Homemade chicken stock is a great way to enhance the flavor of sauces, stews, and soups. Follow this easy step-by-step guide to create a flavorful homemade stock for a variety of recipes made from scratch!
💭 Is chicken stock and chicken broth the same thing?
Chicken stock is made from a compilation of bones, vegetables, herbs, and water. Simmered together for a long time, this pulls out a ton of flavor for a richer stock. Homemade chicken broth uses chicken meat instead of bones. Broth simmers for a shorter amount of time so there is less depth of flavor.
Making chicken stock can take a little bit of time, however, it's a great recipe to make in bulk and store for use later. Making your own stock provides so much more flavor than the carton at the grocery store and it is also cheaper than store-bought stock. Making homemade stock is also a great way to use up a leftover carcass from a whole chicken.
🍗 Ingredient notes
- Chicken - When I make homemade chicken stock, I use the leftover chicken carcasses that I have saved from cutting up a whole chicken in chicken pieces. You can also use a carcass from a leftover rotisserie chicken or roast chicken. Leftover bones from deboning fresh chicken will also work. When cutting up a whole chicken for pieces or deboning chicken, save the leftovers in the freezer to use when you make stock.
- Vegetables - Onions, carrots, celery, and garlic are what I use to make a basic chicken stock from scratch. Leeks, shallots, or parsnips are other great additions. Leftover vegetable scraps stored in the freezer can be used to reduce kitchen waste.
- Herbs - Fresh herbs like thyme, rosemary, sage, and parsley add a great earthy flavor to the stock. Some grocery stores will sell a "poultry" style bundle of herbs which also works great. I like adding some dried bay leaves as well as whole peppercorns to the herb pouch for additional flavor.
📋 Substitutions and variations
- For richer stock, roast the bones or carcass in a large roasting pan in a hot oven until well browned. Add them to a large pot of water to simmer. While the stock is simmering, brown the vegetables in the same pan with a little bit of olive oil on the stovetop. Once browned, add them to the pot of stock and then deglaze the pan with a bit of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits and add it and the liquid to the pot. Follow the directions for simmering the stock as directed below.
- Customize the flavor of your stock - add pieces of fresh ginger, sliced jalapeños, dill, or turmeric.
🔪 Step by step instructions
First, add the chicken carcass or bones to the bottom of a large stock pot and add cold water to cover. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium-high heat and then reduce to a low simmer.
Let the mixture simmer for 30 minutes, making sure to skim the top to remove anything that floats to the top.
Place the parsley, rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaves, and peppercorns in the middle of the cheesecloth. Tie everything up into a bundle using the cooking twine.
Add the pouch and vegetables to the stock and add more water, if needed, so everything is covered.
Let the stock simmer for 3-4 hours, skimming the top and adding enough water to cover the ingredients if needed.
After the stock has finished cooking, strain the entire contents of the pot through a fine mesh strainer or cheesecloth then cool it completely. After the chicken stock has completely cooled, it can be stored for later use or used immediately.
If you ever don't recognize a tool or skill that I mention, be sure to look it up in our Glossary of Cooking Terms and Definitions for more information.
⭐ Expert tips
- Make sure to grab a large stock pot with enough room to hold the ingredients and water. One that is 8-12 quarts should be large enough as this recipe yields approximately 1 gallon of homemade stock.
- Skim the top of the stock during the first bit of time simmering. This will give you the best flavor and texture of your homemade chicken stock.
- For a super clear stock, cheesecloth in combination with a fine-mesh strainer to further strain stock again.
- Make sure to cool the stock as quickly as possible after cooking to avoid it sitting at an unsafe temperature and possibly growing bacteria. If you have a very large batch of stock, consider putting it in multiple smaller containers so it cools faster.
- After cooling the stock, you will see a layer of fat that collects on the stock. You can remove this before storing it for less fat content in your dish.
🥡 Storage suggestions
This homemade chicken stock recipe will keep in airtight containers or in mason jars for 2-3 days in the refrigerator and up to 6 months in the freezer. Make sure to always let the stock cool completely before storing it.
This stock can be stored in freezer-safe containers, bags, deli containers, or even ice cube trays. I like to save mine in smaller portions so it defrosts easily and is easy to use for recipes.
🍗 Recipes to use homemade chicken stock
- Chicken Pesto Orzo
- Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Orzo Soup with Lemon
- Dutch Oven Chicken and Rice
- Chicken Vesuvio
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 1 chicken carcass raw or cooked
- cold water
- 1 large yellow onion
- 3 large carrots
- 3 large celery stalks
- 1 whole bay leaf
- 2-3 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2-3 sprigs fresh sage
- 2 cloves cloves crushed
- ½ teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- Add the chicken carcass to the bottom of a large stock pot and cover with cold water.
- Heat over medium high heat on the stovetop until it begans to simmer and then reduce the heat to medium low.
- Simmer the stock for 30 minutes, skimming the top occasionally to remove any scum.
- While the stock is simmering, chope the onions, carrots and celery into large pieces.
- After 30 minutes of simmering, add the vegetables and herb bundle to the pot and continue to simmer for 3-4 hours, adding extra water as needed so everything stays covered.
- After simmering, strain the stock to remove the carcass, herbs and vegetables.
- Use the stock immediately or cool completely and store for use later.
- A with enough room to hold the ingredients and water is needed approximately 8-12 quarts. The stock yields approximately 1 gallon of stock.
- Skim the top of the stock during the first bit of time simmering and use a strainer and/or cheesecloth to strain the stock. This will give the best flavor and texture.
- Cool the stock as quickly as possible after cooking. A large batch of stock can be put in multiple smaller containers to cool quickly.
- After cooling, the layer of fat can be removed before storing
Substitutions and Variations
- For richer stock, roast the carcass in a large roasting pan in a hot oven until well browned. Add them to a large pot of water to simmer. While the stock is simmering, brown the vegetables in the same pan with a little bit of olive oil on the stovetop. Once browned, add them to the pot of stock and then deglaze the pan with a bit of water. Scrape the bottom of the pan to remove any browned bits and add it and the liquid to the pot. Follow the directions for simmering the stock as directed below.
- Customize the flavor of your stock by adding pieces of fresh ginger, sliced jalapeños, dill, or turmeric.