If you’ve been into real food for any amount of time,
…then you’ve probably heard lots of people reference homemade beef stock or bone broth (or homemade beef broth).
Why People Love Homemade Beef Stock (or Homemade Bone Broth)
First off, homemade bone broth is one of the most nourishing things you can make. Homemade beef stock promotes healthier digestion, reduces inflammation, inhibits infection, and promotes healthy bones and joints.
Secondly, homemade beef stock is much healthier and more nourishing than store-bought beef broth or stock. Even those “organic” store broths are just missing the mark. They might not be loaded with the typical MSG, but they are missing out on all the nutrition of homemade bone broth.
And finally, homemade bone broth or beef stock incredibly frugal and simple to make. Where else can you turn leftover bones and scraps of veggies into such a valuable food item? If you know how to toss ingredients into a slow cooker and press the start button, then you can do this!
I prefer to use my slow cooker when making homemade stock. It can definitely be done with a regular stovetop, but I don’t trust myself to leave a simmering pot on my stove for 24 hours without causing a huge mess or burning something down…
There are many different ways to make beef stock, but here I how I do it. Making homemade beef stock is definitely not an exact science, and personally, I think it is one of the easiest real food components you can make.
Learn more Old-Fashioned & Heritage Cooking Tips…
I am passionate about making from-scratch foods in my kitchen. If you are interested in learning through videos and guidebooks, I have my Heritage Cooking Crash Course, where I teach you how to make all sorts of heritage foods like homemade broth, gravy, breads, how to use a both a waterbath and pressure canner, how to make fermented foods, and more.
I also have my The Prairie Homestead Cookbook, where I share simple, easy, and delicious recipes for heritage cooking in the kitchen. I hope my cookbook inspires you in the kitchen!
Homemade Beef Stock Recipe
- 2-3 lbs of beef bones (any bones will work, but I especially like knucklebones and oxtails, since contain a large amount of gelatin, which makes homemade beef stock especially nourishing)
- 3 carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 large onion, coarsely chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic
- 10 black peppercorns
- Salt (to taste–I love this one)
- Fresh or dried herbs of your choice (my favorites are beef stock seasonings are rosemary, thyme, sage, and bay leaf)
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Cold water
Homemade Beef Stock Frequently Asked Questions:
Can you eat the vegetables that are left after the stock is strained?
I supposed you could, but we don’t. I figure that all the “good stuff” has pretty much been leached out of them, so I don’t imagine they would taste like much. However, the chickens love them, as well as the bits of meat that have fallen off the bone.
Why are we trying to make the stock have gelatin?
Not only is gelatin a trademark of a well made, gourmet stock, it also is incredibly good for you. Gelatin has been found to boost the immune system and assist with digestion, as well as having a myriad of other benefits. Eating chicken soup when you are sick may not be an old wives tale after all (providing you are eating real soup, not the stuff in the red and white can).
What if my stock DOESN’T have gelatin?
No worries– that happens to me sometimes, too. The beef stock will still be delicious and nourishing.
Why use vinegar?
Adding vinegar to your beef stock is said to help to extract gelatin and nutrients from the bones. I have never been able to taste the vinegar in the finished product and I don’t believe it effects the flavor much, if at all.
Can I do this with chicken?
Absolutely! Homemade chicken stock is just as nourishing and tasty as homemade beef stock. You can find instructions for homemade chicken stock here. And here’s a tutorial for homemade pork broth as well.
