Chicken Stock

chicken-broth-280x185Makes about 8 cups
Hands-on time: 10 minutes
Total preparation time: 3 1/2 hours

I understand that most people are going to reach for a can of chicken stock on a weeknight (and yes, let’s be honest, even on a weekend) but I am hoping that one weekend, when you have a little time on your hands and you plan ahead at the supermarket and pick up some chicken wings and the appropriate vegetables, you will decide to make a batch of the homemade stuff. The flavor is superior, and because it is made with chicken and bones, it contains gelatin, which contributes body to any recipe you put it in. I have tried boiling down several brands of canned stock to see what happens. If they had actually been made from bones, the liquid would become very viscous after awhile. Instead, I can boil the mixture down until it disappears and pouf, there is nothing left in the pan. My theory is that they simmered water and chicken fat to come up with the flavor in canned stock and then removed the fat. I don’t know how else they got chicken flavor in there. I like to use chicken wings, because they have equal parts of chicken (flavor), bones (gelatin), and fat in the form of skin (more flavor), more of all three put together than any other part of the chicken.

After you make your stock, remove the fat and boil it down by at least one third to concentrate it. Divide the stock up among several resealable plastic bags and freeze it. You will be so happy to have it on hand. We refer to it as liquid gold. This stock will keep for 3 days in the refrigerator or a few months in the freezer.

5 pounds chicken wings
2 medium onions, quartered
2 small carrots, halved
2 celery stalks, halved
4 rinsed and dried fresh flat-leaf parsley sprigs
2 rinsed and dried fresh thyme sprigs
1 Turkish bay leaf
1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns

Rinse the chicken wings. Put them in a stockpot and add enough cold water to cover by 2 inches. Bring the mixture just to a boil over high heat, skimming and discarding the surface skim with a slotted spoon. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, skimming frequently, for 20 minutes.

Add the onions, carrots, celery, parsley, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns; simmer for 2 1/2 hours. Strain the stock and skim off all the fat that rises to the surface. (Alternately, cool the stock and refrigerate it overnight. The fat will harden on top of the stock and is much easier to remove.)

Return the stock to the pot and simmer until reduced by one third, about 30 minutes. Divide the stock among several resealable plastic bags and freeze it.

Print Friendly, PDF & Email


Thanks to

Sara's Weeknight Meals is produced by Silver Plume Productions and WETA Washington, DC, and distributed by American Public Television (APT) to public broadcasting stations nationwide. Corporate funding is provided by Best Buy, Gallo and King Arthur Flour. |

17 Responses to Chicken Stock

  1. Connie says:

    When do you add salt?

    • Sara Moulton says:

      Add at the end, after you have boiled the stock down

      • Suzanne Weiss says:

        We noticed that you omitted the salt from the recipe. How much salt are you recommending be added at the end, so that only a hint of salt is present in the stock (we are conscious of excessive salt content in general)?

      • moulton says:

        Suzanne, It is a personal choice. Also, it depends on how much stock you have made. I would add a little salt and then taste, adding more if you want.

    • Glory says:

      Please help me find the secret for clear, transluscent and full flavored. Mine often turns out cloudy even after skimming the gunk..

      • moulton says:

        You might be cooking the stock at too high a temperature. Keep it at a bare simmer and it should stay clear (and do skim all the “gunk” until there is no more). As for strong flavor, make sure you use a mix of skin, bones and meat (chicken wings are best) and simmer for 3 to 4 hours. After straining the stock, you can simmer it to reduce it and concentrate the flavor.

  2. Anna says:

    I love making stock and keep several types on hand in my freezer. Leftover crudite platter? Vegetable stock! Ham for dinner? Ham stock. Beef and chicken – always. I do nearly all of it with a 10-quart, stock pot style pressure cooker which has become one of my essential kitchen tools. Now I just need to convince my husband to look in the freezer rather than the pantry when he is cooking and needs stock. The freezer is a novel concept for him, but I grew up with it.

    • Sara Moulton says:

      Anna, I am very impressed!! This is what we should all be doing, especially since these homemade stocks can be the base of so many wonderful recipes.



  4. Carol Staub says:

    What size stock pot do you use. I now have to make all meals soft purreed or liquid
    So i use stock to blend w foods.
    I would like to even make more at one time.
    I dont have a stock pot but i have two large quity pots that hold a little more than a gallon of liquid each.
    If i buy another what soze is best?

  5. Barb Greaver says:

    Is this the chicken fat we should save and use? Shmaltz?

  6. Bonnie says:

    I love Sara!

  7. Pam says:

    What do you do with the chicken wings and vegetables after you strain it.

  8. Kalya Aye says:

    Thank you for the recipe Sara and I will try that.

  9. Lou Newnan says:


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.