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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 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.
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.
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 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
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.
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.
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!
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.
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Great recipe, Robyn. Easy to make and delicious. Thanks
Thanks, Andrea, so happy you loved this recipe.
I really just have a question….why do you leave the vegetables out on the instant pot recipe? What happens?
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.
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
Rosemary, you can substitute 1 teaspoon dried thyme for the fresh thyme in this recipe. I hope you enjoy!
Instant Pot recipe said to omit adding herbs and vegetables. ????
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.