I have seen other food bloggers making a whole-chicken-in-a-crock-pot and then using the bones to make homemade broth (stock), so I had to give this a try of course. And it’s so easy! I can’t believe I have been just throwing out the bones every time when I could be making this delicious broth. 🙂 We humans have been consuming bone broth since the caveman days. It is so healing for our bodies! To name a few reasons: It heals the gut and improves digestion, fights infections like the cold an flu, reduces joint pain and inflammation, helps with bone formation/growth/repair, great for the health of our teeth as well, and boosts the immune system. The broth contains a lot of iron too. It’s great to have chicken broth on hand when we get sick (which isn’t very often). Especially the times when you’re sick and don’t want to eat much.
This was very easy to make but it does take up your time so it may be best to do it on a weekend if you work during the week. Making your own chicken broth does save money too. This recipe was derived from 100 Days of Real Food. I added more garlic powder and some rosemary. Rosemary is great for memory! And we all know with Fibromyalgia we need that. 😉 You get a ton of chicken from a whole chicken too. From the last chicken we cooked we got 4 dinners, 2 chicken sandwiches, and 2 small chicken salads. Plus all the broth!
- Organic whole chicken (up to 4 pounds)
- 1/2 an onion (I use yellow onion)
- Other veggies, if desired (carrots/celery, etc.)
- 2 tsp paprika
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp salt (I use sea salt)
- 1/4 tsp pepper
- 1 tsp dried thyme
- 1 tsp dried rosemary (or whatever herbs you like)
- 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
Make sure the chicken is completely thawed (or close to it – mine was a little frozen around the edges and turned out fine after cooking 5 hours). Cut-up your onion in large chunks and place it in the bottom of the crock pot along with any veggies you might want. Combine your spices and herbs in a small bowl. Remove giblets from the chicken (if there are any) and rub the spice/herb mixture all over the chicken, making sure to cover the chicken breasts underneath. Place the whole chicken on top of the onions in the crock pot, cover it, and turn it on high to cook for 4 – 5 hours. You don’t have to add any liquid. I know that sounds crazy but trust me, it works. The chicken will be done when it is falling off the bone and there’s no pink inside.
- The cooked whole chicken (or cooked chicken parts are okay too)
- The juices from cooking the chicken
- 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 1 large carrot, chopped (you don’t have to peel it but wash good)
- 1 bay leaf
- 1/2 an onion, chopped (unless you have onion from cooking the chicken, you can just leave that in or add more)
- More herbs if desired (1 sprig of fresh parsley, rosemary, or thyme – 1 tsp of dried herbs work too)
- 1/2 – 1 tsp salt
After the whole-chicken-in-the-crock-pot is done cooking, remove the chicken and leave the juice and everything else in the crock pot. After the chicken has cooled (and you have eaten what you want for that night), remove all the edible meat from the bones (check out the picture below of all the leftover chicken we had after eating some for dinner that night!). Put the bones and carcass back into the crock pot (basically everything except the edible meat). Add celery, carrots, the bay leaf, and you can add more onion and herbs if you want. I use rosemary and thyme, or whatever I have on hand. Add salt if desired. Fill the crock pot with water, leaving about 1/2″ to 1″ at the top. (I get a little paranoid about it bubbling over during the night so I leave 1″.) Turn the crock pot on low to cook for 8 – 10 hours either during the night or you can start it in the morning to cook during the day (it’s okay to cook even longer than 10 hours if you want and it will actually be even better this way). When it’s done, turn off the heat and use a sieve to remove all the bones/veggies/herbs etc. After the broth has cooled, you can freeze for future use (see information on freezing the broth below).
Freezing Homemade Chicken Broth:
I tried freezing in gallon-size ziplock bags and the bags punctured a hole and leaked all over my freezer. 🙁 Next I tried freezing in mason jars. This works great. Make sure to leave some room at the top of the jars because the broth will expand when it freezes. It is recommended that you use wide-mouth jars because of the liquid expanding and risk of the glass bursting. Some of mine were’t wide-mouth and they turned out okay so it’s up to you. If you don’t use a wide-mouthed jar then make sure you have extra room on top. It is also recommended to use pint-size jars, not quart-size but I did use a couple quart-size jars. I guess these are more at risk of breaking in the freezer but mine turned out okay. Again, it’s up to you, I’m just sharing the information I found. 🙂 (You can reuse the lids for freezing only. You need to use new lids for canning, unless you buy the reusable lids. I reuse my lids when freezing the jars and the sharpie permanent marker I used to write on the lid comes off after washing it! I just had to kind-of scrape it off. I keep the used lids separate from the new lids and make sure they are clearly marked.) I measured the broth into 3 cup and 1 1/2 cup portions. There’s also one with 2 cups. I made sure the jars were completely cool before putting them into the freezer. You could use plastic tupperware to freeze the broth too but obviously plastic is not the best choice, and you would definitely want BPA-free. You can also freeze some of the broth in ice cube trays so you have small amounts when needed. If you need some mason jars (or lids & bands or just lids) scroll to the bottom for a link through Amazon.
Uses for Homemade Chicken Broth:
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Other Soups (Potato Soup, Split Pea Soup, Navy Bean Soup, etc.)
- Use Chicken Broth instead of water when making rice/quinoa/potatoes/noodles
- Baked Chicken & Rice
- Other casserole dishes
- Drink it! Yes, that’s right. Just drink it straight and it’s so good. I drank some after I made a fresh batch. I have heard of some people drinking a cup every day. Maybe I will do that one day.
- Chicken Pot Pie (this recipe needs some improvement but I still stand by the filling!)
- Use when making sauces
- Chicken Noodle Soup
- Chicken Pot Pie
- Chicken Fajitas
- Baked Chicken & Rice
- Chicken Enchiladas (use my beef enchilada recipe and substitute w/chicken or my cheesy chicken enchiladas)
- Chicken Quesadillas (found in my party appetizer recipes)
- Chicken & Herb Noodles
- Chicken Salad (Cobb Salad)
- Sour Cream & Onion Chicken Salad (recipe from 100 Days of Real Food)
- Chicken Alfredo
- Chicken Stir-fry
- Chicken Chili (use my chili recipe and substitute the beef for chicken)
- Chicken Sandwiches
- Chicken Wraps
- Chicken Tortilla Soup
- Chicken Tacos (use my taco/burrito recipe and substitute the beef for chicken)
- Chicken Lasagna
- Chicken Fried Rice (you can add chicken to my Fried Rice recipe or substitute the bacon for chicken)
Here’s the crock pot I use and I love it! There are other options out there with different prices too.
Here are some Wide-Mouth Pint-Size Mason Jars or need some lids & bands? Or just lids?:
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