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How to Cook a Chicken and Make Stock

How to Cook a Chicken and Make Stock

If you love good soups and stews, learn how to cook a chicken and make stock – it will make a big difference in your end result and it’s not difficult.  Sure, it’s more time-consuming than opening a can, but worth the effort.  The key is to think ahead.  I cook the chicken the day before I plan to use, let it cool, and remove the meat from the bones.  The meat goes into the refrigerator for later use and the bones go back into the broth to simmer and additional 1-2 hours. Strain it,  allow to cool and refrigerate overnight.  When the broth is completely chilled, the fat coagulates on the top and can easily be removed with a slotted spoon or spatula – it freezes well if you don’t need all for your recipe.

Try it – it has less sodium and more taste than canned versions.

You will need:

  • 1 whole chicken
  • Water – tap is fine!
  • salt & pepper
  • veggies – carrots, celery, onion, use the ones that are getting “tired” in the fridge – I know you have some.
  • bay leaves (if you have, and sprigs of fresh herbs are good if they are around!)


  • Rinse chicken (do not cross contaminate – you can see my post on this if you need info)
  • Place said chicken in a large pot and add cold tap water to cover

cover chicken with cold water

  • Add vegetables, 2 tsp salt, pepper, herbs, etc.
  •  Set heat at medium high until water starts to slowly simmer, reduce heat and cook for about 1 hour (depends on how large the chicken is – if you can freely wiggle the leg, it’s probably done – if not let it cook a little longer)
  • Let chicken cool enough to handle

remove from hot water and allow to cool

  • Remove chicken from pot, pull meat from bones.

shred meat

  1. Refrigerate the meat, return bones to broth.
  2. Simmer broth, uncovered, for additional 1-2 hours.
  3. Strain stock through a sieve, place uncovered in refrigerator until it is completely cooled.  At this point, the fat will have accumulated on the top and it can easily be removed with a slotted spoon.

strain and chill stock, then remove fat

Now you’re ready to proceed with your favorite recipe.

Unused stock freezes well.  Unused chicken can be added to salads, quesadillas or sandwiches.

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