Portable Soup: My Homemade Bouillon

Portable soup, a sort of homemade bouillon, sustained travelers before Cup O’ Noodles lined rest stop shelves and salty powdered bouillon cubes gave home cooks a short cut in making soups, stews and sauces.  Modern cooks who seem to favor time saving packaged ingredients over more elaborate traditions have lost their taste for laborious culinary undertakings and with that loss, we’ve likewise lost a slew of traditional foods – portable soup rests among them.

Me? I love the rich complexity of a true homemade stock.  I find its rich array of minerals and amino acids deeply fortifying and, as I’ve mentioned before, I typically try to serve up a quart of broth a day to each member of our family (the little guy gets a pint).  But we travel a good deal both for work and to support our son’s homegrown, wildly unschooled and self-propelled education.

Translation?  It’s tough to eat real, homemade foods on the road.

So, taking a cue from travelers before me, I began to make our own portable soup – a homemade bouillon that’s compact, stores well and for a long time, and that dissolves instantly in hot water for  a beautiful mug of rich, homemade broth.

history of homemade bouillon and portable soup

Portable soup was the first bouillon.  And, like all foods, it was homemade.  Cooks would stew bones in water for hours and hours, reducing the gelatin-rich stock down to a thick, viscous liquid that solidified when cooled.  Later, the thick, gelled broth would be cut and dried on flannel during the cool months where it could be stored indefinitely.

When circumstances took the family on the road, they’d grab the nuggets of portable soup – dissolving them in hot water, sprinkling in salt and cutting in whatever herbs and vegetables they could forage from the roadside.  In an instant, the traveler’s would have a meal – but unlike the instant meals of today, this was real food.

benefits of homemade bouillon

Every once in a while, Nourished Kitchen fans will ask for a substitute for bouillon cubes.  Those powdery, salty cubes contain a slew of nasty ingredients: processed fat, MSG, refined salt.  Even Better than Bouillon, sold in health food stores, is loaded with refined, industrial ingredients like maltodextrin; further, it lacks one of the most nutritionally valuable aspects of a true broth: gelatin.

Gelatin in broths, and also in homemade bouillon, soothes the digestive tract which is why gelatin-rich broths play such an enormous role in healing protocols like the GAPS diet.  Gelatin also supports skin health.

Homemade bouillon, made from long-simmered bones, is rich in all the same nutrients found in a good stock: minerals, amino acids and gelatin.  Only it’s compact – easy to bring on the road.

where to find good bones and gelatin

A good bouillon depends on good bones.  Most traditional recipes for portable soup – the original homemade bouillon – call for veal knuckle bones which typically produce a beautiful, strong gel, veal bones aren’t always available.  You can make homemade bouillon with any good quality bones: chicken, beef, veal, pork.  Bones can usually be purchased for as little as $1/lb from your local ranchers, so ask around at your farmers market.

Using a good quality, purchased gelatin helps to achieve the strong gel that is so essential in producing homemade bouillon. A purchased gelatin also acts as a bit of insurance policy – helping you to achieve that solid gel even if your stock was soft or you were unable to find bones that produce a firm gel like veal knuckle bones or chicken feet.  I use grass-fed bovine gelatin in my homemade bouillon and you can purchase it online (see sources).

Homemade Bouillon (Portable Soup)


By Jenny Published: April 12, 2012

  • Yield: 16 cubes (16 Servings)
  • Cook: 10 hrs 45 mins

Homemade bouillon or portable soup is a simple, traditional way to keep stock always on hand without having to make it fresh every time. While the bouillon can be made without purchased gelatin, gelatin ensures that the bouillon comes together easily and firms up properly for long-term storage. Do not use vegetable scraps to flavor your stock as they may decrease the length of time you can store the bouillon and they will take much-needed space in your stock pot for gelatin-producing bones. You can purchase good quality bovine gelatin online (see sources).


  • 10 pounds meaty bones (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, etc.)
  • 2 tablespoons black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons unrefined sea salt
  • 2 tablespoons gelatin (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 425 F.
  2. Place the bones in a large baking dish, and roast them for 45 minutes.
  3. Place the roasted bones, peppercorns and bay leaves in a large heavy-bottomed stock pot. Cover with filtered water and bring to a boil over moderately high heat, reduce the heat to medium low and simmer, uncovered, for eight to ten hours.
  4. Strain the stock into a large mixing bowl through a fine-mesh sieve. Refrigerate for at least eight and up to twenty-four hours. You should have about one gallon of stock.
  5. The stock should gel in the refrigerator, but it's not necessary. The fat will rise to the top of the stock. Pick it off and reserve it for another use such as frying vegetables or braising meat.
  6. Transfer the stock to a shallow, wide-mouthed pot, stir in salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue simmering until the stock is reduced to 1 cup, about forty-five minutes depending on the surface area of your pot. Please note that the amount of time it takes to reduce 1 gallon of stock to 1 cup will depend on the size of your pan. A very wide and shallow pan will allow the stock to reduce in about 45 minutes, a traditional stock pot will take several hours.
  7. Whisk gelatin into the hot stock and pour into a small container about 4 inches by 4 inches. Refrigerate for at least eight hours, cut into cubes about 1-inch by 1-inch. You can further dry out the cubes by setting them gently on a cotton cloth or napkin in the refrigerator or other cold place in your kitchen for a further eight to twenty-four hours.
  8. Each cube of bouillon will produce one cup of stock. Simply drop the homemade bouillon cube into one cup hot water, stir to dissolve and serve. The bouillon cubes can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for at least six months.

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What people are saying

    • Carol says

      Came across this website, very excited to try my first batch of bouillon. I do have a question. I’m assuming it takes a lot of chicken bones to make a batch of bouillon. Can you freeze the bones until you have enough?

