What Is Bone Broth? Plus, How to Make It From Scratch

It has a number of nutritional benefits. And it’s surprisingly easy to make.

January 13, 2022
1133236356

1133236356

Chicken bone broth in a glass jar, with fresh vegetables in the background

Photo by: Madeleine_Steinbach/Getty Images

Madeleine_Steinbach/Getty Images

By Fraya Berg for Food Network Kitchen

Fraya is a chef and a contributing writer at Food Network.

Bone broth has graduated from trend to mainstream, available in cartons or bottles at almost every grocery store in the U.S. While the premade stuff is easy to enjoy, bone broth is still tastier if you make it yourself. Yes, it takes time, but the stove does most of the work. Here, all of your bone broth questions answered.

What Is Bone Broth?

Bone broth looks like chicken soup – minus all the noodles and veggies. In other words, just broth. Wellness experts tout its nutritional benefits, and others simply value it as a warming, savory tasty beverage to enjoy on a warm winter’s day. But what exactly is it? Bone broth is a clear soup made from bones (from any animal) with connective tissue and some meat, which are naturally high in collagen, the protein gelatin is derived from. The longer bones are simmered, the greater the concentration of collagen in the broth. Bone broth or stock, no matter what you call it, is the best way to extract every last bit of protein and nutrition from the parts of an animal you can’t eat.

1292474107

1292474107

Homemade boiled beef bone broth in mug on grey table, dark background. Golden meat bouillon. Bones contain collagen.

Photo by: ALEKSEI BEZRUKOV/Getty Images

ALEKSEI BEZRUKOV/Getty Images

What’s the Difference Between Bone Broth and Stock?

Bone broth and stock may sound similar: after all, they’re both made by simmering bones and aromatics in water. However, there are a few key differences.

Bone broth is typically saltier and much more flavorful than stock because it’s designed to be sipped straight out of a cup all on its own. Stock, on the other hand, is typically used as a base for soups. The differences in flavor boil down to how each is made.

Bone broth recipes typically ask you to first rub the bones with tomato paste and roast them in the oven to develop intense umami flavor. Then you’ll simmer them with aromatics in water and sometimes vinegar for hours on end (like, two whole days) to concentrate flavor even more. The results are so rich in collagen that they might be gelatinous at room temperature. Finally, many people add other aromatic ingredients before sipping, like crushed lemongrass, ginger or ground chili pepper (check out our story 6 Bone Broth Mix-Ins).

Stock is made by simply simmering bones and aromatics in water for 3 to 4 hours. Because the collagen is less concentrated, it’s typically liquid at room temperature.

What Are the Benefits of Bone Broth?

Bone broth has nutritional value: a cup has approximately 30 calories, 5 grams of protein, 12 grams of fat and 3 grams of carbohydrates. When you’re drinking a cup of bone broth, most of what you’re getting is water, and hydrating is always a good idea. The richness of bone broth leaves you with a sense of satiety, or the sensation of fullness, and can be part of a healthy lifestyle. When it’s made with plenty of vegetables along with the bones, you’ll also benefit from their nutrients. And then there’s the age-old claim that chicken soup can cure a cold. Can it? Toby Amidor, M.S., R.D., C.D.N. did a deep dive with the pros and cons in Does Chicken Soup Cure a Cold? Although the evidence isn’t terribly strong, numerous studies show that chicken soup may help fight a cold. What a grandmother would probably say is: “Well, it couldn’t hurt.” We leave it to you to hear it in the voice of your grandmother.

1203692488

1203692488

cooked chicken stock in a glass jar on a kitchen table with bouquet garni and chicken bones in a bowl, horizontal view from above

Photo by: from_my_point_of_view/Getty Images

from_my_point_of_view/Getty Images

How to Make Bone Broth

Start with Collagen-Rich Bones

Knuckle bones and chicken feet provide the most collagen per pound of bones.

Blanch the Bones to Remove Impurities

Put the bones in cold water, bring to a boil and simmer for 20 minutes, then drain the water. This step removes the impurities that would otherwise float to the top of the pot while you’re simmering the bones. In other words, blanching minimizes the amount of skimming you’ll have to do later.

Roast the Bones

Rub the bones all over with tomato paste, spread them out on a sheet pan and roast them in a 400-degree F oven until they are very brown in spots, about 45 minutes.

FNK_SlowCookerBoneBroth_H

FNK_SlowCookerBoneBroth_H

Chef Name: Food Network KitchenFull Recipe Name: Slow-Cooker Bone BrothTalent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Slow-Cooker Bone BrothProject: Foodnetwork.com, WINTER RECIPES/COCKTAILS/FNK VIDEOSShow Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network,Chef Name: Food Network Kitchen Full Recipe Name: Slow-Cooker Bone Broth Talent Recipe: FNK Recipe: Food Networks Kitchen’s Slow-Cooker Bone Broth Project: Foodnetwork.com, WINTER RECIPES/COCKTAILS/FNK VIDEOS Show Name: Food Network / Cooking Channel: Food Network

Photo by: Renee Comet ©2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Renee Comet, 2015, Television Food Network, G.P. All Rights Reserved

Bring the Bones and Aromatics to a Simmer

Use a tall and narrow pot to reduce evaporation (as opposed to a short, wider pot like a Dutch oven). Cover the bones with cold water and a splash of vinegar to help extract collagen, bring them mixture to a boil, reduce to a simmer and add vegetables and aromatics. Use aromatics such as peeled onions, peeled carrots, peeled garlic cloves, cleaned celery stalks without bitter leaves, fresh parsley, bay leaves and peppercorns.

Alternatively, if you’re worried about leaving your stove on for up to two days, never fear. You can always make bone broth in your slow cooker. Check out our Slow-Cooker Bone Broth recipe, pictured above.

Simmer the Broth for 12 to 48 hours

Cook the broth on a low flame. Some recipes call for skimming off fat as the broth simmers, but if you plan on freezing it, a layer of fat on the top of each container actually helps preserve the bone broth and prevent freezer burn.

Strain the Broth

With tongs, remove the bones from the saucepot and discard. Strain the broth through a fine sieve. Let cool to room temperature and transfer to airtight containers. Store the bone broth in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Serve the Bone Broth Hot

Rewarm bone broth in the stove or microwave until it’s piping hot, then stir in any desired flavorings.

Related Links:

Next Up

What Is Aioli?

The magic of an emulsification coming together is awe-inspiring. Aioli is no exception. It’s not mayo but it comes into being with the same steps and principles.

We Found the Best Way to Reheat Leftover Pizza

Whatever you do, skip the microwave.

How to Reheat Fried Chicken

We found two top methods to make it nice and crisp.

The Best Cheeses to Use for Mac and Cheese

The type of cheese you use can make or (literally) break your mac and cheese sauce.

These Are the Best Potatoes for Mashing

There are two categories of potatoes. Make sure you reach for the right one to avoid lumpy results.

How to Thicken Soups, Sauces, Chili and Other Foods

Learn the sneaky tips and techniques to thicken whatever you're cooking.

What Is Red Velvet Cake?

And what makes it so darn red?

What Is Tahini?

Plus how to make tahini from scratch.

What Is Pesto?

We read once that pesto was trending. Pesto has been trending for thousands of years: not news. What is new is that you can make pesto with more than just basil. Cilantro and sesame, anyone?

How to Fold a Burrito

All it takes is a few easy steps.
More from:

Cooking School

Latest Stories