How to Make Bone Broth

How to Make Bone Broth

Megan Soups and Stews, Traditional Healing Foods, Whole Food Recipes 123 Comments

For the best, most nourishing bone broth, harvest your bones’ broth at least two times: once after 2-3 hours for a very healing, high-fat broth, once after 24 hours, and again, optionally, between 48 and 72 hours. Each time you gather the broth from the bones, you simply add more water and sea salt, and keep going! If you’re using a crock-pot the whole process is easy and mess-free.*  For healing the gut, restoring good general health, reducing inflammation, fighting viruses, and a host of other benefits, here is the most healthful tonic of all: mineral, collagen, and gelatin-rich bone broth.

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Here’s how to make it:

Ingredients:
Chicken bones and cartilage (preferably from a pastured chicken), beef bones (grass-fed), or other sustainably-sourced animal bones, joints preferred, or exposed marrow- approximately 1.5 lbs. total
2 T. raw apple cider vinegar, optional (not ideal for those with FODMAP or fructose sensitivities)
Filtered Water, about 1-1/2 gallons
1 T. + 2 t. sea salt, (adjust according to pot size and to taste)

Method:
1. Add bones to crock-pot.
2. Fill with filtered water.
3. Add apple cider vinegar and sea salt.
4. Cook for 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hours; harvest all the fat, or fatty broth, for a very healing Intro. GAPS Diet feast. If you harvest all of the broth, add new water, salt, and apple cider vinegar and simmer on low at least 24 hours and up to 72 hours. (Within 30 minutes of the broth’s first boiling, scum will rise to the surface; skim this off.)
5. Strain and use.

Beef marrow bones yield a rich 1-2 tablespoons of marrow for every bone used. The marrow makes such a good breakfast: floating pieces of good nourishing, flavorful marrow amidst a fatty broth and poached eggs. This might sound crazy; but I kid you not: first harvest beef marrow broth with the marrow itself and soft poached eggs is one of life's most hidden, kingly pleasures.

NOTES

  • The fat from the first 2-3 hour boil NEEDS to be consumed (or skimmed off and saved) after this time period has elapsed. If the fat continues to boil it will become rancid.
  • My favorite broths are made from 1) chicken feet or 2) beef marrow bones.

Chicken feet yield a very gelatin-rich and flavorful broth, buttery and unbelievably sustaining in nature. The many joints in the feet are a key source of the needed gelatin and collagen.

Beef marrow bones yield a rich 1-2 tablespoons of marrow for every bone used. The marrow makes such a good breakfast: floating pieces of good nourishing, flavorful marrow amidst a fatty broth and poached eggs. This might sound crazy; but I kid you not: first harvest beef marrow broth with the marrow itself and soft poached eggs is one of life’s most hidden, kingly culinary pleasures.

Remember what Dr. Natasha Campbell-McBride says about the marrow, fat and fatty broths? From the Gut and Psychology Syndrome,  “Avoid lean meats; our physiology can only use meat fibers when they come with the fat, collagen and other substances that a proper piece of meat will provide.  GAPS people need plenty of animal fats…” (p. 132) and “…the bone marrow provide[s] some of the best healing remedies for the gut lining and immune system; your patient needs to consume them with every meal.” (p.145)  And regarding runny egg yolks’ nutrition she writes, “There is no need to limit the number of egg yolks per day, as they absorb quickly, almost without needing any digestion, and will provide your patient with wonderful and most needed nutrition.” (p. 149)

So Dr. Natasha has the authority to convince us about the nutritional importance of these foods.  I, Megan Stevens, have the super-food-lover authority to tell you, cultivating a taste for, and truly appreciating, a good, rich, fatty broth is one of life’s ironies.  You do it to heal your body.  And you end up giving yourself pleasure.

P.S.  Many customers ask me about adding vegetables to their bone broth.  I say no.  Vegetables actually taint the flavor of bone broth, a lot in my opinion.  Any bone broth soup can be made with the vegetables once it’s complete.  But do not add onions, carrots, celery or herbs to your initial pot of simmering bone broth.  The pure, rich flavor that comes from just the bones, fat, connective tissue, and any small amount of meat that may still be on the bones, is not something that needs or wants amending.

*There has been some skepticism about the safety of modern crock pots.  The ceramic is said by some to leach lead into food; and the FDA wording in their guidelines for safety is vague and not reassuring. Here’s a link to a helpful article, explaining one person’s testing of many popular-brand crock-pots and their almost-complete vindication. Our business has just invested in a HUGE stainless steel crock-pot. But the above research should be reassuring.  Using a crock-pot to make bone broth really makes the whole process easy.

Instant Pots are the latest rage in broth making. Although I don’t own one yet, I suspect, if you do, that the first stage of soup (the 2-1/2 to 3-1/2 hour batch) will take only 30 minutes to cook. The 24-72 hour batches will take about 4 hours to yield the same nutrient-dense broth, in an Instant Pot. It’s certainly a good product to consider.

  • Susan Finney

    That was such a beautiful description of how to prepare bone broth and I loved getting the most recent information about crockpots. Thanks, Meg.

  • Megan

    My we use this blog as a hand out for our patients, off course giving you credit?

  • Yes, happily. 🙂

  • Thank you, Susan!

