Fresh Chicken Broth: Achieving a Solid Gel

A good stock is the backbone of a good kitchen; it provides flavor to your dishes as well as sustenance and nourishment for your body.   Broth features in the traditional foods of peoples across the globe.  Stock is the foundation of classical French cooking and provides critical sustenance in peasant cooking among traditional peoples everywhere.  Broth is dense in nutrients.  Rich in trace minerals such as magnesium and calcium as well as glycine – an amino acid that aids digestion and may help to assist in the healing of wounds and injuries which may account for broth’s fame as a healing, wholesome foods. (Read more about the benefits of bone broth.)

Among traditional foods circles, the ultimate – and sometimes lofty – goal is to brew a broth that produces a beautiful, solid gel.  Indeed, a solid gel is the hallmark of a successful broth.  Roasting bones and simmering them for several hours will usually produce a solid gel, but gelatin also breaks down if heat is too high or if broth is simmered too long.  For this reason you might find that the pan drippings from your roasted chicken gel quite well, but the stock prepared from the chicken’s frame won’t gel at all.  Moreover, the quality of your ingredients greatly influences the ability of your broth to produce a successful gel, sometimes the bones, meat and skin of conventionally raised chickens will not produce a gel at all, regardless of simmering and brewing under optimal conditions.

One surefire way to ensure a beautiful, mineral-dense stock that can produce a solid gel is to use a fresh pasture-raised chicken or a thawed frozen pasture-raised chicken, including the chicken feet if you’re fortunate enough to find them.  As the chicken will only undergo one period of cooking, as opposed to two (roasting and then simmering) producing a gel through this method of preparing chicken broth is more reliable.

More Broth & Stock Recipes

a recipe for fresh chicken broth

By Jenny Published: February 25, 2010

    To prepare a wholesome, mineral-rich chicken broth, you’ll need a heavy-bottomed stock pot as well as a fine mesh sieve. I keep kitchen scraps: carrot peelings, onion ends, celery leaves and bits of leek in a gallon-sized plastic bag in my freezer. While some purists insist that broth should not be prepared from vegetable scraps, I find that doing so cuts down on kitchen waste and expense. There’s value in finding a use for every item in your kitchen.

    Ingredients

    • 1 whole pasture-raised chicken (rinsed, cleaned with organs removed)
    • 2 chicken feet (peeled with talons removed, if you can find them)
    • 1 gallon miscellaneous vegetable scraps (onions, carrots, celery, fresh parsley, leeks)
    • 2-3 dried bay leafs
    • 1 tbsp whole peppercorns
    • 2 tbsp apple cider vinegar
    • filtered water (to cover)

    Instructions

    1. Add the whole chicken to a heavy-bottomed stock pot, cover with vegetable scraps, bay leafs and peppercorns.
    2. Cover with very cold filtered water into which you’ve stirred two tablespoons apple cider vinegar.
    3. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.
    4. Reduce the heat, cover and simmer gently for four to six hours – skimming off any scum or foam that appears at the surface.
    5. After four to six hours of slow, gentle simmering, remove the pot from heat and strain it through a fine mesh sieve or a colander lined with 100% cotton cheesecloth into jars or bowls to store.
    6. Refrigerate and cool until the broth sets into a firm gel.

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    What people are saying

    1. says

      I have had the hardest time getting my stock to gel… I make it the same way you have listed here, and I’ve only ever had it “set up” twice. And the process was the same every time! (The chicken is also from the same farm.) I’m just about ready to add the powdered gelatin to get the result I want… is this worth trying?

      • larry apsey says

        I make my smaltz and chicken stock gel by baking chicken legs and thighs in a glass dish simply, bake at 350 for a couple of hours covered in the oven seasoning the chicken legs and thight with a mixture of italian seasoning and bread crumbs roll in bread crumbs with seasoning in then after the chicken has cooled somewhat i debone and skin (save this for later re boiling) Then pour off the grease and drippings into a container scraping the pan clean. put in the refrigerator after it has cooled and settled somewhat it will seperate into three distinct stages the top is the smaltz (chicken Fat) then i spoon off scraping down to the gelatin. then i seperate the gelatin from the pan drippings the pan drippings are mixed with bird seed and put in the bird feeder The birds love it. I use the smaltz in cooking either motza ball dumplings or as a grease for frying rice or vegetables stir fry.
        the gelatin can be used as a soup starter. it is also good in making rice simply add to the boiling rice water and it absorb into the rice as a flavoring agent adding parsley green onion tops etc greatly enhances the flavor along with garlic and onions.

