to be tossed.
- Rich golden broth awaits in the bottom bowl.
- Pour into containers of choice. I use mason jars (like these)
- The broth should be used within a week (kept in the fridge) or frozen for up to 6 months. Learn more about freezing broth.
What is different from this crockpot broth and the chicken stock recipe in your instant pot? I do not have an instant pot but wish I had one during this quarantine. I made the chicken broth recipe above and got a full mason jar and a 1./4 of another. My crock pot is just fits a 4 lb chicken so it is on little small side. How much are you supposed to get? Is this considered stock like you mention in the instant pot stock recipe too?
I only got about 7ish cups of broth from this recipe, i’m assuming my crock pot is smaller than the one you used, should i dilute my broth before storing it?
Hey Jennifer, I wouldn’t decrease it, unless you feel the flavor is too strong.
Can you tell me why you throw away the veggies? It seems like they could be put in a food processor, or pureed, then used in soup, as a thickener, or spread on pizza or something like that.
Hey Dixie, After cooking them on high for so long, there’s really nothing left of the veggies (meaning nutrients, taste, and they’re very limp and have lost a lot of color)–similar to steaming veggies for a few minutes. You could try blending them and see how they taste.
I have heard that you can add turmeric to the broth. It changes the color to a more golden color, for one thing. Also I have been using my new Inst Pot for making broth. It ways to cook on broth setting for 2 hrs. and then do the natural release. Ummm it’s been very good and the chkn. bones will smash between your fingers, they’re so soft. I prefer to use 1/4 C. ACV due to the fact that what I’ve read makes such a big deal of it. Pulls the minerals out of the bones and I sure DO want that. Enjoy!
Such great tips, Renee! Thank you for sharing!
Hi! I never have a problem getting a gel, but the one thing I have had a complaint about is the color. For pork and beef broth, brown is fine, but I have gotten quite an earful from my father anytime he sees my chicken bone broth. Personally, I cannot take hearing another complaint about brown food which I have been trying to improve on. I will admit though it is always a brown or dark color. I have not been roasting my chicken carcass or bones. I usually pile the bones, leftover bits of meat and skin in the crockpot, pour over a ½ cup of apple cider vinegar, fill the pot with onion skins, carrot and celery peelings, season with a few springs of bay leaves, ginger, fresh rosemary, thyme, and parsley, and top it with water. I usually cook the mixture on low for 12-14 hours, since I was told that is an appropriate amount of time for it to develop flavor and be more nutritious. I know it is just an aesthetic flaw, but do you have any suggestions on what I can do to help make the chicken broth more golden but still nutritious? Do I need to try doing this on the stove? Do I need to add the veg and spices later? Any advice or suggestions are welcomed! Thanks so much!
Hey Amy, I’ve found that cooking the broth for a long time can sometimes darken the color. Also, using onions, particularly with the skin on, will also result in brown broth.
I Kristin! I’m new on your blog. I really like your work. In my family we eat bones and skin of the chicken! So it will be very difficult to try your chicken broth.
I tried your home made yogurt: it was very good.
Hey Icia, I’m so glad you’re enjoying the blog, and the yogurt :). Maybe you could make vegetable broth?