      • says

        Our goat, sheep, and pig bones come to us frozen in gallon sized bags. What we don’t sell for a reasonable price we turn into bone broth for ourselves. They are all frozen until we use them. I haven’t tried turning them into bullion cubes with gelatin, like is being suggested here, but I will DEFINITELY try it to save on our limited freezer space.

        Greg from Glades Ridge Goat Dairy.

  1. says

    I deeply reduce my stocks into demi glace and freeze them in 4 ounce containers. Then I pop them out of the containers and put them in a zip-loc bag. I can take one or two out of the freezer to use quickly. I make most of my stocks and sell them but always cook with them myself also. I cannot imagine cooking without them!

  2. JennP says

    I heard about portable soups some time ago and have been searching for a recipe for months! Thanks so much! I can’t wait to try this!

  3. Deb says

    Very useful! Where do you purchase your bovine gelatin? I could not figure it out as I looked through your resource page.

    • jenny says

      No. I’ve tried countless plugins and can’t find one that works. You can always copy and paste what you need, though.

      • says

        I find PrintFriendly.com to be uber-helpful for this. I have their little javascript bookmarked and whenever I want to print a post on any site, I choose that bookmarklet and it creates a lovely, printable page. They also have a plug-in, but I don’t know if it would work here or not.

        Thanks also, Jenny, for a wonderful post. I regularly make demi-glace through a similar process, but making it into portable soup would be so much handier! As always, I’m so grateful for this site.

      • says

        There is a resource, http://www.Ziplist.com that might be of interest to you. Your recipe format looks compatable with their program. It would help your readers store your recipes in their personal “recipe box” for future reference. They put your logo with each recipe your readers save and you should let them explain. Hope this helps.

  4. says

    This is WONDERFUL! My mom always used a bouillon cube when she made our green beans…now I have something to replace it with! I might even make some for her as a gift! Only real food wackos like me think about giving bouillon for gifts. :)

    • kathleen says

      That was my 1st thought, I can wean my Mom off of those awful cubes. I’m known for my bone soups but now I can step it up a notch and reclaim some of my refriderator space with this idea.

  5. says

    Wow, what a great idea. I will have to get some bones from our CSA and try it. I have mastered the chicken broth, but haven’t yet figured out the beef broth. Thanks!

  6. Katie P says

    Woukd it be okay to use a dehydrator to dry them? If so do you have a recommendation for time and temp?

    • jenny says

      Absolutely Not! Oh my! It would be a disaster. I even tested it, because I knew someone would ask and now I have glassy goop all over my dehydrator. Gelatin is heat-sensitive, so if you dehydrate it – even on the lowest temp, the bouillon will melt and create a huge mess.

      • Heather says

        Sorry to hear of your disaster, this was precisely why I was browsing the comments. When you tested it, did you test it by putting the cubes in the dehydrator? Could you spread it out on parchment and let it dehydrate that way? Then grind/blend it into a powder? (Such as I have done in the past for a pureed soup?) –Although perhaps it is just easier to dehydrate it in the fridge as you mention. Thanks for this how to – I’ve been looking for something like this off and on for a long time.

      • says

        I have dehydrated broth before and then ground it up in a spice grinder into a powder. I boiled it down until it was basically a syrup and then spread it thinly on the dehydrator sheets and dehydrated at 155 overnight. It looked like glass and I basically broke it up and ground it up in the spice grinder and it is amazing. I take it with me on trips – about a 1/2 tsp makes a cup of broth. I think it just requires a slightly modified method – you don’t cool it in the fridge to gel – you spread it while hot so it doesn’t make the mess you referred to. I just wondered if the nutritional value was the same…I am going to try yours and see if I notice a difference in the richness of the broth made from each kind. The dehydrated kind seems very rich but not so thick to me but I didn’t add gelatin (altho it was from broth made with chicken feet).

        • Ivy says

          JUST the reason I, too, was browsing the comments. I was thinking of using the “leather” trays to dehydrate the porta-soup, and now I will go ahead and try it.

          I can’t wait to give this a go next time we butcher chickens. Such lovely broth from the feet, and now I will make a good bouillon from them.

          • Mary Ruth says

            I will try this. We have a shelf in the freezer to store our homemade broths and use them to cook rice, vegetables and soups, no two soups are alike in our house, we invent according to the ingredients we have and we love it every time. Makes the body feel good. It is our cooler weather staple.
            In warmer months, we make Leek (we grow ourselves) soup broth, and then drink it cold, mixes nicely with any tea as well… has a sweet delicate flavor. We also put vegetable parts into distilled or filtered water then simmer and reduce. Those first time broths are considered 1, then I might take two or 3 (combining collard & greens broth with other vegetable broths) and a ‘bone broth’ that I keep in 1 cup increments, and make a soup with or boil new vegetables with it and something fresh from the garden such as our okra crop or squash and then refreeze to become #2 type concentrate broth. My husband and I actually get excited about making and retrieving our broths (from the freezer) to make something for dinner. MY latest use is to Miso, or Lentil to broth for a nice quick soup. We are ‘broth-rich’!
            We will now (after reading this wonderful article and comments) try the reduction method talked about in this article and also in our dehydrator (I dry our herb and some vegetable from our harvests (we have a few raised beds in the back yard). I can’t wait to pick up some organic gelatin and make our reduced portable geletin cubes!

            THANK YOU!

            This is such a timely article, I was just discussing our broths with our new neighbor yesterday!
            Thank you so much. I signed up for your emails and

        • Nathan B says

          I wonder if you could make the broth without the gelatin, reduce it to the syrup, dehydrate and grind it, then mix it back in with some gelatin, add just a little water to get it all to stick together so you could cube (or whatever shape) it and then let it dry out again. May not be able to dehydrate it the second time around, but I was thinking maybe trying it that way to give you the bouillon you want without either the gloopy mess trying to get maximum dehydration, but also not leaving it powder, making it more portable?

