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Making chicken stock is one of the first things I started doing in my journey to nourishing food. Because I’d never done it before, it seemed intimidating. It’s not. It’s easy, nutritious, and saves you money. Please don’t throw those bones away.

My first go around I tentatively used my stove top and the stock was delicious, but when it was refrigerated it came out looking like jell-o. Then I found out that that was a good thing! You want your stock to gelatinize – it means it is not only delicious, but an extremely nutritious real food as well.

After making stock on my stove top for a while I found an even easier method – the crock pot! During the summer I will sometimes roast a chicken in the crock pot itself to avoid turning on the oven. This way I don’t even have to dirty up a roasting pan and my house stays cooler at the same time. In the cooler months you should roast your chicken in the oven – crispy chicken skin anyone?

But, back to the stock – I will show you my favorite method using the crock pot. It works for me.

Crock Pot Chicken Stock

1). Every week or two I buy a whole free range, organic chicken from our farmer.

2). Roast the chicken in the oven (or crock pot in summer) and enjoy one of my favorite meals – roast chicken with vegetables and millet. For our family size we always have a good amount of leftover chicken to use throughout the week in salads, sandwiches, etc.

3). Cut all of the meat off of the bones. Place the chicken carcass and any stray bones into your crock pot. For a larger chicken (6 lbs) I use my 6 quart crock, for a smaller chicken (4 lbs) I use a 4 1/2 quart crock.

4). Add any additional vegetables you’d like – onions, celery, carrots, garlic, herbs. I like to keep a bag in the freezer of the scraps left from chopping onions and celery. I then just dump this bag in with the bones when I begin the stock.

5). Cover the bones and vegetables with cold filtered water. Cold because this allows the flavor and nutrients to be fully extracted from the bones, and filtered because you really don’t want chlorine or fluoride in their.

6). Add 1-2 tablespoons of vinegar (I usually use apple cider) and allow to sit for about an hour. You really need to do this to allow the minerals to be extracted from the bones. I let it sit while I wash dishes and clean up the kitchen. This way it is no hassle at all.

7). Turn the slow cooker to low and allow to simmer overnight. I usually let it go for about 18-24 hours.

8). Once it has cooled a bit, strain chicken stock using a colander, sieve or cheesecloth.

9). Store in quart canning jars and use in soups, stews, sauces and for cooking grains.

 

108 Responses to Make Chicken Stock in the Crock Pot

  1. Nancy says:

    As much as I like to cook, I’m embarassed to say that I’ve never done this. Next time I roast a chicken, I’m doing it. Should have done it this weekend after I roasted a turkey. Shame on me.

    [Reply]

  2. [...] Crock Pot Chicken Stock by Shannon at Nourishing [...]

  3. pam says:

    I’ve done this overnight with beef, but not chicken. I like the idea of roasting the chicken in it and then just tossing the bones back in to make stock.

    pam’s last blog post..Chicken Biryani

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  4. Joy says:

    I’ve been doing this for a few months now – it works great and it couldn’t be simpler. I didn’t know about the vinegar – I’ll try that next time.

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  5. mub says:

    Ooh, I didn’t know the bit about the vinegar! I’ll definately try that next time I make stock. Thanks!

    mub’s last blog post..Freezing Onions and Garlic

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  6. Amanda T says:

    I also didn’t know about the vinegar. Gonna try it next time, too. Thanks for sharing! My husband loves chicken noodle soup made from our own chicken stock.

    Amanda T’s last blog post..Salt Dough Recipe

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  7. Houstonmom says:

    This is helpful. How long do you keep your stock in the fridge? Does it last longer than chicken? I keep mine for 3 days, but sometimes that is not long enough to use it. Sometimes I freeze it, but I like it ready in the fridge.

    Houstonmom’s last blog post..Washing clothes manually – w/o electricity

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  8. Cathy says:

    I do this just about every time I make roast chicken, which is almost every week. We love the broth!

    Just curious, when you serve millet with your roast chicken, how do you cook it? I just browsed the millet recipes you had listed (the bake, biscuits-LOVE those!-, and dumplings) but wasn’t sure what of those would go.

    Thanks.

    [Reply]

  9. [...] dinner: taco salad, slow cooked pinto beans, brown rice cooked in chicken stock [...]

  10. houstonmom says:

    I used your method and got the best stock I’ve made. Thanks!

    houstonmom’s last blog post..Back to spring cleaning – book overwhelm

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  11. [...] that was left to do in the kitchen was to put the dinner food away, use the chicken bones to start chicken stock in my crock pot and wash up the [...]

