Bone Broth Recipe: Secrets To Make The Best Bone Broth

Simple Bone Broth Recipe

Want the best bone broth recipe? Learn secrets and the best bones for broth gained from making 250,000 liters of it.

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. 

A quick disclaimer, I make the best tasting bone broth you'll ever try. So if you get discouraged trying to make your own, I encourage you to try mine.

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. 

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 250,000 liters of bone broth. Suffice it to say, my bone broth recipe is dialed in. 

Is Homemade 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.

If you do not pay attention to these amino acids, you will age quicker as they are incredibly important to collagen formation as you age.

The vitamins, electrolytes, 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.

Gelatin also increases gastric juices in your gut, which helps with digestion.

Build Skin, Hair, Teeth, Nails That Look Healthy

Collagen in bone broth provides building blocks for your body to produce healthy skin, hair, teeth and nails.

Promote Joint Health

Collagen and other amino acids increase the connective tissue around joint cartilage. Bone broth also has glucosamine and chondroitin, a potent combination used to treat joint pain and arthritis.

Control Your Blood Sugar

The proteins in bone broth help you control your blood sugar. You are best to drink bone broth before your meals to get these benefits.

Help Stabilize Your Mood

Amino acids in bone broth help you relax and stabilize your mood. Glycine, the main amino acid is an inhibitory neurotransmitter, much like GABA. These neurotransmitters have a natural calming effect on your nervous system.

Help You Sleep by Regulating Body Heat

The main amino acid in bone broth (glycine) i shown to help reduce your core body temperature as you drift off into sleep. This helps to promote a restful, restorative sleep.

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. On the other hand, bone broth uses meaty bones with connective tissue. Learn all the differences between stock and broth.

Now onto step one for making bone broth.

Find Your Best Bones, Vegetables, Herbs and Spices

how to find the best vegetables and herbs for bone broth

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. 

the bone broth quiz to help you find the best broth for you

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 gels

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 Flavor

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.

beef knuckle bones for cooking 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 Cooking Your 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 making bone broth

What Are the Best Vegetables For Bone Broth?

The best vegetables for bone bone broth are organic vegetables and herbs as they have less pesticide residue than conventional. 

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

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.

The perfect base for any dinner, soup or sauce

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 to Maximize Flavor

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 Gelatin Rich 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.

couple chopping vegetable to make broth in a kitchen

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. 

A kind offer just for you

Are you short on time or can’t be bothered to make bone broth? Give my bone broth a try. 

You get all of the nourishing benefits without the hassle of making it. Trust me, I know how difficult it is to nail the recipe.

Bone Broth Nutrition Information*:

Nutrition Facts for homemade bone broth in a jar

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

Why is my bone broth 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.

Why didn't my bone broth 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. 

Why is my bone broth greasy?

Your bone broth is greasy because you did not skim all of the fat off the top before you stored it. 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.

Why does my bone broth taste 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. 

15 comments

Hi Terri,

Thanks for your comment, glad you are making some bone broth! Unfortunately I am not able to share where we get ours from as we have contracts in place with our suppliers and we are currently buying all of their bones. Bones and feet are in short supply, so I’m not able to publicize sources because our competition will find out.
Sorry i know this sounds silly but it’s a real issue in our industry.
Connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions April 26, 2022

Thanks for all the recipes and advice! I am having a hard time finding chicken feet. Could you pass along the bc company you use to order your bones? Thank you so much!

Terri Dragatis April 26, 2022

Hi Paj,

In your case since you are experienced in making bone broth, I would recommend covering your bone broth.

As you mentioned, this will reduce the amount of water you need to re-add back to the pot. But it will still keep a delicious and concentrated bone broth, as long as you simmer it for long enough.

When we make our bone broth, we use both techniques in the past. But we ultimately settled on covering our lids in the long-term for these reasons above.

Hope this helps and let me know if you have other questions.
connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions February 07, 2022

Hi. I found your article very helpful- especially compared to several others that I came across, thank you!

I have a question I have been searching for a reliable answer to:

I am using a large (restraunt style) pot to slow cook my bone broth over a low flame that has a rolling boil. At first I had it covered (with a hole in the lid to let steam out) and let it slow cook for a few hours, but noticed the water level was drastically lowered- to the point of some bones uncovered. I read another recipe that said to NOT cover the pot and let it slow, rolling boil- so as not to evaporate the water too quickly; also said I could add more water- enough to cover bones,

I am finding contradictory information regarding using a cover or NOT using a cover while slow cooking my bone broth over a slow boil, low flame. Either way my water level keeps dropping (too soon for the 12 & 24 hour cooking mark)! Which way is best in slow cooking my bone broth? Also, if the water level keeps going down to uncover some of the bones (they are large knuckle ones), should I be adding more water or it will end up being way too much added?

Thank you for your help and advice!

Paj from Italy

Paj Tognetti February 07, 2022

Hi Carolyn

Your bone broth should still gel once you place it in the fridge. It will not gel at room temperature if that is where you are storing it in cans.

connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions January 12, 2022

As for storing homemade bone broth, I have pressure canned it so it is shelf stable and easy to use. But I notice it no longer gels. Do you advise against pressure canning bone broth?

Carolyn Roman January 12, 2022

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!"

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