Chicken/ Condiments/ Recipes/ Slow Cooker/ Soup

Homemade Chicken Broth {Crock Pot and Stove Top}

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I’m a big believer in the power of chicken broth.

After coming down with a terrible stomach bug two weeks ago and nursing myself back to health on the good stuff {homemade broth that my friend made}, I vowed that I NEVER would be without my own homemade broth ever again. Especially during cold and flu season! It’s just way too easy to make and keep in the freezer to always have on hand. Plus, if you’re like me, you’re constantly buying the stuff for $3.99 at grocery store. I feel like I buy quarts of chicken broth every single week because I cook with it so often.

Making your own saves money and you get the satisfaction of cooking with homemade broth! I used the above broth in a roast pork recipe last weekend and loved knowing that every bit of our dinner was made by scratch, down to the sauce. I guess it takes a true foodie nerd like me to get excited about stuff like that.

To confirm my nerdiness even more, I’ll tell you that I spent all day Saturday testing batches of broth that I had made both on the stove and in my crock pot….and loved every second of it. I’ll give you the breakdown on both methods here so you can pick the one that best suits you. I know this might not seem like the most exciting recipe in the world, but I promise you’ll be so glad you made your own broth! I plan to make broth like this at least once a month so I never run out or have to buy it from the store again. Plus, it’s incredibly great to sip on and has tons of vitamins and minerals in it.

So take THAT cold and flu season!! You can’t hurt this house anymore.

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Why hello Mr Chicken. You’re looking all pretty, free range and organic today.

Making your own chicken broth is super easy if you like to roast a lot of chickens like we do. Roast chicken is one of Adam’s favorite meals that I make and previously, I always just tossed the leftover carcass and bones when we were through. Not anymore! Save all those unseemly bits in a big ziploc bag to make broth! I roasted this chicken last Friday night then tossed the carcass in a bag in the fridge. I used it to make broth on Saturday morning. You can also freeze the carcass and bones if you don’t think you’ll be able to make a batch of broth the next day after your roast chicken.

Alternatively, you can also use chicken bones for your broth. These can easily be bought at the butcher, if not your local grocery store meat counter. I used the leftover roasted chicken for the stove top broth below and used two pounds of frozen chicken bones that I bought for $3 at the butcher for the crock pot variation. Both turned out excellent!

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The ingredients for broth are basically the same ingredients you would use to make chicken soup. You probably already have most, if not all, of these ingredients in your kitchen right now. A splash of white vinegar is added to help leach minerals out of the bones while they simmer — you can’t taste it at all in the final product, though, don’t worry.

For the stove top variation, I just simmered everything in a big ol’ stock pot for 12 hours. For the crock pot variation, I brought a big pot of water to a boil {per my butcher’s instructions} and poured it over all the ingredients in the slow cooker. I turned the slow cooker on low and cooked for 20 hours. Anything from 12-24 hours is ideal and, of course, if you’re using your crock pot you can easily do this overnight. That’s what I did.

Storing your homemade broth is incredibly easy and convenient. Just ladle out 1 quart portions into heavy duty ziploc bags. Place bags flat in the freezer and stack them. To defrost, just pull one bag out and place in a sink full of warm water for 30 minutes. Ta-dah!

The day after I made all this broth, Adam came down with a pretty icky head cold. Of course I wasn’t happy that my beloved was under the weather, but I was excited to test out the healing properties of my homemade broth on a sick person. He happily gulped down a few mugs – the guy loves drinking chicken broth – and felt a ton better the next morning.

I rest my case. Make the broth. Your family will thank you!

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Homemade Chicken Broth: Stove Top Method

yields about 3 quarts broth

Print this Recipe!


1 whole chicken carcass from a leftover roasted chicken

cold, filtered water

1/4 cup white vinegar

1 large yellow onion, rough chop

1 large carrot, rough chop

1 stalk celery, rough chop

1/4 tsp black peppercorns

2 bay leaves

8 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled

small bunch of parsley

about 1 1/2 tsp salt


Place chicken carcass in a large, heavy stock pot. Cover with water (about 4″ higher than chicken) then add the vinegar and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a VERY slow simmer and onion, carrot, celery, peppercorns, bay leaves, garlic, parsley and salt.

