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How to Make Chicken Broth in a Slow Cooker

How to Make Chicken Broth in a Slow Cooker


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Beyond soups, broths and stocks are indispensable in the kitchen for a variety of recipes. Learn how to create your own at home with ease all in the convenience of your slow cooker.See More: Making Your Own Chicken Stock
See More: 25 Comforting Chicken Soup Recipes

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Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts

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Slow Cooker Chicken Breast is the most juicy, flavorful seasoned boneless skinless chicken breast that you won’t believe was made in a Crockpot!

Easy weeknight main dishes like Oven Baked Chicken Breast are not only healthy, they are dinners the whole family enjoys. It fits right in with other well loved, family friendly Chicken Dinner Recipes that are stress free and delicious.

SLOW COOKER CHICKEN BREAST

A frequent reader question on Slow Cooker Recipes for chicken or pork is: “can I use boneless chicken breasts?” Usually, the answer is no (or wrap it in bacon) because chicken breasts dry out so easily. There are few things more disappointing when you’re cooking than dry, tough chicken.

Well, now the wait is over for a delicious, moist Slow Cooker Chicken Breast recipe that uses boneless skinless chicken breasts! This chicken recipe makes perfectly juicy, tender breasts in your crockpot and is sure to be your go-to for weeknight dinners.

Chicken Breasts are a comfort food that you can enjoy a few times a week. Easy dinners with chicken and veggies that are healthy, but don’t require a lot of cook time are perfect for families with kids. This Crockpot Chicken recipe fits the bill because it comes together quickly in the slow cooker and it will be delicious in just a few hours.

Boneless Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts are full of so much flavor and come out fork tender without falling apart. Use these as your main dish, served with Mashed Potatoes and Green Beans, or add them to all kinds of recipes. You can find some side dish favorites the whole family will love down below.

Can I use frozen chicken breasts?

Using frozen chicken breasts will release a lot of moisture and there will be a lot more liquid in the crockpot. This is best if you plan on using for a recipe calling for shredded chicken, but I don’t recommend for serving as a main dish.

Can I use boneless chicken thighs?

You can use chicken thighs in this recipe, just keep in mind that they cook faster than chicken breasts so you’ll want to reduce the cook time.

Sides Dishes to Serve With Slow Cooker Chicken Breasts:

Baked Mac and Cheese

Roasted Broccoli

Creamy Garlic Mashed Potatoes

Slow Cooker Mac and Cheese


Step-by-step photos for making

Step 1. Assemble the ingredients.

  • 2 to 3 roasted chicken carcasses (or one turkey carcass). You want approximately 2 pounds of chicken bones. Normally a 2 pound chicken contains slightly less than than 1 pound of bones (after the meat is removed). It's not necessary to have exactly the stated weight--ballpark is good enough. If you cook chicken pieces rather than whole chickens, aim for approximately the same weight. You can accumulate chicken bones if you don't have enough to use from one meal. I accumulate a bag of bones in the freezer until I have enough to make a batch of broth. Also, save and add any leftover skin or pan drippings--those add great flavor, and you'll be able to remove any fat they add to the broth. I'll show you how. (If the whole carcass is hard to fit into your slow cooker, break/chop it into pieces.)
  • Apple cider vinegar. This helps leech the nutrients from the chicken bones as they cook yet it's not enough to be noticeable in the flavor of the broth (the milder flavored cider vinegar is recommended over white vinegar). I use a ratio of 1 tablespoon vinegar per pound of bones. You can alter the amount of vinegar accordingly for making a half or double batch of broth.

  • onions (unpeeled)
  • garlic (unpeeled)
  • celery (including leafy tops)
  • carrots (unpeeled)
  • whole peppercorns
  • bay leaf
  • fresh parsley
  • fresh thyme

Why no salt? I prefer to make my broth salt-free so that I can adjust the amount of salt I want depending on the recipe I'm using. Also, the leftover chicken bones, skin, and drippings may already be somewhat salted from when they were first roasted, so the amount of added salt needed may vary. You can certainly salt the broth from the beginning if you like. To avoid over salting it, add a little salt at a time and taste as you go. I'd start with 1/2 teaspoon of salt and go from there.

