{kitchen basics 101} For the Love of Chicken Stock

Good soup is one of the prime ingredients of good living.  For soup can do more to lift the spirits and stimulate the appetite than any other one dish.”
Louis P. De Gouy, ‘The Soup Book’ (1949)

From scratch chicken stock is so easy. It does takes some time to cook, but prep is simple and it makes your house smell welcoming and cozy. For just a very little bit of money you can create a large amount of stock and fill your belly with delicious soups or package stock in the freezer to use in any recipe calling for chicken stock or broth.

Let’s talk chicken- the beauty of making stock is that the main flavor comes from the long cooking of the bones. This means if you have chicken bones of any kind, you can make stock with them. So you could use the carcass of a leftover roasted chicken, a small whole chicken, or just some chicken pieces (legs and thighs have the most flavor).


What is a soup chicken?  This summer I discovered something wonderful at the Farmers Market. If you buy fresh eggs talk to your farmer about the VERY affordable and tasty “Soup Chicken”. Basically this chicken is an old hen that is past her prime and no longer laying enough eggs. She will be an older bird with saggy skin, small breast and not very meaty, but toss this lady in the pot and she is full of flavor. Let this be a lesson for life- It isn’t all about how pretty you look on the plate or nice meaty breasts, but rather the flavor you add to the pot…



  • Chicken with bones (See ‘soup chicken’ above)
  • 1 large onion quartered
  • 4 large carrots washed (no need to peel, or trim)
  • 5 stalks of celery washed
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Parsley (handful of fresh, 1/8 cup of dried)
  • 2 tablespoons Salt
  • 1 Pepper
  • If you have whole peppercorns on hand throw in 1-2 tablespoons
  • Water 6-8 quarts depending on the size of your pot



Put it all in a pot, cover with water by at least 2-3 inches. Be sure there is a little space left in the pot so it doesn’t boil over.

Bring to a rolling boil for about 5 minutes, and then lower to a simmer. Simmer on the stove for 3-5 hours. Have a lid on the pot half way allowing some steam to escape.

During the first half hour or so, you will see foam collecting on the surface of the water. This is coagulated protein. If you don’t like the looks of it feel free to skim it off the surface. If you leave it in the broth it will not affect the flavor and isn’t harmful, but it will cause the stock to be cloudy. I usually don’t worry about it too much. For everyday home cooking there is no need to fuss with it. I just skim off the bulk of it that forms in the first half hour and leave it at that.

After 5 hours of cooking everything in the pot is drained of flavor and kind of a mushy mess, but the liquid, is full of delicious concentrated flavor.

At this point I like to grab a cookie sheet or large bowl and scoop out as much of the solids as possible- you can salvage any of the chicken meat from this, it will be a bit bland but nice and tender, perfect for chicken soup. Then pour what remains in the pot through a fine strainer being sure all small bits of bone and cartilage are removed. Done!


STORAGE: You now have awesome chicken stock to use now, freeze, or keep in refrigerator for up to 1 week.

THE BLOB: When refrigerated the fat will rise to the top and thicken into a yellowish blob. Do not fear the blob and PLEASE don’t throw the blob out!!! This is the flavor…when reheated it will melt back into the stock!

Keep in mind this is concentrated chicken stock reduced with lots of flavor so you can add additional liquid to it when using it for cooking.


RECIPE: Easy & Delicious Chicken Soup {w/ Homemade Stock}


  • 1 tbsp. oil
  • 1 cup diced onion
  • ½ cup diced carrot
  • ½ cup diced celery
  • ¼ cup white wine (if you have it on hand if not you can skip it)
  • 6-8 cups Chicken stock
  • 1-2 cups diced chicken (reserved from making stock)
  • Any additional vegetables you may want in your soup.


In separate pot cook whatever pasta you wish to add (egg noodles, tortellini, stars, etc.) according to package directions. Please note- do not store your pasta or rice in your soup. It will absorb all of the liquid and you will end up with a clump of mush.

Cook your onion, carrot, celery in oil for 5 min, add wine bring to simmer, add stock, add chicken and any additional vegetable you may want. Simmer for 15 min. Serve with pasta of your choice.




9 Comments Add yours

  1. Jeni B says:

    I have THREE chicken carcasses in my freezer and a bird in the fridge I need to finish eating. so… four. I’m busting out the GIANT pot and making some stock…. soon!

  2. Tamara Smith says:

    Just out of curiosity, do you keep the skin on or take it off?

  3. Reblogged this on the domestic voyager and commented:
    I’ve been wanting to make/store my own chicken stock for a while now…this is a great blog entry posted on FROM SCRATCH CLUB about how to do it.

  4. Leah says:

    Tamara- I leave the skin on if using raw chicken, if using a roasted chicken carcass I leave whatever is left on. If the skin is very greasy you will see a layer of film when you refrigerate the stock. You can remove that when reheating or before storing. It will look different than the “blob” of flavorful fat. 🙂

  5. DK says:

    Every time we make stock in the house, we always note how easy it is yet how few people we know who do it! I”m always happy to see people posting about it because I want everyone to join. One thing I recommend is keeping tomato leftovers (skin, ends, etc) in the freezer instead of putting in the compost to add to your chicken stock. It gives a nice richness.

  6. manfoodinc says:

    Yes, this is so easy but I never do it. I need to start making my own. Question, is there any benifit to letting it sit or storing before using? Or is the flavor as good as it will get once it’s off the stove top.


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