  7. says

    Love this! We make a broth “powder” by reducing our stock, pouring it onto a sheet for the dehydrator and then drying it out before crumbling it up in the food processor. Then, we just add a scoop to hot water for broth or soups. It travels exceptionally well. I’m going to try making these cubes because that would be even easier! Thanks!!

  8. Jessica Strader says

    This looks awesome! Can’t wait to try it! On a side note, I’m always excited to come across other unschoolers, and when it’s someone I’ve already been following it’s extra exciting!

    • Jenny says

      YAY for unschooling! It’s not without its challenges for our family – sometimes I question my trust in that choice (particularly when my kiddo feels like movies/cartoons is all he wants to do), but then there’s times of magnificent strides, too. But he retains so, so much when he learns it at his own discretion.

  9. dina says

    have been waiting for this one :) Hope to try it shortly! Quick question: step 4 says “you should have 1 gallon of stock” and then step 6 says “keep cooking until reduced to 1 cup or about 45min”. So you are saying the gallon of stock will reduce to 1 cup in 45min or so range of cooking? Sounds hard to believe, so I want to make sure I’m not misunderstanding. Thanks!

    • Jenny says

      Yes – When I tested this recipe, I was able to get 1 gallon of broth to reduce to 1 cup in about 45 minutes. And I tested it/timed it twice. But I have a SUPER-wide, shallow pan. The time it takes to reduce to 1 cup will depend on the size and depth of your pots and pans. The wider and shallower the pan is, the faster it will reduce. If your using a tall pot, it will take much, much, much longer to reduce down. I should clarify that in the recipe.

    • Jenny says

      You sure can – I’m not sure how the flavor would be, but there’s no reason the recipe wouldn’t work on a functional and practical level.

  10. Monika henry says

    Awesome! Thank you so much for this!
    I guess pouring the finished stock into an ice cube tray could work, too? Not to freeze but for portioning.
    I actually do this with leftover juices from the sunday roast, freeze it in an icecube tray and the use the cubes to flavour stir fry etc.

  11. Mikki Coburn says

    Great Jenny and just in time for my road trip in two weeks. Question? You say to store them at room temp, but could I also just keep them in the fridge or ice chest when traveling?

  12. says

    I had some gelatin (chicken broth) in the fridge and am trying this right now! I use konjac glucomannan to thicken gravies. Do you think this will work to help with gelatin?

  13. says

    I’ve always thought that a few tablespoons of VINEGAR was crucial to extracting the glorious minerals in the bones/marrow, which I don’t see in your recipe. I used it in my last batch of CrockPot beef bone broth and it certainly didn’t interfere with ‘gelatinization’ as it gelled like mad in the fridge. So, not a problem?

    And I can attest to the HEALING qualities of bone broth as I had horrifying SCADS of intestinal surgery over the last year and my healing and recovery using bonebroth when I still couldn’t eat much else has my surgeons seriously impressed.

  14. Jojo says

    One more question: do you skip the step of soaking the bones in cool water and a couple tablespoons of vinegar that is part of the usual stock recipe?

    Thanks for sharing this one–looks awesome!

    • Jenny says

      I don’t think it’s necessary, and none of the original recipes I read called for adding vinegar to the bones (and I read quite a few).

      • Mikki Coburn says

        Thank you for this too. I have tried to follow Sally Fallon’s recipes for stock, but there’s so much vinegar that the stock, chicken, beef, fish, all end up tasting like vinegar which is not what I want to taste in my stock. I want to taste the beef, chicken and fish. I also cut down her amount of onions because the stocks ended up tasting like onion soup, which I don’t’ always want. So, I can leave the vinegar out? I see in Julia Child and others the use of wine in stock, and I’ve tried that and it does not taste like wine in the end.

  15. Deb says

    How interesting…. just last night I watched a video on YouTube from a “prepper” that I subscribe to. She was making the same thing, and even gave some of the same background. Perhaps she was inspired by your post… not sure on the timing. She did take her stock and dehydrate it. BUT she didn’t add the geletan (the stock didn’t need it since she used a whole 10 lb turkey) and she dehydrated it on aluminum foil which I, personally don’t use and I have heard that it is a bit of an objection to other people as well. Excellent post, thank you for the inspiration. I am working on eating soup for my lunch each day, in an effort to loose weight and control my diabetes as well as get more veggies into my diet. I make my own soup and put it in jars in the freezer. I have food allergies and I am trying to avoid chemicals and salt so home made soup is my ONLY option. Now I feel confident that i can try to make a beef soup. I do love chicken, but it is getting kind of old. I can’t wait to try this recipe out!

    • kristine says

      Deb, I saw that same video and I doubt she was inspired by this post since she posted her video 2 days before this post came out. Also, that video was her 2nd attempt at making it, she’d been trying to do it for awhile. I thought it was pretty crazy that 2 different sources posted it w/in 2 days of each other though. Thought it was the universe telling me I really need to try this! I agree with the tin foil, I wouldn’t use it either.

      I love this idea, I hate canning broth and I always end up freezing it but then never remember to pull it out of the freezer to use. This is the perfect solution for me!

    • Stephanie says

      Deb, what a good idea. I’m trying to lose weight and avoid diabetes, and I dislike making a huge batch of a single soup as it takes up so much space in the fridge. Not to mention that it gets a little tired and boring. This way, we can vary the ingredients and hetbs and spices every day. Plus, when I visit friends and families who basically eat out of boxes and bags and commercial soup cans all of the time, this is an easy, portable way to keep healthy nutrients at hand.

  16. says

    I really enjoy your recipes and your approach to food, generally, but let’s try to keep in mind that even though we are using animal products, we need to be choosy about the products we use and buy. This means not only buying organic and locally grown animal products but ensuring that you are conscious of the treatment of the animals used for food because it is ethically the right thing to do. If that is not enough then consider that the way animals are raised and slaughtered has an effect on the products produced and therefore consumed. Veal is one of those products that it would be very hard to advocate for as calves used for veal are confined and force fed to produce the meat. I want to continue to use this website but I will have problems recommending the site and recipes if the use of veal is advocated.