Step 2. Roughly chop the celery & carrots into 1-2 inch pieces. Leave the nutritious peels on the carrots and leafy ends on the celery.

Step 3. Roughly cut the onion. Leave the skin on--it has valuable nutrients. Plus, the skins add rich color to the broth. Read about the health benefits of onion skins here.

Step 4. Cut the entire garlic head in half crosswise. That's all the prep it needs. Easy, huh? As with the onion, you should leave the peel on, because it has health boosting nutrients.

Step 5. Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker. A full batch of this recipe requires a 6 quart (or larger) slow cooker. If yours is smaller, it's easy to half the recipe using 1 chicken carcass instead of 2, and half of the other ingredients. Add enough water so that everything is immersed--approximately 2 to 2-1/2 quarts of water for a full batch.

view on Amazon: my favorite slow cooker (top rated by Cooks Illustrated/America's Test Kitchen)

Step 6. Cover and cook on low for 12 hours. Honestly, the time is very flexible. It's hard to overcook this some people cook it as long as 24 hours. I normally make mine after we've eaten the roasted chicken for dinner. Then I throw the carcass and other ingredients into the slow cooker and let it cook overnight. I don't even normally time it. The result the next day is a healthy chicken broth with amazing flavor.

Step 7. Rest a wire mesh strainer over a bowl, and pour the cooked liquid through it to remove all of the bits and pieces from the broth.

Removing the fat from the broth is optional. So, you can skip step 8, if you don't want a fat-free broth. I like to remove the fat from mine. Here are 2 ways.

Step 8a. Removing the fat--refrigerator method. Pour the strained broth into a large container, cover, and refrigerate overnight or until completely chilled. The fat will rise to the top and solidify, so it's easy to scrape it off. The result is fat-free, healthy, delicious chicken broth.

OR, you can remove the fat while the broth is still hot.

Step 8b. Removing the fat with a grease separator. While it's still warm, pour the broth into a grease separator, let it rest for a few minutes to allow the melted fat to rise to the top. Use a grease separator to pour the broth from the bottom. There are several types of grease separators the one pictured below is the one I've found works the best. It has a trigger in the handle for releasing the fat-free broth through the bottom. Release the trigger (to stop the flow), when the layer of liquid fat gets close to the bottom.

The color of the broth may vary from batch to batch. You can see in my photos (taken over the course of several batches), that sometimes my broth is a golden color and sometimes it's a darker brown. That's because of how the chicken was cooked, how much it browned when it was roasted, and if there were any darkened pan drippings to add. For example, when I use the carcass and drippings from my Slow Cooker Chicken with Caramelized Onions recipe , the resulting broth is particularly dark and rich (see the photo below on the right).

The gel is the thing. Unlike the less nutritious store bought broths, this homemade bone broth transforms into a gel consistency as it chills in the fridge. (No worries, it dissolves back into a liquid as soon as it heats up again.) That gelling is a good thing--it's a sign of the big health benefit of making broth using chicken bones. Those bones have natural gelatin that nourishes your body in several ways (explained earlier in this post).

  • If yours doesn't gel, it's probably because either you added too much water for the amount of bones or you didn't cook it long enough. I've never had a "gel fail" in the slow cooker. Low & slow for 10-12 hours works for me every time.

Freeze it. I make this chicken broth frequently from our leftover chicken bones. It's great to have it on hand for use in a multitude of recipes. Although it's possible to can it (using a pressure cooker, NOT a water processor), it's easier to freeze it. I portion it into 1 or 2 cup containers. You can use plastic storage containers or freezer safe wide-mouth pint jars. If I need to free up some containers, I first freeze the broth in 1 or 2 cup plastic containers, remove the frozen blocks of broth, and vacuum seal them with a Foodsaver. I also freeze some broth in ice cube trays, and transfer the frozen cubes to a freezer ziploc bag. Those smaller portions are convenient to have on hand, too.