  • Shana

    I make venison bone broth every year. Are these in the photo pressure canned? Can you tell me how you do that, please. I think I might try that this year to save freezer space. It would be quicker than my dehydrated cubes for some recipes. And one more question, we are butchering Spot and Pinky this fall and wonder if I can make pork bone broth from them?

  • Hi Shana,

    We put our broth in jars because we can easily bring it to work with us, or to friends’ houses etc. But we don’t pressure can it. I’m sorry I’m not an expert on this and we drink ours too quickly to create a big back-stock; we just keep our broth-making going 24-7 and it’s always fresh in the jars. Occasionally, like you, I freeze ours if I have extra. Regarding Pinky and Spot, yes, pork bones make great broth. And if there’s a little meat left around the joints (which make the best broth), that meat is excellent, like slow cooked meat that is tender, flavorful and falls off the bone. So that first 3 hour broth will give you a treat of lovely meat too, as an added bonus! If not using the joint bones, then it would be ideal to saw through the other larger bones, so the marrow is exposed. Best to you!

  • I am extremely excited to have found your blog. Finally a perfect description on how to do broth, step by step and why! My question is this: how much do you spend weekly on 24/7 broth making? 25-50$. Our chickens here are 13$ for non gmo. Our beef bones are 2$ a pound. Let me know. Very informative and thanks Megan.

  • Hi and thanks for the encouraging words and for your question! The chicken price you mention sounds good and average. And that price includes the meat. Your beef bone price also sounds good and average. The price range for making bone broth weekly ranges hugely depending on the kind of bones purchased. For example, we have the best pig farmer one could ask for here in the Willamette Valley. The pigs are fed a premium, ideal diet (organic, non GM etc) and finished on local hazelnuts. But because pork bones are NOT in high demand, they sell the bones for only $1 a pound! With this source, I can make broth weekly for as little as $3 for a family of 5! However, I also make broth from chicken bones and beef marrow bones. Organic chicken legs are available at Trader Joe’s for only $2.99 a pound. After eating the meat, the bones are free, essentially. With this frugal route, we can make broth weekly for as little as $6 for a family of 5! So for the average American, bone broth can really start as low as $6 weekly. And that’s 3 mugs or bowls a day for 5 people, using the method I describe in the recipe, with 3 harvests. The price goes up from there, of course. If you are spending closer to $3.99 a pound for beef marrow bones, then $12 weekly would be the expected cost for weekly bone broth. And if you’re not feeding 5 people, the price would of course go up or down accordingly. Hope this helps! All in all, it’s not a costly food. 🙂

  • Hi Meg,

    If using chicken feet for the broth – does it need to be soaked in vitamin C and salt water like with nuts and seeds? (Same question for preparing animals meats in general please!)

    And for how long?

    Do the chicken feet nails need to be cleaned or clipped off?

    What about hairs on the skin? There also hairs on the skin of pigs feet….

    Can they be left on the skin or do they need to be removed?

    I’ve also heard somewhere that cooking chicken skin and fat isn’t that good because they are relatively high in polyunsaturated fats compared with other animals…what are your views on this?

    Do you also have a offal cookbook? I’ve looked into trying to cook offal in the past but all the recipes that I look at are too complicated requiring a lot of steps or use ingredients to mask the flavour that are not ‘legal’ such as vinegar and nightshades…

    Thanks!
    X

  • Some folks like to soak their bones in apple cider vinegar BEFORE they boil them, helping to break down and release the nutritional components. This is a fun and very optional approach. With chicken feet you’re really going to get a gelatin-rich product, no pre-soaking necessary. Just add the salt and the optional ACV to the cooking pot.

  • Hi Alice, continued from my last response about chicken feet bone broth… the bone broth article gives you a detailed recipe for how long to cook everything. Yes, clean the feet, don’t clip the nails, a small amount of hair if it is well cleaned is fine. Chicken is higher in its omega 6 to omega 3 ratio than is preferred with the average American diet. Chicken in moderation is fine and good, especially if the eater isn’t buying only chicken breasts. The dark meat and the skin is great. Just follow the blog instructions to not boil the skin or fat for more than 3 hours. Lastly, offal! I have some fun blog articles on how to prepare offal. Hope you can check them out! 🙂

  • I’ve been making bone broth for a few years now from our own pastured animal bones. I often will let my broth cook for 1-2 days before pressure canning it. I can it because if we part out some of our chickens I’m left with a dozen or more backs, necks, and possibly wings so I make very large batches in a large electric roaster. Anyway, I had never heard about removing the fat from the broth after the first 3 hours. What method have you found works best for you when it comes to removing the fat? And are you saying that you drink the fat you remove? I have sometimes put the most premium chicken fat aside in the fridge and used it for cooking purposes but I never considered consuming it just “as is”. Thanks for all your helpful instruction!

