How To Make Chicken Stock Step by Step
Chicken stock is a base for soups and sauces, and adds flavor and richness to rice dishes, stews, and pastas. You can buy ready-made chicken stock at the grocery story, but it's worth it to learn how to make your own. It's an easy, money-saving way to use up chicken carcasses from roast chicken or chicken parts left over from cutting up a whole chicken. And when you chop up onions, carrots, and celery for other recipes, you can save and freeze the unused parts to flavor your homemade stock. Save money and make the tastiest chicken stock? We're in!
How to Make Chicken Stock
Makes about 2 quarts
- 2 pounds chicken parts such as back, neck, wings, and bones
- 2 medium onions
- 2 medium carrots
- 2 stalks celery
- 15 whole black peppercorns (optional)
- 1 bay leaf (optional)
- Place raw chicken in a large pot. Optional: For deeper flavor, roast the chicken parts for 20 minutes at 400 degrees F before proceeding with the recipe.
- Chop the vegetables. Since they'll be discarded after flavoring the stock, they don't need to be bite-sized: quarter the onions or cut them in large chunks. Peel and trim the ends off the carrots. Cut them in thirds or coarsely chop. You can add the entire celery stalk, leaves and all--just be sure to clean the leaves thoroughly. Cut the celery into chunks. Add vegetables to the pot.
- Add peppercorns and bay leaf to the pot, if you're using them. Add water to cover. Bring the water to a near-boil, and immediately reduce the heat to low. Let the stock cook at a low simmer for 2 hours. To achieve a clear, golden stock, use a ladle or large shallow spoon to skim the foam off the top as it rises.
- After the stock has simmered for 2 hours, remove the chicken and the vegetables. All of the flavor will have simmered out of the ingredients, so you can go ahead and discard them. Strain the stock through a fine colander to catch any remaining solids.
- Cool the stock for no more than 2 hours at room temperature, then refrigerate it overnight. Skim the rest of the fat off the chilled stock.
The finished stock should be a clear, light-tan color and have little or no fat floating on the surface. The stock is now ready to use.
How to Store Homemade Chicken Stock
- You can store it in the fridge for up to three days, or, if you don't need the full amount for soup, pour it into smaller containers and freeze for up to 6 months. Then you'll have small amounts ready to use when making a sauce, gravy, mashed potatoes, casseroles, or rice dishes.
- You can even freeze stock in ice cube trays and pop the pieces into a freezer bag. Use them when you need to add just a little bit of stock to thin or flavor a recipe.
Ready for a speedy alternative? See how to make chicken stock in your pressure cooker! "This simple yet flavorful chicken stock is great for everything," says Liam Walshe, "and the pressure cooker is the magic tool here! You need a decent-sized pressure cooker for this recipe. The result is the same thing you'd get with 8 or more hours of conventional simmering. This is a great way to use a leftover chicken carcass from dinner the night before, even if it's one of those rotisserie chickens from the store! I like to season the stock at the end, so that you can accurately control the amount of salt."
Check out our collection of recipes for chicken stock.