Homemade Chicken Stock (with leftover roast chicken)

Nov 8, 2023 · By Bethany Kramer
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Don’t throw away your chicken bones! Instead, use them to make the richest-tasting homemade chicken stock. It’s low-effort and is full of rich flavors that far exceed any store-bought broth. Keep it stored in your freezer to use in your favorite recipes!

Homemade chicken or turkey stock is one of those ingredients that instantly elevates recipes. And it’s one of the easiest things to make at home!

This recipe uses leftover bones from our roast chicken to make a richly flavored stock that is better than store-bought in every way. Growing up, the bones were never thrown away whenever my mom made a roast turkey or chicken. To her, that was like wasting food. She always taught me to use the bones for homemade stock to add to soups, stews, sauces, and gravies!

Recipe Highlights

UTILIZES RECIPE SCRAPS. One of my favorite things about making homemade stock is that it uses bones and scraps that are typically thrown away. Instead, the scraps are the source of deep flavor and nutrients for the stock.

BETTER THAN STORE-BOUGHT. Homemade stock far exceeds store-bought in more ways than one. First, it has a deeper flavor profile – when it’s added to recipes, the taste is layered with richness. It’s made with pure and clean ingredients (no funky ingredients involved) and is incredibly cost-effective.

SURPRISINGLY EASY TO MAKE. The best thing about this recipe is it requires little effort! Add everything to a pot and let it simmer for several hours without stirring or managing the stove.

Chicken Stock Ingredients

This recipe is made with traditional stock ingredients; all are simple ingredients, and the herbs and add-ins can be customized to what you have on hand.

Ingredients for homemade chicken stock on a wooden board.

Bones – you’ll need cooked chicken or turkey bones to make a stock! I use a carcass (the frame of the whole chicken) from our roast chicken recipe.

The vegetables – this recipe uses three vegetables for the base of the flavor: yellow onion, celery, and carrots. These veggies are typically found in almost every stock or broth recipe. Together, they infuse the stock with complex aromatic flavors!

Herbs – I used the herbs I had on hand for this recipe: thyme and rosemary. I also love fresh parsley for stock and broths!

Seaonings – I use whole peppercorns and coarse salt so the stock has full flavor when used in recipes.

Apple cider vinegar – this is used to break down the bone tissue so the collagen is released into the stock. It makes for a more nutritious stock but does not affect the flavors.

How to Make Homemade Stock

A collage of three images showing how to make chicken stock. The first image is a pot with the vegetables and chicken bones in it. The second photo, is step two, showing the pot of vegetables filled with water. The third image, step three, is the pot of ingredients after they have simmered and cooked.
  1. 1

    Add the chicken and vegetables to a pot. In a deep pot, add the onion, celery, carrots, tied herbs, apple cider vinegar, salt & peppercorns.

  2. 2

    Add water and simmer. Fill the water 12 cups of water. Cover the pot and let it cook on a gentle simmer for 4 hours.

  3. 3

    Cool and strain. Once the broth is done, uncover it and let it cool. Then carefully strain it and distribute into jars or storage containers for freezing. Allow the broth to reach room temperature before freezing or refrigerating.

Tips for homemade chicken stock

Keep it at a gentle simmer. When making stock, it shouldn’t be boiling away. The flavors will develop with a gentle simmer over several hours. The more time, the more flavor is developed!

Keep it covered. Covering stock or broth is essential if it’s simmering for a while. Covering it traps the moisture and prevents it from evaporating. Leaving it uncovered will result in the liquids significantly reducing.

The more bones, the more chicken flavor. If you want an intensely flavored chicken stock, add more chicken bones. Sometimes, I’ll use two chicken carcasses to develop deeper flavors.

Add veggie scraps. Add any scraps from cutting vegetables that you would typically throw away (such as celery leaves, carrot heads, and ends of celery) to this soup. It’s a great way to eliminate waste!