  12. [...] I had the above salad with chicken, celery sticks with peanut butter and a coconut flour muffin with butter. My toddler had chicken with millet, a banana and a glass of raw milk. Once the boys were down for naps I used the millet flour I had ground up earlier to make biscuits. Then I strained out the chicken stock I had made in the crock pot overnight. [...]

  13. Keri says:

    Wow – I use my crock pot *all the time* but I’ve never thought of making stock in it. Thanks for the post!

    Keri’s last blog post..A Borax Miracle

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  14. [...] Today the leather chicken is being transformed into chicken stock.   I found a new crock pot stock recipe I love (yes I’m contridicting [...]

  15. Jay says:

    I bought a slow cooker to make my stock, but the lovely people on the WAP site said you need to do it in a pot, so you can skim. You can’t skim in the slow cooker. And apparently the skimming is an important part of the process and was done traditionally by the tribes in the WAP studies.

    [Reply]

  16. [...] quinoa, cooked according to package directions in homemade chicken stock (I use this recipe for chicken stock – easy and amazingly [...]

  17. [...] the freezer and add to your next batch. They will add yummy flavor for mere pennies! Check out this recipe for making stock in the Crock Pot by Nourishing [...]

  18. Okay…. so this is a rookie question. As far as the “carcass” you mean the bones, skin and anything leftover from the whole chicken… except for the actual meat. Right? And do you know of anything you can do with the juices leftover from the roasted chicken? Or is that simply trash? Thanks I’m LOVING, LOVING your blog!

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  19. Emily says:

    I made this over the weekend with a chicken carcass my mom gave me. It worked wonderfully! We don’t eat many soups because my husband is not fond of them, but I’ll definitely use this for cooking rice and pinto beans.

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  20. [...] version here. (Cook chicken, remove meat, put bones back in with 2 Tbsp. vinegar and 5 c. filtered water with [...]

  21. Meggan says:

    Ok, sorry if this is obvious…but let me see if I have this straight…I’m going to cook my chicken (with seasonings, but no added liquid) in my crockpot all day. Then I’m going to remove the meat for dinner, put the carcass back in the crock pot, add in your ingredients above and basically let it go another 24 hours.

    So if I understand, the crockpot is more or less going for the whole process– like 36ish hours?? Two steps: 1. chicken in crockpot. 2. stock in crockpot. Or are you supposed to cook the chicken in some liquid that later becomes the stock??

    Thanks so much!!!

    [Reply]

  22. Jeanmarie Todd says:

    Hi, I just discovered your site from a link at Cheeseslave… I’ve always made chicken stock in a stock pot so I could make a lot at once and freeze most of it. Now I’m thinking this would be an easy way to make smaller amounts more frequently. It doesn’t seem like the Low setting would be high enough to make stock, though. I may experiment with this. Thanks!

    [Reply]

    Ruby Reply:

    In my experience the low setting is perfect and it is more about the length of time that I have cooked it that produces the nicest most flavorfu broth….

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  23. Roxanne says:

    Hi! I have been using our crock pot for years now pretty much the same as you describe, with a few variations, to make stock for a nice warm or cool beverage or for the base in just about any recipe. Since we raise our own chicken, I always have feet for the stock which add much gelatin. Each time I roast a chicken in our oven or aroma style convection counter top oven, I save any and all bones and meaty knuckly parts in a coconut oil bucket in my freezer. When the bucket is full, time to make stock! I simmer/keep on warm for 4 hours/simmer again and keep on warm for four hours for as long as it takes for the bones to become soft. Then I strain into a stainless or porcelain stock pot and add the feet and onions, carrots, celery, peas, garlic, and then cilantro and parsley and simmer a while til it’s done. (The reason I wait to put my veggies in is I can use them for a soup or casserole and they aren’t cooked to smitherines. And I think it gives the end product, the broth,a fresher taste. ) Sometimes I’ll boil a chicken for a soup and use the “chicken water” too, as sometimes my stock is so rich. I’ll fill several mason jars for the next few days drinking and cooking and put the rest in freezer jars. The beauty of making your own healthy stock at home is you can do it your way, tweak your method as you go and get that damn good feeling of making a positive contribution to your family’s nourishment by going back to basics. I laugh when I see those commercials for swanson and other No MSG broth in a box. Broth is the easiest thing to make in your own home and almost never comes out “bad.” Any young person could give his or herself and family a real boost by adopting broth making as part of the weekly routine meal planning and getting the children involved as well!

    [Reply]

  24. [...] Homemade Yogurt in the Crockpot 2. Fresh Stock in the Crockpot (Nourishing Days) 3. Crockpot Ragout (a simple easy meal for a busy day!) 4. Crockpot Chicken or [...]

