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If you aren’t already making bone broth regularly, I’d encourage you to start today! It is an incredibly healthy and very inexpensive addition to any diet, and the homemade versions beat store-bought broth in both taste and nutrition (although there is some amazing homemade organic broth you can buy pre-made now).
This is the one nutrient rich food that anyone can afford to add!
What is Broth?
Broth (or technically, stock) is a mineral-rich infusion made by boiling bones of healthy animals with vegetables, herbs. and spices. You’ll find a large stock pot of broth/stock simmering in the kitchen of almost every 5-star restaurant. It is used for its great culinary uses and unparalleled flavor, but it is also a powerful health tonic that you can easily add to your family’s diet.
Broth is a traditional food that your grandmother likely made often (and if not, your great-grandmother definitely did). Many societies around the world still consume broth regularly as it is a cheap and highly nutrient dense food.
Besides it’s amazing taste and culinary uses, broth is an excellent source of minerals and is known to boost the immune system (chicken soup when you are sick anyone?) and improve digestion. Its high calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus content make it great for bone and tooth health. Bone broth also supports joints, hair, skin, and nails due to its high collagen content. In fact, some even suggest that it helps eliminate cellulite as it supports smooth connective tissue.
It can be made from the bones of beef, bison, lamb, poultry, or fish. Vegetables and spices are often added both for flavor and added nutrients.
Why Drink Bone Broth?
Anyone who has read Gut and Psychology Syndrome knows the many benefits of bone broth and how it can improve digestion, allergies, immune health, brain health, and much more.
What isn’t as well known is that broth can help reduce cellulite by improving connective tissue, increase hair growth/strength, improve digestive issues, and remineralize teeth.
Broth is also helpful to have on hand when anyone in the family gets sick as it can be a soothing and immune boosting drink during illness, even if the person doesn’t feel like eating.
Broth is very high in the amino acids proline and glycine which are vital for healthy connective tissue (ligaments, joints, around organs, etc). The Paleo Mom has a great explanation of the importance of these two amino acids:
In addition, glycine is required for synthesis of DNA, RNA and many proteins in the body. As such, it plays extensive roles in digestive health, proper functioning of the nervous system and in wound healing. Glycine aids digestion by helping to regulate the synthesis and of bile salts and secretion of gastric acid. It is involved in detoxification and is required for production of glutathione, an important antioxidant. Glycine helps regulate blood sugar levels by controlling gluconeogenesis (the manufacture of glucose from proteins in the liver). Glycine also enhances muscle repair/growth by increasing levels of creatine and regulating Human Growth Hormone secretion from the pituitary gland. This wonderful amino acid is also critical for healthy functioning of the central nervous system. In the brain, it inhibits excitatory neurotransmitters, thus producing a calming effect. Glycine is also converted into the neurotransmitter serine, which promotes mental alertness, improves memory, boosts mood, and reduces stress.
Proline has an additional role in reversing atherosclerotic deposits. It enables the blood vessel walls to release cholesterol buildups into your blood stream, decreasing the size of potential blockages in your heart and the surrounding blood vessels. Proline also helps your body break down proteins for use in creating new, healthy muscle cells.
What Kind of Broth?
Homemade, nutrient-dense bone broth is incredibly easy and inexpensive to make. There is no comparison to the store-bought versions which often contain MSG or other chemicals and which lack gelatin and some of the other health-boosting properties of homemade broth. However, if you’re short on time, I recommend Kettle & Fire’s grass-fed bone broth because it’s pretty gelatinous and made with organic ingredients.
In selecting the bones for broth, look for high quality bones from grass fed cattle or bison, pastured poultry, or wild caught fish. Since you’ll be extracting the minerals and drinking them in concentrated form, you want to make sure that the animal was as healthy as possible.
There are several places to find good bones for stock:
- Save leftovers from when you roast a chicken, duck, turkey, or goose (pastured)
- From a local butcher, especially one who butchers the whole animal
- From local farmers who raise grass fed animals (ask around at your local farmers market)
- Online from companies like US Wellness Meats (also where I get grass fed tallow in bulk- they sell pre-made high quality broth), Butcher Box, or Healthy Traditions (I order high quality beef, bison, lamb, and chicken bones from them at good prices)
This recipe for broth is my favorite and is an adaption of the recipe in Nourishing Traditions.
