4 Things Every Expert Gets Wrong When Making Bone Broth

I get questions all the time on how to make a simple yet delicious bone broth. After years of making it daily, I’ve learned what works and what doesn’t.

The worst part is that all the recipes and info you read online is mostly wrong. Blogs and news sites tend to post the same misinformation on how to make crappy bone broth or bone broth vinegar. 

I’m not sure where some of these mistakes started but I see most internet marketer food expert types peddle the same info on bone broth. It’s all wrong.

As a result I constantly get the same troubleshooting questions from friends and customers alike. 

top 4  bone broth mistakes infographic

This article will go through the 4 things every supposed expert and website gets wrong about making bone broth. Ready? Let’s go!

Mistake #1: Adding Apple Cider Vinegar

Everyone and their mother thinks you should be adding apple cider vinegar or some type of acid to your bone broth.

Acid is typically added at the beginning with the water.  Perhaps these armchair quarterbacks even recommend letting the bones sit with the acid in cold water for 30-60 minutes before turning on the heat.

Read the definitive list of bone broth brands you can trust in 2022.

The thought is that acid helps draw out nutrients from the bones even before you start simmering the bone broth.  

What these charlatans and bloggers haven’t done is lab tested as much bone broth as I have. We send our bone broth for lab testing twice a year for vitamin and nutrient analysis, amino acid profiles and nutrition facts.

I suspect this is where some of the misconceptions around nutrient content in bone broth comes from. Similar uninformed bloggers peddle the notion that bone broth is rich in calcium. After all, it is made of bones, isn't it?

This is completely wrong. Look on the back of any bone broth and you’ll see at most 5% of your daily calcium per serving.

We’ve directly compared two batches of our bone broth for nutrients and vitamins. The first batch is made with apple cider vinegar, while the second without.

Guess what? There was no significant difference in vitamin and mineral content. A few percentage points here and there with respect to iron, calcium and vitamin C.

Bone broth is not about the vitamins and minerals. It is about the gelatin, collagen, glucosamine and proteoglycans.

Next time you make bone broth, skip the apple cider vinegar. Your money is better spent elsewhere. If you do insist, you will end up with bone broth vinegar. 

Read our secret recipe to making bone broth.

Mistake #2: All about the HEAT!

4 things experts get wrong about bone broth

How hot should you cook your bone broth? Lots of websites encourage you to look for the perfect low simmer with the occasional bubble surfacing every couple seconds.

This is a recipe for weak broth with no gelatin and thus no nutritional benefit.

You should think of making bone broth as harvesting collagen and gelatin from bones and connective tissue. You need heat to harvest collage and gelatin in an efficient manner.

A low simmer will still work, but your cook time will be significantly longer. Perhaps two days at a lower temperature. Why wait when you can have it done quicker?

We recommend cooking your bone broth as hot as you are comfortable with without the broth spilling over your pot. If you have a thermometer, I’d recommend 98 degrees celsius.

This is a hard rolling simmer with lots of bubbles popping up. Don’t be afraid of letting it boil from time to time as well. Especially if you are home and able to watch over it every hour or so. If you go out or go to sleep, better to turn down slightly to 95 or 96 celsius.

With this temperature, you can make a collagen rich chicken bone broth in 10-12 hours and beef bone broth in 16-18 hours.

If you’re using a crock pot or slow cooker, then heat on high with the lid on. On the stove it is better to keep the lid off. Since you can achieve a higher temperature, the lid is not needed.

Moreover leaving the lid off lets the broth reduce naturally which results in more gelatinous and concentrated bone broth. If you notice it reduces too much, you can always add more water to the level you started with.

Mistake #3: Bones to Water Ratio

It takes a lot of bones to get that nice gel in your bone broth. This is where the big misconception around high prices for bone broth comes in.

Bones are expensive, and you need more than you’d think to make bone broth. This translates into why bone broth is not inexpensive these days, though we are working to change that.

So how many bones do you need for properly gelly bone broth? Think of your pot filled with bones as a cup filled with ice. You add water to the ice which fills in the nooks and crannies. The ice is the bones you’re using in this case.

For chicken bone broth we recommend 1.4:2 ratio of bones to water. If you have access the chicken feet to mix in with your chicken bones, then the ratio is closer to 1:2 bones to water (ex: 1 KG of bones per 2L of water).

For beef (or other ruminants) bone broth the ratio is closer to 1:2 bones to water, although this greatly depends on the type of beef bones you’re using.

Your mileage will vary depending on the bones you use, so best to experiment with a smaller batch before testing a larger one. There is nothing worse than finishing a lengthy simmer only to find you have average bone broth for your efforts.