    • Jenny says

      That is simply not true. To say veal shouldn’t be consumed ever is like saying beef, chicken or lamb shouldn’t be consumed ever. Please educate yourself about the ethics (and ethical alternatives) to commercial veal production. Just as I advocate for local, grass-fed meats, you should also be aware that there is an alternative to confined/force-fed veal. I talk about pasture-raised veal here: http://nourishedkitchen.com/pasture-raised-veal/ – these calves are raised traditionally, by momma on the pasture.

      • mystic_eye_cda says

        I agree that “milk fed” veal (ie calfs that have been both confined, and denied anything other than milk/forumula) is very rarely available, and banned in some countries. Veal is no different than lamb, or suckling pig. Of course, in any form of raising and slaughtering animals there is a range of humaneness in the practices used. But veal, like lamb, just means that the animal was slaughtered before a certain age/weight. I also presume that cows, like humans, are born with certain bones not calcified (ie cartilidge) which is probably more easy to get the geletin out of.

    • Sybil says

      I’ve not had any problem finding ethically pasture raised veal from a local farm through my farmer’s market.

  17. Amanda says

    This is really interesting. I’m surprised that these cubes are shelf stable. Does the gelatin preserve it? Thanks for sharing such a cool and practical recipe!

  18. Andrea says

    Jenny, you totally read my mind! I was just trying to figure out some REAL non pershishable foods to keep stocked for an emergency – this is perfect! Thank you!

  19. says

    While reading this I kept thinking, “This is so cool! What a great idea!” then it occurred to me that, people have been doing this for YEAAAARS, and how sad it is that I’m thinking of it as a “new” thing. Last month I made chicken stock with leftover roasted chicken from the store, and it seriously changed the way I view my cooking. Your blog has been an inspiration – thank you for posting this!

  20. says

    To the poster who is upset at veal usage – the veal I bought was from the same dairy farm I buy my raw milk from. The veal are not force fed or kept in pens. There is responsibly raised veal in this world. Remember – veal are bi-products from the dairy industry. The raw milk or farm milk people who read this blog know and love comes from cows who are pregnant (or just had a calf) – 50% or so of their calves are male and these males are not needed to the dairy farmer so they are sold as veal. They are not grown larger and killed later because the variety of cow isn’t the one used for full mature beef. The veal we bought is raised outside on grass and drinks from its mother’s udder. So I bought it with confidence and there are many farms that do the same.

    • Jenny says

      Exactly! I’m personally of the opinion that if you’re a raw milk consumer, you should also be a pasture-raised veal consumer, too.

  21. Nicola Cranfield says

    Hi Jenny, what a great post thanks! Am just a little curious about the ‘safety’ of chicken broth not being refridgerated… any thoughts?

    • Jenny says

      Consider two things: 1) when portable soup was developed, there was no refrigeration and 2) gummy bears and gummy worms (even the natural ones without artificial preservatives) are shelf-stable. This really does work, if it’s done properly and reduced down.

      • Dani says

        Yes, it’s a reduction of enough of the water that it won’t support the bugs that would spoil it, similar to honey, which bees somehow miraculously know when it has reached that magical “enough sugar and little enough moisture” that it becomes that mystical nectar which will never spoil (though it may crystallize)

  22. Annastacia says

    I love this too. I’ve made it before. Oddly the first time I made a beef stock, it went gelatin on me and I though I’d made a mistake. Lol!
    I know better now and have done different variations on it. My favorite is to add leaks and assorted mushrooms to the stock while simmering.

  23. says

    Thank you SOOOOOOOOOOOO much for this! Exactly the right thing at the exact right time! Also, thanks to the person who calculated the cubes/cups! Can’t wait to make it!

  24. says

    I LOVE this! As a Celiac I have such a hard time finding really good bouillon that is gluten free and not a salt lick. Let me rephrase, there is no good bouillon that doesn’t taste like a salt lick. I absolutely love your site and am constantly wondering : “How’d she know THAT?”
    Thanks for the inspiration and the education.

    • Jenny says

      There’s a TON of research and testing I put into the site, recipes, classes and meal plans. For everything you see on the site, there’s several hours of research and several more of testing that goes into it. A lot of readers turn me onto an idea, and then I follow up with further research.

  25. Lori Meyers says

    This is an amazing process, love it. Wondering if you have tried it with veggies in the stock. I make a wonderful stock almost exactly as you have written except with carrots, celery, garlic, and onions all mostly whole. I seive them all out at the end and will add more later if I choose to use it for soups. Sometimes when I refrigerate it will gel over but not always which I am assuming has to do with the meat/bones I use, but want to be sure it won’t effect this process to use the veggies. Thanks again for sharing this.

    • Jenny says

      I use vegetables in my stocks, but not when I make bouillon: all the historical recipes recommend against adding vegetables primarily because they say it decreases the time it can be stored, or say it leaves it more likely to mold. The other issue is that the gelatin (a really, really solid gel – think gummy worms/gummy bears) is critically important, and vegetables take up space that could be used for more gelatin-producing bones.

      • Mikki Coburn says

        Thanks for this tip. I had beef bone broth, made with veggies simmering when I got this recipe but used it for the bouillon, which came out fine. Now I know to use it up before 6 months because of the veggies, soooo next time, I’ll leave those out!

      • Ashley says

        Say I already have some stock that I want to make this with, but I used veggies when I made it. You say that shortens the shelf-life; do you think it’d still be good for a week or two?

    • Lauren says

      If you want the flavor of vegetables I have heard of people dehydrating vegetables and grinding them in to a powder and adding that to soups or even using it as a vegetable bouillon.

  26. Lee Reed says

    Do you think this could be dehydrated so it would be lighter and easier to carry backpacking? I’ve been making my bone broths in a pressure cooker. They always get the gelatinous results and take only 45 mins.