        • Carrie says

          What is the purpose of the bread crumbs? I can see if you are serving the meat at a meal, but if its just going in stock I really don’t understand the point. Can you explain?

      • Mr Hitchcock says

        buy the anova sous vide (its one of the cheaper sous vide water circulators). I cooked a few thighs overnight at 165 degrees. I added beer and various spices to the ziploc bags and in the morning I woke up and there was a good bit of broth. I let it cool in the fridge and it became pure gelatin which I had not desired nor expected. The bones were still in tact and such.

        • Mr Hitchcock says

          hehe the comments said I might be self promoting and while I can’t prove it I’m not associated with anova in any way. In fact there are some cons to the device, namely that the metal skirt has some wiggle, and I would have preferred the input not be a touch screen since it does sit over liquid that vaporizes, but at the time I bought it it was under 200 bucks and to my knowledge thats the cheapest one out there. any who I realize this is an old post but since you guys are aiming for gelatin I thought I would share.

          • Mr Hitchcock says

            just to be thorough here, I set it for about 12 hours. ordinarily you’d want a higher temp for chicken, but the 165 is sufficient to kill bacteria in fowl, and afterward I put the thighs in the oven on very high heat to brown.

    2. Local Nourishment says

      When I first started making stock, I could get it to get almost every time. In the last several months, I haven’t had a single batch gel! I wonder if I’m overthinking the process! :D I’m definitely going to try this method, because it is a little different than what I have been doing.

    3. bobcat says

      I read somewhere that it’s good to let the chicken carcass sit in the cold water with the apple cider vinegar for either 30 or 60 minutes (can’t recall), and then to turn the heat on, and that that will help create the gel.

      Does anyone know if that’s true?

      I do it that way, and I’ve gotten my stock to gel about 70% of the time (I use organic pastured chicken). I usually cook the stock about 11-12 hours. I am thinking, after reading this, that the times it didn’t gel, that maybe I heated it too hot or for too long.

      I have one question though. I have tried making my stock by putting the whole raw chicken into the pot, with the meat on the carcass, and it doesn’t turn out as tasty or as deep in color as when I roast the chicken first in the oven, then just use the carcass for stock.

      I understand that the color/flavor difference is due to the roasting (makes sense), but I’ve often wondered which method…this recipe’s method or my roasting method….produces more nutritional broth? Or should they be about the same? Does anyone know?

      If I’m going to bother doing all this (which of course I do), I would prefer to be getting the most minerals for my efforts.

      Thanks! And keep up the good work, I love this site and have been referring people to it, especially in my community of people with my health condition.

    4. says

      I make my stock the very same way and have achieved gel every time. One thing that may cause your stock not to gel is too much water or allowing it to boil too long. Cutting down the heat as soon as it comes to a boil is an important part of successful broth. That doesn’t mean that your stock doesn’t contain gelatin, only that it is likely too diluted to gel correctly. I would caution against adding store-bought gelatin to stock since the gelatin you buy is very different from the gelatin produced by making stock on your home stove. Store-bought gelatin is extracted from questionable sources at very high temperatures causing extraction of free glutamic acid at maximum levels. While it may be OK to use gelatin in recipes on rare occasions, I would not suggest it as a way to “boost” health benefits from homemade broth. After all, ungelled broth does still contain gelatin and all the other wholesome nutrients just in more diluted form.

      I always save the bones in the freezer until I have enough left for another broth. I usually roast the bones and the veggie scraps for the second batch to get a richer flavor. Like you said, the second batch of broth doesn’t always gel but it is delicious to cook with. Great post.