Use this homemade broth to add flavor and nutrition to any recipe that calls for chicken broth. Of course, it makes great soups and gravies. It's so flavorful and good for you, that you can also drink a mugful all by itself to give your day a healthy boost. Grandma's chicken soup really can heal you when you're sick, especially when it's made with bone broth.


How to Make Chicken Bone Broth in a Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot

  1. Add the Ingredients to a6-Quart Slow Cooker: If your chicken bones/skin & veggies are frozen, you can stick them straight into the slow cooker - no need to thaw first. However, frozen ingredients will extend the cooking time by about an hour since it will take longer for the liquid to heat up.
  2. Cook on High: Even on the high setting, the slow cooker takes several hours to reach a simmer (usually 2-3 depending on the size of your crock-pot, how full it is & if your ingredients are frozen). Using this setting (instead of low) helps to speed things up, so the broth takes 5 hours instead of 10. Perfect for night owls like me. If you don't mind a longer cook-time or will be gone all day, the low setting is perfectly fine.
  3. Strain, Cool & Refrigerate: Remove the big pieces of solids (bones, skin, veggies) with a spider tool or slotted spoon, then strain the broth through a colander (fine mesh works well) to remove the smaller solids. For a super clean broth, strain again through a cheesecloth (I rarely do this). Cool the broth on the counter for an hour or so then cover and place in the refrigerator overnight.
  4. Skim Off Solidified Fat (Optional): The next day, there will be a layer of solidified chicken fat (schmaltz) on top. Keep it or remove it - it's totally up to you! I usually break it into small chunks and keep it in my broth when I'm portioning it out to freeze. It adds extra flavor to recipes (especially soups), so I enjoy it! However, you can always scoop the chicken fat out, place it into an airtight container in the fridge, and use it for sauteing/roasting veggies or cooking eggs.
  5. Portion into Containers: Unless you're planning to use the whole batch within 3-4 days, portion the broth into jars or ziplock bags (making sure to leave at least an inch at the top for expansion) and place in the freezer for storage. I typically measure 2 cups of broth into a quart-sized freezer bag and lay them flat so they take up less space and thaw more quickly.


Homemade food is rewarding and this way you’re also sure about what ingredients are used.
Today we’ll have a two step video showing you how to cook a full chicken in your crockpot and then make a delicious homemade chicken broth using the bone, skin and cartilage.

Stef made it simple and straightforward, anyone can do it!

It is important to get a good healthy chicken. A free-range organic chicken is what we recommend and quality veggies too…
Pretty nice…

Note that you’ll be able to keep the broth for a few weeks in your freezer and use it whenever you need a tasty base for your slow cooker recipes…
Don’t forget to share if you liked it!

Source Youtube Stef’s Cooking Channel: “How to Cook a Whole Chicken and Make Bone Broth in the Slow Cooker”


Slow Cooker Chicken Broth (or any bone broth)

There are two methods - both crazy easy - to go about making slow cooker chicken broth and both of them use the vegetable scraps you've been keeping in baggies in the freezer (Don't have any? Start asap - just keep the empty bags in the door of the freezer for easy adding any time you're prepping onions, carrots, and celery. ):

1) Freeze chicken bones to make broth later - I do this a lot when I'm cutting up a chicken, saving the backs until there's enough for a pot.

2) Cook a whole chicken like this, cut the meat off the bones and freeze to make any recipe that calls for cooked chicken (this is one of my key menu tips - then you can add any of these quick recipes using cooked chicken to your menus!).

And if you want to be super efficient, throw a chicken in the slow cooker right when you get home from shopping! You can season it like this slow cooked spiced rotisserie chicken to eat some for dinner or just season it with a bit of salt and pepper, letting it cook on High for about 3 hours before removing the chicken from the bones and packaging the meat up for the freezer.

