Beef Stock: A Simple Recipe

Beef stock – especially homemade beef stock is remarkably easy to prepare especially using this tried-and-true classic beef stock recipe.   You don’t need purchased beef base to prepare a decent beef stock any more than you need those hateful little granules of chicken bouillon to prepare a chicken stock.   Just a lazy Saturday around the house, some soup bones and vegetable scraps are all that this beef stock recipe requires.

While we mostly use roast chicken stock in our home, from time to time we mix it up by also preparing a good beef stock.   The beef soup bones usually arrive in little paper packages from our meat CSA or for free at the farmers market.   In this beef stock recipe, we couple those beef soup bones with leftover vegetable scraps – you know, the odds and ends of onions, the peelings from carrots and celery leaves.   The inexpensive bones coupled with the vegetable scraps makes this beef stock recipe remarkably inexpensive to prepare.

A long cooking time provides ample opportunity for the wholesome nutrients present in the beef soup bones to leach out and into the water.   The resulting beef stock is rich in nutrients – particularly minerals like calcium.   It is also a rich source of gelatin and glucosamine chondroitin.   You can read more about the benefits of bone broth.

beef stock: a simple recipe

By Jenny Published: June 24, 2009

    Beef stock - especially homemade beef stock is remarkably easy to prepare especially using this tried-and-true classic beef stock …


    • Several Pounds of Grass-finished Beef Soup Bones (I routinely use 5-8 lbs)
    • A freezer bag full of vegetable scraps (carrot peelings, onion tops, celery leaves etc. Don’t use brassicas or beets as they contribute an off-taste to the beef stock.)
    • Fresh, filtered water.
    • 2 Tbsp Cider Vinegar
    • 2-3 Bay Leafs


    1. Rinse an clean the bones under clean water. Pat them dry.
    2. Roast the bones at 400 ° F for about an hour until the bones are well-browned and fragrant. Roasting the bones ensures a good flavor in the resulting beef stock. Failure to do so may lend a sour or off-taste to the end product.
    3. Once the bones are browned, drain off any fat.
    4. Add the bones to a big pot along with any vegetable scraps you might have. Avoid using brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, turnips, brussels sprouts etc.) as these vegetables will lend a bitter flavor to your stock. Instead, garlic, leeks, mushrooms, onions, carrots and celery add great flavor.
    5. Add filtered water to cover and bring to a boil. Once you’ve brought the water to a boil, add the vinegar and bay leafs.
    6. Turn down the heat and continue to simmer for several hours. I usually simmer mine about 24 hours.
    7. Throughout the cooking process, skim off any foam and add water as needed.
    8. When the stock is finished simmering, filter through a fine mesh seive and bottle in mason jars. The stock should set just like gelatin, and the fat should rise to the top.
    9. Pick off the fat and reserve it for cooking, then scoop out the gelled stock and reheat to serve as soup. Note that it’s wise to serve this stock very hot as it may gel again once it cools.

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    What people are saying

    1. ~M says

      Yummm! I loved gelled consomme :)

      Have you ever experimented with putting tomato paste on the beef bones before roasting?

    2. says

      About how much water did you use? I am never sure what a good ratio should be.
      I like the tip about roasting the bones first. I haven’t done that before and the stock always smells a little funny although we eat it anyway.

    3. Jenny says

      Jessie –
      I’m kind of a measure-free cook, so I don’t worry about how much it cooks down. I’ll add water to the pot a few times. It’s really the length of cooking time, not the water evaporation that helps to gel the stock. Generally, though, by the time I strain the solids from the broth it has cooked down by about 1/3 or so.

      Christy –
      I always use enough water to barely cover the solids, but I don’t otherwise measure it.

    4. Wardeh @ says

      Definitely going to do this today. Thanks for the great directions! I have so many soup bones in the freezer, it is embarassing. We are getting our 1/2 beef soon so I need to get last year’s moved out!

    5. says

      Oh, fabulous!
      You really can’t beat homemade stock — and beef stock, in particular, is worlds better made at home than purchased in the store. I love the fact that you can control the ingredients — from the type of beef used to the amount of salt in the final product. And it’s oh-so-good for you!

    6. says

      What a great post! I made beef stock for the first time last summer and it is fantastic. I also generally use chicken stock (or poultry stock – my last batch has pheasant bones and the batch before that had goose and turkey bones from the holidays :) but the beef makes absolutely fantastic soup!

    7. says

      I didn’t brown my bones last time and it was very sour – no one wants to eat it! Now I know…hopefully I can disguise it with lots of carrots and celery when I make a finished soup with it. Thanks for the tip!

    8. Jen says

      Thanks for the great post; I especially appreciated the pic of the gelled stock. DH has *finally* come on board with this lifestyle, but he was still doubtful–especially when it came to simmering stock on the stove overnight. He’s one of those compulsive types that makes sure the coffee pot is unplugged before we leave the house, so keeping the stove on 24 hours really blew his mind, LOL!

