How I Make Bone Broth

Posted by on Mar 3, 2013 in 21DSD, Paleo, soup, Whole 30 | 59 comments

How I Make Bone Broth

I have held off writing this post because I’ve been pretty sure that when I make broth, I just throw bones in water and boil ’em. Doesn’t exactly seem recipe worthy. But then I post pictures of what is basically beef or chicken jello, and get comments suggesting that a lot of people don’t have the same results.

broth is beautiful.

broth is beautiful.

That’s not okay. Everyone should get perfectly gelled broth every time they make it. Broth is a right, not a privilege! Maybe I’m being dramatic.

Please note that this isn’t a recipe with measurements and exact instructions. It’s broth. It just can’t be that specific, if you ask me. But if you follow the general set of guidelines, you should achieve broth perfection with the freedom to make it your own.

I use a pressure cooker. I highly recommend purchasing one. Links to options are below.  If you aren’t interested in using a pressure cooker, the following recipe can still be used. You’ll just be simmering your broth for 6-24 hours instead or 1-2. Not a problem if you’re more patient than I am. If you’re using a crockpot, you probably know how to use it better than I do, because I’ve never owned one. It’s okay, don’t worry. I don’t want one, but I’m glad other people love theirs. From what I’ve seen and heard, 24 hours is ideal for crock pot broth. I’m guessing that crock pots don’t get hot enough to reduce it, so it may be best to transfer the broth to a pot on the stove at the end. I used to make mine overnight in a cast iron dutch oven in a low oven. I set off the carbon monoxide detector once that way, so now I use a pressure cooker.

I make my stock in 2 phases: the bone phase and the veggie phase. This makes the process a bit longer, but it’s worth it. I do this for two reasons:

1. I don’t like cooking the veggies for as long as the bones. They might make the broth bitter if cooked for so long. I don’t have scientific evidence to back this up, but I’m going with it. Plus, I tend to be a bit obsessive when it comes to things cooking as long as they should. If bones take 24 hours to fall apart when cooked slowly, and vegetables only an hour, it just doesn’t make sense to me to cook them for equal time.

2. Less is more. When you reduce, that is. I leave the lid off during phase 2, and allow the broth to reduce, which makes it perfectly concentrated.

Here’s what I do:

Into my pressure cooker go several pounds bones; beef, lamb, or chicken. I fill the pot about half way with bones and cover with water by a few inches. I wish I had a solid bone to water ratio for you, but I don’t. If you cover with water by an inch or two, the water that fills in the space between the bones in the pot should be a good amount. As far as what kind of bones: knuckle bones are good, as are chicken backs and necks. Wings are also a good option. You can save your bones from when you make chicken and use those as well. Get the best quality you can- grass fed beef and pastured chicken if you can. You want healthy bones for your broth!bones in potSee that line inside the pressure cooker that says MAX? Respect that. I bring my water line a bit below, just to be safe.max lineInto the pot goes 1 tablespoon apple cider cider vinegar going into bone brothAnd 1 teaspoon sea saltsalt going into bone brothTurn the burner to high and lock on the lid. My pressure cooker has 2 options: One and Two. I turn it to Two, which is the higher pressure option. (remember: I’m impatient) Once the pressure builds up and the valve pops up, I turn the burner to as low as it will go with the pressure maintained. I often have to play with it a bit- The pressure will drop too much, and I turn the heat back up, until I have found the pressure cooker’s happy place. (I also still scream, like a girl, when the pressure gets too high and the safety valve releases. It scares the hell out of me, and screaming just seems to be part of pressure cooking. For me.)

Once the pressure is up, I cook my broth for about 75 minutes. I then turn off the heat and allow the pressure to release enough to open the lid.

Time for phase 2. Add your veggies. These don’t have to be beautiful, in fact, they shouldn’t be. Save your scraps and freeze them- they’re perfect for broth making. I like lots of root vegetables like carrots, parsnips and celery root. I also add an onion, cut in quarters, (you don’t have to peel it), some garlic cloves, and a teaspoon or so of peppercorns. Remember, this isn’t an exact recipe. You can add anything that you’d like the flavor of in your broth. I do, however, recommend keeping it somewhat simple.