Bone Broth Recipe (Stove Top or Instant Pot)
- 2 lbs bones from a healthy source
- 2 chicken feet (optional)
- 1 gal water
- 2 TBSP apple cider vinegar
- 1 onion
- 2 carrots
- 2 stalks of celery
- 1 TBSP salt (optional)
- 1 tsp peppercorns (optional)
- herbs and spices (to taste, optional)
- 2 cloves garlic (optional)
- 1 bunch parsley (optional)
- If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. I place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350°F.
- Place the bones in a large stock pot or the Instant Pot.
- Pour cool filtered water and the vinegar over the bones. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available.
- Rough chop and add the onion, carrots, and celery to the pot.
- Add any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs, if using.
- Bring the broth to a boil. Once it has reached a vigorous boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until done.
- During the first few hours of simmering, you'll need to remove the impurities that float to the surface. A frothy/foamy layer will form and it can be easily scooped off with a big spoon. Throw this part away. I typically check it every 20 minutes for the first 2 hours to remove this. Grass-fed and healthy animals will produce much less of this than conventional animals.
- Simmer for 8 hours for fish broth, 24 hours for chicken, or 48 hours for beef.
- During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley, if using.
- Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.
- Add the garlic and parsley to the pot if using, place the lid on the pot, and set valve to seal.
- Cook at high pressure for 2 hours, followed by either a quick release or natural pressure release. Either is fine.
- Let cool slightly, strain, and store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.
Bone Broth Instructions
The first step in preparing to make broth is to gather high quality bones. As I said, you can find them from sources listed above or save them when you cook. Since we roast chicken at least once a week, I save the carcass for making broth/stock.
I usually aim for 2 pounds of bones per gallon of water I’m using to make broth. This usually works out to 2-3 full chicken carcasses. If possible I’ll also add 2 chicken feet per gallon of water (completely optional!).
You’ll also need some organic vegetables for flavor. These are actually optional but add extra flavor and nutrition. Typically, I add (per gallon of water and 2 pounds of bones):
- 1 onion
- 2 large carrots (if from an organic source, you can rough chop and don’t need to peel)
- 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
- 1 bunch of parsley
Since I make in bulk, I usually use about 4 times the amount of each of these. You can make in any amount, just multiply or divide the recipe up or down.
If you are using raw bones, especially beef bones, it improves flavor to roast them in the oven first. I place them in a roasting pan and roast for 30 minutes at 350°F.
Then, place the bones in a large stock pot (I use a 5 gallon pot). Pour cool filtered water over the bones and add the vinegar. Let sit for 20-30 minutes in the cool water. The acid helps make the nutrients in the bones more available.
Rough chop and add the vegetables (except the parsley and garlic, if using) to the pot. Add any salt, pepper, spices, or herbs, if using.
Now, bring the broth to a boil. Once it has reached a vigorous boil, reduce to a simmer and simmer until done. These are the times I simmer for:
- Beef broth/stock: 48 hours
- Chicken or poultry broth/stock: 24 hours
- Fish broth: 8 hours
During the first few hours of simmering, you’ll need to remove the impurities that float to the surface. A frothy/foamy layer will form and it can be easily scooped off with a big spoon. Throw this part away. I typically check it every 20 minutes for the first 2 hours to remove this. Grass-fed and healthy animals will produce much less of this than conventional animals.
During the last 30 minutes, add the garlic and parsley, if using.
Remove from heat and let cool slightly. Strain using a fine metal strainer to remove all the bits of bone and vegetable. When cool enough, store in a gallon size glass jar in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze for later use.
How to Use Bone Broth
Homemade Broth/Stock can be used as the liquid in making soups, stews, gravies, sauces, and reductions. It can also be used to saute or roast vegetables.
We try to drink at least 1 cup per person per day as a health boost, especially in the winter. My favorite way is to heat 8-16 ounces with a little salt and sometimes whisk in an egg until cooked (makes a soup like egg drop soup).
In times of illness (which doesn’t happen often) we will usually just drink bone broth until we start feeling better as it supports the body but is very easy to digest so the body’s energy can go to healing. In cases of stomach bugs or vomiting, bone broth often calms the stomach very quickly and helps shorten the duration of the illness.
If you don’t want to DIY, this is a great pre-made bone broth option shipped straight to your door!
If you aren’t already, make bone broth a regular part of your kitchen routine. It’s health boosting, inexpensive, and easy… you can’t afford not to!
This article was medically reviewed by Dr. Lauren Jefferis, board certified in Internal Medicine and Pediatrics. As always, this is not personal medical advice and we recommend that you talk with your doctor or work with a doctor at SteadyMD.
Do you already make bone broth? Will you try it now? Share your tips or questions below!