Keep broth at a very low simmer, making sure it doesn’t come back and boil again, for 12 hours. After 12 hours, strain broth into a large bowl using cheesecloth. Place strained broth in the fridge to chill for about 4 hours (overnight works, too). When broth is cold, you can easily skim the fat from the surface. Discard fat and ladle portions of broth into individual ziploc bags for the freezer (make sure your ziploc bags are good quality – no one wants leaky broth!).

Broth will keep frozen for up to 4 months and will keep in the fridge, covered, for 5 days.


~14 hours

Crock Pot Method

Bring a large pot of water to boil. Place all ingredients into the crock pot then pour the boiling water over top. You can also use 2 lbs chicken bones instead of the carcass. Most butchers will have these in the back and sell them to you for ridiculously cheap.

Turn crock pot on LOW and cook for 12-24 hours. Strain, cool, skim and store according to previous directions.

**Cheesecloth can be easily found inexpensively at Bed, Bath and Beyond. Reuse your cheesecloth by washing with gentle dishsoap and water, ringing out well and hanging to dry (cheesecloth dries in about 15 minutes because it’s so thin).

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  • Michelle @ A Healthy Mrs
    January 21, 2014 at 4:27 am

    Love good homemade broth — I need to make time to make it! 🙂

  • Madison
    January 21, 2014 at 4:42 am

    That crockpot method is FOOL proof! I cannot wait to try it and have been making crockpot chicken–roasting the chicken that way. Got use of those carcasses now. 🙂 thanks!

  • Angela @ Eat Spin Run Repeat
    January 21, 2014 at 4:51 am

    Ooh this is exactly what I wish I’d had on hand when I was making soup this weekend! I hope both you and Adam are feeling better. It’s just become super cold here again this week and I’m totally in the mood for a nice warm soup… I know what’s for dinner! 🙂

  • DessertForTwo
    January 21, 2014 at 4:56 am

    And since the temperature just dropped again, it’s time to make this! Thanks for testing your methods for us 🙂

  • Kelsey @aslolife
    January 21, 2014 at 5:06 am

    I love making homemade broth using leftover roasted chicken. I feel so much less wasteful using all of the chicken too. And it tastes so much better than the store bought stuff!

  • Traci
    January 21, 2014 at 5:08 am

    This is useful. Chicken broth is extremely necessary in my life as well, but I normally buy the boxed stuff from Trader Joe’s. Also, I’m embarrassed to say that I’ve never thought about reusing cheesecloth before. Granted, I’ve mostly used cheesecloth for making ricotta cheese, and it gets…saturated. But, still!

  • Chicago Jogger
    January 21, 2014 at 5:22 am

    I have to admit I’ve never made my own chicken broth. Thanks for the tips:) I buy the chicken bouillon “powder” where you can make your own chicken broth at home. It is such a time and $ saver! But homemade broth wins every time, hands down.

  • taylor @ taylormade
    January 21, 2014 at 5:30 am

    I can’t believe I’ve never made my own chicken broth, but I haven’t. this definitely makes me want to give it a go though! thanks for all of your experimenting and taste testing 🙂

  • Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama}
    January 21, 2014 at 6:18 am

    I use the crockpot method (but I don’t boil the water first) and it’s so easy. I add apple cider vinegar and let it sit a while before I turn the crockpot on to help draw more mineral from the bones. This is one instance where homemade is much, much better than store bought!

  • elizabeth @ chronic venture
    January 21, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Hi Jenna! This broth looks awesome! I was wondering if you would suggest adding additional water to the stovetop broth you make as you cook it? I’ve had lots of evaporation happen previous times I have made broth on the stove. Or perhaps covering with a lid would help prevent this?

    • jenna
      January 21, 2014 at 9:46 am

      I did add a ton of water at the beginning. I used a pretty large chicken (4 lbs originally before we ate off it) and then filled my pot up to the top with with cold water. If you notice the water really becoming low while simmering, you can add a bit more water in. I wouldn’t cover with a lid completely but you could cover it halfway.

    • Gloria
      January 21, 2014 at 10:54 am

      When I make my broths, whether it’s chicken beef or vegetable I always remove the lid for the last 45 minutes to let some of the water evaporate. It concentrates the broth so you wind up with a much richer more flavorful broth.

      • Christina
        February 28, 2014 at 7:04 am

        Thanks for the tip Gloria!

