Slow Cooker Chicken Stock Recipe

Slow cooker chicken stock or broth is gloriously easy. Just toss raw parts or carcasses in a slow cooker with vegetables, water, and herbs in the proper proportions, walk away, and come back later to a rich, deep, concentrated, out-of-this-world paleo-friendly stock. Trust us when we say it’s a game changer. Here’s how to make it.

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock Recipe

Slow cooker chicken stock has cast its spell on us.It’s not that making chicken stock from scratch is difficult. But it just seems to require far less effort and patience when left to burble in a slow cooker than when left to burble on the back burner. Perhaps because you can walk away from it and not worry about the gas flame being a little too high and causing the stock to boil raucously and turn cloudy or being a little too low and extending the already long process. The slow cooker strategy simply ensures the stock burbles sleepily and remains clear as can be. Once you make homemade chicken stock in a slow cooker, chances are you’ll be so wooed by the ease with which it comes together, you won’t want to go back to making it any other way, just as everyone who’s tried it seems to say. [Editor’s Note: But in case you do, we’ve got the perfect Roast Chicken Stock recipe for you.] This recipe has been updated. Originally published January 22, 2013.Renee Schettler Rossi

How To Tweak Chicken Stock To Your Liking

A homemade chicken stock recipe isn’t hard to stumble upon. (Google it and see for yourself.) But a reliable homemade chicken stock recipe? That’s another matter entirely. Sure, you can certainly toss chicken (whether raw parts or the carcass of a roasted hen) and whatever vegetables and herbs you happen to have on hand in your slow cooker with some water and chances are it’s not going to be terrible, though it may not be as much to your liking as it could be. While we’re all for the spirit of experimentation, we actually prefer the proportions of ingredients in the recipe below. And folks who’d followed the recipe are waxing poetic about it being their default go-to foolproof chicken stock recipe from here on. Still, if you’re the sort who doesn’t like to necessarily adhere to a recipe, we’ve a few things you may wish to consider in terms of ingredients…

Leeks lend a milder allium experience than onions.
Celery imparts a rather clean, almost astringent note.
Carrots ensure sweetness.
Black peppercorns—just a few, mind you—lend depth of flavor and complexity.
Herbs add a…well, we think that’s sorta obvious what herbs add.
Same goes for garlic.
Ginger imparts a warming sharpness that’s a boon to anything Asian, though best used sparely and only with other ingredients such as lemongrass or onion.

One last thing. Whatever you do, don’t rely on mere bones and water. Trust us. [Editor’s Note: When we (and by “we,” we really mean our editor in chief, Renee) first made homemade chicken stock as a very young twenty-something straight out of college, she poured water over roasted bones and let the potion simmer for hours, assured that the gods of stockmaking would smile favorably upon this effort. They did not. Let it be a lesson to you. It certainly was to her.]

Special Equipment: Slow cooker

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock Recipe

  • Quick Glance
  • 15 M
  • 12 H
  • Makes about 2 quarts


  • 2 pounds chicken wings, necks, backs, or other parts (raw parts or carcasses from a rotisserie chicken or roast chicken)
  • 4 smallish carrots, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 leek, rinsed and roughly chopped
  • 1 smallish onion, peeled or unpeeled, roughly chopped
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 1 fresh bay leaf (optional)
  • 1 sprig fresh thyme
  • Cold water


  • 1. Toss all the ingredients in your slow cooker, add enough cold water to cover, and cook on low for at least 12 hours or overnight. You may need to skim the surface toward the beginning of cooking.
  • 2. Strain and let cool completely. Freeze in resealable plastic bags in 1- to 2-cup portions.

    Curious to hear more about working magic with your slow cooker? Peruse our entire selection of slow cooker recipes.
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Recipe Testers Reviews

Recipe Testers Reviews
Testers Choice
Cindy Zaiffdeen

Jan 05, 2017

This slow cooker chicken stock recipe is one of the easiest recipes ever! I usually make my stock the old-fashioned way—a large batch at a time in a huge pot with everything in it and all the stirring and checking. Then trying to strain that stock is another job in itself. This recipe is so easy and the result was fantastic! I let it go overnight—for probably 13 hours—then I shut the slow cooker off and let the stock cool. I then strained it into a 4-quart measuring cup and poured it into 1-quart containers for freezing. I used a 6-quart slow cooker and got just a bit over 4 quarts of stock. This makes the best low-sodium chicken stock ever. You don’t add any salt at all. Even my husband asked why we hadn’t tried this before. This is my new chicken stock method forever!

