Our Test Kitchen's Guide to Making the Best Homemade Chicken Broth

The best-tasting chicken broth comes from your own kitchen. Learn how to make an easy homemade broth that can be used in soups, stews, and so much more.

The best chicken broth is the one you make in your own kitchen. When it comes to homemade chicken broth, bones contribute rich flavor (that later ends up in your soup). Plus it's a great way to use up leftover bones from your roast chicken or big cuts of meat to minimize food waste. Our Test Kitchen's basic chicken broth recipe starts with bony chicken pieces, a collection of vegetables and herbs, and water. Most homemade broths simmer for a couple of hours, but if you are looking for deeper flavor, a rich-tasting bone broth or a longer-simmering slow cooker chicken broth makes dishes even tastier. Using the easy Test Kitchen tips below to make chicken broth from scratch, you'll be skipping the store-bought stuff from now on.

Slow Cooker Chicken Broth
Karla Conrad

How to Make Chicken Broth

We'll use our basic chicken broth recipe that includes chicken pieces, veggies, and aromatics. Feel free to use one or more of the aromatics (basil, thyme, and sage are some of our favorites) to bring out the savory flavor.

cutting raw chicken wing knife how to make broth
Kritsada Panichgul

Step 1: Prepare Chicken

Start with bony chicken pieces. These include the wings, backs, and necks which are loaded with flavor. Leave the skin on and cut the wings at the joints—both of these steps contribute flavor to the final broth.

Step 2: Fill the Pot with Chicken Broth Ingredients

Use a tall pot ($42, Bed Bath & Beyond) big enough so all the chicken and vegetable pieces are immersed and there is room at the top for the water to boil. Add the chicken pieces, vegetables, and seasonings to the pot then pour the cold water over top. Bring to boiling; reduce heat. Simmer, covered, for 2 hours.

broth separation with cheese cloth measuring cup how to
Kritsada Panichgul

Step 3: Strain the Chicken Broth

Line a fine-mesh sieve ($6, Target) or colander with cheesecloth, and place it over a large bowl ($7, Target). Carefully pour or spoon everything from the pot into the sieve, removing chicken pieces and setting them aside. This will probably have to be done in batches. Discard the vegetables and seasonings. If desired, when chicken is cool enough to handle, remove the meat for another use and discard the skin and bones.

Step 4: Skim Fat from Broth

Remove the fat from the chicken broth. If the broth is to be used immediately, use a fat separator ($22, Walmart), which is a small pitcher specially designed for this task. Or skim the fat from the top of the broth using a large shallow spoon. An easier way to skim fat is to chill the chicken broth overnight, then lift the solidified fat from the top of the broth.

How to Make Chicken Broth in a Slow Cooker

Got time? Use the steps above and let your homemade chicken broth simmer in a slow cooker on the low-heat setting for 12 hours.

How to Make Chicken Broth in a Pressure Cooker

Speed up the process by using your Instant Pot ($91, Walmart) to make homemade chicken broth. Prepare the broth as directed above. Lock lid in place and cook on high pressure for 1½ hours. Let pressure naturally release for 15 minutes, then open the steam vent to release remaining pressure.

How to Store Chicken Broth

When you're not using the homemade chicken broth right away, store it in a jar or airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. If you're concerned the chicken broth will go bad, freeze it for up to 6 months.

Chicken Stock vs. Broth

Chicken broth and chicken stock can be used interchangeably, but they are not exactly the same. What is the difference? Chicken broth is made by simmering chicken pieces, vegetables, and seasonings noted in the steps above. Chicken stock has a darker color and richer flavor than broth. The bones are roasted, then simmered with vegetables and seasoning.

Tomatillo Chicken Soup
Blaine Moats

Using Homemade Chicken Broth

Use homemade chicken broth in any recipe that calls for chicken broth. One 14.5-ounce can of broth is equal to about 1¾ cups. Of course, you can opt for a classic chicken noodle soup recipe or give it a kick with tomatillos (pictured above). Use chicken broth to make gravy for mashed potatoes (or add more liquid to your roast turkey pan gravy). You can even swap the water for chicken broth as the liquid when cooking rice to give it a deeper flavor.

Updated by
Katlyn Moncada
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Katlyn Moncada is the associate food editor at BHG.com, sharing food news and tutorials on becoming better home cooks. She is a writer and editor with nearly a decade of experience in digital media, photography, and video production.
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