    5. says

      I make my stock in a slow cooker using the following method and it gels every time. I cook the chicken in the crock pot with enough water to cover until it’s done. Then I remove the bird and let it cool enough to remove the meat. As I’m picking the meat off – I throw the bones, cartilege…back in the slow cooker. Then I add the veggies and cook on low about 8 hours or so. After I strain it, it gels every time.

      • Susan says

        I also use the crock pot, and always get a gel. However, I just slow cook the chicken 1st with some veges – no water. Once it’s done, I debone it, putting the bones and skin drippings all back into the same crockpot. I add more veges and the ACV and enough water to cover, then let it all simmer for 24 hours. Strain, cool, refridgerate – perfect everytime. I give the soft bone/vege mash to my dogs.

        • Judy says

          I too use the crock pot method, as well as apple cider vinegar and have had fantastic gel when including the chicken feet (already prepped). My contribution to this debate is that when set in the fridge, I remove the layer of fat, and then put a silicon muffin pan in freezer and fill each muffin with jellied stock. When frozen remove into a plastic bag and then easy to add small amounts of stock to gravies – takes so long to defrost a larger quantity of stock and do not want to ruin health benefits by microwaving it.

    6. Michelle says

      Pam–how long is “until it’s done”? This crock pot method is very appealing but I don’t have much experience with mine. Thanks so much!

    7. says

      I make mine just like Pam–in the slow cooker. Only I don’t put any water in with the chicken while it’s cooking. I don’t think it hurts it, but with the slow cooker you typically don’t need a lot of water, especially since the heat can’t escape. I cook my chicken for 6 to 8 hours on low. Once it hits the 6 hour mark, I check it with a meat thermometer every half hour or so, and that’s how I know when it’s done. Then, like Pam, I take the meat off and throw all the bones/scraps back into the crock pot. Sometimes I’ll throw in vegetable scraps, but if I don’t have any on hand, it’s no big deal. I cover everything with water and let it sit on low for up to 24 hours. That sounds like a long time, but it’s a low heat, and I’ve found that the longer I cook the stock, the more flavorful it is. Oh, and I’ve never had any trouble getting mine to gel! I need to start adding the apple cider vinegar though–hadn’t heard of that!

    8. says

      Do you have any trouble with the chicken meat getting overcooked after simmering for such a long period of time? I’ve always avoided making stock with whole chicken for fear of ending up with flavorless boiled meat!

      • JCG says

        Yes the chicken should end up flavorless – that’s what you want! It means all the flavor has been sucked out into your stock, which makes the stock so delicious. Best thing to do with the meat is to then make it into something that utilizes that stock (soup, casserole, etc.).

        Although overcooking can be a problem with the chicken getting too rubbery. About an hour and a half into the simmering I’ll usually pick the meat out (but leave the bones, skin, and scraps in to simmer for the duration), since most of the flavor’s usually been sucked out by that point and you can keep it from getting too overcooked.

    9. says

      Do you have any trouble with the chicken meat getting overcooked/tasteless after simmering for such a long period of time? I’ve always avoided making stock with whole chicken for fear of ending up with flavorless boiled meat!

    10. Devon Hernandez says

      Aha! I’ve been doing mine wrong and keeping it boiling for shorter time. I’ve been too impatient. I’m trying this now. And the crockpot method in the comments above, too.

      April – The vinegar helps leech calcium and more vitamins/minerals from the bones into your broth, so it becomes “medicinal” in quality. Good stuff! :)

    11. SMK says

      Am curious of the amount of rise in Gas bill one can expect by simmering for about 8-10 hrs.Ofcouse that does not stop me from making this gelatin rich broth.But any observations is appreciated.

      Regards
      SMK

    12. Jenny says

      SMK -

      You’re correct in that stove-top cooking can be expensive.  The slowcooker is, undoubtedly, one of the most efficient methods of cooking especially by comparison to stove-top methods, though there’s not a significant difference between cooking on a gas stove and using a slowcooker in terms of cost.  You might be interested in this post which addresses energy-efficient cooking to a greater degree: http://nourishedkitchen.com/low-energy-cooking/.

