Homemade Chicken Broth

During the last several years that we have been on our “Real Food” journey, we have made dozens of changes – from the things we eat to how we prepare our food. It is SO easy to get overwhelmed once you start making changes! Have you found that to be true as well? That’s why I found it best to take baby steps in the changes you make. Not only will it feel less overwhelming, but it will also help those changes stick rather than just become a fad. Know what I mean?

One of the changes I started making early on was to make my own homemade Chicken Broth. It is not only SUPER nutritious, but also ends up being very frugal. 

Before I show you how to make great chicken broth (and believe me, it is incredibly easy!), let me try to convince you how much healthier it is. First of all, if you are still using ANY sort of bouillon cubes, please stop! Here is the ingredient list from one of the leading brands:

Salt, Sugar, Mechanically Separated Cooked Ground Chicken Meat, Sodium Bicarbonate, Monosodium Glutamate, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten, Corn Maltodextrin, Onion Powder, Chicken Fat, Hydrolyzed Corn Gluten Protein, Partially Hydrogenated Soybean and Cottonseed Oils, Autolyzed Yeast Extract, Water, Garlic Powder, Disodium Inosinate and Disodium Guanylate, Dextrose, Cooked Chicken Powder, Natural Chicken Flavor, Hydrolyzed Soy Protein, Calcium Silicate, Gelatin, Soy Lecithin, Natural Flavor, Turmeric, Corn Syrup Solids, Spice, Modified Corn Starch, Silicon Dioxide, Diacetyl (Flavor), Artificial Flavor, Tricalcium Phosphate, Alpha Tocopherol (Antioxidant), Corn Oil, Bha (Preservative), Propyl Gallate, Citric Acid, Bht (Preservative).

Ick! You’ll see the 5th ingredient is Monosodium Glutamate, also know as MSG. MSG is nasty, nasty stuff. You can read more about that over at the Kelly the Kitchen Kop site where she has some info on “MSG Dangers”.

So, enter a SUPER healthy and nutritious option – homemade chicken broth/stock. I’m sure you all have heard that chicken soup can heal you from a cold/sickness, right? BUT, the key is that it  to be homemade soup – soup made from a bone broth. The reason is that this kind of broth actually contains a whole bunch of minerals and vitamins in the form our body can best absorb. It becomes a boost to our immune system in that way. To save you from my babbling, I highly suggest you go on over to an article written by Sally Fallon called Broth is Beautiful”. It is very informative in regards to the history and nutritional benefits of homemade broth/stock.

To get the best possible results I definitely recommend using a whole, pastured, organic chicken. I get mine from Grassfields Cheese/Farm. This chicken is SOOOOOO delicious – I put a whole, thawed chicken in my crockpot for about 6-8 hrs on low. I put maybe a cup or two of water and sprinkle with sea salt and pepper. If I want to get really wild, I throw in a few halved garlic cloves and some rosemary. Even with ONLY salt and pepper, this chicken is sooooooo good. I promise you that you will notice a difference in how good it tastes compared to whatever chicken you are eating now (unless you are already eating it from a local, organic, pastured farm!)

After I cook my chicken, I take all the meat off of the bones. This chicken is usually enough for 3 meals’ worth. I usually put in fridge for a few days, or if we aren’t going to use it right away I put in a Ziploc bag or container and freeze it for later use. We ate a bunch of it for dinner last night and this is what was left over after eating 1/3 of it:


Then, I throw all the bones and pieces in my crockpot. I LOVE this crockpot by the way – it’s the Cuisinart PSC-650 Stainless Steel Programable Slow Cooker:

Then, I add:

1 onion, quartered

several halved cloves of garlic

celery (if I have some)

carrots (if I have some)

sea salt

some thyme, rosemary or parsley (or a combo of them)

about 1/4 cup vinegar (I usually use this apple cider vinegar)

filtered water until it gets almost to the top

***The vinegar is an important addition as it actually helps PULL OUT additional minerals/vitamins from the chicken bones! Ideally, you would let the mixture sit in the vinegar for about and hour before turning on your crockpot as it will help pull out even more minerals.***

In this picture I had some extra turnips and so I added those. You really can use whatever you have on hand:

I then put on low for about 12-24 hours. My house smells SO good when this is cooking. Once it is done and the broth has cooled, I simply strain the broth into different sized containers (left over 32oz yogurt containers work really well!) and freeze them for later use. This makes it SUPER easy to use chicken stock for homemade soups, in place of water for cooking rice/couscous/quinoa, etc.

You really cannot ruin something like chicken broth, I promise! **BUT, beware. This kind of chicken broth will “gel” when it is cooled and placed in fridge. IT IS OKAY!!! It actually means it is super-healthy for your gut (which you learned about if you read the whole “Broth is Beautiful” article above). It will re-liquify once you heat it up. With all of the health benefits of chicken stock, I really believe it is one of the EASIEST but most nutritionally-beneficial changes you can start making for your family right now!

top photo credit


  1. Leave a Reply

    October 25, 2012

    Didn’t know vinegar was useful in making broth. Thank you, our next batch will be even better!

    • Leave a Reply

      October 26, 2012

      @MariaKunze I know, right?! I only learned that through my local chapter of the Weston A. Price Foundation and via the Nourishing Traditions Cookbook! Both are great resources.

  2. Leave a Reply

    April 25, 2012

    HI Amber!! Glad you liked it! The even BETTER benefit of making things “from scratch” (besides having things on hand and saving money) is that it is healthier and more nourishing! This chicken broth is SO nourishing that I believe it is one of the things that helps keep my family healthy! Thanks for sharing…..now I want a lemon tree!!!

