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How To Make Chicken Stock!

I’ve always wanted to do this!

After reading so much about the health benefits of bone broth (a.k.a stock) from books like Deep Nutrition and Nourishing Traditions, I figured it was about time to make it myself.

But I didn’t want to just wing it.

So, I got called on the experts to help me put it all together. Luke and Dr. Cate Shanahan, co-authors of Deep Nutrition: Why Your Genes Need Traditional Foods, joined me yesterday via Skype to coach me through the process.

I know, you can barely see their faces in the video. My bad! The Ustream link below has a better angle.

If you’re following along from home, here’s what you’ll need:

The Main Ingredients
* 2 chicken carcasses – I had Allyson the Assistant pick up a couple of organic rotisserie chickens from Whole Foods
* clean water – of course!
* some cheap white wine – we got the cheapest
* a big ass pot

The Veggies
* 4-5 medium carrots – peel ’em and cut ’em into 3-4 pieces each
* 3 stalks of celery – also cut into 3-4 pieces
* 2 onions – chop ’em (careful, they’ll make you cry)

The Spices
* thyme
* bay leaves
* pepper corns
* parsley
* seal salt

It’s was simpler than I thought it would be. Here’s how it goes down.

1. Put your chicken carcasses in you big ass pot and cover them with water (have about an inch of water above the bones)

2. Add 1/2 cup of white wine to the mix (WATCH the video to find out why we use wine)

3. Throw it on the stove at medium heat (DON’T BOIL IT!) for about 2.5 hours.

4. Check on it every 15 minutes or so to pull off any scum that rises to the top.

5. Once 2.5 hours has passed, go ahead and strain the stock (broth) through a colander to get the chicken bones and meat out. I screwed up this part. My bad!

6. Add the “mirepoix” (the veggies) and the dry spices (pepper corns, thyme) to the now-boneless stock and put it back on the stove for another 45-60 mins. Remember, NO BOILING!

7. When you have 20 mins to go, add the chopped-up parsley, a few bay leaves, and about a TBSP of sea salt for taste. See Luke’s tips below.

8. Once it’s done, strain it again through a small metal colander, a metal coffee strainer, or a cheese cloth (like me).

Straining Tip from Luke: “It’s easier to strain stock when it’s still pretty hot. At room temp and lower, the fat and gelatin kinda stop up the strainer.”

Good point.

9. Put stock in your fridge after it’s down to room temp and allow to cool overnight. On the next day, remove the fat that has collected on the top.

10. Store in small plastic containers in the freezer. Be sure to leave a little room in the containers for the freezing stock to expand.

That’s it!

A few more tips from Luke:

Toward the end, after you’ve added the fresh parley, you should add about a tablespoon of sea salt to help you taste the stock. Check it for acid. If it tastes kinda flat and fatty (taste from underneath the surface to get the real taste because the fat goes to the surface), then add some more white wine and/or fresh lemon juice. Also, if you plan to use the chicken stock for non-asian soups (don’t do this if your going to make Tom Ka Gai), you can add a whole can of tomato product before the final straining. Trust your taste buds. Check the stock as your cooking toward the end and add acid or spice or–in moderation, because the stock gets saltier when reduced–salt.

Thanks, Mr. Shanahan!

And finally…

Luke and Dr. Cate’s 4 Stock No-No’s!

1) NEVER BOIL YOUR STOCK! Not even for a few minutes. Vigorous boiling releases unwanted particles that can actually emulsify into the stock, making them impossible to strain out. This can make the finished stock bitter and cloudy. Just a low, gentle simmer or even below a simmer for a hot steeping at around 200 degrees f. extracts flavor, gelatin and other nutrients if you do it long enough. When it comes to chicken stock, however, you can go too long.

2) For chicken stock, don’t simmer or steep for over 12 hours. This is not a magic number. You can make a decent stock in just a couple hours. I let my stock stay on the heat for 6-8 hours. Anything beyond 12 hours, however, and you can start to create off flavors, and you don’t get much, if any, benefit in flavor or nutrition extraction. Beef stock, on the other hand, takes at least 12 hours on the heat, and a full 24 hours is preferable.

3) Never cover your stock while it’s on the heat, or while it’s cooling down. You may partially cover it, it you wish, to retain some extra heat. But covering the pot completely without allowing steam to escape–to use Julia Child’s words–“sours the stock.”

4) Use wine (white for chicken stock, red for beef or lamb stock) for the acid at the beginning of the stock-making process. Avoid using vinegar if you can, as it leaves the finished product tasting sharp. If you don’t have wine, for a chicken stock you can use lemon, and for a beef stock you can use tomato product (pureed tomatoes), presuming that you aren’t planning on using the stock for Asian or other recipes that may be incompatible with tomato flavor.

