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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!

Looking for more homemade staple recipes? I think you’ll love my homemade buttermilk substitute, how to make self-rising flour, and homemade taco seasoning mix.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe - Learn how to make homemade chicken stock in just a few easy steps! //

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 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.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe - Learn how to make homemade chicken stock in just a few easy steps! //

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 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 prefer a four to five-pound organic, free-range chicken, if 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 make chicken stock from the bones of a leftover roast chicken, store-bought or homemade rotisserie chicken, or chicken bones you store in the freezer as you cook.


You’ll need enough fresh water to cover the chicken and other ingredients completely. During cooking, especially on the stovetop, you must check your stock and add water as needed.

Vegetables (Optional)

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.

Seasonings (Optional)

The only seasonings I like to add to my chicken stock are 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.

How to Make Chicken Stock

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

(4 hours on High or 8 hours on Low setting)

Add chicken to the slow cooker along with vegetables and herbs (if using). Cover the chicken with fresh, cold water 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 I’ll often make my chicken stock overnight if I have time to transfer it in the morning.

Still, my favorite way is to let it cook while I’m working or running errands throughout the day.

Stovetop Chicken Stock

(4 hours)

Add chicken, vegetables, and herbs (if using) to a large stockpot set over medium-low heat. Cover the chicken with fresh, cold water and keep it covered with water throughout the cooking process.

Instant Pot Chicken Stock

(25 minutes on High pressure with natural release)

Add the chicken to the interior pot. Fill the pot with fresh, cold water to the 10-cup line shown on the side of the interior pot.

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.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe - Learn how to make homemade chicken stock in just a few easy steps! //

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.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe - Learn how to make homemade chicken stock in just a few easy steps! //

Make Ahead and Freezer Instructions

To store. Cool the chicken stock and store it in the refrigerator in airtight containers for up to a week. I prefer to use glass Mason jars, as shown.

To freeze. Store cooled chicken stock in freezer-safe containers in the freezer for up to a year.

To freeze smaller portions. Pour the cooled stock into ice cube trays and freeze until well hardened. Then the frozen cubes to a freezer-safe container. Being able to quickly add a cube of chicken stock to dishes as they cook adds so much flavor!

What’s the Difference Between Chicken Stock and Chicken Broth?

There is one major difference between chicken stock and chicken broth. Chicken stock is traditionally made from chicken bones, while chicken broth is from the meat. Both chicken stock and chicken broth may or may not include vegetables and herbs when made.

Chicken stock is generally thicker than chicken broth as it contains more collagen derived from the bones.

How To Make Chicken Broth

Follow the recipe using chicken meat without bones. Cook until the chicken reaches 165º F when checked with an internal thermometer. Separate the chicken from the broth. Store the broth as mentioned in the Make Ahead and Freezer Instructions section.

Here’s how my Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe. I hope you enjoy it as much as we do!

4.91 from 11 votes

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

Soup & Salad 4 hrs 5 mins

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe - Learn how to make homemade chicken stock in just a few easy steps! //
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs
Servings 3 quarts
Course how to
Cuisine American
Author Robyn Stone | Add a Pinch
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!


  • 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.


You can also use leftover chicken bones for your stock. Use in place of the whole chicken in this recipe.
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. 

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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! //

Soup & Salad Recipes

Robyn Stone

Robyn Stone is a wife, mom, blogger, recipe developer, and cookbook author. Welcome to Add a Pinch where I share thousands of delicious, tested and perfected easy recipes that the whole family will love.

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Recipe Review


  1. Thanks Robyn. You were so lucky to have your grandmother and mother show you this recipe. It’s wonderful and I will try it myself. Have a Great Week!

  2. Thanks Robyn! I agree with Liz…you were so lucky! I wish I had learned from mine! Thanks for all you share so people like me can still learn! Pinning it!

  3. Robyn,
    My family never made chicken stock or soup so I’m thrilled to see this recipe. Pinned.

  4. Robin,
    I thought the cooks of yesteryear were long gone.. however, I am afraid one day most stay-at home-moms who cook like this will come near extinction. I too cook and make my own broths, brown sugar, butter, buttermilk, etc.. I too like to know what is in the food I feed my family. I also just enjoy making them. My husband loves knowing that every once of those biscuits or pasta comes fresh and all homemade.
    I am tickled to run across your site today.. (I made an earlier post on preparation for pork loin roast). I love trying new ideas and keeping thinks spiced up at home in the kitchen.
    I am blessed to be able to stay at home with my family as i have t throughout the years. I raise my glass to you!
    -wife of a retired army veteran (25 yrs)
    God bless you!