  • Hi Kristine,
    Thanks for your question. The easiest and most nutritious option is simply to drain off all the first three-hour broth into a large saucepan or storage container. Yes, you consume this first high-fat broth. It is not only very flavorful, it is quite healing to the gut. The fat is healing and there is quite a lot of gelatin, too, in this first batch. Then you refill your original pot with fresh water and salt and now you can go for 24+ hours to get the deeper gelatin, collagen and minerals. LOVE that you have all those good necks, backs, and wings! 🙂

    So that is the easiest method, the one I just described above. But alternately, you can simply use a large spoon and spend 5-10 minutes spooning all the fat off the top of the broth and yes, keeping it for flavoring soups, stews, sauces, and sautees. It is an excellent source of rich flavor when cooking, as you know. Consuming it “as is” is for when you’ve harvested the broth with the fat, not just spooned the fat off separately.

    Hope this helps!

  • Thank you, Megan! You thoroughly answered my questions. I’m excited to do this your way next week when I thaw and process another batch of backs/necks/wings.

  • Sarah

    This is really helpful! I have had a question about this process for some time. I usually cook a whole chicken in the crock pot (about 4-5 hours) with no liquid added. Then I throw the carcass back in to make broth. So is all the liquid that is in there from cooking the chicken considered the “first broth” that I should harvest? And then when I make broth from the carcass, is that really the 2nd harvest that should go for the 24 hours? Thanks for your help!

  • Healthy

    Hi Megan
    Thanks for the article on bone broth. I have read so many articles on bone broth and nobody has mentioned about harvesting after the first three hours, great to know this.
    My question is how do your store the bones after harvesting the first three hours until you have time to do the second broth. Also do you use raw bones or do you roast it before using it for the broth.
    Thanks
    Healthy.

  • Marie

    I’ve never heard of the 3 hour thing. What I’ve recently been doing is cooking a whole chicken, and the typical veggies, in the crockpot for 24 hours. But it sounds like you wouldn’t recommend this. What would you think of cooking the whole chicken for 3 hours, drain the broth, debone the chicken and reserve the cooked meat for another use, and then cook the bones for 24-72 hours?

  • Yes, this is the perfect solution, just as you describe. And, as you perhaps implied, keep that first 3 hour broth that you drain off, full of fat, flavor and gelatin! 🙂

  • Hi Healthy,

    Both using raw and roasted bones turn out to good effect. Roasted bones are more noticeably delicious with certain kinds of bones, for instance turkey. I never roast chicken feet, as an alternate example. Roasting beef marrow bones is totally optional, awesome broth either way… Regarding storing the bones after the first harvest of broth, I do not. (But you can.) I just keep the next batch going; and if I don’t need it all, then I freeze or refrigerate the rest until I need it. But with our big family of 5 consuming broth 3 times a day each, we never have too much broth, lol! For your purposes, if you’d rather wait to do the next round of broth, you can freeze the bones, no problem, before making the second broth. Cheers.

  • Marie

    I happened to have a crock going as I came across your post. It was the ‘old way’ – chicken with meat on & veggies. Cooked for 24 hours. I took the meat off to use for dinners. Do you think I could use the bones one more time? Put them in the crock again for another 24 hours?

  • rahy

    Hi Megan

    Thanks for the very informative article! I had heard of women drinking broth of chicken necks after delivering a baby and found no further information on why it’s useful. Have you come across this practice or recommend it or do you recommend chicken feet over necks?
    Also, if we do not have access to organic non GMO meat and bones, could this broth still be consumed or does it do more harm than good?

    Thanks

  • I do not enjoy the smell of broth cooking in my house. If you have it going all the time,is there a way you keep your house from smelling like broth 24/7?

  • I love this question. I have gotten it many times. 🙂 So you’re not the only one who feels this way. Many customers and clients that I work with have attached garages to their homes. They put their crock pot in there and everyone’s happy! Hope this option will work for you! 🙂

  • Hi Rahy,
    I don’t know of nutrients in the neck that are considerably different than those in the feet; but there may be some native knowledge that’s been largely lost. Both necks and feet are great. I ate more organ meat for greater iron intake after my babies. Regarding the quality of the bones, I highly recommend US Wellness Meats, online. There are some great things about our modern world, one of which is the ability to order good stuff when it’s not grown locally. If your budget is an issue, order their pork bones. They make great bone broth and are very economical! Cheers. (I would not make broth with conventional bones.)

  • Yes! Adding in more sea salt… 🙂

  • Hi Meg,
    I’m curious about the 3-hours-or-less rancid fat idea – do you have a source for that or an explanation of why the fat would go rancid if left on the heat for too long? Is it just if the stock is boiling away or also at a gentle simmer? Thanks! 🙂 Katie

  • Hi Katie, thanks for the question! The insight comes from the GAPS book written by Dr. Natasha C-M. As with so much of her knowledge it’s jam packed among so many other wonderful details that it took me rereading the book to find it. But the cool thing was that I had experienced it for years, that horrible rancid flavor; so when I read it, it rang true and I was so thankful to be able to make the change accordingly. Boiling on high does make it worse; but even on low it happens. Blessings. 🙂

  • Pondering and questioning the resulting nutritional benefits if bone broth is pressure canned…I wonder, would it be possible to roast the beef bones (we raise our own cattle) and then place one bone in a qt. canning jar? Cover with previously made (seasoned) bone broth, and pressure can? It seems to me that the result *should* be gelatinous and the highest nutrition content possible. I know this is an old thread, but I would love to hear from others practicing the art of pressure canning. Thanks in advance…

  • Some of the best gelatin comes out of the bones in the first 1-2 hours; so I like your idea and think it’s well worth trying! 🙂 Great idea.

