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


  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
4 servings
60 kcal
4.62 / 18 votes
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  • Four (3-inch) Marrow bones* (see Tips for Buying Beef Bones for Roasted Bone Marrow above)
  • Coarse sea salt


  • 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.
Print RecipeBuy the Odd Bits cookbook

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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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  1. At age 74, having began life in a cattle ranch in Northern Nevada, as a child bone marrow, sweetbreads, brains, and “Rocky mountain oysters” were staples. After spring branding, etc., some of the above were eaten over a “Dutch oven” hung out over the branding iron fire. Yes, I know, very descriptive but those were the days.

    Now to the marrow. That arrived after the butcher was done and we had the entire remains. Again sorry for the descriptions but real. We and our most trusted “hands” and their families literally made a meal or froze “in our old rock house buried in the ground” all parts for use in future meals. No waste. So cut to the chase and sorry for long preamble, my wife of years came home with three large steer bones and said “OK old boy, do your thing”. Just ran out of pickled tongue last week so (after 60 years) I said YES… So fled to this web site hoping for my Eldorado. YES what a find. So now class I have completed 24 hours of the salt stuff and ready to move on to the final cooking. For the small family attending to view the Academy Awards tomorrow night. Wish me well. More to come. Regards and sorry for long boring e mail.
    Best, Larry

    1. Larry, wishing you well with your bone marrow endeavor! And not boring at all! I love your descriptions and can only imagine…I grew up on a farm in Iowa but I was not privy to the butchering and so your tales are highly interesting and informative. Thank you so much for taking the time to share. Kindly let us know if the bone marrow tastes like that of yesteryear…

  2. 3 stars
    I had stumbled across this recipe and photo and thought…wow, this looks fabulously delicious. Then, one day I happened to see bone marrow bones in my local supermarket and decided to purchase and try this recipe at home. I followed the recipe exactly, and checked after 15 minutes then again at 25. By that time, most of the marrow had melted away and the bones hadn’t browned as shown in the photo. Of the 8 I had prepared, only 5 where almost presentable. I plan to try this again. What adjustments could I make in order to improve the outcome?

    1. Hi Sabrina, a couple of suggestions for you. Have you recently checked your oven temperature? I have a small oven thermometer that I use to calibrate my oven. Also, since marrow begins to liquify as it heats, I would suggest checking it fairly frequently after the 15 minute mark. Hope this helps.

  3. Hi all, can the bone marrow be removed from the bones raw and cooked down into a sauce or into a thin liquid that could be injected into meat to infuse the wonderful flavor that comes from the marrow. I was hoping someone has tried this and could give me some tips on the process. Thanks.

    1. Hi Phil, to remove the raw marrow from the bones, leave them on the kitchen counter for about 15 mins or until the marrow starts to soften slightly. Run a small, flexible knife between the marrow and the bone at each end. Pick up the bone and, using your thumb, push the marrow from thin end towards the fat end out of the bone. You can soak it in salted ice water to remove any traces of blood. Marrow is 69% unsaturated fat so heating it will melt it. You could probably inject melted marrow into meat. I would prefer to serve slices of lightly poached marrow with my meat.

  4. 5 stars
    OMG, just finished eating roasted bone marrow with the spring onion caper salad a la Zally. Delicious but oh so very rich. Oh, also, I didn’t put enough salt in the green salad – it needs a generous amount as the marrow is not salted. I put a slice of potato (organic of course) on the top of each bone and lined the bottom of the dish with once slice of potatoes just to mop up the marrow that ‘ran away’. The potatoes were so very rich and fabulous. I did soak/salt the bones for about 6 hours but there was still some blood in the marrow which didn’t bother me. Not sure if I will do this step again. I’ve been off the wine but had to get a glass mid dinner to cut the richness. Yum, yum.

  5. 5 stars
    Your idea to salt wash the bones does help to take out the nasty blood taste from some of the bones and the looks for some people.

    We use to put them in Micro on 100% for 10 mins or so just to cook the marrow in the bone center. Do not over cook the morrow melt away and fall out then you got clean dry bone left.

    We then put it in pan with olive oil or garlic butter sprinkle lemon pepper over all of them and lemon juice in the marrow. Fry the bones then for about 15mins turn every bone over and do the same again for another 10mins. Always be care full not to over do it the marrow do fall out or melt away. The outside become crispy inside stay soft and tasty
    You then take good red wine throw it away because it take to long to serve rather start eating as soon as possible the wine can wait.

    You must not be shy it is messy use your hands and lick them to the bone like a dog do, you will then understand why a dog keep on going at those old bones. You will do the same.

    Thanks, Jennifer McLagan.

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