Either way, here are the steps to make chicken broth easily in the slow cooker:

  1. Sometime during the day, add your frozen chicken bones to the slow cooker (no need to thaw), OR if you've just cooked a chicken, leave everything but the meat in the slow cooker - bones, any broth from cooking, and skin. Note: I always leave skin in, even if I skim off the fat later, since it adds a lot of flavor - you can remove it if you prefer. Also note: giblets from a whole chicken or turkey often provide really strong flavors, so I may add the neck and gizzard, but not the liver - it's up to you.
  2. Next toss in onion, carrot, and celery ends and trimmings that you've been saving in the freezer. I usually add a couple handfuls, making sure to get some of everything. Optionally you can add: 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (helps to pull out the gelatin from the bones), garlic, whole peppercorns, or mild herbs like parsley (stems, too).
  3. Fill the slow cooker about three-quarters from the top with water, covering all the bones (break them or push them down to cover if needed).
  4. Turn the cooker to HIGH for an hour start the broth cooking (this is optional - you can just cook on low for the whole time, too). After an hour, turn it to LOW and then go about your day (or go to bed) and let the bones and vegetables simmer all night and into the next day to equal 12 to 24 hours (the longer the better).

Can I use any vegetables to make chicken broth?

Technically, yes, but some will impart bitter or strong flavors so we typically stay away from them, especially when we want the most flexible broth for using in recipes.

The best vegetables to use in chicken stock are:

  • onions
  • carrots + tops
  • celery + leaves
  • parsley + stems
  • garlic
  • green onion tops

Other vegetables you can use if you don't mind the flavor:

  • sweet peppers
  • broccoli or cauliflower stems
  • cabbage cores
  • other herb leaves

If you've left it overnight, in the morning the deepest, most flavorful and nutrient-dense chicken broth awaits you in the cooker. And the house smells amazing!

Depending on when you started the broth the day before, you can take care of it right away or wait a few more hours to get closer to the 24 hour mark. I usually aim for 17 to 20 hours, which if I started it the evening before is early afternoon of the next day.

Now it's a simply matter of straining the broth into a large pourable container (an 8-cup glass measure or batter bowl with spout works) and then portioning it into glass canning jars or other freezer containers.

Cool the broth before attaching lids and store in the fridge for a week or the freezer for up to a year.

Obviously, you can do this in the morning and let the broth cook all day as well, going for a 12 hour cooking window. I simply find it easiest to let it cook through the night after cooking a chicken in the afternoon.

The slow cooker has made it possible for me to have both cooked meat and broth ready for recipes - all without heating up the kitchen (well, not too much - and mostly at night) and with a minimum of work. If you made nothing else with a slow cooker but cooked chicken and broth, it would be well worth the investment!

UPDATE: I now also will make bone broth in my Instant Pot! It still takes a couple hours, but it's a LOT less time than 12 to 24 (though the slow cooker is still the more "set it and forget it" appliance for me, so I do both). You follow all the same steps, but making sure the water in the Instant Pot goes just to the MAX line and not over. Cook on High pressure for 1 hour and let release naturally for 30 minutes. With the 30 minutes to come to pressure, it's about a 2 hour cooking time. I've added these directions to the recipe below.

And the fact that this delicious broth is made from throw-away items? Amazing!

Have you used your slow cooker to make broth? If so, what is your favorite way to use the broth?


Slow Cooker Chicken Stock

Slow cooker chicken stock or broth is gloriously easy. Just toss raw chicken parts or carcasses in a slow cooker with vegetables, water, and herbs in the proper proportions, walk away, and come back later to a rich, deep, concentrated, out-of-this-world, paleo-friendly stock.

Adapted from Ryland Peters & Small | Easy Slow Cooker | Ryland Peters & Small, 2010

Slow cooker chicken stock has cast its spell on us. It’s not that making chicken stock from scratch is difficult. But it just seems to require far less effort and patience when left to burble in a slow cooker than when left to burble on the back burner. Perhaps because you can walk away from it and not worry about the gas flame being a little too high and causing the stock to boil raucously and turn cloudy and bitter or being a little too low and extending the already long process. Or you can actually leave the house and not have to worry if all your worldly possessions will go up in flames.