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Sara, I apologize! Somehow I missed answering your question sooner. The answer to both your questions is YES! 🙂

  • Brian Hagan

    Hi Megan,

    Can I re-combine the first broth with the second after they’ve both been draw off? Does ratio matter?

  • Megan Stevens

    Yes, definitely you can combine them. No, the ratio is subjective. More fat or less fat, according to what you have or to taste.

  • Brian Hagan

    Thanks. I’m curious, what temperature setting do you boil at? Cuz I boiled my first batch at max for three hours and got 2 quarts of broth. Then I boiled again for almost 24 but only at 2 and I got almost the full 16 quarts of my stockpot, LOL.

  • Brian Hagan

    Oh, and do I need to scoop the marrow out of the bones after 12-24hrs? Cuz there was mooshy stuff where the marrow lives but I discarded that.

  • Megan Stevens

    You can cook your first batch at whatever temperature you prefer, as long as it doesn’t cook longer than 3 hours. I would then harvest any marrow that is loose enough to fall out of the bones. Sounds like your first batch evaporated A LOT and you could lower the temperature so it simmers but doesn’t boil.

  • Megan Stevens

    The “mooshy” stuff is good eatin’. If you don’t want it, I’d still keep it and puree it into soups or sauces. It’s healthy and has a rich flavor that will improve any dish. Yes, that’s the marrow.

  • Andrea C.

    Hi Megan. I want to make sure I understand this recipe. I already bought my 1.5 pounds of grass Fed bones at WF lastnight. OK, so from what I understand: The first 2-3 hours of cooking in crock pot; is that on low or high? Then after that; No skimming; save Everything, correct? Then repeat; re-adding new liquids again using same bones and cook Low for 24 hours. Am I skimming or throwing anything away after this 24 hour cycle is over? Also, thanks for the tip. I will probably have to do this in garage; as I know hubby will hate this smell. Ha!

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Andrea. 🙂 Skim off any scum, yes, during the first 3 hour boil. (Is that what you mean when you mention skimming, the scum?) Not all bones produce scum. Pork bones do. Many other kinds do not. There shouldn’t be any scum in the 24-hour simmer. If there is a bit, sure, skim it off. On low or high for first 2-3 hours is fine, either one. Just no boiling after 3 hours. Once that first batch is harvested I recommend low heat for the first 24 hour batch with new water and salt. However, if you do a batch after that, with new water and salt, that batch can cook on high. What determines this is there being no fat left at all in the broth. If there is a bit of fat then I cook on low. The 48 and 72 hour batches often have no fat left and you get extra flavor and nutrition by cooking them on high in that final stage. Hope this helps. Let me know if you need further clarification. 🙂

  • Joan

    Hi Megan,
    I made my bone broth last week. I used venison bones. The first batch (first 3 hrs) not any fat and probably makes sense since the meat is very lean. My second batch continued with bones, fresh water, ACV and salt for about 30 hrs. Both batches in the crock pot. The 1st batch like I said little fat and not gelatinous. The 2nd batch I put in frig and the next day found layer of fat and the entire bowl was gelatinous. I am thrilled as this is first time a lot of gelatin. In the past i rarely have any gelatin with maybe a handful of times doing. I think I read that your 1st batch has moe gel. I want to know if I did correct. Also , I think I want to mix teo batches and wnoder your thoughts and recommendations? Thank you so much for the detailed recipe.
    Joan

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Joan! So glad for your success and thanks for your questions! Did the refrigerated first batch show no fat? If no fat, then there’s no need to strain it off. If you keep them separate, yes, you can combine the two broths, for sure. I do get a better gel with my first batch, yes. But, if you get NO fat at all with that first batch and don’t strain it off then your single batch should have that amount of gel still. It sounds to me like your long boil with the lean bones and the ACV is the right combination. Let me know if I’m not quite clear or if you have further questions. 🙂

  • Kristie Lynn Bailey

    Just wondering if canning the broth changes the nutrients? And also if I use the bone broth to cook a pork roast can I save all that broth to drink ? I am so very excited about this blog! thank you Kristie

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Kristie, thanks for your questions. The nutrients stay intact through canning. And yes, all the broth from cooking your pork roast is delicious, nutrient-dense and full of good fat. I often do the same thing. Thanks for your excitement about the blog; so glad!! 🙂

  • Laura Lawver

    Hi Megan –

    I attended the presentation that you did at Lane last week. I was inspired to make some bone broth and made some today. Mine is not nearly as clear as yours was. It has all sorts of brown goobers floating around in it. I skimmed it with a spoon after about an hour and yet… when I poured off my three hour broth, goobers galore. I’m fine pureeing these into a soup, but I was hoping to drink the broth plain. I think the goobers will rise to the top and settle in the fat, but if I wait and skim it all off then I will lose the fat. Help? I have four mason jars full of broth on my counter and I’m wondering if it is usable. I read through this blog and don’t see anyone else with this problem. I used backs and a neck. Pasture raised chicken from Long’s.

