DIY Chicken Stock (for Free!)

This might be old news for a lot of you, but making homemade chicken stock for free, with ingredients that would normally be tossed out was an amazing revelation to me a couple years ago.  And this method it a surprise to many of the people I talk to in real life.

So here it is!

Here’s how to make your own chicken stock for free, out of garbage!  Same goes for veggie stock, by the way, just omit the chicken carcass!

By the way, any roasted chicken will do – even a rotisserie chicken from the grocery store, though those will bring a certain amount of grease and preservatives to the party.

And all those veggies?  Keep a labeled gallon sized freezer bag in the freezer at all times.  As you trim veggies, add them to the bag.  Once the bag is full, roast a chicken for dinner, and you’re ready to make stock!

DIY Chicken Stock (for Free!)

Gotta Have It:
These ingredients are necessary for making a decent chicken stock

Carcass (bones) from 1 roasted chicken, meat removed
Carrot peels (or old carrots)
Onion skins & ends (or 1 whole onion, quartered)
1 tbsp sea salt
1 tsp black peppercorns
1 ½ gallons water (or enough to fill stock pot)

Sure, Add It In!:
If you got it, throw it in!  It’s only going to make your stock better!

Asparagus ends
Bell pepper tops/ribs
Broccoli stems
Brussels Sprouts ends/loose leaves
Cauliflower stems
Celery ends or wiggly celery
Garlic skins or leftover pulp from pressing
Green Bean ends
Herb stems
Kale stems
Pea pods
Rough leek leaves
Spinach stems
Thick bits of cabbage
Zucchini ends/peels

Think About It:
These ingredients may change the color or flavor of the stock slightly, though that’s never been a negative thing in my experience – I usually add these in, too.

Apple cores/peels
Beet roots/peels
Hot pepper tops/ribs/seeds
Mushroom ends/gills
Squeezed lemons/limes/oranges
Tomato tops/pulp/skins

Skip It:
No, just no.  Don’t do it.

Anything dirty
Anything rotten or moldy
Anything starchy (corn/cobs, potatoes/skins)
Avocado skins/seeds
Cucumber peels (or other waxy things)
Lentils or other beans

To make the stock, place the chicken carcass and desired veggie parts (no need to thaw if they’re frozen!) in a large stock pot.  Cover with water, leaving just a bit of room at the top.  Season with sea salt and peppercorns.  Bring the pot to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer.  Simmer for 1 ½ - 2 hours.  Remove the pot from heat and allow to cool to room temperature (or close to it)

Strain out all of the solids through a cheese cloth or fine mesh strainer and place the stock into labeled freezer bags.  I like to freeze my stock in 4 or 1 cup portions.


  1. I often make my own broth(stock). Using the chicken bones, veggies etc. It freezes well and has nothing in it I don't want us to eat. Great tips. Hugs P.S. I invite you to share this at my Thursday hop ( you can link up through Sat)


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