Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe photo by Taste of Home
Total Time
Prep: 10 min. Cook: 3-1/4 hours + chilling
Making chicken broth from scratch is as easy as boiling water. Learn how to make your own with our foolproof recipe.

Updated: Apr. 12, 2024

Homemade chicken broth is hard to beat. There are some very good chicken broth brands on the market, but using your own broth adds a flavorful base to stews and chicken soup recipes. And if you’re feeling under the weather, sipping on homemade broth really hits the spot.

The best 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

The secret to flavorful broth is cooking it low and slow. The long simmer time allows all the flavor to be extracted from the ingredients and helps the broth develop a full, silky texture. Luckily, almost all the time is hands-off cooking, so you can let the broth simmer away on the back burner.

We’ll offer step-by-step instructions below, but here’s the basic outline of the essential steps:

  1. Simmer: Add the chicken and vegetables to the pot with aromatic ingredients. Simmer for three to four hours, until broth smells amazing and has a nice golden-brown hue.
  2. Strain: Carefully pour the broth through a fine mesh sieve or cheesecloth to remove the solid ingredients.
  3. Chill: Chill the broth. The strained liquid contains a layer of chicken fat, which can give the broth an oily mouthfeel. It’s much easier to skim off that fat when the broth is cold.

Chicken Broth Ingredients

Chicken pieces with herbs and vegetables on the tableTMB Studio

  • Chicken pieces: You can cut up a whole chicken to make broth or use any combination of bony chicken pieces, like legs, wings, necks and/or backbones.
  • Celery, carrots and onions: This veggie trio is known as mirepoix. It adds depth and makes up the aromatic base of broth. Feel free to use vegetable scraps if you have them on hand.
  • Herbs and spices: Bay leaves, dried rosemary, dried thyme and peppercorns add subtle flavor to the broth. Before you choose a peppercorn blend, keep in mind that pink peppercorns aren’t actually peppercorns. They’re related to mangoes and cashews, and they may trigger an allergic response in those who have these allergies.

Directions

Step 1: Combine the ingredients

Chicken pieces, vegetables with herbs and other ingredients boiling in the dutch ovenTMB Studio

Place the chicken pieces, celery, carrots, onions, bay leaves, rosemary, thyme, peppercorns and water in a soup kettle or Dutch oven. Slowly bring the mixture to a boil. Reduce the heat until the mixture is just at a simmer.

Editor’s Tip: The vegetables should be chopped, but they don’t need to be cut with precision. A large or rough chop will do.

Step 2: Simmer the mixture

Simmer, uncovered, for three to four hours, skimming the foam as necessary.

Editor’s Tip: 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: Remove the chicken

Chicken broth in a glass bowl on the tableTMB Studio

Remove the chicken from the kettle, and set aside until it’s cool enough to handle. Remove the meat from the bones. Discard the bones, and save the meat for another use.

Editor’s Tip: Boiled chicken meat may not be appetizing on its own, but it’s fantastic in recipes with extra seasonings like chicken salad or saucy chicken casseroles.

Step 4: Strain the broth

Straining chicken broth in a glass jarTMB Studio

Strain the broth, and discard the vegetables and seasonings.

Editor’s Tip: 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.

Step 5: Let cool, then skim

A bowl of chicken broth with a spoonTMB Studio

Refrigerate the broth for eight hours or overnight. Skim the fat from the surface.

Editor’s Tip: You can use the broth immediately, but the fat is more difficult to remove when the broth is warm. Once cooled, the fat forms as a hard layer on the surface. It’s easy to pull away with a spoon. But don’t throw it away! Chicken fat (or “schmaltz“) is delicious. Spread it on toast like butter, or use it like bacon grease to cook eggs or potatoes.

Recipe Variations

  • Change the herbs and spices: Chicken broth is very versatile. You can use any herbs and spices you have on hand. Add oregano and basil to give it an Italian-inspired twist, or Middle Eastern spices like za’atar and sumac.
  • Make broth with leftover chicken parts: Save the wing tips from chicken wing recipes and the carcass from rotisserie chicken. Store them in the freezer, and pull them out when it’s time to make broth.
  • Include pan drippings: Deepen the flavor of chicken broth with pan drippings from a roast chicken. You can save the drippings in the freezer, then thaw them and add them to your homemade broth.
  • Concentrate the flavors: Once the broth has finished cooking, remove the meat, bones and vegetables. Continue to simmer until reduced by one-third. You’ll end up with a rich, concentrated flavor.
  • Use the pressure cooker: Speed up the process with pressure-cooker homemade chicken broth.

How long does chicken broth last?

In the refrigerator, chicken broth lasts for up to five days. Store it in a tightly covered container like a Mason jar. If you want to keep it around longer, freeze the cooled broth in a freezer-safe container for up to one year. Thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before you use it in your favorite chicken broth recipes.

If you save the chicken fat, store it in a tightly sealed container in the fridge. How long it lasts depends on a variety of factors, like how well it was strained of any bits that could speed up the spoiling process. If you don’t plan on using it within the week, store chicken fat in the freezer, where it’s good for up to one year.

Chicken Broth Tips

A jar of chicken broth on a cutting board next to a white potTMB Studio

What’s the difference between chicken stock vs. broth?

There are some subtle differences between chicken stock vs. broth, but the two are similar enough flavor-wise to use your homemade broth in recipes that call for stock. However, if you want to get technical, broth is made with whole proteins (think cuts of chicken or beef or turkey). Stock is made with just the bones and simmers for longer. The increased cooking time in stock pulls more collagen from the bones.

How do you use homemade chicken broth?

Use homemade chicken broth in any recipe that calls for packaged chicken broth. It’s great in Grandma’s chicken and dumplings, Thanksgiving stuffing recipes and winter soup recipes.

Can you use veggie scraps to make chicken broth?

Veggie scraps are absolutely welcome in this recipe! You can stash vegetable scraps in a zip-top bag in the freezer. When it’s time to make broth, toss them right into the soup kettle from frozen. It’s OK to use limp vegetables like celery, too. You can revive limp celery by cutting off the ends and placing the stalks in a glass of cold water. Store in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight. You’ll be surprised how refreshed the celery will be!

Can you overcook chicken broth?

If you’ve added vegetables to the broth, it is possible to overcook chicken broth. Carrots, celery and onion add wonderful flavor, but if they’re left to simmer too long, they can leave a strong, bitter flavor that takes over the broth.

Watch how to Make Homemade Chicken Broth

Homemade Chicken Broth

Prep Time 10 min
Yield about 6 cups

Ingredients

  • 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

Directions

  1. Place all ingredients in a soup kettle or Dutch oven. Slowly bring to a boil; reduce heat until mixture is just at a simmer. Simmer, uncovered, for 3-4 hours, skimming foam as necessary.
  2. Set chicken aside until cool enough to handle. Remove meat from bones. Discard bones; save meat for another use. Strain broth, discarding vegetables and seasonings. Refrigerate for 8 hours or overnight. Skim fat from surface.

Nutrition Facts

1 cup: 25 calories, 0 fat (0 saturated fat), 0 cholesterol, 130mg sodium, 2g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.

Wondering how to make chicken broth at home? Learn here! Rich in chicken flavor, this traditional broth is lightly seasoned with herbs. Besides making wonderful chicken soups, this chicken stock recipe can be used in casseroles, rice dishes and other recipes that call for chicken broth. —Taste of Home Test Kitchen
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