April 23, 2012

Easiest Homemade Chicken Broth {in a crockpot!}


Homemade chicken broth is like pure gold in our house.  In fact, we never buy boneless chicken breasts anymore because we don't want to lose out on the nutritious, delicious homemade broth!

Bone broth is rich in minerals and amino acids and makes all the difference in a great chicken soup. I shudder to think of all the times we threw out chicken bones after dinner because I couldn't be bothered to make broth with it!

Making broth really is a simple process, made even simpler by use of a slow cooker.

Step 1: After dinner I bring out a bowl and have everyone throw any bones, bits of meat and skin in it.


Step 2: Add enough cold water to cover all the bones. Add a splash (about a tablespoon, but I don't measure) of apple cider vinegar, it helps draw the nutrients out from the bones. Don't worry, it won't make your broth taste like vinegar! Throw in a sprig of thyme or rosemary if you have it.

Why no vegetable scraps? Many people add veggie scraps to their broth and that's fine.  I leave mine out for three reasons: 1) I want to be able to control the flavour of the final dish.  If I want onions and celery in my soup, I'll add them when turning the broth into soup later.  2) My crockpot gets pretty hot and the long cooking time causes the onions to caramelize and the broth to turn a dark brown colour. and 3) I want to keep the whole process so super simple that I can throw it together quickly while tidying up after dinner. 
But go ahead and experiment with adding your veggie scraps if you want!

Step 3: Turn the crockpot to low and let cook overnight.   I normally start my broth at about 6:30 in the evening and let it go until 9 or 10am the next day. 

In the morning it will look something like this (and your house will smell heavenly).

 

Step 4: Strain it!  I place a wire mesh sieve in a large bowl with a small piece of cheesecloth.  I use the cheesecloth because it helps to strain out little bits of sediment better and also because it makes the sieve easier to clean.



Discard the bones and you have a rich, beautiful fragrant bone broth!


Step 5: Defat the broth. Place the broth in the fridge to cool completely. Once it is cool, you can easily skim off any fat that has gathered on the top.  You don't need to get every speck, but too much fat in the broth can give it a greasy feel in your mouth that isn't entirely appetizing. 
  
OR soak a piece of paper towel in clean water and lay it gently on the top of the bowl of cooled broth.  Because it's already wet, it won't soak up your broth, but the fat on the top will stick to it. Immediately lift out the paper towel, you'll be able to see all the bits of grease you've removed!

When you use your broth in soups, sauces, or just to drink warm from a favourite mug, you will definitely want to add salt, since we haven't done that yet!

So, to summarize: collect bones, cover with water, add a splash of apple cider vinegar. Cook on low overnight.  Strain. Cool. Defat. Salt.  Delicious, easy, homemade bone broth ready in time for lunch!

Enjoy!

Thanks so much for visiting The Complete Guide to Imperfect Homemaking.  Please take a moment to "like" me on facebook or follow me on Twitter!

43 comments:

  1. Awesome! I leave the fat on though - so many more nutrients!

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  2. What a great method - I can't wait to try it!

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  3. This sounds great! I realized this weekend how much chicken broth we go through in a month. What a smart use of resources. It sounds quick, easy, and tasty, too! Thank you! :)

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  4. This is great!! I have made broth on the stove before, but never thought to cook it in the slow cooker. Not to mention, my comes out way more watered down. And I never knew about the cider vinegar. So many great tips!! And SUPER great because most chicken broth in the store has onions in it, and my hubs is allergic to onions!! Thanks and I love love love your blog!!

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  5. Thanks for sharing! I have bones in my freezer and have been meaning to look into how to make the broth in my crockpot... very timely! :)

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  6. This is exactly how I make broth at my house! :)

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  7. Thanks for the great tips. How long will it keep? Can I freeze it for later use?

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    1. My rule of thumb for anything with meat in it is 3 days in the fridge. and Yes, you can freeze it too. Some people like to freeze their broth in ice cub trays so that they can just throw however many cubes they need into a recipe.

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  8. I am most definately going to try this. Pinning it to my "Recipes to Try" board!

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  9. Oh man! Don't know why I don't do this already... Thanks!

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  10. Is this after you have cooked a whole chicken for supper or what exactly do you use?

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    1. Often times it is after cooking a whole chicken. Sometimes it's just from leg pieces or whatever. It doesn't matter...I make broth from whatever bones I have!

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  11. Great idea, thanks! I guess you could freeze bones til you have enough,
    I don't cook that much at a time. I

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    1. I freeze the bones and then make a big batch often! x

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    3. There are only 2 in our household. I put any bones in a ziplock bag and keep them in the freezer. I keep adding to it until I have enough to make a big pan.

      I just tried it in my slow cooker and it is a wonderful idea and so much easier. Many thanks x

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  12. Is it bad that I dont buy any meat that has bones or skin, it just totally freaks me out. I hope one day I have the strength like you Kelly to make some of this broth because i am sure it is better than bouillon cubes or boxed broth.

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    1. I had to smile, because I, too, always buy the boneless breasts. But we do, sometimes, buy those precooked little whole chickens ($5.99 at Sams). My family of four ate that last night (with salad, fruit and rolls). I hate picking every weird scrap off of the chicken so we had a lot left over. The few "good" pieces will go into a broccoli casserole tonight and the rest I dumped into the crockpot last night and tried this broth for the first time. It is so good! I had over 5 cups of broth whick I just made into a pumpkin soup. I feel like Martah-frikin'-Stewart!

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  13. I typically really enjoy thi sblog but I must say I think it's really disgusting that you make the broth out of already eaten and picked over chicken. Do you serve that to your guests or is this just for family use? Fine for the latter, but as a guest, I would be really turned off to find out that the broth I've been eating was originated from someone else's slobbered over leftovers...it just seems really unsanitary and gross.

