Bone Broth Recipe: Secrets To Make The Best Bone Broth

Want the best bone broth recipe? Learn secrets gained from making 150,000 liters of bone broth.

Books and articles do not share what I’m about to tell you in order to make bone broth that specifically isolates the gelatin and collagen into a delicious and nutritious broth. 

Follow this chicken bone broth recipe and your broth will be so thick you can hold it upside down in a cup. 

Why am I sharing my secrets? I am so passionate about bone broth that I want you to enjoy it, regardless of whether you purchase mine or make it yourself.

Bone broth helped me through some devastating injuries. I believe it can help you feel better, no matter what you’re dealing with. 

Bone broth recipe connor making bone broth with in large pot

Bone broth should be available to everyone. If you cannot afford ethically sourced organic bone broth, it doesn’t mean that you can’t make it.

My mission is to make bone broth equitable for everyone. Enough about me.

I’m going to assume you know a bit about bone broth. Maybe you know some of the benefits or that it is good for you. 

If not, take a moment if you like to learn the benefits of bone broth

Sally Fallon says it best:

“Homemade broth, of course, is a whole food product. It's a slow food, whole food, and real food that has been nourishing and healing people for tens of thousands of years.”

I’ve made bone broth since 2014. A running injury changed my life and led me to starting an organic bone broth brand called Bluebird Provisions.

Over the past six years, I’ve made over 150,000 liters of bone broth. Suffice it to say, my bone broth recipe is dialed in. 

Is Bone Broth Really That Good For You?

Health benefits of bone broth

Bone broth provides nutrients, proteins and amino acids that we lack in our western diet.

These amino acids are crucial to maintaining healthy collagen levels in your body.

The minerals and amino acids in bone broth assist to: 

  • Heal Your Gut
  • Amino acids (like glycine) improve your digestion by decreasing inflammation in your gut.

  • Build Skin, Hair, Teeth, Nails
  • Collagen in bone broth provides building blocks for your body to produce healthy skin, hair, teeth and nails.

  • Promote Joint Health
  • Collagen increases connective tissue around joint cartilage. 

    What is the Difference Between Bone Broth and Stock?

    Stocks simmer for less time than bone broth. Stocks typically cook for 2-5 hours while bone broth simmers for 12-48 hours. 

    Stocks also use primarily just bones and scraps from around the kitchen. While bone broth uses meaty bones with connective tissue. Learn all the differences here.

    Now onto step one for making bone broth.

    Find Your Best Bones, Vegetables, Herbs and Spices For Bone Broth

    Bone broth recipe image with broth, vegetables, herbs

    Sourcing the best bones for bone broth is difficult. They should be pasture raised and from ethical farms.

    Beef bones must be pasture raised and grass fed. Organic is a great option as it provides independent 3rd party validation. Side note: all beef is grass fed for part of their life. 

    The best beef bones for bone broth are grass finished. They are really the gold standard in terms of quality. But there is no certification for it, so you must be confident your source can back up their claims.

    The best chicken bones are Non-GMO and have access to pasture at the very least. 

    There are too many buzzwords like cage free and free range/run in the chicken industry to mislead you.

    Want to hear something surprising? If given the choice, chickens prefer to be indoors in a barn compared to outdoors where there is bad weather (heat or cold) and predators. 

    The image of chickens frolicking around endless pastures is a bit of a farce, sadly. 

    3rd party validation is particularly important for sourcing chicken. It’s a messy industry rife with big companies treating farmers and chickens like garbage. 

    Because of documentaries and media, beef gets a bad reputation.

    I would argue chicken is a worse industry from an animal welfare perspective. It’s not even close.  

    Regardless of my thoughts on this, 3rd party validation for sourcing meat and bones is incredibly important. 

    How to Find Pasture Raised Meat and Bones

    Perfecting your bone broth recipe requires the best bones you can find. Quality bones are harder to come by every year. 

    There are many bone broth companies (like me) that are buying up all of the bones. This drives up the price and makes choice bones difficult to find for you.

    That being said, I can still find bones in my local community here in Vancouver. I can offer a couple of suggestions for you to do the same.

