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Article: Beef Soup Bones Recipes: How to Use Soup Bones

soup bones recipes

Beef Soup Bones Recipes: How to Use Soup Bones

Beef Soup Bones Recipes

So you want to make a delicious and nutritious soup, but you're not sure how to use soup bones correctly. You've come to the right place.

I've made more soup and bone broth than anyone else in the world. Seriously, I've made over 250,000 L of it.

Using soup bones is the best way to get that rich, umami flavor, but they are incredibly difficult to cook with and get 'right.'

Fear not my friend, this guide will show you exactly how to use soup bones to make delicious and nutritious soups. Plus which ones to use and common mistakes people make that you will avoid.

Before we get started, I'll mention that if you don't have soup bones, that is okay. You can use a pre-made bone broth when you are in a pinch.

My favorite for this is the chicken bone broth powder packets from Bluebird Provisions. You may scoff at powder, but trust me when I tell you that it is the highest quality (non-gmo and pasture raised) and most delicious option you'll find.

Click HERE to jump straight to the recipe.

What are Soup Bones

Soup bones are beef marrow bones that are cut into 2-3 inch pieces and make for a delicious and nutritious soup. They come from the arms and legs of cows and are commonly referred to as 'pipes' by butchers because they look like...(wait for it) a small pipe.

You can find these bones in the freezer section of butcher shops and grocery stores. They are also available for sale online.

Beef bone vegetable soup

Soup Bones Uses

Soup bones can be used to make high protein soups, stocks, broth and bone broth. The soups you can make range from beef stews, to pho and ramen.

Stocks and broths can easily be made by tossing these bones into a large pot, adding water and letting them simmer for a 1-3 hours. You can add anything else you like to flavor or add more richness to your stock.

Finally, soup bones are commonly used to make bone broth. Bone broth is a concentrated, high protein broth made using a combination of bones, connective tissue, meat and cartilage. Learn more about the health benefits of bone broth.

The best brand is Bluebird Provisions because of their sourcing standards, high protein and low salt.


What are some tips for making a delicious and nutritious soup with soup bones?

The two best tips for making soup with bones are to roast the bones before you simmer them and to be diligent in skimming the fat off of our broth. Let's go through each so that you can see what I am talking about.

1. Roast the bones for flavor

Roasting bones before you boil them gives a certain richness that is impossible to get if you skip this step. For this reason, if you have the time, you should roast the bones first.

I will mention that roasting the bones does not add any extra vitamins, minerals or protein to the soup. It only improves the taste of the broth. So if you are interested in a rich and satisfying broth, do the following.

  1. Place bones on a large baking sheet
  2. Drizzle 2-3 tbsp olive oil OR 2-3 tbsp tomato paste on the bones.
  3. If you use tomato paste, it is easier to mix them all together in a large bowl, then transfer to your baking sheet.
  4. Roast at 400 F for 40 minutes.
  5. You will notice the bones start to caramelize in the pan. This is exactly what you are looking for.
  6. Scrape all the caramelized bits rom the pan into your pot along with the bones.

2. Skim the fat from the broth

You must be diligent with your skimming or you risk a cloudy broth. What do I mean here? As you boil your stock or broth, you'll notice gunky, foamy bits rise to the surface.

These must be removed using a ladle or large spoon. If you don't do this, you risk all of this stuff cooking into your broth, making it cloudy and fatty.

While some keto people love this, most do not.

You can learn more about skimming and my other secrets in my expose on mistakes people make cooking broth.

Other Soup Bones Recipes

Some common recipes that use soup bones are vegetable beef soup, prime rib or lamb stew, Vietnamese pho and Korean OX bone.

Let's go through each of these below.

1. Simple Vegetable Beef Soup

A classic recipe that uses beef bone broth or soup bones along with root vegetables and ground beef. Follow the outline of the recipe above, but swap in 6 cups of beef bone broth for soup bones and water. Note: you can add more water if it reduces too much during the cook to replace what is lost. 

You can also spice it but with the addition of herbs like Italian spice, thyme and rosemary, things like 2 tbsp Worchestershire sauce, diced tomatoes and ground beef.

Combine vegetables and bone broth in your soup pot, bring to a boil, cover and cook for 60 minutes until the potatoes are tender when you stick a fork into them.

Brown the ground beef separately in a pan. Once browned, you can add it to your pot of broth with the veggies.

If you can't find one near you, then read my guide showing you exactly where to find bone broth

2. Homemade Prime Rib Stew

This prime rib stew is simple to make and has mouth-watering, tender meat that transforms the taste of any regular soup.

These typically slow cooked cuts of beef give you more gelatin, glycine and crucial amino acids that we typically lack in our standard 'American' diet.

You can use a prime rib, sirloin, flank, a standard chuck roast or a lamb roast. Just follow the instructions below and you'll have a nourishing stew for any occasion.

  1. Cut prime rib into 1 inch pieces and brown on all sides.
  2. Add vegetables to the your (sweet potato, carrots, onion, celery) along with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper and a bay leaf.
  3. Sautee for a few minutes, you might need to add more olive oil.
  4. Add 8 cups of bone broth to the pot or enough to cover everything with a bit of extra space.
  5. Bring to a boil then simmer, covered, or 50 minutes until sweet potatoes are soft.

3. Vietnamese Beef Noodle Pho

Beef noodle soup with soup bones

The ingredients needed to make a beef noodle pho are:

  • 8 ounce sirloin steak, thinly sliced
  • 7 ounce of rice noodles
  • 1 tbsp sugar or allulose
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 large onion, peeled and roughly chopped
  • thumb size piece of fresh ginger, peeled
  • 5 star anise or 1 tsp ground
  • 1 tsp ground cloves
  • tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp cardamom
  • tbsp coriander seeds
  • 8 cups beef bone broth or 2 pounds of beef bones (or chicken)
  • tsp fish sauce
  • Garnish: cilantro, bean sprouts, thai basil, lime, onions, sriracha

Brown the ginger and onion in a pot over medium heat on the stove. In a separate pot, add bone broth, spices and bring to a boil over medium high heat. Add onions and ginger after 5 minutes and stir. Cover and cook on low for 30 minutes.