There is one downfall to making stock at home– if you allow it to simmer all night, it’s likely the smell will cause you to wake up hungry. But, I think that hardship is worth all the valuable nutrients that homemade stock brings to a real food kitchen. 😉Print
How to Make Beef Stock
- Beef bones- Knucklebones and oxtails which are rich in gelatin
- Variety of veggies: Carrots, onions, celery, and garlic are my staples
- 10 Black peppercorns
- Sea Salt- to taste (I use this one)
- Basil, Oregano, Rosemary, Thyme, Parsley, Sage, or other herbs and seasonings of your choice
- 1/4 cup Apple Cider Vinegar
- Cold Water
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F
- Brown the bones in a shallow roasting pan (this step adds a nice flavor)
- Wash and coarsely chop your veggies
- Dump veggies and bones in slow cooker
- Season with choice of herbs and spices: **Tip: don’t over salt, you can always add more seasoning later
- Cover with cold water
- Add 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar (helps the bones release minerals and gelatin)
- Set your slow cooker (or pot on the stove) to high and allow stock to come to a boil before reducing heat to low and simmering 12-24 hours
- When house smells incredible, it’s ready to strain
- I set a colander inside a bowl and place in my sink and carefully pour in a little at a time using a fork to smash the vegetables to release any extra liquid
- You can use your stock right away in a delicious soup, store it in the fridge a few days, freeze or even can it!
More Kitchen Tips:
- Best Resources for Safe Canning
- How to Make Milk Kefir
- Cooking with Salt: My Best Tips for Using Salt in the Kitchen
- How to Grind Your Own Flour
Sounds great! I have just about mastered the chicken stock, but I am still too scared to try the beef stock. My first attempt was an utter failure!
Good tutorial for everyone, thanks.
I love homemade stock – it is one of the simplest additions to a real food repertoire! Just a little time consuming – and that is why I love my slow cooker!! Thanks for sharing this with us at the Hearth and Soul Hop!
Claudette Keirstead says
I wasn’t sure how to get the bones so I am going to local butcher, because I had to use whatever bones I could get.
Purchase whole chickens at the store or meat market and cuts of beef with bone in. It’s more cost effective and you get the bones for stock. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Donna L Coats says
I have a very meaty beef shin that I want to use for vegetable beef soup, it is 1 1/2 lbs. Can I just brown it and use it in the soup without removing the marrow? I have good beef stock in my freezer already. Will the flavor benefit from that method or am I letting myself in for a soup that is too foamy?
Miz Helen says
Your Beef Stock looks very good, I sure can't buy it in the can that taste this good. Thank you for sharing and you have a great week!
I've made Chicken Stock many times, but I've been thinking about branching out to make Beef. Thanks for the tutorial. : )
(BTW, I know one of the things the vinegar does is pull the calcium out of the bones. You may remember doing an experiment when you were a kid where you soaked an egg in vinegar and it turned all rubbery? That's because all the calcium was leached out. I thought that was pretty cool.)
I always wondered if the slow-cooker could be used for this. It isn't fun to keep an eye on the stove for that many hours.
Thanks for posting this, next time I'll definitely do it this way.
I’m looking for grass feed beef and chicken bones how and where do I buy them?
Go to your local butcher. Just have to ask for locally grown beef and chickens.
Awesome! Thank you so much!
This looks so easy and delicious! Thanks for allowing me to share this recipe on my FB page. I can’t wait to try it! Love and blessings, kel
Hi 🙂 Could you please tell me what spices you added, there looked to be a fair amount of mystery brown powder there in the photo and I would really love to know what you use so I can try it out. I’ve never made it before and i really want it to be a success! Thanks!
I usually add basil, oregano, rosemary, thyme, parsley, and sage to my stock. The brown powder you are seeing is probably the ground thyme and sage. Good luck with your first attemptat stock!
Rena DuShey says
Also, omit the onion so your dog can also share bone broth with you.
Do you have experience canning this kind of stock (say in 1 pint jars) for storage outside the cool-box?
I can vegetable, beef and chicken stock every year. Ball Canning company has a good recipe in their canning book and I believe it is in their website. The only thing is that you have to cool the broth over might so you can skim off the fat content to decrease the risk of botulism.
Could I use the knuckle bones 2X in the crockpot? I do this with chicken bones. I boil an entire chicken along with spices/veggies. When it is deboned, I put the carcass in the crockpot with water and more veggies/spices for a second round of broth. It is lighter in color, but still tastes great! Just wondering if I could do the same with beef bones? THANKS!
I definitely think that would work Hollie- should be no problem at all.
Thanks Jill. I’m making broth today. I’m definitely going to try the “cabbage buns” as well. My 5 kids aren’t fond of cabbage, so I’ll probably call them something else! I will let you know how it goes! Thank you for all of the great recipes!
