How to Make a Basic Chicken Stock

How to make restaurant quality chicken stock

Stock might not sound like the most exciting product in the world. It is, essentially water combined with beef, chicken or seafood scrapings and vegetables, which are then simmered for hours.

However, stock is the backbone of sauces and soups. A really good quality stock is one of those elements that makes restaurant food taste so good.

Homemade stocks will never meet the caliber of restaurant stock, simply because the average chef does not have the mass quantities of scraps that a restaurant will produce in a day, let alone a week.

That does not mean, however, that the average chef should settle for the watered down, preservative filled stock that fills store shelves.   Homemade stock will always be superior to store bought.

So, let’s start with the basics:

Chicken Stock vs. Broth vs. Bone Broth

Broth is made by simmering bones and leftover meat in water with vegetables for a short amount of time, under 2 hours.  It is typically seasoned.

Stock is thicker than broth and is made with no leftover meat at all, just the bones.  It is made by simmering bones in water with some veggies for a few hours longer than a broth.  However, it is usually not seasoned and it is not simmered long enough for a gelatin to form.

Bone broth is also simmered with vegetables but for much longer time, usually over 12 hours.   This longer cooking time results in a much deeper color and flavor as well as enough time for a gelatin to form.

So what should you, the average chef shoot for?  Stock.  With just a few hours it can produce some serious flavor.

How to make chicken stock like a restaurant in a slow cooker

What ingredients are needed to make chicken stock?

  • Bones (Beef or chicken)
  • 12 Onions, quartered
  • 2 Stalks Celery, chopped including leafy parts (this is where the flavor is)
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Cloves Whole Garlic
  • 1012 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Lots of water

What method of heat to use to make stock?

There are several ways to reduce your  stock.  One being the stove top, the slow cooker or, recently,  the instant pot.

A slow cooker is also an excellent way for home cooks to reduce stock without having to babysit a pot over the stove.  Simply put all the ingredients into the slow cooker.  Be sure to cover the bones and vegetables by at least 2″ of water.   Set the slow cooker on low for between for 4-6 hours.  Strain the stock (most likely twice) and place into containers.

If using an Instant Pot, place the metal strainer inside.  Place the bones, veggies on top and cover with water.  Do not fill more than two-thirds of the way up.  Place the lid on and be sure vent knob is pointed towards sealed.  Cook on high for 45 -60 minutes.  Allow the instant pot to release for at least 30 minutes before releasing the pressure manually.

However, we prefer the old fashioned method of stovetop in a Dutch oven.  The Dutch oven pot is ceramic and made to hold heat well so the pot will get hot up the sides as well as the bottom.   Just follow the instructions for the slow cooker and place a metal strainer on top of the pot.  This allows the veggies to stay submerged.

4 Pro Tips for making chicken stock:

  • Never do you want your stock to BOIL.  This will break the bones down and result in a cloudy stock.  A gentle simmer is all that is needed.
  • Clean all the chicken parts thoroughly.  This will reduce the impurities in the finished stock. The cleaner the chicken the brighter the stock will be.
  • A tablespoon of vinegar can be added to help release bones nutrients.
  • Skim constantly if any scum forms on top.

4 Recipe Ideas Using chicken stock:

Soups – Most, if not all, soups will use stock or broth of some sort.  Using homemade broth will elevate the richness and depth of a soup to restaurant levels.

Pasta – Pasta has little to no flavor.  Boiling it in water also imparts little to no flavor.  Use chicken stock next time you make pasta, rice or couscous for more flavor.

Deglazing – Deglazing is a form of picking up all the little bits of flavor that have been left in the pan after cooking. This is referred to as fond.  It is where all the flavor is.  Simply by adding a little broth or wine to deglaze a pan will make a terrific pan sauce to spoon over chicken or beef before plating.

Risotto – risotto is made by slowly incorporating broth into rice for a creamy and luxurious recipe.  The risotto will only be as good as the stock that it’s cooked in.

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How to make restaurant quality chicken stock

How to Make a Basic Chicken Stock

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  • 1 Cooked Chicken carcass, bones and/or giblets, meat mostly removed
  • 12 Onions, quartered
  • 2 Stalks Celery, chopped including leafy parts
  • 2 Carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 2 Cloves Whole Garlic
  • 1012 Whole Black Peppercorns
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • Few sprigs of fresh parsley or thyme (tied together for easy removal)


  1. Remove all skin and most of the meat from the bones/carcass of the chicken. Clean it thoroughly.
  2. Make a bouquet by wrapping Bay leaf, thyme and parsley in cheesecloth, or tie with string.
  3. Place all the bones in preferred vessel (stockpot, slow cooker or instant pot)
  4. Fill with enough water to cover the bones by 2″.

Slow cooker:

  1. Add the remaining ingredients and cook on low for 6-18 hours adding more water if necessary, stirring occasionally to break it down.

Stove Top:

  1. Place everything in a large stockpot or Dutch oven and bring to a high heat, avoiding boiling. Simmer for a few hours, occasionally skimming the top until the vegetables are completely tender and the taste is what you are looking for.
  2. Strain the broth in a large bowl with a colander or fine strainer. You may need to strain it twice.
  3. If not using immediately, the broth may be frozen for up to 3 months or refrigerated for 7 days.


  • Serving Size: 1

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