This bone broth recipe is a nutritional superhero that is packed full of vitamins, minerals, and collagen. Learn how to make it with beef, chicken, or turkey bones, and how to cook it on the stove, in a slow cooker, or in an Instant Pot.
One of my favorite ways to maximize use of the ingredients I have in the kitchen is to cook up a batch of bone broth using up food scraps and leftover bones. It's great to keep stocked in the freezer to use up in healthy soups and stews, or simply to sip for a nutritional boost.
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Bone broth benefits
There are many reasons to incorporate homemade broth into your life; it is easy to digest, is packed full of vitamins, nutrients and immune-boosting ingredients.
Broth is also an excellent way to make use of all parts of the animal, including parts that we may not be able to eat (such as feet, skin, marrow and ligaments).
Bone broth takes traditional broth a step farther: thanks to a long cook time, collagen, amino acids (proline, glycine and glutamine) and minerals (calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and more), are extracted from the bones and ligaments, enriching the broth and making it even more nutritious.
I'm all about science here, and am sharing peer reviewed articles that suggest the following benefits to drinking bone broth:
- immune support- a 2001 study found chicken broth to inhibit neutrophil migration in a petri dish. AKA: it suggests broth will actively suppress an inflammatory response
- skin improvement- a recent study reported collagen supplements to reduce facial lines and wrinkles, improve skin's elasticity, collagen content and youthful appearance. Interestingly, collagen has also been linked to reduced wrinkle formation following UVB exposure, suggesting collage can help protect our skin against UV/sun damage
- reduced joint pain- collagen is also linked to a significant reduction in joint pain in osteoarthritis patients
- gut health- gelatin and glutamine are two ingredients in bone broth which play an important role in promoting healthy gut bacteria, to have anti-inflammatory properties and to play a role in preventing ulcer formation
I look forward to seeing studies done using bone broth rather than the molecules within it, and hope there will be some in the future! Here is a fantastic (science-based) article if you want to read more about the nutritional benefits.
Ingredients you'll need
You can use any bones; I have made this bone broth recipe with leftover turkey, chicken or beef bones.
- turkey- use 2 lbs of bones and try to use a variety (include skin, cartilage and scraps)
- chicken- 2 lbs of bones or 2 small chicken carcasses (include skin, cartilage and scraps; chicken feet are also a great addition as a source of collagen, but are not necessary)
- beef- 3-4 lbs; use a variety of bones if possible (large bones with marrow and small knuckle, rib or oxtail bones). Make sure you roast beef bones for improved flavor.
You can get creative here.
- Scrap veggies- I save up my scrap veggies and herbs in the freezer and throw them into my bone broth. In the example above, I used frozen bok choy, celery and thyme.
- Aromatics- I always add 1 onion and 4-5 cloves of garlic. No need to peel them!
- Other- I always have carrots on hand and like to toss them in as well.
Apple cider vinegar- 1 tablespoon to help extract the vitamins and minerals from the bones.
Sea salt- to season your broth; you can leave this out or add at the end to taste if you'd prefer.
Water- many recipes call for filtered water but I just use regular tap water. I add approximately 10 cups, or just fill to the top of my slow cooker, or to the 'max fill line' of my Instant Pot.
Step by step directions
1. Roast the bones- this is only necessary if you are using raw beef bones, and really improves the flavor of beef bone broth. Chicken carcasses have likely already been roasted by the time you remove the meat.
- roast at 425°F for 30 minutes, turning bones over halfway
2. Prepare veggies- coarsely chop carrots, celery and onions. Slice a head of garlic in half. Grab any fresh herbs you might have (don't worry if you don't have them though!)
3. Combine all ingredients in your cooking vessel. You can use:
- Instant Pot- 2 hours on high pressure with a full natural pressure release (takes around 4 hours total time)
- Slow cooker & stove top- simmer for 24 hours
5. Remove solids- I use tongs to get the heavy stuff, and strain the rest through a sieve.
6. Portion out- I store my broth in 1 pint jars because it's a handy size to freeze. You can also store in 1 quart jars, or freeze in ice cube trays.
