Making Homemade Broth and Stock

Nothing beats the convenience of having homemade broth and stock on hand, and they taste much better than anything you can buy at the store. Best of all, they’re easy to make, and you’ll reduce kitchen waste by extracting the flavor that remains in bones and vegetable peelings.

  • vegetables
    Aromatic vegetables flavor both broths and stocks.
    Photo by Barbara Damrosch
  • canned-broth
    Keep canned chicken stock on hand for flavoring sauces, soups, and stews.
    Photo by Andrea Chesman

  • vegetables
  • canned-broth

Nothing beats the convenience of having homemade broth and stock on hand in your kitchen. Homemade broths and stocks taste better than canned broths, bouillon cubes and pastes, and even expensive boxed broths. In addition, you’ll reduce your kitchen waste if you extract the flavor that remains in bones and vegetable peelings after the other parts are consumed.

But what do you call the simmering mixture in your pot? Is it broth, or is it stock? The two terms are often used interchangeably, and definitions do vary, so it depends on who you ask. But, in a nutshell, stock is the gelatinous result of cooking vegetables and bones in unseasoned water for several hours to extract flavor, while broth is made out of vegetables and meat simmered in a seasoned liquid for a shorter period of time. Either one can serve as a foundation for other dishes, but because broth is typically seasoned, it’s often consumed on its own, while stock is the perfect rich-tasting base onto which you can layer other flavors.

The two basic types of stock are white and brown. White stocks are made with aromatic vegetables and bones (usually raw or roasted poultry or fish bones) that are simmered for hours. Brown stocks are made by roasting vegetables and bones first, and then boiling them with aromatic vegetables. This technique most often includes beef and pork bones, but poultry bones can be turned into brown stock too. Lamb and goat bones can also be used, but not everyone appreciates the resulting flavor.

To make your own stock, select a mixture of jointed bones and meaty bones. The jointed bones add collagen for mouthfeel, and the meaty bones add flavor. If you’re making a poultry stock, nothing beats chicken feet for adding richness — and you can’t make much else with them. I generally roast my poultry by spatchcocking or butterflying, meaning cutting out the backbone and then flattening the breast. This significantly reduces the roasting time and provides me the backbones for making stock; backbones are almost as good as feet for making a flavorful stock.

You’ll need a large stockpot or saucepan for making stock. If you’re making a brown stock, you’ll also need a couple of large rimmed sheet pans or roasting pans. The vegetables are a suggestion only; use what you have on hand, but avoid brassicas (such as broccoli and cabbages), which add an unpleasant flavor when cooked at length. I save onion peels, parsley stems, and leek greens in the freezer for this purpose. You can also save up mushroom stems and gills.

Skim the fat off the top of the meat and poultry stocks, and save it to cook with later. It’s a great cooking medium that adds flavor and excellent browning qualities to any dish. The fat is perishable, though, so use it within a week or freeze it.

11/19/2019 10:58:15 AM

the recipe links to Poultry, Mushroom and Brown Stock aren't accessible. Mushroom Broth Recipe link goes to a "Family Cow" page! Please furnish these recipes! Thanks!!

10/7/2018 12:34:48 PM

We Just bought our home in Southern New Mexico and inherited eight 2 year old fruit trees and would like to know how employ this method to keep them manageable. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

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