    • jenny says

      It seems like a lot of people reduce their stock down to a syrupy consistency, then spread it on paraflex sheets for the dehydrator. It’ll become glassy, then you can put it in the food processor to make a powder/granules. It should work.

      • Lee Reed says

        Thanks I’ll give the dehydrating a try! Reducing the stock to a syrup… I wonder how long that will take???

        • Jenny says

          It depends on how wide and shallow your pan is – it took me about 45 minutes. but I have a very wide and shallow pan.

  27. Susan says

    Thank you for this recipe. I can’t believe it is stable at room temperature, that really adds to its usefulness. I have ice cubes of broth, large bags of broth but this idea for something that doesn’t need refrigeration is great!

  28. says

    Love this post. We live HOURS from town and I don’t always feel like making beef stock for something and haven’t canned beef stock yet, but I LOVE this idea! Thanks

  29. M&M says

    You mention only simmering for 8-10 hours. Do you think you are getting all of the benefits of 24+ hour broth?

    • Jenny says

      I used historical recipes as a basis for this stock – all of which recommended about 10 hours. There’s no magic period of time at which stock becomes beneficial or not beneficial.

  30. Mikki Coburn says

    Hi Jenny and thanks again for this recipe! I was in the process of making beef bone stock when I received this, so cut the recipe in half, used 8 cups of stock after it had simmered for 24+ hours, then boiled that down to about 1/2-3/4 of a cup, chilled it and it made a very solid gel of bouillon. Then I diluted it into one cup of water, that would be about a 1×1 inch cube and it was too watery, so added another cube and it was better, but not nearly salty enough. Sooo, what did I do wrong? Was it not concentrated enough or not seasoned with enough salt? It’s really neat stuff though and I can’t wait to take it on a road trip and also make bouillon from my chicken and fish stock. I did not add the extra gelatin because I didn’t have any, but it was very firm. Great post!

  31. says

    When making regular bone broth lots of people simmer their bones twice… do you think you could make two batches of bullion or at least a second batch of regular stock from the bones since the simmering period is 8-10 hours?

  32. Mary says

    Thanks! I have been wondering if it was possible to make homemade bullion.
    I have a question about roasting the bones first. Why do you require that? I have been using Sally Fallons recipe (and don’t add tons of vinegar, I don’t taste it) and she just has us soak the bones and then cook.
    Thank you!

  33. BigPimpin says

    I can see how the dehydrator would melt the gelatin and make a mess, but wondering if dehydrating with a method like Alton Brown uses for Beef Jerky might work. He uses a box fan, so it’s only using air to dry the meat. Works pretty quick when making jerky.

  34. Samantha says

    Hi Jenny, I get sooooo much additional information out of reading question and answer posts on your site!
    I want to thank you for taking the time to answer the questions that arise every time you put up a new recipe or new information…I very much appreciate your answers (and others’ answers, as well)!
    Take care,

  35. Alice says

    I love this idea, and can’t wait to try it. I’ve been reading about the benefits of gelatin-rich broths for people with Crohn’s disease or ulcerative colitis because I was diagnosed with that a year ago and would like to avoid taking medication for the rest of my life. Everything I’ve read says people have huge success with it.

    Would these gelatin cubes work for backpacking, or would they be likely to melt in a backpack in the warmer summer months? I saw someone mention backpacking above, and that they used the dehydrator method, but I don’t have a dehydrator and was wondering if there’s any way (if you know) of making a portable soup without one, which would remain solid in warmer temperatures? Thanks, this website is great.

  36. Jo says

    Thank-you, Jenny, for a wonderful recipe! I am so excited! I have a quick question. I am now boiling down my broth to the 1 cup and am wondering if I HAVE to do the drying step. If I don’t, can the cubes still be stored on the counter for 6 months or should they be refrigerated? AND, can they be frozen, dried or not? Thanks, Jo

  37. Karen says

    Would the crockpot work for the 8-10 hours of simmering? Lid off or on during the simmering, or is all the reducing done with the second cooking time? Thanks for this!

  38. Marilyn says

    I think I’ve been working on raw dog food too long. I look at “raw meaty bones,” and think “chicken wings, necks, and backs, 50% meat and 50% bone, where the bone is completely edible by the dog,” as opposed to a “recreational bone,” which is a beef knuckle bone or a leg bone, where the dog can have hours of gnawing pleasure, but not quantities of food, per se. SO what defines “raw meaty bones” in terms of making broth? Oxtails? Marrow bones? What? I realize this is an elementary question for people who make broth regularly, but I’m trying to figure out how to afford the bones for this. At a local grocery, “soup bones” were $5.99 a pound… and I can’t afford $60 for about 3 days’ worth of broth for two people, assuming I don’t give any to the furkids. All the pastured farmers are 50-75 miles away, so driving to buy bones ups the price. I used to have a farmer who came into the city and who brought me cow knuckles, but he was wiped out in Hurricane Katrina.

    • Michelle says

      For soup bones, I typically use chicken. We buy whole chickens, roast in the oven, eat most of the meat, and then use the carcass for broth. I consider that broth to be “free” as I paid for and ate the chicken meat–the broth is a bonus. Turkey necks work great–we use those at Thanksgiving and Christmas along with the carcass when we eat a turkey. As far as beef bones, we buy a 1/4 cow once a year, and ask them to include marrow and soup bones with our beef. I wonder if you could ask for marrow bones at a butcher shop that actually butchers their own beef–from a hanging side.

  39. Diane Dahl says

    LOVE THIS POST!!!! I have been looking for bouillon replacement for ages.
    I have recently heard that adding a tablespoon of vinegar to the stewing bones releases more of the marrow and healthy enzymes has anyone else heard that or tried it?