  3. Leave a Reply

    Amber Pridgen
    April 24, 2012

    Hey Melissa, I just read this article that you “pinned” and actually would LOVE to start doing this. 🙂 I use chicken stock all the time and have made a startling realization about myself lately…. The older i get and the more I continue to make my own meals the more I realize that I would REALLY like to be able to MAKE more of the things that I regularly use. For instance, we bought a parsley plant and a cilantro plant and then we planted basil seeds since those are the 3 herbs I use most often. Now I want a lemon tree. lol and got the strange urge (while at Home Depot) to start planting things like potatoes and things. lol I guess you could say I realized the value in having those things on hand whenever you want them. lol In any case, thank you for this post, I will be “repining” and make my own hopefully soon. 🙂

  1. Potato, Brussels Sprout & Sausage Soup - Real Food Eater - […] Recommendations: â€˘ caraway, fennel seeds, bay leaves • Homemade Chicken Broth […]
  2. Meal Plan Monday - 2/29/16 - Real Food Eater - […] Thursday: The Best Whole Chicken in a Crockpot (and then will make Chicken Broth) […]
  3. 10 Money Saving Tips for Real Food Eaters - […] Cooking a whole chicken in the crockpot will give you enough for 2 meals – or more if you…
  4. 5 Time-saving Tips for Real Food Eaters » Real Food Eater - [...] stick the bones back in the crockpot (this is the one I use) with some other goodies and make…
  5. Chicken Rice Soup » Real Food Eater - [...] 8 cups chicken broth (homemade if possible) [...]
  6. Monday Meal Plan & Recipe Share - 1/27/14 » Real Food Eater - [...] Wednesday: Roasted Whole Chicken, potato, veggie (using bones to make homemade chicken broth afterwards) [...]
  7. Chicken Tortilla Soup » Real Food Eater - [...] oil 1 Tbsp cumin 2 tsp chili powder 1 (28oz) can diced tomatoes 4 cups chicken…
  8. Real Food Testimonies: Meet Nourishing Mama! » Real Food Eater - [...] During this time, I had been working on my culinary skills, gardening skills and managing work with 2 kids.…
  9. Monday Meal Plan & Recipe Share - 8/19/13 » Real Food Eater - [...] Crockpot Chicken Quinoa (I usually substitute all of the liquid with Homemade Chicken Broth – [...]
  10. How To Make Smoked Chicken Thighs | How To Bake - [...] http://realfoodeater.com/real-food-baby-steps-homemade-chicken-broth/ http://www.howtobake.info/whole-chicken-in-a-crock-pot-with-veggies/ http://farmgirltails.blogspot.com/2012/01/layered-chicken-soup.html http://www.redvelvetcafe.com/sauteed_poultry/chicken_with_sage_orzo.php http://www.howtobake.info/how-to-make-shredded-jerk-chicken/ http://www.howtobake.info/how-to-stew-a-chicken-breast/ [...]
  11. How To Make Lemon Pepper Chicken Pasta | How To Bake - [...] http://fccav.org/images/icons/gg.jpg/ikvlt.php?chicken-ziti-and-broccli-recipe http://realfoodeater.com/real-food-baby-steps-homemade-chicken-broth/ http://recipeaholic.blogspot.com/2010/03/skillet-ziti-with-chicken-and-broccoli.html [...]
  12. Monday Meal Plan & Recipe Share (with links to my weeks' meals) » Real Food Eater - [...] Roasted Chicken, potatoes/gravy, veggies  (and then make broth from bones [...]
  13. Monday Meal Plan & Recipe Share (with links to my weeks' meals) » Real Food Eater - [...] Roasted Chicken, potatoes/gravy, veggies  (and then make broth from bones [...]
  14. Hearty Tortellini Soup - Real Food Eater - [...] This Tortellini Soup probably falls (at least partly) into the 20% camp. Honestly, the only “bad” thing in here…
  15. Butternut Squash Soup - Real Food Eater - [...] 2 cups chicken broth, or more if desired (homemade if possible!) [...]
  16. Bean and Sausage Soup - Real Food Eater - [...] 4 cups chicken or vegetable broth (homemade if possible) [...]
  17. Cheesy Vegetable Chowder (with Homemade Croutons on top!) - Real Food Eater - [...] 3 cups homemade chicken broth [...]
  18. Real Food in the Real World: Melissa at Real Food Eater! » Unmistakably Food | Unmistakably Food - [...] Since we have 4 kids, anything family friendly is key. A couple of my personal favorites are my Homemade Chicken…
  19. Real Food in the Real World: My Story (guest post at Unmistakably Food!) - Real Food Eater - [...] Since we have 4 kids, anything family friendly is key. A couple of my personal favorites are my Homemade Chicken…
  20. Why We Don't Get the Flu Shot - Real Food Eater - [...] Real Food helps a TON. We have been sick so much less since doing so. Things like coconut oil…
  21. Sausage and Quinoa Stuffed Peppers - Real Food Eater - [...] cups chicken broth (I used my Homemade Chicken Broth – so [...]
  22. 30 days of dinners - my menu plan - Real Food Eater - [...] Homemade Chicken Soup, veggies/fruit (use this broth and add in whatever you’d [...]
  23. Tomato Soup: A Great Homemade Recipe - Real Food Eater - [...] cup chicken broth (more or less, depending on how thick you like your [...]
  24. A Bowl of Quinoa and Swiss Chard - Real Food Eater - [...] 3 1/4 cups broth, preferably Homemade, DIVIDED (see how to make chicken broth here) [...]
  25. Melissa’s Stir Fry | Real Food Eater - [...] Chicken, or meat of choice (optional), cut into bite-sized pieces Chicken broth (I use some of my homemade chicken…

Leave a Comment

You can use these HTML tags:
<a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

CommentLuv badge