    Thanks – Laura

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Laura, thanks for the chuckle. Goobers is a great word. Can you pour your broth through a fine mesh strainer? That will do the trick. The fat will come through, but no goobers! 🙂 Does that help? This is indeed what we do at our shop, before quarting it up. Yours is definitely usable!! 🙂 Don’t toss it…. A metal strainer… Let me see if I can find a link so you see an example: http://amzn.to/1LR56aZ The biggest of these three will be great for the job. I use the little one sometimes, too, at home, when I ladle straight from the crock pot into my mug. Cheers!!

  • Laura Lawver

    Hi Megan –

    My 24 hour broth was gorgeous!!! So pretty and drinkable with no straining. I’m going to get the strainers nonetheless, so that my 3 hour broth looks just as pretty. But I’m slurping down my 24 hour broth quite happily… Thank you!!!

    Laura

  • Megan Stevens

    Yay!!! So glad!! 🙂

  • Diane B

    I like your detailed post about the steps. I make bone broth without vegetables and I make it in the electric pressure cooker. I guess I would change the times to 40 minutes and 4 hours. What do you think?

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Diane, I don’t have a pressure cooker, yet. But I’d love to get one soon. Your time guess sounds good to me. Maybe 30 minutes for the first go round; and then 4 hours.

  • I added my leftover vegetable peels to the soup and cooked it for 24 hours in my crockpot. I never skimmed. I guess I will have to start doing that. Can I leave out the salt? I have to watch my salt intake. Also, what do you do with the leftover fat? Cook with it?

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Anna. Do you have to limit SEA salt or table salt? Is this what a medical doctor or
    a holistic doctor told you? I wouldn’t leave out the sea salt entirely.
    But you can reduce it; and you can use the ACV, which helps to pull the
    nutrients from the bones. Yes, the leftover fat can be used for cooking
    or stirred into soups and stews. I personally love adding fat into
    finished dishes, as well as cooking with it.

  • Renee Kohley

    Love all those marrow bones!

  • Megan Stevens

    Me too, Renee. They warm the heart, lol. 🙂

  • Krista Erickson

    I greatly appreciate the details of your post on how to make nutritionally rich bone broth. Going thorough the 52 comments has helped to answer some of my own questions as well, but I have a few that come to mind. I also live in the Willamette Valley, just north of Albany, and was wondering if you are able to share the source for the pork bones that you use for your main broth to keep your costs down. I had heard the pork stores up toxins and so it would not be good to be used even if raised properly – but maybe it is not common to find a source of pork that is truly raised in such a way to be safe to consume. Also, you mention that the best broth is from chicken feet – where is the best source to buy them? You also mentioned that chicken should be “consumed in moderation because it being high in its omega 6 – omega 3 ratio” – I had never heard of that. So, from the research that you have come across are the best broths from chicken feet and beef with pork being considered just as healthy or comparable to chicken to be eaten in moderation. To say the least, you have done a remarkable job at answering the details of so many questions to help the rest of us who are trying to learn how to cook healthfully and apply it to our lives and those in our family. Thanks!

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Krista. You can call Deck Family Farm and see if they have pork bones. We have gotten them from Deck in the past. Currently we know two families who raise pigs on pasture; and we get their bones at slaughter time. Deck has been known to give pig bones away for free when you purchase other meat from them, or for $1 a pound. You can ask them about those options. Yes, pork is certainly a controversial meat! It works really well for my body; so I continue to eat it. But I have read the conflicting views about it. The fat profile of pork is good, even excellent. If they are pasture-raised, I believe it to be a good option. Chicken feet can also be purchased from Deck Family Farm, unless they run out. But any pasture-raised bones are good. Regarding the over-consumption of chicken, this applies to chicken breasts, which Americans love. Dark meat chicken and the skin have much better fatty acid profiles than the breast meat, which is fine if eaten in moderation. Thanks for your kind words!! I’m not sure if I understand or answered your very final question. Feel free to write again if there is a bit more you’d like me to clarify. 🙂

  • Jennifer Hancock

    Is broth made from a whole chicken as nutritious as broth made from just chicken bones? Currently I can only get whole chickens (working to locate a bone source) and have been using the broth from cooking whole chickens. Most bone broth protocols mention just bones. Perhaps I should make broth from my chicken bones after initial cooking and removing of the meat? New to bone broth
    so any helps would be appreciated. Thanks!

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Jennifer, what you said works beautifully! You can roast or poach the whole chicken; and then the bones can be used for an excellent broth.

  • Jennifer Hancock

    Thanks! I’ll start roasting today. BTW – love your site. The recipes and helpful info have brought a smile back to food allergy / sensitivity cooking and eating. Thank you, thank you!

  • Megan Stevens

    Oh, I’m so glad! That brings me a smile, too!!!

  • Una

    I was wondering about the chicken feet. Do I peel the fatty skin off of them after the 2-3 hour cooking time?

  • Megan Stevens

    Good question. No the skin can remain. Most of their fat will melt in the first 3 hours of cooking.

  • cindy cook

    What about using a pressure cooker for bone broth?

  • Megan Stevens

    Yes, definitely. 🙂 I discuss cooking times for pressure cookers and bone broth in some of the other comments, if that would be helpful.

  • Kathy Kelley Umphress

    I need to freeze most of my broth since I Iive alone. What containers do you recommend?

