Thursday, April 12, 2012

Homemade Chicken Stock

Several months ago I started making my own chicken stock.  You're probably thinking, who has time to make their own chicken stock?  That's exactly what I used to think, but one day I decided to give it a try and since then I haven't been able to go back to buying canned chicken stock at the grocery store. Homemade chicken stock is more flavorful, healthier and cheaper.   

 Making chicken stock is as easy as pulling a few ingredients out of your refrigerator and pantry and throwing it in a pot with a chicken.  I almost always have some veggies that need used up and chicken stock is the perfect place to use them.  In this case, I had 1/2 onion and some baby carrots that were getting old.  I used fresh herbs from my garden, but I've used dried before if I don't have fresh on hand.  Chicken stock can be made with very few ingredients, but today I used:

- a large handful of baby carrots
- 2 ribs of celery, snapped apart 
- 1/2 onion
- 3 sprigs parsley
- 3 sprigs thyme
- 1 tsp black peppercorns
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 1 whole chicken, washed

I always try to purchase either an organic or cage-free chicken.  The better your chicken, the better your stock and that's a tried and true statement!   (smile) 

Put all of the ingredients into a large pot, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat.  Turn the heat down and simmer until fully cooked (about an hour).   (I rotate my chicken at least once during this time to ensure even cooking.) 

 While the chicken is cooking, I take care of other things.  Today I had time to catch up on dishes, prepare the ingredients for chicken salad for lunch and put supper in the crock pot. 

Remove your chicken, set aside to cool and then strain your broth.  

I always use my discarded carrots for baby food.  Now that Rosetta is getting older though, I don't have to grind them up anymore.  (I can't figure out how it is possible that she is already 9 months old!)  

 Delicious broth.  This yields about 11 cups. 

I pour 2 cups of broth into Ziploc bags and freeze (up to 6 months).  (Another benefit to making your own stock is that you are no longer exposed to the hazards of BPA often found in the lining of cans.  And while some storage bags contain BPA, the Ziploc brand does not.) 

Now you can shred your chicken.  I always make a chicken salad with half of the shredded chicken and then freeze the rest for another meal.  (My very favorite chicken salad recipe comes from Southern Living.  All I do different is add some grapes.  Recipe below.)

I love having a freezer full of chicken stock.  Chicken stock is something I use very often and I highly recommend giving it a try!  It is positively delicious to use when making soup.

Also, for fun I did a little cost comparison.  

I spent $7 on my all-natural chicken.  From that chicken I got about 4 cups of shredded meat (enough for 2 meals) and 11 cups of chicken broth.  

If I had purchased 11 cups of brand-name broth at the store it would have cost me roughly $7.50 for the broth alone.  

Hope you enjoy! 

Cathedral Chicken Salad
From: Southern Living
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon seasoning salt
  • 3 cups chopped cooked chicken
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  1. Stir together first 5 ingredients until blended.
  2. Place chicken and celery in a large bowl; add mayonnaise mixture, and toss to combine.


  1. I thought the same as you, that it would be too much work but now I realize the benefits. Thanks for sharing the recipes and getting me excited about making homemade "chicken broth".


  2. Your pictures are gorgeous! I'm wondering where you get your $7 organic chicken...I'd be stockin' up!

    1. Thanks, Kat! This chicken was of the "all-natural" variety. :-) I should probably clarify that. Have a wonderful evening!

  3. You should add a warning that making your own chicken broth is addictive. I love making the stuff. Your beautiful baby is proof of how good it is for you! ~ Maureen

  4. This is something I definitely must try. And I love chicken salad with grapes!

    Your baby is so adorable!


  5. Hey there. The chicken salad looks wonderful and the photos are gorgeous. I also try to make stock when I have chicken to cook. I love having it stored in my freezer. I also like to cook different kinds of beans and peas and put them into jars and freeze them. Love having pintos, kidneys, garbanzo, etc, in the freezer ready to go. So cost effective.

  6. What a great idea! I am not really a cook, but this looked extra easy. I think you have inspired me :)


  7. Sounds yummy and so does the chicken salad. I will most definitely give it a try!

  8. I love homemade stock too. I save chicken bones/carcasses from baked chicken in the freezer. When I have enough, I'll add the bones, veggies and water into my pressure cooker, heat it up and then let it cook for 15 minutes when it starts rocking. I let it cool on it's own, then open up, strain the liquid and put it in the fridge until all the fat rises to the top. I scrape the fat off and then freeze the stock in 1 or 2 cup servings. It really tastes good and makes me feel super thrifty. The chicken salad looks terrific. I need to go buy some grapes.

  9. There's nothing better than homemade stock. I love making it too. That is a great recipe for chicken salad, I'm going to try it with grapes sounds yummy!

  10. I make my own stock. I to use to think it was a lot of work, but it's quite easy. I freeze it, in 2 cup amounts, in zip top bags. Not only does it taste better, it's more economical. Your chicken salad looks yummy!!


  11. Was trying to figure out what to fix for Sunday lunch in Chattanooga.... YAY for your chicken salad recipe. I'm gonna make it tomorrow! I still LOVE your blog - Dad and I look at it every single day! Love you. - Mom -

  12. I started making my own this winter, too--and I couldn't believe how much better it tastes! I was using the carcass of an already cooked chicken, but I like the idea of your method better. One question: How much water do you put in the pot? I don't think I've gotten 11 cups of broth from mine, and I've been afraid that adding more water would dilute the flavor. (And I, too, love your gorgeous photos.)

    1. Thanks, Rita! I imagine I use about 3 quarts of water. I have a 4.5 qt dutch oven and I pour in as much water as I can.

  13. I've just been thinking about making my own chicken stock, too. When you mentioned starting with quality chicken it reminded me that I want to get meat chickens this spring. I love the quality of eggs we get from having our own laying hens I know having our own meat chickens would be awesome too. Great idea to add a recipe to use with the chicken you pull of the bone.

  14. I absolutely agree with you about organic, free-range chickens, and making your own chicken stock. Whenever I make a roast chicken, I stash the carcass in my freezer - when I have 3 or 4 I make a batch of chicken stock. You don't get the chicken flesh of course to use for salads & things (since you've already eaten it), but the flavour of the stock is wonderful - you seem to get much more intense flavour from the "roasted" bones.

    First time I've visited here, but I'll definitely be back - your blog is lovely.

    Sue :-)

  15. This is FABULOUS! Totally going to try it! Oh my goodness...NINE months...SUPER SWEET! XO, Aimee

  16. Featuring you tomorrow! XO, Aimee

  17. I've been wanting to make my own chicken stock for months but keep on putting it off. I had a cup of some homemade stock a few months back when I was feeling a little ill and was amazed at how much better I felt so soon after. Making your own stock is a must. Thanks for the reminder and I'll be sure to try your recipe :)

  18. I'm glad to hear ziploc bags do not have BPA in them. I freeze most of my soups, broths, tomato sauce, even peaches in mason jars. I've never had one crack or break on me. I love storing things in mason jars about as much as I love reading your blog :) Thank you so much for sharing your farmhouse. I too live in an old farmhouse in the country. It's a great life . We are so very blessed. Take Care.


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