How to Make Chicken Broth at Home
Learning how to make chicken broth is almost as simple as opening up a can of storebought.
While there are some very good chicken broth brands on the market, there’s no denying that homemade broth just hits the spot. It’s delicious sipped on its own when you’re feeling under the weather and it’s even better when you use it as the base of a homemade soup or stew.
And we’re here with some great news: Learning how to make chicken broth is pretty darn simple. If you can boil water, you can make broth!
How to Make Chicken Broth from Scratch
Homemade chicken broth is very versatile. Use whatever veggies and spices you have on hand. Here’s our Test Kitchen’s outline for a good broth.
- 2-1/2 pounds bony chicken pieces (legs, wings, necks or back bones)
- 2 celery ribs with leaves, cut into chunks
- 2 medium carrots, cut into chunks
- 2 medium onions, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary, crushed
- 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 to 10 whole peppercorns
- 2 quarts cold water
Test Kitchen Tip: You can use other herbs and spices in this broth as well! Above are our favorites for a great all-purpose broth. If you want your broth to taste more Italian-inspired, add oregano and basil. If you want it to taste a bit more Middle Eastern, try spices like za’atar and sumac. There are lots of ways to customize this recipe.
Step 1: Combine everything
Start this recipe by prepping all the ingredients: chicken, veggies, aromatics, herbs and spices. These all can be roughly chopped. You can even use up vegetable scraps in this recipe.
Next, add everything to a large pot or Dutch oven. Pour the cool water over the top. Set the pot over medium heat and slowly bring to a boil. Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat and simmer.
Step 2: Keep simmering
The secret to flavorful broth is cooking low and slow. This allows for all the flavor to be extracted from the ingredients. This long simmer time also helps to develop a full, silky texture. Simmer for 3 to 4 hours over low heat.
As the broth cooks, foam will rise to the top and drift to the edges of the pot. Skim this away with a spoon and discard it.
Step 3: Strain
After a few hours, the stock should smell amazing and have a nice golden brown hue. In short, it’s done!
Now it’s time to strain the stock. To do this, set up a large bowl with a fine mesh-strainer over it. Remove the larger pieces of meat and vegetables with tongs or a ladle. Once most of the solids have been removed, lift the pot and carefully pour the rest of the stock out. For ultra-clear broth, strain through cheesecloth.
Test Kitchen Tip: What about the extras? The veggies and herbs can be discarded. They won’t have much flavor or an appetizing texture. You can use the chicken recipes like chicken salad or tacos. The extra seasonings here will help revive the protein.
Step 4: Let cool and skim
If you plan to use the stock immediately, you’re in luck, because it’s ready to eat. Keep in mind: The warmer the stock, the more difficult it is to remove the fat. You will see oily rounds of it floating on the surface; scoop them away and discard.
Not eating the stock right away? It’s easier to remove the fat once it’s cooled. Let the stock cool slightly at room temperature. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. As it cools, a hard layer of fat will form on the surface. This is easy to pull away with a spoon.
Test Kitchen Tip: Chicken fat (or schmaltz) is delicious. You can use it like butter, to cook eggs or spread on toast. Keep it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. It’s similar to using bacon grease in the kitchen.
Step 5: Store
Taste of Home
Stock will keep in the fridge, tightly covered, for four to five days.
If you want to keep it around longer, seal tightly in a freezer-safe container and freeze. It’ll keep for up to a year this way.
Chicken Broth FAQs
How do you use homemade chicken broth?
Can you use veggie scraps to make chicken broth?
Veggie scraps are absolutely welcome in the stock pot! If you’re planning on making broth, stash scraps in a zip-top bag in your freezer. When it’s time to make your broth, you can toss these right into the Dutch oven.
What’s the difference between stock and broth?
Stock vs. broth: These two ingredients can be used interchangeably. However, if you want to get technical, broth is made with whole proteins (think cuts of chicken or beef or turkey) while stock is made with just the bones. Flavor-wise, these two are very similar, so feel free to use your homemade broth in recipes that call for stock.