  • Andrea@The Skinny Chronicles
    January 21, 2014 at 6:42 am

    Homemade chicken broth is a must. It always breaks my heart when I run out and have to open a store bought carton. I hope Adam feels better. Wishing you a healthy rest-of-winter (and beyond, of course.)

  • erin @hooleywithaz
    January 21, 2014 at 6:44 am

    i have a chicken carcass in my freezer for this very purpose, but i haven’t found a stock/broth recipe i’ve wanted to try yet. this might just be it!

  • Erin | The Law Student's Wife
    January 21, 2014 at 6:47 am

    There is nothing like knowing that every ounce of a meal was made from scratch! It makes me feel somehow more wholesome and connected to generations of cooks before me. Is that nerdy? I don’t care! It’s the power of the broth 🙂

  • The Spatularettes
    January 21, 2014 at 7:22 am

    I roasted a chicken yesterday and tossed the carcass in the trash. I’m totally regretting that now, especially since I’m home with a snowday and would love my apartment to smell of slowly simmering chicken broth! Definitely not making that mistake again.

  • Sarah
    January 21, 2014 at 8:50 am

    I’m glad you posted about this!

    Do you have any tips for handling the cheesecloth? When I’ve made it in the past, I always have a hard time with that step – securing the cheesecloth so it doesn’t immediately sink in when you pour the broth. I also find that I have to strain it a few times.

    Now you need to make Matzo Balls!

    • jenna
      January 21, 2014 at 9:44 am

      What I do is just use a HUGE piece of cheesecloth and lightly drape it over a big bowl that’s sitting in the sink. I sort of pull the cheesecloth with my hands while I slowly pour the broth in so it doesn’t sink. I didn’t have any problems with that method last weekend. And yes, I’ve never tried Matzo balls – that’s next!

  • Laura@SneakersandSpatulas
    January 21, 2014 at 9:13 am

    I do always feel like I’m buying chicken stock non-stop for recipes! I am going to try this. About how much does it make?

    • jenna
      January 21, 2014 at 9:43 am

      This yields about 3 quarts – so roughly 12 cups broth.

  • Jasline @ Foodie Baker
    January 21, 2014 at 9:23 am

    The power of homemade broth! I will definitely make mine in the future, thank you for the recipe!

  • Tracy
    January 21, 2014 at 9:31 am

    Freezing works great, but I’ve started canning my homemade broths, and they’ll last much longer than 4 months, and leave valuable freezer space. I bought an organic turkey for Thanksgiving, and paid $56 for it. I saved the carcass, and made 16 quarts of broth, and canned it. That turkey was CHEAP when you figure how many meals we got from it, and the broth as a bonus.

    • jenna
      January 21, 2014 at 9:43 am

      That’s awesome!! Totally doing that next Thanksgiving.

  • Bryony @ Bryony Cooks
    January 21, 2014 at 9:44 am

    I love making my own broths and always have some on hand! Such a great way to use every part of the chicken and it tastes great!

  • Melissa
    January 21, 2014 at 10:04 am

    Hi Jenna!

    I’m glad you posted this – I’m planning on making some this weekend. I do have a question though…I’m from the south, so whenever we use chicken in recipes (like Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken and Dumplin’s, Chicken Noodle Soup, etc.), my Grandma always taught me to boil a whole chicken for about an hour and a half. Does the flavor develop more the more time the carcass is simmered? I am just curious…obviously, I would take the chicken off of the bone after about an hour and a half. Just thought I’d ask! 🙂 Thanks!

    • jenna
      January 21, 2014 at 10:08 am

      Yep! That’s exactly right. The longer you boil the chicken carcass, the more intense (and nutritious!) the broth becomes.

      • betsy
        January 21, 2014 at 4:05 pm

        actually what i learned in culinary school was that you shouldn’t cook chicken stock longer than 3-4 hours, because it starts developing off flavors. you get all the extraction of nutrients and gelatin in the first couple hours. also, technically if you use bones to make it it’s called a stock, and if you use meat (like a whole chicken or chicken pieces) to make it it’s called a broth. just fyi. 🙂

        • jenna
          January 21, 2014 at 5:00 pm

          I guess there’s just different ways to do it then! We learned at my culinary school to simmer for 12-24 hours for max flavor. Interesting!