Add your veggies, and turn the heat back up to high. Once it comes to a boil, turn it down so it stays at a good simmer. Let the broth reduce for at least an hour.veggie stage

Strain the broth over another large pot with a strainer in it. Squish the contents of the strainer with a wooden spoon or ladle so you get as much juice out of it as possible. You can save the carrots or any other veggies you want to add back in for soup.

Transfer the broth to glass jars or containers and chill in the fridge. The fat will be easy to remove once the broth is cold.

If you want to be a showoff, Turn your broth out onto a cutting board and cut it with a knife. Why? Just because you can.

gelled broth


So there you have it! Beautiful broth. I hope it results in broth perfection for you.

Pressure Cooker Shopping:

Here is a link to Pressure Cookers on Amazon, of which there are many.

Here is the link to the one that is closest to the one I have, except I have the 10 quart.

There are many options. Since I haven’t tested a handful of models, I recommend reading customer reviews to get a better idea of performance and features. I would definitely go with stainless steel as opposed to aluminum. Get a stove top model if you don’t want to lose counter space.


All of the links on are for information purposes, however some are affiliate links to books, products or services. Any sponsored posts are clearly labelled as being sponsored content. Some ads on this site are served by ad networks and the advertised products are not necessarily recommended by Zenbelly Catering.

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  1. When you say several pounds, do you mean more than 3 pounds? I just ordered a pressure cooker similar to yours and want to make sure I get it right. Thank you for sharing!

    • it’s not at all an exact recipe, so you can use as many pounds as you have. The thing to keep in mind is the bones to water ratio; I’ve found that when I bring the water to two inches or so above the bones, it works out really well. I’ve made many different size batches (some giant, for catering purposes) and have had good luck with that general ratio…. And if I were to guess (which is all I can do that the moment, since I’m currently about 3000 miles from my freezer!) I’d say that my average bag of bones is 4-5 pounds. You can also do a lot of correcting when you reduce; if it seems weak, reducing will really concentrate it! And if it’s too strong when it’s done, you can add water as needed. I hope that helps!

      • may be a silly question but… do you leave the lid off when you reduce?

      • Not silly. Yes, lid off for reducing. You want some of the liquid to evaporate, and get a bit more concentrated.

  2. I’m in love with your squared measuring spoons. Where did you get them?

    • I think I got them at Bed Bath and Beyond, but I bet you could find them at Williams Sonoma too. They fit in spice bottles! 😀

      • I finally went to BB&B last weekend and got myself the “spice” measuring spoons. They’re fantastic! I’m slowly building my kitchen arsenal. One of my favorite kitchen purchases to date. Thanks for the tip.

    • I got mine at William Sonoma. And yes, they are fabulous for getting into spice jars!

  3. May I ask when and where you purchased your Fagor Duo 10-qt pressure cooker and canner?
    Thanks in advance.

    • I bought mine at Macy’s. I’m not sure if the one I have is available online, but it looks like there are similar ones if the exact one isn’t there…

  4. That broth sounds wonderful but is much thicker than any I have seen. How do you eat it?

    • It’s only thick like that when it’s cold. The gelatin melts when you heat it.

  5. Yours is the first recipe I’ve followed that has actually gelled! On my first attempt, when I saw it in all it’s solid glory, I exclaimed, “Yay! I did it!” My 17 yo son took one look at the gelatinous form and said, “That’s disgusting.” I felt victorious! It’s the reducing that does the trick, I think. Tastes great! Thanks!

    • haha, what he doesn’t like meat jello?! 😉 I’m so glad I could help you achieve a victory in your kitchen!

  6. THANK YOU THANK YOU! I have tried various bone broth recipes that relied on slow cooking for 24 hours and I didn’t find them palatable. Not sure what it was but every time I have done it there was an odd bitter flavor. I followed your post this time around and I am happy to report that I finally was able to create not only a “palatable broth” but THE best broth I have ever had. Thank you! Your post on broth was what lead me to your blog and after this great success you have a loyal reader!

