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.
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.
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.
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.
Mistake #2: All about the HEAT!
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!
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.
I’ve yet to share any specific recipes, but if you’re curious for some, let me know in the comments.
Hi Erwin. Sounds like best case scenario and that you’re making some deliciously thick bone broth. The more concentrated and gelatinous, the more gelatin / collagen / protein per serving.
I would drink it with the fat if you enjoy the taste. Not a huge point in removing it unless you prefer without the fat.
The only caveat is that you get less yield if it is more concentrated. Sometimes you can dilute it to make it go a bit further.
But I would keep doing what you’re doing, sounds like a great bone broth.
I am learning to make beef knuckle bone broth in my 2 quart Rapida pressure cooker. I cook it for 3 1/2 hours. Once it’s in the fridge, all the “liquid” becomes solid. An inch of solid fat on top and below it pure gelatinous gel. So no real liquid per se.
1) Should I be skimming the solid fat off the broth before consuming? I’ve just heated it up and drank it previously.
2)Is the lack of liquid broth a sign that it needed more water in it??
Thank you so much
For making bone broth in a pressure cooker I would definitely try what you’re suggesting. Let us know how it works out.
Might take a bit of trial and error to find the best time to skim. But 1 big skim within half an hour will definitely help!
Hi Connor.if I used my pressure cooker and after say half an hour put it in the sink and turned the cold water over it,this allows me to open it straight away and I could skim.then put back on.what do you think
That’s too bad about your bone broth. I’m not sure you necessarily did anything wrong.
Is your slow cooker on high or low setting? Either way, I would not expect all of the marrow from your bones to be fully removed while it is cooking. It doesn’t mean that the bone broth isn’t great.
Marrow bones are difficult to make thick, gelatinous bone broth from. I would recommend a mix of marrow bones but mostly knuckle bones. These have more connective tissue that will break down while cooking and leave you with a thicker more gelatinous bone broth.
Hope this helps!
Thank you for this post! I just finished my first attempt at bone broth and after 36 hours of simmering in a slow cooker and there was still marrow (?) inside the bones. What did I do wrong or is this to be expected? Looking forward to your reply!
I personally don’t have any experiences using pressure cookers but have heard great things. As long as it produces gelatinous bone broth then i would say keep using it! Definitely saves time and hassle.
What are your through on using pressure cookers? I have no problem getting a gelatinous broth, but of course you can’t skim.
So glad that you’ve found our bone broth Sherry! Thanks for your continued support and for reading. I really appreciate it!
I have recently discovered your product in the last year. I experimented by using it with a few standard recipes in which I would normally use cartoned chicken or beef broth. My family noticed the difference right away. I am completely won over by your excellent product, I cannot use anything else. My freezer is now consistently “stocked” so to speak as I never want to run out. And thank you for the insight on how you strive to achieve the best broth, very interesting. I leave it to you to continue to bring an excellent product to market which I will continue to purchase. Kudos!
Sincerely, Sherry Forbes