How to Make the Best Chicken Stock

My favorite homemade chicken stock recipe will knock the socks off of anything you buy at the store. You can use chicken bones or chicken parts for this easy recipe.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe Video

Not only does this chicken stock taste better than the box, but it is also easy to make and lasts in the freezer for up to 3 months. I especially love making chicken stock after making our roasted chicken.

I use this chicken stock to make many of the soup recipes on Inspired Taste, including our highly-rated chicken noodle soup! For a more delicately flavored broth, see my easy chicken broth, or for bone broth, see my recipe for Instant Pot bone broth.

Homemade chicken stock

Key Ingredients

  • Chicken parts: Make this recipe using chicken parts or leftover bones (say from roasted chicken or a rotisserie chicken). My favorite way to make chicken stock is using chicken wings. They are inexpensive and have lots of cartilage and connective tissue, which are rich in collagen. As they simmer in the stock, the collagen breaks down into gelatin, giving our chicken stock a rich flavor and silky texture.
  • Aromatics: For classic chicken stock, use onion, carrots, celery, and garlic.
  • Herbs: Using a variety of herbs makes the best stock, tasting better than store-bought. I love bay leaves, thyme, parsley, dill, and peppercorns.
  • Salt: I season my homemade chicken stock with salt early on, adding more to taste as it simmers.

How to Make Chicken Stock

Making chicken stock is super simple! Add everything to a large pot, cover with cold water, and bring to a boil. As it heats up, you’ll notice some foam, sometimes called scum, rise to the surface. I scrape that away and discard it. Removing the foam keeps our stock more clear.

Chicken Stock ingredients in a stock pot

Reduce the heat so that the water is gently simmering, and then cook for about 4 hours before straining and storing in the fridge or freezer.

My Favorite Ways to Use Homemade Chicken Stock

You can use homemade chicken stock in so many delicious recipes. I love it for creamy chicken noodle soup and my favorite vegetable soup. I also use it as a base for sauces and gravy, like in this gravy recipe.

You can also use it as a cooking liquid for rice and grains. It makes this cilantro lime rice and Mexican rice extra flavorful, and I love it for this mushroom risotto.

Homemade Chicken Stock

How to Make the Best Chicken Stock

  • PREP
  • COOK
  • TOTAL

Thanks to the aromatics and fresh herbs, my favorite chicken stock recipe has so much flavor. Add more or less chicken, depending on how rich you want the stock. For a light but flavorful chicken stock, use about 4 pounds of chicken parts. For a rich, ultra-flavorful broth, use about 8 pounds of chicken.

Makes about 10 cups

Watch Us Make the Recipe

You Will Need

4 to 8 pounds chicken parts, such as whole chicken, bones, wings, breast, and legs

1 pound onion, peeled and chopped (2 large)

1/2 pound carrots, chopped (4 to 5 medium)

1/2 pound celery, chopped (3 to 4 celery ribs)

6 medium cloves garlic, crushed with the back of a knife

2 bay leaves

6 sprigs fresh thyme

Small bunch of fresh parsley, dill, or both

2 teaspoons whole peppercorns

2 teaspoons sea salt, or more to taste

12 cups cold water

Directions

    1Place the chicken, onions, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, thyme, parsley or dill, peppercorns, and salt in a large stockpot.

    2Add 12 cups of water and bring to a boil. If the water does not cover the contents of the pot, add a cup or two more water.

    3Reduce the heat to low and cook at a gentle simmer, uncovered, for about 4 hours. As it simmers, it is normal for some foam or scum to rise to the top. Use a spoon to remove it.

    4After three hours, taste and adjust the broth with more salt.

    5To strain the stock, use a slotted spoon to remove the larger pieces of bone and vegetables. Then, pour the stock through a fine-mesh strainer to catch all the smaller bits.

    6Transfer to containers and refrigerate for up to five days or freeze for up to 3 months.

    7After the stock has chilled, fat will rise to the surface. We usually leave this, but you can remove the fat for a leaner broth.

Adam and Joanne's Tips

  • Storing: Homemade chicken stock will last up to 4 days in the refrigerator. Freeze for up to 6 months. When filling your freezer-friendly containers, leave a little headspace for the stock to expand as it freezes.
  • The nutrition facts provided below are estimates. It was difficult to estimate actual numbers for this recipe, but we have done our best.
Nutrition Per Serving Serving Size 1 cup / Calories 12 / Protein 1 g / Carbohydrate 1 g / Dietary Fiber 0 g / Total Sugars 0 g / Total Fat 0 g / Saturated Fat 0 g / Cholesterol 0 mg / Sodium 343 mg
AUTHOR:  Adam and Joanne Gallagher
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24 comments… Leave a Review
  • Carol Cuevas November 12, 2023, 11:53 am

    This recipe is fantastic and so easy. I always make a batch with the leftover bones of rotisserie chickens. I think the flavors in the remaining bits of meat contribute nicely to the recipe. My family labels any dish I use this stock in rockstar, as in Rockstar Chicken Noodle or Rockstar gravy, LOL. I have so much of it in the freezer, I will boil pasta in it for appropriate dishes. It also add, depth of flavor to tabouli, couscous and rice. So, thanks for this easy rockstar recipe. It’s a keeper!

    Reply
    • Adam November 12, 2023, 2:55 pm

      You are so welcome and WOW. We really appreciate you coming back to leave such a kind review 🙂

      Reply
  • Molly September 8, 2023, 9:31 am

    What did I do wrong? The water kept disappearing and I had to keep adding more as time went on. By the time it was done simmering for the 4 hours the water had all evaporated!

