How to Make Chicken Broth

at a glance
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Servings 6 Quarts

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I have been making chicken broth this way for a decade now, it’s so good, so easy, and truly the most affordable (and flavorful) way to build up a stash of broth. I’m going to show you how to make it in the Instant Pot, the slow cooker, and on the stove. Let’s get to it!

3 large mason jars of homemade chicken broth sitting on a marble countertop next to frozen ice cubes of chicken  broth, an onion, a bulb of garlic, a carrot, and a small bowl of salt.

Homemade Chicken Broth

In my experience, chicken broth can be pretty boring. While you can always season it later, I’m a big believer in “start good end good” when it comes to cooking. If you start a soup with a quality broth, the end product will be that much better – tastier and even more nutritious.

When you make your chicken broth from home, you have the opportunity to add ingredients for extra flavor, color (like the onion skin which will turn your broth a deep yellow), and brine.

Chicken broth is, essentially, the liquid that is left after chicken (usually bone-in, skin-on) boils in water along with a few other flavor enhancing ingredients (in this case: carrots, onions, garlic, bay leaves, and ACV). Once the goodies are strained out, the resulting liquid is flavorful and perfect for a variety of things – the base for soups/stews and as a water replacement for things like rice and quinoa, to name a few.

Chicken broth is a grocery store staple, so finding it on the shelves of your local store shouldn’t be difficult. Why make chicken broth at home then? A few reasons…

  1. Cost-effective (if using leftover chicken bones) – if you have leftover chicken bones on hand (from a rotisserie chicken or any other bone-in chicken that you’ve cooked), use that as the chicken base for your broth. Doing this will save you money on broth AND give you the most bang for your original chicken-buying buck! 
  2. Batch cook-friendly – this recipe makes 6 quarts of chicken broth, so it’s an incredibly ideal recipe for someone looking to stock up!
  3. Control the flavor – another major plus to making your own broth is that you get to control the flavor of the finished product. This recipe is pretty basic, but adding things like thyme, fresh ginger root, lemongrass, and citrus rinds to the pot will add a bunch of flavor.
  4. Control the ingredients – storebought chicken broth tends to have more additives and unnecessary ingredients than homemade. If you’re looking to be on the super safe ingredient side of things, making your own broth is the way to go!

Chicken Broth Ingredients

The ingredients here are super simple but make for the most flavorful broth:

All of the ingredients for homemade chicken broth (bone-in chicken, water, onion, bay leaves, carrots, ACV, and garlic) sitting on marble countertop.
  • 3 pounds of bone-in chicken
  • 2 onions, unpeeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots, unpeeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
  • 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 quarts of water

How to Make Chicken Broth

Making chicken broth is exceptionally easy. It takes a bit of time (not as much as chicken stock/bone broth, though) but almost all of it is hands-off. As far as method goes, you can choose between the Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stovetop. Here’s how you’ll do each: 

A person using a chef's knife to cut a large yellow onion on a wooden cutting board. Also on the cutting board: chopped carrots.
Bone-in chicken thighs sitting in the pot of an Instant Pot on top of chopped onions and carrots.
Chopped onions, carrots, and garlic in the pot of an Instant Pot.
Water being poured on top of onions, carrots, garlic, and bone-in chicken thighs in an Instant Pot.
  • Instant Pot: add all ingredients to the pot, and cook on high pressure for an hour. Let the pressure release naturally, then strain, let cool, package, and store.
  • Slow Cooker: add all ingredients to the pot, and cook on low for 8-10 hours. Strain, let cool, package, and store.
  • Stovetop: add all of the ingredients to a pot, bring to a boil, then let simmer for 1-5 hours. Strain, let cool, package, and store.

How to Add Flare to Your Chicken Broth

If you’re looking to add some extra flare (read: flavor!) to your chicken broth, we’ve got ideas for you. 

  • Add fresh herbs – add fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary, or any other fresh herb you love to the pot for a beautiful herb-infused broth.
  • Add some spice – throw a jalapeno (or serrano, if you’re brave!) pepper or two into the pot for a nice kick of heat. Be sure to slice the pepper in half and keep the seeds intact (they’ll strain out easily) for the most spice.
  • Add umami – throw some soy sauce or miso paste into the pot for a rich, savory, umami add.
  • Add spices – add whole peppercorns to the pot, or, if you’re looking for a broth with a lot of unique depth, add whole cinnamon sticks or cloves. These flavors are especially delicious for a homemade pho.
  • Brighten it up – add the rind from an orange, lemon, or lime, to the pot to really brighten the flavors.
3 large mason jars of homemade chicken broth sitting on a marble countertop next to frozen ice cubes of chicken  broth, an onion, a bulb of garlic, a carrot, and a small bowl of salt.