  • Megan Stevens

    You can use glass mason jars; but the key, so they don’t break is two-part: one, leave 3 inches of head room and two, most importantly, freeze them on their sides. This makes a huge difference; and my husband could tell you exactly why, lol! Hope that helps. Cheers.

  • Katie Trammell

    I’m happy to see a comment thread about venison bones. I’ve been researching how to do that specifically! Yours is the only blog I’ve come across that mentions making the first batch for only 3 hours… Is it just for skimming off anything that rises to the top, or for removing all of the broth and then starting again? I’m a bit uncertain as to why I need to do that versus just simmering it all for 24 hours? I’ve also come across a few places that have said to roast venison bones in the oven prior to using them for broth. Do you think that is necessary? Is it for flavor, or for another reason? Happy To have found you online!

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Katie, thanks for your questions and comment. This bit from the Notes answers your first question: “The fat from the first 2-3 hour boil NEEDS to be consumed (or skimmed
    off and saved) after this time period has elapsed. If the fat continues
    to boil it will become rancid.” Fat that boils becomes rancid. You can even taste and smell the rancidity.

    Roasting bones is optional. With some bones it lends a nice depth of flavor. With other bones, like bone marrow, the broth is excellent either way. It’s a very optional step. Cheers!

  • Katie Trammell

    Sorry I missed that part! After reading so many different things, sometimes I forget what I’ve read or where I’ve read it! I don’t want any rancid broth, so I will definitely do that step! 🙂

    Thanks for answering my questions, and for the quick reply!

  • Nat’Lee

    I was trying to make a chicken broth for a year now, and never like it. I did like it when I make the chicken bullion (up to 2 hours boning). I was wondering what was I doing wrong, and was reading many posts and watching many videos. And for the first time I read: “The fat from the first 2-3 hour boil NEEDS to be consumed (or skimmed off and saved) after this time period has elapsed. If the fat continues to boil it will become rancid.” May be that is my problem – I don’t collect the fat?! My broth becomes cloudy and smells very heavy. It gives me heartburn. But I tough it is because it was too fatty.

    Also, my broth never becomes like a gelatin. I use a “whole chicken soup bones” from a local farmer. No feet, no head, no legs, no wings. The becomes very fatty. I do add vinegar, and let it sit for 30 min before boiling. I use a crockpot or a pressure cooker.

    Thank you!

  • Emily @ Recipes to Nourish

    Thank you for sharing the different times with us. I think my family needs the 2-3 hour range right now for healing. But we also do the 24 hours.

  • Mary Ellen Ramos

    Reading this late after cooking bones five hours. Will be skimming and pouring off broth for soup tonight and tomorrow. I don’t have a source for pastured whole chickens or their parts except the eighteen dollar a piece variety (not in my budget). Do I skip the idea of bone broth or use the all natural, nothing added chickens sold at the store, and I have no idea about source of chicken feet.

  • Megan Stevens

    No problem and you’re welcome! 🙂

  • Katie Trammell

    Thanks to your blog and you answering my questions….here it is! You can totally see the difference in batches! My first batch (3.5 hours) made three quarts, but I’ve already used one. The second batch is solid gel, and I’m pretty excited about that! The last batch just finished, so I’ll have to wait and see what it does. It looks like my results (using venison bones) were just like Joan’s from the comment above, with the most fat in the second batch. I felt like I needed to share this picture with people who would appreciate it! ☺️

  • Brandy Myers

    Good Question. I was curious about this too. I anticipitate the response

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Mary, that is such a hard question. It depends on why you are drinking bone broth. The source of the bones is really important in terms of the nutrition or toxins that come from them. If a person was really ailing, as I once was, then bone broth would still be the most healing food. But long term use of bones that aren’t natural or pastured would not be a good idea in my opinion. It would be worth considering if sustainably-sourced gelatin is in the budget, such as is offered by Great Lakes or Vital Proteins. If you are in good general health, then I think occasional bone broth, with the bones you can afford, and supplementation with well-sourced gelatin may be the best happy middle. I hope that helps!

  • Megan Stevens

    See above. 🙂

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Nat’Lee, I think you’re now on the right track: remove the fat from the first 2-3 hour boil to protect the flavor and prevent rancidity. If you aren’t getting a gel then you need a greater bone AND JOINT ratio to water. Wings would be great, or feet etc. If you can’t get joints then use more bones. Then you should get the gel you’re looking for. You’re welcome and cheers!

  • Megan Stevens

    Thanks for sharing! Wonderful. I’m not sure why you get so much fat in your middle batch and less in your first batch. Are you cooking your 24 hour batch over low heat? That would be my only precaution to add, since you still have so much fat in that second batch, better for it to cook very low and slow than to simmer. Again, love the pic, very appreciated indeed. 😉

  • Megan Stevens

    You could also skim off fat from the second batch as it cooks, if you have the energy for that added step! 🙂

  • djoy11

    Do you have a mexican meat market in your area? If so – try that or any regular meat market. Perhaps these will become more popular in the grocery stores as bone broth becomes more popular!

  • Elaine4RealHope

    Hi Kathy, on the Mason/Kerr jars, they need to be straight sided. You can see the difference at the store or online. You still need to leave headroom and lay them on their sides.

