homemade bone broth

How To Make Bone Broth Without Special Equipment

Here are my 5 best tips so that you can easily turn your left-over bones into a healthy, collagen-rich, gut-healing bone broth!

Everyone loves bone broth!

Have you been wondering how you can make your own? Would you like to learn how you can capture all the delicious goodness from the bones?

Let me show you how can easily make your own bone broth! It might sound a little intimidating at first.

But you won’t even need any special equipment. And you can do it right on your stove top with just any large stock pot.

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History

People have enjoyed bone broth for centuries. They had to get the most use of the animals they hunted. What they couldn’t eat, they would use for clothing or other purposes (such as tools from bones, etc.).

Even our grandparents knew how to make bone broth. Out of necessity since they couldn’t afford to throw away any parts of the cow or the chicken. They knew how to turn animal bones into a tasty, healthy cup of broth.

Health Benefits of Bone Broth

In recent years, bone broth has emerged as a new superfood with many nutritional benefits. It is purported to contain huge amounts of collagen, a protein that is found in the skin and connective tissue.

Collagen production in humans declines as they age. Therefore, it seems beneficial to consume dietary collagen – as found in a traditional bone broth.

Bone broth is highly nutritious as it contains many vitamins and minerals.

Collagen-rich bone broth is also a great way to heal leaky gut, fight inflammation, and help with joint pain.

You can give your immune system a good boost with a cup of healing broth (source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323903.php).

Regardless of the health benefits, making bone broth is a tasty way to make use of leftover bones.

You can simply sip it: there is nothing better than a cup of chicken bone broth when you’re down with a cold or flu. Especially in the winter months, some hot homemade broth is a great way to warm up. Or you can add it to your favorite stews and soup recipes to increase the flavor.

And it is a lot better – and cheaper – than the store-bought versions.

How to make bone broth

Tip # 1: Roast your bones.

Roasting adds deep flavor to the bones.

Sometimes, I roast a chicken and once I have taken all the meat off, I’ll make chicken broth from the carcass.

roast chicken in clay pot

Other times, I’ll buy just the bones. I like to visit a local sustainable farm where I can buy frozen beef bones very inexpensively. You can also get meaty bones from your local butcher and most grocery stores. Then, I’ll roast the bones at 450˚F for about 30-40 mins (turning them after about half the time).

Once, your bones have been roasted (or you picked the meat off the chicken bones), put them into a large pot and add enough water so that the bones are just about covered.

Obviously, the amount of water depends on many factors. For example, how deep and wide your pot is. Also, the size and shape of your bones.

You want the bones barely covered with water but not so much that they float. If you’re using too much water, your bone broth will still be good but you might not get a very gelatinous broth.

Other times, I’ll buy just the bones. I like to visit a local sustainable farm where I can buy frozen beef bones very inexpensively. I’ll just spread the bones in a large roasting pan and roast them at 450˚F for about 30-40 mins (turning them after about half the time).

Once, you have roasted the bones (or you picked the meat off the chicken bones), put them into a stock pot or cast iron dutch oven and just about cover with filtered water.

Obviously, the amount of water depends on many factors. For example, how deep and wide your pot is. Also, the size and shape of your bones.

You want the bones just about covered with water but not so much that they float. If you’re using too much water, your bone broth will still be good and healthy but might not gel.

roast beef bones for bone broth

Tip # 2: Add apple cider vinegar

I like to add about 2-4 TBSP apple cider vinegar to my water. Once I have added my cold filtered water to the bones, I add the apple cider vinegar and let everything sit anywhere from 30 to 60 minutes.

This helps draw the trace minerals and important nutrients out of the bones. I also find that it adds extra flavor to the bone broth.

Speaking of flavor: to increase the flavor of the bone broth, I like to add veggies. I also like to create a low-waste kitchen.

Thus, whenever I peel the onion, chop off the wilted parts of green onions, or peel carrots, or celery roots, I keep them in a ziplock bag in the freezer. I might also add parsley stems to this bag. When I am ready to make bone broth, I’ll simply add these frozen veggie scraps.

You might also like to add a tsp each of black pepper, some sea salt, a bay leaf, sage, rosemary, or any of your favorite herbs for better flavor. Obviously, fresh is better but dried works great as well.

veggie scraps

Tip # 2: Only simmer your bones!