7. Optional- skim the fat. Beef broth is FATTY. I don't find this appealing to drink, so here's what I do:
- refrigerate beef bone broth overnight
- when fat has solidified, remove from the top of the broth using a spoon and transfer to a clean jar for later
- if you want to repurpose the fat, here's a great article on how to do so
*this is not necessary with turkey or chicken broth as they are not overly fatty
Freezing bone broth
Bone broth freezes and thaws well and may be stored in the freezer for up to 1 year. Here are several ways you could freeze your bone broth:
- mason jars- fill jars no more than ¾ full and allow to cool fully before freezing. Leave lids ajar until fully frozen, then tighten. Use 1 pint or 1 quart sizes (avoid jars with shoulders), and never repurpose old jars that are not meant to be frozen.
- souper cubes- essentially these are large silicone ice cube trays that allow you to freeze your bone broth in pre-measured quantities. You can transfer the frozen blocks to freezer bags, and it makes it easy to thaw specific quantities.
- ice cube trays- perfect for recipes when you just need a few tablespoons of broth. I don't personally freeze in ice cube trays but you would want to transfer to a reusable silicone bag after freezing for longer term storage.
- freezer bags- select sturdy, double-zippered freezer bags, and add the cooled bone broth. Freeze flat, then transfer to an upright position to store.
Make sure to label with the date so you know which ones to use up first. I like these reusable labels.
Check out my favorite freezer containers!
Using it up
A lot of people enjoy sipping bone broth, but I am just not one of them. Instead, I like to use it up in recipes.
Here are my favorite ways to use it:
- cooking liquid- works great as a cooking liquid for rice (see How to Cook Rice) or quinoa (see How to Cook Perfect, Fluffy Quinoa)
- in soups- homemade broth tastes better than store bought and adds lots of flavor to this Healthier Beef & Barley Soup or this Stuffed Pepper Soup
- freezer meals- any recipe that calls for chicken stock, I reach for my bone broth. Ex: these Instant Pot Chipotle Lime Chicken Breasts and this Instant Pot Honey Sesame Chicken
If your broth doesn't gel, you either didn't cook it for long enough to extract enough gelatin from the bones OR you didn't have enough bones in your broth.
Yes, I do this all the time. I specifically label 'chicken bone broth' versus 'beef bone broth' so I don't mix them up. You may need to alter the salt in the recipe depending on how seasoned your broth is, but they are quite interchangeable.
Keep it in the refrigerator for no longer than 5 days. You can freeze it for up to a year.
- 6 quart Instant Pot
- 8 quart Instant Pot
- 6 quart slow cooker
- large glass measuring cup
- quart mason jars
- 1 pint mason jars
- plastic freezer jars
- these reusable labels
More cooking basics
- 3-4 lbs beef bones or 2 lbs chicken/turkey bones; see note 1
- 2 carrots coarsely chopped
- 2 ribs celery coarsely chopped
- 1 head garlic cut in half across the bulb
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 2 bay leaves
- 8-10 cups water to max fill line, top of slow cooker or top of stock pot
- Roast the bones (beef bones only)- Heat oven to 425°F. Arrange beef bones on a baking sheet. Roast for 30 minutes, turning bones over halfway through.
- Prepare vegetables- Chop carrots, celery and onions. Slice garlic in half.
- Crockpot- Place all ingredients in a 6 quart slow cooker. Fill with water to the top of the slow cooker. Cook on low for 24 hours.
- Stove Top- place all ingredients in a large stock pot. Fill with water to the top of the pot. Simmer for 24 hours, keeping an eye on water levels.
- Instant Pot- place all ingredients in an 8 quart Instant Pot. Fill water to the 'max fill line'. Cook on high pressure for 2 hours, then allow a full natural pressure release. This takes approximately 4 hours total.
- Strain off solids- Cool slightly, then remove large solids from the pots using tongs. Carefully strain other solids off by pouring over a sieve.
- Portion- Portion out into your favorite portion size. I prefer 1 pint jars (1.5 cup portions to allow for expansion while freezing). Cool to room temperature and refrigerate or freeze (you may want to remove the fat from the beef bone broth before freezing).
- Remove fat- optional- I pefer to remove the fat from the top of the beef bone broth. Allow to cool in the fridge overnight, then spoon off the fat. You may wish to keep the fat but it comes to personal preference.
- beef bones- 3-4 lbs; use a variety of bones if possible (large bones with marrow and small knuckle, rib or oxtail bones). Make sure you roast beef bones for improved flavor.
- chicken bones- 2 lbs of bones or 2 small chicken carcasses (include skin, cartilage and scraps; chicken feet are also a great addition as a source of collagen, but are not necessary)
- turkey bones- use 2 lbs of bones and try to use a variety (include skin, cartilage and scraps)
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