Homemade bone broth, or stock, is super easy to make, and you already have the ingredients most of the time.

After every whole roasted chicken, turkey, t-bone, ham, or fish you prepare for the table, you have another opportunity to make something special from the bones. Even vegetable stock is easy peasy to create from the chopped ends and pieces of another meal.

We’re making rich bone broth, or stock, with this recipe. And we’re using a slow cooker (or you could use an Instant Pot) since this house runs uses propane for cooking, and this is a slow cooking process.

I generally don’t use a recipe for stock, since I just toss whatever I have on hand, and eyeball the water. But then, I’ve made so much stock over the years that its now second nature. Here are the basics, though, for making your own signature stocks.

Bone Broth

Ingredients

  • 3-4 lbs chicken, beef, or pork bones for darker stocks, roast the bones on a sheet pan at 450 degrees for 30 minutes before adding to the pot.
  • 1 medium onion
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 3 ribs celery
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1 T apple cider vinegar

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to the slow cooker.
  • Pour enough water over the ingredients until the pot is full, except for a couple of inches from the top.
  • Place the lid on the insert and set to low for 8-10 hours. For darker, richer stocks, repeat for another 8-10 hours or until desired color is reached.
  • When ready, let the stock cool in the pot for an hour.
  • Place a fine mesh colander over a large bowl, gently pour the liquid from the pot over the colander. The finer the mesh, the fewer bits from the pot end up in your jars. Some contents may escape in the colander, but that's ok. You may to empty the liquid in stages if your bowl or colander isn't big enough to hold the entire pot's ingredients.
  • When the stock fills the bowl comfortably enough to lift the bowl to fill your storage jar, pour the bowl's contents into a funnel placed over the jar's mouth. Move the funnel to the next jar and repeat. This is the best way to avoid stock running all over the counter. Alternatively, you could carefully strain the liquid into a wide pitcher with a no-drip spout to then divide among jars.
  • Repeat the strain/funnel method until all the liquid is gone from the pot. A typical large crockpot or Instant Pot yields anywhere from 3-4 quart mason jars or 2-3 two-quart freezer bags of stock per recipe.
  • IF KEEPING IN FREEZER BAGS, continue to use a 1 quart mason jar, but dump the filled jar (or two) into your freezer bag so you have a solid measurement of how much stock is in the bag. Seal the already-labeled bag (bag should not be full to save room for its inevitable flat state in the freezer) and place it flat on a cookie sheet or some other flat surface in the freezer. If you have more than one bag for the freezer, don't stack them in the freezer yet - they will freeze together. Lie them separately to freeze individually. Once frozen you can arrange them like books on a shelf, or a big stack, depending on your freezer organization.
  • Discard the pot contents: either add the spent bones to a freezer bag that heads to the trash on trash day, like we do, or compost what you can.
  • The stock will keep in the refrigerator for a week, or 6 months in the freezer.

Hot Tips

Stock from smoked bones
We save bones from our house-smoked meats to make a rich smoky broth. We use smoked broth for bean soup (or any bean dish, like chili), making tamales, or any dish where you want to kick up the smokiness. Although I have not experimented with smoked beef; smoked chicken bones or pork bones make excellent smoked stock.

Freezer Stock Bag
We save all the onion peels, veg ends, garlic paper, whatever veg-related item (but not things like potato peels) that can improve a stock in a big dedicated ‘Stock Bag’ in the freezer. When its time to make stock, just transfer as much from the bag as needed into the pot. We make stock regularly so the frozen bits aren’t ages old, but perhaps just a few weeks.