One last thought. Happy animals make for healthier, far tastier stock. So go free range chickens and grass fed and finished beef if at all possible.

A good stock is a half an hour away from being a fantastic soup, and 5 minutes away from being a great demi-glace or gravy.

One last mistake: They don’t make it often enough!


BIG THANKS to the Shanahan Fam for schooling us on how too hook up some chicken stock! They’ll be back very soon LIVE in the UW kitchen to show us how to make beef stock. Can’t wait!

Be sure to watch the video above. Sorry you can’t see their faces very well. BUT we did stream our shoot LIVE on Ustream if you’d like a better angle. You can check it out HERE and catch all of the great info I edited out of the video above. There’s even a Q&A session with our live audience (a fire alarm, too)!

And don’t forget to buy Deep Nutrition from the UW Store! It’s one of my faves!





35 thoughts on “How To Make Chicken Stock!

  1. Geny

    Wow…I’ve been making broth, but I haven’t been doing it properly. I’m so glad I watched your video, Sean. We almost make it the same way except I leave my vegetables and meat in the broth. I don’t strain my broth either. I don’t use cold water and wine. Now I know how to better improve my broth! Thanks so much! You’re such a blessing!

  2. UW Sean Post author

    Thanks for watching, Geny! It’s always great to have the experts show you how to do it! The Shanahans know their stuff. They’ll be back to show us how to make bone broth very soon.

    Have a great day!!

  3. Pernille

    Hi Sean
    I`m the one who called from Switzerland, and I just wanted to say thanks for doing what you do! OMG, I got so nervous when you put me on, that I almost forgot what I wanted to say 🙂 I am a physical therapist, CHEK Nutrition & lifestyle coach L1, and i am currently doing the FDN webinar, which I am hoping to finish soon – I heard about it from you, of course 😉
    I REALLY want your job…not the radio part and all that, but having clients, doing workshops and just spreading the word of health and nutrition as much as possible. In this part of Europe things are really moving slowly, and i would like to be a part of changing this! It`s difficult, though, to change people`s perception of things, as I am sure you also know. I have two small kids and no nanny at the moment, so i can only move ahead slowly, but I WILL get there!

    Thx again

  4. Lovelyn

    Great job. I’ve always made my broth with apple cider vinegar as the acid to leech calcium from the bones. I never knew I could use wine. I’ll have to try it. It probably improves the taste. Wine makes everything taste better.

  5. Annette

    Can’t wait to try making chicken stock using this method. Also wanted to say I love your site and radio show. Just found it yesterday. I listened to your interview with Sally Fallon and Dr. O’bryan, I learned SO much! Thank you.

  6. Heidi

    Sean, you’re great…I love your style.

    Anyways, I watched your streaming video last night and decided to try this method of stock making. It’s almost ready now!

    I appreciated the instruction about not keeping the bones in there so long and putting the veggies in separately. I’ve always dumped everything in at the beginning and let it go all night. I’m thinking this will make a much lighter fresher stock.

    I was hoping you could ask another question of the Shanahans, what they think about cooking the stock (at least the initial bone cooking) in a slowcooker.

    I’ve ordered the book, and I apologize for not going through your store, but you don’t have the option to go through I don’t know if you can do anything about that.

  7. Luke Shanahan

    Hi Heidi! Thanks for ordering the book!

    I think a slow cooker would be fine because the cover on a slow cooker fits loosely and is designed to let steam out. When The stock is cooling, go ahead and take the lid off. The only problem is that it’s tough to find a slow cooker big enough. I like to make a whole bunch of stock at once and then freeze the whole lot in little containers. And to make a bull bunch you need, as Sean mentioned, a big-ass pot.

    HEY EVERYBODY: JUST A REMINDER, DON’T FORGET TO REMOVE THE FAT THAT RISES TO THE TOP AFTER YOU CHILL THE STOCK. You can save this for cooking (frying fat), or give to the crows, or discard.

    Also, when you freeze the stock in little containers, leave a little room in there as the freezing stock will expand a little.

    Thanks for watching, and thanks to Sean for getting this information out there!

  8. Geny

    Hi Luke, I just really want to thank you and your wife for your book, Deep Nutrition. I love it and often refer my friends to it. I plan to send your book to my family members in the next coming weeks. Thank you!
    Blessings to you and Cate!

  9. Luke Shanahan

    By the way, guys, I should mention that–if you have a big enough pot to fit everything–you don’t need to strain the bones out before adding the mirepoix. Every once in a while when I’m using a small pot, I strain out the bones to make room for the veggies. A have a 6 gal. pot that’s a bit of a bear to clean. But I do recommend getting at least a 5 gal. pot for making bone stock. It’s really great because the stock retains the heat for hours and hours (overnight).