Discussion (1503 Comments)
I’ve been making my own broth for a few years. I make a huge batch after Thanksgiving and another after Christmas. I just throw the carcasses into the freezer until life is a little calmer after each holiday. I can mine. It is extremely easy.
For a while I was making gelatin tea to get health benefits. Have you tried that? I was actually mixing it with the natural calm for additional magnesium (and the added flavor didn’t hurt).
We are a family of 8. I make about 60 pints of chicken broth a year and 20 of beef, which doesn’t cover what I need for cooking. I can’t imagine what I would need if I fed each of us a cup a day. Certainly a delicious addition to the day, but I would need a lot of bones. One thing I do to get those nutrients in our diets is cook with bone in meats instead of boneless whenever possible, especially in the crock pot. How much broth do you make in a year?
Is the broth supposed to be oily? I used beef bones from our local farmer and it’s been sitting the crockpot for about 24 hours at the time I am posting this comment. My husband wanted to taste it and as I was straining, I noticed how oily it was…just curious.
It will have natural oils and fats in it. When it cools, this will form a protective layer on top of it that seals out oxygen and helps it stay better longer. You can either strain out before using or just reheat and use with the fat still in it…
And what do YOU do? Do you discard the fat?
Katie - Wellness Mama
I usually keep the fat
I will say that roasting beef bones in the oven before boiling them the water greatly improves the flavor. I’ve tried making broth with raw beef bones and it just doesn’t taste as good. Taste is important if you have finicky family members like I do.
I always have put my garlic in the beginning of making broth. is this not okay? I do use the parsely toward the end of the process
You can add earlier, my Italian husband just doesn’t like the taste of overlooked garlic so I add then to keep the flavor or him 🙂
Where do you buy chicken feet??
I have a local farmer here. I’d definitely only buy these from a trusted source, but call around. There isn’t usually a huge demand for them so some farmers or butchers will virtually give them to you.
Try your local ethnic markets. I can find them here in Phoenix at an Asian supermarket and a small Hispanic market.
Chicken feet can be found in Asian Markets where they have learned to value them in their cooking.
You can buy chicken feet through http://www.azurestandard.com for $57 for a 40# box. I buy it and split with two friends. If you aren’t buying through the Azure Standard national co-op, you should check it out. Most people can find a drop-site close enough to justify making the drive to meet the truck once a month. You can get fresh produce, frozen products, healthy items, household items. They have a huge supply of organic products.
Can I “can’ this?
Also, could I do this overnight in a crockpot?
Definitely… great way to store it. Just follow the instructions with your canner for canning meat products…
you must pressure cook meat products, the time for broths and soups is 75 minutes…I’m at sealevel, so I process at 10#
Hey, what about fish bone broth?
my family and I are Americans but we currently live in Bolivia,SA! They sale the cow bones in the grocery store in the meat department here. I always wondered why I would buy that 🙂 now I know! I just figured it was to make the soups they cooked here taste good. I’ll definitely be sharing with all of my Bolivian friends all the benefits of bone broth and be buying some myself! thanks for sharing
I just made this recipe. Thank you so much for posting. I had to cut the recipe in half because I only had 1 chicken available that I had roasted. The broth is in the refrigerator but it is still liquid. Isn’t it supposed to gel?
It is supposed to gel… How long did it boil? It could just be that there weren’t enough bones or that it didn’t boil long enough… Did you use chicken feet too? Those usually thicken it up a lot
Thanks for your help. It boiled for 24 hours. No chicken feet though, so I guess I will try that and more bones next time. I had no idea you could make stock from already cooked bones – this is such a money saver!
I know this comment was from forever ago… But you’re not supposed to boil it for 24 hours. You bring it to a boil and then simmer for ~24 hours.
Yea I was going to say… I make my own broth A LOT!!! I usually use Deliciously Organics Recipe, but I want to try this one now, always use a pastured raw chicken, veggies spices etc, and my broth has NEVER gelled. What exactly am I doing wrong??
I let it go for more like 48 hours until the bone literally crumble apart. I have also taken the bones out after a day in the crock & smash them open to reveal the marrow. Cabbage can overpower the flavour of the broth. Best choices are carrots, celery, bay, onion, leek, garlic. We have a pot going every week. Enjoy.
The biggest problem is the way they’re cutting the bones. Manufacturers cut the bones long so they serve as steak cuts, more $$$. Soup bones cost more than they should most times because they have to go off production to cut these by hand, laterally, so that the majority of marrow is exposed.
