06 Sep How to Make Chicken Stock

Cooking Tips

How to Make Chicken Stock

6 September 2021

PREP. TIME: 15 - 20 MIN   -   COOK TIME: 3- 5 hours   -   Yield: 2 - 4 litres

Knowing how to make your own house-made chicken stock is a fundamental cooking skill. Chicken stock is delicious in its own right, though it will also galvanise the flavour of your soups, stews, risottos and sauces. 

You will get the best results from using a whole fresh chicken. This gives you the added bonus of using the cooked chicken meat for the makings of the likes of chicken sandwiches, a fricassee or chicken pot pie.  Be sure to use fresh herbs and vegetables too.

It is not difficult to make your own chicken stock, you just need to allocate some time at the beginning. Once you have rescued the cooked chicken you can leave the stock to continue to simmer covered for hours, unattended. 

The most critical thing for a clear stock is to not boil the impurities back into the liquid. Pay attention to removing the froth that rises to the surface during the initial cooking. The next trick is to cook the soup at a steady simmer - not a mad boil.

Season with only a little salt. As the stock reduces the saltiness intensifies. It is best to season your stock properly when you use it in the recipe it is destined for.

For a stronger flavoured broth, simmer the strained stock uncovered and reduce.

Recipe Template

How to keep broth:

It is safe to keep broth, sealed in the refrigerator for a maximum of 3 days after making it. If you know that you will not use it in that time, it is best to freeze it as soon as it is cool. Ideally freeze it in small quantities.  A practical method is to freeze the stock in large ice cube trays, un-mould the trays as soon as they are solid and store these in several zip lock bags.


large fresh chicken - 1.5 - 2kg

2 teaspoons Salt

1 carrot, peeled

1 onion - skin on - cut in half

The coarse outer green leaves of 1-2 leeks if you have them.

1 or 2 sticks celery, chopped

1 tomato cut in half

Fresh parsley stems, a sprig of thyme, 1 - 2 bay leaves and 6 black peppercorns - these can be added loose or tied in a piece of muslin.


A chopping board

Vegetable peeler

Kitchen knife

Stock pot - approximately 5 litres

Heat distributor mat - optional

Large metal spoon for skimming

Large wire strainer

Kitchen towel or muslin

Large ceramic or glass bowl or jug - 3 - 5 litres

Metal tongs


Step 1

Place the chicken into the pot - breast side down and add enough water to cover by 5cm.  You should use 3 - 5 litres of water.

Set the lid askew, turn the heat to medium and bring slowly to the boil.

Use a large metal spoon to skim any scum or froth that comes to the surface. Take care not to stir any of the scum back into the liquid.

As soon as the liquid starts to boil, slow it down to a slow simmer by lowering the heat. The surface should be bubbling gently.

Placing a heat distributor under the pot will help you regulate a lower heat.

Step 2

Add the vegetables, herbs, salt and peppercorns

Cover and cook for  45 minutes to 1 hour, maintaining a steady simmer.

Step 3

The chicken should be cooked through and tender after 45 minutes to 1 hour of simmering.

Remove the chicken from the pot and place on a shallow dish.

Leave the vegetables and continue simmering covered.

Step 4

When the chicken is cool enough to handle, chop it into sections. You can remove the meat with your hands. Set this aside, cover and refrigerate until you are able to to use later.

Keep the skin and the bones and any scrap and return these along with any juices to the pot and continue simmering for at least another 2 - 3 hours.

Step 5

It is important that you strain the stock when you have finished cooking it.  The onion in particular can change the flavour if it is left in the stock.

To do this - Line a large wire strainer with dampened kitchen paper or muslin.  Place this over a bowl or jug big enough to receive all of the liquid.

Remove the larger bones and vegetables from the soup pot with the tongs, and set aside. (The vegetables can be eaten while warm, drizzled with extra virgin olive oil, salt and pepper and a sprinkling of finely chopped parsley).

Strain the remaining contents into the bowl through the stainer.

If you are not using the stock straight away allow to cool completely, uncovered before refrigerating.

Step 6

When cool - place in the refrigerator for several hours or overnight until the fat comes to the surface and solidifies.

The fat acts as a good seal over the broth until you are ready to use it.  When the fat is removed it can be stored separately in a sealed container in the fridge and used to brown meat and vegetables for a stew.

The broth will keep for 3 days in the fridge

If you expect to keep it longer than 3 days, freeze as described above.


Recipe by Elizabeth Peddey

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