  25. Christina says:

    I’ve recently started making stocks too but have never tried it in the crock pot. Thanks for the great idea! Two questions though: 1) On Wednesday’s (church night) we occasionally buy a pre-roasted chicken from Whole Foods. I feel good about using the leftover carcass to make stock since their chicken is free range, no hormones, etc. However, it never foams or gels as much as when using a raw chicken. Do you think it’s even worthwhile nutritionally? 2) I’ve considered making a huge batch of stock for canning so as to have a ready-to-use supply on hand. Have you ever tried this? If so, any tips/tricks? Many, many thanks!

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  26. Rachel says:

    I am so excited to try stock for the first time using this method. One question – where’s the salt? Is everyone referring to a totally unsalted broth or do you add salt at a certain point?

    I’m pretty used to using low sodium commercial boxed stuff so I’m curious if this stock is supposed to be unsalted.

    Thanks in advance!
    Love this website, very inspiring.

    [Reply]

  27. [...] The internet is full of opinions about how to roast a chicken. I put butter and seasonings under the skin and am roasting it for fifteen minutes on 450 degrees and 55 minutes at 375 degrees. Then I’ll let it rest — apparently this is important — while deglazing the pan. I’m REALLY looking forward to making chicken stock out of the carcass — it turns out that you can do this in a crock pot. [...]

  28. [...] prepare squash for storage, start beef stock and catch up on [...]

  29. Debbie says:

    One of the things I like to do with some of my stock is to fill ice cube trays with it. Once frozen I just pop them out and store in a baggie. Each morning I add a cube of stock to a cup of hot water, add ~ 1/8 tsp. Turmeric (antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, antibacterial properties + numerous other benefits), ~1/4 tsp. Celtic Sea Salt, and a dash of Kelp (for the iodine and other minerals) and drink it on an empty stomach. I also give this to my boys. It’s an easy way to get a lot of very absorbable vitamins and minerals on a daily basis, in addition to being very healing to the “gut”.

    [Reply]

    Ruby Reply:

    this is a cool idea, thanks :)

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  30. Each time I make the stock it comes out pretty dark. Much darker than the pictures you have. Am I doing something wrong?

    [Reply]

  31. megan says:

    this is probably the stupidest question ever, but i’ve got a stock going in the crockpot right now, but i started wondering if i should take the lid off? i didn’t know about the vinegar or skimming, either. should we still eat it, do you think? thanks! loving your blog!!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Megan – No, leave the lid on otherwise it will evaporate too rapidly. And yes, even if you didn’t add vinegar or skim it you can still eat it. Just try those two steps next time!

    [Reply]

  32. Ruby says:

    This is the way I do it, too. I tried maybe once on the stove top but then I thought it was too much stress to actually leave the stove on and controlling the temp wasn’t my thing either, but this way rocks and I always do a double cycle to add up to atleast 16hours. I never do the ACV though, I will try and remember that from now on.
    Thanks!

    [Reply]

  33. Kate says:

    I roasted my first whole chicken a couple of weeks ago and made stock in the crockpot with it – it gelled, and I worried, but it all came out great in the end! I froze the stock in cup increments in ziplocs; now I have this nice pretty stack of roasted chicken stock in the freezer for anytime I need it. Next time I’ll definitely use some of the spare jars lying about. The vinegar tip is nice too!

    [Reply]

  34. Angel says:

    I’ve been experimenting with making my own stock for about a year now. I’ve read many different suggestions on how to do it and they are all very similar. My problem is that when ever I make it, it never seems to be very flavorful. If I use it to make soup I always feel the need to add a few bouillon cubes to add more flavor.

    Any ideas on what I may be doing wrong? I usually just add enough water to cover the bones, but I always wonder if it’s too much water. Am I just use to all the other things they put in bouillon cubes and chicken broth that pure broth is more simple? I’m just not sure, but I want to figure it out.

    Help? :) Thanks.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Angel – One thought is that you are used to bouillon cubes and the fake flavors that they impart. The MSG and chemical “flavors” trick your brain into wanting more. Another thought is that you haven’t added enough salt. I don’t add salt when I am making stock, but when cooking with it I make sure to add plenty of celtic sea salt.

    [Reply]

  35. Ruby Leigh says:

    This looks easy! I am going to try this on my own for sure.

    [Reply]

  36. Stephanie says:

    I pour my stock into muffin tins. They thaw faster and if you only need a small amount for something, you don’t have to thaw out a whole jar.

    [Reply]

  37. Holly says:

    Do you have a crock pot that does not contain lead in the glaze? I would love to make stock this way, but from what I read it is very difficult to find a crock pot that does not contain lead in the glaze and simmering something for that long would certainly leach lead into my food.

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Holly – I use a Hamilton Beach brand crock pot. From what I have read it is the best you can get.