  40. says

    Through some failed experiments and much research I finally found out that Konjac glucomannan powder (aka konnyaku, but I’ll call it KG for short) will thicken liquids just fine, but unlike cornstarch, it will not gel on its own. When combined with pickling lime (calcium hydroxide), it creates a temperature-stable strong gel. This is fun for making Konnyaku jellies and konnyaku jelly cakes(jelly is british for gel/jello) and gummies, and even rubbery sheets for art/ink projects , but since in this case you want your cubes to return to liquid form I would probably recommend sticking with gelatin. However, if you are interested in using KG powder for dessert gels, I did eventually find the recipe that actually tells us the proportion of KG powder to pickling lime needed to create a gel. (Most recipes call for a packet of konnyaku jelly powder which already has both ingredients combined in the proper proportions) I just modified a shirataki noodle recipe from http://www.lowcarbfriends.com/bbs/recipe-forum-sticky-threads/709459-glucomannan-recipes.html to make konnyaku jellies: Pour 2 cups of cold juice into a pot. Stir in 1/8 tsp of pickling lime. Then, add 2tsp of KG powder, stirring continuously to a boil. Boil the mixture for about 3 minutes. Remove from heat & pour immediately into molds. A thermally stable (non-reversible) gel is formed once the mixture cools down.
    I have only tried it once so far & still haven’t mastered getting a good firm gel, so good luck! –I put the 2tsp of KGpowder in an empty salkt shaker & sprinkled it in to avoid the clumping I ALWAYS GET with GK powder.
    (sorry for the long posting, probably a lil overzealous in sharing knowledge)

  41. John Cho says

    My korean grandma made something like this, except she boiled oxtail with a good amount of soy sauce, ginger, miso, and whole chili peppers, strained it, reduced it and wrapped it in a burlap sack to dry it out, packed it in lard then canned it using an old pressure canner. I don’t know if the salt from the soy sauce did it, the canning or the lard, but those bullions kept indefinitely if kept out of the sun and in a cool place like a basement.

    • Laura says

      I’ve been experimenting with reducing my broth to store in the freezer but often it stays there and I end up not using it in time. I like the idea of the cubes in my fridge where I see them daily!
      One question and one comment:
      Vinegar is a great addition if you are doing really long cooked stock cooking the bones for at least 2-3 days. Mine never tastes like vinegar. I’ve thought about why this is and I think the idea is that bones are alkaline and vinegar is acidic so when you cook the stock with vinegar you are able to draw out the stuff in the bones and the bones neutralize the acid/vinegar. I imagine if you do shorter cooking times the bones don’t have time to neutralize the acid that was added.
      My question concerns the gelatin. Almost every gelatin I’ve ever seen says to pour gelatin over a bit of cold water to soften before adding hot liquids. Do you add the gelatin directly to the hot stock? Wouldn’t that cause it to seize up in lumps of undissolved gelatin? I’d love to skip the gelatin soaking stage, but don’t want the frustration of trying to dissolve lumps of gelatin. I use Great Lakes Brand.

      • says

        I have always been told to use vinegar to draw out the minerals and have always done so with my bone broths. Is there a reason not to do vinegar for the bouillon cubes?

  42. says

    Very nice post, I enjoyed reading it. I was a little surprised that you added salt before reducing, typically that would make the stock/bouillon a little salty? I’ve always salted after it’s reduced and I’ve never heard of using vinegar in a stock before, interesting. Thanks for the good read!

  43. Laura L. says

    I am trying this right now with our elk bones I have had in the freezer since November. It makes the most amazing broth so I am excited to try this. Just a tad bit apprehensive about taking it from the fridge to the counter to leave out in an airtight container. My first thought is that it would breed mold but you obviously do this regularly. 1) Have you had any issues or adaptations to doing this since the post? Just curious. 2) On another note does anyone have a dehydrator they highly recommend. I just bought one but after looking at it with all of the plastic shelves was wondering how it would hold up ( it’s an Oster and I have not tried it yet). Thanks.

    • Laura L says

      Update on my attempt at this with my coveted elk bones. Should have attempted with beef first. I followed everything to a T. My original concerns were of it possibly molding so I left them out a little longer to dry further then put them in an airtight jar and within the week we had a jar full of fuzzy white fuzz all over my delicious elk bouillon. Not sure what I could have done further but with all of that effort I am a little discouraged to say the least. Not sure if there is a sure fire way to make this with it turned into a completely dry powder ensuring that it won’t mold/grow lots of white fuzz in a weeks time?

  44. Shana says

    I think that this looks so cool, but I have a question. I read thru all the comments seeing if it was asked/answered already, but I didn’t see it. I notice that the recipe says to simmer 8-10 hours uncovered – would leaving it uncovered not cause it to reduce too quickly? Thanks!

    • Laura L says

      Roasting bones before making any broth is so important to bringing out the best flavor you possibly can…it’s the difference between full flavor and bland almost no flavor.

  45. Marilyn says

    In researching something else entirely, I ended up reading part of the original Swiss Family Robinson, originally published in 1814. I was quite amused to encounter the following:
    I filled the iron pot with water, and giving my wife several cakes of the portable soup, she established herself as our cook, with little Franz to help her.
    He, thinking his mother was melting some glue for carpentering, was eager to know “what papa was going to make next?”
    “This is to be soup for your dinner, my child. Do you think these cakes look like glue?”
    “Yes, indeed I do!” replied Franz, “and I should not much like to taste glue soup! don’t you want some beef or mutton, mamma?”
    “Where can I get it, dear!” said she, “we are a long way from a butcher’s shop! but these cakes are made of the juice of good meat, boiled till it becomes a strong, stiff jelly—people take them when they go to sea, because on a long voyage they can only have salt meat, which will not make nice soup.”
    I immediately flashed back to this recipe, and found it interesting that the “portable soup” was, in fact, referenced in a book published almost 200 years ago.

  46. Stephanie says

    I made the beef stock from Nourishing Traditions and wanted to convert it to your portable soup recipe, but I noticed the comment about no vegetable scraps. I did use celery, carrots, and onion in the stock. Can I still convert it to poortable soup? What are your recommendations for storing if I do? I’m in my first trimester of pregnancy and I want to include bone broth as a part of my daily nutrition.