    Reply
    • Joanne September 8, 2023, 4:30 pm

      Hi Molly, It sounds like you we over-simmering a bit. Next time, reduce the heat so that the stock is barely simmering. You can also partially cover the pot with its lid towards the end of cooking to prevent some reduction.

      Reply
    • Michelle Zadian Williams November 10, 2023, 11:58 pm

      I also wait until the last hour and a half to add all the vegetables as I find the can take on a burnt taste if cooked too long.

      Reply
  • ABF March 30, 2023, 7:56 pm

    What do you do with the chicken and veggies once drained? Thanks!

    Reply
    • Joanne September 8, 2023, 4:32 pm

      We typically discard them. While it’s possible to salvage some of the meat, it won’t have as much taste since it’s been simmering for so long.

      Reply
    • Michelle Zadian Williams November 10, 2023, 11:54 pm

      You can remove the meat from the bones after about 20 minutes and return the bones and cartilage back to the pot to continue for the rest of the time.

      Reply
  • Steve October 10, 2022, 5:32 pm

    Very nice. It’s what I was looking for. Used it with my grandma’s poor man’s soup recipe, which is a ton of roasted garlic, some cabbage and potato. Turned out very close to hers. Took me back to younger winter days.

    Reply
  • GEORGE P HEBERT April 16, 2022, 5:03 pm

    I am 88 and just finished making Chicken Stock, so very good.

    Reply
  • Bryan November 20, 2021, 10:01 am

    So good, so very easy to make! Used recipe as guide. Filled cast iron stock pot with onions, celery, etc. Plus added 3-lbs smoked turkey neck. Strained out amount of liquid needed for Thanksgiving. Everything else made three nice containers of veggie turkey soup for the freezer. Best part, zero salt.

    Reply
  • Kristin September 22, 2021, 5:08 am

    This looks delicious. What we usually do is we use coconut milk instead of cream minus the dry white wine. Instead of the basil, we use moringa leaves. Would like to give this a try and see the difference in taste. 🙂

    Reply
  • Audrey July 8, 2021, 8:58 am

    These recipes are right up my street can they be printed off

    Reply
    • Adam July 8, 2021, 2:36 pm

      Yes, just click the print button in the recipe area. That button will take you to a printer friendly version. Happy Cooking!

      Reply
  • Lana McKnight May 4, 2020, 1:20 am

    Used a roasted chicken carcass and added all other ingredients to my crockpot. Added water until the chicken was covered and then cooked on low for 8 hours and left it over night. Total time in the crockpot was probably 14 or 16 hours. I don’t remove the fat from my stock or broth because I eat low carb high fat and want the fat in my cooking.

    Reply
  • Lisa March 8, 2019, 4:18 pm

    Hi, I just want to say you guys are so awesome a real life saver. I recently got married and started to cook. I’d pick recipes from all over the internet & my husband was not very happy with them (don’t get me wrong he’s very appreciative of me cooking but none of them were his taste). One day I discovered your blog & decided to give it a go: I made the pulled chicken recipe & the tortilla soup and it was all golden from there! I’ve been making your recipes since then & really enjoying it. Your talents really shine through & you’ve simplified everything so cleverly it works nicely for working women & mothers. Thanks again!

    Reply
  • Allison MacKay December 5, 2018, 6:42 am

    I use a pressure cooker and save a lot of time and fuel/electricity. I also brown the chicken parts or roast them before cooking the stock. (or broth)

    Reply
  • Letizia November 19, 2018, 9:37 am

    Hi! Is it possible to use a slow cooker for this recipe? That would be so awesome!

    Reply
    • Joanne December 5, 2018, 1:17 pm

      Hi there, you can use your slow cooker. I’d expect that you will need to cook at HIGH for about 4 hours or on LOW for about 8 hours. I’d also suggest looking at our bone broth recipe. In that article/recipe, we share our method for using a slow cooker to make it.

      Reply
  • Oliver Schmid February 8, 2018, 1:02 pm

    I don’t add salt to any stock. Leave that for whatever dish you’re using it for as many ingredients already have sodium content. Same thing for the garlic. Many dishes don’t have garlic in them. Adding dill to the stock also limits it’s uses as dill is very powerful but seldom used in daily cooking which is what you’re making a stock for. If you put the herbs in a cheese cloth you don’t end up with little bits of vegetation that the strainer doesn’t catch. Those bits also end up rising to the top and getting trapped in the oil when you want them in the water. You also need to skim the natural scum that is released before straining it. I do that throughout the cooking period. With that scum I also skim the oil. If the oil has herbs in it they end up getting scooped up as well, another reason they should be in a cheese cloth. The refrigeration process solidifies the remaining fat making it easy to remove the last bits of it.

    Reply
  • Evelyn February 4, 2018, 12:09 pm

    Easy banana bread…. delish. Banana and blueberry muffins also just ready… smell & look gorgeous.. followed recipes to a t really.. can’t wait, SUCCESS THANKS SO MUCH

    Reply
    • Greg November 7, 2021, 1:55 am

      So this chicken stock makes great banana bread?!?! Where’s that recipe?!? I’d like to add that it makes for a great substitute for salmon in the grilled salmon recipe too!

      Reply
  • Eliana October 15, 2010, 11:12 am

    Homemade stock is so easy to make and is waaaay beter than the store-bought stuff. This recipe and technique looks like a keeper to me.

    Reply
    • inspiredtaste October 15, 2010, 11:21 am

      Thanks Eliana, it is the technique I was taught in school. It leaves you with a simple, clear and delicately flavored stock.

      Reply

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