That’s why you almost have to have a butcher who has a dedicated band saw (yes, just like a carpenter) and tell him exactly what you’re using the bones for.
Or I suppose you could just go Buy a band saw, get an enormous hunk of bone, sterilize a room and go to town, LOL!
Sylvia De Rooy
I use the bones of at least one whole chicken and about 5 chicken feet and use a crockpot and twice I have had the broth not gel. My current broth cooked for a couple of days and it did not gel and the fat is not the solid, easy to lift off fat I get when it gels. The fat on this non-geled batch has to be laboriously skimmed off because it’s soft fat. I hope someone can tell me what I’m doing wrong. I really need good broth for my health. Thank you.
I attempted my first beef broth and it did not go well. A friend told me to use 8 cups of water in my crock pot with the crock pot on low for 48 hours. I used all the same bones and veggies you listed. All the water evaporated out. What did I do wrong?
I hear if you don’t roast the bones first the end result might not be so good. I roasted mine @ 425 for 90 minutes.
Mine didn’t gel either 🙁
I’m pretty sure it’s because I didn’t use enough bones. Trying again with beef bones so I hope it comes out right.
I’m used to making regular stock for soup, which remains in liquid form, so from that frame of reference, I put too much water for the amount of bones.
Prob would have helped if I’d used the feet, but can’t wrap my mind around it yet. Hopefully will get there eventually!
I read on another blog re: bone broth , it is ok if yours doesn’t gel. It just means you boiled your soup at too high of a heat. BUT you are still get the benefits of the gel ( the and the soup)… ALL the same benefits. The gel is just boiled down , so to speak.
It has nothing to do with the temperature. Some bones simply have more gelatin than others. The feet and other parts with high cartilage content will cause more gelling. It doesn’t matter if your broth is gelled or not though; the gelling only means that you have more gelatin, you still have just as many nutrients from the marrow.
Do you simmer it covered or uncovered? I have read stock recipes that call for you to do one or the other. Thank you for posting this!
Usually loosely covered…
Hi! Love your blog. Do you happen to have a nutrition chart for broth? Chicken and beef? Thank you!
I keep a ziploc bag in my freezer and fill it with bits of vegetables that I might normally throw away – – – onion and garlic skins, carrot tops, peelings – – – anything except rotten stuff or things from the brassica family (no cabbage or broccoli). These bags fill up pretty fast for me. I use several gallon bags in with my bones to make the broth.
Can I ask why no Brassica fam veg? I’m making broth now and it has cabbage and cauliflower leaves in it… Is that bad? Ta
not “bad” just a very strong flavor!
I’m also wondering why not to use anything from the brassica family???
Brenda Mae Wolfenbarger
I have done that and it gives everyone gas. I used the cooked sludge for the dog and it even gives HER gas afterwards. No brassica here!
Don’t you have to blanch veggies before freezing them?
I’m with you Tama ~ Eat it, Eat it, change it and Eat it again! Last night was the night to “clean out” the fridge. That means that everything I cooked all week and and veggies close to the end becomes….You guessed it SOUP! Yes I mix meals…Adobe chicken, Chili lime chicken, Mushroom beef tips and White Chicken Chili ..celery mushrooms tomatoes, broccoli any and all in the pot. Dinner for 2 or 3 more days! I am blessed with a husband that eats what is put in front of him. I know it’s good when he wants seconds..LOL
I, too, make “trash soup”, as my kids dubbed it, from leftovers; chicken,ham, veggies,whatever was left after 4 days, or bits and pieces from the freezer. A fresh batch of homemade corn muffins, and dinner is served! Have just started making bone broth and was wondering about the canning process? Does the high temps diminish the healthy benefits?
Not any more than cooking it! Fact is that really all you are doing is putting it under pressure and heat to cause the death of the microbiology within the can so that it will not spoil. So anything that it in it (minerals vitamins… ect.) are preserved, not changed or degraded.
But be well read on the preservation of food!!!! I cannot stress this enough, preserving done wrong can be really dangerous, not just sick for a couple of days with food poisoning, rather it will end you up in the hospital or can lead to death if not done properly. And in many cases can be “silent” or undetectable by the eye or by the nose.
While it is an easy process, and a really great way to preserve food, understanding what you are doing and doing it right is key!
I have a better name for “trash soup”. In Germany, while I was an exchange student, I remember we had a lot of “Eintopfsuppe” which means “one top soup” (minus the umlauts which i can’t seem to get my computer to do)- everything under one top.
What is Adobe Chicken?