Tips and Tricks: Crockpot Chicken Stock

July 14th, 2009 by katie

I have posted about making chicken stock before.  Having homemade chicken stock on hand is one of my favorite kitchen staples.  It is rich and flavorful with no calories or sodium and-the best part-its free!  What could be a better investment of a lazy day at home?  I save up my chicken parts and carcasses in the freezer until the day I feel like hugging the stove and puttering around the house.  I will admit, though, it is kind of a pain.  I can never seem to keep the pot at the right temperature.  Plus while it is certainly an easy process, you do still have to babysit the stove all day.

Enter: the crock pot.  I have a huge crock pot and I have started using it for my chicken stock.  It keeps the stock at the perfect simmering temperature and doesn’t evaporate as much off, resulting in copious amounts of rich, golden stock-no babysitting required.   I make stock so much more now that I know this trick.  I just throw the leftover chicken and vegetable bits in the pot with water to cover and then 8 or 12 hours later-or whenever I get around to it-I strain it and cool it.  You can start it after dinner and let it go overnight, or you can throw it in the pot in the morning and put it away before bed, whatever works for you.

When I make my stock in the crock pot I easily get 16 cups of perfect broth.  There is no recipe here, you put in whatever you want to flavor your stock with.  Here I have a chicken carcass and some wing tips (both I pulled from the freezer and thawed briefly under running water while I gathered my other ingredients), a red onion, a few stalks of celery, garlic cloves, a lemon, some cilantro stems (when adding herbs the leaves get gunky so just use the stems), a piece of ginger, some peppercorns, coriander seeds, and star anise for making Pho Ga.  Just use what you have on hand, or even just chicken and water!  Remember that what you flavor your stock with will really carry over to the dishes you make with it.

Update: Here’s my method for storage in case you aren’t familiar with making stock.  Strain your hot stock into smaller containers, I use the tall 4 cup Ziplock Twist ‘n Loc containers, then I fill the sink with ice and cold water and chill the stock like that for a few minutes until it is about room temperature. Then it goes into the fridge for up to a week. The fat will solidify at the top and you can remove it and throw it away.  I either make lots of chicken stock heavy dishes that week (a good batch of risotto or tortilla soup will go through a couple of containers) or when I get around to it I scoop the stock out in one cup portions and freeze it flat in freezer bags.  It should be fine in the freezer for several months.

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Posted in Budget, Tips and Tricks

18 Responses

  1. JoAnn

    How very cool and thought inspiring. Now, when the weather cools off, I can start making broth for those cold winter nights. Now, I have to start collecting “parts”.

  2. Dulcey

    Is this on low or high? I literally have roasted chickens coming out of the oven in 10 minutes. And once the crockpot is free (bbq pork), I’d like it try it this way. I was going to simmer stock on the stove…. Thanks!

    It kind of depends on your crock pot. Mine runs really hot so I put it on high to get it going then once I have achieved a nice simmer I turn it to low or even “keep warm”. So put it on what ever setting will keep it at a nice gentle simmer. -Katie

  3. cheryl

    I had to invest in a new crock pot this spring after I idiotically balanced my old one on a set of rickety shelves. Oops.

    Now I know what to use it for. I also love the idea of a crock pot stock because there’s no way in hell I’m going to keep a huge pot bubbling away in this 95 degree heat. Thanks, Katie!

  4. flyingbird

    How do you store that much fresh chicken stock? Does freezing work without taking away flavor quality? I’m lazy and buy Tetra Paks of organic chicken stock ready to use on the pantry shelf…but crockpot stock sounds too easy not to try!

    Here’s the method (and I will post it above): Strain your hot stock into smaller containers, I use the tall 4 cup Ziplock Twist ‘n Loc containers, then I fill the sink with ice and cold water and chill the stock like that for a few minutes until it is about room temperature. Then it goes into the fridge for up to a week. The fat will solidify at the top and you can remove it and throw it away. I either make lots of chicken stock heavy dishes that week (a good batch of risotto or tortilla soup will go through a couple of containers) or when I get around to it I scoop the stock out in one cup portions and freeze it flat in freezer bags. It should be fine in the freezer for several months. -Katie

  5. nancy

    Great tip! I’m going to have to try this; I’ve made stock in the slow cooker before, but always started it on the stove because I was worried about getting it hot enough. Next time I will cut out that step!

  6. EB

    I’ve been wavering regarding buying a crockpot and not (small apt, small kitchen), I think this might push me over the buying edge! Fabulous tip.

  7. sweetbird

    I just made chicken stock yesterday. We are thinking much too alike lately, my dear…

  8. Anna

    Does it make the rich, gelatin-y stock or more of a thin broth? Thanks for the idea!

    If you have bones it will make the same thick stock you are used to on the stove-top. You know it is good stock when it starts to firm up as soon as you pour it into smaller containers! -Katie

  9. alexandra

    So smart to save your carcasses and then use the crock pot. I have a crock pot but have used it only a handful of times. This is genius.

    Also, I think I am going to make your perfect yellow cake recipe on Sunday morning. It’s the dishwasher’s birthday at work and I have had this recipe bookmarked for months. I’m so excited to make it!

  10. Mrs. L

    Now I’m kicking myself for throwing away those chicken wing tips the other day. Fantastic idea to make it in the crock pot, thanks!

  11. Lisa

    I found you thru Cheryl. Thanks so much for this recipe. I don’t have my huge crock pot anymore but my medium one should work just fine. I also appreciate the cooling tip. Off to explore your other posts.

  12. Jan

    My son buys Costco rotisserie chicken to feed his elderly cat. Made me crazy until I started making stock in the crockpot with the remains!

  13. Alison

    I like your approach to cooking and especially to stock, also an all-time favorite of mine to make! However, I would NOT use plastic to encase my precious stock and offer to friends and family. PLASTIC is BAD. I buy French jelly jars, perfect for the task! You can buy them at Crate and Barrel or other such container stores or check online. They come in pint and one cup sizes with (alas) plastic red or orange tops…..Much prettier and safer to use than plastic.

  14. Daisy

    I like the smaller containers, too. If I’m making a big soup, I can use two.

  15. Lisa

    I’m going to try this method today…my first time making my own stock and I can’t wait to see how it turns out! Thanks!

  16. jenn

    hmmm…. sounded easy enough… but mine seems more of a broth than a gelatinous stock… I used the full carcass, with roughly 8-10 cups of cold filtered water to cover it. Started on high and then turned to low and let it go a little over 14 hours total. What’d I do wrong?

    Sounds perfect to me. It wont turn jelly-like until it cools. -Katie

  17. jenn

    even cold it was more like broth. 🙁

  18. laurence

    Good article. Next to my wok the crock-pot is most used in the kitchen.
    When I make stock, I cool it, skim the fat and pour into ice-cube trays. Throw them in a freezer bag and later pull out as many as you want for the dish you’re making.

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About chaos

cha·os -noun 1. a condition or place of great disorder or confusion. My chaotic kitchen is the result of three kids, two adults, dog, cat, and fish, a food obsession, a wine drinking hobby, and too few hours in the day. Between trying to feed a family of five healthy, happy meals, watching my weight, saving my pennies, and staying partially sane I have picked up a few tricks along the way. So here they are: the very best tips, tricks, and recipes from my chaotic kitchen-to yours!

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