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Chicken and Chicken Broth

June 20, 2011

I am always watching cooking shows where they have their own chicken broth they made in advance and froze for later. My mom would always tell me to save my chicken/turkey bones to make broth, but I was too lazy to do so. Since I am now on a pretty tight budget, I decided to buy a whole chicken, cut it up, and make it into cooked chicken and chicken broth. It is so easy, you just need to plan on it taking a couple hours.

I was inspired to use a whole chicken for two reasons: 1. it was only $0.88/lb and 2. I was reading my Thomas Keller cookbook that showed step by step pictures on cutting up a chicken and wanted to give it a try. Cutting the chicken was definitely much harder than the pictures made it look, so I recommend finding it already cut up if possible. I also read to just buy skin on/bone in chicken thighs for broth purposes as they hold more flavor.

When cutting up my whole chicken, I figured I would have enough bone/skin in my pieces to make a flavorful broth, so I saved the backbone and wings and froze them so I can make a second broth batch later with using just one chicken. How thrifty of me! I am also one of those people that buys celery, onions, peppers in advance (especially when on sale) and dices them up and freezes them for easy future uses. When I do the celery, I save the leafy tops in a separate bag just for cooking chicken.


  • 1  chicken or turkey (or pieces that have bone/skin)
  • Celery
  • Carrots
  • Onion
  • Salt/Pepper
  • **Chicken Bouillon or Chicken Base – if you have it you might want to add some for extra flavor – I haven’t tried this so can’t vouch for final result but can only imagine it would taste great


  • Place chicken pieces into a stockpot (finally got to use my new All Clad soup pot!). You could just put the whole bird into the stockpot, but it didn’t fit right into mine and I wanted to keep the uncooked bones for making a second round of broth later.
  • Add in celery, onion, carrots, salt and pepper. (I didn’t have any carrots)
  • Cover with water
  • Simmer over medium  to medium low heat for 45 minutes or until chicken is cooked throughout.
  • Remove chicken and allow to cool for about 20 minutes.
  • Once chicken is cool enough to handle, remove skin (will be harder to do once the chicken is cold) and remove from bones.
  • Add bones back to the broth and simmer on medium to medium low heat for another hour. I added some additional water as I wanted to stretch my broth a little farther. I also added back in all the fatty and rejected pieces after I picked the chicken apart.
  • Strain broth into a large bowl. Discard bones/veggies.
  • Place bowl into fridge (or freezer if you need it faster). After a while the fat will rise to the top and harden so you can scoop it out.
  • You now have chicken broth you can freeze in containers, ziplocs, or use right away for chicken soup or other recipes (like my Chicken Spaghetti below). Freeze the cooked chicken as well for future casseroles if you aren’t using it right away.

I’m sure you are thinking what a time consuming process, but it is definitely worth it to cut back on cooking chicken later on for weeknight meals and for having great broth.

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