Wondering how to make bone broth? This homemade chicken bone broth recipe is easier and quicker than you could imagine! With a pressure cooker like the Instant Pot, you'll have a nutritional powerhouse full of minerals and amino acids that heals digestion, inflammation, infections, and more in just 120 minutes from start to finish! Slow cooker option also included. Plus we've got a FAQ all about bone broth benefits and more!
This post is sponsored by Sprouts Farmers Market. All thoughts and opinions are my own. Thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for Root + Revel to provide free content and healthy living inspiration.
Kale. Quinoa. Turmeric. Reishi. Spirulina. Keto. Multigrain. Bone Broth. Seems like you can't throw a stone these days without hitting a grocery store upselling these food buzzwords (though some are healthier than others–I'm looking at you, multigrain).
But perhaps the health food trend I'm most enamored with is bone broth. Nearly every health book, article and blog I've read, not to mention doctors and nutritionists and health experts, in the last few years is touting the incredible health benefits of bone broth, and after drinking it regularly now for three years, I can say that I'm a proud convert and proponent of its health benefits.
So what the heck is it?!
How to Make Homemade Bone Broth
I've long been a fan of making my own chicken stock, as it's a great way to use up leftover veggie scraps and chicken bones. Admittedly, I don't do it nearly enough. Somehow it always sounds like it's going to be a lot of work when I think about doing it (ughhhh, do I really have to get up from the couch and walk three feet to the kitchen?!).
So three years ago when I was gifted a cookbook for Christmas with a nourishing homemade bone broth recipe, I reminded myself of this fact and took five minutes after roasting a chicken for dinner one night to make my first ever bone broth–and I've never looked back.
First, it starts with high-quality chicken, ideally organic, pastured, and humanely-raised.
I got my chicken at Sprouts Farmers Market, their house brand of organic whole, air-chilled chicken comes from hens hatched, raised and harvested in the United States and fed a certified organic diet with no antibiotics or hormones, while having access to the outdoors.
You’d think having access to the outdoors would be a given for animals–but sadly, it’s not. Read all about that in our Guide to Animal Welfare here, where we dive deep into the different labels and food certifications so you can understand what to look for at the grocery store.
So what’s “air-chilled” chicken? It means no water is added during processing, which keeps the real, natural chicken taste and juices intact. It results in more flavorful, tender chicken that has a crispier skin when cooked.
Plus, Sprouts’ organic chicken is always fresh (never frozen) with no enhancers, solutions, chemical or artificial ingredients added, and are super reasonably priced (affordability is one of my favorite things about Sprouts!).
If you’re looking for the closest location, go to the store locator to find a Sprouts near you.
Quick & Easy Bone Broth Recipe
Now, if you've never heard of bone broth, or you've wondered what the difference is between bone broth and straight chicken broth or stock, keep reading. I've got a quick FAQ below. But first, the easiest non-recipe recipe for homemade bone broth:
- Step 1: Prepare your whole chicken. I stuff mine with aromatics, like onions and garlic, plus fresh lemon and a mix of herbs (sage and thyme are my favorites for chicken), but you can season your chicken with anything you like. Rub the skin with olive oil, season with salt and pepper and you're good to go. Here's a recipe for Instant Pot Whole Chicken to get your started. Eat and enjoy the meat however you please. Just be sure to reserve the bones and the carcass (there's got to be a more appetizing word for this!).
- Step 2: Add the reserved chicken bones to a slow cooker or pressure cooker with more onions, garlic, herbs, vinegar
(this is KEY as vinegar is what actually draws the nutrients out of the bones!) and water. There are no rules here, you can throw in any vegetables and scraps that you like (carrots, parsnips, celery, parsley and bay leaf all make great additions).
- Step 3: Slow cook your bone broth for 24 hours or cook on High for 120 minutes in the pressure cooker or Instant Pot.
- Step 4: Strain the bone broth through a fine-mesh sieve, discarding the bones and solids.
That's it! You're done. Seriously. How easy is that?!
P.S. You'll know you did it right if there's a layer of fat on the top, and the broth gels up when cooled.
Bone Broth Benefits + More FAQs
Q: What's the difference between bone broth and regular broth or stock?
A: It depends who you ask, but there are a few general rules of thumb:
- Bone broth is made using the bones of animals (rather than the meat) and it's cooked for many, many hours (usually 12-24+, but the Instant Pot makes this easier with its high pressure so it can be done in a fraction of the time but still retaining the health benefits).
- Regular broth is made primarily with animal meat (and a small amount of bones) and is cooked fairly quickly (usually less than 2 hours).
- Regular stock is made primarily with animal bones, and is cooked a few hours longer than regular broth, but not as long as bone broth.
So essentially, it's the use of animal bones and the lengthy cooking time that separates bone broth from the pack, and makes it the most nutrient-dense choice.
It's also important to note that a good bone broth will contain vinegar, as that's what actually draws the nutrients out of the bones.
Q: Why is bone broth good for you?
A: Bone broth is a nutritional powerhouse–it's incredibly rich in minerals (notably calcium and magnesium) and amino acids (protein).