This may be the most crucial tip for making bone broth that gels.

After adding filtered water and apple cider vinegar to the bones, I heat everything over low heat to slowly bring it to a slow simmer. If you boil the bones at high heat, the collagen might be destroyed. You can still use it and it will still be fine, tough!

How can you tell the best simmer? You want little bubbles to come up here and there. With this gentle simmer, the collagen will be slowly drawn out.

For chickens, I like to simmer my broth for about 6 hours (sometimes I simmer it for longer without a problem). For beef bones, you’ll want to simmer them for up to 48 hours.

If you don’t like to keep your stove on at night or while you’re away from the house, you can turn off the heat and simply turn it back on when you’re back!

making bone broth

Tip # 4: Use knuckle bones

Collagen is most abundant in the joints. This means knuckles, ribs, and oxtails for beef. Or legs, wings, and feet for chickens. Of course, you can also use fish bones and fish heads. Or pig’s feet (I have yet to try that but they’re supposed to be great!). You can always use a variety of bones.

You can really use any bones and sometimes if you buy them frozen in a package, you’ll just get what you get. If you have a choice, go for knuckles! Of course, you can also use beef marrow bones!

As I said above, making bone broth is a great way to make use of most of the whole animal. It would be ideal if you could get a whole chicken so that you can use the head and the feet, in addition, to the rest of the bones.

Or ask your butcher for a whole roast and have them cut it for you into various parts. It will be cheaper and you’ll have the bones, too.

gelled bone broth

Tip # 5: Get the best bones you can afford

The health of the animal is not only important to me as an ethical factor but also affects the quality of the food (or the bone broth). I feel very strongly that the healthier the animal, the healthier my food will be. Unfortunately, animals raised in feed-lots tend to have all sorts of health issues, are often full of antibiotics, and receive an unnatural diet with high amounts of corn. This diet causes them to get all sorts of stomach issues.

Therefore, we love to get meat from animals that have been pasture-raised and pasture-fed. Organic and free-range is an excellent choice, too. You can look here for more information.

Bonus Tip:

When you’re done simmering your bones, let the broth cool off slightly. You’ll want to pour it into glass jars through a strainer to strain out bones, veggie scraps, pieces of meat, and herbs.

Again, let your broth cool down. Depending on the type of bones you used you might get a layer of fat on top of your broth. That’s great! When the broth has completely cooled off, put the jars in your refrigerator. If they’re wide-mouth you can also put them in the freezer. I find that the layer of fat keeps the bone broth fresh longer.

This fat – the beef tallow – is excellent for frying potatoes! I carefully take it off and put it in a different jar which I’ll keep in the refrigerator.

Usually, bone broth lasts 3-7 in the refrigerator and up to 3 months in the freezer.

beef tallow

Other ways to Make Homemade Bone Broth

A lot of people love using kitchen appliances for making their bone stock. A slow cooker is a great option as well as an Instant Pot. With both, you will just be simmering, not vigorously boiling.

You could make your bone broth in a pressure cooker, however, I find that you will not have very good control of the cooking process and the temperature. If you’re making your bone broth to add it to your favorite soup recipes, you can absolutely use a pressure cooker. If on the other hand, you’re looking to get the most health benefits, I would recommend the other cooking methods.

Now you can use your bone broth for sipping, or as a base for your favorite soups or stews.

Have you tried making bone broth? What are your best tips? I’d love to hear from you in the comments below!

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15 Comments

  1. Great post! I make mine from our own farm-raised meat chickens, but I haven’t been able to stomach putting the feet or heads in. 😬 Maybe one of these days. But I do love to add veggies when I make the broth. I sometimes keep a bag in the freezer of cut off celery tops, or carrot peelings, etc so I can toss those in the next time I make broth. Onion and a bay leaf is also fantastic.

  2. Wow, great information! Changing subject, lol, love all the natural light in your kitchen.
    I make this for my fur-babies, they ❤️ it, me not so much. 😂
    I make mine in an instant pot.

  3. Nice tips! Any tips for the odor? I have been having to brew mine in the garage in a slow cooker as the scent of the bones simmering isn’t so pleasant to me. Thanks for sharing!

    1. Thank you! I do find that there’s more smell from gras-fed animals but knowing where that comes from, I personally like it. Sounds like you got it figured out with having the slow cooker in the the garage 🤣

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