Introduction: Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is simple to make at home and tastes so much better than the stuff you get at the store. Making stock is even easier if you use a slow cooker. You can ever make it in your sleep! :D

The slow cooker is my favorite method for making chicken stock because I can leave it alone for long periods of time and it won't heat up the house. Doing it this way also keeps my stove top open for all the other things I'm always making.

There are a thousand ways to make chicken stock, but this is the way I always make it!

Step 1: Ingredients:

  • one chicken carcass (preferably one that has been roasted - one that's been used for chicken soup won't be very good!)
  • one yellow onion, cut in quarters, skins intact but ends removed (the skins add great color!)
  • few cloves of garlic, crushed, skins removed
  • two carrots, peeled, broke into several pieces
  • two stalks of celery, broken into pieces (plus the leaves!)
  • seasonings of choice
  • water to cover
That's it! Pretty simple, huh? You don't even really have to use fresh ingredients - I keep bits of carrots, celery and onion frozen as well as chicken bones to use for later.

I like to use some whole peppercorns, a little salt, a pinch of thyme and some poultry seasoning in mine. But you can also forgo all those things for a super basic chicken stock you can season according to what you're cooking. :D

And when it comes to slow cookers, I've got this one and I love it! Big enough for a TON of chicken stock.

Step 2: Cooking!

I typically cook my stock for 4-6 hours on high or 8-10 on low. :D

Just chuck all the veggies and the chicken in the slow cooker and cover with water. It's really that easy! Don't even have to stir it.

BOOYAH KITCHEN MASTER

Step 3: Finishing the Stock

Depending on when the stock finishes cooking, I finish it in different ways.

If it's late at night or I just don't feel like fussing with it, I'll just pop the whole thing in the fridge to let the fat firm up on top. If I'm still feeling ambitious, I'll strain it and then put it in the fridge to let the fat firm up.

There are three important steps here:
  1. cool the stock in the fridge to allow you to spoon off the layer of fat
  2. use a slotted spoon to remove the large bits of vegetables and chicken
  3. pour the stock through a strainer to remove the rest of the pieces of veg and chicken - this is especially important to get rid of any small bones!
You can also pass it through a piece of cheesecloth if you want the stock to be a little clearer, but I never worry about that. :D

Step 4: Storing the Stock

Keep the stock for 3-5 days in the fridge, or freeze!

I like to freeze mine in quart size mason jars because that's nearly the perfect amount for most soups and I can easily defrost it in the microwave. :D The pint size jars are good, too!

I've also frozen the stock in ice cube trays and then transferred them to a ziploc for storage. Those are great for deglazing pans!

Comments

author
JettaKnight (author)2013-11-19

Making your own stock is a good cost cutting measure and the quality of the stock is hard to beat. To the this recipe I'd add thyme and parsley.

I just made 2.5 gallons of stock by starting with 15 pounds (!) of carcasses stored in the freezer. I don't use a slow cooker because I have a 5 gallon pot, but this is a good way to do it.

What do you do with all the meat that cooks off the bones when simmering? Heh, heh - my cat loves me now. :-)

author
JettaKnight (author)JettaKnight2013-11-19

Oh, I also leave out the salt. Why? Because I prefer to season with salt when cooking with the stock later on. You can always add salt to a dish; you can't remove it.

author
spark master (author)JettaKnight2014-12-16

Stock , if that is what you are making, is never ever salted. That is/was for shelf life and taste. But as you stated taste is in the end use.

author
OxonLad (author)JettaKnight2014-10-06

I'm sure your cat adores you for those tender pieces of chicken. But if you're using garlic and/onions in the recipe? Please don't give it to your cat. Both can be extremely toxic to our furry friends and I know you'd be devastated if anything happened to you pet.

http://www.petinsurance.com/healthzone/pet-articles/pet-health-toxins/Garlic-Toxicity-and-Pets.aspx

author
spark master (author)2014-12-16

Hi,

Like JettaKnight, I make a lot of stock when I make it , but this is a good idea. Just make a quart or two at a time. I save boiled water from carrots, as well as roasted chix bones and left over gravy. With home made bread and little meatballs veggies and a shirred egg and such ...wooof. Plus you siphon off a couple of 1/2 pints to the deep freeze for making gravy.