  • Katie Trammell

    Yes, the crock pot was either on “low” or “Warm”. I switched it back and forth when I noticed it might be a little too hot, and based on what you had said, I didn’t want it to go bad.

  • Joan

    Hi Megan, I made the bone broth again with the venison bones again. Do you add more water during any time? I have read other people’s versions of bone broth and they do. Will you tell me more about the optional 3rd batch? I didn’t know until further down in the other comments. Thanks!!

  • Megan Stevens

    Yes, do add water as it evaporates, as needed. The 3rd batch just continues to pull out minerals and amino acids from the bones, as well as collagen. It’s optional depending on how frugal someone is. There are still nutrients in the bones; but the flavor changes with each batch and there is no fat left.

  • Joan

    Great now I know for next time. I didn’t add any water and produced a lot less in the 2nd batch (36 hrs) than the 1st. I do have a 3rd batch going only because I have never done a 3rd batch and am curious. I love reading your posts! Thank you so much!

  • Joan

    Thanks for sharing your photo.

  • Megan Stevens

    You’re welcome; and thank you! 😉

  • Evlyn Llanos

    (regarding your youtube)I wasted so many bones by making this mistake of over- boiling. thank you for setting me straight ;0

  • Megan Stevens

    You’re welcome! 🙂 From this point on, no more wasted bones. 😉

  • Lara C

    Is the 2nd boil of 24 to 72 hours usable? Is it as good as the first boil of 2 to 3 1/2 hours? What is the difference with the broth from the first boil to the broth from the 72 hour boil? Are they both as nutritious? Could I harvest the fat after the first 3 hours and continue the boil up to 72 hours and harvest more fat if anymore comes out?

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Lara, the first boil has lots of gelatin and fat. The longer boils have more minerals and collagen. They are both nutritious in different ways. The first boil is more flavorful.

  • Lara C

    Thank you.

  • Audrey Smith Ramon

    On the first boil are you supposed to use the “low” or “high” setting on the crockpot?

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Audrey, I’m sorry that I didn’t see your question until now. Either is fine for the first 3 hours.

  • Tony R.

    I have been making chicken bone broth and absolutely love it, even better with your tips, comes out golden, and buttery, instead of dark brown and a little odd. 😉

    Question on beef: We got some sawed marrow bones from the local butcher that they sell from locally raised cows over here in Central, OR – no particular ranch, just a grab bag from what they process for local farms. They’re grass fed, pastured, and NOT feed lot cows, but not necessarily organic, or antibiotic free over their life, but likely are (hard to say: since they’re from many farms). It’s the best we could do for the time, and WAY better than the other alternatives.
    Still on my quest for good bones as I make calls to the farms.
    Did them in a digital pressure cooker, about 90min on high on the 1st round, harvested all of that broth along with any loose marrow and did the longer cook at 4.5hrs with new water and salt.

    ? #1 – They have an almost off-putting somewhat sulfuric smell, not that appetizing smell the chicken bones give off. Was this simply because we didn’t roast them 1st (decided to try it that way), or is this normal?
    ? #2 – After round 2, almost all the bones lost their marrow, gloppy brown goobery, gelatin like stuff, yeah? That is, save for one of the larger bones, it lost some, and what’s left that doesn’t easily scrape out, is like channeled calcium, which I can scrape out, but it’s crunchy and crusty (not the outer bone). I can chew it, gritty with a pretty rich flavor, but once chewed the grit is gone, almost better than the fat-like marrow goobers as it has a more complex flavor. Should I harvest this too, or does it need to cook longer than the nearly 6hrs total it has elapsed?

    Thank you SO MUCH!!! Megan, for your wonderful blog and the AAAHMAZING beef soup (albeit a little too peppery) I had at your Cafe in my former hometown of Eugene. I can’t eat meat right now, and I actually didn’t feel ill for the 1st time!! <3 *hugs my fellow foodie healer* 🙂

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Tony, I recommend that the first batch of broth in a pressure cooker last for 30 minutes. The fat can go rancid, which is likely what you smelled, with the longer cooking. I’m not exactly sure what you’re referring to on the round 2 batch. Is it cartilage? If so, it’s fine to eat it or cook it longer, first. So glad you’re finding foods you can eat! Many blessings!

  • Tony R.

    Megan, thank you for your speedy reply! 🙂
    We did another round, roasted them for an hour or so, till nice in color and rendering off some of the fat, then cooked them for the correct amount of time this time. 30min, harvested all that, refilled with water and salt, then 4hrs. All done in the pressure cooker on high.
    Still stank something fierce!! *gags*
    I can’t eat it anyway, made me feel AWFUL, just as if I ate the meat itself. So it’s back to chicken bone broth. :/
    We found free range backs here, frozen, will that work, or do we need all the other parts?
    My wife can’t do the feet, she can’t stomach it and I’m too ill to mess with them otherwise I wouldn’t care. 😉

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Tony, backs are great!!! Wonderful choice!

  • Shannon Hazleton

    wow. I have been making bone broth for years, and I NEVER knew I was supposed to harvest after the first 2-3 hours to prevent rancidity. Oh my. Thanks for the very thorough details and answer all these comments and questions.