And thanks to the gelatin (collagen) and cartilage from the animal bones (hint: this is why it's awesome to add animal feet, necks, marrow, knucklebones, etc.), anti-aging bone broth reduces inflammation, heals the gut, boosts immunity (read: like chicken soup on steroids that helps you fight colds and the flu) and is proven to aid in the treatment of autoimmune diseases, infections and even improves mental and emotional health. The addition of vinegar to bone broth helps pull these nutrients out of the bones.
Want to learn more about all the amazing effects of bone broth, recipes + top tip from health experts? Snag this FREE Bone Broth Bible from Kettle & Fire here, a 57-page e-book that will tell you everything you've ever wanted to know about bone broth while debunking lots of myths out there!
Q: How do you use bone broth? Do you drink it?
A: You can use bone broth the same way you'd use stock-in-a-box or other store-bought broths: in soups and sauces, to braise veggies or baste meats and to cook rice. Or you can just pour yourself a mugful of good old-fashioned bone broth, drink it straight and let the healing begin.
Q: If I don't want to make my own, can I buy bone broth?
A: Of course, but there's a price you pay for convenience. Homemade bone broth is incredibly inexpensive, as you're essentially just using the scraps from other meals you're already eating. But if you don't have time, I've found only a handful of retailers selling bone broth that's actually high quality. Most ‘bone broths' out there have added junk, like caramel color and sugar, aren't made from high-quality bones, and are packaged in containers with toxic things like BPA.
Kettle & Fire broths are made from 100% organic, free-range chicken bones and vegetables using a slow-simmer method to extract high amounts of protein (10g per serving). Their broth is never frozen and is the first and only shelf-stable bone broth out there, so you can store it in your pantry for up to 2 years (great for freeing up valuable freezer space!). You’ll find no harmful ingredients like MSG and no added preservatives or hormones. Use the code RRHQ15 for 15% off!
If you're looking at other brands, just make sure they're using pasture-raised/grass-fed animal bones and that the bone broth is as minimally processed as possible, without added sugars and artificial flavors or preservatives.
I'm skeptical about some of the larger brands, like Pacific Foods. The ingredients are technically clean, but it's listed as “Chicken Stock”, which makes me wonder if they're just slapping the trendy buzzword on their label and marking up their regular chicken stock to profit off people who don't know the difference. Worth asking them how long they simmer the stock for (they also don't use vinegar).
Q: What about bone broth powder?
Some brands are now promoting concentrated bone broth in the form of powder, saying it's got the same nutritional benefits but is more convenient.
I don't think all the brands out there are great quality, but I do like Truvani's Certified Organic Chicken Bone Broth Powder. Truvani, founded by Vani Hari a.k.a. The Food Babe, is committed to transparency and sourcing the purest ingredients, so you can really trust her brand.
Just add water and you're good to go! Perfect for traveling and made literally from ONLY broth and seasonings. Not only is it Certified Organic, but it even passes Prop 65 (the California warning label), which is super hard and expensive to do.
Another Certified Organic bone broth powder I like is Vital Proteins. They offer both free-range chicken and grass-fed, pasture-raised beef flavors. It comes in a big canister or single-serve stick packs for easy travel or on-the-go options. Powders are also great for adding to soups and stews, instead of traditional broths or water, to really up the nutritional ante.
Chicken Bone Broth Recipe in the Instant Pot or Slow Cooker
For the roast chicken:
- 1 whole organic pastured chicken
- 1 large yellow onion , quartered
- 1 head garlic
- 1 lemon , halved
- 1 bundle of fresh herbs of choice (I recommend sage and thyme)
- 2 tablespoons organic extra-virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper
For the bone broth:
- Bones and carcass from the above whole chicken
- 1 bundle fresh herbs (you can use the bundle from the roasted chicken above if desired)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 organic chicken feet (optional)
- 1 onion , halved
- Cloves from an entire head of garlic
- 1 tablespoon black peppercorns
- 2 tablespoons organic raw apple cider vinegar
- Cold filtered water
- Remove the neck, gizzards and other organs from inside the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Stuff your chicken with the onion, garlic, lemon and herbs. Rub olive oil over the skin and season with salt and pepper.
- Follow this recipe for Instant Pot Roast Chicken or you can roast it. If so, roast at 425F for 1 hour, or until an internal thermometer reads 165F. Carve the chicken and enjoy the meat however you like to eat it. Reserve the bones and carcass.
- Place the chicken bones and carcass in a large slow cooker. You can include the onions, garlic and herbs that were stuffed in the roasted chicken, but leave out the lemon.
- Add the bay leaves, chicken feet, neck, and any other bones you have on hand, plus additional onion, garlic, peppercorns and vinegar and fill with enough filtered water to cover the bones. If using an Instant Pot, make sure the vent is set to sealed, and turn on manual high pressure for 120 minutes. Once finished, allow pressure to release naturally for 15-20 minutes. If you'd prefer to use a slow cooker, set your crockpot to low heat and cook for 24 hours, checking occasionally to ensure bones remain covered with water. Add more water as needed.
- Remove the bones and solids with a slotted spoon and strain the stock through a fine-mesh sieve into glass storage containers (I like mason jars). Enjoy!
Slow cooker recipe inspired by Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World