This homemade bone broth recipe is a healthy, collagen-rich drink that’s very easy to prepare. My tutorial with step-by-step photos will teach you how to make bone broth in a slow cooker.
Bone broth has gained tremendous popularity in recent years. It’s rich in collagen and gelatin, and there are a wide range of health benefits associated with it. I was initially confused by it- isn’t bone broth just homemade stock? I’ve been making homemade stock for many years, and it turns out there is a minor difference between the two. More on that below!
How to Make Bone Broth
For this particular recipe, try to use vegetables that are organic and bones that are free of hormones and antibiotics. You can often find bones through a local butcher or the meat department of your grocery store. If you can’t find them locally, try a website like U.S. Wellness Meats. For the best possible broth flavor, avoid marrow bones.
The quantities in this recipe can be adjusted based on the size of your slow cooker, and you can go heavier on the bones for additional collagen. The vegetable quantities are flexible as well. More veggies and aromatics will mean more flavor.
Place Ingredients in Slow Cooker; Fill with Water
Place the bones on the bottom of the slow cooker, then top with the remaining ingredients. Next, you’ll want to fill it almost all the way to the top with water. Again, how much water will depend entirely on the size of your slow cooker. My slow cooker holds 6 quarts total, and I needed about 8 cups of water after the other ingredients were added.
Cook on Low, Skim Fat
Cook on low for 18-48 hours (up to 72 max). Next, let the mixture cool for 15 minutes, then place the slow cooker pot in the refrigerator to chill until the fat rises to the top and solidifies enough to skim as much of it as possible.
Strain the Broth
It’s ok if you miss some of the fat while skimming, because this step will take care of it. Remove and discard the bones and vegetables (I use tongs), then strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer or colander lines with 2 layers of cheesecloth.
Your homemade bone broth is now ready to heat and serve! I reheat it in a microwave, but you can also use a small saucepan.
What Are The Health Benefits of Bone Broth?
The health benefits of bone broth vary, depending on who you ask. While it definitely contains healthy, nutrient-rich ingredients, there have been very few scientific studies on bone broth. A study on chicken soup, conducted by the University of Nebraska Medical Center, found that the amino acids in chicken stock reduced respiratory system inflammation and improved digestion.
However, many websites and health gurus claim that it can help with treating leaky gut syndrome, overcoming food intolerances and allergies, improving joint health, reducing cellulite, and boosting the immune system.
These claims ultimately may or may not be proven true, but drinking it certainly can’t hurt anything.
Are Bone Broth and Stock The Same?
While bone broth and stock share many similarities, there are a few things that set them apart. Homemade bone broth requires a longer cooking time to extract as much nutrition out of the bones as possible.
Stock uses bones for flavor, richness and to help with sauce texture. Bone broth uses bones for flavor as well as nutrition. Since it’s a drink, seasoning can also be added, whereas stock should be left as neutral as possible so individual recipes where it’s used can be seasoned to taste.
Is Homemade Bone Broth Different From What You Can Buy at The Grocery Store?
Yes; most packaged stocks and broth found at the grocery store have added sodium, sugar, artificial flavorings and/or colorings, and likely don’t use high quality ingredients since they’re mass produced. Homemade bone broth has higher quality ingredients, resulting in optimal flavor and nutrition.
Can Bone Broth Be Frozen?
Bone broth can be frozen, and I recommend doing so since it should only keep in the refrigerator for around 3 days. Once frozen, use it within 3 months for best results. I freeze it into individual servings in small deli cups or jars with lids so it’s easy to reheat as needed.
More Slow Cooker Recipes
Slow Cooker Bone Broth
- 3 pounds of beef or chicken bones
- 2-3 medium carrots, chopped
- 2-3 medium celery ribs
- 1 large yellow onion, peeled and quartered
- 4 medium garlic cloves
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Optional: 1-2 bay leaves
- Layer the bones in the bottom of the slow cooker, then top with the carrots, celery, onion, garlic, salt, peppercorns, apple cider vinegar, and bay leaves (if using).
- Fill the slow cooker with water, leaving some space at the top to prevent spills.
- Cover and cook on low for 18-48 hours (up to 72 hours if you want an extra rich broth). Remove the lid and cool for 15 to 20 minutes, then place the slow cooker bowl in the refrigerator to chill until the fat rises to the top and solidifies a bit (this will take a few hours).
- Using a ladle or large spoon, skim the fat from the top of the broth (you might not be able to get all of it in this step). Using tongs, remove and discard the bones and vegetables, then strain the broth through a fine mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth (preferably 2 layers) to catch the remaining fat and scum.
- Heat the bone broth and enjoy! Bone broth will keep in the fridge for 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
Please read my full post for additional recipe notes, tips, and serving suggestions!
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