This homemade chicken stock will knock the socks of anything you can buy at the store. It requires minimal effort and can be stored in the freezer up to 3 months. Most often, we will use chicken wings when making stock — they are cheaper than other cuts of meat. That said, other chicken parts, such as whole chicken, bones, breasts, and legs will work nicely.
Depending on how rich you want the stock, use more chicken parts. For a light, but flavorful stock 4 pounds of chicken parts will do. Use more for a richer stock.
4 to 8 pounds chicken parts, such as whole chicken, bones, wings, breast and legs
1 pound onion, peeled and chopped (2 large)
1 pound carrots, chopped (5 to 6 medium)
1 pound celery, chopped (4 to 5 celery ribs)
6 medium cloves garlic, crushed with the back of knife
2 bay leaves
6 sprigs fresh thyme
Small bunch fresh parsley or dill
2 teaspoons whole peppercorns
2 teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste
12 cups cold water
Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, parsley or dill, peppercorns and salt in a large stockpot. Add 12 cups of water and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cook at a gentle simmer, uncovered, for 4 hours. Taste and adjust with more salt as necessary.
Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer and let cool until not hot. Transfer to containers and refrigerate until completely chilled, about 6 hours or overnight.
Skim off and remove any fat on the surface. Refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Recipe updated, originally posted September 2009. Since posting this in 2009, we have tweaked the recipe to be more clear. – Adam and Joanne