  5. 5 stars
    I’ve only made my own chicken broth when I’m making Chicken & Dumplings but I found that tying all the seasonings in a piece of cheesecloth & tying it to the handle of the pot works well. I just untie it & pull it out of the pot. Also saves a few minutes but leaves the flavors in the broth. I love your column & look forward to it everyday. I’ve also made several of your recipes. Thanks for being there.

    1. Hi Sara –
      What a great tip! I’m so happy you enjoy the site and hope that you continue to find many recipes that you enjoy! Thank you so much for all of your support! xo

    1. Hi Debra,
      When I strain away the vegetables, herbs and chicken, there are still bits of vegetable and chicken that remain in the stock. Usually for cooking, I do a simple strain through a colander or just use a large slotted spoon to remove these items before putting into my containers. If I plan to use a portion of my chicken stock for a clear soup for eating or drinking (as a bone type broth), I like to strain again through a very fine mesh strainer, a coffee filter or a double layer of cheesecloth. I hope that helps! xo

  6. I would love to see more recipes using your pressure cooker. I don’t have an Instant Pot but I have another brand and just need some simple, down-to-earth basic recipes that my “meat and potatoes” family will eat. I’ve done a few things but am a little intimidated by it, 🙂 .
    And do you make bone broth? I’ve been reading so much about all the uses and benefits and would love to hear how you make yours.

    1. Hi Denise –
      I love using my Pressure Cooker/Instant Pot too! Here’s a link to my pressure cooker/instant pot recipes and I have more to come!
      My Homemade Chicken Stock, that I learned from my Grandmother and Mother, is very, very similar if not the same, to the modern “bone broth”. I shared my Homemade Chicken Stock recently and three methods to make it – Instant Pot, Slow Cooker and Stovetop. It is delicious and I hope you enjoy it!
      I don’t know if you are subscribed to my emails or not, but that way you’ll know when I post new recipes that may interest you.
      I hope this helps! Thanks so much! xo

  7. 4 stars
    I’ve been making my own broth for years and years, and like you, learned from my mother and grandmother. Actually, it’s a staple Hungarian thing that all Hungarian cooks make regularly. I make mine in a similar way as you… on the stove top. I’m wondering though how you get so much broth from one chicken. I put my whole chicken, cut up, in a stock pot and just cover the meat with water by one inch . I add carrots, celery, onion, parsnips and garlic (lots of garlic for this garlic lover). Depending on what I have in the house I may also add half a bell pepper, a piece of cauliflower, kohlrabi, snap peas (just a teeny bit of each goes a long way and doesn’t turn this into a vegetable soup), I add only salt and peppercorns in addition to the vegetables. I bring it to a boil and immediately reduce the heat, even pulling off the burner to stop the boiling. I slow simmer (bubbles barely popping above the surface) for at least two hours, skimming off the foam as it appears. I simply use a tea strainer and a small ladle… ladle the soup and foam right into the strainer over the pot. That way I don’t lose any broth but get rid of the foam. From one chicken I get about a liter (or about 4 cups) of flavourful broth. IF I were to add more water the broth would be weak. What is your secret? ((PS… I wanted to rate this recipe with 5 stars but it wouldn’t let me do more than 4)

    1. Hi Warren,
      I put my chicken in whole. If your chicken is too large to fit in, then I would cut it up as needed. I hope that helps! xo

  8. 5 stars
    In your directions for Instant Pot you say you omit the vegies and herbs because their flavors get too strong? Is it really that big of a difference or is it just a preference thing? I imagine the flavor of stock made with veggies and without would be quite different even if you do it the long slow cook top method. If I wanted to try the Instant Pot method with the veggies should I change anything about the directions?

  9. 5 stars
    Does the Instant Pot cook time change if you use frozen chicken parts? I purchased and froze 4 lbs of chicken bones from the Farmers Market with the idea of making broth but now I’m “chickening out” and the chicken is just sitting in my freezer.

    1. Hi Rachel,
      I’ve not used frozen chicken bones to make this chicken stock, but I would think you would need to add at least 5 to 10 more minutes to the cooking time from this recipe. I’ll be interested to hear how it turns out using just the frozen bones.
      Thanks so much! xo

  10. Hi, Robyn! I haven’t tried homemade stock yet, but I intend to, and will rate at that time.

    I have an “old-style” pressure cooker (“PC”), with the rocker on top, and I use it regularly!