    1. Talk to your local butcher (if you have one). Check the freezer section of your local market or grocery store. Oftentimes the bones are hidden at the darkest sections of the meat freezer. Ask the meat department if they can special order bones for you. I’ve done this at many stores.
    2. Farmers markets are another option. Don’t be afraid to ask the farmers if they have bones for sale. Sometimes they don’t bother bringing them to the market or marketing them. 
    3. Nowadays, many farmers sell directly to you online, including bones. I have a couple of trusted beef and lamb sources in B.C (comment below if you’re interested). CSA’s or buying clubs allow you to purchase bones in bulk. This way you can negotiate better rates and share your prized bones with your friends. 

    When in doubt, do things that directly support local farms, they need it.

    What Cuts are the Best Bones for Bone Broth?

    how to make bone broth that is gelatinous

    The best bones for bone broth are:

    • Beef knuckle and marrow bones
    • Chicken feet, wings, necks and carcasses

    Read on for the full details on selecting bones for bone broth.

    First decide which type of bone broth you want to make. You can make the classics: beef broth and chicken broth. Or you can venture into game meats, turkey, duck or lamb bone broth. 

    You can also do a mixture of different animals, which is delicious! The perfect beef bone broth recipe calls for a mix of bones. 

    Beef Bones For Bone Broth

    Beef bones are generally classified into two types: marrow and knuckle.

    Beef marrow bones for bone broth

    Marrow bones are the legs and arms. Also referred to as ‘pipes’ because they look like pipes. Marrow bones are long and skinny and have marrow in the middle. 

    They’re usually cut to 2-3 inch pieces. You certainly don’t want a whole leg or arm bones in your bone broth recipe. 

    Knuckle bones are the joints of the ruminant. Think knee, hip, rib cage. These are big ‘working’ bones which are usually cut into smaller 2 inch chunks as well. 

    They have more cartilage and connective tissue. When frozen, look for red colouring on the bones to tell if they are knuckles.

    organic beef knuckle bones for bone broth

    You need both marrow and knuckle bone to make the best bone broth. I recommend mixing 50% of each type. You can also use oxtail or short ribs. Any meaty bones do well in bone broth.

    Chicken Bones For Bone Broth

    Making chicken bone broth requires a mix of bones as well. If you roast a chicken or have leftover chicken parts, freeze them for later use. These work great in any chicken bone broth recipe.

    The absolute best bones for chicken bone broth are feet. Chicken feet give you a rich, concentrated broth. You can use approximately ⅓ feet to chicken carcasses (by weight) for a delicious broth. 

    But chicken feet are notoriously difficult to find. And they look gross.

    If you can’t find chicken feet then you’ll need to use more chicken carcasses (neck is usually included) and chicken wings / drumsticks. 

    Wings and drumsticks are rarely used, but they make fantastic, gelatinous bone broth. In this case, use half chicken carcasses and half wings / drumsticks by weight. Whole chickens (with meat on) work great as well. 

    chicken feet for bone broth

    What Are the Best Vegetables For Bone Broth?

    Vegetables and herbs are needed to add flavour and nutrients to your bone broth recipe. 

    I recommend organic vegetables and herbs as they have less pesticide residue than conventional. 

    Vegetables can be loosely chopped into 2-3 inch chunks. Onions can be quartered (leave the skin on), carrots (unpeeled) and celery chopped into thirds. 

    Parsley, rosemary, thyme, bay leaves can be tossed in whole. Use ugly vegetables when possible, because, who cares what they look like? For salt, I use sea salt or pink himalayan. 

    What Other Things Do I Need to Make Bone Broth?

    Stock Pot
    I recommend at least a 5L stock pot. Making bone broth takes a ton of planning and effort. The yield of finished bone broth is quite low compared to what’s in the pot.

    If you use anything less than a 5L pot then you’re doing lots of work for not much bone broth. 

    Strainer
    A fine mesh sieve style strainer is best to ensure you remove all the fine particles from your finished bone broth.

    Spider Strainer
    This makes it easier to remove the solids from your pot before straining in the fine mesh strainer. 

    Cheese Cloth
    To save yourself extra cleanup time. Wrap all of your bones and vegetables in cheese cloth. This way the cheese cloth keeps everything from staining the bottom of your pot. Then once your bone broth recipe is finished, you simply remove the cheese cloth bundles, place in compost, and you’re done.

    Large Sheet Style Roasting Pan
    Optional if you want to roast your bones. 

    The Absolute Best Bone Broth Recipe

    So you’ve chosen your bones, vegetables, herbs and spices… now what?

    Let’s make bone broth!

