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Homemade Chicken Broth, Fresh and Simple

5 from 5 votes

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A go-to recipe for basic homemade chicken broth you’ll always want stashed in your fridge and freezer! Use this light, flavorful broth in soup recipes, add to pan sauces, or to enrich the flavor of just about everything you cook. This rich-tasting chicken broth simmers on the stovetop for 3 hours, or cooks in 1 hour in an electric pressure cooker.

Chunks of onion, carrot, whole chicken wings, bay leaf and herb sprigs in a white pot of water.
Homemade chicken broth tastes fresh and delicious. You’ll never want the boxed stuff again!

It doesn’t take much time or skill to make chicken broth from scratch. But I always wonder why I don’t make it more often! Even though I am a professionally trained cook, I sometimes turn to a box of stock from the grocery store.

But the difference in taste and quality between store bought broth and homemade is really noticeable. Here are three good reasons to make chicken broth from scratch:

  1. So much better tasting!
  2. Healthier ingredients. Commercially made broth very often contains excess sodium and artificial flavorings.
  3. Less expensive, ounce for ounce.

One of the very first things taught to beginner cooks in culinary schools is how to make stock. Whether made from beef, chicken, fish or vegetables, broth is a magical elixir, really the foundation of cooking and literally the backbone of any delicious meal.

Chicken broth vs chicken stock

Chicken broth and chicken stock are two sides of the same coin, and the terms are interchangeable. The slight difference between stock and broth really comes down to cooking time.

Generally, meat bones for stock — what’s often called “bone broth” — are roasted or browned before simmering and are cooked for much longer time. That process releases the most gelatin from the bones and reduces the liquid to achieve a deeper flavor. On the other hand, broths cook for a shorter time and tend to be lighter in color and body.

Learn about the ingredients

Raw chicken wings, carrots, celery, onion, garlic and herbs in a shallow pan.

The best chicken broth recipe will reward you with a flavorful, but neutral, background for building soups and other dishes. Since broth usually goes into such things as a recipe for chicken soup or a hearty beef stew, it’s best to keep a light hand with seasonings, such as salt or stronger-flavored vegetables.

  • Chicken parts: To make about 3 quarts of chicken broth, you’ll need 3 pounds of chicken parts (remember this 1:1 ratio if you want to scale the recipe up or down). The most economical chicken parts to use are chicken wings because they contain the perfect proportions of meat, skin and fat. Plus, they don’t cost as much per pound as a whole chicken. Instead of wings, you can also use chicken backs, necks, carcasses or an assortment. Note: Don’t include giblets, because they will make the stock cloudy and muddy-tasting. Use the leftover carcasses from a roasted chicken. Stick them in a bag in the freezer and make stock when you’ve accumulated enough.
  • Vegetables: In classical (European-style) cooking, carrots, celery, onion and garlic form the aromatic base for broths. Other vegetables, such as root vegetables or potatoes, result in a less delicate and clean-tasting broth.
  • Herbs: Parsley, thyme and bay leaf add aroma and a pretty golden color to the broth. Don’t worry if you don’t have all the herbs — even just a few sprigs of one herb are all you need.
  • Water: Start with three quarts of water for a rich-tasting stock, adding up to a cup more if it evaporates while simmering.

Steps for making chicken broth

  • Cool the stock to room temperature, then transfer to storage containers and refrigerate until completely cold.
  • To cool broth quickly (especially when making larger quantities), immerse the bowl of strained broth in an ice bath set up in the sink or a roasting pan.
  • Once the broth has chilled completely in the refrigerator, remove the layer of fat that forms on the surface. Save the fat (a/k/a schmaltz) if you like — it can be used as a cooking fat or added to soups. 

What to do with chicken stock solids

The cooked pieces of chicken and vegetables in a broth tend to be past the point of tasting good, and the texture can be unpleasantly mushy. But you don’t have to just throw them away.

  • Pick the meat off the bones and vegetables and reserve separately. They can be used in a soup or to feed your pet (dog or cat).
Four jars of chicken broth on a counter.

Storing chicken broth

This recipe yields about 12 cups (3 quarts) of chicken broth. Scale it up or down as needed, using a 1:1 ratio of chicken per quart of water.

  • To store frozen, be sure to chill the broth completely in the refrigerator before freezing. Transfer the cooled broth to containers that have a secure lid, and label with the date. Homemade chicken broth will last up to 3 months in the freezer and 5 days in the refrigerator.

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Chunks of onion, carrot, whole chicken wings, bay leaf and herb sprigs in a white pot of water.

Homemade Chicken Broth, Fresh and Simple

Karen Tedesco
A go-to recipe for basic homemade chicken broth, perfect to stash in your fridge and freezer! Use this light, flavorful broth in soup recipes, add to pan sauces and enrich the flavor of just about everything you cook. This rich-tasting chicken broth simmers on the stovetop for 3 hours, or cooks in 1 hour in an electric pressure cooker.
Print Pin Text
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Total Time 2 hrs 10 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 12 cups

Equipment

Ingredients

Yield: About 3 quarts

  • 3 pounds (1.35 kg) raw chicken wings, or a combination of wings, backs and raw or leftover cooked carcasses
  • 3 carrots, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 3 stalks celery, cut into 3-inch pieces
  • 1 onion, unpeeled and cut into quarters
  • 3 cloves garlic, unpeeled and lightly smashed
  • ½ bunch fresh parsley, rinsed
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, optional
  • 12 cups (2.80 l) water

Instructions 

Stovetop method

  • Put the chicken parts in a large stock pot. Add the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, parsley, bay leaf and thyme sprigs. Pour the water into the pot and place over medium-high heat. If the water doesn't completely cover everything by at least an inch, add a bit more.
  • Bring to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to medium-low. Simmer the broth at a gentle bubble for 3 hours, without stirring. To ensure a clear (not cloudy) broth, keep your eye on the heat throughout the cooking to be sure the liquid doesn't come back to a full boil.
  • Spread a piece of cheesecloth over a colander, and set the colander over a large bowl. If you don't have cheesecloth, choose a fine mesh strainer. Strain the broth into the bowl and cool to room temperature. Transfer the broth to storage containers and refrigerate.

Pressure cooker (such as Instant Pot) method

  • Add all ingredients to a pressure cooker pot. Be sure the water doesn't come more than ⅔ of the way up sides of the pot. Cook on high pressure for one hour. Release the pressure naturally. Strain, cool and store the broth as directed above.

Karen’s Notes and Tips

  • Storage: Broth will keep refrigerated up to 5 days and up to 3 months in the freezer (to avoid ice crystals and bacterial growth from forming, be sure to cool the broth completely in the fridge before placing in the freezer).
  • To cool broth quickly (especially when making larger quantities), immerse the bowl of strained broth in an ice bath set up in the sink or a roasting pan.
  • Once the broth has chilled completely in the refrigerator, remove the layer of fat the forms on the surface. Save the fat if you like— it can be used as a cooking oil or added to soup. 
  • The leftover solids can be used in a soup or to feed your pet.

Nutrition

Calories: 150kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 10g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Sodium: 77mg | Potassium: 202mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 2899IU | Vitamin C: 6mg | Calcium: 32mg | Iron: 1mg
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Hey, I’m Karen

Creator of Familystyle Food

I’m a food obsessed super-taster and professionally trained cook ALL about making cooking fun and doable, with easy to follow tested recipes and incredibly tasty food! Read more about me here.

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