How to Clarify Stock to Create a Better-Tasting Base for Soups

Follow these Test Kitchen tips for clarifying stock and you'll get cloud-free soup bases in just a few steps.

You can't beat homemade stocks and broths for adding rich flavor to soups and stews. If you're the type who likes being in charge of the ingredients in your food, you've certainly been making your own homemade chicken broth, beef bone broth, and other soup stocks. Nothing tops that rich, homemade flavor. Plus, they're fully customizable when you make your own (Love rosemary? Go ahead and add some. Dislike bay leaves? Skip 'em!). If you're going to the work of making these staples from scratch, take things just one step further by clarifying broths and stocks. The quality and flavor will remain, but you'll get a clearer product more like purchased products without the factory processing. Here's how to clarify stocks and broths at home.

Straining broth through cheesecloth in colander
Mike Dieter

4 Steps to Clarifying Stock

Whether you need to know how to clarify beef stock, chicken stock, fish stock, or broth use these directions. You'll need a colander or sieve, cheesecloth, and egg whites. Be sure to use 100% cotton cheesecloth when clarifying stock. You can find cheesecloth in the kitchen supplies section of most grocery stores or it is available online.

Step 1: Strain Stock

Strain your stock or broth. Strain the meat, veggies, and herbs of your recipe by carefully and slowly pouring it through a colander or sieve lined with two layers of 100%-cotton cheesecloth; discard bones, vegetables, and seasonings (or use for another use).

Step 2: Make Egg White Mixture

Make an egg white-water mixture. Separate an egg (discard the yolk or save it for another use). In a small bowl, combine the egg white and ¼ cup of cold water and mix gently until combined.

Step 3: Add to Stock

Stir the egg and water mixture into the hot, strained stock. Place the mixture in a saucepan and bring it to boiling. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes. (As the egg white cooks, it will coagulate and trap fine particles from the stock.) It's important to let it fully cook and solidify.

Step 4: Strain and Repeat

Repeat the straining process. Place a large sieve or colander lined with several layers of 100%-cotton cheesecloth over a large heat-proof bowl. Slowly pour the stock through the cloth to strain out any particles and the egg white mixture. You should now have clear stock ready for use or freezing.

Test Kitchen Tip: If using the clarified stock while still hot, skim any remaining fat. Or chill the broth and lift off the fat before using. Use your clarified stock right away, or store it in a container in the refrigerator for up to three days or freeze for up to six months.

With a little advance planning, you can keep clarified stocks and broths on hand for a variety of cooking needs. After your family tastes the results, you may never go back to store-bought stocks again. Once you have homemade stock, use it to create one of our favorite chicken noodle soup recipes, or try adding it to gravy for even more flavor.

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