(Works for turkey too!)
With Sharon Peterson
What’s the Difference Between Homemade Chicken Broth & Homemade Chicken Stock?
Many people (including me) use the terms homemade chicken broth and stock interchangeably. Some folks say they are different, some say they are the same. From what I have read, they are different.
My understanding of the difference:
- Homemade Chicken Stock is made from the bones of a chicken carcass, or less meaty chicken parts. The neck, back, and wings are examples. Or it uses the carcass from a roasted chicken meal. This turns out to be a darker, richer color and flavor.
- Homemade Chicken Broth is made from meatier chicken pieces with the meat on. The meat is removed (saved for casseroles, etc.) and the bones further cooked. It has a lighter color and flavor.
Both homemade chicken broth and stock benefit from adding vegetables to the stock when you cook it. It is not required, but since I’ve started adding those veggies, my broth is soooo much nicer! I highly recommend giving it a try. Easy chicken stock (and yummy too).
First, Make Homemade Chicken Broth
Gather your supplies
- large stock pot or pressure canner
- large spoons
- sharp knife
- towels and dish cloths
Chicken pieces: Any chicken parts will do. I prefer to skin my pieces, but again, it is not necessary. Approximately 6 pounds will be enough for a batch in my large stock pot. (This is with meat on. If you have bones, you won’t need as much.) I usually get at least 7 quarts out of this.
Vegetables and seasonings are optional. This could include 2-3 stalks of celery (chopped in large chunks), 2 onions (quartered), or 2-3 carrots (chopped in large chunks). OR if you have leftovers collected, use a large baggy full of veggie leftovers, onion skins, celery hearts, carrot ends/peelings, etc.
Basic Chicken Stock or Broth Recipe
Place chicken pieces in stock pot. Fill with water. Bring to a boil. Add vegetables and seasonings if you are going to use them. Simmer until chicken is done, about 1 hour.
Use a slotted spoon or tongs to remove chicken pieces. Let the chicken pieces cool until you can handle them well enough to remove the meat. Remove the meat from the bones and save for other uses. (It’s great for chicken enchiladas, chicken casseroles, etc.)
Cut or break any large bones into shorter pieces if at all possible. (This might not be the case, and that’s okay.) Be careful not to burn yourself. Return the bones to the stock pot. Don’t be too fanatical about this step. If you are handling a thigh bone that won’t easily break, it is not a big deal. Just toss it back into the pot. The purpose is to allow the water more access to the nutritious marrow in the bones.
Crockpot Method for Making Homemade Chicken Broth
I use this more and more. Check this out!
If you only have a few bones, this is a great way to make broth. This is the option I go to more and more often. The broth turns out so full of gelatin from the bones that it sets up when you cool it. Super, super healthy!
Place your bones in a crockpot and cook them overnight. You can even cook them two days if time is busy. Ask me how I know! 🙂
With this method, I’ve even cooked the bones for one day, retrieved the broth, added new water, and cooked the bones again another day. It works.
The only downfall is if you have a lot of bones, you are limited to how much you can make at a time. I’ll usually do this and just freeze or use this broth right away as it doesn’t make a full 7 quarts to fill a canner. You can can it in pints to fill a canner more easily. Either way is great.
Next, you have 2 options to cook the carcass and bones:
- Simmer on low for several hours. The more you simmer, the better. 4-6 hours (or more)!
- Another option is to use a pressure canner and pressure at 10 pounds pressure for 1 hour. Allow canner to release pressure and continue recipe. This saves a lot of time and brings out more of the nutrition from the bones. It is debatable as far as what this pressure does to the nutrition of the broth. It is much better than that commercial broth full of salt and preservatives.
Remove chicken pieces and vegetables. Discard. Strain broth to remove any small bones and pieces left in the broth. I have a colander that I use. You can use cheesecloth if you want a very clear broth. I don’t mind little bits, so the colander is good for me.
Now you have a nice, nutritious, homemade chicken broth for use in recipes. This can be frozen or canned.
Many people who are cutting back on fat will allow the broth to cool, so they can remove the fat. I don’t bother with this step…but it is an option. Allow the broth to cool, and then place in the fridge to chill completely. The next morning, there will be a layer of fat floating on top. It is easy to remove that fat with a slotted spoon before storing your broth.
Quick Tips for Making Homemade Chicken Broth & Stock…
Save leftover chicken bones or carcasses and vegetables in your freezer until you have enough to make your chicken broth or stock. Keep a couple of freezer baggies reserved just for this. One for onion skins, carrot peelings, or celery stems and the other for chicken bones.
Melissa writes in with some extra tips…
“I save the scraps from veggies and use those instead of using fresh, whole veggies. So carrot peels and ends, onion skins and ends, the small pieces of garlic that are too difficult to peel to use, the ends of celery or the leaves when I’m making recipes where those aren’t really practical to use, the stems from thyme and rosemary (I grow both in my garden and basement year round, so I’m always using fresh).
I keep them in a freezer bag in my freezer and when I make beef/chicken/lamb stock I use the scraps. Then I don’t feel bad about throwing them away b/c they would have been thrown away anyway.
For vegetable stock I save all of the above and mushroom stems, leek tops, spinach that’s no longer edible, small pieces of ginger, broccoli and cauliflower ends and asparagus ends. Again, when it’s all done, I would have thrown them away anyway but this way they add a great flavor to my stocks before they get thrown away!”
Thank you, Melissa. I’d not thought of saving herbs and some of the other veggies you mention.
Canning Your Homemade Chicken Broth
Gather your supplies:
- pressure canner
- canning jars
- canning seals and rings
- jar lifter
- canning funnel
- chicken broth
Start by preparing jars and getting water in your canner heating. If you are not familiar with how a pressure canner works, check this page.
Pour hot broth into hot jars. Wipe the rims clean, remove any air bubbles, and place on your lids and rings. Leave 1 inch headspace. Process using pressure canning instructions.
(Remember, always adjust for your altitude.)
- Pints – process for 20 minutes
- Quarts – process for 25 minutes
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In this image, there is basic chicken stock made with veggies on the left and chicken broth made without veggies on the right.