Homemade Chicken Stock

TGIF, am I right? Is it just me or is the week after a holiday always a tough adjustment? It takes me a solid couple days to get my act together after a holiday, even if I didn’t host. Anyway, I have a really simple but impactful recipe for you today…homemade chicken stock. It only has a couple ingredients: some kind of chicken bones, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, and water. That’s it!

Making homemade chicken stock is easy and so affordable - you can make it for just pennies! Plus it's a great way to cut down on your kitchen waste.

A while back I posted about 5 ways to cut down on kitchen waste – mostly about getting to know your habits. I love making chicken stock because this is one more way you can cut down on waste. I almost always make my stock entirely from food scraps! Whenever I clean onions/celery/carrots/garlic, I put the scraps into a ziptop bag or container and stash it in the freezer. As I use more veggies, I keep adding to my freezer stash. I usually end up using about two sandwich-sized bags of veggies for a very large batch of stock.

This works for chicken, too. If we eat any chicken with bones, I throw the bones into a bag in the freezer. One whole chicken carcass can make an entire batch of stock. If you don’t usually eat bone-in chicken, you can also buy drumsticks or wings. You don’t need many – I made a huge pot that made enough stock for 4 soups with 5 drumsticks. That means the total cost for this batch of stock was under $3! You would pay that much for one large carton of stock from the store!

Making homemade chicken stock is easy and so affordable - you can make it for just pennies! Plus it's a great way to cut down on your kitchen waste.

The trick to making stock is to let it simmer on the stove for a couple hours. I wouldn’t recommend making chicken stock when it’s very warm, because your house will get humid. You’ll need to add more water a couple times as it evaporates, but it’s low maintenance otherwise. Just let it go for around 3 hours, strain and use it, refrigerate it, or freeze it for a rainy day.

Homemade Chicken Stock
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  • leftover chicken bones, raw drumsticks or wings
  • onion scraps (including the paper is fine)
  • celery scraps
  • carrot scraps
  • garlic scraps or a couple cloves (including the paper is fine)
  • water
  1. Add the chicken through the garlic to a large pot. Fill the pot with water as much as desired, but leave about two inches of room at the top. Bring to a boil and reduce heat to simmer for a few hours (I usually end up leaving it on for 2-3 hours). Add more water to the pot as needed, as it evaporates.
  2. Once done, remove the larger pieces and strain the stock. Use immediately or store in airtight containers. (Alton Brown recommends chilling the stock in a sink filled with ice water before putting it in the refrigerator.)
  3. Stock will keep in the refrigerator for about 5 days total. It also freezes well, both by itself or if you've already made soup with it.
I don't add much seasoning to the chicken stock when I make it, but rather when I use it. This includes salt...I don't add any until I'm using the stock in a recipe.

Bonus tip: make this using a chicken you’ve cooked on the smoker for the most amazing chicken stock you’ve ever had!

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