How to Make Your Own Stock and Broth
Delicious and good for the environment? Sign us up.
Outside's long reads email newsletter features our strongest writing, most ambitious reporting, and award-winning storytelling about the outdoors. Sign up today.
If all you know is store-bought stock, wait until you discover how versatile and delicious the homemade variety can be. It’s also a smart way to reduce food waste: chicken carcasses, beef bones, carrot tops, potato skins, and herb stems are fair game. Just be sure to store them in the freezer until it’s cooking time.
Jackie Dikos, a registered dietitian and the author of Finish Line Fueling, loves chicken and beef stock for their amino-acid profiles. Glutamine supports the body when it’s stressed and promotes recovery, while glycine aids digestion. Vegetable broth, meanwhile, is rich in minerals. Magnesium helps with energy production and is a known stress reducer, while zinc and copper support the immune system. Dikos simmers her stock in a slow cooker overnight or starts it first thing in the morning so it’s ready by dinnertime. Here’s how to do it yourself.
- 5 pounds meaty chicken or beef bones (optional)
- Enough chopped fresh vegetables or frozen veggie scraps to nearly fill the pot
- 3 or 4 aromatic additions such as 2 bay leaves, 1/2 teaspoon whole black peppercorns, and 3 parsley or thyme sprigs
- Salt to taste
If you’re using the bones, place them at the bottom of a large stockpot, slow cooker, or Dutch oven. Scatter the veggies, herbs, and any spices on top. Add enough water to cover the ingredients, and bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer. Cook on low, uncovered, for at least eight hours. Add salt to taste. Let cool, then strain into a storage container using a fine-mesh sieve or a cheesecloth-lined strainer. Stock can be refrigerated for up to a week or frozen for up to three months.