    • Yay! I’m so glad to hear it! Thanks Jessi, I’m happy to have you as a loyal reader :)

  7. Haha I dont my broth will make it through to the end of phase 2, absolutely amazing! thank you!!

  8. I followed your recipe for my very first attempt at bone broth soup. I am happy to report that it turned out perfect! Thank you so much for sharing. I did do some internet research before I selected your recipe. Yours made the most sense and I am glad that I chose it!

    • So glad to hear it! Thanks Kate!

  9. Did you remove bones before adding the vegy’s? Ive been using the pressure cooker for this for a few years and LOVE IT. But I didn’t think about doing vegy’s separate, thought it was mostly for flavor. but will do it your way next time. I typically use my hands and squeeze the life out of any solid in the strainer so I can get every last drop. because of the carrots, herbs, etc. my broth is pretty colorful and cloudy ( : thank you

    • I leave the bones in! So the last chunk of time is the bones and veggies, uncovered and reducing. The only exception is when I’m making a really large batch and need the room for more veggies.

  10. I’ve made bone broth a few times now and cannot get it to gel!! I don’t have a pressure cooker, but I brought to a boil and slow simmered it for 12+ hours. I used a whole chicken carcass and chicken feet with ACV and veggies, and nothing :( I know it’s still full of minerals, but I’d like to have some gelatin!
    Any tips for non pressure cooker BB? I used grocery bought organic chicken, not necessarily pastured.
    Thank you :)

    • I make chicken stock with leftover bones from roasted chickens all the time. I put everything (bones with some meat still on, skin, herbs, veggies, peppercorns) in a huge stock pot, fill it with water, bring it to a boil, and let it simmer uncovered for 6-10 hours. Before I go to bed, I take it off the stove and put it directly in the refrigerator, bones and all to sit at least overnight and up to 24 hours. Then the next day or so later, I reheat it to boiling, let it cool, and then strain it. Back in the fridge to chill again so I can skim off the rendered fat. I know it takes a little longer this way, but it ALWAYS gels up for me this way. Good luck!

  11. Can you give your thoughts…I have read in other places that it is best to roast beef bones first before making the stock…have you tried this? I often make stock with chicken carcasses, but have you ever used, say, a whole chicken? (cut into bits…) I have made that in the past, and simmered till the meat was mush, tasteless as anything (though the dog liked it…) and that was the best chicken broth ever….really want to try beef broth, though…

    • Roasting bones will greatly add to the depth of flavor of the stock. I don’t think there’s much nutritional difference, but I’m no expert on the topic. If you’re going to be using the broth to make richly flavored soups or stews, or for a sauce such as a demi-glace, roasting is definitely the way to go. As far as chicken- I usually use just bones such as back and necks and feet, or leftover bones from roast chicken. But you can definitely throw a whole chicken in there! That’s the way I always saw it done growing up; My mom would just use whole raw chickens. But she didn’t simmer it as long as the WAPF / paleo method, so the meat on the chicken was salvageable for chicken salads, etc.

  12. Only thing I would suggest is a recipe for those without a pressure cooker.

    • Then write one, silly, Notice the title of the post is “How *I* make bone broth”? There are a gazillion recipes out there for slow cooker broth. 😉

  13. My beef bone-broth secret to jelly-full success = Oxtails. The leftover meat makes excellent stew and soup. Instagram

    • oh yeah, oxtails are great! I made an incredible pho with them once. yum.

  14. Two Questions:
    1. Do you store your broth in the fridge or freezer?
    2. About how long is it good for?

    • I do both, but it doesn’t often make it to the freezer! In the fridge, it should last about a week.

  15. Beef and veal stocks need to roasted first to get that depth of flavor. The vegies should be roasted also. Write one? Yeh in my spare time.

    • um, yeah. exactly.

  16. Just got done doing part 1, did you water level increase? Mine did past the max line. Even though I was well under it before we started. I’m a little concerned.

    • You water level increased?! That’s so odd. Could have been how the bones cooked down and settled in the pot… But if you’re at the point where you’re ready to reduce the broth, it’s okay if the liquid level is above the max line; the “max” only applies to when you’re cooking with pressure.