    QUESTION: How should I adjust the time for this recipe ~ from the “Instant Pot” time? From what I’ve seen in other recipes, the old-style PCs cook a little faster than the Instant Pot PCs.

    Thanks for any additional information!

    1. Hi Judy,
      I’ve not made this stock with the type of pressure cooker you have, so I can’t definitely say what adjustments you’d make. I hope you enjoy this if you give it a try! Thanks so much!

  11. 5 stars
    I FEEL VERY OLD INDEED I AM STILL USING THE SAME PRESSURE COOKER MY GRANDMOTHER USED!!!! You know the kind you put on a stove and hope it doesn’t blow up…..LOL She gave it to me 40 years ago and it serves me well just don’t think about going out anywhere and leaving it unattended. I kept seeing post using an instant pot and couldn’t figure out what the heck it was I mean Crock pots have been around long time now.and I have a couple of them. Now I guess I will invest in a Instant pot and retire my Pressure cooker for the most part. Could you Please tell me which one is the best there seems to be quite a few on the market it would need to be fairly large capacity as I can almost everything we eat and I still have a son and grand child living at home

  12. 5 stars
    If you will go to you can search the instant pots sizes that are made so you may choose the size you would prefer to own.

    I love my instant pot.

  13. 5 stars
    I found this recipe on Pinterest, made the soup in the Instant Pot and it is delicious! Thanks for sharing this.

    1. So glad to hear that you enjoyed it, Rachel! Thanks so much for stopping by to let me know you liked it! xo

  14. 5 stars
    This one’s a keeper!!!!!
    I was trying to get a head start on my Thanksgiving gravy by making chicken stock in advance. This recipe was so easy to make and made the house smell wonderful as it simmered. One of the best parts was that I had everything on hand, except for the chicken. I substituted the fresh thyme for
    1/2 tsp. of dried. For the chicken, I used a 4.5 lb. family pack of drumsticks, about 12-13.
    Try this one; you will love it!

    1. Oh wonderful to hear that you gave this a try, Del! Thanks so much for this thoughtful comment! Glad to have you here! xo

  15. Thanks for sharing! I’ve just purchased a bunch of Chicken quarters that were on sale, and I was planning on making a bunch of chicken stock from them. What recipes are your go-to with the left over chicken meat?

    1. Hi Naomi,
      The possibilities are endless! I use chicken in so many of my favorite dishes! You can do a search for “chicken” on my website for many more recipes, but several delicious ones are linked to follow. Hope you enjoy them! Thanks!
      href=”” rel=”noopener” target=”_blank”>Chicken Enchiladas, Chicken Salad with Grapes, White Chicken Chili, Chicken Tortilla Soup, Chicken Pot Pie with Puff Pastry

  16. Thank you Robyn. I’m recovering from cancer to my neck and tongue (35 radiation and 7 chemo’s) so I can only eat soft foods for now. Before I could eat again I fantasized about foods and watched cooking shows. Needless to say homemade chicken broth or stock was typically called for on the shows so I found your recipe and made it. WOW! I tasted it once it cooled a bit and told my wife you have to taste this. We love this broth and have used most of it within a week of making it. Thank you again and I’ll be making this often and freezing what isn’t used right away.

    1. Blaine, I am thrilled that this recipe has been so great for you. I’m wishing you a very speedy and full recovery.

  17. I am making chicken stock for the first time, looking forward to the finished product.
    I have chicken in the freezer that really needs to be used, figured that I could cook the chicken and make stock at the same time and then re-freeze in portions sized to use for what ever, dumplings, salad, pot pies.
    Anyway looking forward to this.

  18. I was wondering if you can also can this chicken stock for later use. I see that you can freeze, I do not have enough room in freezer to use this method. Excited about trying this. Thany you Suzanne Welch

    1. Suzanne, I’m sorry but I have not tried canning this chicken stock so I cannot tell you from experience how it would turn out.

  19. I’m guessing it can also be done with two turkey drumsticks and I usually add the meat after its Cooked to my dressing also.

  20. I really just have a question….why do you leave the vegetables out on the instant pot recipe? What happens?

    1. Joan, 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. Hope you enjoy the chicken stock.

  21. Looks delicious and can’t wait to make. I have a question if I don’t have fresh thyme can I substitute dried thyme and how much would I use? Thank You

    1. Rosemary, you can substitute 1 teaspoon dried thyme for the fresh thyme in this recipe. I hope you enjoy!

    1. Patricia, I state the reason to omit the vegetables in my post. Here it is: 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. Hope this helps.