Testers Choice
Leanne Abe

Jan 05, 2017

I’ve made chicken stock in a pot on the stove, using a pressure cooker, and now using a slow cooker. For ease and cleanup, the slow cooker is my winner. I made the stock on a weekday: I dumped everything in the pot in the morning and then came home to a pot of stock! No waiting or watching required (assuming you’re okay with leaving your slow cooker unattended). I used a glass measuring cup to pour stock through a strainer into a large bowl and when the pot was almost empty, just poured the rest into the strainer and pressed on the carcass to get all the goodness out. I usually freeze stock in 2-cup amounts, which seems to fit most of my needs. In a pinch, I think I could get away with just the chicken bones and a bay leaf, if I didn’t have surplus carrots or onions to throw in.

Testers Choice
Sue Epstein

Jan 05, 2017

Although I've been making my own chicken stock for some 40 years, I've always made it on the stovetop in either a stock pot or pressure cooker. Making it in a slow cooker was a first for me and it will be my go-to way of making it in the future. I used a 2-pound chicken for the stock because that was what I had available. The leek and bay leaf were also new to my stock-making and were perfect additions. I set my slow cooker on auto-shift, which cooked it on high for 2 hours and then shifted to low. After letting it cook for about 12 hours total, I removed the top and let it cook for another 4 hours to allow the liquid to reduce and the flavors to concentrate. WOW! This was the best chicken stock ever. I would highly recommend it. I don't think I will ever make chicken stock any other way in the future.

Testers Choice
Anna Scott

Jan 05, 2017

I love the idea of throwing everything into a slow cooker, not having to monitor it, and—voila!—in the morning having delicious chicken stock. We always save our chicken leftovers in the freezer for stock and my collection was getting heavy, so this recipe came at just the right time. Normally it’s worth making stock the regular way, on the stove, but this was ingenious! Not having to stir it every few minutes and being able to walk away was great. I loved the use of the leeks in the stock, too—I’d never thrown those in the stock pot but thought they added a nice, mild onion flavor. The resulting stock after 12 hours was very deep in color, which was beautiful. I might add a pinch of salt to the stock next time I make it, but other than that I give this recipe two thumbs up. A great recipe to have during the colder months for all of the soup we all plan to make. In addition, it never hurts to have a freezer full of stock. I may try this method again but for making beef stock next time.

Testers Choice
Helen Doberstein

Jan 05, 2017

This is very similar to a recipe I already use to make stock. I do add a few more veggies and herbs to the mix, but this one makes a lovely, dark, flavorful broth. Making the broth over a long time in the slow cooker seems to make a better broth, in my opinion, than doing it on the stove. The broth has a deeper flavor. I’d highly recommend this for making any kind of broth.

Testers Choice
Robert McCune

Jan 05, 2017

As the weather began to get colder, I pulled out a couple of soup recipes that I’d found last winter but never made. Both were specific about using homemade chicken stock, not canned. I’ve an old favorite stock recipe, but it does require a little time and attention. When I saw this recipe, I liked the idea of the easy assembly and the long cooking time. I also like the idea of leaving it for 12 hours and going about the other things I need to do (like rake leaves before the first big snow of winter). I not only had on hand all of the pieces of chicken, but also a nice, well-roasted, brown chicken carcass in the freezer. The end result was a very rich, deeply flavored stock. At first I hesitated to give this a TC, because it’s so simple and not very different from many other stock recipes. But in the end, that’s a big part of the reason for my giving this a TC. While the stock is indeed very good, it’s the very simplicity that makes this a keeper in my book. I’ve a very large slow cooker, so I can make much more and freeze it.

Testers Choice
Terri D.

Jan 05, 2017

I liked how easy this stock was to put together and that it resulted in a nice clear broth. I let the chicken parts stew for about 18 hours. It’s a great alternative to canned chicken broth that I can use directly from my freezer.

Testers Choice
Sita Krishnaswamy

Jan 05, 2017

What an incredibly simple and easy way to make homemade chicken stock. One could use the carcass of a store-bought rotisserie chicken and still come out with an incredibly flavorful stock. And the part I like most is you can assemble everything and forget about the stock. I used the carcass of a roast chicken I had made at home and I let it cook in the slow cooker overnight with the other ingredients and voila! The next morning I had an incredibly flavorful stock. I had about 8 cups of stock. I find the flavor of this chicken stock to have a lot more depth because of the cooking time and I love the idea of adding leeks to the mix. It had a very dark color and one could easily use it in French Onion Soup. Five stars for this recipe.