Mistake #4: Poor Skimming Practises

Yes I’m calling you out for poor skimming practices. The first 1-2 hours of cooking bone broth is crucial as it sets the stage for the whole batch.

If you neglect skimming the fat, foam and impurities as they rise, you may end up with the dreaded cloudy broth.

This happens to the best of us. In our early days we had to pour out full batches of bone broth once or twice due to cloudy and murky broth. You know it when you see it. It looks like milk.

This is mainly due to not skimming properly, but also from stirring bone broth during the cook. Do not stir it, ever.

Take pride in skimming all the foamy bits every 20 minutes or so for the first 1 hour or however it takes to boil the broth for ten minutes or so. It is quite relaxing. After that you are good to go!

“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.”

― Sally Fallon Morell, Nourishing Broth: An Old-Fashioned Remedy for the Modern World

Bottom Line

There you have it, 4 mistakes many people make when getting started making bone broth. If you are considering purchasing bone broth then be sure to read our guide to buying bone broth. There are many shady companies out there.

Have you made bone broth? Leave a comment and let me know how it went!

62 comments

Hi Nicole,

Sounds like some good bone broth! Having your bone broth white means the fat coagulated into the broth during the summer. Once this happens its; impossible to fix for this particular batch.
There is nothing wrong with white bone broth. It just looks different.
In the future I would advise a few things.
1. never stir or touch your bone broth while it is simmering. Be gentle when you re-add water as to not disturb it too much.
2. Be diligent with your skimming of the foam, fat and impurities during the first 1-2 hours of the simmer.

These two things usually fix any cloudy bone broth. Please keep me updated on how it goes.
connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions February 24, 2022

Milky Gello
I made beef bone broth this weekend and was told to blanch the bones. It was my first time doing that. After that I roasted them high and long like instructed, (no, they never burned).
I brought them to a boil, and then simmered for 48 hours.
There were lots of bones and enough filtered water to cover, and I added more as it simmered down over two days. It was cloudy from the beginning.
At the end I strained it, cooled it and popped the fat off the top.
I wish I could show a picture because it’s pure white and super gelatinous!!
I will still use it in smooties as I’m sure it’s full of nutrition. But how can I prevent this in the future?
BTW, flavour is not the best when it’s on its own, I pack my smoothies with other superfoods.
Thanks in advance for any advice and reading this to the end:)

Nicole February 24, 2022

Hi Karen,

That sounds delicious! Save some for me next time :)
Connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions February 07, 2022

Hi Sean,

As long as you are getting a bone broth that gels at fridge temperature, I would not worry about nutrient loss due to the pressure cooker or extreme heat.

We are nit-picking when you get to the level of performance you are what with your bone broth.

I would enjoy it and not worry about getting anymore nutrition out of it.

Hope this helps.
connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions February 07, 2022

I have had wonderful success using my instantpot pressure cooker for making delicious broth. I throw my carcasses and veggies in there with water about half way to 2/3 up and cook for 1 hour and 15 minutes at pressure… then I strain it and take the tiny bones out. Often the bones are so soft I can crush them with two fingers. I will send it through again to get every last bit of goodness out. At least I think that’s what happened… I’ve done it so many times I just go by feel and taste. haha

Karen February 07, 2022

I make bone broth for flavor and nutrition is secondary. If I made it the way some suggested I’d be at it for 48 hours of nonsensical simmering so I’d never make it. I make enough and use enough that I’m sure I get the nutritional benefits.
I’m curious as to your thoughts/lab results on the higher temp method. I am fortunate to have unlimited rotisserie and or whole chickens. I use both but my method is fill large pressure cooker with 6 carcasses toss in celery onion and pressure cook 1 hour then strain and toss the solids, chill the liquid stock and remove chicken fat (liquid gold, schmaltz) and I’m left with about 4 quarts of bone broth. I season as I use it and absolutely use the skimmed fat as a soup base, fat for homemade noodles etc. so my question.
Is there a dramatic nutritional loss from the pressure cooker heat? I get plenty of collagen as evidenced from my stock becoming gelatin when chilled. Thank you for a great article!

Sean D February 07, 2022

Hi Denice,

Yes we used to do this all the time. The 2nd batch will not be quite as strong or concentrated as the first, but you can cook it a bit longer and hotter to make up for it. Unfortunately we cannot do that anymore due to the food regulations in Canada.

Connor at Bluebird Provisions January 19, 2022

Thanks for the great info! Do you guys reuse bones to make another batch of bone broth?

Denice January 19, 2022

Thanks for sharing the research Larissa!

Connor at Bluebird Provisions January 12, 2022

Hi Shelby

Sounds like you are making some delicious bone broth! Your bone broth still has some nutritional benefit. However, it likely does not have enough protein in it for it to gel.