  47. Sara says

    Hi! I am new to this and sick ( literally) of MSG in everything and use stocks and broths a lot. My question is this: is it necessary for the original cooling process? Or can I just strain the broth from bones and then keep on trucking to the reduction stage? I’m not worried about it being clear, I just want good tasting stuff, without crazy chemicals.

  48. says

    You don’t have to boil to remove water. Just freeze and beat or agitate the slowly freezing mass to prevent it from turning into one big ice cube. I put a sturdy covered bowl in the freezer. And then, use a hand mixer and to periodically break up the ice crystals that are forming. The water will freeze before the nutritive part does.

    This technique works also to concentrate juices (by removing water), making maple syrup, etc….. Just strain off the clear ice crystals and you’ve concentrated the mixture without boiling the heck out of it.

  49. Andrea says

    Just a suggestion: You can remove most of step 3 and all of steps 1, 2, 6 and 7, but using only an inch filtered water when boiling your bones in a large covered stock pot. I learned this method from my mom, and she’s been using it for almost 50 years. Not only is it faster in time (cooks in about 4 hours, not 10), but if you’re using meaty bones, then the meat is still usable (pick the bones) as it is not being burned away, and this method is more efficient in time and energy (both your’s and the planet’s).

  50. Tina says

    Love Love Love this. Was just wondering if I vacuum seal this in a canning jar, would it have a longer shelf life? Thank you

  51. Brooke says

    I have been looking for a bouillon replacement other than keeping canned soup (another thing I’d prefer not to have to do). Thank you for this!

  52. Malia says

    Hi there!
    Thank you for this. I literally just came home with some joints and neck to make my first beef stock, and looked up your recipe (on my Pinterest) that inspired it in the first place. I had a great conversation with this rancher lady who has just opened up her own store, and she recommended adding lemon juice or ACV to the water to help pull out the vitamins from the bones. I was just wondering if you have heard of this, and if you recommend it, as well. Thank you so much for your inspiration, you have truly helped me to heal myself and my little girl!!

  53. Stephanie says

    Gah! I just made stock and I thought of this post. Unfortunately, I already had the carrots, celery, and onion in the stock. I guess I’ll have to try this next time. Thankfully, I have a lot of bones! I have to find a better storage system than freezing broth. I just don’t have enough freezer space to store that plus 1/2 cows and/or pigs all at the same time.

  54. Kristina says

    Sometimes when I braised certain meats (or at least what I think is braising) especially with vegetables, after I remove the meat, I will continue to simmer the juices. The next day I usually end up with a gelatin layer in the pot (after everything has cooled an is refrigerated). Is this the same gelatin you are talking about that can be frozen and used later?

  55. says

    Totally amazing site! I followed your recipes for making beef and chicken stock several weeks ago and now it is our go-to snack of choice for both my husband and I as well as our two kiddos (ages 2 and 3). I make each kind once a week. It took me a while to get it all together because we live in the Philippines, but it is soooo worth it. I have been trying to follow the guidelines in Nourishing Traditions but finding your meal planner will make it so much easier! It is now on my Christmas list. Our family actually jokes around about how long it can actually take to put a Nourishing Traditions meal on the table. My husband will ask me what I’m doing and I usually reply with something like, “Making Kombucha, it’ll be ready next week” or “Soaking oats, it’ll be ready in 2 days.” or “Making sourdough, it’ll be ready in 3 days.” It has taken some getting used to but we are loving everything about the wonderful food God intended us to eat especially that we’re eating it for life and with a purpose. I was so pleased yesterday at lunch, I fed the kids organic roasted chicken with homemade mayo. When my 3 yo asked if she could just eat the chicken and not the mayo, I replied, “No, baby, you need the fats in the mayo to go with the meat, that’s the way your body likes it.” What a purpose driven way to prepare foods! Thanks for your work.

    • Lorraine says

      This made me smile Amanda. I love that your children are growing up with this purpose way to prepare foods and that you are enjoying it so much. These simply good foods make my mouth water. I find that I am preparing food ahead more but cooking meal less as i have so many things already on hand.

  56. Amani says


    I’ve been doing this with chicken, turkey, duck and beef broth. I like doing it because it saves freezer space, I just pop a cube, add a cup of boiling water, and voila, bone broth to go with every meal.

    However, I have a concern. I’m wondering if I’m losing something from the broth when reducing it. I noticed that a cup of the original (un-reduced) broth is very different from the reconstituted bouillon cube in boiling water. I’m wondering if some of the gelatin is lost during the reduction process, or perhaps the flavour. Not sure, but something is definitely off. Has anyone noticed it, too?

    • Shannon says

      Yes, I have made the beef twice and chicken once. The first time I made the beef I didn’t use gelatin. It still reconstituted differently. I think it’s just the act of reduction, not the gelatin. I don’t enjoy beef stock plain so I’m not sure how it may be off, but I do enjoy and frequently consume chicken stock plain. The reconstituted kind has a slightly off-putting smell but it’s taste is almost perfect. I don’t readily make cubes of the chicken because I make it fresh often. This method is ideal for beef stock.

      Another note: I do three simmers (batches) on my beef bones, cooling them and de-fatting each separately, then I combine them for a final reduction. Each batch is less rich but combined it evens out. I’d say it doubles to triples the amount of finished product.

  57. Lorraine says

    I’m just now reducing some beef stock to make bouillon in preparation for a trip to Costa Rica. We fly from Canada with 2 stop overs in the US, so we have to clear US customs. I just read this on the U.S. Customs website: “Meat, milk, egg, poultry, and their products, including products made with these materials, such as dried soup mix or bouillon, are either prohibited or restricted from entering the United States, depending on the types of animal diseases which occur in the country of origin.” Being on the GAPS diet and still struggling with digestive issues I am frustrated by this. I also have a tin of Great Lakes beef Gelatin – which says its from Illinois so hopefully I can at least carry that with me. Unless the Costa Rican customs takes it away. Any ideas for travel to Costa Rica through the US on a GAPS diet anyone?

