Homemade Roasted Chicken Stock in a Mason Jar

Homemade Roasted Chicken Stock That Will Elevate Every Dish

Chicken stock is the equivalent of liquid gold in my house. As the base ingredient for so many wonderful dishes, I have migrated away from the store-bought variety (although I always keep a box on hand for emergencies) in favor of small-batch, homemade stock that offers a really solid flavor profile that I can build on in nearly any recipe. Stock is a critical ingredient in soups, stews, casseroles and sauces. Cooking rice or steaming vegetables in stock immediately elevates the flavor of your side dishes.

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Anyone Can Make Stock

The way that I have approached chicken stock has transformed through the years. Back in the day, I would arbitrarily throw veggies in a pot of water with a whole chicken along with a myriad of herbs and spices from the cabinet, crank up the heat and let that baby boil for hours. While this method proved adequate for many years, I have since slowed my roll and discovered that for really good stock, there is a little more technique involved. Even so, creating homemade stock is an accessible cooking staple that anyone can successfully produce.

Homemade Roasted Chicken Stock in a Large Glass Bowl Surrounded By Mason Jars

How My Stock Technique Has Evolved

These days, I steer clear of adding any seasonings or spices to my stocks. Believe me, it went against everything I thought I knew about cooking to not add salt or pepper to my simmering stocks. But when I began to think about the stock as a canvas, I realized that a blank, neutral canvas is ideal for building on. 

Chicken stock is not meant to taste like the end product. It is a building block for the whole. I appreciate the ability to adjust seasoning as I go when cooking. Deferring the use of salt and pepper in my stocks has afforded me more control and flexibility when cooking. 

Another thing I do differently with homemade stock is to roast the chicken pieces before adding them to the stockpot. This little tweak has been a game-changer. Roasting the chicken bones adds depth and complexity. The result is a truly matured stock that heightens the flavor of anything it is incorporated into.

Tips and Tricks

  • I keep a stockpile of veggie scraps in my freezer at all times. The peels and ends of carrots, onions, celery and garlic all make their way to a freezer bag that I keep frozen until I am ready for my next batch of stock. This allows me to utilize pieces of the veggies that would normally just make their way into the trash or compost bin. I employ this method for items that may be fixing to turn so that I can reduce waste. I do this with herbs as well. When ready for stock, I just dump in all of my stock-piled scraps. This method has proven so successful for me, that I very rarely add any aromatics to the stock water aside from what I saved in the freezer. 
  • I learned the hard way that potato peels make a murky stock and broccoli stalks can make the stock rather bitter. So now, I stick with mirepoix (onions, carrots and celery), garlic and herbs for my stocks. Everything else is repurposed in another way (crispy potato skins anyone?) or added to the compost pile.
Freezer Bag of Scrap Onions, Carrots, Celery and Herbs Just Pulled Out of the Freezer To Make Stock
  • Save the bones from chicken you have already cooked and/or removed from broken-down chickens for your next stock. Just like the veggies and aromatics, you can pop them in a freezer bag and keep frozen until ready to make your next batch of stock. 
  • For a clean, clear stock, I strain the stock through cheesecloth after removing all of the large pieces of carcass and aromatics. I used a fine mesh strainer for years, but often still ended up with a cloudy stock with lots of little bits. This is just a matter of aesthetics so you are welcome to use what you have on hand. Because I make stock so often, one of the kitchen items on my secret wish list is a chinois, but I haven’t located one I’m sold on just yet (So if anyone has any suggestions, I am all ears!). It’s basically a fancy, conical strainer with super fine mesh. A lot of them also include a stand and will clip to your pot for ease of use. It would also be super helpful for canning and straining custards and purees. So, seriously, if someone has a recommendation, help a sista out.
  • You should expect to have a fair amount of fat still hanging around the final product of your stock. The easiest way I have found to remove the fat is to store the stock in the refrigerator overnight after it has been thoroughly strained and allowed to cool to room temperature. The next day, the fat will have coagulated allowing for much easier scoopage and removal. Admittedly, it took me an absurd amount of time to figure this out…Don’t be like me. Start with the easy way first. 
  • I freeze my stock in freezer bags. I typically freeze in 2 cup increments so I don’t end up wasting my precious stock by thawing too much at a time. I also lay the bag flat when freezing so that they stack nicely in the freezer. This allows them to thaw very quickly as well. 