Strain out vegetables and spices (if using whole), add in fish sauce and sugar and stir. Meanwhile, cook noodles according to directions on package.

Now you are ready to assemble. Place portion of cooked noodles in a bowl, add in thinly sliced raw steak and ladle boiling hot broth on top. The boiling broth will be hot enough to cook the meat.

4. Korean Ox Bone Soup

Korean ox bone soup is also known as Seolleongtang. It is a deliciously savory soup made from ox or beef bones and brisket or similar cuts of meat. It's simple but I absolutely love it.

Here are the ingredients needed to make it:

  • 3 lbs of beef bones ( marrow bones and knuckle bones)
  • 10-12 cups of water
  • 1 lb beef brisket
  • 7 ounces wheat or rice noodles
  • Chopped green onions as garnish

Add bones and water to a large stock pot. Bring to a boil and skim the impurities that rise to the surface. Cook at a light boil for 4 hours. Add water to replace what is lost to evaporation.

Add your brisket and cook for another 2 hours. After everything is cooked, remove bones and brisket using a spider strainer. Pour broth through a strainer with a bowl underneath.

Slice brisket (if not already). Now you can serve the broth with your noodles. Garnish with green onions and some salt.

What is the difference between soup bones and other bones?

The difference between soup bones and other bones are that soup bones are typically the marrow bones that resemble small pipes.

They have bone marrow in the middle of them, which is why many people like to use them and how they get their name. These bones come from the legs and arms of the cow.

Beef soup bones with bone marrow on bread

Other types of beef bones are commonly referred to as knuckle bones. Knuckle bones come from the joints of the cow, including hips, knees, elbows, shanks and ankles. They have more cartilage, meat and connective tissue.

You can learn more about how to find the best bones for soup in my article.

The funny thing is that in my experience making over 250,000 L of broth over the years, knuckle bones work better than marrow (aka soup) bones for soup.

What is the nutritional value of soup bones?

The nutritional value of soup bones comes down to the amount of connective tissue and bone marrow within them. If you are strictly using them for soup, you'll find that most of the nutrients in in the bones do not get into your soup.

You will get some protein (2-4 g per cup), glycine and glutamine, but not much else. This is because the bones are not cooked long enough in a typical soup recipe to reap the true benefits.

You need use a real bone broth or simmer your bones for 12-24 hours in order to get the protein and electrolytes into your soup. You can also get some marrow into your broth.

Also, you can learn about the health benefits of bone marrow here.

Can soup bones be frozen?

Yes! Soup bones can be frozen for later use. It is best to freeze in airtight bags, so that you can combine other bones and scraps. This way, when you collect enough hand decide you want to make soup, you can simply empty the entire bag into your stock pot.

Closing Thoughts

Soup bones are one of the most versatile and delicious ingredients you can use to make soup. With the right recipe and a bit of time, you can turn soup bones into a high protein and nutritious meal.

If you ever want to speed up the process and get the same taste and health benefits, opt for a pre-made bone broth. Bluebird Provisions low sodium chicken bone broth is the perfect way to get started. You can find them on Amazon Prime or on their website.

Have you made soup using real bones? How did it turn out? Leave a comment and let me know. Or if you have any questions feel free to ask and I will answer.


I understand that it is fine to add bones to compost if they have been thoroughly boiled, then dried via baking, and preferably crushed. This will release the nutrients over time, while not attracting pests.

JJ Levine

Hi Paula,

Sorry for the confusion. Drizzle 2-3 tbsp olive oil OR 2-3 tbsp tomato paste on the bones before you roast them (if you are doing so).


Connor at Bluebird Provisions

There’s 2 tbsp olive oil in the ingredients list but don’t see it used anywhere in the recipe instructions.


Hi Sam,

Yes you have it correct. Simmer your bones for as long as possible. Then remove the bones so you just have the broth. Once the bones are removed, then you add the rest of the ingredients the make the recipe.

Connor at Bluebird Provisions

Just a comment. Sorry but never put bones or anything meat related in your compost.

Julie Bates

Hello Connor, wonderful sounding recipe here. Can you provide a little more guidance on how to get the full nutritional benefit of the bones? You mentioned 12-24 hours. So the order of operations would be: roast bones for 40 minutes, put them in the Dutch oven (with lots of water) to simmer for 8-20 hours then complete the rest of the steps like adding barley and vegetables as outlined above for the final 3 hours of cook time? Thanks,Sam


Hi Josh,

You can keep adding water to replace what is reduced or lost during the cook time.

hope this helps and let me know how it goes.

Connor at Bluebird Provisions

Hi Brad, you can roast the bones on an outdoor grill, but they might be a bit charred if you are not careful. In this case I would recommend using olive oil instead of tomato paste.

Connor at Bluebird Provisions

6 cups of water doesn’t look like enough liquid in the bottom of my pot after simmering for several hours, for all these veggies and barley going in….

Josh S

Can you “roast” the bones on your outdoor grill?
Either directly on the grill or do I need to consider a roasting pan or foil?
Is oil or tomato paste better if used on the grill?

Brad Thomas

Hi Char,

Yes that is correct. Sorry for any confusion.

Connor at Bluebird Provisions

I’m assuming that the 2tbsp of olive oil listed under ingredients is if you’re going to roast the bones because I don’t see it in the directions.

Char Holcomb

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