Roasted Bone Marrow

This roasted bone marrow is a cinch to make. Sprinkle it with salt and roast until rich, unctuous, and irresistible. Simply the best. Here’s how to make it.

Three pieces of roasted bone marrow sprinkled with salt in a metal roasting pan.

I find it encouraging to know that this odd bit, once consigned to the soup pot, tossed to the dog, or thrown in the garbage, is now finally being appreciated as a dish in its own right. Now that good fat is back on the table (though for some of us it was never off the table), marrow is seemingly everywhere. Many people avoid roasted bone marrow because it’s fat, but it should be remembered that marrow is 69 percent unsaturated fat. It’s also a very nutritious food, containing iron, phosphorus, vitamin A, and trace amounts of thiamin and niacin. There’s even more good news for marrow lovers: science has shown that the fat of ruminants contains substances that boost and maintain our body’s immune system. So the Victorians were right—it is a healthy food and definitely way too good for the dog.–Jennifer McLagan

TIPS FOR BUYING BEEF BONES FOR ROASTED MARROW

  1. Marrow bones can be cut to any length you want. Ask your butcher for pieces cut from the center of the leg bone, where the ratio of marrow to bone is highest. It’s tricky to judge how much marrow you’ll get from any bone as it ranges widely depending on the thickness of the bone: a 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) bone usually averages around 1 1/2 ounces (40 grams).
  2. The bones should already be free of meat and should smell clean and faintly meaty. The marrow itself should be whitish-pink in color; don’t worry if you can see blood spots on the surface—that’s normal.
  3. Buy extra bones to be sure you have enough. Bone marrow freezes well in or out of the bone.
  4. You can ask for the bones to be cut lengthwise. This makes the marrow easy to get at with any spoon—no need for a fancy Georgian spoon.

Roasted Bone Marrow

Three pieces of roasted bone marrow sprinkled with salt in a metal roasting pan.
This roasted bone marrow is a cinch to make. Sprinkle it with salt and roast until rich, unctuous, and irresistible. Simply the best. Here’s how to make it.
Jennifer McLagan

Prep 15 mins
Cook 15 mins
Total 12 hrs 30 mins
Entrees
American
4 servings
60 kcal
4.66 / 20 votes
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Ingredients 

  • Four (3-inch) Marrow bones* (see Tips for Buying Beef Bones for Roasted Bone Marrow above)
  • Coarse sea salt

Directions
 

  • Fill a large bowl halfway with ice water and add 1 teaspoon coarse sea salt per 1 cup water. Add the marrow bones and refrigerate for 12 to 24 hours, changing the water every 4 hours and replacing the salt each time.

    TESTER TIP: Some testers have asked us, "Do I need to soak the bones?" The answer is yes. This removes the blood and any impurities from the marrow.

  • Drain the bones, cover, and refrigerate until you're ready to roast the marrow. Drain the bones and pat them dry. Be sure to roast the soaked marrow within 24 hours or freeze the drained bones for up to 3 months.
  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C).
  • Place the drained and dried marrow bones in a roasting pan. If the bones are cut crosswise, place them standing up; if the bones are cut lengthwise, place them cut side up. Roast for 15 to 25 minutes, until the marrow has puffed slightly and is warm in the center. To test for doneness, insert a metal skewer into the center of the bone, then touch it to your wrist to gauge the marrow’s temperature; the roasted bone marrow should be very hot. There should be no resistance when the skewer is inserted and some of the marrow will have started to leak from the bones.
  • Serve the roasted bone marrow immediately with spoons for scooping.
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Show Nutrition

Serving: 1portionCalories: 60kcal (3%)Protein: 1g (2%)Fat: 6g (9%)Vitamin A: 18IUIron: 1mg (6%)

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

What an elegant treat this roasted bone marrow was! This dish is the epitome of classic French cooking to me—simple ingredients and methods with outrageously delicious results. And oh so impressive! Served alongside a warm baguette, this appetizer was a real winner. Rich, creamy bone marrow spread on a piece of crusty bread—you can’t get much more decadent than that. It’s nature’s equivalent of butter on bread.

In addition, I loved the introduction and information the author gave on the topic of bone marrow itself. I never knew you had to soak the bones in salted ice water before preparing them, but it makes sense because you need to remove some of the impurities found in the bones themselves.

I sprinkled the tops of the marrow bones with kosher salt right when they came out of the oven for a little added flavor. A fancy, coarse sea salt would work well, too. I cooked my bones at 450°F for 30 minutes and the marrow came out perfectly.

I was especially excited to have the opportunity to make this recipe to ring in the New Year, especially since I’ve had this dish in several French bistro-style restaurants but never at home, as New Year’s to me is all about decadent food that’s comforting at the same time. My grocery store always seems to carry bone marrow, so believe me when I say that one of my New Year’s resolutions is to treat myself to this culinary delight many more times this year!

Although I personally thought the recipe was too long-winded—I’ve made roasted marrow before without the soaking—it turned out perfectly and we thoroughly enjoyed eating it.

Originally published January 17, 2013

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Made this last night. It. Was. Divine! Did not realize how easy bone marrow is to make and how quickly it cooks. Husband was blown away – said better than restaurant. Thank you for the recipe and for the detailed instructions.

  2. 5 stars
    I grew up with bone marrow appetizers. Found 10” long marrow bones in the frozen dog bone section at this butcher. They have some 2” wide marrow openings!! He halved the bones for me but I should have asked to cut them lengthwise. It took 45min in the oven and even then some of the marrow needed to be fried to cook it through. In the end the dish was as delicious as I remember from my childhood.

  3. I picked up some bone marrow for the first time and noted the recipe instructions to change the water every 4 hours for 24 hours. Do you actually get up through the night to change the water? Thank you.

    1. That would be the ideal scenario, Buck, although not a particularly enjoyable one. It’s ok to soak the marrow for just 12 hours, so you could just start the soaking process very early in the day. If soaking overnight, I think it would be ok to stretch the soaking for a few extra hours if you change the water just before going to sleep and again as soon as you are up.

      1. Thank you so much for your quick and informative reply. That’s along the lines of what I expected I’d wind up doing anyway. My bones are soaking in cold water now, both the marrow and the body. It’s pouring cold rain here in Seattle😊

          1. I prepped and cooked per the recipe. When I popped it out of the oven I thought “Well here goes”. As I scooped out the marrow I admit to being a bit surprised it was almost a liquid slurry. I wasn’t sure what to expect. That being said, I smeared it on a piece of whole wheat toast (since that’s what I had at hand). It was delicious!! My wife was hesitant to try it, but took a small bite, looked a bit surprised and said “that’s pretty good”. I am giving the Carnivore Code eating plan a try and the author points out the nutritional value and historic preference of our ancestors for consuming marrow. So my initial objective was for the nutritional content, but now I’ve decided, despite the work involved in the extended soaking prep, I will make it again simply for the subtle and delicious flavors. The sea salt also really contributed to the experience. Thanks again for your recipe and your helpful follow-up advice.

          2. I’m so pleased to hear this, Buck! Thanks so much for taking the time to let us know.

    1. Yes, Melinda, you absolutely can eat them as a meal, or as an appetizer, or as part of a tapas-style meal. There aren’t really any rules, however, bone marrow is quite rich so you might want to pair it with something bright and fresh, like a salad, or with some roasted vegetables. It’s nice to serve the bone marrow with some toasts and salt for sprinkling over. Really, the sky is the limit.

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