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What is Bone Broth and How to Make It

What is Bone Broth and How to Make It

Why everyone is calling bone broth the next superfood and how you can make it

Bone broth is ridiculously easy to make and can do wonders for your health.

(Credit: Shutterstock)

What’s the Big Deal? Along with coconut water and green juices, bone broth is currently being touted as a superdrink. Although popularized only recently, broth has been used in many cultures as a cure-all for centuries (think chicken soup). Homemade versions of broth contain gelatin, which helps the digestive system and contains tons of nutrients like the amino acids proline and glycine, which promote healthy joint function.

(Credit: Shutterstock)

How to Make It. The same way you would make any other stock. Save bones (no need to segregate; meat and poultry can go into the same pot) in the freezer. You can also buy bones from your local butcher. When you have enough, toss them into a pot of water. If you want to get really crazy, save (cleaned) tops of carrots, onions, celery, celery leaves, and unused parsley stems in the freezer, too. Add the vegetables to the stock. Simmer until it tastes good (usually a few hours for bone broth). Strain the stock and cool it for future use. Store broth in the refrigerator or freezer in an airtight plastic container.

(Credit: Denise Woodward)

Then What? Drink it! Sip your broth warm or cold, in a soup with vegetables or on its own. Your brothing experience is up to you!

(Credit: Shutterstock)

Julie Ruggirello is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal and is excited to learn that her grandmother was right about the healing properties of “Jewish penicillin.” Follow her on Twitter @TDMRecipeEditor.

How to Make Your Bone Broth Extra Tasty

Bone broth has been my go-to superfood for years. Whether it's cooked very simply with good bones and water or loaded with garlic, onions and vegetables, bone broth is an elixir I cannot resist. But sipping on bone broth can take a little getting used to for some people, so I recommend playing around with added herbs and spices until you create a flavor combination that is perfect for you.

While a great batch of bone broth is definitely my favorite savory drink to sip on it doesn’t mean that I don’t mix it up from time-to-time. There are endless ways to spice up or enhance the flavor of bone broth, and here are my most favorite.

Fish Bone Broth

  • 5–7 pounds fish carcasses or heads from large non-oily fish such as halibut, cod, sole, rockfish, turbot, or tilapia (Non-oily fish is necessary because the fish oils in fatty fish such as salmon become rancid in cooking).
  • 2 tablespoons ghee
  • 1–2 carrots, scrubbed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 ribs organic celery, including leafy part, coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium onion, coarsely chopped
  • Purified water to just cover the bones in the pot
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1–2 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon bouquet garni or a small handful of fresh parsley and 4–5 stems fresh thyme

Wash the fish and cut off the gills if present. In a large stockpot, melt the ghee over medium-low to low heat. Add the carrots, celery, and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes. Add the fish and enough water to cover it by 1”. Increase the heat to medium and bring the water to a bare simmer. Use a shallow spoon to carefully skim the film off the top of the broth.

Add the bay leaf, cloves, peppercorns, and bouquet garni and reduce the heat to low. Cook at a bare simmer for about 50 minutes, uncovered or with the lid askew. Continue to skim the surface as needed. When the broth is done, remove the pot from the heat. Using tongs and/or a large slotted spoon, remove all the bones. Pour the fish bone broth through a fine mesh strainer and discard the solids. Let cool on the counter before refrigerating.

You can skim off the fat easily after the broth is chilled if desired. When chilled, the broth should be very gelatinous. The fish bone broth will keep for 5 days in the refrigerator and 3 or more months in your freezer.

More than 40 recipes using bone broth (and none of them are soup!)

Main Dishes

    from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Gutsy by Nature from This is so Good from Delicious Obsessions from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Recipes to Nourish with Broccoli from Gutsy By Nature form This is so Good from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Gutsy by Nature from It Takes Time from Simply Healthy Home from Divine Health on the Inside from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Recipes to Nourish from Gutsy by Nature from This is so Good from Cultured Palate from Gutsy by Nature from This is so Good from Raising Generation Nourished from Recipes to Nourish from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Gutsy by Nature from Raising Generation Nourished

Side Dishes

    from Paleo Gone Sassy from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Food Renegade form Cultured Palate from Gutsy by Nature from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Recipes to Nourish from Simply Healthy Home from Paleo Gone Sassy from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Recipes to Nourish from Food yours body will thank you for from Gutsy by Nature from Eat Beautiful from Raia’s Recipes from Homemade Dutch Apple Pie from Raising Generation Nourished

As you can see by this awesome collection, bone broth can be used in so many ways. Your family probably won’t even notice! However, you will know you are taking a great step in nourishing you and your family.

