Wednesday, December 01, 2010

How to Make Chicken Stock

(Updated December 2010 - When I had my blog re-designed, I knew it would throw off the formatting in some early posts, and when I opened this post yesterday, it was clear it needed a make-over!  If anyone sees other posts that look odd, please leave a comment and I'll fix them as soon as I can.)

I'm a bit of a chicken stock fanatic.  If you came to my house, I'll usually have at least 10 containers of chicken stock in the freezer, despite the fact that I use it all the time. I'm religious about saving scraps, chicken carcasses and leftover veggies, and make stock at least once every month. If you ask me, homemade chicken stock is a wonderful thing!


To make chicken stock, start with scraps of chicken or chicken carcasses, which I freeze until I'm ready to use them. (Save them up in the freezer until you have enough to make a big batch of stock.)

You also need onions, celery, and carrots. If you have any veggies that are past their prime, this is the perfect use for them.

If you're going to make stock often, you might want to invest in a tool like this which is called a "stock skimmer."  It's used from skimming off the foam from stock while it's cooking.  I also use it to scoop out the cooked vegetables when I'm discarding them.

Put the chicken scraps, onions, celery, and carrots in a huge stock pot with water.  Let it cook all day at a very low simmer, adding water whenever it gets low.

I often use a little bit of chicken soup base to add more flavor to the stock. (Do NOT use bouillon cubes, they are way too salty.)  I like this brand so much, I made it one of my Kalyn's Kitchen Picks.

After the stock has cooked all day (or at least for a few hours, I usually reduce it by about 1/3 before I scoop out the vegetables and discard them.

When you're through cooking it, remove the meat and veggies and strain the stock somehow. I use a yogurt strainer and a fat separator, which removes the fat by taking the liquid off the bottom. Any fine strainer will work. You can also remove the fat by cooling the stock.

Now you have delicious chicken stock ready to put in the freezer and which can be used in a huge variety of dishes.  If you're wondering why I don't label the containers, it's because I label my beef stock, turkey stock, and ham stock, and leave the chicken stock without a label, since I make it the most.

To find all the recipes where I've used homemade chicken stock, just enter the words "chicken stock" in the search box located in the top right corner. Enjoy!


(This was first posted in 2006 as part of a food blogging event to celebrate using leftovers, sponsored by Ed Charles of Tomato.) counter customizable free hit

46 comments:

vanessa said...

i've made the stock a few times. never have enough room to store all that liquid though :(

Elise said...

Vanessa - you can just keep reducing the stock, until it is quite dense. Makes it easier to store.

One trick that my mom has taught me over the years is to not drain off the fat. Let the chicken fat solidify, forming a layer on top of the stock. This layer of fat acts as a natural protector from the air that houses bacteria. You can prolong the life of your stock by bringing the whole thing to a boil for 10 minutes every few days, again, letting it cool with that protective layer.

When you go to use the stock, just lift up the layer of fat to remove the stock. You can always save that fat for cooking.

I've discovered another method for chicken stock that works quite well, using chicken backs and wing tips, have posted here.

Great post, Kalyn!

Ed Charles said...

Great isn't it. Endless risottos and soups. I've also started making Asian variations for wonderful noodle soups.

lisasd said...

Thanks for the instruction, Kalyn. I've never done this before!

Kalyn said...

Lisa, you can make it vegetarian. I would roast the veggies with some olive oil first for more depth of flavor, then just simmer like I did this.

ejm said...

Sorry I left a too long link, Kalyn. (I don't use IE so didn't know what might happen I can't remember now exactly what I said nor what I linked to. But I think it might have been about vegetable stock.

We usually don't simmer vegetable stock for longer than an hour because it can get an overstewed bitter taste if the vegetables are overcooked.

And we don't roast the vegetables first (although that might be delicious too....) so our vegetable stock is fat free.

Don't you just love the smell of the kitchen when there is stock is simmering?

-Elizabeth

K. Frush said...

FREAKING AWESOME.

My end goal was to make chicken stock. I have never done this--or anything like this, for that matter--before. Kalyn's instuction was very straightforward without dumbing things down and my stock turned out beautifully! I can hardly believe that I made this, as I would not consider myself a wonderful cook by any means. I will have to test the stock in a recipe and see how it fares, but it certainly looks and smells like the real deal as of now.

Thank you Kalyn!

Amy said...

