Home made chicken stock recipe feature image.

This chicken stock recipe makes everything better

This chicken stock recipe makes everything better in your kitchen. It’s the foundation ingredient we all need and is something I’m never without. I make it in large batches, freeze it in different sized containers and use it as needed.

At its most basic level, making chicken stock is beyond easy and you’ll end up with a beautiful golden liquid that will enhance the flavour of soups, stews and sauces. All you need to do is throw everything into a large stock pot, cover with water and simmer for 3-6 hours, until it’s reduced and ready to strain.

What could be easier?

Why home made stock is best

Home made stock is so much better than anything you’ll buy from the supermarket. It simply tastes better, plus it’s packed with nutrients and protein from being cooked with bones and vegetables.

It’s the perfect base for soups, broths, braises, risottos and paellas – just to name a few uses!

Some different ways of making this chicken stock recipe

I make mine a few different ways, sometimes on the stovetop and sometimes in my Instant Pot pressure cooker. 

I normally use chicken carcasses from the chicken shop at the local market, which sells three carcasses for $1. So it’s super-inexpensive and it’s putting to use the leftover product after the butcher removes the breasts, legs, thighs and wings.

Or when I’m poaching a whole chicken for dinner, I’ll make sure I pimp up the cooking water with the flavouring ingredients – also known as aromats – and after cooking and removing the chicken, I strain the liquid and that’s a wonderful stock too. You will find that when it sets there’s more fat on top, but as with the carcass method, just remove that and you have light, almost fat free stock.

A little preparation, a long slow cook

Low effort, slow cooked, delicious result

The following recipe may give the impression that you have to spend hours and hours slaving in the kitchen. You don’t!

If you opt for the brown stock, the preparation time is about 15 minutes hands on. When it’s all in the pot, it cooks itself and then the straining time takes another 10 minutes or so.

If you opt for a light stock option, your prep time is around 10 minutes. You’ll need to skim the scum off as it warms up, but that’s about 30 seconds a few times as it heats.

The real time commitment is just to let it do its thing and make sure it’s simmering nice and gently for the whole cooking time.

Chicken stock is the foundation you need in your kitchen

Chicken stock is the foundation you need in your kitchen

Recipe by Marti

Home made chicken stock for soups, braises and much more. It’s fresh and it’s best.

Course: Chicken, Foundations, Recipe, Stocks and broths
5 from 1 vote
Prep time

15

minutes
Clever Cooking

Click for the screen to stay active while you cook

You will need

  • 3 3 whole chicken carcasses OR one whole large chicken OR chicken pieces, such as wings and legs – around 1.5-2kg.
    See notes at the end for more info on chicken.

  • 2 medium 2 brown onions cut in half and sliced thickly

  • 1 1 long stick celery cut into 5cm lengths

  • 1 large 1 carrot peeled and cut into 1cm thick rounds

  • 2 medium 2 button mushrooms washed and cut into quarters

  • 1/2 1/2 unwaxed lemon, washed and cut into four pieces (optional)

  • 3 3 water – or enough to cover everything in the pot* (see note about pressure cookers)

  • Optional fresh herbs or flavourings: bay leaves, thyme, parsley OR fresh ginger, star anise, cinnamon. See end notes for more information on using herbs in your stock.

Here’s what to do

  • Option 1: for a brown, fully flavoured stock
  • Preheat your oven to 200C. Place the chicken carcasses onto a baking tray and drizzle with olive oil. Roast until golden brown.
  • Meanwhile … warm some olive oil a large stock pot and sauté the onion until it’s just starting to caramelise – so a soft texture and light golden brown with some signs of browning on the base. Don’t let them burn.
  • When onions are caramelised, add the other veggies and the roasted chicken bones, then pour off the extra fat from the chicken pan before adding hot water from the kettle to the roasting pan and scraping up all those wonderful brown bits from the bottom. FLAVOUR!
  • Pour the lot into the pot and top with more water – cold or hot – until everything is covered.
  • Option 2: For a quicker, lighter stock
  • Add the chicken carcasses, celery, carrot, mushrooms and lemon, then cover with enough water so everything is submerged.
  • Add herbs if you’re using those (see note below).
  • Turn the heat up and gently bring to the boil, skimming any foamy scum off as it builds up. This is perfectly harmless, but removing it gives you a cleaner, clearer stock. You may need to do this 3 or four time as it warms up.
  • The cooking period
  • This is the same for all stocks.
  • Once it’s reached boiling point, turn the heat down so it can cook at a gentle simmer* and partially cover with a lid. Resting a long spoon across one side of the pan and resting the lid on that is a great way to keep the lid open enough to let some of the steam out.
  • Simmer between 3-6 hours, checking now and then to make sure it still has plenty of liquid.
  • Once cooked, place a fine strainer over another large pan or deep stainless steel bowl. Use a slotted spoon to scoop out the solids straight into the strainer. Once you have most of the solids out, transfer them to another large bowl but don’t throw them out!
  • If you can, pick up the pan and slowly pour the rest of the stock through the sieve into the bowl. If you try doing this with all the solids inside, they will just plop out and make a mess. I know. I’ve done it!
  • When all the liquid is strained through, add the solids back to the strainer over the cooking pot and gently press to remove more liquid. If you press too much, you’ll end up mashing the vegetables and end up with cloudy stock so it’s just to extract the last of the stock from the bones.
  • Strain this back into the main stock bowl.
  • To cool quickly: Sit the stock bowl in a sink and run cold water into the sink. Don’t get it in your stock! You can even add ice. Stir the stock until it cools enough to place in the fridge and leave it there overnight to chill completely.
  • The next day, remove the bowl from the fridge and remove any fat that’s set on top. You can do this by pouring through a fine sieve that has cheesecloth or muslin placed on top. The cloth catches the fat. You can also spoon it from the top.
  • At this point you can pour it into – preferably washable and reusable silicone – zip lock bags and seal well before freezing OR reusable containers with tight fitting lids and freeze.
  • You can also use it straight away for soup, risotto or whatever you are cooking.