Recipe Variations

If you want to add different flavors to your broth, see our notes below for how to adapt this recipe!

Use turkey bones instead of chicken. This recipe can easily be made with turkey instead of chicken. Leftover Thanksgiving or Christmas turkey is the perfect time to make homemade stock!

Best herbs for stock. Almost any herb works for stock or broth, but our favorites are fresh rosemary, parsley, thyme, sage, bay leaves, or celery leaves. When making broth, it’s best to use fresh herbs because they have full flavor, and you can leave them whole for easy straining when it’s done.

Add dried or fresh mushrooms. There aren’t a ton of vegetables I recommend for stock other than what’s already included in the recipe. But mushrooms (fresh or dried) are popular in many broths and can be added to this recipe for an added umami flavor!

Frequently Asked Questions

What’s the difference between stock and broth? Stock is made from the bones of a chicken or turkey, while the broth is made from meat. Stock is typically cooked low and slow to draw out as much flavor from the bones, while broth takes less than an hour because it’s only absorbing flavor from the meat.

Why is my chicken stock gelatinous? When stock is made correctly, the consistency is gel-like or thick when refrigerated. And it’s not because of fat but the collagen released from the bones! Which makes it even more nutritious.

Can I freeze homemade stock? Yes! This stock is almost always in my freezer. Completely cool it before transferring it to a freezer-friendly bag (air removed and laid flat) or in a container. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. Then thaw in cold water and use in your favorite recipes!

Other Cooking Methods

Slow Cooker: add all the ingredients and cook on LOW for 8 hours to make this in a slow cooker. Or cook on HIGH for 4 hours.

Pressure cooker: to make stock in a pressure cooker, add all the ingredients and cook for 1 1/2 hours.

A spoon being dipped into a pot of chicken stock. The pot has vegetables, chicken pieces, and herbs in it.

What to use chicken stock in

Use this homemade stock in any recipe that calls for chicken broth or stock. Since it’s made from scratch, it will add even more flavor than store-bought stocks and will instantly elevate the flavors in any dish you use it in!

Some of the recipes we love to use in it would be…

Homemade Chicken Stock

5 from 1 vote
Don't throw away your chicken bones, but instead, use them to make the richest-tasting homemade chicken stock! It's low-effort and is full of rich flavors that far exceed any store-bought broth. Keep it stored in your freezer to use in your favorite recipes!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 10 minutes
Serves 14 cups


  • 1 roast chicken bone frame/carcass
  • 1 large yellow onion
  • 2 large carrots
  • 2 celery stalks with the leaves
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme sprigs (or rosemary) and parsley
  • 2 teaspoons peppercorns
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 cups filtered water (if the chicken carcass is larger in size or you're using large turkey bones, you want the water to completely cover the bones and vegetables)


  • Add the ingredients to a pot: In a deep soup pot, add the bones, vegetables, herbs, and seasonings. Then fill with water.
  • Simmer: Cover the pot and let it simmer on low for 4 hours.
  • Strain the broth: When the stock is done, let it cool so it's not steaming hot. Then set up a strainer with bowls or another pot and strain the broth from the bones and vegetables.
  • Cool before storing: Once it's strained, allow it to cool completely before transferring it to a storage container. Once the stock is at room temperature, then either refrigerate it for 7-10 days or freeze it!


How to freeze it: This stock is almost always in my freezer. Completely cool it before transferring it to a freezer-friendly bag (air removed and laid flat) or in a container. Freeze for up to 2-3 months. Then thaw in cold water and use in your favorite recipes! 
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Keyword chicken stock with leftover bones, homemade chicken stock
Freezer Friendly Yes

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Recipe Rating


  • Suzie says:

    5 stars
    I love the flavor from making my own stock. I don’t have room in my freezer for it so I usually can mine. I use a pressure canner just like I would for any other soup and it keeps very nicely. It’s a very nice recipe. It’s very simple and very similar to what I already do. But I like this one better because of the fresh things.