      - Jenny

    13. Jenny says

      lo -

      The chicken meat, from the fresh chicken broth method, is less flavorful than a roast chicken, but I wouldn’t say it’s flavorless.  We use it in recipes where the flavor of the meat isn’t critical to the overall success of the dish:  chicken salad, well-seasoned Asian-style lettuce wraps or stirred back in for chicken soup.

      - Jenny

    14. SMK says

      Thanks Jenny.That is an excellent post on cost/house of all ranges.So,total cost of simmering chicken stock on a gas range<2$?I always thought about 10-15$.
      love you blog.

    15. Jenny says

      Meg -

      I mirror the suggestions of the other commenters on the chicken broth post.  My guess is that you’re either cooking the chicken at too rapid a boil or for too long, or both!   I also would avoid adding gelatin to the broth – most of it is *very* heavily process and of unknown orange.  We use packaged gelatin only very, very rarely and I’d recommend gelatin from Radiant Life: http://www.radiantlifecatalog.com/product/Bernard-Jensen-Gelatin/superfoods-supplements over Knox.  (Caveat: I still have an ancient box of knox gelatin in my pantry.)

      - Jenny

    16. Jenn says

      I’m a slowcooker girl cause I worry less about a SC being on all day then the sove being on! I’m lucky to be able to buy raw carcasses at the grocery store; I’ve found raw makes a gelatin where the roasted didn’t, so that’s what I go with. I’ve never the vinegar to make a difference to the gelatin, I’ve done both, but I do it for the mineral leeching. After the 30 min. soak time I crank the SC to high till the water boils, then turn it to low for 12-24 hours, depending on my patience and the families activites. I’ve achieved good gelling results this way and I love being able to cook with a true real food!!

    17. says

      Just because I’m a stickler for terminology, let me be the first to anally point out something. If is made from just bones, it’s called stock. If its made from bones and meat, it’s broth. Stock is traditionally used as the base for soups and sauces, while broth is traditionally enjoyed on its own. Just a little Nota Bene

    18. Dave Y says

      I use a roasted Chicken carcass. I throw it in a pot with vegetables, water, little salt, and ACV and let it sit for at least a half hour. I then cook it in my oven at 180 for 8 to 10 hours. This method has never failed to set up for me.

    19. Rose Bohmann says

      I got a bag of duck feet from an Asian market, and added them to my last batch of bones from roasted chickens (along with a few stray beef or lamb bones). The broth gelled very firmly, and was a light color, and very tasty!

    20. says

      I did some experiments with gelling stock, and I really believe that the only (or at least nearly only) reason for gel/no gel is the amount of water. That’s why all the slow cookers enthusiasts get the gel; because not much water fits in the slow cooker as compared to a big ol’ stockpot. I’ve overboiled my stock while condensing it and it got cloudy, and perhaps the gelatin broke down a bit, and the taste wasn’t as good (I was blogging in the basement and left it too high!) – but – there was still an obvious gel. (See my breakdown here: http://www.kitchenstewardship.com/2009/10/08/october-fest-carnival-of-super-foods-brothstock-recipes/)

      I also worried about the cost of making my own stock, so I usually use 2 or 3 chickens in my HUGE pot to save energy I also figured out the costs of my gas stove, like Jenny did, and it’s really not too bad.

      Well – off to make stock with my first chicken feet! I’m hoping that they already have the yellow membrane off…

      :) Katie

    21. says

      Whoops – meant to add – yes, you are supposed to allow the bones to sit in acidified cold water for an hour. It softens the bones and draws the calcium out (like the old experiment with an egg in vinegar that gets completely soft.)

