I’ve mentioned the importance of homemade stock over store-bought products (which are essentially broth). Wondering what the difference is between stock and broth, and how to prepare homemade chicken stock? This is such a great skill to learn! Today I’m sharing my chicken stock recipe along with some tips and tricks for getting the best possible results.
Let’s get right to it.
Types of Stock
At the basic level, there are two types of homemade stock (either meat/seafood-based or vegetarian):
- White stock, which uses raw bones and vegetables (or just vegetables in the case of vegetarian stock)
- Brown stock, where the bones and/or vegetables are roasted along with tomato paste.
Ideally, both types should be made with raw bones. Raw bones contain more of the prized ingredient: collagen.
What is Collagen?
Collagen is a natural protein found in animals (and humans). In addition to being the key to good stock, it’s used to make gelatin, which is then used to make an assortment of products from marshmallows to jello (and even some low-fat yogurts).
This gelatinous material is what gives homemade stock the thick, rich flavor found in many restaurant sauces.
Chicken Stock Ingredients
- Raw chicken parts or bones (see notes)
- Bay leaves
- Fresh thyme
- Fresh parsley
- Black peppercorns
- Cold water
You can scale the ingredients in this recipe up or down, depending on the size of your stockpot. You don’t really need to worry about precise measurements and times as long as they’re loosely within the ratios listed in the recipe.
How to Make Chicken Stock
Here’s what you do:
- Add all of the ingredients (except the water) to a large stockpot.
- Fill the remaining space with cold water, leaving a couple inches of space at the top.
- Slowly bring the stock to a simmer (not to a boil), then immediately bring it down to a low simmer.
- Using a ladle or large spoon, skim the foam and fat that rises to the surface.
- Let the stock gently simmer for 8 hours or more, very occasionally skimming away any surface scum.
- Cool the stock briefly, then strain through a colander lined with cheesecloth.
Are Chicken Stock and Chicken Broth The Same?
Chicken stock and chicken broth are used for the same purpose, but there are some key differences between the two that can very much alter your recipe results.
All meat and seafood based stocks sold at the grocery store are technically broth. Not only do these stocks lack collagen, they are often full of salt and sometimes even sugar. Real stock should be salt-free, so you have the option to season your dishes to the desired level.
Additional Chicken Stock Recipe Notes
- Stock pots come in a variety of sizes. You can scale the recipe up or down based on what you have.
- I prefer using raw chicken wings, which are high in collagen. You can buy larger quantities in family packs or wholesale retainers like Costco.
- Try not to let the stock reach a full boil. You want them to cook slowly to release the collagen without sealing it in. This is also why you want to start with cold water.
- If you have a pressure cooker such as an Instant Pot, you can make this recipe in a little over an hour instead of 8 hours! Check out my Instant Pot Chicken Stock recipe.
- Stock can stay in the fridge for a few days but will keep in the freezer for months. I use small disposable containers so I only need to thaw what I need for recipes.
More Kitchen Staple Recipes
Homemade Chicken Stock
- 6 pounds raw chicken wings
- 2 medium yellow onions, quartered
- 2 medium carrots, quartered
- 2 ribs celery, quartered
- 1 cup packed fresh parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- 3 black peppercorns
- 1 gallon cold water (approximately)
- Place the wings, onions, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns in a large stockpot. Fill the pot with cold water, covering the ingredients by 1 to 3 inches.
- Bring the liquid to a gentle simmer over low heat (do not boil). Periodically skim the surface of the stock with a ladle, removing any bits of foam and scum that rise to the surface.
- Simmer on the lowest possible setting for 6 to 8 hours, skimming periodically. Strain the liquid through a ﬁne mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth, and discard the solids. Cool the stock over an ice bath (see page 14), then cover and refrigerate overnight.
- Pnce chilled, use a spoon to remove and discard the congealed fat from the top of the stock.
- Chicken stock can be refrigerated for 3 to 4 days, frozen in an airtight container for several months, or pressure canned for up to 1 year.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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