Does this mean you can't leave the house all day? i mean, is it safe to leave while your stove is on to run an errand, or how do you manage it? I'm a working mom, so while I kindof like the idea of staying home all day and reading or gardening, there are always errands I need to do, and my daughter can get bored with no company! Ideas?

Kalyn said...

Amy, I start it in the morning and if I have to go somewhere I just turn the stove off while I'm gone, then turn back on when I get home. You can also make stock in a crockpot, then transfer to a stockpot and cook it down after it's simmered for most of the day.

Nancy said...

Love the post. Do you use cooked chicken scrap to make your stock?

Kalyn said...

Nancy, it doesn't matter if the chicken scraps are cooked or raw. I usually have some of each.

Kelly said...

Here's my great tip for freezing chicken stock: I use freezer ziploc bags and I fill the bags with the chicken stock and mark how many cups of stock is in each bag. I then lay the filled ziploc bags flat on the cookie sheet and I put them in the freezer. Once frozen, I take them off the cookie sheet and I can stand them up or lay them on top of each other and they don't take up as much space as the tupperware bowls. It works great and I can write on the bags exactly what is in the bag and how much stock is in each bag. Happy cooking.

Kelly
www.beachglassgonewild.com

Laurie said...

What is the shelf life for the frozen stock? BTW, LOVE this website!

Kalyn said...

The stock will say good in the freezer for at least six months, probably longer. Thanks, glad you are enjoying the blog.

Anonymous said...

I don't ever have chicken scraps. So if I start with a fresh chicken, allow it to cook, remove it's meat for future recipes, would I return the carcass to the pot and continue with the stock?

Kalyn said...

Yes, you could do that. I would leave some meat scraps clinging to the bones though for best stock flavor.

Kalyn said...

Yes, you could do that. I would leave some meat scraps clinging to the bones though for best stock flavor.

Anonymous said...

I am enjoying your site and though I'd add my 2 cents about your chicken stock. I have used the ice cube tray to freeze chicken stock. Each cube represents 1 package of bouillon. Also, you could buy a big bag of chicken wings to make stock with, if you are starting from scratch. I usually purchase boneless, skinless breast for eating so don't have scraps left over. I hope these tips help.

Kalyn said...

Thanks for the tips!

Liz said...

I've been wanting a yogurt strainer like the one you show here. I notice you didn't suggest using it for the Tzatzaki recipe (ca. 2007-2009). Do you still have it? What company made your strainer (e.g., brand name)?

I really appreciate your blog as I'm new to South Beach and need all the ideas I can find. Thank you!

Kalyn said...

I've had the yogurt strainer for about 15 years, and there is no brand name on it, so I can't tell you that. I think I bought it at one of those kitchen discount stores but can't remember for sure. I would work to strain the yogurt for Taztziki too, but most people probably don't have one.

Glad you are enjoying the blog.

Sheryl said...

I love homemade chicken stock. If you can find some chicken feet (the Korean and Middle Eastern markets that I go to both carry them) they make THE BEST stock!

I throw them in with all of the rotisserie chicken carcasses that I save up in the freezer.

Kalyn said...

Sheryl, great tip about the chicken feet. I've heard that but haven't tried it.

desertplantlady said...

Off chicken stock topic, but am leaving a post about the re-design, which looks very nice by the way.

The problem I've just had is not being able to search the site. Wanted to look for some ideas but the search function was non-responsive.

thanks for everything. Love your blog.

Kalyn said...

Desertplantlady, can you tell me what browser and operating system you're using so I can tell my web designer. (I'm able to search just fine, so it must be an isolated problem but we definitely want to fix it.)

ValerieAnne said...

I usually save the bones, gristle and skin in the freezer. Using a crockpot works for me so I can let it cook 24-48 hours until the bones fall apart when I squish them. Then I use the solid matter for dog food after I strain out the broth. It is easier to let the fat rise to the top and skim it off later.

The chicken feet advice is fabulous! They provide more gelatin in the broth, which is a very beneficial nutrient. Some people get weirded out by chicken feet but I think it is respectful to the animal to use every part - especially when it improves the broth so much.

I read somewhere a long time ago that a little acid like vinegar or lemon juice in the beginning draws out more minerals from the bones. It doesn't affect the flavor.

I used to always save onion tops, onion skin and old celery in the freezer for broth. It was a tip from the 1980's PBS cooking show, Frugal Gourmet. Recently I have been making it with no vegetables at all. I like the flavor better. It is pure chicken.

Kalyn said...

ValerieAnne, thanks for the tips!

