My basic recipe is for chicken bone broth, but it can be adapted for beef (see Notes and Modifications). This recipe is for a 6-quart crockpot, so if you have an even larger one, you can adjust accordingly. Recipe is very flexible and forgiving so have fun experimenting.
My crockpot is the 6-quart from KitchenAid and I love it!
- Chicken: 2-4 pounds pasture-raised necks/feet/wings (See note)
- Onions: 1 medium onion, peel on and quartered
- Garlic: 4-6 cloves of garlic, peel on and smashed
- Himalayan sea salt: 1 teaspoon salt (it will need more, but it’s best to wait until you use the broth to adjust salt, as it will vary with every recipe)
- Peppercorns: 1 teaspoon, whole (increases flavor as well as nutrient absorption)
- Herbs (optional): Whatever you like! Two bay leaves, a few sprigs of fresh thyme or oregano, handful of parsley, or whatever you trim off your herb plants)
- Filtered water: Fill the crock pot to its max-line, which will just cover the parts
- Apple cider vinegar: 2 tablespoons (helps extract minerals from the bones)
- Place all solid ingredients your crockpot. If you are not going to take the chicken out in a couple hours to collect the meat, you can put all solid ingredients (even the peppercorns and herbs) into a soup sock before placing in the crockpot, which makes cleanup much easier because you don’t have to strain all the pieces out.
- Add water, salt and vinegar.
- Simmer for 24-48 hours. I start it on high and turn it down to medium in an hour or so, but this is probably not really necessary.
- Turn off heat and allow to cool slightly. You can even throw in some ice cubes, because this stock is RICH. Discard solids and strain remainder in a bowl through a colander. (If using soup sock, just let the unopened sock drain into a bowl for a couple of minutes before discarding.)
- Fill several wide-mouth, quart-sized mason jars with the warm broth, making sure to leave jar space for expansion during freezing. Fluid level should be no higher than the jar shoulder. I use a measuring cup (instead of a ladle) to fill them. Don’t over-tighten the lids.
- Immediately put jars into the fridge. When cool, they can be moved to the freezer. You’ll get 4 to 5 quarts, depending on the batch and its bones to water ratio. Feel free to add a little more water to top off the jars.
- Use within a week if refrigerated, or freeze up to 3 months.
Notes and Modifications
Which chicken parts?
I tend to use a combination of backs, wings, sometimes legs, and if available, feet. I’ve done broth using JUST feet but find the flavor isn’t quite as good but they are great for bumping up the collagen content. You can also use a big old turkey carcass or chicken carcasses… the point is to fill up that crockpot with lots of bones and cook the hell out of them. Use whatever you can drum up, as long as it’s organic, pastured, happy birds.
To use a whole chicken
View Dr. Mercola’s recipe and process, which gets you some cooked meat in a couple of hours and bone broth the next day.
For making beef bone broth
Modify per this article in Bon Appetit. I admit that I am remiss about first simmering and roasting the bones, which is probably why my beef broth sometimes tastes a bit funky. Next time I’ll do the extra steps and note the difference. I tend to make beef broth only in the fall when I’m gearing up for a big batch of borscht. I use the borscht recipe from Cooks Illustrated and it’s fabulous!