    1. Choose which type of bone broth you want to make. This will determine the bones you need to use.
    2. Preheat oven to 450 F. Place your bones on roasting pan. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing them halfway through. You want the bones to caramelize and become brown while roasting. This gives your bone broth amazing flavour that you can’t achieve without roasting. 
    3. Add roasted bones to your large stock pot, crock pot or dutch oven. Scrape any brown bits from your roasting pan into the pot as well. These add even more flavour to your bone broth recipe.
    4. Add 12 cups of water to your pot. The bones and water in your pot should resemble a cup full of ice cubes, then filled with water. 
    5. Bring to a boil over high heat. You can cover the pot while waiting for it to boil to speed things up. Once boil is achieved, lower heat so broth is an aggressive rolling simmer.
    6. Skim foamy bits and impurities that bubble up to the surface. Skim 2-3 times as needed over the first 1.5 hours. Learn more about skimming practises here. You’ll eventually get it all. You need to skim these off and remove from the pot in order to ensure your bone broth cooks correctly. Otherwise you risk cloudy broth. Which is not good. 
    7. Simmer for 12-24 hours.
    8. Add your vegetables, herbs and spices when you have approximately 3 hours of simmer time left. This ensures they do not cook down to mush and make your broth starchy.
    9. Do not ever stir your bone broth. Simply leave it all to simmer on it’s own.
    10. Remove solids (bones, vegetables), strain and store for use. 

    What to Do With Bone Broth

    Enjoy your hard made bone broth on it’s own or in your meals. Bone broth is a culinary secret that works great in any recipe you are cooking.

    Bone broth is the perfect base for any soup. You can use it in stir frys, to steam vegetables or add it to pasta sauces and salad dressings.

    It’s also a great way to add collagen protein to your grains. Replace water with bone broth when cooking any grain: quinoa, rice, etc. Try our bone broth oatmeal recipe!

    Or drink it straight. For a primer in drinking bone broth, read our guide to mix-ins and flavours for bone broth.

    How to Store Bone Broth

    Once strained, store your bone broth in glass jars / containers. It will keep in the fridge for up to 7 days. Bone broth freezes extremely well. Make sure there is a bit of space in your container for your bone broth to expand when frozen. 

    Bone broth keeps in the freezer for about one year.

    How to Make Bone Broth: A Step by Step Guide

    Ingredients

    1.5 kg bones (scroll up for specific types of bones to use)
    12 cups water
    1 yellow onion, cut in quarters (leave skins on)
    2 carrots, cut in thirds
    2 celery sticks, cut in thirds
    10 sprigs Italian flat leaf Parsley
    2 bay leaves 
    10 sprigs Rosemary or thyme (dried works too)
    1 lemon, quartered (optional)
    2-3 garlic cloves (optional)
    Salt to taste (optional)

    Instructions

    1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Layout bones on large baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing half way through and / or until golden brown. 
    2. Add bones and scrape brown bits from the roasting pan into a large pot or Dutch oven (Note: This can also be done in Crock-Pot*, Instant Pot or slow cooker).
    3. Add water until bones are covered (try 12 cups).
    4. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a rolling simmer. You need a high temperature.
    5. Skim foamy bits and impurities that bubble up to the surface. Skim 2-3 times as needed over the first 1.5 hours.
    6. Simmer broth for 12-24 hours. Place lid on top but leave slightly ajar (1-2 inches). Beef needs 20-24, chicken can simmer for just 12 hours. 
    7. Add vegetables and herbs for the last three hours of simmer time.
    8. When simmer time is done, remove solids (bones and vegetables) from your pot using spider strainer. 
    9. Strain through a fine mesh strainer / sieve 
    10. Transfer jars / containers to the fridge to cool. 
    11. Remove fat cap from your jars if desired. It works great for cooking.

    Notes:

    • For Crock-Pot / slow cooker: cook on low or high setting, depending on your model. It should be visibly bubbling/simmering the whole time but not boiling. You can leave lid on or slightly ajar. Add water if needed.
    • For Instant Pot: Read our full recipe here. Close lid and turn knob to seal. Set to cook on low pressure for 3 hours for chicken or 4 hours for beef. When time is up, let the pressure release on it’s own.
    • Bone Broth recipe may gelatinize when refrigerated. Congrats! This is due to the high collagen/gelatin content in your bone broth -- a hallmark of any quality bone broth. It will turn to liquid when heated up. 
    • Storage: bone broth can be refrigerated for 5 days or frozen for one year.
    • Save freezer space: you can reduce your bone broth further to save space. Boil the finished broth in a pot until it reduces to your desired volume, 15-30 minutes. 