This is likely because of your bones to water ratio. You may need to double the amount of carcasses you are using in order to get it to gel. Or else you could try adding in some chicken feet or wings to get more gelatin.

Hope this helps and let me know how it goes.

connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions January 12, 2022

Since you didn’t source any of your content…I am just going to leave this here.

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5533136/

Only misinformed bloggers complain about other misinformation. People with facts are happy to share them.

Larissa A Kempf January 12, 2022

Hello, I make chicken bone broth regularly using two full chicken carcasses in a slow cooker. I boil for about 35-40 hours and the broth tastes delicious! I always skim the hard fat off the top after it has cooled. However, while my broth tastes delicious, it never turns to gelatine- it is always a thin runny liquid. So, for the past 3 years that I have been making it, and thinking I was drinking bone broth, have I been doing something wrong? If it never is thick and gelatiney, does that mean it doesn’t have the healthy properties??

Trying my hand now at beef bone broth for the first time so hoping that hardens when cooled…
Thank you!

Shelby

Shelby Anderson January 12, 2022

Hi Sean,

From a nutrition standpoint, it does not matter whether you roast the bones or not. From a taste perspective, I think roasting the bones does make it taste better with a greater depth or flavor.

It is up to you. For a recipe you can read this article: https://bluebirdprovisions.co/blogs/news/bone-broth-recipe

connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions December 15, 2021

Hi Michelle

Thanks for reading and trying out bone broth! I think what you are doing is fine. You can make chicken bone broth with a 5-6 hour boil. It really comes down to how concentrated your final bone broth is after this boil. Does it gel in the fridge? If not, then you could consider boiling a bit longer next time you make it.

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

connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions December 15, 2021

Hi winston,

Unfortunately we cannot publish our lab results at this point for ur bone broth.The Canada Food Inspection Agency requires that we keep it confidential.

Connor at Bluebird Provisions December 15, 2021

I am new to Bone Broth making but am unclear about prep’ ie should I roast the bones before slow cooking or put the bones straight in water and cook? Or does it not really matter?

Sean December 15, 2021

Hi, Thank you for the helpful info!

I make broth regularly, mostly with chicken bones and heavy on the veggies and mushrooms. I’ve always wondered if I should have been adding the apple cider vinegar or blanching/draining and continuing for purer broth but have never bothered so I appreciate your reassurance.

Also I’ve been using a heavy Le Creuset pot with a stainless strainer insert which unfortunately fills up quickly when adding a whole carcass and veggies, if I cover with water I have to carefully monitor it’s boil or it will overflow until it’s boiled down a bit. I continually add water to keep a decent boil and the ability to skim. I continue doing that until everything seems well cooked down and the broth tastes yummy….

My question to you is if cooking broth like this on a heavy boil but adding water only takes 5 or 6 hours, is that enough time to exract the collagen and nutrients or should I plan better and make sure I cook the broth for longer?

Thank you for your time.

Michelle December 15, 2021

Curious if you would mind posting the results of the many lab tests you have done.

winston ford December 15, 2021

Hi Jeannette,

You can absolutely use raw chickens to make bone broth. It will make delicious broth!

let me know how it goes.
connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions October 14, 2021

Can you buy a couple of raw whole chickens and simmer that for a broth?

Jeannette Robinson October 14, 2021

Hi Jay,

I don’t think it will help because the chicken bones are already so small. If you do try to break the bones, be careful of shards or anything when you strain it.

Connor

Connor at Bluebird Provisions September 01, 2021

If using all leg bones with chicken, would cracking the bones before cooking add any benefit?

Jay September 01, 2021

Hi Diane,

Yes pork feet and bones makes for a delicious bone broth! You can follow our beef bone broth recipe to make a great pork bone broth.

You don’t see as many recipes because pork is simply not as popular as chicken and beef. And also, I suspect that the pork industry has more baggage historically with the type of people who are inclined to make bone broth in the west. I think this is a major reason why it is not as popular.

Connor at Bluebird Provisions July 23, 2021

Hi Dave,

Yes I would do exactly what you mentioned. Just remove the tallow at the end once it hardens / cools. Much easier to remove and dispose that way.

On that note: the compost partner we have does accept tallow / fat in the organic compost material. Soo 100% of it gets composted. Perhaps some municipalities don’t, but I am not sure.

It is also a joy to cook with. I cook with tallow and chicken schmaltz all the time.

Connor at Bluebird Provisions July 23, 2021

Is using pork such as pigs feet an okay thing to do? Why do I not see any bone broth recipes using pork bones?

Diane July 23, 2021

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