    22. kristen says

      Does it affect the nutritional quality of your broth if it doesn’t gel? Mine doesn’t always (I think maybe I’m simmering it too long), but is that necessarily a bad thing? I just assumed the longer the better as I was getting more nutrients out of the bones. Is the gelling more of a taste thing? Very curious…

    23. WendyK says

      I’ve been making stocks/broth for over 15 years and have never had an issue with “gelling”. I start with collecting as many “parts” as possible, turkey and/or chicken. I use backs, necks, wings, legs, wing tips, feet, maybe a few thighs etc. Most grocery store will carry parts, including Whole Foods, or just ask at the meat counter. These parts contain the most gelatin-making substances, and they’re also dirt cheap. I usually have at least 10-12lbs. of these parts. Breast meat offers very little in the way of flavor or nutrition to a stock, and is best saved to add later and cooked for a shorter period of time to prevent drying out. I really never plan on eating the meat after making stock, since it has been cooking for at least 6 hours. I also use white wine, in place of vinegar, about a cupful, in the bottom of the pot with the bones. Cover the bones with spring water, add a few cut up carrots and celery stalks, a leek, a quartered onion and a “bouquet garni” (several sprigs of thyme, parsley stems, bay leaf and peppercorns wrapped in cheesecloth), bring to a boil and immediately lower heat to a simmer, and start skimming the top. Never stir the pot very vigorously. Now, if I have a cooked carcass, I will use it in this broth, adding it the next day, after cooling and skimming of the fat, and simmering it again. This way, I have a doubly concentrated stock. This is the stock, then, that you can make into broths, using additional meat and vegies to add in. This will make at least 5-6 quarts.

    24. Lanise says

      Ok, I guess this is gross, but I didn’t know you were supposed to take the yellow memebranes and the talons off of the chicken feet first. Oops. How bad is that? Why do they have to come off?

    25. Kari says

      I have a question for you. I can get the chicken feet. I’ve seen them at Whole Foods, but have just never bought them since I usually get a good gelled broth without them. My question is about something in your post. The recipe says 2 Chicken Feet, peeled with talons removed. Just wondering, what the heck are talons and what do I need to peel? Thanks:)

    26. Henry says

      I do not get it, don’t start throwing pot and pans at me!
      The proportions sounds way out of what my taste buds are used to :)
      For such a stock, even if using a whole bird, you need to come with a finish product that is a CHICKEN stock or a chicken BROTH (broth should be lighter in concentration than a stock as a stock is meant for further work such as sauce etc..)
      Meaning a chicken stock should have a chicken taste,
      you indicated cover with water, fine, but a gal of veggies? and miscellaneous?
      I’ll give you a roughly chopped onion, three celery stalks, three chunked carrots,
      a “bouquet garnis” made of parsley, thyme and 2 bay leaves the whole thing wrapped in a cheese clothe to avoid garnish breaking in too small of tiny parts. and most important some fresh mushrooms “parures” meaning mostly discarded stems,
      upon your munificence replace the cider vinegar with a decent white wine.
      and give it a try…
      thanks for allowing me to be somehow respectfully disagreeing.
      By the way, want a real gelatin effect, good enough to mask some cold preparation? add a length way split veal feet.
      but this will need “clarification” by protein coagulation via egg whites and egg shells, but that’s another story.
      If you need it, just ask.
      Henry

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    28. says

      I am just curious, why do we care if it gels or not?? Mine usually does (the first batch anyhow – not the 2nd round with the bones) but I use them both in soups etc, once it is warm the gel becomes liquid. Are you all using this in some other mysterious healthy way that I am unaware of???/

    29. Jill says

      Is there an important difference between using a raw, whole chicken, rather than the bones of a roasted, picked chicken? I have always roasted the chicken, served it as dinner, then picked it at the table while my family sits around and talks (this is the love). I store the meat, and throw the picked carcass, skin, etc into the pot, cover with water and veggies (like onion, celery tops and parsley – I generally don’t bother with carrots), throw in a pinch of curry powder (adds a lovely color and richness of flavor) and a generous splash of white wine, then set it to simmer. When I go to bed in the evening, I turn it off and leave it covered until the next morning, when I get up, turn it on again, and simmer until about noon. I have only once failed to achieve a gel, I believe I was out of wine (whine).

      To answer Christy’s question, gelling indicates the presence of, well, gelatin, which is (I think) an easily digestible protein that is soothing to the gut thus the healing and healthful properties.

