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Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe – Learn how to make homemade chicken stock in just a few easy steps! Slow Cooker, Instant Pot and Stovetop Instructions included!
Homemade chicken stock is one of those essential recipes that is so easy to make you’ll wonder why you haven’t been making it all along! Full of nutrients, you’ll love the flavor this homemade chicken stock adds to soups, stews, and anything else that you cook with it!
There are a few methods that I’ve found to cook it depending on your preference, the amount of time you have on hand to attend to it, and the chicken you have available for making stock.
You’ll find me regularly “restocking” our chicken stock supplies using one of the following three methods depending on the amount of time that I have available. My Grandmother always had her chicken stock simmering away on the stove, while I find that I lean more on using my slow cooker and Instant Pot (pressure cooker). All three ways result in delicious, nutritious chicken stock that I prefer to use in my recipes.
I prefer to use the whole chicken method for making my chicken stock. I feel like I’m accomplishing two tasks at once by not only making quarts of my chicken stock, but also preparing a whole chicken to be used in any number of recipes throughout the week.
For my chicken, I do prefer to use a four to five-pound organic, free-range chicken, if at possible. If a whole chicken is not available, you can use the same weight of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces such as breasts, thighs, legs, etc. You can also use leftover bones from a whole roasted chicken, rotisserie chicken, etc.
I also like to add fragrant vegetables and herbs to the stock to make it even more flavorful. However, when making with the Instant Pot, I have found it best to make your chicken stock without adding anything other than the chicken and water. This is also perfectly okay when making with any of the three methods.
The only seasonings I like to add to my chicken stock is salt, black pepper, and thyme and at times, I even omit those so that I have unsalted chicken stock on hand to use in recipes without any additional flavorings.
You’ll need enough fresh water to completely cover the chicken and other ingredients. During cooking, especially on the stovetop, you will need to check on your stock and add water as needed.
How to Make Chicken Stock
Slow Cooker Chicken Stock
(4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low setting)
To prepare my chicken stock in the slow cooker, I simply add my chicken to the slow cooker along with vegetables and herbs. I cover the chicken with water and then set the timer for 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low. My slow cooker automatically converts to the warm setting once the time has expired, so many times I’ll make my chicken stock overnight if I have time to transfer it in the morning, but my favorite way is to let it cook while I’m working or running errands throughout the day.
Stovetop Chicken Stock
This is the method my Grandmother and Mama both used for making their chicken stock throughout the years and one that I used primarily when I first began making my own and still turn to when I have time and am close by in the kitchen. To make it, I add my chicken, vegetables and herbs to a large stockpot set over medium-low heat. I then cover the chicken with fresh, cold water and make sure to keep it covered with water throughout the cooking process.
Instant Pot Chicken Stock
(25 minutes on High pressure with natural release)
When I’m short on time, I love to turn to my Instant Pot (pressure cooker) for making my chicken stock. As with the slow cooker method, I layer my chicken into the interior pot. There is one major difference when making chicken stock with the Instant Pot, however. I’ve found that the vegetable and herb flavors become more pronounced when making chicken stock under pressure. I recommend omitting them when making with this method.
I then fill the pot with fresh, cold water to the 10-cup line shown on the side of the interior pot.
Once the chicken stock has been cooked, I allow it to cool slightly and then remove the chicken from the stock and strain away the vegetables and herbs, if using.
How to Store and Freeze
If I will be using the chicken stock in recipes during the week, I store in quart jars in the refrigerator.
How to Freeze Chicken Stock
I also like to store in freezer-safe containers in the freezer for longer-term storage, up to a year.
For smaller portions, I pour into ice cube trays and freeze until well hardened and then transfer to freezer bags. Being able to quickly add a cube of chicken stock to dishes as they cook adds so much flavor!
Don’t get me wrong, I also keep a stash of store-bought chicken stock stocked in my pantry as a pantry staple as well, but given the choice of using homemade or store-bought chicken stock, I’ll choose homemade chicken stock every single time!
Here’s how my Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!
Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe
- 1 (4 to 5 pound) organic whole chicken or equal amounts of bone-in, skin-on chicken pieces
- 1 medium yellow onion quartered
- 1 clove garlic quartered
- 2 celery ribs cut into large pieces
- 2 carrots cut into large pieces
- 1 teaspoon Kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 bunch fresh thyme
- fresh water
Slow Cooker (4 hrs on High setting or 8 hrs on Low setting)
- Place chicken in 6-quart slow cooker. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, salt, pepper, thyme and cover with water, about 4 – 5 quarts. Cover and cook 4 hours on high or 8 hours on low settings. Remove chicken from stock and use for other recipes. Strain vegetables from stock and discard.
Stove (4 hrs)
- Place chicken in large stockpot. Add onion, garlic, celery, carrots, salt, pepper, thyme and cover with water, about 4 – 5 quarts Cook on low simmer, covered for 4 hours. Add more water if needed to keep chicken covered with water while cooking. Remove chicken from stock and refrigerate for future recipes. Strain vegetables from stock and discard.
Instant Pot (25 minutes + natural release)
- Place chicken in Instant Pot. Omit adding vegetables and herbs. Add fresh, cold water to the 10-cup line on the inside of the interior pot of the Instant Pot. Cook 25 minutes at high pressure. Let pressure release naturally. Remove chicken from stock and refrigerate for future recipes.
- Allow stock to cool, and store in freezer-safe, airtight containers. Refrigerate or freeze until ready to use. Stock will keep in the refrigerator for up to a week and in the freezer up to 1 year.
Store homemade chicken stock in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to a week. Freezer Friendly:
Store homemade chicken stock in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 3 months. Additionally, you can portion your homemade chicken stock into ice cube trays and freeze. Then, transfer the frozen chicken stock cubes to a freezer-safe, zip top bag and freeze for up to 3 month.