Slow Cooker Bone Broth is made from the bones of chicken or beef slow cooked for an extended time to make a rich, gelatinous broth. It becomes "liquid gold." It can be used for soups, sauces, or even on its own as something nourishing to sip on!
Whenever I have leftover bones from cooking a whole chicken, I ALWAYS save them. It's so easy to make homemade bone broth, that they are too precious to waste! If you aren't planned on making bone broth right away or don't have enough bones for a full batch, store them in the freezer until you are ready to use them. This can go for beef bones or even a turkey carcass from a Thanksgiving Turkey, as well.
Bone broth is just like what it sounds, broth made from the bones of an animal such as chicken or beef bones. The main way making bone broth differs from stock or regular broth is the cooking time. Stock typically only cooks for 2-4 hours with flavor being the main goal, whereas bone broth cooks for anywhere from 12-24 hours with nutrient density (and flavor) being the main goal. Stock is often made with bones and meat, as well as additional flavorings.
This bone broth can be enjoyed as something to sip on or used in any of your favorite recipes, wherever you would typically use chicken broth. It adds a rich flavor and extra nutrients.
Making your own bone broth in the crockpot is the simplest way to do it. The temperature stays consistent and you don't have to have your stove on for the extended cook time it requires.
- Chicken Bones: Raw bones or cooked bones (such as from a roast whole chicken) both work. You can also ask your local butcher for bones and they may be able to help you out. This recipe can easily be turned to beef bone broth simply by swapping out the chicken bones for beef bones.
- Water: Enough to cover the bones completely, around 8-10 cups for a standard sized crockpot.
- Veggies: This is optional, but I like to add veggies for another layer of flavor and color. Mirepoix veggies (carrots, celery, and onion) are perfect and they make for a classic tasting bone broth.
See recipe card below for a full list of ingredients.
How to Make Slow Cooker Bone Broth
Step 1. In a crock pot, place chicken bones, onions, celery, carrots.
Step 2. Cover with 8-10 cups of water.
Step 3. Cover with lid and cook on LOW for 18-24 hours.
Step 4. Using a fine mesh strainer, remove veggies and bones. Use immediately, refrigerate, or freeze.
- Do not exceed 24 hours of cooking time, or the bone broth may develop a bitter taste.
- Your broth may gel when it cools, that's a good thing! It means the broth is full of collagen.
- This easy crockpot bone broth is as simple as it comes. Feel free to experiment with adding different vegetables and spices.
- Most often I make this broth with leftover bones, but when I don’t have them, I use raw bone-in chicken. This works as double meal prep. The chicken cooks after about 4-5 hours on low. You can then remove it from the crockpot, pull off the meat, and place the chicken carcass back in from the duration of the cook time. The pulled chicken is then ready to go for all kinds of dishes such as cream cheese chicken crescent rolls and shredded chicken enchiladas. Or it can be frozen for later.
How to use bone broth
Use this chicken bone broth anywhere you would use chicken stock such as soups or sauces.
- Sip on it from a mug like you would tea.
- Add it to sauces like one pan creamy chicken and gnocchi.
- Cook pasta or rice in it like Chicken Pastina or Mushroom Pea Risotto.
Benefits of bone broth
- Supports gut health: Due to its’ gelatin content, bone broth can actually help with food sensitivities, such as those to dairy or wheat! Additionally, it helps to grow the good bacteria in your gut, which is essential to maintaining a healthy digestive system.
- Supports joint health: Both gelatin and collagen are integral parts of ensuring your joints are functioning properly. Bone broth has both!
- Supports skin health: Collagen is an essential part of skin formation. It is responsible for aiding in the formation of elastin which decreases wrinkles, puffiness, and overall appearance of the skin. Read more on the benefits of bone broth.
Bone broth is sometimes referred to as "liquid gold" because it is highly valued for its numerous health benefits, nutrient density, and versatility.
The claim is that apple cider vinegar helps to pull out nutrients (vitamins and minerals) from the bones when making bone broth. Some people swear by it, some say it's completely unnecessary. As long as you simmer the bones long enough, you will be fine without it. It's a matter of preference.
Store bone broth in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Freeze in portions for up to 4 months. Freezing homemade bone broth in ice cube trays or measured out cup portions works best for easy thawing.
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Slow Cooker Bone Broth
- 3-4 lbs. chicken bones
- 8 cups water
- 2 onions quartered, skin can be left on
- 2 stalks celery rough chopped, include tops
- 3 carrots quartered
- In a crock pot, place chicken bones onions, celery, carrots.
- Pour water over top.
- Cover and cook on LOW for 18-24 hours. Strain out veggies and bones. Use immediately, refrigerate, or freeze.