Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

Slow cooker chicken stock or broth is gloriously easy. Just toss raw chicken 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.

A large measuring cup of slow cooker chicken stock on a wooden table with a ladle on the side.

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 and bitter or being a little too low and extending the already long process. Or you can actually leave the house and not have to worry if all your worldly possessions will go up in flames.

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 want to occasionally go back to the old-fashioned approach, we’ve also got the perfect Roast Chicken Stock recipe for you.]–Renee Schettler

How To Tweak Chicken Stock To Your Liking

Homemade chicken stock isn’t hard to make, either in a slow cooker or a pot. 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 or pot with some water and chances are it’s not going to be terrible. Although it may not be as rich, deep, and complex as it could be. While we’re all for the spirit of experimentation, we’ve made a lot of chicken stock in our day, and we prefer the precise proportions of chicken, water, vegetables, and herbs in the recipe below. And folks who’d followed the recipe to a t are waxing poetic about it being their default, go-to, never-again-will-they-stray, 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.]

Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

  • Quick Glance
  • (7)
  • 15 M
  • 12 H
  • Makes 8 cups
4.9/5 - 7 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Easy Slow Cooker cookbook

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Special Equipment: Slow cooker

Ingredients


Directions

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. That’s it. If you like, you can skim the surface toward the beginning of cooking to remove any froth that floats to the top.

Strain and let cool completely. Freeze in resealable plastic bags in 1- to 2-cup portions. Originally published January 22, 2013.

Print RecipeBuy the Easy Slow Cooker cookbook

Want it? Click it.

    Instant Pot Chicken Stock

    • Toss all the ingredients in your Instant Pot, add enough cold water to cover,  and set to the slow cook mode on the less setting for at least 12 hours or overnight. You may need to skim the surface toward the beginning of cooking. Strain and use or let cool completely before refrigerating or freezing.

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    This slow cooker chicken stock recipe is one of the easiest recipes ever! And it 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!

    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—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.

    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. 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.

    I usually freeze stock in 2-cup amounts, which seems to fit most of my needs.

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    Comments

    1. 5 stars
      This is now my favourite way to make stock. Every time I make it, it reminds me of my grandfather’s. The aroma is amazing and the depth of flavour is one that I couldn’t get from the stovetop.

    2. Just made this with no tweaks. Woke up to an amazing aroma of delicious chicken stock on a cold and windy day- just terrific. I used a 6 quarter and have 2 quarts of lovely stock. Thanks!

    3. I am anxious to try this! I have made first bringing to a boil on the stove and then putting the stock pots in the oven overnight and then pressure canning. This looks simple enough to make overnight in the crockpot then measuring out into 1 and 2 cup freezer bags to have on hand! 1 cup, because having those are great for broth sipping!

    4. I am a stock buff. I was lucky enough to grow up with bubbling pots on the stove weekly. It has always been a guilty pleasure on its own, and now the health benefits are being recognized. It makes you feel better, a comfort. I can’t make a proper sauce to accompany meat without homemade stock, it would feel like using a box cake mix. This is a wonderful entry-level stock. It delivered wonderful results with minimal effort-—a stock hack. The flavor is there, and you could vary this stock in many ways. Fennel, leeks, chicken feet, veal bones could all be added to enhance flavor. The liquid does not reduce as quickly as on the stove, due to the covered slow cooker. This makes it ok to get a long and deep broth. I have already made this again, as it is so much simpler than my regular routine and don’t have to worry about the flame being on while sleeping.

      1. Virginia H., I envy your stock-sipping childhood! And I just want to say how much we appreciate you taking the time to let us know how well this shortcut stock worked for you. So happy you found another approach to add to your stock-making arsenal!

    5. I’ve made chicken stock in a slow cooker before but without paying particular attention to proportions and mostly just tossing in whatever suitable ingredients I had on hand. The basic formula in this recipe produces a fantastic stock and one that is easily replicable over and over again. Starting with chicken wings, I got a beautiful clear and brown stock, with very little effort.

      It was still bubbling when I ran out in the afternoon and I turned it off to strain and cool in the evening after nearly 13 hours cooking time. In fact, the straining part was probably the most time-consuming aspect of the entire process, and that has to be done regardless of the method used for stock-making.

      I used the thyme and the bay leaf. The stock pretty much filled my entire cooker, which is an oval 6-quart Crock Pot.

      I made this a second time kind of on the fly using a small rotisserie chicken carcass, and about half the amounts of the other ingredients (light green part of leek and shallot instead of onion). This filled the cooker about half full. I went with 10 hours on low because of starting with just bones and the chicken’s cooked wings. Good but not as rich as starting with uncooked chicken.

      1. Love hearing that you appreciate this recipe as much as we do, Pat! Appreciate you letting us know your feelings as well as your results depending on whether you used a carcass or fresh chicken. Looking forward to hearing what you make with your stash of stock…

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