      The longest I’ve been able to simmer my stock has been about 8 hours; it produced great flavor and some gelling, but nothing like your pic.

      I feel inspired, and am heading to the freezer now to pull out the soup bones….

      • KAYLEN says

        Jen – Instead of doing it on the stove, use a crock pot. If you have an electric stove, it costs more to run the stove for 24 hours than it does to run the crock pot for the same amount of time. Also, crock pots tend to be safer unwatched, especially if you have children or pets around.

    9. Danielle says

      Jen, I’m the same way. I use crock pots for that very reason, that and I believe they make me sick (not kidding everytime I use mine, and I’m home, I feel nauseous all day). I’m a working mom, and my hubby works outside teh home too, so it’s not feasible to leave it on all day.

      Yeah, so I couldn’t use the oven for 24 hrs either lol. And I don’t run anything while I’m away. Just wisdom, and past experiences, I suppose.

    10. Whitney says

      Here’s my question: can I eat that yummy looking marrow or should I really save it for the stock so the whole family can enjoy the benefits? Your roasted bones picture made me drool for that glob of deliciousness! :)


    11. Barb says

      Why remove the fat before and after? I mean, I understand the skimmed would be lovely to use for cooking later but wouldn’t both still be good in the stock?

    12. Rebecca says

      My stock did not turn cloudy. Did I not boil it long enough? I’m using grass fed beef soup bones, but only have two. It’s probably 1-2 pounds. I didn’t have carrots, either and added about 1/6 c. of white vinegar, along w/ celery, onion, peppercorns, and some thyme. Have I ruined my stock? Is it salvageable?

      • bonny says

        I never let it boil. Better to keep it at a simmer. I cook mine up to 72 hours. Turns out great.
        I usually have 3-4 lbs bones some with the meat left on it to cook till finished. Gives it darker color and richer flavor.

    13. Trish Schaut says

      I though NT recommends 72 hours simmering…. and I seldom make it, because it is just such a long time to keep the stove on… I could very happily do 24 hours… but how do you fit 8 lbs of bones in a crock pot? I always end up going for my largest stock pot… and ending up with about 6 qts…

    14. Tracy says

      After roasting the bones I found about 1/2 inch of melted fat in the pan. It cooled into a creamy white solid. Is this fat something I should save and use?

    15. Katherine says

      I made beef broth and it gelled nicely but the color is weak and it doesn’t taste good. I browned the bones first to the point that the marrow was soft and oozing out and then simmered it for 24 hours with carrot peelings and herbs. Do you think that my bones were bad? I was expecting something rich and savory and it came out kind of watery and gamey tasting. I’m new to stock making and haven’t had much success so far. I guess I’ll try a chicken next and hope that is more foolproof. Any tips would be appreciated.

    16. Elizabeth says

      I’ve attempted to make beef bone broth two times now, I’ve simmered it anywhere from 24-72 hours and all I end up with is an un-gelled mason jar full of what I can only relate to a latte. It is so cloudy you cant see through it, milky white with just the palest hint of brown. I cannot figure out what I am doing wrong. Roast bones, add veggie scraps, ACV, kombu strip etc simmer and strain. I dont even know if my finished product is worth eating? Any suggestions would be great!

      • says

        @Elizabeth – How high do you turn it up? I don’t know if it really makes a difference but I notice that my stock only starts to get that golden brown hue when it’s simmering pretty rapidly. I low simmer overnight and when I’m gone from home but turn it up to a medium flame to really get things going. When it starts to reduce a little that’s when I notice the color change.
        Also, how many pounds and what kind of bones are you using? I typically throw in 7-8 pounds of shank (marrow), knuckle and oxtail.

    17. Lori H says

      I learned on another site to use a large electric roaster to simmer my broth safely during the night – I think that mine is a 18 quart size. It works very well and I have had great success using this method.

    18. says

      First off I want to apologize if someone has already asked these questions. I have neck bones and back bones that I don’t know what to do with from the side of beef we ordered. Can I make broth from this? Even if there is meat on the bones. Can i just boil it like regular with the meat on or what are your suggestions. How do you suggest I store it?

      • Becky says

        Natalie, I hope that someone got back to you with your question. The bones you have are wonderful for making broth. To ensure they don’t give you a sour taste, you might roast them in a 325 oven for 20-30 mins or until they’ve browned, but not burned.
        After simmering for 12-72 hours, remove the meat and use for Mexican dishes or sandwiches. You can also scoop out the marrow and eat on crackers or veggies slices. Freeze in freezer safe containers and/or drink on a daily basis. I personally cann my broth for cooking, but will refrigerate what I want to drink as a hot beverage. I think canning may take out some of the nutrients, but it is SO much better for cooking than the store bought stuff.
        Hope this helps.

    19. John says

      Thanks for the great page, and site! I have limited freezer space and desire to fill it with stock. Can this stock be stored via canning it? I can cooked venison for 90min at 10lb. Would it need to be that long if put in jars when still hot?

