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
4.64 / 19 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
    Get bones at Asian market, have them saw in half. Soak in ice-water with Kosher salt all night long in fridge. Rinse, dry, dust with garlic salt.
    Follow directions above. Savor with your favorite wine, crusty bread. Sit back and smile….

        1. We do have some great suggestions from other readers, Melinda, and would love to hear what others are serving it with.

  2. 1 star
    Within 20 minutes all of the marrow rendered and there was nothing left to eat. What rack position is ideal for this? Is it possible to cook at a lower temperature? Really disappointed.

    1. James, we’re so sorry that this didn’t work for you. We’d suggest making sure your oven temperature is correct, using an oven thermometer, if possible. The cook time can vary depending on the size of the bones and the amount of marrow. Start checking earlier, and as soon as the marrow is puffed and beginning to pull away from the bone, remove them from the oven.

  3. Just bought some bones with marrow and looked online to read how to cook them. Didn’t realize how simple it would be and didn’t realize so many people liked it. Loved reading everyones memories on this treat. Usually when I bring it up everyone cringes. I grew up in a Hispanic family and I loved putting bone marrow on a hot tortilla with salt and homemade hot sauce. Heaven!!

    1. Martha, I’ve never tried them that way but am looking forward to it! So very pleased to hear this worked so well for you. Appreciate you taking the time to share your tradition for us and others to try…

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