Tips and tricks

  • This can also be made in your pressure cooker.

    Just follow the preparation steps for either brown or light stock, then fill with liquid according to the pressure cooker you have. When it’s done, let the steam settle naturally to keep the flavour in, then strain as per instructions above. The smell and flavour will be more intense, so although you’ll have less volume, you’ll have all the goodness.

Some extra notes to make things better

About chicken carcasses

I’ve been buying and using chicken carcasses for stock for about 15 years and find three (or four) is a good number for achieving a tasty stock with some gelling when it cools. I’m too impatient to reduce it down to a really gelled consistency, so tend to end up with a more liquid stock.

Carcasses often sold in local butchers or markets and you’ll usually find them in bags ranging in price for $1 for three, which is what I pay at my local market through to $1 each.

The carcass is a great no-waste way to use the bones once the butcher has cut away the meaty pieces, such as breasts and thighs and they are an excellent key ingredient for your stock.

Whole chickens and pieces

Another way to make the most from a chicken and get a pot of stock afterwards is to use a whole chicken, or cheaper chicken cuts, such as marylands. There is some bone for the gelatine, but there’s plenty of meat too.

This will give you a dinner of tasty and tender boiled chicken with the added bonus of a good flavoursome stock to strain and add to your freezer or use as soup with any leftover chicken meat.

Adding herbs

You’ll note in my recipe that I don’t add any additional herbs or flavourings. I do this because I like to keep the stock as neutral as possible so it can be used for a variety of cuisines. Don’t confuse neutral with bland, especially if you caramelise your onions and roast the carcasses. I can drink it as-is, it’s so good. You can add herbs if you like and know what you’re using the stock for.

For example, I wouldn’t use thyme or rosemary in an Asian chicken soup stock, nor would I use ginger in a stock that I inteded for Italian minestrone or Spanish paella! These flavours can all be added to the meal you’re cooking.

The art of a gentle simmer

It’s important you don’t let the stock cook at a rapid, rolling boil because that will cause more cloudiness in the finished result. Instead, just let a fine layer of little bubbles rumble across the surface so it retains its ability to release steam but doesn’t disturb the contents too much. Alternatively, cook in a pressure cooker.

To gel or not to gel

The longer you simmer and reduce your stock, the more likely it will be to have a jelly-like consistency when strained and set. This is a good thing! It means it’s been cooked long enough for excess liquid to evaporate and the collagen from the bones to release into the broth, leaving you with a fuller flavour and jelly-like wobble when it’s cold. If it’s not like jelly, that’s okay too.

Cooling and storing

As noted in the recipe, the quicker you can cool the stock, the sooner it can go into the fridge to become cold. This prevents bacteria from causing any nasties – and we don’t want that.

Once cold, you can ladle it into containers and freeze. It should be used from the freezer in about 3-4 months.

Suitable containers can be zip lock bags, preferably silicone so they can be washed in hot water and reused. These are great as they don’t take up too much space in the freezer. If you have a variety of lidded containers, you can also use those.

I tend to use different sized containers from one litre down to about 100ml and you can also freeze in ice cube blocks, then pop them out to store in a zip lock bag. This way, if you just need a little stock for a stew or sauce or to add some liquid to sautéeing veggies, you can throw straight from the freezer into the cooking pot. No need to thaw at all.

You can also thaw stock in a pot by taking from the freezer and either zapping in a microwave for a minute or running the container under hot water to loosen from the container, then pop it into a pan and gently reheat.

Like this recipe? Why not make some delicious soup!

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Clear broth is loaded with vegetables and your choice of protein (seen here with tofu). Full of flavour, you just can’t go wrong.

5 Comments

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  4. This is great, same as a bone broth, lots of amazing flavour. Love the attention to detail and it’s a great foundation for a soup, risotto, or just have on it’s own ????❤️

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