  1. kitchenbeard says:

    Thank you for this. I’ve been trying to convince friends for years that my process of dumping bones and vegetable scraps in a crock is the way to go for easy, clear stock. Like some of the testers, I tend to let mine go overnight or left alone during the day while I’m out of the house. As a space-saving measure, I strain the stock into a large pot and then bring it to a boil and reduce it. Depending on how long I let it go, I end up with something akin to chicken jello. This ends up actually lasting in the fridge longer and is easy to toss portions of into rice or sauces or whatever else might need a flavor boost without getting too diluted.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Terrific, terrific trick, kitchenbeard. Many thanks for sharing! And you’re quite welcome.

  2. Diane says:

    I make my broth in a CrockPot like above but add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar and cook for 24 hrs. I start on high to get a bubble then turn down to low. The vinegar draws out the nutrients and minerals from the bones. This can be done with beef also.

  3. Jody says:

    Add a few chicken feet to the mix. Marvelous flavor and gelling power.

  4. Diane Perkins says:

    I’d characterize this as a rich stock…great to make on a busy day. After all, we can’t all slow roast the carcass and stand by the stockpot and I would rather make something else than used a canned or boxed broth.

  5. Louise says:

    Okay, so I’m way behind on this. I had two carcasses, one from the deli and one from my own oven. All in with a handful of baby carrots. It smelled so good by about hour 18, my sweeter half took some out for his midnight snack and rolled into bed and snored so hard it woke me up. Stock fit for the Bear with no effort but to save the carcass? I believe!

    • David Leite says:

      Louise, welcome to my world! I sometimes break down the carcasses and freeze them if I’m not stocking. Best of all, you can drop them right into pot frozen.

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Hah! Love it, Louise, love it!

      • Louise says:

        I know! No one should be this excited about chicken stock. I take it back. We should get more excited about chicken stock. A reason to buy chicken with the bones. I totally get it now. And just to clarify, I did put in the leek and the onion. Just didn’t have big carrots on hand. And I don’t like thyme.

        • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

          I concur. We should whoop and holler about chicken stock! And I’m with you on the thyme, I never put herbs in my chicken stock, as it imparts too much distraction to the resulting dish. A superb chicken stock is something to really get excited about.

  6. Jacquelyn P. Matz says:

    I like this post because how it shows how easy it is to make this stock and does a very good job describing it. Once I made an “Everlasting Chicken Broth” recipe that was amazing. My friends also like to know these kinds of recipes, so thanks for sharing this recipe!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      You’re very welcome, Jacquelyn! And wow, I’d love if there was truly such a thing as Everlasting Chicken Broth…though sadly that doesn’t exist in my household.

  7. Amanda says:

    I’ve always wanted to make homemade stock because I make almost everything else homemade and I want to avoid the sodium from store-bought stock. However, having it on the stove forever just wasn’t for me. When I saw this recipe about a week ago, I knew it was the one (I love my crockpots!!). I roasted a chicken for supper one night. The next evening I placed the carcass as well as the raw parts from inside the chicken (neck, etc), celery, carrots, onion, and leftover caramelized onions from another meal into the crockpot (with water, of course). I left it on low over night for a total of about 15 hrs. The house smelled fantastic! The stock turned out an amazing rich, golden color. It made 7 1/2 cups’ worth. I froze it in 1/2 and 1 cup portions. Used 1/2 cup that evening in gravy and it was great. I will never buy a bouillon cube again! I just wish I had a bigger freezer. Thanks so much for this easy, adaptable recipe!! I will be making this again and again!! :)

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Amanda, that’s so terrific to hear, thank you for taking the time to let us know. We so appreciate it. And we couldn’t agree more, there’s just no substitute for homemade chicken stock.

  8. Mary Capps says:

    Regarding the leek: the entire leek, bow to stern, with just the roots trimmed off? Or just the bulb? Since the solids are strained off, it wouldn’t make a difference in that regard, but I wasn’t certain about the taste that the more open greens might impart.

  9. Mary Capps says:

    Thanks, Beth – that was my inclination, but sometimes you guys have cooking information I’ve never considered! :-)

  10. cherry says:

    Hello, what size of crockpot do you guys use?

  11. Bonnie says:

    No one’s mentioned turkey: what a great low-effort way to start turkey stock after big holiday meals!

    • Renee Schettler Rossi says:

      Yep, you’re so right, Bonnie. I do that each year and I relish the more robust flavor that turkey stock has over chicken stock. Many thanks for the reminder!

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