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    1. As with anything on my blog, use the information that is useful to you and ignore the rest. Personally, I'm not worried about germs in something that has simmered for 15 hours. Besides, it's not like we're sucking on the chicken bones....we do eat with forks!

      Thanks for stopping by and sharing your opinion. :)

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  14. I love homemade chicken stock! We do this every time we have chicken, and we don't have boneless chicken here either!
    Just wanted to suggest something though! Hope you don't mind - but leave on the chicken fat - I have been reading tons recently about the health benefits of the fat in the broth - the fat basically builds your immune system - this is where I first read it - http://simplemom.net/5-essential-make-from-scratch-foods-for-your-health-and-budget/

    Anyway - hope you don't mind the suggestion - love your blog, and read it often.

    FYI @Anonymous - reusing the bones is frugal living at it's best! It's not gross or unsanitary - did you read the part about it being cooked overnight! I've served homemade broth to many guests, guests have given me their chicken bones as I've explained how I make broth, and my guests have even asked for instructions for how to repeat it themselves! Maybe you are in the minority here!

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    1. Hey Beth, I absolutely agree with you about the health benefit of animal fats! I just don't like the greasy-ness of too much fat in the broth. That's why I remove some, but not all of the fat. It's a personal preference thing for us :)

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    2. I did read the part about simmering overnight...doesn't change my mind. Yes well I am a bit of a germaphobe and kind of OCD to begin with ...which is how I stumbled onto this blog in the first place lol.

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    3. I'd also be in the minority here because there is no way I would make broth from bones that came straight from someone's dinner plate. I've been cooking for over 50 years and have never considered doing that.

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  15. I've been wanting to make my own broth for a while now, but didn't have enough time during the day to do it, and was incomfortable leaving my stove on overnight. I'd never thought about using my crockpot. I do have one question though. We eat a lot of tenders and boneless chicken. Could I cut most of the raw meat off and cook the meat and bones in the crockpot or do I need to cook it first?

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  16. I've been wanting to make my own broth for a while now, but didn't have enough time during the day to do it, and was incomfortable leaving my stove on overnight. I'd never thought about using my crockpot. I do have one question though. We eat a lot of tenders and boneless chicken. Could I cut most of the raw meat off and cook the meat and bones in the crockpot or do I need to cook it first?

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  17. I've been wanting to make my own broth for a while now, but didn't have enough time during the day to do it, and was incomfortable leaving my stove on overnight. I'd never thought about using my crockpot. I do have one question though. We eat a lot of tenders and boneless chicken. Could I cut most of the raw meat off and cook the meat and bones in the crockpot or do I need to cook it first?

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  18. I`ve tried this recipe and i`m really impressed, it has a very good taste. My both child tried it and they like it a lot. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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  19. Yumm Yumm Yumm! This sounds really delicious and easy!

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  20. Thanks for sharing - this looks so easy and I love using my crockpot!

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  21. I make broth often on the stovetop from both whole chickens and the leftover bones, but I honestly never thought of putting the bones in the crockpot! Thanks for the great tip! :)

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  22. I just tried this with a beef soup bone and posted on my blog! Thanks for the great idea:).

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  23. If I can cook a piece of meat in a slowcooker on low all day and it cooks through and kills the "germs" in the meat, then it seems probable that with the bones cooking all night, all those "germs" would be killed too. But if it really grosses a person out, try removing the meat from the bones before serving and then using the bones for broth slobber-free. I just did that tonight...not because I'm a germaphobe, but because I have tiny kiddos who can't eat off the bone yet.

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    1. P.S. Loved the tips--thanks for your awesome, down to earth blog.

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    2. Yeah, that's so true. If we will put RAW chicken in a crockpot and eat it in 6 hours, than putting cooked chicken, even eaten off of, in a crockpot for 12 hours isn't any less gross. I'd rather kiss a person than raw chicken anyday. :-)

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  24. I am roasting a whole chicken at this very moment and would like to try making my own broth. What is the best way to freeze it? What container, I mean? Ziploc bag or some other container? Just wondering. I am embarking on a whole new journey and trying to startaking more things from scratch and eating real whole foods, starting with my lovely free range chicken that's in the oven!

    Thanks Brada

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    1. Hi Brada! I'm sure ziploc bags could work as long as you put them in something to keep them upright while they freeze. I normally just wash and reuse an old plastic container from storebought yogurt or sourcream or something like that.

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    2. Thanks Kelly! That's what I thought, but since it is new territory for me I question myself a bit. Love the blog, I really enjoy reading your posts. Thanks again!

      Brada

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  25. This is great! Can't wait to try it :)

    Love Letters 7.10
    http://loveletters710.blogspot.com

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  26. I just spent all afternoon perusing your blog. I'm a 67 year old grandmother and learned lots from you!! I even started some cream of broccoli soup for dinner and plan on adding some leftover chicken to it, unless I decide to make some chicken-apple salad. Hm, maybe both! Thanks for your great ideas.

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  27. I buy the pre-roasted chicken from the deli at the store, eat, take leftover meat (as much as I can get off) for chicken salad, then dump everything else with veggies in the crock pot. Making some more today, and will add the apple cider vinegar.

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  28. Oh my goodness, Kelly! I did this last night and it turned out to be amazing! I can't believe that I've been throwing away chicken carcasses all these years and then turning around a buying chicken broth. Craziness! I hope you don't mind, I linked this post on my blog today.
    http://lifewiththeladniers.blogspot.com/2013/05/a-day-off.html
    I had to send all of my readers over to learn this method too!! Thank you for sharing!

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