DesertPlantLady, my web designer has re-coded the search bar so if you see this I would love to know if it has fixed your issue. Thanks!

CJ said...

I love making and having stock on hand. Chicken and turkey stocks are staples here. I treated myself to a pressure cooker and it makes the best beef stock.

Stock never lasts long here. It's soup or gravy base, for cooking rice or in sauces....it's always time to nmake another batch of stock.

@Elise- The fat trick works beautifully. I worked breifly for a restaurant and thier method was to bring the stock to a boil and then simmer it for 3-5 minutes. That reduces bacteria or any pathogens that might be found in the liquid.

Anonymous said...

Homemade stock is the best! I don't freeze mine though ~ I can it so that I don't have to worry about thawing it when I need it.

Ben @ Dried Herbs said...

Excellent post. I generally let the liquid reduce down so it's easier to store, and more concentrated too.
You can (as you know) always rehydrate the stock when you come to use it.

Elise's point about the fat layer on top. It's a 'top tip'!

Have you ever tried adding a little chilli powder and cumin to it? Tastes wonderful!

jeanette said...

I'm in your camp as far as saving all the scraps for stock. Whenever I have extra leek ends, parsley, celery tops, or vegetables I didn't get around to cooking, I freeze them for stocks and soups. I just make sure to wash them all so I can just throw them in the pot when I'm ready. Homemade stock is so much better than store bought.

Diane said...

I'm a chicken soup fanatic too and also make it at least once a month, although I cannot imagine adding any chicken stock base to mine. Why add all that crap to great home-made soup? hydrolyzed soy protein? dried whey? Ummm...no.

I do always add chicken feet. they give it richness and body and tons of flavor. And no corn syrup solids.

But very good to have around - I'd be lost without it in my freezer!

Kalyn said...

Diane, the Better Than Bouillon organic chicken base doesn't have hydrolyzed vegetable protein, dried whey, or corn syrup solids.

desertplantlady said...

Hi Karen,
Re the the Search Function:
No, it's still a "dead" zone for me. The other links in the header work, but I cannot even select the search function to type out a word. It does not act like a link at all.

thanks

desertplantlady said...

Sorry, should have mentioned, to answer your previous question about browser and OS, I use Google Chrome and have Windows XP professional with Service Pack 3 installed. And was able to search without issue on your previous design.

Kalyn said...

Desertplantlady, I had my web designer re-code it since the previous comment, and we had multiple people test and they all said it's working fine. I thought it was fixed, so now I'm confused when you say "It doesn't act like a link at all." The search bar shouldn't act like a link.

Can you write back and tell me exactly what happens when you click your curser into the white bar and then type in a word?

Thanks!
Kalyn

Diane said...

Kalyn: Thanks for the info on the BtB soup base. I guess I looked at the non-organic version. Good to know!

Anonymous said...

Not sure about Desertplantlady, but I'm using Firefox and noticed the cursor does not blink at all in the white search box. Hope this helps your IT folks.

Kalyn said...

Anonymous and Desertplantlady, Jennette has tested the search bar with every combination of browser and operating system, and we're not able to duplicate the problem. Can you e-mail me and tell me exactly what happens when you try to search? (kalynskitchen-at-comcast-dot-net.)

Thanks!

Kalyn said...

Just heard from Jennette that she has made a small change to the search code; would love to hear if that fixes it for people who have commented above.

desertplantlady said...

Hi Kalyn, It worked, whatever she did, I can now use the search feature. Thanks!

Kalyn said...

Desertplantlady, Yaaay!!! Thanks for your patience. I'm hoping it is fixed for everyone now.

Christina said...

I've tried making chicken stock, but it doesn't turn out yellow...it's an ugly gray color. Any ideas on what migh be causing that?

Kalyn said...

Christina, I'm not sure, although I think some of the yellow color of my stock is from the Better Than Bouillon chicken flavor base, which is slightly yellow. Carrots probably add to the color too, as well as cooking the stock down. Mainly though I'd say if the stock has a good flavor, dont' worry about it.

moniqca said...

Great tips - I am just making some chicken stock now with the chicken carcass from our roast dinner tonight. Wish I had a huge freezer to store containers and containers of stock! We sometimes double up our balcony as a fridge in the winter but could do with an extra freezer!

Kalyn said...

Monicqa, I do have an extra freezer, which is very nice. But if you're limited on room in the freezer you can reduce the stock (until it's much stronger than you'd want when you use it) then just add water to it when you thaw.

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