The Absolute Best Bone Broth Recipe

So you’ve chosen your bones, vegetables, herbs and spices… now what?

  1. Choose which type of bone broth you want to make. This will determine the bones you need to use.
  2. Preheat oven to 450 F. Place your bones on roasting pan. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing them halfway through. You want the bones to caramelize and become brown while roasting. This gives your bone broth amazing flavour that you can’t achieve without roasting.
  3. Add roasted bones to your large stock pot, crock pot or dutch oven. Scrape any brown bits from your roasting pan into the pot as well. These add even more flavour to your bone broth recipe.
  4. Add 12 cups of water to your pot. The bones and water in your pot should resemble a cup full of ice cubes, then filled with water.
  5. Bring to a boil over high heat. You can cover the pot while waiting for it to boil to speed things up. Once boil is achieved, lower heat so broth is an aggressive rolling simmer.
  6. Skim foamy bits and impurities that bubble up to the surface. Skim 2-3 times as needed over the first 1.5 hours. Learn more about skimming practises here . You’ll eventually get it all. You need to skim these off and remove from the pot in order to ensure your bone broth cooks correctly. Otherwise you risk cloudy broth. Which is not good.
  7. Simmer for 12-24 hours.
  8. Add your vegetables, herbs and spices when you have approximately 3 hours of simmer time left. This ensures they do not cook down to mush and make your broth starchy.
  9. Do not ever stir your bone broth. Simply leave it all to simmer on it’s own.
  10. Remove solids (bones, vegetables), strain and store for use.

What to Do With Bone Broth

Enjoy your hard made bone broth on it’s own or in your meals. Bone broth is a culinary secret that works great in any recipe you are cooking.

Bone broth is the perfect base for any soup . You can use it in stir frys, to steam vegetables or add it to pasta sauces and salad dressings .

It’s also a great way to add collagen protein to your grains. Replace water with bone broth when cooking any grain: quinoa, rice, etc. Try our bone broth oatmeal recipe!

Or drink it straight. For a primer in drinking bone broth, read our guide to mix-ins and flavours for bone broth .

How to Store Bone Broth

Once strained, store your bone broth in glass jars / containers. It will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. Bone broth freezes extremely well. Make sure there is a bit of space in your container for your bone broth to expand when frozen.

Bone broth keeps in the freezer for about one year.

What is bone broth and why is it good for you?

Bone broth can be made from chicken or beef bones. It’s made by simmering the bones in water for 24 hours or more. This releases lots of good things from the bones like collagen, proline, glycine and glutamine.

You know how people eat chicken soup when they are sick? It’s not just comforting, it actually helps boost the immune system and help your body heal!

Like I said, I used bone broth as a first food for my son. I would just spoon feed it to him! As he got older, I would add it to his rice or pasta. I also use it when I’m cooking. I definitely think that bone broth played a part in healing my son of his eczema and eventually helping him outgrow all of his food sensitivities.

I’ve gotten into a routine of making bone broth about every other week, so I’ve continued doing it even though my son is better. It’s so good for us and great to have on hand when we get sick!

This article has a lot more information about the nutrition benefits of bone broth if you are wanting to learn more!

How to Make Bone Broth

To make bone broth, you take bones like those from that leftover chicken or turkey carcass sitting in the fridge. Cover it in a large crockpot with plenty of water and simmer for several hours. How long you cook your broth is up to you. 12 hours gives you a very decent broth, but cooking it even longer makes it even more nutritious. If you’re using the bones from a roasted chicken, consider tossing them in a large crockpot and making your broth right in there. They can safely bubble away as you go about your day.

You can drink the finished hot broth as is, season it up with your favorite herbs and spices, or use it to make a pot of soup or stew. The cooled broth can be stored in the fridge for about 4 days or in the freezer for up to a year.

The next time you pick up a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store or roast that Thanksgiving turkey, don’t toss out the bones when you’re done. Use them to make a batch of delicious bone broth that’s good for you. Once you try it, you’ll be surprised just how easy it is to make and how truly wonderful it is.

Bone Broth Recipe

Whether you are doing an intense gut healing diet like G.A.P.S. or you are just getting healthier and in better shape with a diet like Keto or Paleo, bone broth should be a big part of your meal plan!