  10. Simon

    Thanks for a great video.
    Does anyone know if the wine has the same effect if I use frozen white wine cubes?

    By frozen wine cubes I mean is just me freezing left over wine in the freezer so I can keep it for making this stock later.

  11. Luke Shanahan

    Hi Simon:

    Answer: No effect. Cold isn’t terribly disruptive to wine. In fact, some wines–called ice wine or, in the German, eiswein, actually include frozen, or partially frozen, grapes as part of the wine making process.

    Here’s an alternative to saving wine that I highly recommend: It’s called a “Vacu vin.” It’s essentially a vacuum system that takes the air out of the wine bottle so that, in the refrigerator, wine can stay good for a week or longer. If you like wine at all, I would consider it a kitchen essential. They only cost between $10 and $15, so it’s worth looking into. Here’s the link:

    Good luck with your stock, Simon. Think of stock as something you’d like to enjoy completely on its own and trust your taste buds, and you’ll do fine!

    Luke Shanahan

  12. TiKi

    Great video. Was there any meat left on the carcass before adding it in? Or did you try to remove as much as possible? Thanks

  13. Karl MacPhee

    Thanks so much for the post. I just bought bones to make some bone broth, pork fat to render some pork fat and I have 2 chicken carcasses in the freezer waiting to turn into chicken broth. Loving the site and the podcasts, keep doing what you are doing because we are all very grateful for your time and knowledge.

  14. Luke Shanahan

    Hi TiKi!

    There is a decent amount of meat on the carcass–the stuff that’s not easy to get off as you break down the bird. The reason you try to get meat off the bones is so that you can use it for your recipes. But whatever meat gets left on and thrown into your stock will simply add flavor.

    After the stock’s done, I try to save the meat–which has been simmered for hours and is pretty flavorless–for animal food. Free range/pastured meat’s a precious thing, and so I don’t want to waste any. Cate and I include some of it in the food we make for our cats (we’re just now getting into this, because some of the commercial cat and dog food is just nasty). I’ll be honest: The cats usually eat a few bites and then turn their nose up at it and lope away. When the cats won’t go for it, I know the local crows will, and it’s fun to watch the first crow yelling at all the other crows to come eat the simmered chicken scraps.

    Hope that answers your question, TiKi. Thanks for watching!

  15. Luke Shanahan

    Thanks Lawrence! I’m so glad it came out tasting great! Cate and I are now talking with the CIA (the Culinary Institute of America) about getting the word out. Lynne Eddy and her crew at the CIA are doing some wonderful things trying to turn awful hospital food into great food, and we’re hoping to be part of what they’re doing with all that. Lynne believes that folks trying to get well in a hospital setting deserve great food prepared by skilled chefs, and we couldn’t agree more. It’s a good thing, and it’s no surprise that the country’s best cooking school is leading the way on this. I bring that up because, if my instructions on making stock included any errors, I’m guessing that the CIA will let me know. I’ll pass on any tips they have to you guys.

    Rock on, home chefs!


  16. Brian

    Thanks so much for all the great information! After the stock is made and ready to be used for soup, do you recommend adding it with water or using it as is?

  17. Luke Shanahan

    Hey Brian,

    You don’t need to water it down at all. Just use as is. On the other hand, Cate found a big free range turkey on sale (I’ve seen free range turkeys for $100. Yikes.). When I made a turkey soup from what was left of the roast, I went about half water and half chicken stock. Turned out great.

    Just trust your taste as you cook, in terms of the intensity of the broth. Good luck, L.S.

  18. Andrea Reina

    Just found this place through Richard Nikoley’s link to “This is Silly”. Like your style, Sean, hope you keep it up.

    Luke, what’s the timing for starting with a raw chicken? I made some Tom Ka Gai with a whole range hen; I parted it out and let that go for a few hours before the chicken became tender enough to take off the bones, then put the bones back in and let that go overnight. My stove doesn’t get low enough for a true simmer, so it did boil. I didn’t want to skim so I picked up a trick from the eGullet (, “washing” by letting the water come to a boil, dumping it, refill, boil, dump, refill and proceed normally. Must have worked as I didn’t see any scum coming up.

    So anyway, should I be timing it from the moment the whole chicken is in, or when I strip the meat off and put the bones back in? And if you’ve got any ideas on how I can maintain a simmer on a stove that doesn’t go that low I’d love to hear them.

  19. Luke Shanahan

    Hi Andrea!

    You know, with Tom Ka Gai–one of the greatest dishes on the planet, let’s be honest–I just toss the raw chunk chicken (one inch chunks) in for the last couple of minutes after the stocks gotten to boiling temp. Then add the coconut milk and boil for another minute or so. Then off the stove, with the fish sauce, lime juice, and the cilantro leaf going in (in that order) just before serving.