The slow cooker strategy simply ensures the stock burbles sleepily and remains clear as can be. Once you make homemade chicken stock in a slow cooker, chances are you’ll be so wooed by the ease with which it comes together, you won’t want to go back to making it any other way, just as everyone who’s tried it seems to say. [Editor’s Note: But in case you do want to occasionally go back to the old-fashioned approach, we’ve also got the perfect Roast Chicken Stock recipe for you.]–Renee Schettler

How To Tweak Chicken Stock To Your Liking

Homemade chicken stock isn’t hard to make, either in a slow cooker or a pot. But a reliable homemade chicken stock recipe? That’s another matter entirely. Sure, you can certainly toss chicken (whether raw parts or the carcass of a roasted hen) and whatever vegetables and herbs you happen to have on hand in your slow cooker or pot with some water and chances are it’s not going to be terrible. Although it may not be as rich, deep, and complex as it could be. While we’re all for the spirit of experimentation, we’ve made a lot of chicken stock in our day, and we prefer the precise proportions of chicken, water, vegetables, and herbs in the recipe below. And folks who’d followed the recipe to a t are waxing poetic about it being their default, go-to, never-again-will-they-stray, foolproof chicken stock recipe from here on. Still, if you’re the sort who doesn’t like to necessarily adhere to a recipe, we’ve a few things you may wish to consider in terms of ingredients…

Leeks lend a milder allium experience than onions.
Celery imparts a rather clean, almost astringent note.
Carrots ensure sweetness.
Black peppercorns—just a few, mind you—lend depth of flavor and complexity.
Herbs add a…well, we think that’s sorta obvious what herbs add.
Same goes for garlic.
Ginger imparts a warming sharpness that’s a boon to anything Asian, though best used sparely and only with other ingredients such as lemongrass or onion.

One last thing. Whatever you do, don’t rely on mere bones and water. Trust us. [Editor’s Note: When we (and by “we,” we really mean our editor in chief, Renee) first made homemade chicken stock as a very young twenty-something straight out of college, she poured water over roasted bones and let the potion simmer for hours, assured that the gods of stockmaking would smile favorably upon this effort. They did not. Let it be a lesson to you. It certainly was to her.]


When homemade chicken stock cools, you will have a layer of yellow fat on top. You can skim it off and discard it, or use it within 24 hours to spread on toast with salt. To keep chicken fat longer you need to heat it to remove the moisture from it.

You haven't done anything wrong! The cooled stock will be thick and jiggle like Jell-O, which is due to the gelatin and collagen from the bones. It will liquify again once you warm it up.


Benefits of Bone Broth

So we talked about HOW the process works and what it gives you. But whats all that do? LOTS of stuff! Here are just a few examples.

You Can Absorb More Nutrients

Bone broth has its own nutrients that can provide a lot of different health benefits. But that's not all. It also helps you to absorb more nutrients from other foods you are eating.

There are some great nutrients in bone broth that are bio available. That means it makes it much easier to digest.

So if you're looking for a way to add to your general health and increase how many nutrients you get into your body (without taking supplements) bone broth is a great way to start!

Your Skin Will be Glowing

One thing you might not know about bone broth is that it can do wonders for your skin. The collagen in bone broth makes your skin more elastic, more like a child's.

This is going to help minimize lines and wrinkles. You'll be able to hold onto more of your skin’s youthful appearance.

Some people notice their skin has a natural glow to it, while others notice it has begun smoothing out and looks more youthful. Either way, you really can’t go wrong.

It is Amazing for Your Gut Health

Gut health is not the easiest condition to get help with. But one thing that does help dramatically is bone broth.

It's the gelatin you get in bone broth, that comes from the bones you use when making this broth. That gelatin can help with your gut health.

Not just your standard digestive issues, but gut issues like leaky gut syndrome. This is going to help with problems like holes in your intestine, which can then help rectify diarrhea and constipation issues.


Hi, I'm Jennifer! I love creating fresh recipes that are quick and simple to make so that I can help you get dinner on the table without the fuss!

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