    30. CarrieK says

      My broth gells up the best when I use chicken feet. I’ve never peeled them or pulled the talons…they are super clean though. I freeze my stock and use it later for rice, millet, quinoa, soup…does anyone know if this greatly reduces the nutritional value?

    31. Kelly says

      Hi! I 100% agree with Katie from Kitchen Stewardship. I have had my broth gel both with and without roasting the chicken first (and I have always used the feet). I find that using the bones/carcass AFTER the roasting produces a broth that gel’s less often, ONLY because I used the wrong ratio of bones to water. I have had great success with other meats using the slow cooker, especially ham hocks for ham and bean soup, and I agree it is because there is less water and also maybe it never boils rapidly. One thing I want to experiment with is following the Nourshing Traditions recipe exactly in terms of weighing my “bony parts”, as it is specified how much to use in the stock recipe.

    32. Mitylene says

      I didn’t see a response to the questions about peeling chicken feet and removing the talons. I took so much nerve for me to even buy the things, I can’t imagine giving them a pedicure! How do you do it?

    33. Eve says

      Mitylene – I didn’t peel the feet, just gave them a good scrubbing. As for removing the talons, I just took took a garden clipper and snipped off the entire 1st digit on each of the toes. I know, it’s gruesome the 1st time, but it’s so worth it.

    34. Barbara says

      why does one care about the broth/stock gelling? Is the gel supposed to be used as a sub for liquid?

    35. Jenny says

      Kari -

      You asked about chicken feet and how to prepare them recently.  Chances are that if you’re purchasing the feet from Whole Foods, you don’t need to peel them or remove their talons.  They’ve likely been prepped already.  I purchase most of my food farm-direct, so I need to do the preparation which means removing a thin yellow membrane on the foot and removing the claw at the end of the toes.  You can read more about how I prepare chicken feet for the stock pot here: http://nourishedkitchen.com/chicken-feet-stock/.

      - Jenny

    36. says

      What a great post! I make my own broth when possible, but now will add the apple cider vinegar to it. I have a party coming up requiring broth for soup, I think I’ll give the crock pot method a try! What great a idea.

    37. Karen says

      The best stock I have ever made has been from our own chickens.
      The golden colour and flavour is incredible from all there lovely yellow fat which you never get in young free range chickens. I have made good stock from raw chicken frames for years, but our own chickens made stock that was something else.
      We used the feet too, the outer skin just peels off quite easily.
      All becomes a bit gruesome, but you did get used to it. It was only an issue when we “dispatched” 6 chickens over 2 nights. I was mighty sick of the plucking and gutting etc by the end.
      But the stock was so worth it.

    38. Sally H says

      I have found that the very best stock is made from spent (over 18 mos. old) laying hens. I help a friend slaughter broilers for his pasture raised chicken business, and when we do laying hens you just can’t believe the difference in the fat. Broiler fat, when it is there, is pale. Laying hens have rich yellow fat, much the same color as pasture raised egg yolks. I think this difference is mostly one of age — the hens just have TIME to absorb the nutrients that changes the color of their fat. There is not a lot of meat on these hens, but meat is not the main goal when cooking them. I put the feet in the pot with the hen, without doing more cleaning than the plucker accomplished. It was kind of creepy seeing the toes sticking out of the water, but the stock sure did jell nicely.

      I make my stock by putting the hen carcass in a stock pot, covering with water, bringing it to a boil, and then cutting off the heat. I leave the bird in the water until both cool enough to touch. This keeps the meat from being overcooked.

    39. Emilee says

      I have not had the time or energy to make my own stock yet…hopefully soon. But I have a jar in the freezer of the juice/broth? from 2 chickens I cooked in the crockpot. Can I make stock/broth with that or use it as is for soup or something?

    40. April says

      I always use very cold water and ACV, too, BUT I never, never, never, waste my time putting in the veggies and bouquet garni until AFTER skimming ALL of the ugly brown impurities that rise to the top. Other wise, those impurities have already infiltrated the veggies and bouquet and its pretty hard to remove scum from them individually. I add all the veggies, etc. AFTER I am completely finished with my skimming. NOTE: When I use pastured chickens (and I strive to most of the time), there is not NEARLY the amount of scum to skim as with using
      a conventionally raised chicken.

