If you’ve ever wondered how to make chicken broth from scratch, the good news is that it’s quite simple! All you need is a handful of quality ingredients and some time, and you’re on your way to a rich and delicious homemade broth to use in all your favorite recipes.
Memories of Homemade Chicken Broth Becoming Cozy Chicken Soup
Growing up in an Eastern European household, I ate a lot of chicken soup.
Both of my parents knew how to cook, but it was typically my momma that made our meals. And with our meals there was usually always some kind of soup as a starter to the meal, often homemade chicken soup.
She would use one of our extra large pots for this preparation, because she would place a whole chicken into that pot, along with lots of colorful vegetables (whatever we had on hand—it was a good way to clean out the fridge) and an array of aromatics such as onions and herbs.
Then she would cover all of those ingredients with water, and allow that to simmer for hours and hours. It bubbled gently on the back of the stove with the lid slightly askew, until it became deeply golden and rich with chicken flavor, filling the entire house with amazing aroma.
Each of us had our own way of enjoying a bowl of that delicious chicken soup. My dad would fill his bowl with the thin noodles we used, along with the over-cooked vegetables from the pot (waste not, want not), and the chicken saved from the bones to create a more hearty and filling meal. But I preferred to fill my belly with only the noodles and the savory and soothing golden liquid which offered me such warmth and comfort.
Ultimately it was a rich and delicious chicken broth that was at the center of it all, only slightly embellished with some noodles, veggies and chicken. And it’s that kind of broth that makes a perfect base for many other soups and recipes.
So here’s everything you’ll ever need to know about how to make chicken broth, from scratch!
What Goes Into a Basic Chicken Broth Recipe?
Typically, when it comes to chicken stock, the carcass or bones from a chicken are used in the preparation of it. But because I like to use a whole chicken for stronger flavor—meat, skin, bones and all, I’m actually preparing a chicken broth with an incredible richness and depth to it.
Vegetables are essential to creating a broth and I opt to use a ratio of four medium-size carrots, three ribs of celery, one large onion, and four small cloves of garlic in my homemade chicken broth. Other veggies that can be included are kohlrabi (my mom used this in hers often times), parsnip, or even turnip—but know that the latter two may add a slight hint of sweetness.
I also tie together a generous bundle of whatever kind of herbs I have on hand—typically flat-leaf parsley and thyme—with a bit of kitchen string, which helps make removal easier later on.
And then a small palm-full of black pepper corns and a good dash of either Himalayan pink or sea salt are tossed in to create some savory-ness.
All that’s left is to fill the pot with cold water, roughly enough to cover the chicken by a couple of inches, so that the flavor remains nice and strong.
How to Make Chicken Broth
- Begin by placing a washed, whole, organic chicken (giblets removed, but neck bone reserved) into a large, 8-10 quart pot. Then add in the celery, which is roughly chopped into large pieces, followed by the carrots (also roughly chopped into large pieces), an onion (simply peeled and quartered), and the whole, peeled garlic cloves.
- Tie together a large fistful of herbs such as parsley and thyme and toss those in, along with a small fistful of pepper corns (you can use black or multicolor) and about 2 tablespoons of salt.
- Cover all of these ingredients with about 3 quarts of cold water (essential), and place the pot onto the stove over high heat. Once things begin to bubble and boil quite vigorously, cover the pot with a lid very slightly askew to allow for just a little of the steam to escape, reduce the heat to low, and simmer gently for 4 hours, ideally. (The longer the better, but if you’re pinched for time, you can get pretty good flavor after about 2 hours.)
- Then, carefully lift the chicken out of the hot liquid (it is extremely hot and will fall apart very, very easily, so be careful), and strain the broth so that the veggies and any leftover bits get captured and you’re left with a clear, golden broth. (You may need to strain a couple of times through a fine strainer like I do.)
- Finally, taste it to see if any additional salt is needed, and either use the broth directly, or allow it cool completely before refrigerating. Or you can portion it off and store in heavy-duty ziplock bags in the freezer for use in later recipes.
And now, you have a delicious homemade chicken broth that I’m sure you will find truly delicious when you’re making all your favorite soup recipes. Hope you enjoy!
Tips & Tidbits For the Perfect Chicken Broth:
- Use good quality chicken: Use the best quality, whole chicken you can find. If you can afford organic chicken, that is ideal; the flavor is more intense and will provide for a healthier, better tasting broth.
- Go large with the soup pot: I use a soup pot that is about 8-10 quarts, because space is needed in order for the whole chicken to fit easily, along with the veggies and water.
- Patience is a virtue: In order for chicken broth to be as deep in flavor as it can be, allow for about 4 hours of simmering. I like to prepare mine earlier in the day so that it is ready in the afternoon. But if you are pressed for time, allow for at least 2 hours, and the flavor should be pretty good at that point.
- Strain, and if needed, strain again: I usually very carefully lift the chicken out of the hot broth with a pair of tongs and set it in a bowl. Then, I strain the broth of all the veggies, herbs and peppercorns into a clean pot, and often re-strain for even more clarity, as needed.
- Cool completely and then freeze for future recipes: Allow your clarified broth to completely cool before freezing it for future recipes; you can keep whatever amount you need for more immediate recipes in the fridge in a covered container for up to 5-7 days. You can portion off quantities for future soups or other recipes in heavy-duty freezer bags and then defrost in the fridge as needed.
Feast your eyes on these, or just jump to the recipe:
Chicken Broth Recipe
by Ingrid Beer
Yield: 3 quarts
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook time: 4 hours
• 1 whole (5 pound) organic chicken (skin on) giblets and any paper removed, but neck bones reserved
• 4 medium-size carrots, roughly chopped
• 3 ribs celery, roughly chopped
• 1 large onion, peeled and quartered
• 4 small cloves garlic
• Small bundle (about a fistful) of thyme
• Small bundle (about a fistful) of parsley
• 2 tablespoons whole peppercorns
• 2 tablespoons sea salt
-Place your chicken and the remainder of the ingredients into a large soup pot, and add 3 quarts of cold water.
-Place the pot over medium-high heat and bring to a vigorous simmer/boil, then cover with a lid slightly askew, reduce heat, and very gently simmer for 4 hours (at least 2).
-Carefully lift the chicken out of the broth, and set aside (you can shred the meat for another use if you’d like, just know that it will be pretty overcooked). Then, strain the broth of all the vegetables, and restrain with a finer mesh strainer for extra clarity.
-Use immediately for your recipe, or allow the broth to cool completely and portion off quantities in containers or heavy-duty ziplock bags to keep in the freezer to use for future recipes.
Check out some of our most popular soup recipes to use your delicious, homemade chicken broth in! Oktoberfest Stew, Zesty Mexican Chicken Stew, Summer Corn Soup with Shrimp, Simple Lemony Chicken & Spring Veggie Soup, Hearty Italian Chicken & Autumn Veggie Soup.