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. Thanks, Beth – that was my inclination, but sometimes you guys have cooking information I’ve never considered! 🙂

    2. Regarding the leek: the entire leek, bow to stern, with just the roots trimmed off? Or just the bulb? Since the solids are strained off, it wouldn’t make a difference in that regard, but I wasn’t certain about the taste that the more open greens might impart.

    3. I’ve always wanted to make homemade stock because I make almost everything else homemade and I want to avoid the sodium from store-bought stock. However, having it on the stove forever just wasn’t for me. When I saw this recipe about a week ago, I knew it was the one (I love my crockpots!!). I roasted a chicken for supper one night. The next evening I placed the carcass as well as the raw parts from inside the chicken (neck, etc), celery, carrots, onion, and leftover caramelized onions from another meal into the crockpot (with water, of course). I left it on low over night for a total of about 15 hrs. The house smelled fantastic! The stock turned out an amazing rich, golden color. It made 7 1/2 cups’ worth. I froze it in 1/2 and 1 cup portions. Used 1/2 cup that evening in gravy and it was great. I will never buy a bouillon cube again! I just wish I had a bigger freezer. Thanks so much for this easy, adaptable recipe!! I will be making this again and again!! 🙂

      1. Amanda, that’s so terrific to hear, thank you for taking the time to let us know. We so appreciate it. And we couldn’t agree more, there’s just no substitute for homemade chicken stock.

    4. I like this post because how it shows how easy it is to make this stock and does a very good job describing it. Once I made an “Everlasting Chicken Broth” recipe that was amazing. My friends also like to know these kinds of recipes, so thanks for sharing this recipe!

    5. Okay, so I’m way behind on this. I had two carcasses, one from the deli and one from my own oven. All in with a handful of baby carrots. It smelled so good by about hour 18, my sweeter half took some out for his midnight snack and rolled into bed and snored so hard it woke me up. Stock fit for the Bear with no effort but to save the carcass? I believe!

        1. I know! No one should be this excited about chicken stock. I take it back. We should get more excited about chicken stock. A reason to buy chicken with the bones. I totally get it now. And just to clarify, I did put in the leek and the onion. Just didn’t have big carrots on hand. And I don’t like thyme.

          1. I concur. We should whoop and holler about chicken stock! And I’m with you on the thyme, I never put herbs in my chicken stock, as it imparts too much distraction to the resulting dish. A superb chicken stock is something to really get excited about.

      1. Louise, welcome to my world! I sometimes break down the carcasses and freeze them if I’m not stocking. Best of all, you can drop them right into pot frozen.

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