This will also give me an excuse to use the seldom used crock pot. Never having one in my moms house I seldom remember to use it.

Thanks

author
tmhouchard (author)2013-12-01

Another great way to store the stock is in ice cube trays, then put the cubes in ziplocs. Makes for great portion control and quicker thawing time when using.
Loved this instruct-able!

author
HollyMann (author)2013-12-01

LOVE it - very good to know..I am sick of my method on the stove..would love to try it this way..

author
awalker-gehring (author)2013-11-26

Please check out my stock recipe. I do mine in the crockpot as well...but use a stocking so that I don't have to drain.

author
ae0954 (author)2013-11-24

This turned out really well. Thanks

author
Wheatridge (author)2013-11-20

Very well done. Two comments. Skim off the fat, BUT keep it. It is "schmaltz" which is the sacred elixir of the Jewish community as a replacement for butter. Schmaltz is used in frying potatoes, onions,making soups, etc adding a richness. Also one secret for chicken stock is cutting up a leek and adding it to the pot. A simple leek adds flavor to any soup.

author
olien1 (author)2013-11-20

My understanding is that the idea that stock needs a lot of time is unfounded. For chicken stock 2 1/2 hour should be enough. With a pressure cooker you only need 1/2-1 hour.

author
supereric (author)2013-11-19

You're so good. I hadn't even thought of doing it in a slow cooker.

author
snoopindaweb (author)2013-11-19

~(:-})={

author
craftyv (author)2013-11-19

Well explained and shown. Simple and clear which is what an Instructable is supposed to do. Very well done. Loved it.

author
Kokopeli (author)2013-11-19

Simplest Instructable in the world! I can't wait until I pick up my next roasted chicken from Costco!

author
tschmidt (author)2013-11-19

Thanks for the great instructable! I've made lots of stock but never in the slow cooker - I'm going to have to try this! A couple of extra ideas:
1) Use a raft of egg whites and egg shells to further clarify the stock.
2) Ziplocs are great for storing stock, but if you decide to use jars, make sure you leave a *lot* of head space otherwise you may end up with cracked jars!

author
savorthefood (author)2013-11-19

Great post!! Storing in glass is fine. Plastic has petroleum by products and can leach into the food. Glass breaths and therefore food can last longer.

Great mention about the chicken bones. A already roasted carcass is fine. But fresh chicken bones are better. I always use chicken legs with the meat on. After making broth, remove meat..

Again great post!!

author
hunter999 (author)2013-11-16

This looks great but I don't eat chicken, I'm a vegan.

Nonetheless well documented!

author
gallardo (author)hunter9992013-11-19

The same method, sans chicken, works to make vegetable stock.

author
marciocattini (author)2013-11-19

Use water frozen water bottles to cool down the stock after straining it will cool them down quicker and avoid dangerous bacteria from growing and spoiling the food on your fridge.

otherwise, great recipe :)

author
MeVirtually (author)2013-11-17

This is a great idea! We save up chicken carcasses in the freezer to make stock this time of year, and I'm going to try out this method. I might have missed it, but just want to check - do you leave the slow cooker uncovered to reduce the stock?

Also, to anyone trying this, putting hot stock/soup/etc in a fridge will raise the temperature inside the fridge for a bit until the fridge can catch up, so be mindful of what else you have in there (don't put it next to the fish you have for sushi night).

author
JettaKnight (author)MeVirtually2013-11-19

Cool the stock in a sink full of ice water first. Or drop in frozen water bottles. You need to get the temperature down quickly to get out of the "danger zone" where bacteria thrive. For large quantities the fridge/freezer cannot adequately cope with the the thermal storage ability of the stock (largely water).

author
jessyratfink (author)MeVirtually2013-11-17

Nope - leave it covered. :) Mine never seems to produce enough heat to reduce once the lid is off!

And good point on the second bit!

author
e63769 (author)2013-11-17

Consider storing the stock in zip lock bags. They can lie flat in the freezer and once frozen can be stored very easy.

author
JettaKnight (author)e637692013-11-19

Or use muffin tins. Freeze the stock in muffin tin ten place into zip lock bags for one cup frozen blocks.

author
lpitcher (author)2013-11-19

Just received a slow cooker as a birthday present, so this is a great 'recipe' idea - many thanks!

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