Making Bone Broth

Bone Broth

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Making Nourishing, Healthy, Resourceful, And Tasty Bone Broth

Making bone broth has been a trendy interest for a while, but these nourishing broths have been being made longer than any of us can remember.

Most of our great grandparents if not grandparents made bone broths as they did not waste anything. My wonderful ancestors were all about the adage  "waste not, want not" and they passed that on to me. I grew up on a farm where the animals we ate had a name and when you eat food that had a name you did not waste anything that came from that animal. You can be sure the carcass parts left over were always used as the base of a soup or made into some sort of a broth where they provided nourishment and gave better flavor to a meal.

Fast forward to current time, and those of us who like to cook, know animal parts that are often tossed can instead be used to add flavor to a sauce, a soup, or any meal that requires a little added moisture from a well-made bone broth. Bone broths are also being recognized for their health giving effects. They provide collagen, elastin and minerals that many people are not adequately receiving in their diet.

Due to the fact that I have been recommending bone broths in my blogs for years, I thought I should provide directions for making my favorite bone broth which is made from a chicken carcass. If you are baking a chicken and not making bone broth from the carcass, you are wasting some valuable, nourishing and tasty parts of that chicken.

I don't have directions here for beef or lamb or pork, but you can make bone broth with all of these. I simply don't eat red meat usually, but people make bone broth from the usual 4 legged animals exactly the same way as with chicken or fish which I do eat on occasion. Fish heads are great in a broth. You can use a variety of different types and parts of animals in a bone broth and it will change the end product depending on what you use. How much fat you want to added or removed also changes your final product.


Tools or Items You Will Need For Making Bone Broths

  • Really big stockpot
  • Organic or Grass Fed Bones or carcass
  • Clean Water
  • Vinegar if you like - see note on vinegar below
  • Sea Salt or other healthy salt
  • Potato masher if cooking up small bones such as a chicken or fish

You can use only bones, water and salt or you can add some vinegar which is thought to help break the bones and collagen down, or you can also add spices or other flavors if you wish it to taste even better.

Vinegar notation: Although acid is used to hydrolyze collagen into soluble form it needs to be in larger amounts than one would usually get from throwing small amounts of vinegar into a bone broth and it is used around room temperature or lower. Therefore, I doubt the amount used in bone broths is helping too much. Some individuals add larger amounts of vinegar and add it to the pot for a period of time prior to cooking, but I don't like microbes growing in my broth and creating histamine prior to cooking it, so I don't advocate for that.

What You Can Use To Make Bone Broth

  • Bones From Butcher
  • Bones from A Roasted Lamb or Beef meal
  • Bones From Pork Roast
  • Chicken Carcass from dinner
  • Fish Bones, Skin and Scales
  •  You can add any organs not used otherwise also if you like, but it will become less brothy. I usually add them towards the end of the process after the broth has been strained.
  • You can save raw parts in the freezer as you collect them while preparing meals, then use them all at one time to make bone broth
  • Adding a splash of vinegar to the pot will help break down the bones and other materials.

Parts of critters not usually eaten by westerners are great as bone broth. So besides the bones or carcass of a critter you can add:

  • Chicken feet
  • Fish heads and tails
  • Pig snouts, ears, feet
  • Marrow
  • Knuckles
  • Any parts you feel ok with adding that are high in collagen

One thing I would add is that it is traditional to do a 20 minute water boil and drain the water, then roast when using these odd ball critter parts. It is kind of like a last clean-up before roasting the whole lot. This is more important when you have some questionable parts that really do need a clean up. I don't find this necessary when I use a roasted chicken from a meal, but if you are buying bones at the butcher to use rather than a nicely roasted shank or chicken carcass, I suggest you do the 20 minutes water boil on your fresh bones, tails, heads etc. and then toss the water and go onward to roasting them prior to making the broth.

Hoofs usually are high in collagen as are ears, nose, joints, skin. Many parts that get thrown out work great in a bone broth. I suggest you talk to your local butcher about getting parts they might be thrown out. If they have grass fed animal parts the butcher is tossing, even better. You may also find a local organic or grass fed farm that sells meat direct to the consumer and they too may have parts that you could get at a good price.


Directions For Making Chicken Bone Broth

A roasted carcass makes a tasty bone broth. After roasting the chicken and using most of it I take what is left and pop it into a pot of water to cook for 10-24 hours. I usually cook chicken until the bones are soft and I can smash them up with a potato masher and then strain the whole lot at the end. You can compost the remains of the bones unless you have trouble with vermin in your compost pile. Bones take a long time to compost but if you mash them up it helps speed it up and adds good minerals to your soil. Once it is strained if I have any fresh chicken organs, I add them into the broth and continue cooking for a brief time.

Bones from red meat are cooked similar. Take big beef bones and put them in the pot and add water to cover the carcass or bones.

If you purchased bones from the butcher and they are raw, I suggest you roast them first. This will give lovely flavor to your bone broth. However, if you skip roasting you still get the healthy benefits, but just less flavor. Remember if you purchase any "nasty bits" they must be boiled 20 minutes, water thrown out and then you roast them.


Instructions For Making Bone Broth

  1. In a large stockpot, cook the roasted chicken carcass in just enough water to cover it well. Cook at a simmer until any meat left on the bones is easily removed from the carcass. If you have the chicken feet, add them too. First boil them for 20 minutes and throw the water out before adding the feet.
  2. Remove the meat from the carcass and you are left with a pile of bones and some bits of cartilage that can continue to simmer.
  3.  Add water to cover your bones if more water is needed. Add salt to taste.
  4. Simmer the bones in the water for 10 hours and then check to see if they have softened enough to mash them up. Often they need to sit another ten hours, but if you were simmering really hard, added vinegar or cooked at a low boil, they might be ready to mash.
  5. When the bones have softened, smash them with the potato masher. This will break them all open and release the bone marrow and allow more parts of the bone to come in contact with the water.
  6. Continue to simmer for another hour or more.
  7. Turn off the heat and strain the liquid before it cools down. I have cooked this mixture so long before that it is a mush and I have actually eaten the softened bones. I can only eat a small amount though. Not as tasty as the broth.


Tip: This broth will be gelatinous at room temperature. That is to be expected.

Tip: You can make a bunch to freeze so it’s ready when you are, and you can pour the last few ounces of broth into an ice cube tray to add to sauces or use in the place of water in dishes where appropriate.

Tip: Various factors affect the amount of protein, and minerals extract into the broth, including acidity, cooking temperature, cooking time and the type of animal parts used.



Some folks are inflammatory due to excess histamine from histamine in food or food that causes an increase in histamine after eating it or folks with gut bacteria that create histamine or staimulate the body to make histamine. There are also some people who don't make enough of the appropriate enzymes that break down histamine. If you fall into any of these groups, pass by the bone broth or take diamine oxidase (DAO) with your bone broth as it can set off a reaction in people who have a histamine intolerance. Where the main problem comes in that increases the chance for histamine in bone broth is when a broth is made from bones and meat that was not handled appropriately. If there was inadequate refrigeration prior to processing or if the broth was left on the counter after making it, this will increase bacterial growth in the bone broth and lead to increased histamine. For more information on histamine in food and the digestive tract read the "When Food Allergy Is Really Histamine Intolerance " article. There is also an expanded two part article on histamine Part I: Histamine Intolerance Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis and Part II:  Histamine Intolerance Solutions.

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