Today we’re making the homemade version of one of the most beloved pantry staples: chicken broth!
Chicken broth is one of the most widely used ingredients for many recipes such as soups, stews, pasta, and rice dishes. Today, I’m going step by step to show you how you can make your homemade broth with simple ingredients and store it for future use.
What is Chicken Broth
A light, flavorful liquid made from simmered chicken meat, vegetables, and seasonings- it’s the go-to liquid for all things cooking and a staple ingredient in every pantry.
While purchasing chicken broth at the grocery store is convenient, nothing beats the taste of homemade broth in some of our favorite recipes. You’ll also have the advantage of controlling how much salt goes into the recipe. Store-bought chicken broth is renowned for its sodium content and additives, which is why homemade will win every time.
Is Chicken Broth and Chicken Stock the Same Thing
Stock is made from the bonier parts of the chicken and has a richer flavor and has more body due to the collagen released from the bones. It is generally unseasoned and cooked for 6 hours until it’s strained and stored for future use.
The important part; stock’s main ingredient is the bone! Just like chicken broth, you can add vegetables and herbs, but the focus is on extracting all the collagen and minerals from the bones making it a thicker liquid.
Broth is made with bones AND meat- the big difference. Unlike stock, which is mainly bone base, broth is simmered meat, vegetables, and seasonings. It’s then strained and yields a smooth and light cooking liquid.
Unlike stock, the broth isn’t simmering as long and the liquid is not as thick.
Making Chicken Broth Step-by-Step
There’s nothing fancy about making broth, and that’s one of the reasons I love it! Simple ingredients + a simple process = homemade broth that’s ready for soups, stews, pasta, and everything else! Watch how it’s made in this video:
Before we get into the step-by-step instructions, let’s do a quick run-through of the ingredients you’ll need:
- Skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces (legs quarters, breasts, wings)
- Celery, quartered
- Carrots, quartered
- Onion, quartered
- Bay leaves
- Dried rosemary
- Dried thyme
Alright, let’s make this liquid gold!
To a large soup pot, combine the chicken, veggies, seasonings, and water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, reduce and simmer for 3 to 4 hours, occasionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface.
Once the broth is slightly thickened and golden color, remove the chicken pieces to use for another recipe and vegetables.
With a fine-mesh strainer, strain the broth into large broth jars. Allow to cool down to room temperature before sealing and storing.
Fresh homemade broth is good for up to 1 week in the fridge; after that, transfer it to the freezer in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
If you’re reading this and have a half-eaten rotisserie chicken in the refrigerator, by all means, use that instead. Simply add the carcass (EW! I’ll try and never use that word again) with the veggies, seasonings, and water, and cook it for approximately 4 to 6 hours.
Instead of broth, it will be stock but still full of flavor and ready to use in any recipe that calls for broth.
How long to Cook Broth
A good rule of thumb is 3 to 4 hours; by this time, the broth will be full-flavored, and the veggies and chicken will be quite cooked. With 3 to 4 hours of cooking, the vegetables will be super tender so you can toss them or blend them into a pureed tomato soup. However, the chicken meat is perfect for a recipe like my favorite Southern Chicken Salad.
Is Homemade Broth Healthy?
If you want the purest and rich-tasting broth homemade is your best choice. While it takes more effort than the store-bought version, you’ll have total control of what does and doesn’t go into your broth recipe.
It’s also super beneficial, by itself, a cupful of broth contains trace minerals and collagen from the chicken skin and bones, another reason to use those skin-on, bone-in cuts.
Homemade Chicken Broth Benefits
Aside from being an all-purpose cooking liquid, the broth also has other benefits.
It’s relatively low in calories, about 10 per cup, and contains a small number of trace minerals such as magnesium, calcium, niacin, and vitamin B12.
It’s also an excellent fluid for hydration and a source of electrolytes, which can improve cold and flu symptoms.
Recipes Using Homemade Chicken Broth
I made a list of some of my favorite chicken dinner ideas with broth to get you started with your first batch.
- Paleo Chicken & Veggie Chili
- Easy Chicken Stew
- Salsa Verde Chicken Pasta
- Skillet Chicken Pot Pie Pasta
- Easy Homemade Pho
- Rotisserie Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken & Broccoli Alfredo Skillet
- Chicken with Dried Plums & Sage
How to Make Chicken Broth
- 2 ½ lbs skin-on, bone-in chicken pieces (legs quarters, breasts, wings)
- 2 ribs celery, chopped
- 2 medium carrots, quartered
- 1 large yellow onion, quartered
- 2 bay leaves
- ½ teaspoon dried rosemary
- ½ teaspoon dried thyme
- 8 to 10 peppercorns
- 12 cups cold water
- Place all the ingredients in a large soup pot and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce the heat to a simmer for 3 to 4 hours, occasionally skimming off any foam that comes to the surface.
- Remove the chicken pieces to use for another recipe and vegetables.
- Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer. Transfer the broth into jars and refrigerate for 1 week or store in heavy-duty zip bags and freeze for 2 to 3 months.