Homemade Chicken Broth

chicken stock
Making Chicken Broth. Photo © Charles Islander/Getty Images
    2 hrs 15 mins
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Making homemade chicken broth or stock is easy and adds incomparable flavor to soups, sauces, and a myriad of other dishes —most particularly Chicken Noodle Soup. This simple, flexible recipe will bring your cooking to new heights as you banish processed, tinny, sodium-laden canned broth from your kitchen and start cooking with rich, wholesome, deeply flavorful stock.

This recipe calls for fresh chicken. No doubt this makes the clearest, most flavorful stock. But feel free to add additional bones or parts from roast or grilled chickens. I keep a bag of such bits and bones in the freezer to add to the pot when I make stock.

What You'll Need

  • 4 pounds fresh bone-in chicken and/or chicken bones (necks, backs, wings, and legs are best)
  • 2 onions or leeks
  • 2 celery stalks
  • 1 carrot (optional)
  • 8 black peppercorns (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme (optional)
  • 2 sprigs fresh parsley (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon fine sea salt

How to Make It

  1. Put the chicken pieces in a large pot and cover with 6 quarts of cold water. Bring just barely to a boil. Skim off and discard any foam that rises to the surface (there may be quite a bit).
  2. While the chicken comes to a boil, peel the onions and/or trim the leeks (you can leave the peels on the onions, but they will turn the broth a noticeably darker, less golden color).
  3. Add the remaining ingredients (onions or leeks, celery, and salt; carrot, peppercorns, thyme, parsley, and bay leaves if using) and return just to a boil. Skim off any foam that forms on the surface. Reduce the heat to maintain a steady gentle simmer (excessive boiling will make a cloudy broth), removing any foam as it forms, until the broth is wonderfully flavorful, at least 1 hour and up to 2 hours.
  1. Let the broth cool in the pot to warm room temperature. Strain and discard the solids (I like to use tongs to remove bigger pieces, then pour the broth through a cheesecloth-lined colander set over a large bowl or second pot). Keep chilled and use, or freeze the broth, within a few days.
  2. Frozen broth will keep for months. I freeze broth in 1- and 4-cup containers to use whenever recipes call for broth or stock. Defrost and bring to a boil before using.

Note: Many recipes for stock do not call for salt, and even warn against adding salt to stock with horror stories of overly-salted dishes arising from salty stock. The teaspoon of salt called for in this recipe adds just a tiny note of brightness to the broth and helps draw flavors out of the ingredients; it is not enough to fully season the broth or any resulting dish. If you use the broth as a base for soup, you will need to add more salt to taste.