Making your own Chicken Stock

homemade chicken and beef stockI can’t tell you how many times, as a boy, I accompanied my father to a restaurant he was cooking for, in the wee hours of the morning and, after donning jackets and aprons, and checking the inventory lists, the first job of the day was to start making stocks.

Chicken and beef trimmings, carcasses, and bones, leftover from prep done by the staff earlier, would get dumped into giant kettles on the back of the 6-burner.

Into each would go 5 gallons of water, a few handfuls of salt, herbs and spices, and another bucket of veggie trimming, likewise from prep earlier in the day, maybe a couple of peeled onions and a head of celery…a few healthy knobs of butter and each stock was brought to a boil and left to simmer for a few hours before the dinner rush began.

Stock is the super-glue that hold the kitchen together. Mashed potatoes too thick? Ladle in some stock…those chicken breasts starting to look a little dry under the hot lights of the pass-thru? Squirt a little broth on ’em. Want to toss that cooked pasta in something to add a little zip? You guessed it…

The bubbling caldrons of meaty nectar  were also the base for all soups, stews, gravies, and sauces. Much like a good sourdough, it was a constantly evolving flavor as it was ladled out, and refilled through-out the night.

Now, it’s likely that you’re seldom confronted with a cooking situation requiring 10 gallons of hot chicken stock, but a gallon batch will usually cover any need you may have tonight, as well as several future dishes.

Step 1 -Prep the skin, bones and left over meat for the stock pot. For a gallon of water, you’ll want 1 whole chicken carcass + skin (store-bought rotisserie chicken’s are great for this!) or the equivalent. If you bone out your own baked chicken (you watched the video, right?) you’re ready to go!

homemade chicken and beef stock

Step 2 -Prep/gather the veggies you’ll be using. Whole veggies and/or peels & ends (onions, carrots, potatoes, celery, mushroom stems, cabbage, etc.) A lot of times, if I know I’ll be making stock later in the week, I’ll keep a gallon baggie in the fridge for saving trimmings during the week. Just wash everything well,  and chop it all coarse, as you’ll be straining out all the solids anyway. I like to split a couple of head of garlic, and maybe a chuck of ginger through the middle and toss it in too.

Stems and extra pieces from chopped herbs like basil, parsley, oregano, etc…are very nice in the stockpot, too. This is how you go “nose-to-tail” with your veggies!



homemade chicken and beef stock

Step 3 – Add all to a stock pot over med-high heat (I tossed a couple of lemon-rinds, and some asparagus stems in as well), cover with water, and season with salt & pepper to taste. Bring to stock just to a boil, then lower heat and simmer at least 1 hour.

To help your stock stay clear, and grit-free, use a large wooden spoon to skim off any foam that gathers on top.


homemade chicken and beef stock

Step 4 – Once stock has simmered at least an hour (2-3 are better) ladle out solids and toss. Then pour the stock through a fine sieve or cheese cloth to clear.

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homemade chicken and beef stock

Step 5 – Return to heat and low simmer another 1-3 hours to reduce volume, and intensify flavors.

homemade chicken and beef stock

So…you need two cups of chicken stock for that recipe tonight, but you’ll lookin’ at a gallon of the stuff steamin’ on the stove…now what do you do with it?

Here’s what I do…

Pick up a couple of cheap plastic ice cube trays, and use a sharpie to write “BROTH” or “STOCK” on both sides (you don’t ever want to make ice in these again…trust me!) Allow your broth to cool completely, skim off any skin or fat from the top*, and ladle your stock into the ice-cube trays. Freeze, and then pop your “stock cubes” into a zippie bag for easy access later.

homemade chicken and beef stock

Next time you need some stock…a few seconds in the microwave, and you’ll be ready to cook!

*If you’re really watching those fat grams, chill that pot of stock overnight, and remove all of the hardened fat that gathers on the top. You’ll lose a little flavor, but you’ll be able to look your doctor in the eye!

Any questions? Post ’em below!



10 thoughts on “Making your own Chicken Stock

  1. Definitely have done the ice tray trick with lots of stuff, from olive oil and fresh herbs to keep them from spoiling to freezing broths–great tip! I’m just not a fan of the smell of chicken or turkey broth, so keeping it simmering on the stove top wouldn’t be a good thing for me. I like how broths can use all the leftover junk you usually would waste and throw away though–veggie tops and outer skins that have flavor and lots of nutrition, but they usually go in the garbage–throw those into a stock pot! I make fish stock all the time for lobster bisque–you’d think I’d hate the smell of that more than the smell of chicken stock, but I don’t–chicken stock just stinks! LOL

    Have you guys ever done a lobster bisque recipe? The first time I made it, it was so divine–absolutely wonderful. I haven’t been able to recreate it since, and of course, I didn’t write down what I did. Live and learn. It’s good, don’t get me wrong, but something is missing.

    I’ve love to see ya’ll do a bisque and a fish stock recipe in the future! I just love bisques!

  2. When I was much younger and really strapped for money, I woul bake a chiken for one meal and then steam most of the rest of the meat off for soup and THEN I would cook up the carcass for stock and use it for soup etc. You can cream the meat you steam off the bone and serve with rice, noodle,etc.. buy a can of cream soup or make a sauce yourself. Sure brought my husband and I through some hard times, But we still ate well. Gee the price of eggs and milk were so low we had a lot of custard pies and rice pudding!
    One of the secrets of being a good cook is to be able to put together a tasty wholesome meal when surprise guests come ! Bon apetit”
    I always try to cook up my left over veggies for my veggie sto
    ck even the ends of asparagus

    • Margaret, thanks for sharing…I know exactly what you mean (been there) lol. If fact, I was at the butcher’s counter the other day and a young couple ahead of me were buying a beautiful wild steelhead, fresh in that morning. The butcher offered to fillet it for them, and they agreed. When he was done, he asked them if they would like the head and trimmings, to which the wife, visibly repulsed, said “Eww…NO!”

      Before I could speak up, he had tossed it in the trash.

      It was heartbreaking, lol.

      -Chef Perry

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  5. Looking at the chicken wings above, reminds me of my favourite, easy chicken wings recipe.
    You will need:
    1 kg chicken wings
    Fresh ginger root
    Soy sauce

    Wash the wings properly. Make sure no feathers left.
    Drain the wings
    In a casserole, put pour olive oil (any vegetable oil will do)
    When oil is warm to hot pour in the chopped garlic and ginger til golden brown
    Then pour the wings into the casserole and stir a bit
    Put water into the casserole and till the wings are tender. Make sure not much water left
    And lastly pour in the honey and stir and wait till the wings look sticky
    And that’s it. The wings come far better than ‘McDonald’s ones.

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