There are few things I find as satisfying as making my own chicken broth. I know…what an exciting life I must lead. But really, there’s something so domestic and homey about it. I never bothered with making chicken broth (or anything from scratch for that matter) until a few years ago. Honestly, the whole process just seemed unnecessarily time consuming when I could go buy some at the store for a few bucks. Then I had a friend let me in on something that caught my attention: you can make chicken broth in your Crockpot. Um, hello! I’m down for anything that I can shove in a ceramic pot and forget about for a few hours.
After making it the first time, I was hooked. I’m not going to sell you on it’s cost effectiveness, since store bought chicken broth isn’t that expensive (although, you’d be surprised how it adds up). But I will sell you on the flavor! Homemade chicken broth has such a rich, deep flavor that you’ll never want to buy store bought again!
Plus, there are so many health benefits to homemade chicken bone broth. According to Consumer Health Digest, “Real collagen derived from the bones, tendons and cartilage of chicken, beef, fish or pork is the reason it helps boost the immune system. It is found in the connective tissue of vertebrate animals. On the other hand, gelatin is the result of the breakdown of collagen in broths. In ancient China, gelatin was one of the first health foods used for treating ailments. These two combined makes bone broths one of the most powerful health-boosting foods you can consume.” You know how chicken noodle soup is supposed to be a great home remedy for a cold? Well it’s not from the chicken broth you buy at the store, which is stripped from most of it’s nutritional benefits. It’s from the collagen and gelatin that is pulled from the chicken bones when you’re homemaking it. Here is a great visual that gives you a glimpse into the other benefits of homemade bone broth.
The best part about making your own chicken broth (besides the fact that you can do it in your Crockpot, of course), is that you will most likely have all the ingredients on hand…so it really is cost effective (had to do it). So lets jump into it.
1.Chicken bones. One might wonder where you get enough chicken bones to make a decent sized batch of chicken broth. Easy: start saving your bones. It’s not as gross as it sounds. If you’re an avid reader of Her Happy Home, then you know my love of chicken leg quarters. Not only are they SO cheap at the grocery store, but they are perfect for just throwing in the crockpot. Once your chicken is cooked, you’d probably just throw your bones away right? No! Put them in a gallon sized freezer bag and stick them in the freezer. Do this with any of your chicken bones. Did you have drumsticks last night? Freeze those bones! Once you have a gallon sized bag full of chicken bones, that’s enough for a good batch. It usually takes me 2-3 weeks to get enough.
2. Carrots, celery, onion, and garlic. Chances are, you already have garlic and onions at home. You may have to buy some carrots and celery, but luckily those items are cheap. Also, be resourceful. One time I only had baby carrots in the fridge, so I just threw those in there. Also, if you have some celery that’s on the brink of going bad, cut it up and freeze it for your next batch of broth.
3. Herbs. I always throw in a couple of bay leaves, and maybe some parsley if I have some in my herb garden. Feel free to experiment!
The directions are so easy, it’s kind of silly to even write it out.
1.Dump your saved chicken bones into your Crockpot (it’s okay if they’re still frozen).
2. Cut your veggies into smaller pieces and throw them in with the chicken bones. This is just for flavor, so how big/small you cut them doesn’t matter.
3. Add your bay leaves, herbs, or any spices you may want. You can add salt and pepper now, or you can wait until you use this in a recipe. I kind of prefer to wait to salt it until I’m cooking with it….that way I can control the salt in the whole dish.
4. Fill your Crockpot up with water until it covers the chicken bones. There’s no set measurement of water…it all depends on how many chicken bones you have.
5. Cook on low for 12-24 hours. Yes…that said 24 hours. When my pal first told me how long she cooked her chicken broth, I surely thought I misheard her. But 24 hours it is! I usually go the whole 24 because it brings out more flavor. That’s another benefit of cooking this in your Crockpot: you can turn it on and forget about it. Some Crockpots will automatically cut off after 12 or more hours, so make sure you check yours halfway through incase it cuts off.
After it’s finished cooking, you just strain all the bones and veggies out and you’re done! It will make about 10-12 cups, and I usually freeze it in 4 cup increments in quart sized freezer bags so it will be available when I need it. Especially when I need to make some Emergency Chicken Noodle Soup!
The whole prepping process (with the exception of bagging it) takes less than 5 minutes…how can you beat that? Do you make your own chicken broth? What’s your favorite method? Also, shout out to my pal Sarah who taught me how to make, and sparked my love for, homemade chicken broth!