    Okay, now to making the stock. I’m cool with the “washing” technique. In fact, a lot of good cook books recommend doing this to remove impurities. Maybe you don’t get all the same healthful proteins and calcium that you might get by starting with cold water, but in the spirit of Sean’s latest post, let’s not sweat that too much. (Oh heavens! I didn’t start with cold water! What ever will I do!) You’re getting free range birds and not wasting any of it by making stock, so you’re all ready way ahead of the crowd.

    (Please, everyone, if you’re spending the money on anything free range, don’t waste that stuff. It’s gold.)

    When you talk about the timing stuff, are you boiling the whole chicken (to get your Tom Ka Gai meat) and then taking it out of the liquid and stripping off the meat and then putting the stripped chicken carcass back in? If so, skip all that. Take the raw bird and break it down, removing the raw meat for the Tom Ka Gai. Now you’ve got your chicken carcass. Put that aside for making stock. Make the Tom by adding the garlic, ginger, lemon grass, etc. (basically a Thai red curry) and bring that chicken broth to boil, then add the one-inch chicken pieces and stir it all around right in the wok (or whatever pot) for a couple minutes. Then the coconut milk (pour the water off; use the fat part) and boil for another minute, then off the heat. Then add the fish sauce, the lime, and finish by adding fresh cilantro a moment before serving. (If you’re going to have leftovers, don’t add cilantro to the whole thing. Cilantro in the coup turns bitter overnight. Store that separately in a bowl of water in the fridge.)

    Will this technique cook the chicken through-and-through? Yes, but make sure by taking a couple of the biggest chunks of chicken and slicing them in half. If there’s no pink in there, it’s done.

    p.s. If you like Asian dishes and you use soy sauce often, make sure you get actual fermented say, like Kikkoman. The best real soy I’ve ever had: Mitoku Johsen Organic Shoyu traditional Soy Sauce. Cate got a little bottle for ten bucks and I was like, “Ten bucks!?!” But guess what, it’s off-the-charts good.

    p.p.s. If you, or anyone, wants to know the name of the best Pho restaurant in San Diego, drop Cate a line at and we’ll let you in on our little secret find. We have to keep it secret, because we don’t want the place to be overrun. We did research while we were out visiting Sean, and we discovered the best one. Homemade bone stock. Perfect noodles. Intense flavors. Beautiful restaurant. Lovely service. Embarrassingly affordable. I’m telling you, it’s out of this world.

    All our best,
    Luke S.

  20. Andrea Reina


    Thanks for the reply! I actually got my pot to simmer by venting the lid a little. Who woulda thought that would work ;P. I never thought about stripping the meat off, I’ll give that a go. Already have a bird in the pot so I’ll do that next time. I think I’ll be making this dish a weekly event, you’re definitely right about how good it is.

  21. Julie

    Hello Luke,

    Thank you very much for the recipe I learned a few things for sure.
    I was wondering do you think it’s OK to use a pressure cooker? I use it often to save the time, but I now wonder if it preserves all the nutrients etc…

  22. Josh

    Why is it such a big deal to remove the fat!?!? If you’re just going to use the broth for a stew or soup, doesn’t the fat add richness? I’ve made a few broths before reading this and I didn’t remove the fat and they tasted great.

    The fat from free range birds should be especially good and free of the toxins from conventional chicken farming, I don’t understand why you would feed it to the crows? I know this is an old blog post, but if anyone knows I’d really like to know the reason… Thanks

  23. Sher

    Can I throw cooked chicken skins in with the carcass? And, can I use a raw carcass and skins to make the stock?

  24. Mary Light, ND MH

    Finally, someone from the medical field who understands basic traditional naturopathy! We use the book Deep Nutrition … in our curriculum (among the many others we use for both information and to develop critical thinking)….to help our traditional naturopathy diploma program students connect to the science that has always been behind the wisdom of holism but all too often is missing from reading material. This is also Oh so Helpful in bringing some balance to the “raw vegan” movement /veganism so often associated with the health culture. As a former chef myself, I will link this overview of teachings on making stock broth on our FB page!

  25. Mary Light, ND MH

    Here is something I do when making bone /meat stock- use a potato masher periodically to mash down the bones/meat and crush them to release more of their constituents. I always add either wine, lemon juice, or ACV or a little of each to stocks- it brings out flavor and minerals. I also sometimes roast, then deglaze the pan, for the flavor, before certain stock batches- is that so bad molecularly?

  26. Rick P

    I am finally doing this. I turned the dial to 5 out of 10/Hi and discovered that the water was boiling. Oops. It’s now on Low, but I think I’ll give it some more heat and put it in the refrigerator before bed.

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