    Short on time or can’t be bothered to make bone broth? Give my organic bone broth a try. High protein, made and sourced in Canada and is Certified Organic.

    Bone Broth Nutrition Information*:

    Bone Broth Recipe Nutrition Facts Information

    Serving size: 250 mL

    Calories: 30

    Fat: 0.2 g

    Carbohydrates: 0.3 g

    Protein: 8 g

    Sodium: 140-200mg (depends if you add salt)

    *Assumes you remove all fat (it’s better for cooking anyway).

    Chicken Bone Broth Recipe

    Ingredients

    250 g / 1/2 lb chicken feet
    1 kg / 2.2 lb chicken carcasses, necks, wings, bones 
    13 cups water
    1 onion, in quarters (skin on)
    2 carrots, roughly chopped
    2 celery sticks, roughly chopped
    10 sprigs Italian flat leaf Parsley
    2 bay leaves 
    10 sprigs Rosemary 
    Salt (optional) - Add salt after cooking to taste, not during.

    Instructions to make chicken bone broth

    1. Preheat oven to 450 F. Layout chicken bones on a baking sheet. Roast for 40 minutes, tossing half way through and / or until golden brown. 
    2. Remove chicken bones from pan, place in stock pot (Note: This can also be done in Crock-Pot*, Instant Pot or slow cooker).
    3. Add water until bones are covered (try 13 cups).
    4. Boil everything, then reduce to hard simmer.
    5. Skim like crazy! 3 times as needed over the first 1.5 hours.
    6. Simmer chicken bone broth for 12-16 hours.
    7. Leave the lid off. Allow your chicken bone broth to naturally reduce.
    8. With 3 hours of simmer time left, add your vegetables, aromatics, herbs.
    9. After simmer complete, remove solids with spider strainer or other.
    10. Strain through a mesh strainer if you have one. 
    11. Transfer jars / containers to the fridge to cool. 
    12. Remove fat cap from your jars if desired. 
    13. Chicken fat is referred to as chicken schmaltz. It is my favourite fat to cook with. 

    Troubleshooting / FAQ’s About Making Bone Broth

    My bone broth is white or cloudy

    Your bone broth is white or cloudy for two reasons. One, you may have neglected to skim the fat, foam and impurities off the top of your bone broth during the first 1.5 hours of simmer time.

    Two, you may have stirred your broth. Never stir bone broth, just leave it to simmer on it’s own. If you repeatedly have cloudy broth then skim more fat off to top during your simmer. It is still delicious and safe to consume.

    My bone broth didn’t gel

    Your bone broth didn’t gel for a few reasons:

    1. You didn’t use enough bones to water in your pot. It should resemble a cup full of ice cubes, then filled with water.
    2. You didn’t use bones with connective tissue (chicken feet, wings or beef knuckles)
    3. You didn’t cook your bone broth hot enough or long enough. Hotter the better. It should be an aggressive rolling simmer throughout the cook. 

    My bone broth is greasy

    This is a simple solution. Skim all of the fat off of your bone broth once it is refrigerated. Or you can skim the fat while it is cooking in your pot.

    My bone broth tastes like water 

    Your bone broth tastes like water because you didn’t use enough of the right bones and/or you didn’t cook your broth hot enough or long enough. See above. 

    9 comments

    Hi Agnes

    I would cook it on high for the first 2-3 hours. Then remove the lid and skim the impurities and foam as it rises over the first 20 minutes to 1.5 hours.

    I would also leave the excess meat on your carcass next time. It is great for adding depth of flavour and more gelatin to your bone broth.

    It sounds like you had a pretty great and rich broth from your overnight cook. You could try using the high heat setting next time to see if it makes your bone broth thicker and stronger.

    You don’t need to add any vegetables. They are simply for flavour and don’t add any nutrition.

    Hope this helps and let me know if you have any other questions about making bone broth.

    Connor

    Connor at Bluebird Provisions March 22, 2021

    Hi, how and when should I skim when making bone broth in a slow cooker/ crock pot? Mine has High, Low, and Auto, auto being High until it’s reached a particular temperature, then it reverts to Low.