    20. Tamara Mannelly says

      Okay, making my first batch of beef stock. I make chicken and veggie stock all the time so just jumped right in with the beef. Had a bag full of beef bones and a couple oxtails. I forgot to roast them first. I put them in my crockpot with some veggie scraps, water, vinegar and am now about 36 hours in. I had to actually move the crockpot outside to my patio this morning because we could not stand the smell. Is this normal? It doesn’t smell very good at all. We are not normally picky about this kind of thing but it just smells weird. Is this because I forgot to roast the bones? Thanks for your help!!!

    21. Jolanta says

      1. Do NOT cover the pot, this makes the stock cloudy!
      2. Roosting protein makes it carcinogenic.
      3. Where I come from we put the meat in cold water, bring it to boil, discard the water, ad new cold water, ad: carrots, celery root, green cabbage, leek, bay leaf, allspice, s&p as needed. Slowly bring it to boil, remove foam as needed. Remove the veggies when they are done. Cook until the cartilage is dissolved, that is the gelatin.
      4. For nice color use tumeric.
      5. To make stock clear again try this: depending on the amount of the stock, wisk 1 or 2 egg whites in cold stock and SLOWLY hit it up, do NOT boil it. When the egg white is floting on top of the stock, gently filter every thing trough folded cheese cloth.

    22. Karen says

      How much broth should I expect to obtain from 5-6 lbs of bones? I have been placing the bones in the crockpot and filling it with water. I cook it on low for about 2-3 days and add a few cups of water. When I”m all done the crockpot is usually full b/c of the last time I added water. When I take the bones out I always wonder if that is all the broth I should be able to obtain from so many bones.

      I’m looking to get a very strong broth b/c my husband is very sick with Lyme. The broth seems to be helping with his energy.. I need about 12 lbs of bones for about a week to a week and halfs worth of broth for him to drink. He usually drink about a cup a day.

    23. Alivia says

      Hi, I was wondering if you have ever tried to do this with game bones? I have a bunch of moose bones I was thinking of using for stock, and wondered if I would go about it in the same way? Thanks so much!

    24. Melissa says

      I am new to this bone broth making and had what very well is a silly question. I saw “beef marrow soup bones” for sale at the butch. Is this what I want? Just not sure what “bones” Im looking for when making bone broth. Thanks.

    25. David Randall says

      A tip I got from Julia Child regarding culinary broths: never tightly cover a simmering or cooling broth or stock; they may sour. A gapped lid will keep evaporation to minimum if you barely, barely!- simmer. I’ve never had a sour broth.

    26. cindy says

      I followed the directions carefully and simmered it in a crockpot for almost 24 hours. The marrow came out of the bones easily but floats in clumps on top of the broth. When I strain it through cheesecloth, the clumps of marrow will stay in the cheesecloth. I thought the marrow was supposed to contribute to the nutritional value of the stock. Is the marrow supposed to “blend in with the broth?

    27. Jodie says

      Question, why do you think my bone broth did not gel? I cooked it in my crockpot after the roasting with carrots, onion, mushrooms, celery, garlic and I cooked it for 2 days on low. It was very bubbly, my crockpot doesn’t seem to really have a low, it is a 6 qt size. I used 4 lbs of marrow bones and 1 lb of beef rib bones. I used 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar like the recipe called for, but the bones did not get soft and the broth did not gel. I was very disappointed. Any suggestions about what I did wrong? Please email me the answer if you have one. tysm

      • Jenny says

        It could be that it took too long, too high. Generally, I make beef stock on the stove as with this recipe.

    28. ERIN POE says

      I really want to try this can you tell me a little more about how long the broth will last in mason jars? I have not tried making my own yet but this sounds amazing!

    29. aurah says

      Thank you so much for your wonderful work! Do you have a guess on how long to cook venison bones? Also, I like to pressure can up my stock to use year-round, as we only get deer in the fall. I’m curious about the effect of canning on nutritional value…what do you think or can you point me to any info? Thanks again!

      • Amy S says

        I received an All American pressure canner for Christmas. In their manual, it says “Do not use deer bones” for making stock. I don’t hunt or eat venison, so I asked my brother why. He said that deer in some areas have a particular disease that is present in the bones and it isn’t killed by cooking. The disease hasn’t been found where I live, but why risk making your family sick?

    30. says

      So what about marrow bones? I don’t think those questions have been answered here. I roast the bones first, then remove the marrow and eat it up, then cook the bones at slow simmer for a very long time. Seems to work out quite well, and there is less useless fat to skim off–useless because I don’t cook with beef fat.

      This is a beautiful blog!

    31. Mary Ann says

      I have another recipe for beef stock that is almost identical; however, this recipe calls for placing bones (after they come out of oven) into the filtered water and adding the vinegar first and letting that sit for approx. 1 hour. This is supposed to help get the healthy minerals from the bones. Then add the veggies and continue with cooking process.

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