Yeah, my hubby is not a cabbage fan either, but he’ll scarf the cabbage buns right down! 🙂
Does it matter how many bones you put in?
It shouldn’t! I usually shoot for 2-3, but use what you have around.
Victoria N says
Awesome post. In regards to the “leftovers” used to make the stock, I usually pick out any hard pieces such as onion ends or whatnot then throw the rest into the blender. It kinda becomes a nice beef mush that I use to make doggy biscuits and treats with. My German Sheperd loves his goodies from it. I do can up my stocks. For my family I use pints since it converts over to most recipes easier. Also After making stocks I let the stock sit in the fridge to solidify the fat which I take off before canning up, but the fat itself is used to render into either lard or tallow depending on my stock. I’ve done chicken, ham, beef, turkey.. soooo many differents kinds to make. If it is a meat product.. you can make stock from it lol. Love reading your posts!
Sounds like a great idea! Would you possibly share your recipe for dog treats using this beef mush? Thanks in advance!
Only the Fields says
I make chicken stock, so I don’t know why it never occurred to me to make beef stock! I will be trying this soon! :o)
My husband is a hunter so we eat venison as our source of red meat. Do you have any suggestions where I could acquire bones to make beef broth?
I would definitely check with your local butcher- they will usually make you a great deal on them. I’ve also found bones at my grocery stores that have butcher counters. Those bones usually don’t gelatinize as well for me, since they are from factory cows, but it’s a start.
@Cat What’s wrong with making broth from Venison bones? I’m thinking it could be a nice delicacy ?
Today is my first attempt at making beef stock. It has been simmering in the crock pot for almost 12 hours now and my house smells delicious! I will let you know how it turns out tomorrow after it has crocked for 24 hours.
Way to go Sarah! It does make the house smell awesome, huh? Always makes me hungry at night… Enjoy!
I’m so glad I came across your site! I plan on roasting my beef bones in the morning for some stock and I can hardly wait! I do have one question. Does it matter what kind of vinegar is used? I have a aged balsamic, unfiltered apple cider, and regular white/red vinegar. Would one affect the body or taste of the finished broth over another?
I don’t think it would matter too much- I ususally use unfiltered apple cider vinegar. Although I think the balsalmic might add a nice flavor, too. 🙂
Can I save up bones for broth? I have some grassfed beef but I don think there are enough bones in one cut for broth. Is there a way to save them for later??
Jill Winger says
I freeze mine and will use several bones to make a batch. 🙂
I keep some homemade stock in my freezer for when my dogs aren’t feeling well. If they don’t want to eat I pour a little on their food and that is sure to perk them up and give them a nutritious boost!
I have 2 questions for you
-Do you see anything wrong with keeping stock going indefinitely in the crock pot as long as you are taking some broth each day, replacing the water and swapping out the veggies every other day? That way you have warm bone broth ready 24/7 to drink…
-If I roast a previously frozen chicken and eat the meat, saving the carcass in the freezer and then using to make stock (with other bones)- is that ok (that I have used bones frozen twice)?
Thanks for the help!
Jill Winger says
Hmmm… I’ve never thought about the indefinite stock idea, but I can’t think of any reason it wouldn’t work… As long as the temp stayed hot enough to prevent mold, etc.
And I think you should be just fine with to save your chicken carcass in the freezer until you are ready to use it. Happy stock making! 🙂
David J Cottrell says
Hi Stacy. My first contact with a “stock pot” was in the Royal Navy which I joined at 16 1/4, where I was employed as an officers Steward. I spent many pleasant hours in galleys, picking up skills that led me to become a chef. Your idea of a continuous stock pot is what we used, a 50 gallon (Imperial measure) into which all kinds of “things” went in, bones vegetable pieces, egg shells, etc. The result was continuously available liquid for soups, stews, etc. Now, at home, I keep any vegetable peels, and pieces such as the ends of carrots, egg shells, bones, etc in a bag in the freezer. Once a month, everything is simmered until all of the goodness is rendered out. The used pieces go to compost and the liquid simmered down to a highly concentrated liquid. This is then poured into ice cube trays and frozen. When solid, they go into plastic bags and are frozen. Useful for soups, etc., and many friends ask for left overs as I only have a small freezer and myself to feed and cannot use all of them by myself. By all means include the bones from your frozen chicken, they add flavour, as do many other things that are usually thrown out. However, remember if a food is completely thawed, it should not be refrozen. Make sure there are still ice crystals still in the product before doing so, for safety. Another thing. If you have carrots with tops on, the tops can be regrown as carrots, cut the carrot about 2.5 cm/1″ from the top and plant, or use them as a green vegetable, just add a little sweetener, honey is good, as they tend to have a slightly bitter flavour.
