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Chicken Stock

Posted by Denise on June 21, 2011

completed chicken stock

It may not look really pretty, but it tastes great and makes a great base for other recipes. 

Homemade chicken stock is super easy to make and we like the flavor better than commercial chicken stock. And making the chicken stock yourself allows you to control the salt, spices, and other things that go into it.

People sometimes wonder what the difference is between stock and broth. They are very similar in how they are made, but broth uses meat to make the flavored liquid. Stock may use meat, but also always uses the bones to make the flavored liquid. Stock is slightly thicker in mouth feel and is richer than broth because there is a natural gelatin in the bones which breaks down and improves the stock. We sometimes use broth in recipes, but we normally prefer stock since it has more chicken flavor due to the gelatin from the bones.

Since we don’t like to waste anything, we will bake a chicken for dinner, then use the carcass and any remaining meat on the bones to make a beautiful homemade chicken stock. The stock, like broth, can be used for many things, including as a base for soups and as the liquid for making more flavorful rice or pasta.

If we don’t have time to make stock when we are done with the chicken, we will sometimes throw the carcass into a large freezer bag and put it in the freezer until we have time to work with it. Or if it was a small chicken, we will wait until we have two of them before making the stock to make sure it has a strong enough chicken flavor.

If we are using the chicken stock immediately, we may include the vegetables in the stock as we are making it. I prefer to wait until we use the finished chicken stock in a recipe so that the vegetables are fresher and retain some of their color in the final product. Otherwise they do get very cooked, but many people like the amount of flavor the long cooking of the vegetables adds to the stock. Likewise, since we sometimes don’t know what we are going to use the chicken stock for, we will not spice it with anything but a little salt and bay leaves so we can use it for anything. It can be flavored when adding it to whatever recipe you are making.

Always try to allow cool down time after making the stock in order to easily remove excess fat from the stock. Fat rises to the top of the stock and when chilled will solidify. If you put it into the refrigerator for several hours or overnight, you can easily pick the firm fat from the top. And unlike commercially made chicken stock, the stock is thick and tasty even when the fat is removed. In fact, when you take it out of the refrigerator, don’t be surprised when the stock is congealed, almost like jello. That’s the work of the gelatin and when the stock is reheated, it will thin out again. If you need it thinned further, just add a little water until you get it to the consistency you want.

One of the nicest things about chicken stock? You can divide it up into freezer bags or containers and keep it in the freezer to use later. Then when you need it, you have homemade chicken stock available. I have even seen it frozen in ice cube trays first, then the cubes put into a freezer container so that you can portion it out in even amounts as you need it. Any way you use it, you will feel great when you are feeding your family since you know only fresh good things went into it!



Chicken Stock

Makes 2 or more quarts



Note: You may want to add the optional vegetables and spices until you are adding the chicken stock to whatever you are using it for to get the right mixture of tastes.


1          Chicken carcass with some meat still on it

2          Quarts water or more, enough to cover the carcass when cooking

            Salt to taste

2-3        Bay leaves

            Optional: Any other vegetables (such as carrots, onions, and celery) or spices (garlic, thyme, etc.) desired to flavor the stock





1.  Place chicken carcass in heavy pan with sides tall enough to allow water to cover entire carcass. Pour water over it to cover completely.



 chicken carcass

 We use the carcass from roasted chicken to make stock.


water over carcass for chicken stock

 Add water to cover the carcass to make stock.



2.  Add salt and bay leaves to pot along with any other ingredients you want in there. Place pot on stove and turn on to medium heat.


 adding bay leaves to water and chicken carcass


3.  Simmer for 45 minutes or more. If the water starts to boil, turn heat down to bring to a simmer.


4.  Cool and remove the carcass. Pick any remaining meat off of the bones and discard the bones.


5. Put the stock into the refrigerator for a couple of hours or over night to allow the fat to congeal on top. This makes it easy to take the fat out of the stock.


fat layer on top of chicken stock


                              removing fat from chicken stock


removing fat from top of chicken stock


The fat congeals on top of the chicken stock making it easy to pick it off.


                 chicken stock almost done

                                       The chicken stock is almost ready.



6.  The stock can be divided into freezer containers and placed into the freezer when cooled enough. Can be frozen for 3-6 months.

 Chicken stock bagged for freezing

  Chicken stock in freezer bag ready for freezer.





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