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How to Make Chicken Bone Broth

Bone broth provides intense flavor to enhance any meal. It’s also loaded with amazing health benefits. Learn how to make collagen rich chicken bone broth (aka liquid gold) with these step-by-step instructions.

chicken bone broth in mason jar for storage

Bone broth has been a staple in our home for over 10 years. When I initially heard about this ‘elixr of life’ I tracked down an in-person class to learn how to make various types of bone broth. After seeing the simplicity and affordability of this superfood, it became part of my weekly rhythm in the kitchen.

Every week we use broth in multiple recipes, especially during the fall and winter months when soups and stews are made more often. At its most basic level, this 3 ingredient, 1 pot recipe yields flavorful broth which can easily be amplified in nutrition by adding veggie scraps, herbs and spices.

What is bone broth

Bone broth is simply the liquid made from bones and connective tissue simmered in water for an extended period of time. The long duration allows for maximum extraction of nutrients and protein. The result is a mineral and collagen-rich gelatinous liquid, full of flavor, that serves as a foundation to endless nutrient dense soups and stews. You can also opt to make to make bone broth from beef, pork, turkey or fish bones, but this recipe demonstrates using the bones from a whole roasted chicken.

how to make bone broth

There are many enhanced recipes available, but all you really need is this foundational recipe for maximum nutrition extracted from the chicken bones.

  1. Simple save the bones from your roasted chicken (every single one), and add to a large stock pot or dutch oven
  2. Cover the bones with water (16-ish quarts). As the water simmers for hours, evaporation will occur)
  3. Add 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar to facilitate the breakdown of collagen and better extraction of nutrients from the bones
  4. Bring to a boil, then immediately reduce heat to a simmer and cover. Cook for 12 hours or until liquid content is reduced by 1/2, leaving you with 6-8 cups of broth. The more it reduces, the more intense the flavor will become.
  5. Strain with fine mesh and use immediately or store in fridge/freezer.

What is the difference between bone broth and stock

Bone broth is different from chicken stock because it uses a much longer cooking time to extract as much nutrition from the bones as possible.Stock is made from meaty joints and bones simmered a moderate amount of time. Bone broth is made from meaty joints and bones simmered for an extensive duration of time. Basically, stock uses the bones for flavor whereas bone broth uses the bones for flavor and nutrition.

Ideally, it’s best to use bones with more connective tissue, aka collagen content such as necks, knuckles, and chicken feet. If you use an entire chicken carcass, your broth will also be collagen rich.

what are the benefits of bone broth

Bone broth walks the line between food and medicine. It is healing, supports the immune system and is affordable to make at home. This golden gelatinous liquid is considered healing for the gut because it is easy to digest and anti-inflammatory. It is also rich in amino acids such as glutamine and glycine as well as collagen.

  1. Supports digestion – Bone broth is easy to digest partly due to the gelatin component. Gelatin binds to water in your digestive tract, helping food to move through your gut more easily. Collagen helps to nourish the intestinal lining and reduce inflammation.
  2. Strengthens hair, skin, and nails – Collagen helps to retain skin elasticity and moisture content. Amino acids are great for strengthening hair skin and nails. Keratin is another component in bone broth which is excellent for hair growth.
  3. Anti-inflammatory – Glycine is an amino acid that is a building block of proteins and helps reduce inflammation and protect agains ulcers. Collagen reduces inflammation in the gut, especially the intestinal lining. Many food sensitivities are related to gut inflammation.
  4. Supports bone building and strength – Bone broth provides calcium, phosphorus, and amino acids for bone building and strength.
  5. Facilitates joint health – Joint lubrication so provided by the combination of glucosamine, chondroitin, and collagen which are all slowly extracted from animal bones as they simmer (especially with the addition of apple cider vinegar while simmering)
  6. Supports the immune system – a healthy gut = a strong immune system. Additionally, glycine (an amino acid abundant in bone broth, stimulates the production of glutathione, the body’s master antioxidant.
  7. Supports nose-to-tail eating philosophy – to consume all parts of the animal and minimize waste

Ingredients in chicken bone broth

At the most basic level, there are only three ingredients necessary to make healing bone broth.

  • Chicken bones / carcass
  • Apple cider vinegar (or white wine)
  • Water

There are many modifications to this basic recipe to enhance flavor but to simplify, these are the key components.

An acidic ingredient, like apple cider vinegar or wine, helps break down the protein in connective tissue and collagen to produce a gelatinous, protein-rich broth.

Vegetables, herbs, and spices give flavor and added nutrition to bone broths. Medicinal herbs such as reishi or ashwagandha give broth unique therapeutic properties.

what are the best bones for bone broth

Every single bone or scrap from your chicken can be used to make broth. Nutrition is extracted from all parts of the bone, including the joints.

