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Our dear friend (and 3rd college roomie), Mary (also a certified granola specialist) recently told us she has never made her own broth.  This post is for her.

Make free broth with whatever you have laying around from kitchen scraps.  Healthier and cheap! |

rec·i·pe (noun) a set of instructions for preparing a particular dish, including a list of the ingredients required.

Dear Mary,

You asked us a while ago for a broth recipe.  And here’s the thing.  I simply can’t fulfill your request.  You see, the problem is, there is  no single set of ingredients required.

Basically, you can make FREE broth with whatever you have laying around from kitchen scraps.  You will save money, reduce waste, eliminate artificial ingredients and reduce your sodium intake.

The most basic chicken “stock” can be achieved by simply cooking a chicken carcass submerged in water in your crock pot on low overnight.

That’s it. I could end the post here.  But I probably should be a bit more specific.

  • For chicken broth/stock I use a combination of chicken bones, salt, celery, carrots, and onions.  Sometimes garlic.  Sometimes herbs.
  • You can use a little bones (or none) and lots of veggies.  Or you can use a lot of bones and just a few veggies.
  • I usually use my 6-quart Crock Pot (but you can do more or less, depending on how many scraps you have).

All you really need to do is remember to add water.  Fill your crockpot about 1/3 to 1/2 of the way full (loosely) with bones and veggies, and add water to within 1″ of the top.  Cook on low 10-12 hours, overnight.

It’s basically magic.  As it turns out, almost anything cooked for 10 hours in a crock pot with some form of carrot, onion and celery will have plenty of flavor.  

Let’s be more scientific

Listen, I realize you may be aghast and unfulfilled at the lack of precision in the instructions.  I may have felt the same way if I had never tried it myself.  I need equations! Measurements!  Lists!  Time!  Temp!

>1/3rds yummy “stuff” + 2/3rds water + overnight + crock pot on low = broth  

Still not precise enough for your taste?  Ok, fine.  Before you “unfriend” me and stop reading the blog, I can do better.  Here’s something to print for the first few times you do it.  But you must promise me to rip it up eventually.  Trust me, it feels so liberating to just throw stuff in a pot with confidence.  So chef-like.

This is Not a Chicken Broth Recipe
Prep time:
Cook time:
Total time:
Make any stock or broth without a recipe.
  • Leftover chicken, pork, or beef bones. Or even uncooked chicken wings.
  • Veggie scraps (for example carrots, onions, mushrooms, celery, leeks, garlic, tomato)
  • Carrot (2, washed, unpeeled, broken into big pieces)
  • Celery (1-2 stalks washed, broken into big pieces, or just scraps)
  • Onion (quartered)
  • Herbs (examples include a sprig of parsley, sprig of thyme, 1 bay leaf, 5 peppercorns)
  • Pinch of salt (optional)
  • TB of apple cider vinegar (optional)
  1. Plug in your slow cooker (not that I have ever forgotten this crucial step or anything…)
  2. Add any bones / carcass you wish
  3. Add veggie scraps you have saved
  4. Supplement the veggie scraps. I usually add one onion, 2 carrots, and 1 stalk of celery. No need to peel, just wash. You can leave the yellow onion skin on and it gives it a nice richer color. Just don’t use stinky veggies (cabbage / broccoli etc)
  5. Throw in some herbs and/or peppercorns.
  6. Fill with (filtered) water to about 1″ away the top of the crockpot. Put on low 10-12 hours (or overnight).
  7. Strain with mesh colander.
  8. Store in wide neck jars or quart-sized freezer bags. Freeze some in ice cube trays and put into a gallon ziploc for sauteeing veggies, etc.
Want some other ideas? Look at your store bought stock – you will see what spices and veggies they have thrown in. You can use some or none of the above listed items. Just trust your gut. Use your artistic license.[br]If you have made something already bone-in in the crockpot, just pick all the meat off the bones and leave the rest of the “stuff” and juices! Then supplement with veggie scraps or carrot/celery/onion. It will be delicious!


Ok so I don’t know how you just tricked me into putting a recipe in my non-recipe post.  But it looks like I sort of did.

**Here are the jars I like to use to freeze my product (can defrost easily in fridge or microwave).**

I don’t believe you.  It can’t be that easy.

Fine, I tried.  But if you want to see for yourself (or become an expert on the subject matter), click away.  You’ll see I am not trying to fool you.  Here is a smattering of other bone broth posts from around the web.

Why are people so nuts about making their own?  Well, for starters it’s easy and practically free.  And it tastes better. But there are more hypotheses about bone broth that you can explore.

Browse, absorb the information.  I have even created an Encyclopedia of Broth on Pinterest for you.  You will see that they are all delicious and all vary slightly. There is no right or wrong way. So throw the worries out the window and just dive in!

Now, move on to expending your energy instead on all the awesome soups, stews, risottos, and sauces you can make with your new freezer-full of homemade broth. :)

If you’re already a chicken broth pro, discuss secret ingredients or link up your recipe in the comments below!

Laura Sig






11 Comments on How to make broth without a recipe

  1. This is a great recipe and a great list. Thanks for including my Roasted Veggie Broth. I always keep all the scraps in a bag in the freezer (onion peels, tops and bottoms of onions, dark green parts of leeks, carrots, etc). Then, when I need broth, or when the freezer is too full, homemade broth, here I come. It is smells amazing while it cooks. Thanks again!

    • The leftover scraps is a great idea -I have random bags of bones in the freezer too from a few times I’ve made random bone-in chicken pieces but didn’t follow through that day with broth. I need to start saving my carrot peels though!

  2. What I like about homemade chicken broth (aside from the taste) is that you’ll probably recoup the cost of the chicken by making it. Thanks for linking up to Real Food Fridays :)

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