How to Make Chicken Stock Without a Recipe (2024)

Weeknight Cooking

by: Jestei




Here at Food52,we love recipes-- but do we always use them? Of course not. Because once you realize you don't always need a recipe, you'll make your favorite dishes a lot more often.

Today: Jennifer Steinhauer (our weeknight dinner savior) shows us the secrets to the best DIY chicken stock.

How to Make Chicken Stock Without a Recipe (1)

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I am generally not a do-it-yourself-or-die kind of girl. Pre-cut veggies? Knock yourself out. I do not make my own yogurt. Given my druthers, I will buy pancetta that someone else has chopped.

But when possible, I do believe you should use homemade stock, simply for the work-to-pleasure ratio. Homemade stock is easy, delicious, and flexible. By freezing it in one cup portions, you never have the waste issue with opening a box of stock.

My method differs from others in one key way: I put all the veggies save the onion in at the end instead of cooking them with the chicken for hours, so as to maintain that cluck cluck flavor.

How to Make Chicken Stock Without a Recipe

1. Brown chicken in oil -- chopped up ax murderer-style to get marrow. If you are using a turkey or chicken carcass, just dump it in here. The leftover herbs will be great.

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More: See how to turn a pot of stock into 5 dinners.

2. Add quartered onion skin on, a splash of white wine if you're feeling fancy and a bay leaf. Cover with water -- just above the chicken no more.

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3. Simmer for three or four hours, skim if you see foam; you want to reduce by at least a quarter, half is even better -- you can't really cook it too long.

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4. Now add celery, carrots, and parsley and cook 5 minutes.

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5. Strain.

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6. If possible, leave in the fridge overnight, skim the fat and freeze it for making matzoh balls. Store in 1/2, 1, and 2-cup portions in heavy freezer Ziplocks.

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See what other Food52 readers are saying.

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Written by: Jestei

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Lynnie November 29, 2019

I make tons of fresh chicken stock and, taking a cue from some great chefs and also from ATK, I add pretty much nothing to it. I use rotisserie chicken carcass; we beak the chicken down into meat/bones right away leaving bits of meat on the carcass and addinf ALL bones and the skin (yes.., it is very flavor-rich) into the stock pot with water to cover and cook it low and slow for anywhere from 1 hour to overnight (ie, bone broth when cooked for extended long period in which case we add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar to better extract bone nutrients). I do not add anything else to the pot - the result is potent, clear chicken flavor. I use to add all the typical stockpot veggies but as many chefs have pointed out, that dilutes the chicken (or other poultry) flavor. Insanely delicious stock!!! When I use the stock for specific soups, I add varied aromatics/veggies/vino depending on the use; the result is these flavors also hold up better when cooked in the stock for shorter time.

Recently tossed a whole (brined) turkey carcass (cooked for early TG celebration) into the stockpot w/the herbs still in it and got awesome stock for used in my TG gravy and stuffing/dressing.

Teddi October 28, 2016

When I make stock, I have this problem where the broth gets intensely gelatinous the entire way through. It looks like an aspic. Am I doing something wrong? If so, please help

Fran M. January 18, 2017

You are doing it correctly. That's exactly what it looks like. When you heat it up it will melt. Skim off the fat before reheating.

Lynnie November 29, 2019

That is great! It means you have a high level of protein in the stock and that is great. As Fran M noted, it will liquefy when heated.

Midge March 10, 2014

I've long been confused by the bagillion different methods of stock-making but I just followed yours for matzoh ball soup and it is lovely and rich and golden. Thank you Jennie!

Terry M. February 20, 2014

How much chicken and what kind of cuts? The recipe doesn't say.

Constance B. February 20, 2014

OMG. Just Chicken with carrots and celery and onions. Bring to boil, skim, simmer 1hr. Remove chicken, remove meat from bone. Preserve chicken, add bones and skin back to broth. Simmer over night. Drain. Refridge and then skim fat. Save fat for other organic pursuits. Keep broth, to be used within one week, or freeze in containers. Done this for decades.

jpriddy November 13, 2022

They provided a recipe for making stock without a recipe—seriously? And then you had to explain it to make it simple.

Todd S. February 20, 2014

Yeah, um, this is still a recipe. Also, "you never have the waste issue with opening a box of stock?" Because nobody owns a refrigerator, boxed broth is literally impossible to freeze in one-cup portions, and chicken stock is so rarely used in cooking?

