I use this chicken stock recipe whenever I roast a whole chicken. I get a yummy batch of chicken stock from the leftover bones and meat. Sometimes I'll make a soup right away, but usually I just freeze the stock into little containers or ice cube trays, and use it later.
This recipe calls for the carcass of one roast chicken, but you can easily double or triple it. In fact, if you have lots of freezer space but not a whole lot of time, it's probably a good idea! Just freeze your chicken carcasses until you have as many as you want, then double or triple the recipe.
I said I use this recipe... but that's not actually true! I never really use a recipe for chicken stock – I just throw things into the pot! But this recipe is pretty much how I make it.
It's a very adaptable recipe. You can even use raw chicken bones, or chicken bones from just thighs or drumsticks or anything you happen to have on hand.
If you want to know more about chicken stock, check out our article on making chicken stock. It'll tell you way more than just a recipe!
Place the chicken carcass, carrot, celery, onion and garlic into a large pot. Add enough cold water to reach about an inch or two higher than the level of the bones and vegetables.
Bring the water to a boil, then reduce the heat so that the liquid is barely simmering.
Simmer uncovered for 4 to 6 hours. Don't let it boil!
During the first hour of simmering, some scum might rise to the surface. You can skim it off or not. It's not harmful at all, but it can make the stock a bit cloudy.
If the water level goes below the level of the bones, add some boiling water to the pot.
During the last hour of cooking, add the bay leaf, salt and pepper.
Pour the stock into a large bowl, through a strainer lined with cheesecloth. Discard the bones and vegetables.
Let the stock cool completely, uncovered, before covering it and storing it in the fridge. Try to cool it as fast as possible. You can place the bowl of stock in icy water.
After a while in the fridge, all the fat will rise to the surface and form a crust that you can skim off super easily.
You might notice that I don't use a lot of herbs in my chicken stock recipe. That's because I like to keep it neutral enough to taste great with any dish. But you can add a sprig of fresh thyme or parsley, or anything you like to dress up this recipe. Just remember, it's best to add them towards the end of the cooking time. The stock will reduce and the herb flavor could be overpowering if you add them at the start.
This stock should be kind of gelatinous once it's cold. That's perfectly normal and actually a sign of a good quality stock!
If you need a crystal clear stock, try clarifying the stock.