‘nuf sed. plamuk aka travellingchef.
Hi could you advise me on if I should throw out my stock I just simmered for 20 hours, in which I found a piece of saran wrap from the packaging when straining my finished stock, which obviously simmered there along with my bones the entire time. Thanks for any advice!
Jill Winger says
Well, I’m sure it depends on who you talk to… I personally probably wouldn’t worry about it too much, but that’s just me. 😉
Do you have to use a pressure canner to can this or could you water bath can it?
Jill Winger says
You’ll definitely need to use a pressure canner to can broth- a water bath canner won’t get hot enough.
Dang! Well I guess freezing broth it is…until I get one of those awesome little canners!
I keep seeing that you can not water bath or oven method. I have been doing meat/ broth for years using this method, so do Mennonites and Amish and our ancestors. How many pressure cookers do yo think were around a hundred years ago. I am 78 and no one has died yet!
I make my own stocks all the time. I always have a freezer bag going with veg scraps in it for stock when the time comes. What I love about this post is it taught me something I did not know before. – the cider vinegar addition to increase nutrients etc. from the bones was new information for me and I will do that from now on. I have always used the pot on top of the stove, but I think I will switch to the slow cooker method.. so much easier when you don’t have to keep an eye on the pot. Also allows more freedom to come & go as needed. Thanks for the post.
Jill Winger says
Yes– the slow cooker works best for my “scatter-brained” ways. 😉
Cindy hanzel says
I used to make my stock on the stovetop but several years ago invested in an enameled cast iron pot. After browning the bones I add water and veggies and put the pot in a 250-275 degree oven for 8-10 hours or overnight. I then,remove and debone meat pieces, discard veggies to compost pile, chill to skim off fat and proceed to making a veggie, dried bean and beef soup. So good.
Jane O'Shea says
In cooler weather I make stock on the weekends and freeze it in two cup containers. During the week I can pull out a container, pop it on the stove and add vegies and rice noodles. Hot soup is the ultimate, nourishing comfort food, and with the addition of chili, garlic, ginger and green leafy vegetables I think of it as a flu shot in a bowl. By the way, living in Asia I have discovered something called Shao Xing Rice wine, which you can buy at Asian grocery stores in the U.S. A half cup goes into all my stocks when they start to simmer and adds a flavor element that is delicious.
Jill Winger says
“flu shot in a bowl” <---- love that!
Hi, there! I’d like to add egg shells to my (chicken) stock for added calcium, and am wondering if you know about that…if I save the egg shells throughout the week, do I need to rinse them first? Do I need to save them in the fridge or freezer? Any help is appreciated…thanks so much!! 🙂
Melissa Schemenauer says
I’ve got 18 cups of my very first batch of this cooling a bit before I freeze it and all I can say is wow! I was literally drooling while I was straining it ! Lol You mentioned that you smashed out the juice held in the veggies (which I did :-)). However, I was wondering if it would be a good idea to run them through a juicer? I’m pretty sure there’s a cup or two left hiding in there! One other question: how much do you usually get per pot?
Gisi Prusko says
could you use cold whey I have left over from cheese making instead of the cold water to make the stock?
Jill Winger says
Hmmm… good question! I’m not sure how that’d turn out… I’d be a little concerned that it might give it a funky, cheesy flavor though.
1. How much stock do you end up with from a stockpot full of veggies/bones? Seems like I simmer all day (and my stockpot is 10 qts), and end up with only about 6 qts of broth. Only enough for one batch of soup!