      • Kari H. says

        April –
        Thanks for the excellent tip! I’ve always had a bit trouble getting around the vegetables while trying to skim off scum. Also, I’ve wondered about the amount of scum . . .seems like everyone else is scooping off loads of it and I never exeperience that, but like you said it’s probably due to using a pastured chicken.

        • Jill C says

          It is because when you purchase a hand-raised chicken, someone takes the time to reach down between the bones of the back, when the chicken is still whole, to dig out the nasty brown splooge (I have no idea what it’s really called, but when you do this, you’ll see why I call it that) from between the back/rib bones that lie near the cavity opening. If you slip your fingers between these bones, working your way from the side of the chicken towards the spine, icky brown stuff will come out. If you do this before you cook the chicken, your chicken will taste better, and your broth will be less scummy, regardless of it’s origin. The person who taught me to do this told me that this is where chickens store impurities – I have no idea if that is true or not.

    41. Jeff says

      I’ve been trying to get my stock to gel for years and have never been successful. I was inspired again after reading this post. I followed this recipe exactly, except that I used four meaty chicken backs–four pounds worth–in place of a whole chicken. The result, as always: brown chicken water. I don’t think the laws of physics apply in my kitchen.

      Can someone please tell me what the secret is? Four pounds of chicken parts should be enough to do the job, yet I’m not even coming close. I’d like to know exactly how many pounds of which parts people use, and how much water, to get their stock to gel. I’d really like to know.

    42. Jenny says

      What’s the reason for the cider vinegar? I’ve been making chicken broth without it. I’ve almost always had great results, including great gel . Is there a benefit that I’m missing?

    43. David says

      I just cooked a chicken 24 hours in the crockpot, to do chicken salad like my mother used to make. I have a little over 2 qts of broth, but it won’t gel so far. I didn’t use all the veggies with it; I don’t remember Mom doing that. But her’s would usually gel pretty well. I just can’t remember how long she cooked the chicken; she did it on the stove, not in the crockpot. I’ve got 1 qt on the stove now, boiling it down to see if it will gel then. But some of you say that hurts rather than helps. I need about a cup or 2 of gel to add to the chicken salad.

      Thanks for any help.

    44. Mary Ann says

      I always get gel. I thought it was wrong to have it because the store bought stocks are all liquid. I can tell you how to get gel. Roast a whole chicken or turkey in a covered roasting pan with lots of water (maybe 1/3 from the bottom of the meat). I always strain, refrigerate and skim all the fat off the broth before I use it.

    45. Merrie says

      I made chicken stock yesterday, followed your instructions to the letter but it didn’t gel. I’m not to fussed because it is delicious and I’m looking forward to using it. I maybe used too much water because I made about 3.5 litres of stock but it needed that much water to cover the huge chicken.

    46. Jenny @ Stay on Path says

      I thought this looked so easy until I read all of the comments. I’m so confused I need to attend a four hour stock/broth lecture.

    47. Doug W says

      I am able to get a chicken stock that gels every time. I’ve found that the secret is to use the correct ratio of water to chicken. I use four quarts (one gallon) of water and at least eight pounds of chicken quarters (because they are the cheapest at 78 cents per pound). Two pounds of chicken per quart of water is the rule. This produces a stock that gels, and I just buy the chicken quarters from Wal-Mart.

    48. Cyn W. says

      I didn’t see this in any of the comments so I hope I’m not being redundant. There is a difference between STOCK and BROTH. For stock, the bones of the protein source are roasted before boiling/simmering. For broth, the protein is used as is, like it is in this wonderful chicken BROTH recipe. Stock, because of the roasting, is darker and more flavorful, but broth has its place in cooking, as well.

      • Jenny says

        Apple cider vinegar helps to leach minerals from the bones resulting in a more nutrient-dense broth that is more apt to also gel.