Edgar H. February 20, 2014

Random thought - try freezing your stock in ice cube trays. Once frozen, you break them out and toss into a heavy Ziploc bag for long term storage. This allows you to add as little or as much as you want to your dishes!

Mark O. February 20, 2014

This would work well. We always make a big batch of turkey stock after Thanksgiving. We put the stock in plastic containers and freeze for long term storage.

wullie T. March 7, 2014

Edgar, an even easier way is to use ice cube bags, and pour the cooled stock into these and freeze. You don't need to double handle them, and the bags lie flat in the freezer, taking up little room. You just need to tear off a cube or two when you cook.

Zollar L. February 19, 2014

If this isn't a recipe I'm a monkeys uncle/

Arthur D. February 19, 2014

Similar to the way I make mine.
Less meat, as I'm almost always using the bones from Chicken breasts (My local store periodically sells bone on chicken breasts for as low as 99c a lb), but I put the carrots in with the onions, only the "greens" are added for the last 10 minutes. (5 seems to short to me)
What I do know is it is simple to make and yet it makes a GREAT broth and I love having a half dozen in Ziploc bags in the freezer for use.

M. V. February 18, 2014

Josie D: Is your stock coming to a boil. If it boils it breaks up fat and impurities into the stock. To get the clear, golden color keep at a simmer so that the impurities do not break apart and can be skimmed off from the top.

M. V. February 18, 2014

Hmmmm….it seems that the chicken in the pictures has the meat still on it and that would make this broth, stock by definition is made from the bones, mirepoix and aromatics. The addition of meat or would make this broth.

wullie T. February 16, 2014

By definition, aren't the instructions on stock making without a recipe....well...a recipe?

I have tried an anchovy, or 1/2 - 1 teaspoon of fish sauce or Oyster sauce in some stews and find it adds a very subtle depth to the finished dish. I'd be tempted to try the same with this stock due to the long simmer time.

Tania S. February 16, 2014

I use the microwave for a speedy (less energy) version. I tear up my chicken carcasse so that it fits into my largest glass bowl with lid. Squish onion (skin on) and carrots/celery into the gaps, add a few black peppercorns and a bayleaf. Fill with water. Microwave for 3 bursts of 6 minutes (the highest button on my appliance!). This makes my kitchen smell less than the stove top method. I think I'm getting the same effect - the stock is very good.

issybee February 16, 2014

I always use one parsnip and one turnip to give it a mysterious depth of flavor that is unsurpassed. Roasting the vegetables is nice, but for lowest maintenance throwing them all in together still yields a delicious stock well above the store bought variety.

Mark O. February 10, 2014

From Anthony Bourdain - Instead of cooking the parts in oil, roast all the parts in the oven. It lowers the amount of oil you have to skim off. You can also add some turmeric for extra color and a little taste.

Jestei February 11, 2014

that sounds great

ChezBeekeeper February 26, 2014

Roast bones and all, throw in the neck and giblets. Break up the large bones to release the marrow. Sprinkle with salt prior to roasting. I like to start with a cold oven so the bones come up to temp and the fat melts some, but the main idea is to get some char going. Once roasted, put into COLD water and bring up to slow simmer for as many hours as you can. The whole process is designed to extract the chicken flavor, not cook the chicken. So, small crunched up bones do great to release that chicken greatness!

JosieD February 10, 2014

So interesting! I've been making my own stock for a while now but am stymied by cloudy, greyish color. The taste has been great, but that golden color has been eluding me. Last minute veggies! So brilliant!

Jestei February 11, 2014

sometimes the grey color comes from letting it aggressively boil which stirs up all that scum into the broth; also the golden color is aided by the onion skins

ChezBeekeeper February 26, 2014

Try dropping in the dried shells from a couple eggs to help clarify your stock. Simmer thirty minutes or so then let sit. The stock should clear. You're welcome. ..

christina@afroditeskitchen February 10, 2014

this looks great. I love learning how to make good chicken stock, as it's so key in so many recipes and a freezer favourite of mine. And it's so true - once I don't need a recipe, I make a dish more often! Thank you for this recipe!

Jestei February 11, 2014

you bet

david P. February 10, 2014

very similar to the the broth recipe for chicken and dumplings in cooks illustrated. It's been my go to quick stock recipe.

Jestei February 10, 2014

i believe adding veggies at the end is a tom c favorite technique as well.

How to Make Chicken Stock Without a Recipe (2024)
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