  58. Holly says

    Thank you for this post. I just made a batch of beef bone broth and did add garlic, onion and a few carrots. Since I added the vegetables, will it still have the same shelf life? I want to try making the cubes but will wait until the next batch if the veggies could have in impact.

  59. TRACEY says

    Has anyone used ice trays and then once they set, tried dehydrating them? If so, how did they turn out?.

  60. Elizabeth says

    I made this and it was delicious but I refrigerated the cubes in an airtight container and they very quickly developed a thin layer of white mold. I’d dried them on a towel first for a day and they seemed really dry. I’d used gelatin. Any idea what went wrong? I’m dying to make this again and have it work…

  61. Diana Martina says

    Jenni! I made a ton of these in the last month and they are molding. I’ve kept them in the fridge in qt jars. Is that why?. What am I doing wrong?

  62. Ginny says

    I also had my chicken bouillon cubes develop a LOT of mold within a couple of weeks. I did the additional day of drying on a cloth napkin in the fridge and they were kept in an airtight jar in a cool, dry cupboard. I didn’t add gelatin, but had several chicken feet in with the bones and it set up really well. I love this idea but it was such a disturbing waste to have to throw it all out. Any ideas what might have gone wrong?

      • Ginny says

        Umm, this is copied and pasted from the ingredients list in the recipe above:

        10 pounds meaty bones (chicken, beef, lamb, pork, etc.)

        • Ginny says

          I bought your book and one of the recipes I’ve used so far was for making the clarified butter, which you also stated was shelf stable. I followed the directions precisely and that went moldy too. Threw out about half a pint made from expensive raw cream butter. That’s in addition to the waste of all that bouillon made from pastured, organic chicken.

          I really liked the sample menu plan you sent me and have been trying to decide if I should spend the money to sign up for the service. One of the things that especially appealed to me was the ability to ask questions. I’ve decided I’ve wasted enough money already.

  63. Jamie says

    Thank you, thank you, thank you!!!

    A friend just shared some of these with me at a conference, and they were amazing, but she didn’t a recipe for hers – she just kind of improvised them. It is such a blessing to find an actual recipe on your site so that I can make them as well!!

  64. Sunny Nestler says

    Jenny, thank you so much for this!

    My daughter and son-in-law live on his 18-wheeler 7 weeks at a time, and I worry about their diet. I’m going to make both chicken and beef and dehydrate them for both of us! I just made my 2nd crock pot of organic, pastured chicken stock, one with the feet! The one with the feet gelled perfectly, the other did not. But both are awesomely delicious!

    Thank you for all your hard work. You are greatly appreciated by those of us trying to “re-learn” the traditional ways!

    BTW, my Mom was born in 1900; I was adopted by her in 1954! And she totally understood what “better than sliced bread” meant! She never again baked bread, and a huge percentage of our foods were store-bought. So I’ve got a LOT of learning to do!

  65. Katie says

    Reducing question: You say “Transfer the stock to a shallow, wide-mouthed pot, stir in salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Continue simmering until the stock is reduced to 1 cup,” – Does “Continue simmering” mean to continue boiling it or do I reduce the broth to a ‘simmer’ to reduce it? Does it matter if I boil it to reduce it?


  66. Carol Seaton-Zawediuk says

    I was searching for a link to the library of Congress, using this recipe from my grandmother’s old cookbook, Portable Soup. The cookbook, The Columbian Cookbook was published in 1890 and has this recipe in it,

    Boil one or two knuckles of veal, one or two shins of beef and three pounds of beef in as much water as will cover them.Take the marrow out of the bones; put in any kind of spice you would like and three large onions. When the meat has cooked to pieces strain it off, and put it in a very cold place. When cold take off the cake of fat, put the soup in a double bottomed tin saucepan and set it on a pretty quick fire, but do not let it burn. It must boil fast and uncovered, and be stirred constantly for eight hours. Put it into a pan and let it stand in a cold place for a day; then pour it into a round soup china dish; and set the dish into a stew-pan of boiling water on a stove, and let it boil and now and then be stirred, till the soup is thick and ropy then it is done enough. Pour it into the little round part at the bottom of cups or basins turned upside down to form cakes, and when cold turn them out on to flannel to dry. Keep them in tin canisters. When they are to be used melt them in boiling water; and if you wish the flavor of herbs or anything else, boil it first, strain off the water and melt the soup in it. This is very convenient in the country where fresh meat is not always at hand, as by this means a basin of soup may be made in fifteen minutes.

    This was straight from the book. My copy is falling apart and printed on high acid paper, but full of these wonderful items. I thought you might enjoy this.


  67. Colleen says

    Hi there,

    I was thinking of making dehydrated bone broth and storing it in glass jars but I’m not too sure how long it would store for in the pantry or the fridge. Much easier to take away with us on holiday.

    Any help appreciated.

    Colleen :-)

  68. Valerie says

    I read a book about the Lewis & Clark expedition. They traveled with Bone Broth. There is a description of how many “tons” (I think) of meat and bones they had to gather, the price and reference of the fellow that did the cooking in very large vats. It took days. The resulting Boullion lasted most of the West bound trip.

  69. Mary says

    I just made a batch to take with me to Russia next week as I want to ensure I have something nutritious with me. I make broth weekly with locally sourced pastured bones, so the only extra work was reducing the broth. I used 2 wide deep fry pans each with 8 cups of broth. Reducing took about an hour. I was fortunate to find Great Lakes Bovine Gelatine at a local health store. Looking forward to starting each day with a cup of hot broth!

  70. lisa says

    please help. our beautiful stick cubes have just developed white mould. I see this hs happened to others as well. what went wrong? can we fit the mould off??

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