In this post you will learn more about bone broth, its nutritional and healing benefits, how to make it, how to use it, how to store it, and more!

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is an intensely nutritious food made from meat bones. Bone broth is cooked on a low temperature for a long period of time, usually 8-48 hours, depending on the desired intensity.

It is important to note, that while bone broth is great on the GAPS diet, the Intro Diet starts out with stock, as it's easier on the system. Then you can work up to bone broth over time.

What's the Difference Between Broth, Stock, and Bone Broth?

You may hear the terms broth, stock, and bone broth all used interchangeably. And while they are created in generally the same way (water, meat/bones, and seasonings) they do have some fundamental differences you should know about.

Broth: Broth is the quickest of the three to make and is generally made with meat and can contain a small amount of bones. For example, when you boil a whole chicken you are making broth. A fast process, broth is typically simmered on a low to medium heat for about 45 minutes to 2 hours. Unlike the next 2, broth has a light flavor, thin texture, and can be hidden easily in other dishes.

Broth is also a rich source of protein.

Stock: Stock is made with bones that have a little bit of meat still on them. These are often referred to as soup bones, joint bones, or marrow bones.

Often the bones are roasted or soaked in apple cider vinegar water before simmering them as this greatly improves the flavor. Stock is generally only simmered for a moderate amount of time (3 to 4 hours). Additionally, stock is a good source of gelatin and protein.

Bone Broth: Bone broth is generally made with the same type of bones as stock bones that have a little bit of meat still on them.

Just like with stock, bones are typically roasted or soaked first to enhance the flavor of the finished bone broth. However, unlike stock, bone broth is cooked the longest of the three and is typically simmered over low heat for somewhere between 8 and 24+ hours. The reason for such a long cook time is to release trace minerals from the bones, as well as to create a thick gelatin, marrow, and collagen rich bone broth.

Note: To fully remove the marrow from the bones once the bone broth is finished cooking, gently tap the bones on the side of the pot and the marrow should just fall out!

You can leave the marrow in the bone broth for consumption that way, or you can remove it and serve it separately. Some people like to blend it up and then mix it in with soups for an easier time eating it.

Bone Broth Benefits

Bone broths are a wonderful source for both minerals and proteins that you body needs to support healing and normal functions. Such as glycine which supports the process of detoxification and digestion - it is also needed for your body to produce hemoglobin, bile salts and other important chemicals the body needs to function properly.

Bone broth is also an important source of gelatin which can support skin and joint health. Because gelatin is also a big help in the digestive health of your body, it's easy to see why it's a foundational requirement of the GAPS diet!

Bone Broth Recipes: How to Make Bone Broth

There are a few different ways to make bone broth in a stock pot on the stove or in a crockpot. You can even make bone broth in an Instant Pot!

Beef Bone Broth

Add bones to a large stock pot and cover with water. Then add a tablespoon of apple cider vinager. This helps the bones release the vital nutrients during the cooking process.

Add high quality salt, peppercorns, and fresh garlic to taste.

Let the bones sit in the water without heat for 30-60 minutes. Then bring the water to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer (covered) for 8-10 hours. You can simmer for up to 36 hours, adding more water as needed.

After cooking, remove the bones and let them cool. Once cooled, you can freeze them for a second use (if you cooked them for only 8 hours), or you can then throw them away.

If you cooked the bones long enough to release the marrow, knock the bones on the side of a bowl WHILE STILL HOT to release all the marrow.

Strain the stock to remove peppers and any bone fragments that may have broken off during the cooking process.

Chicken Bone Broth

The process for making chicken bone broth is very similar to that of making beef broth.

We like to roast a whole chicken in the oven, strip the meat, and use the bones for bone broth.

Once you have the chicken bones from a whole chicken (or you can use chicken feet, or a combination of the two), place them in a large stock pot, cover with water, and add a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar.

Bring the water to a boil, reduce to a low simmer, and simmer for 8-10 hours. Again, you can simmer for up to 36 hours, adding more water as needed.

Once you've simmered the chicken bone broth as long as you'd like, strain the broth into a container to remove the bones. Discard the bones as desired.

Instant Pot Bone Broth

While slow cooking of bone broth is important for gut healing, if you're just making bone broth for cooking you can make it in an instant pot easily!

Follow the directions for stove top bone broth of your choice, but set the Instant Pot to "soup", low pressure, and 120 cook time.

Once cook time has completed, be sure to let the Instant Pot depressurize naturally. Then process the bone broth as desired.

