Homemade 24-Hour Chicken Stock

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With a good stock, soups are nearly complete! Feel free to change out the vegetables based on what’s available in your fridge, but steer clear of broccoli, cabbage and cauliflower, they will cause stock to taste bitter. Always bring a stock to a boil uncovered to allow any impurities in the ingredients to foam to the surface. After skimming the foam with a large, flat spoon, stock can be covered for the remaining simmer, which retains moisture and allows the stock to bubble away for hours without the fear of running out of water. For more detailed information on the wonders of bone broths, I suggest the book Nourishing Traditions, by Sally Fallon.

5 quarts (20 cups) cold filtered water
2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
2 lbs. bone-in chicken *
3 large carrots, scrubbed, top & bottom trimmed and cut into 2-inch pieces (approx 2 cups)
3 stalks celery, leaves attached, cleaned and cut into 2-inch pieces (approx 3 cups)
2 fresh or dried bay leaves
10 whole black peppercorns
1 large onion, peeled & quartered
2 garlic cloves, whole & unpeeled
8 sprigs parsley

In a large pot, combine water, apple cider vinegar and chicken. Allow chicken to soak in the vinegar-water for 1 hour, drawing additional calcium out of the bones.  In the meantime, combine carrots, celery, bay leaves, black peppercorns, onion & garlic in a small bowl and set aside. Reserve parsley for the last 10 minutes of cooking. After 1 hour, bring chicken bones and 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 2-24 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 the flavor.

Ten minutes before removing the stock from the heat, add parsley. Remove stock from heat and cool uncovered for 10 minutes. Using a pair of tongs, transfer chicken pieces to cool on a large plate. Once cool, debone and re-use meat as needed. Strain stock using a chinois or large strainer. (See Note.) Discard vegetables or reserve to feed an animal. 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.

* Any combination of chicken pieces will do. I often use 2 bone-in thighs with several inexpensive wings to reach a total of 2 lbs. I also save the backs in my freezer from when I butterfly or breakdown a chicken, until I have enough to make stock.  Also I suggest visiting a chicken farmer at a local farmers’ market, I am able to purchase “soup kits,” which contain backs, necks, feet, wings and sometimes even heads!  Sounds gross, but feet and heads provide so much health supportive gelatin for our joints.

Note: A Chinois is a piece of kitchen equipment that looks like a cone-shaped very 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 chicken pieces, poor 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 stock. If a Chinois is not an option, set a large kitchen strainer into a larger pot or bowl. After removing the chicken pieces, 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. Use clothespins or potato chip clips 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.


  • You can also put the whole thing in the crock pot if you don’t have time to watch a stove-top stock pot. We LOVE our homemade “liquid gold” Thanks for posting about it!

    March 14, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Great idea! Thanks for sharing!

      March 15, 2011
  • Jessica

    Do you leave the stove on all night?

    July 10, 2011
  • Kids Love Chicken Soup

    Thank you so much for the nutrition info – did not know about the vinegar or the elapsed time allowing for digestion-aiding gelatin.

    August 22, 2011
  • Tonya

    Literally as I write, I am in the midst of canning the chicken stock I made from necks/feet/backs from some chickens I recently butchered. It’s amazing stuff and SO easy! Those bony parts especially make stock velvety. I always pass it through a colander, then a finer mesh colander, but it’s still not as clear as I would like. I am going to get a true chinois. Great post!

    August 27, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      Awesome Tonya! Did you get the chinois? I love mine.

      September 14, 2011
  • Jennifer Brown

    so….should you only be left with one quart when you are done? or should you keep adding water to keep your 5 quarts total?

    September 12, 2011
    • Molly Chester

      If you have a tight fitting lid, you will end up with about 4 1/2 quarts! It doesn’t reduce hardly at all with the lid.

      September 14, 2011
    • This ptosing knocked my socks off

      March 21, 2012
  • cgmwrather

    I’ve done versions of this for a long time, using a dutch oven in the oven at about 200, overnight plus. Keeps the stock just below simmer temp, which I understand is best for leaching the nutrients into the broth. (I use our free-pastured chickens, heritage breeds, not store-bought. Never tried it with store-bought… .) I’ve never use the ACV, will try that next time.

    If wanting stewed chicken as well as broth, sometimes it’s best to add the meaty pieces later, then simmer until done. Tender young chicken pieces will “go to pieces” as you make the broth. Because we raise our own, we often use the older tougher birds for the broth — they can take the cooking, and the deeper flavor is great.

    June 17, 2013
    • Molly Chester

      Thanks for this comment! Very helpful!

      July 4, 2013
  • Sarah

    When do you add vegetables?

    December 24, 2015
    • Molly Chester

      You can add them at the beginning, if you don’t want to mess or an hour before the end, if you want a clearer end result.

      December 29, 2015

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