Slow Cooker

Chicken Stock

October 24, 2014
4 Ratings
Photo by Alpha Smoot
  • Prep time 10 minutes
  • Cook time 4 hours
  • Makes 5 cups
Author Notes

There is much debate over what makes a stock vs. what makes a broth -- some people say there are no vegetables in stock, just bones and water; Some say that if there are vegetables, they should go in at the very end to avoid stock cloudiness; some say yes to salt and some say definitely no.

I’m not here to argue, I’m just here to tell you how I like to make stock when I’ve got a chicken carcass left over. Heads up: There are vegetables and salt involved. It’s not the clearest stock, but it’s dark and hearty and full of flavor -- it will boost any recipe you add it to. —Cara Nicoletti

What You'll Need
  • Carcass, wings, and feet (if the chicken comes with them) of one chicken
  • 1 large yellow onion, unpeeled and cut in half
  • 1/2 head of garlic, unpeeled (halved horizontally)
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and cut into chunks
  • 2 celery stalks, cut into chunks
  • 2 sprigs thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
  • 1/2 lemon (optional)
  • Salt to taste
  1. Preheat your oven to 400° F.
  2. Spread chicken carcass, wings, and feet (if you have them), onion halves, garlic, and carrots on sheet trays and roast until carcass is deeply golden brown, about 30 minutes. Pour off the drippings and reserve them for another use (like gravy).
  3. Add the roasted carcass, wings, feet (if using), and vegetables to a medium stockpot along with celery, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Add water until ingredients are just submerged. Bring this mixture up to a boil over medium heat and then reduce it to a simmer.
  4. Simmer, covered, for three hours. With about twenty minutes left, add the 1/2 lemon if you're using it.
  5. Simmer for twenty more minutes, and strain.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Anthea Lee
    Anthea Lee
  • CarlaCooks
  • KimmyV
  • Christina Benn
    Christina Benn
  • Laura415
Cara Nicoletti is a butcher and writer living in Brooklyn, New York. Cara started working in restaurants when she moved to New York in 2004, and was a baker and pastry chef for several years before following in her grandfather and great-grandfathers' footsteps and becoming a butcher. She is the writer behind the literary recipe blog,, and author of Voracious, which will be published by Little, Brown in 2015. She is currently a whole-animal butcher and sausage-making teacher at The Meat Hook in Williamsburg.

19 Reviews

AlwaysLookin February 1, 2022
It's proven that cutting up the Veggies has much more flavor than leaving whole, such as your ONION, CUT IT UP!!!
HK April 3, 2017
This is the best chicken broth recipe EVER. Makes a hearty golden stock that is incredibly fragrant. Thank you for sharing this great recipe with the Food52 community!
Anthea L. March 4, 2015
Hi there. I really want to make this but I was wondering if this will turn to a gelatine texture when refrigerated? Also, how long can we keep it.

Thank you!!!
Laura415 July 23, 2016
If you add a big glug of vinegar at the start of the cooking of your stock/broth it will draw calcium out of the bones and it seems to be a generally good way to get the gelatin out of the cartilage of the bones. I thought it might have a vinegar taste but the calcium neutralizes it after the long cooking times. I also make chicken stock out of raw chicken carcasses and pressure can the result for a shelf stable broth I can use at will without thawing.
BurgeoningBaker January 15, 2015
So is this for one carcass? From what pound bird? I don't know if someone answer the question about if I roasted the bird initially do I still roast the bones?
CarlaCooks November 11, 2014
If you are making this stock from a carcass of a full bird you've roasted, do you still roast the bones?
Sue November 25, 2019
KimmyV October 28, 2014
I was just reading about adding acid to stock. Here is a quite form Joette Calabrese "Vinegar is necessary to draw out the calcium, magnesium and zinc from the bones and render the bone stock more nutritious." I'm sure the lemon acts in the same way.
tamater S. November 6, 2014
I was just thinking how great this recipe looked with the addition of the lemon, and now you've convinced me to try this. And I think I'll 'google' Joette Calabrese as well, as I've not heard of her till now.
KimmyV November 6, 2014
Joette is actually a Homeopath. She has an amazing blog. It's nutrition meets homeopathy. Many people think homeopathy is silly, but its actually quite amazing and powerful!
anne October 26, 2014
Wow. I thought a carcass was spent and no real gelatinous goodness could be rendered from it. I'm going to try this, as I have been tossing the leftover bodies of all those roasted chickens we eat every week! What a huge savings that will be since chicken wings, which I've been using for my stock, are $3.00 a pound where I live. Thank you!
Susan W. October 26, 2014
Anne, I was buying chicken and turkey wings too. Crazy prices. Now, I buy whole chickens and save the neck, back and wing tips for stock. Then I cook the half chickens or sometimes cut them up further. Two chickens and I have enough for stock.
tamater S. November 6, 2014
A whole new world of goodness has opened to you. Here are some tips:

1 - If you want to do a stock once a month, but have chicken once or more a week, you can break the carcasses down, (to save space) and toss them into a strong plastic bag or bucket, (like an old ice cream bucket). Then when you have the time, you can do a big stock. If you don't have one, you'll probably end up buying a stock pot.
2. After you've made a big stock, whatever you're not using right away, you'll want to freeze. So think of which containers you'll use ahead of time. If you're using plastic, you need to well-cool the stock before pouring it in. I like 'week' shaped jars, because they can take the heat, and leaving a bit of headroom, so the liquid doesn't break the glass when it expands while freezing.
3. You can freeze some of the stock in small snack size freezer bags, or the smaller size canning jars for making gravy - you're then not having to thaw a big thing to make a small thing.
4. Label the containers with freezer tape (it doesn't fall off in the freezer like other tapes do) and sharpie. Trust me - you might think you'll remember what kind of stock it is, but….
5. The stock recipe we got here, (thanks Cara!) is a great basic. So say you've got 6 batches of the same basic stock in the freezer. To change the flavour at the time you're making your soup, you can add the usual herbs, wine - so many ways. If you're not sure it'll work, do a little taste test: just take, say, a 1/4 c. out and add a tsp. or so of what you're thinking of adding.
6. I usually do my stock making the day before, or on, garbage day, so the bones aren't hanging around in the garbage can, especially in summer.
Christina B. October 24, 2014
Tell me more about adding this lemon...
JanetFL October 25, 2014
Christina, the instructions for adding the lemon are in Step 4....
Thomas E. October 25, 2014
I see them. I meant what is the benefit of the lemon? I've never seen this before and am curious about it.
Cara N. October 25, 2014
Hi Christina! The lemon is totally optional, I always add it to my stocks because I like the brightness it adds. Be warned, it does make your stock cloud slightly, and you have to be careful to put it in at the very end (too long and the rind will make the stock bitter).
Christina B. October 25, 2014
Thanks Cara! I appreciate the info. I was worried about the bitterness, but I do love citrus, so I will keep your tip in mind. :)
tamater S. November 6, 2014
Cara, you rock.
I really appreciate these lemon tips.
I'd never thought of doing this, even though a greek soup, Avegolemono, was always a favourite. Who cares if it's a bit cloudy, when it tastes so darn good?!