Basic Chicken Stock

Ah, chicken stock. It’s just about the easiest thing you can make in the kitchen. And darn near the most useful. It goes like this: put water and chicken bones in a pot and cook them.

Well… there are a few details we should discuss before just jumping right to the recipe. First, the stock we will end up with has little in common with the chicken stock or broth that comes in a can or a carton at the grocery store. Ours will basically be chicken-flavored Jell-o! Once finished, you will need to scoop it out of the jar with a spoon. This gelatinous recipe is good for a few reasons:

1. It’s concentrated.

Think about this. It takes a whole chicken to make 22 ounces of stock — less than two (14.5 oz) cans of stock you get at the store. How many chickens do you think are in that can? I’d guess they make about 6-8 cans of stock from one chicken carcass. Concentrated stock occupies way less space in your refrigerator, and it lasts longer – even once it’s opened.

2. It’s simple and versatile.

Because all you need is a chicken and some water, there will never be a time when you think, “I wish I had a leftover onion, carrot, and some celery so I can make chicken stock”. And since there is nothing else in it, you can use it for everything and adjust the flavor as needed.

3. It’s good for you.

Yep. Gelatin is good for your bones, gut, and some say even your brain.

For recipes that call for chicken stock, I usually add some water (about 2 parts water to 1 part stock), depending on the recipe. I often use it full-strength in my own cooking for luscious velvety-thick sauces.

I also keep whatever rendered fat comes through because a layer of fat on top helps preserve the stock, and it’s available there if I ever want to cook with it (which I do!).

As you can see, I use a 2.5-quart sauce pan and with the chicken and water combined, it gets almost to the top. After an hour or so, use a sturdy spatula to chop and mash the bones.

Once finished (about 4 hours), you might need to simmer the stock down a bit more so it will all fit in the jar. Too much simmering is OK – you can always add a little water to bring it up to the top.


Basic Chicken Stock

Recipe by Dan PsomasDifficulty: Easy


Prep time


Cooking time



Keep a jar of this gelatinous stock in the fridge and use a spoon to scoop out what you need. With a layer of fat on top, this will keep, refrigerated, for at least 2 months.


  • 1 chicken carcass

  • 6-7 cups water


  • Cut up a whole chicken or use frozen chicken bones from past meals.
  • Put about 4 cups water into a medium sized pot. Water should cover or almost cover the bones.
  • Bring the water to a boil, then turn down the heat until just simmering. Cover, leaving the lid slightly off-kilter to allow some steam to escape and discourage boiling over.
  • Cook for an hour or so, then use a spatula, spoon, or some other kitchen tool to break up the bones at the joints. Broken bones make good broth, so no need to be gentle here. If possible, try to get all the bones submerged at this point, or just turn them over so that all the bone parts are submerged for a couple of hours.
  • Check/chop/mix up the stock periodically (maybe hourly?). As long as everything is underwater, it’s not critical to stir the pot, but doing so may help dislodge some bones and allow the gelatin within to melt into the broth.
  • After about four hours, remove the larger bones with tongs and let the broth cool slightly (just to make it easier to handle). Then pour the remaining mess into a sieve or chinois to strain. Press the carcass pieces into the strainer to get every last golden drop! Use a fat separator to skim off the fat (if desired).
  • Add up to 1/2 cup of hot water to the jar if necessary to bring the broth within 1/2″ to 1″ of the top. Place a fitted lid onto the jar and allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating.


  • With a layer of fat, jars last in my fridge for at least six weeks unopened; sometimes up to three months. Once opened, the stock will last another couple of weeks. Liquid will form on the top once you scoop some out. That’s fine. You can tell it is starting to go bad when the liquid part gets a little milky and it smells slightly sour.

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