  • Megan Stevens

    You’re welcome. So glad it’s been helpful! 🙂

  • Tatia Veltkamp

    Do yo have issues with the water level boiling off in a crockpot? With my second and third broth from the same bones I always have to add more water part way through so it doesn’t end up dry. Anyone have suggestions on how to prevent that? Or should I just add the water? Thanks!

  • Megan Stevens

    That’s fine, to add more water; it’s expected. 🙂 You can lower the heat, if your crock pot is adjustable, so it doesn’t evaporate as much. It can cook at barely a simmer.

  • Joelle

    Wow! I am so excited to try this with my broth. Quick question: how do you actually skim the fat at the first “harvest” of the broth? Is there a quick and easy way to do this, or do you normally just strain out all the broth? Also what equipment do you use for straining? I always find this the most cumbersome/messy part, but maybe it is because I don’t have the right equipment. 😉

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Joelle, I understand! It can feel that way. My equipment is very make-shift actually: it’s just a metal measuring cup that I skim over the surface again and again, pouring off the fat into another dish as I go. Over time it becomes a peaceful thing. I think in the beginning it causes anxiety because we’re not sure if we’re doing it right or getting all of the fat! 🙂 So you don’t need to strain it all. The process takes about 5 minutes or less. I hope that helps.

  • I’m still confused here….I don’t see a difference in the top layers of my broth from the bottom. Do you take all or practically ALL of the broth out?? Or just ladle a few inches? Are you actually straining something??

  • Megan Stevens

    There are usually floating bubbles of fat. If you don’t see those, your bones may have no fat on them.

  • Lots of bubbles- throughout. Not just at the top. That’s what I don’t understand. Why just skim the top when the fat is all through it??

  • Megan Stevens

    Fat usually rises to the top. If yours is throughout, then chill it first. This will cause it to rise, solidify and then you can skim it off easily.

  • If you just get a wire sieve or some cheese cloth you can strain all the fat from the broth. You can get them on Amazon. There are also YouTube videos on how to do that available online. It’s super easy. The biggest challenge for me is having the ideal container for storing the soup but also removing the refrigerated fat from the top. Some mason jars have too small of an opening and it’s hard to work with.

  • Oh I didn’t know that you cool it first!!

  • Rachel Klem

    Hi Megan, I made my first two batches of bone broth this week. I got a link to your blog from a friend and am interested in making broth for my own health and for a friend who had surgery. He’s on a broth only diet for a few weeks. I was unsure at first that i had followed your directions correctly, but this morning when I harvested the second batch I was delighted by the outcome! Reading the comments and clarifying questions/answers from your readers and you helped immensely to reassure me as I went through the process. Thanks so much! This pic does not do justice to the deliciousness!
    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/723571a500825df4dc8f6bb81d3d0a885514aaf37c710e04a352987bbc8e4685.jpg

  • Megan Stevens

    Yay, Rachel!! I’m so so glad!! Thank you for sharing your wonderful experience and outcome! Bravo!! 🙂

  • Lisa Lash

    Hi Megan, I am so interested in making bone broth soups; have had recipes for a while now. Just wanted to let you know that the INSTANT POT 6QT is on sale for $68 on Amazon right now. I bought one for the same price just two days ago! I hope you are able to get it for such an awesome price! Blessings to you, Lisa

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Lisa, SO sweet of you; thank you!! Yes, I did get one for a loved one the day they were on sale; and I got myself one finally several months ago. I love it for bone broth SO much! Blessings, too!! xo

  • Josephine Palomino

    Hi Megan….I recently bought your new cookbook and I can’t wait to make the warm green smoothie once I make my first batch of broth. My first question to you is should I include any or all of the skin that comes on the chicken backs and necks in my pot? And my second question is it better to try to stick mainly with beef broth since chicken has too much omega 6 fats?

  • Megan Stevens

    Hi Josephine! Yes, do include the skin for the first 3 hour broth. Then remove it when you remove the fat, for the longer batches (24-72). I think of chicken breasts as being high in omega-6s, but not the rest of the bird. I would choose your animal and bones based more on which animal you can source grass-fed and pesticide-free. If you can get both that way, then try both for flavor and see which you prefer; or decide based on cost. That’s my take. 😉 So glad you bought the cookbook and that you’re looking forward to the smoothie!! 🙂 xo!

  • Josephine Palomino

    Megan thanks for inspiring me to take control of my health. Please understand how important that makes you. Also I hope to see your soup recipe book soon. Be well.😌

  • Megan Stevens

    You’re welcome, and thank you for your kind feedback! <3 Be well, too! 🙂

  • Lindsay

    Do you roast the beef bones if they are raw and frozen before putting in crock pot?

  • Megan Stevens

    No, you don’t need to. 🙂

  • Mike Rioux

    Do you initially use high-med heat for the 1st harvest of fat? Or just simmer

  • Megan Stevens

    You can do either. I just simmer. But that first 2 hour broth will not be harmed over higher heat.

  • Mike Rioux

    Ahh ok, i was simmering 24-48 hrs without removing anything. No wonder why I was getting so much gas-rancid fat! Its weird because there seems like so much fat but it doesnt all solidify in fridge? Only a small amount did

  • Megan Stevens

    It may not be fat if it’s not solidifying. Animal fat will solidify when chilled.