How to Use Homemade Chicken Broth

Homemade chicken broth can be used just the same as storebought chicken broth. Here are some of our favorite broth-forward recipes:

The most obvious use for chicken broth is in a soup or stew, but you can also use broth in place of water in a simple rice or quinoa

How to Store Chicken Broth

You can store your chicken broth a few different ways. To store it in the refrigerator, simply pour it into large jars, affix the lid, and pop into the fridge for up to a week.

To store your broth in the freezer, either pour it into large jars (just be sure to leave room for it to expand in the freezer) or pour it into ice cube trays. If you’re going the ice cube tray route, simply let them freeze completely, then pop out the frozen brothy cubes and store them in a baggy (we like these large silicone bags) in the freezer until you’re ready to use them.

Frozen cubes of homemade chicken broth in a glass meal prep container.
Frozen cubes of homemade chicken broth in a reusable bag.

How to Reheat Chicken Broth

Reheat your chicken broth (from refrigerated or frozen) in a pot on the stove slowly until fully warmed through. 

More Homemade Broth Recipes

If you’re looking for more homemade broth recipes, we’ve got you! Find our best recipes here:

ANY time is a great time to drink homemade broth, but it’s especially good for you during times of healing (think: after surgery or during a postpartum period). Find our full guide on stocking your postpartum freezer (with broth and a bunch of other nutritious, healing-supportive meals) HERE.

Q Chicken Stock vs. Broth – What is the Difference?
A

The difference between chicken stock and chicken broth mostly has to do with the concentration of the liquid. Chicken stock (also referred to as bone broth) is a more concentrated version of chicken broth because it cooks (either on the stove, in an Instant Pot, or in a slow cooker) for substantially more time than chicken broth.

Chicken stock is also made with chicken bones, while chicken broth is typically made with chicken meat – because of this, chicken stock/bone broth is more nutrient-rich than chicken broth.

Q Are chicken broth and chicken bone broth the same thing?
A

No, chicken broth and chicken bone broth are not the same thing. Chicken bone broth, also referred to as chicken stock, is more concentrated than chicken broth and, because it’s made with cartilage-rich bones, contains collagen, glucosamine, and chondroitin – all of which help to decrease joint pain, among a bunch of other benefits.

Q Is this recipe considered a low sodium chicken broth?
A

This recipe, as written, calls for zero added salt, so it’s definitely a low sodium broth (especially when compared to storebought options).

Q Can I freeze homemade chicken broth?
A

You can absolutely freeze homemade chicken broth. This actually one of the really great perks of making your own broth – one batch makes a BUNCH, so you can freeze and stock up as desired.

Bowl of chicken ramen on a white tile surface. The ramen is topped with a soft boiled egg, green onions, and black sesame seeds. There is a jar of bone broth to the right of the bowl and a small wooden bowl of black sesame seeds.

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Chicken Broth

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Prep Time: 5 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Servings: 6 Quarts

Ingredients  

  • 3 pounds bone-in chicken
  • 2 onions unpeeled and quartered
  • 2 carrots unpeeled and cut into large chunks
  • 2 cloves garlic peeled and smashed with the side of a knife
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 6 quarts water

Instructions

Instant Pot Method

  • Add all ingredients to the inner pot.
  • Cook on high pressure for 1 hour, then let the pressure release naturally.
  • Strain the broth, let cool, package, and store.

Slow Cooker

  • Add all ingredients to the pot.
  • Cook on low for 8-10 hours.
  • Strain the broth, let cool, package, and store.

Stovetop

  • Add all ingredients to the pot.
  • Bring to a boil, then let simmer for 1-5 hours.
  • Strain the broth, let cool, package, and store.

Recipe Notes

Ingredient Variations
  • Add fresh herbs – add fresh thyme, oregano, rosemary, or any other fresh herb you love to the pot for a beautiful herb-infused broth.
  • Add some spice – throw a jalapeno (or serrano, if you’re brave!) pepper or two into the pot for a nice kick of heat. Be sure to slice the pepper in half and keep the seeds intact (they’ll strain out easily) for the most spice.
  • Add umami – throw some soy sauce or miso paste into the pot for a rich, savory, umami add.
  • Add spices – add whole peppercorns to the pot, or, if you’re looking for a broth with a lot of unique depth, add whole cinnamon sticks or cloves. These flavors are especially delicious for a homemade pho.
  • Brighten it up – add the rind from an orange, lemon, or lime, to the pot to really brighten the flavors.
Meet the Author
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Cassy Joy Garcia

HOWDY! I’m Cassy Joy and I am just so happy you’re here. I’m the founder, Editor-in-Chief, and Nutrition Consultant here at Fed and Fit. What started as a food blog back in 2011 has evolved now into so much more.
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