    [Reply]

  38. Meagan says:

    I just tried this.. The stock is currently on my counter cooling before going to the fridge. I am looking forward to seeing how it gels! I added baby carrots, brussel sprouts and fresh oregano and parsley. My stock is really dark!

    [Reply]

  39. [...] I already bought a whole chicken for the next crockpot meal adventure.  There are so many recipe ideas for making chicken stock in the crockpot with the leftover bits that you don’t use of the [...]

  40. Tina says:

    Thanks for posting this. I used to make stock fairly regularly, but it’s so hard to regulate temperatures on an electric stove and having it on for hours unattended, where I couldn’t see if it had lost its bubble or was boiling, was always a worry. I’ve got a nice large slow cooker now and I am totally going to make a good long 24 hour stock after I roast my chicken for today’s Sunday dinner!

    [Reply]

  41. Lisa says:

    I’m so glad I came across this post. I have never made my own chicken stock and after purchasing a yummy rotisserie chicken for dinner one night, I was feeling pretty bad about just throwing out the bones. I made your recipe that night and oh my goodness it was delicious! If I had known making homemade chicken stock was so easy, I would have been doing it years ago! I added a whole onion (cut into 1/4′s), a few crushed garlic cloves, celery, carrots, a handful of whole peppercorns, 2 bay leaves and some parsley in with the chicken skin/bones and WOW! Thanks for the post!!

    [Reply]

  42. [...] You can read how to do this here and here. [...]

  43. Kaitlyn says:

    How long will chicken stock last in the fridge? I read in Nourishing Traditions that it will last about one week, longer if reboiled. When does the reboiling have to take place in order for the stock to last longer – within that first week or, for example, can you reboil 2-week-old stock and it will still be nutritious and safe?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Kaitlyn – I keep it in the fridge for about two weeks at the most. I always bring my stock to a boil before making soup. Anything over two weeks I freeze in quart jars by filling until about 1 1/2 inches from the top. I then leave the lid off to allow for expansion until frozen.

    [Reply]

  44. April says:

    I need some input. I roasted a chicken on Tuesday in the oven. I followed a recipe from online…roasted it on top of onions, stuffed the cavity with a lemon & garlic, rubbed the body with butter then sprinkled with coarse ground black pepper and sea salt. THEN I found this recipe, so after the chicken cooled and I removed the meat, I put the bones, a few cut up carrots, some celery and the onions and little bit of juice from the roasting pan into the crockpot. I followed your directions and let it cook for 24 hours on low. Last night when I was removing the stock, I noticed that it is VERY dark brown (not light and clear like yours). I put it in the refrigerator and it never did gel. I’m wondering what I did wrong because I followed your directions exactly. Is it because of my roasting method? The stock is delicious, but it doesn’t look anything like yours. Thanks!!

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    April – I almost always do it that way – roasting and then making stock. My stock does not always gel, especially when I roast it first. I think a lot of the gelatin and collagen goes into the pan juices when roasting. So I make a sauce or we pour them over our vegetables and get them in that way. So even if the stock hasn’t completely gelled it still has a lot of good properties. And also when you add vegetables your stock will be darker. Just a carrot or an onion skin can do that and it’s not a bad thing. I usually omit vegetables in the stock because I like a neutral flavor.

    [Reply]

  45. Emily says:

    In what way does adding vinegar to the stock extract minerals from the bones that the long slow cooking process doesn’t accomplish?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Emily – It is my understanding that it helps to leech out the minerals. This information is second hand, though, so not entirely scientific :) .

    [Reply]

  46. Shelby says:

    Due to many dietary allergies and restrictions (such as Celiac, food intolerances, and Candida), I cannot have vinegar. Is it necessary to use vinegar… or is there another substitute?

    [Reply]

    Shannon Reply:

    Shelby – What about lemon juice? Something acidic helps draw the minerals out of the bones.

    [Reply]

  47. [...] made the stock myself Monday/Tuesday using the crockpot recipe from Nourishing Days. It came out spectacularly. I had enough stock for this plus a bit for my chicken and squash pie as [...]

  48. Mel says:

    Hey this is a great idea! My mom has made homemade stock for years, and I just made duck stock (http://thestudiofoodie.com/2011/02/05/duck-stew/) on the stove top. I live in a studio apartment, and my kitchen is small–using the crock pot would be ideal! Thanks!

    [Reply]

  49. Kathy says:

    Do you know the nutritional information for your stock? Can’t wait to try this myself. I always cooked my stock with the whole bird (chicken/skins and all). This must be why I don’t have such a deep flavor!!

    [Reply]

  50. [...] price for organic chicken!  I cook mine in the crockpot with herbs and then use the bones to make stock.  In the end I’ve made over 10 cups of organic chicken stock for just [...]

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