Homemade 24-Hour Beef Stock

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Yield: 4 Quarts

Feel free to change out the vegetable ingredients based on what’s available in your fridge, but steer clear of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, they will cause stock to taste bitter. Also avoid red beets, which will color the stock blood red!

2 lbs. meaty beef bones*
2 lbs. beef bone marrow and/or knuckle bones **
6 quarts cold filtered water (24 cups)
2 tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
1 tsp sea salt
1 tsp fresh cracked black pepper
3 large carrots, scrubbed, top & bottom trimmed, and cut into 2-inch pieces (approx 2 cups)
3 stalks celery with leaves, cleaned and cut into 2-inch pieces (approx 3 cups)
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 large onion, peeled and quartered
2 whole garlic cloves, unpeeled
8 sprigs parsley

Preheat oven to 400˚.  In a large pot, combine bone marrow and/or knucklebones, water and apple cider vinegar.  Allow bones to soak in the vinegar, which draws out additional calcium from the bones.

Arrange meaty beef bones on a sheet pan.  Sprinkle all sides evenly with 1 tsp sea salt and 1 tsp pepper.  Roast for 40 – 60 minutes in the pre-heated 400˚ oven to achieve a roasted brown exterior on the meat. Cooking time depends upon the cut of meat.  Oxtails will cook more quickly. Roasting the meat adds a beautiful brown color and rich meaty flavor to the stock.

While bones are browning, combine the carrots, celery, bay leaves, peppercorns, onion and garlic in a medium bowl and set aside.  Reserve parsley for the last 10 minutes of cooking. When bones have browned, remove them from the oven and using tongs, add them to the vinegar-water.  Bring water to a boil over high heat, uncovered.  If a foamy scum develops on the surface of the stock once a rolling boil is reached, skim and discard with a large flat spoon.  After skimming, add prepared vegetables.

Cover, reduce heat to low and maintain a gentle simmer for 4-24 hours.  Adjust heat up or down to maintain the gentle simmer.  If you have time for a 24-hour stock, occasionally check the stock and add additional water, if necessary.  A long cooking time allows more digestion-enhancing gelatin to be released from the bones into the stock and enhances its flavor.

Ten minutes before removing stock from the heat, add parsley.  Remove stock from heat and cool uncovered for 10 minutes.  Using a pair of tongs remove large bones and discard.  Strain stock using a chinois or large strainer. (See Note.)  Discard vegetables and remaining meaty bones, or reserve vegetables to feed an animal.  (Meat may also be reserved for an animal, but discard bones, which haven’t been properly treated and may splinter.) Stock may be used immediately.  However when fully cooled in the refrigerator, fat may rise to the surface.  Use a spoon to scoop off the fat and discard before use.  This step allows the cook to control the amount of fat in a dish.

Store stock in a glass container for up to 3 days.  Stocks may be stored in the freezer for several months.  I store my stock in a quart-size glass mason jar.  Make sure to allow 3” of room in the jar for the liquid to expand in the freezer.  Resist boiling the jar in a pot of water to thaw; the glass jar may break.  Defrost on the counter, in the fridge or in a pinch, under warm running water.

* Both ox tails and short ribs are excellent choices of meaty beef bones.

** Many grocery stores already have knuckle and marrowbones packaged in the freezer section for purchase.  If not, ask a favorite butcher to save them for you.  However, I would suggest seeking out a grass-fed farmer from a local farmers’ market.  It will be a much more inexpensive option, possibly even free!

A Chinois is a piece of kitchen equipment that is a cone-shaped fine mesh strainer with a long handle.  To strain stock using this helpful kitchen tool, rest the Chinois over a pot or bowl.  After removing the large meaty bones pieces, pour the stock & vegetables down through the center of the Chinois.  Lift the Chinois from the pot or bowl, allowing the liquid to drain off.  Discard or reuse the vegetables.  Due to the fine mesh, the remaining stock is perfectly strained, leaving a beautiful clear broth.  If a Chinois is not an option, set a large kitchen strainer into a larger pot or bowl.  After removing the large bones, pour the stock & vegetables down through the center of the strainer.  Lift the strainer from the pot or bowl leaving the stock behind.  Since a common kitchen strainer has larger holes than a Chinois, the stock may not be purely filtered.  It will still taste delicious and many recipes do not require a perfectly clear broth. If a more clear result is desired after straining the stock once, line the same kitchen strainer with a triple layer of cheesecloth.  Be sure the edges of the cheesecloth drape generously over the sides and the center of the cheesecloth touches the entire bowl of the strainer.  Clothespins or potato chip clips can be used to secure the cheesecloth to the rim.  Set the strainer inside a larger pot or bowl.  Pour the stock through the strainer again.  Lift the strainer from the pot or bowl.  Discard the cheesecloth.  The resulting stock will be perfectly strained.


  • Hi Molly,
    This looks great! Will have to try this next time I make beef stock. Do you ever use a slow cooker after the roasting and boiling steps to simmer for the 24 hours?

    March 20, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Hi Lisa – No, I’ve never used the slow cooker, but I have heard good results with it. I’ll have to try it one day!

      March 24, 2011
  • Kathlean Gahagan

    Great tip on vinegar soak and calcium yield. I’m always looking for a way to increase calcium intake. Thanks! Comment re:slow cooker-Use the “High” setting and your good to go. “Low” setting won’t yield a simmer.

    April 2, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks Kathlean! I will try that technique!

      April 8, 2011
  • Sara

    Is it safe to leave the gas stove on for overnight for simmering this broth?

    May 10, 2012
    • Molly Chester

      I do it all the time. As long as it is a big pot, plenty of liquid, lid on tight, and I use a diffuser under my pot to get the liquid to a gentle simmer. I used to leave my electric oven on all night, too, which didn’t need a diffuser. But, I find my gas stove does. Also, I make sure there is not a window open to blow the flame.

      July 14, 2012
  • Lori

    Is this a recipe that I could actually pour into canning jars and process so to keep longer?

    May 23, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      Yes! We do that, and it works great.

      July 4, 2013
  • Heather

    Your recipe says that the meat can be given to animals. Is it unhealthy for human consumption?

    June 15, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      No… just doesn’t taste great after being cooked for so long.

      July 4, 2013

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