Chicken feet, necks and any part that contains more connective tissue (joint material) are the best broth making bones. They yield more of the collagen rich, gelatinous goodness you are looking for.

Quality of the chicken also matters to maximize nutrient density and provide the cleanest broth. Keep in mind that if a chicken was given antibiotics or poor nutrition, they are passing it on to you.

where do you get bones for broth

Homemade bone broth is simple to make. There are a few options for sourcing bones to make this liquid gold.

  • Ask your local farmers oror find a local food cooperative and ask if they have soup bones.
  • Your local butcher may have soup bones available for purchase
  • Roast a whole pastured chicken and save the carcass for cooking broth.
  • Save thigh and leg bones from bone-in chicken you may purchase for grilling or roasting.
  • Keep a gallon ziploc bag in your freezer and continually add bones until you have enough to make a batch.

tips for making great flavor

The recipe below is simplified but enhancing the flavor of bone broth is easy.Adding black peppercorns, bay leaves, onions and garlic adds depth of flavor when simmered together.

I often add chopped veggies or saved vegetable scraps to the simmering pot near the end of cooking time. Carrots, celery, onion and a few cloves of garlic add depth of flavor when added 30 minutes before straining.

The choice between apple cider vinegar vs. white wine as an acidic ingredient may alter the flavor slightly. Apple cider vinegar is often used for its

Degreasing your broth by spooning off the layer of fat that floats to the surface after cooling enhances the flavor. Removing the fat also helps to avoid a greasy consistency.

How do you use bone broth

Bone broth is a great base for soups and stews, you can use it to cook rice or as a base for sauces. It’s also delicious to sip bone broth straight from a mug! I call this “sipping broth”.

Here is a list of my favorite recipes using broth:

  • Tuscan Chicken Stew
  • Chicken Noodle Soup
  • Farmhouse Vegetable Soup
  • Mushroom Stew

Sipping broths

Traditionally, people sipped bone broth as a nourishing health tonic or restorative. The intention of sipping broths was to mitigate an illness, like a cold, or restore/maintain general health.

My favorite sipping broth contains zested ginger, minced garlic and sea salt.

The addition of miso, green onions, minced garlic and a pinch of sea salt is another great tonic.

How to store broth

Once your bone broth has simmered for 12 hours, been reduced and strained, it can be used within 4-5 days from the fridge or frozen for future use. As part of our weekly routine, we use chicken bone broth weekly in some of our favorite recipes such as Tuscan chicken stew, kale and sausage soup, or as the base for cooking rice.

When refrigerated, bone broth will become gelatinous because of the collagen content. This is the goal! It will liquefy again once reheated.

Broth can also be stored in glass jars and frozen for up to 4 months. Be sure to leave a couple inches of space at the top of the jar to allow for expansion in the freezer.

chicken bone broth in mason jar for storage

Chicken Bone Broth Recipe (simplified version)

This Meal by Design
Nourishing, ultra-flavorful bone broth made with chicken bones walks the line between food and medicine. This simple recipe is a great base for soups and stews or for sipping.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 12 hours
Total Time 12 hours 5 minutes
Course Bone Broth, Soup


  • Stock pot or Dutch oven
  • Fine mesh strainer


  • Bones and carcass of 1 chicken
  • 4 quarts Filtered water
  • 1 tbsp Apple cider vinegar


Stovetop Instructions

  • In a large stock pot or dutch oven combine chicken bones with water to generously cover the bones
  • Add 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • Bring to boil over medium-high heat then immediately lower heat to a simmer
  • Cover and simmer for 12 hours. Try not to allow the broth to actively boil, you want the heat as low as possible with broth barely bubbling. If cooking overnight on the stove makes you nervous, place the covered pot in the fridge overnight and resume cooking in the morning
  • After 12 hours, remove large bones with slotted spoon, letting as much of the delicious broth drip off, and discard. Then strain with fine mesh sieve and store in jars in the refrigerator or freezer
  • Once chilled, the broth should be gelatinous (jiggly) with a thin layer of fat on top. Scrape the fat off and discard. Store in fridge up to 1 week or in freezer up to 6 months

Instant Pot Instructions

  • In the basin of the pressure cooker place bones and apple cider vinegar.
  • Fill with water until bones are covered by 1 inch.
  • Seal pressure cooker and select the "Manual" or "Soup/Broth" setting. Adjust time to 120 minutes.
  • When cooking time is done, allow pressure to naturally release. (this should take about 20 minutes)
  • Allow to cool slightly before straining into storage containers.


If scum appears on surface while simmering, skim it off and discard.
Apple cider vinegar preference: Bragg or another brand with mother culture.
Feel free to add herbs such as parsely, rosemary and thyme, a few slices of lemon, peppercorns and a pinch of sea salt near the end of cooking time to impart extra flavor. 
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!


A comprehensive guide of the benefits of bone broth from Chris Kresser.

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