  • Gloria
    January 21, 2014 at 10:51 am

    I always make my own chicken, beef and vegetable broth. The canned broths just don’t measure up and I honestly don’t think they’re even real food LOL. I make my chicken broth exactly the way you do but wondering what the vinegar does. I’ve never seen vinegar in a recipe for chicken broth before so what am I missing?

    • Christina
      February 28, 2014 at 7:08 am

      There are conflicting opinions on it, but the vinegar is thought to help leech some minerals out of the bone.

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  • Laura-Ashley
    January 21, 2014 at 11:26 am

    This post came at the perfect time! I was planning to roast a chicken tomorrow and make homemade broth afterwards, but was looking for a good recipe. Using this one this week! Thanks!!

  • Erica Brooks
    January 21, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    Hi! Is this something yo could do with the carcass from a rotisserie chicken to save time?

  • Crystal @ Simply Playful Fare
    January 21, 2014 at 12:02 pm

    I love making my own chicken broth. What a great idea, to modify your recipe for the Crock Pot!

  • Caitlyn
    January 21, 2014 at 3:12 pm

    I made your mom’s homemade chicken soup the last time I was sick. By Golly, it is the reason that I got healthy so soon!

    I’m bound to make this soon, especially if anyone I know gets sick.

  • Coty and Mariah@quirksandtwists
    January 21, 2014 at 3:26 pm

    I am so happy to have something like this. I’ve always wondered if chicken broth could be made in a slow cooker. Thanks for this!

  • jan
    January 21, 2014 at 3:36 pm

    We like roast chicken too, and I throw away the scraps every time. Oops!! I pinned your recipe–definitely trying it next time!

  • Laura @ Live, Run, Sparkle
    January 21, 2014 at 6:02 pm

    This seems so easy, especially the crockpot method. I’m sitting here wondering why I have never looked into doing this sooner. Thanks for the recipe, can’t wait to try it!

    Hope you both are feeling much better soon 🙂

  • Positivehealthgoodlife
    January 22, 2014 at 2:59 am

    Making your own broth is exciting, Thanks for this. Definitely have to try it

    January 24, 2014 at 7:29 am

    Do you have a good roast chicken recipe?

  • Sarah
    January 24, 2014 at 7:34 am

    Thanks so much for these recipes. Broth has such amazing healing abilities!!

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  • Rey'na
    January 29, 2014 at 6:41 pm

    So glad I came across your site. Yours is the only one I could find how to make it on the stove. Thank you!

  • Carmen Shaffer
    February 1, 2014 at 11:39 am

    This was a great post! I love roasting chicken at home as well, but I never keep the remains for stock…pure laziness…that’s changing! Cheers!

  • Victoria
    February 4, 2014 at 5:00 am

    Made the stove top version on Sunday and it turned out great! I only cooked it for 6 hours because I was short of time, but I’m really interested in trying out the crock pot one next. Great recipe.

  • JP
    February 19, 2014 at 6:27 am

    Made this over the weekend on the crockpot…incredible. Used it to make potato leek soup and chicken curry. Both came out delicious.

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  • Christina
    February 28, 2014 at 7:09 am

    I’ve got a head/chest cold and had a leftover carcass from a rotisserie chicken. I’ve got it going in the crock pot! Can’t wait to drink it 🙂 Thanks for the crock pot option!!

  • Brenna
    March 8, 2014 at 12:19 pm

    How much water should I boil and add to the crock pot? Did I miss some indication as to how much it should cover the carcass and other ingredients???

  • Sharon
    April 16, 2014 at 5:32 pm

    I make slow cooker chicken broth all the time. My favorite roast chicken recipe is from Cooks Illustrated, French Chicken in a Pot. Once made, I simply take the carcass out of the cast enamel cookpot and pull out my slow cooker, add the crunched carcass, water, veggies, spices and put it on to cook for the entire night. In the morning, I have chicken broth with almost no additional work except straining. No need to store the carcass and cook it another time. Love the time savings and taste.


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  • Debi Gordon
    September 9, 2014 at 12:12 pm

    Hi, i didnt read all the comments,but was just wondering…so, what does the vinegar do?
    I keep my bones and veggie scraps in freezer too,seperately of course:-). Didn’t know this could be done in crockpot, thanx!

  • Joanne
    November 28, 2014 at 4:24 pm

    Works great with the leftoverThanksgiving turkey carcass too! Thanks!