Method

Begin by coating your chicken bones with olive oil and roasting in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 45 minutes or until a deliciously deep, brown color has been achieved. You can either use bones you have saved in the freezer or break down a whole chicken, saving the bones. 

I generally make a chicken dish for supper – like this Chicken and Dumpling favorite – the same day that I make stock, so I usually break down a whole chicken so that I can roast the meat at the same time as the bones. While photographing this tutorial, I made a double batch of stock, so I broke down two chickens and used some bones that I had saved in the freezer. 

Overhead View of Roasted Chicken Bones in a Roasting Pan
Overhead View of Scrap Vegetables in Stock Pot

If you’re using fresh veggies to add to your stock, chop them roughly while your chicken bones roast. I stick with onions, carrots and celery for stocks, but I will occasionally add garlic and herbs if I use frozen stockpiled scrap veggies.

Add the roasted chicken and aromatic veggies to a stockpot. I use this guy, and I love it. Add enough water to cover an inch above your bones and veggies. 

Heat on the stove over medium-high heat until the water comes to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer. As the stock simmers, skim off any of the bubbly scum that will float to the top.

Simmer for 2 – 4 hours. Now, I used to simmer my stock pretty much all day. I now know this to be unnecessary. Two to four hours allows plenty of time for deep, complex flavor to develop, especially when using roasted chicken bones. Additionally, cooking stock too long can create an unpleasant, bitter flavor if left unchecked.

Once done simmering, use a spider or slotted spoon to scoop out the bones and spent vegetables from the pot. Strain the stock through a chinois (if you’re lucky enough to have one of these babies) or cheesecloth for a sediment-free stock.  

Measure out and ladle into containers of your choice. A lot of people like to freeze their stock in mason jars. I prefer freezing them in freezer bags. This method allows for more flexibility for freezer storage, and the stock thaws in no time flat. 

Close Up of Roasted Chicken Stock in a Large Glass Bowl
Homemade Roasted Chicken Stock in a Large Glass Bowl Surrounded By Mason Jars

Homemade Roasted Chicken Stock

Making chicken stock is a great way to use up kitchen scraps that would otherwise go to waste. Roasted chicken bones make this recipe a heavy hitter in the flavor department.
Prep Time 30 mins
Cook Time 4 hrs 45 mins
Total Time 5 hrs 15 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American

Equipment

  • Stock pot
  • Roasting pan
  • Chinois or cheese cloth optional

Ingredients
  

  • bones from one whole chicken
  • 2-3 large carrots, roughly chopped (if not utilizing saved vegetable scraps)
  • 2-3 large onions, roughly chopped with skins on (if not utilizing saved vegetable scraps)
  • 3-4 ribs of celery, roughly chopped (if not utilizing saved vegetable scraps)
  • olive oil
  • herbs, such as thyme, parsley, rosemary optional
  • 1 head of garlic, cut in half with skins on optional

Instructions
 

  • Begin by covering your chicken bones with olive oil and roasting in a 425 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 45 minutes or until a deliciously deep, brown color has been achieved.
  • If you’re using fresh veggies to add to your stock, chop them roughly while your chicken bones roast. I stick with onions, carrots and celery for stocks, but I will occasionally add garlic and herbs if I use frozen stockpiled scrap veggies.
  • Add the roasted chicken and aromatic veggies to a stockpot. Add enough water to cover an inch above your bones and veggies.
  • Heat on the stove over medium-high heat until the water comes to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat to maintain a low simmer.
  • Simmer for 2 - 4 hours. As the stock simmers, skim off any of the bubbly scum that will float to the top.
  • Once done simmering, use a spider or slotted spoon to scoop out the bones and spent vegetables from the pot. Strain the stock through a chinois or cheesecloth for a sediment-free stock.
  • Measure out and ladle into containers of your choice.
Keyword Homemade, Chicken Stock

Be sure to leave me a message in the comments if you make this stock.

Do you think it is worth roasting the bones before simmering?

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