    I’ve just made my first ever, with an organic cooked chicken carcass, and although I stripped every scrap of meat and skin off the carcass before putting it in my crock pot, I got another 1/2 bowlful of scrappy meat off the bones as I was fishing them out.

    I put those scraps into my mini blitzer along with a few soupspoons of the sieved broth and now have a thick chicken paste that I’m going to try to use as a base for a soup of some sort. Do you have any other suggestions as to what I could use this meat for?

    Also, I put the crock pot on Low at 10pm last night, and strained it all out at 3pm. Should I have cooked it on High, and for longer? The strained liquid is fairly clear, with fat content (I don’t mind that), despite me stirring it out if habit a couple of times, partly to help the bones lie flatter in the water when they started to come apart from each other, but all the bones are still pretty hard. None of them felt soft when I was fishing them out.

    Lastly, is it imperative to add the listed veg? I just put the stripped carcass in the crock pot with only the lemon and onion that I’d put in the cavity to roast it with. I appreciate that individual veg will add their own nutritional factors, but I’m making bone broth primarily for the collagen and amino acids and wondered if it was essential.

    Your advice appreciated! 😊

    Agnes March 22, 2021

    Hi Kristine,

    As far as the apple cider vinegar is concerned, I’ve written about it here: https://bluebirdprovisions.co/blogs/news/expert-wrong-making-bone-broth

    It is unnecessary to use apple cider vinegar as it does not really add any benefits to your bone broth.

    For the fat on your bone broth, I would recommend trying a cup of broth with the fat kept on it. Just stir it in as it warms up. Then compare this to a cup of bone broth with the fat removed. Which one do you prefer?

    It really comes down to personal preference as to whether you should remove the fat or not. Dieters may remove the fat to save on calories. While keto or other folks prefer to keep the fat on.

    Connor

    Connor at Bluebird Provisions February 15, 2021

    Thank you for sharing this great info. When I have made beef or chicken bone broth I have done for maybe 8 hours and then strain and put in the fridge overnight. Then in the a.m. I remove the fat from the top (because it is hardened on the top). I just want to confirm is that OK to do or should I leave the fat on? Also I was told a 1/3 of a cup of Apple Cider Vinegar was good to put in your stock pot? I would like your thoughts on that? I now know I must keep on the stove much longer than what I am.

    Kristine Boutette February 15, 2021

    Hi Mary,

    If you have a cooked chicken then you do not need to roast the bones again before making bone broth.
    Connor

    Connor at Bluebird Provisions January 31, 2021

    Do I need to roast bones if they’re from a cooked chicken

    Mary January 31, 2021

    I’ve always used cooked chicken bones and skin with vegetables and herbs to make broth and freeze in containers for cooking purposes. I’ll be 80 soon and diagnosed with the beginning of osteoporosis 30 years ago-never progressed. I also have had benign positional and meniere’s vertigo in my lifetime-taken many falls but so far no broken bones or put on osteoporosis meds. Very active and exercise regularly as well as an AirBnB host for 3 years after retirement from our other careers.

    Mary Ann January 19, 2021

    Hi MaryAnn,

    I’m so glad you found that bone broth recipe article useful. It takes a lot of time to shop, prepare and make bone broth. But it’s worth it!

    Yes I would try the saute feature for 30 mins or so, then stop and skim everything out. Then cook for 3-4 hours. Please let me know how it goes
    Connor

    Connor at Bluebird Provisions December 13, 2020

    Thank you so much- your article was super informative! As a 78 yr/o with a broken ankle, bone broth was recommended by my physical therapist for the best source of healing collagen. So made it first time yesterday! Not too bad for a first attempt but when I read your article I loved your idea of roasting the bones in the oven first! Plus not knowing anything I used only marrow bones-will add knuckle bones next time! And the pictures of the various bone types were so helpful – otherwise I’d have no idea of what I was looking for!!
    I used my 3 qt instant & cooked it for 3 hrs(with veggies, bay leaves etc.
    Question- if I roast the bones then add them to instant pot, how do I cook them for 1&1/2 hrs so I can skim off the impurities? Would leaving it on the sauté setting do the trick before sealing it to pressure cook for 3-4 hrs?
    Anyway- Super terrific article!!!

    MaryAnn Clay December 13, 2020

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    "Amazing!

    Great taste and texture. Will be purchasing this again. Works great on its own for sipping and also in soup!"

    Adrienne L