Crockpot Bone Broth

If you need to "set it and forget it" for a while, slow cooker or crockpot bone broth is a great way to have homemade bone broth without the worry of making it on the stove top!

Follow the directions for stove top bone broth of your choice, but set the crockpot to low and cook for 18 - 72 hours.

How to Use Bone Broth

This bone broth makes a delicious base for any soup. Just add meat and veggies of your choice and enjoy!

Here are a few recipes to get you started:

You can also use bone broth for stuffings, mashed potatoes, chili, and more!

Any savory dish where you would use water, try bone broth instead for a healthy (and delicious) boost!

Bone Broth FAQs

Can you tell me where to buy bone broth?
Bone broth is available both online and in many local grocery stores. However, the heating process that bone broth undergoes to make it shelf stable damages the nutrition and protein within the bone broth, making it much less healing than homemade.

Can I freeze my bone broth?
Yes! We have had the same wonderful healing results from frozen and gently reheated bone broth as we have from drinking it fresh!

Be sure to choose your glass containers carefully as some may shatter during the thawing process. That will not only ruin the container, but it will also ruin your bone broth!

How long does bone broth last in the fridge?
We use ours for about 5-7 days, because we make it in small batches. If you want to make a larger batch but know that you won't use it all that quickly, you can freeze it until you need it later.

How do I thaw frozen bone broth?
Since we store ours in glass jars, we simply take a jar out of the freezer the night before we need it and place it in the fridge in the warmest part. This is usually the bottom shelf or the door.

By the next day it's thawed and ready to re-heat on the stove!

Can I microwave bone broth?
No! This will destroy all the benefits of the bone broth. Only heat your bone broth on the stovetop.

To do so, place your desired amount into a small saucepan and heat over medium heat. Stir occasionally to help melt the fat. Once you start to see steam rising from the broth, it's ready to drink!

How can I take bone broth with me to work?
Since you can't use the microwave to heat the broth once you are at work, the best solution is to heat it in the morning to boiling, then pour into a thermos for eating later on.

While the broth will lose some of its heat as the day goes on, it should still be very warm if you use a good quality thermos!

Can I give bone broth to my dog?
Yes! Bone broth that has been strained (so there are no small bones) is a wonderful and healthy addition to your dog's diet!

We like to give the grain-free dry dog food with a cup of bone broth on top to our dogs. It creates a really nutrient dense meal for them and helps with their joint health as well!

Which bones should you use for your broth?

Good bone broth gets its characteristic gelatinous structure from collagen. And collagen comes from the connective tissue in meat, ligaments, and on bones. So, for a good-flavored broth that's also rich in protein and gelatin, select a wide variety of bones that include some joints as well as meaty bones.

  • For beef bone broth and beef stock, use knuckle and neck bones, shanks and oxtails. You can also use marrow bones, too. But, be careful, as too much marrow makes for poor flavor, greasy texture and no gel.
  • For chicken bone broth, use a whole chicken, chicken feet, the frame of a roasted chicken, or chicken backs and wing tips. You can even make it using only chicken feet.
  • For turkey bone broth, use the frame of a roasted turkey, turkey backs, wing tips and feet, if you can find them.
  • For pork, use ham hocks and pork neck bones. If you're lucky enough to find them, you can also use pork trotters, too.

Mistake #4: Poor Skimming Practises

Yes I’m calling you out for poor skimming practices. The first 1-2 hours of cooking bone broth is crucial as it sets the stage for the whole batch.

If you neglect skimming the fat, foam and impurities as they rise, you may end up with the dreaded cloudy broth.

This happens to the best of us. In our early days we had to pour out full batches of bone broth once or twice due to cloudy and murky broth. You know it when you see it. It looks like milk.

This is mainly due to not skimming properly, but also from stirring bone broth during the cook. Do not stir it, ever.

Take pride in skimming all the foamy bits every 20 minutes or so for the first 1 hour or however it takes to boil the broth for ten minutes or so. It is quite relaxing. After that you are good to go!

“Homemade broth, of course, is a whole food product. It’s a slow food, whole food, and real food that has been nourishing and healing people for tens of thousands of years.”

― Sally Fallon Morell, Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World

There you have it, 4 mistakes many people make when getting started making bone broth. If you are considering purchasing bone broth then be sure to read our guide to buying bone broth. There are many shady companies out there.

Have you made bone broth? Leave a comment and let me know how it went!