    49. Patty says

      I have to say that I never use a whole chicken. See my favoriute way to make a whole chicken is cut out the spine and roast it that way wither on the grill or in the oven. That way all the skin gets nice and brown. Normally takes about an hour. Anyways, after I cut out the spine I throw it in the freezer in a zip lock bag. Once I have a few of these bags in the freezer filled with spines or even breast bones where I just cut off the meat previously I use them for stock.

    50. Jill C says

      This is interesting to me, because I have never had a stock fail to gel. But I don’t use a whole, raw chicken. Usually I roast a chicken for dinner, serve it, pick it, and THEN turn it into stock. I like to use white wine, but I don’t always have that on hand, so then I use cider vinegar, or sometimes old kombucha, which is pretty vinegary. But my favorite trick is to add a tsp. or so of curry powder to the broth while simmering. It does not wind up tasting like curry, but lends a beautiful golden color to the broth.

    51. Eve says

      Hi,
      I wonder if anyone can help me with my biggest dilemma when making chicken stock. How long can it remain unfrozen in the fridge before it needs to be tossed out? After making it, I usually put it into the freezer then when needed, transfer it to the fridge to defrost.

    52. Beth says

      I LOVE gelled stocks, just learned how to start making them the past few weeks following GAPS protocol. My question is–if you freeze a gelled stock, when thawed will it still be a gel? I purchased a pigs head and want to cook to head cheese, but there’s no way I can eat it all before it goes bad. I don’t know if the freezing & thawing process will just cause it to liquify though….
      Thanks for any thoughts!

    53. Brandi says

      Ok I’ve read every comment from the three different stockbroth recipes and I have a few questions.
      -scum is bad and should be skimmed off correct?
      -isn’t the fat the stuff that gels? If so why are ppl skimming it off? In keeping with that HOW do you skim off fat as it cooks when fat is liquid at high temperatures?
      -clearly the gel is a good thing. Many ppl have complained of thestock or broth being too greasy to drink outright and have then been told to let it cool and skim off the fat and reheat….I’m assuming the fat sits as a solid piece on top of the gel?
      – wouldn’t the fat be bad to drink everyday, if you can handle it, and should be removed anyway?I’m assuming all the nutrients are in the gel that is full of the marrow that has been released. Also IF the fat can be removed while it is still cooking does it even matter if it gels or not if you just drink it up anyway?

      -I would be Leary of buying ANY meat from Walmart because they prepackaged thr meats now and are NOTORIOUS for selling GMO meats among a million other foods both processed AND fresh unfortunately. Gmo is genetically modified.

      I would like to do the perpetual broth but I know I can’t drink it if it’s greasy for sure and there’s talk of it not gelling or that the gel may break down nutrient wise of it’s cooked to long or too high of heat. If you keep only one chicken carcass simmering for a whole week wouldn’t that constitute for “too long”regardless of whether the water is being constantly replaced simply because it’s not the water that’s the concern but the marrow concentration and quality? I would like to do this but I don’t want to pay good money for an organic pstured chicken just to find out I did it wrong or I drank down fat that isn’t good for my arteries and then is storing in my body.

      -I never gave any thought to what the brown scum was but not I’m grossed out!! Lol sad that it is still apparent even when cooking just boneless breasts. Anyway thanksgiving is in 2 days and I want to try this with my turkey so I’m hoping the bird doesn’t let me down. Anyone who can chime in with some answers would be awesome. Thanks and happy turkey day 2012 to everyone

    54. sanaz e. says

      can / or is it okay to eat the chicken that’s been cooking for 6 hours? or is it better to discard it? i’ve read that overcooked meats are not good for the digestive system.

      thanks, in advance.

    55. Taylor says

      I have a question about cooking equipment… what kind of stockpot do you use for your broth? I am looking to re-stock my kitchen with non-toxic cooking gear, and I have bought some enameled cast-iron braising pans and such, but I’m not sure how to go on the stockpot. Stainless steel? I appreciate the help!

      • Cheryl says

        I would like to know if there is a difference in the collagen and gelatin content between cooking chicken broth in a pressure cooker versus a slow-simmered version.

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