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.

Author Jennifer McLagan loves roasted bone marrow. And, in her words, she finds 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.” Ain’t that the truth. Now that good fat is back on the table (though for some of us it was never off the table), marrow is seemingly everywhere. McLagan reminds us that “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 health food and definitely way too good for the dog.” Amen to that.–Renee Schettler

*How to buy the best bones for roasted bone marrow

Author Jennifer McLagan knows her beef marrow bones. Here, her tried-and-true tactics for procuring the best bone marrow from your butcher:

• 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 will get from any bone as it ranges widely depending on the thickness of the bone: a 3-inch (7.5-centimeter) bone will yield anywhere from 3/4 to 3 ounces (20 to 90 grams), but usually it averages around 1 1/2 ounces (40 grams).

• 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.

• Buy extra bones to be sure you have enough. Bone marrow freezes well in or out of the bone.

• 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

  • Quick Glance
  • (18)
  • 15 M
  • 25 M
  • Servings Vary
4.6/5 - 18 reviews
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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. Originally published January 17, 2013.

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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.


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  1. Oh, the memories this brings to mind. It’s the 1940’s and it’s winter in Minnesota. Evening meal, some people called it dinner, others called it supper, was often a thick, bean, beef and barley soup. Of course there was carrot, onion and celery as well..and, big beef knuckle and marrow bones. The soup was heavily seasoned with salt and pepper. There were only 3 of us so there would be a bone for everyone. We would use a knife to dig out the marrow and eat it with bread and salt. We did not understand that this peasant food was, in 60-70 years to become gourmet fare. It is now served as a small plate first course in one of local high end restaurants in our state’s capital, St. Paul, Mn, the place is called Meritage. Marrow bones and a Belgian beer will transport you to a bar in Europe.

  2. Love marrow bones! For those haters or on the fence eaters try some smoked ham bone marrow first it will change your mind. I promise.

  3. Jennifer, I love this whole book! I bought it because you had a recipe for the sweetbreads the way they do them at Prune, and I’m working my way through as many cuts as I can find. Tip: I have much better luck finding things like tongue and bones at Hispanic butchers.

  4. Bone marrow broth with heavy cream, clam juice, fresh clams…you know where this is going! I have made clam chowder using beef femur bones for years. It is a “Good Friday” (the Friday before Easter Sunday) tradition at my house. I never tell family and friends about the bone marrow stock…they don’t know that they’re all going to hell…tee hee. (Inside joke for the Catholics.)

  5. Johanna, the soaking of the bones is simply for looks, it is not necessary at all. I do it because it often people balk at the black bloods spots in the cooked marrow, especially if it the first time for them. Other cuts like sweetbreads and testicles are soaked in salted water to remove the blood. Go right ahead and cook your bones without soaking them.

    1. Thanks much for that explanation. I’ m reading through your Bones cookbook, and ended up coming online because so many questions were bubbling up. I laughed in delight to find your blog in a random search on marrow! Love the stuff in soups, but could never before figure out why some marrow stayed a dark porous solid, and inaccessible, while other marrow melted into my mouth. You may need to put a FAQ together for your book….

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