2. Have you tried boiling your bones/veggies a second or third time? Or is there no more nutrition left?
Jill Winger says
It’s hard to say about an exact amount–it does tend to boil down a bunch though.
You can definitely reuse the bones–but I would do new veggies.
I tried it! I boiled all the bones and veggies all of one day in a 20 qt and 12 qt. stockpot; that reduced it to more than half. There seemed to be a lot left in the bones & veggies as they drained, so the next day I covered them with water again (all in one stockpot, so a little less water this time) and boiled all day once again. It worked quite well. The broths both gelled, although the first days was more of a chunky gel, and the second day’s was a smoother gel. I forgot to taste them, but froze both together to use later. Not sure if I could get a 3rd day out of them–I was tired of them by that point.
Jill Winger says
YAY! Glad to hear the good report. And hooray for gelling. 🙂
If you use a sided cookie sheet of bones: drain the stock after the 1st 24 hrs & put into a stock pot. Cool & refrigerate. Meanwhile put the bones back into the crockpot & add fresh veggies, spices, vinegar & water. Cook for another 24 hrs. Repeat this one more time adding the strained broth to the stock pot each time. The broth is a little less strong each time but by mixing them together they balance out. After the 3rd batch is done put the stock pot on heat & bring to a boil then fill canning jars @ process in a pressure cooker (as with all low acid foods).
Hi! I want to make bone broth. All I want to know is how long can I safely store eggshells in the fridge and how should they be prepend before adding to the broth?? I haven’t been able to get an answer from anyone about this. Thanks so much if you can help!
*how should they be prepared
I was curious about that too. I searched that question and got various opinions here: https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/18850/should-i-include-egg-shells-in-my-stock
Have you ever heard of the Wonderbag? I own a large one and can fit a 10qt stockpot in it. I use it all the when I make my stocks. It is better than a slow cooker because it uses no electricity once the liquid is up to a full boil. I take it off the stove and put it in the Wonderbag as long as I want it to sit, and it is like it has been simmering on the stove, except no liquid is lost. I have left my stock for 24 hrs before and it is still steaming hot. The best thing is that for every Wonderbag bought, one is sent to a poor family in Africa to help them save time and fuel. The only downside is that it is huge and storing it can be difficult if you don’t have a lot of room. But I love it, and I love that it recycles car foam, reduces electricity and other fuel usage, and helps families in need.
Can I use the fat off the beef broth as lard? Is it the same or similar to rendered fat? Or just throw away?
David Lloyd Sutton says
There was a pioneer artifact, used now by some reenactors, that preceded the wonderbag. It is sometimes called the hay box. A wooden box is filled tightly with hay or straw, covered by rim-tacked cloth (canvas would probably be best). The underside of the box’s lid (best hinged, but belted and buckled would work) is similarly padded. Pressure is used to make an indentation that fits something like a dutch oven and the box lid holds the vessel lid in place. Boil your stew or beans with the morning campfire, place the vessel in its prefitted box, secure it, leave it inside your wagon or home and as soon as you camp or quit work for the night a hot meal is ready. Jill, you might conspire with your Christian to make one…as there is no ongoing flame, no risk of spillover or fire.
Question… if you were doing this in an instapot, how long would you set it for?
Jill Winger says
Usually 90 minutes 🙂
Hello you never mentioned measurements of the dried spices? Could you tell us how much to use in the stock I’m making it right now! Thank you!
This is the part I always stink at, so I’d love to know the amount, too! 🙂
Carol Ann Churchill says
Fairly new to your site but enjoy learning new information. Thanks for all your hard work. CAROL
I make my broths in an electric pressure cooker. On high for about 3-4 hours. Does an excellent job getting all the gelatin and marrow out! The broths always end up so rich and amazing!
I do both chicken and beef broth on the stove. I find 3 days simmer for chicken bone and 5 day simmer for beef. Less time and i don’t get as much collagen. My mom taught me to cook until the bones start to crumble easily… I use my stock to cook rice.
Marsha Smith says
Can you give me the time necessary for an Instant Pot? The recipe looks super!!!
Sallye Biles says
How much does this recipe yield?