  17. I cannot thank you enough for this recipe!! I have tried batch after batch with another recipe after another recipe and my sad little broth was always liquified. I was so happy to find yours and tried it yesterday with GREAT SUCCESS! My fridge is now stocked with a nice hearty batch of meat jello. I feel like I’ve been inducted into a whole new special bone broth club. Thank you!

  18. I’ve been looking for days for this recipe. It should be the first entry in googling ‘pressure cooker bone stock broth recipe’. My Q? is, does cracking the bones, before processing, do anything good, bad, or special?

    • I have no idea!

    • Cracking the bones makes the insides of the bones more available for the nutrition to be imparted into the broth. So if the bones are already cut across the marrow, then you don’t need to crack them. If the bones are whole, then you can crack them if you like.

  19. What about the fat? Can one use that fat off the top of the cooled broth for cooking veggies, say? I’m about to make lamb broth and anticipating there will be fat, maybe a lot.

    • You can use it, but according to Sally Fallon, the fat has been cooked for so long that it’s no longer nutrient dense, and might even fall into the damaged fats category. Personally, I’d probably still use it, and wouldn’t worry too much about it- lots of flavor in there!

      • I don’t know what nutrients Fallon thinks might disappear after long cooking, but animal fats are entirely undamaged at a home pressure cooker’s 250F/120C:

      • Interesting. Good to know, thanks!

    • That layer of fat on top of say chicken stock is called smoltz. A delicacy especially if it’s coming from pastured chickens.

      • Oh yes. Lovely stuff. But is it usually cooked for that long / hot, as it is when making broth? I have no idea how it’s usually rendered, do you?

      • When you cool in in the frig the fat will rise to the top. Just pick it up :)

      • No, I know that, silly. I’m wondering if schmaltz is usually rendered by making broth, or if there’s a different method that doesn’t cook the hell out of it, like making broth does.

  20. Thanks for the step by step illustration! I know see I use too much water and not enough bones! I am determined to get my broth to gel!!

  21. If you were going to make a cup of broth to drink, would you just heat up some the the gelled stock or would you dilute it with some water?

    • It depends on how concentrated it is, and how you want it to taste. Mine are usually strong enough that I like to add about 1 part water to 3-4 parts broth. And a pinch of sea salt :)

  22. I just found your site a few days ago and am currently on stage one. The first broth I tried to make I only had marrow bones, and it ended up bitter, not gelled, and no wonder! No cartilage! So, in the trash it went. Hoping to get the gel this time and a deep beef flavor with ox tail and veggies in during the concentrating stage. I am so excited to have the nutrient dense cup of broth to help this mama feel better! 1st trimester pregnancy is not fun in this house at all!

    • Ox tail have been in the entire time, veggies in with stage 2.

  23. I made a delicious Pho broth yesterday and was wondering if the already cooked bones have any nutritional value left in them? I was thinking of recooking with them to make another broth before tossing them.

    • Hi Mar-
      I haven’t done it myself – still new to this – but several sources I’ve read have mentioned re-using the bones multiple times for the mineral content – almost until they’re SOFT before discarding them. The broths get thinner but still have a lot of mineral content, so probably not as tasty for sipping, but some value for nutrition to add to a dish instead of water.

  24. I much prefer making stock in a pressure cooker. However, with respect to adding an acid, my own preference is some fresh squeezed lemon or lime juice, because to my palate, vinegar dominates everything it touches.

  25. You said, “the fat will be easy to remove once chilled”…so do you then skim off the fat? Or is the fat part of the broths goodness? Thanks!

    • I skim off the fat, but wait until I’m ready to eat the broth. You can leave a little of the fat, depending on how you plan on using the broth, but if you leave it all, it will most likely be really fatty / greasy.

  26. Just had to tell you…I made my first ever batch this week in my pressure cooker. It did not gel, but then I reduced it like you do and then it gelled! Is it weird that made me so happy? I made roasted butternut squash soup with it tonight…ah-mazing!

    • not weird at all- Good broth is definitely reason for celebration! :)


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