Making Bone Broth at Home

Make Your Own Healing Bone Broth

I’ve already told you about all the Amazing Benefits of Bone Broth, so of course I have to let you know how to make it yourself!

As an acupuncturist, drinking bone broth is one of the single most frequent nutritional suggestions I make to my patients. I drink it myself every morning. While I believe most other aspects of diet should be tailored to a specific person’s needs and constitution, bone broth is one of the few things that nearly everyone should include in their daily diet.

However, it can be difficult to convince Americans to make their own broth when most of us are conditioned for convenience. I’m here to tell you it’s really not that hard!  And definitely worth the effort, especially when you use kitchen scraps to make broth, it one of the more affordable ways to stay healthy.

If you aren’t up for the effort of making it yourself, I still highly recommend getting your hands on some bone broth because of all its health benefits.  Search your neighborhood for a deli or specialty grocery store that makes their own, or there are lots of services that will deliver bone broth to you now.


[Edited: 11/16/17 – I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback about this recipe in the past 4 years (woah, has it been that long?!) so I’ve made it more concise and easy to follow. I hope you enjoy!]


The Recipe

2 lb of bones OR 3 lb of bone-in meat
1/2 onion
a stalk of celery
a carrot
2 bay leaves or sprigs of rosemary or thyme (optional)
3-5 quarts of water
2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar (or lemon juice)
a package of Broth Boosting Herbs
sea salt to taste

Making Bone Broth

This recipe is versatile. A long cook time will make a super rich, fatty broth with deep flavors, but even a short cook time makes a delicious and nutritious broth.

  • If using raw bones, first roast for 30 minutes at 400F on a pan in the oven. This helps to develop flavors and reduce bitterness.
  • Clean the onion, celery, carrot, and herbs. Roughly chop the veggies and add them all to a crockpot or large pot on the stove along with the bones, vinegar, water, and one teaspoon of sea salt. Cover, bring to a  boil, and reduce to a simmer.
  • Simmer one hour for a quick broth. To extract more nutrients from the bones you can cook them 4-6 hours or longer (poultry and fish as much as 24 hours; beef, bison, lamb, pork as much as 72 hours.) For long cook times add more water to cover as needed and I recommend using a crockpot.
  • If using bone-in meat, remove it after an hour, let cool, and pull the meat off the bone (you can use separately or for soup when the broth is done.) Return the bones to the broth if you’re using a longer cook time.
  • Add Broth Boosting Herbs in during the last 30-45 minutes of cooking.
  • Strain the broth through a colander, then a finer strainer. Salt to taste and use in a recipe right away or let it sit in the fridge until the fat rises to the top and solidifies. Remove the fat before storing the broth in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 weeks, or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Choosing Bones

Bone for BrothI always recommend the highest quality ingredients when it comes to animal products. That means zero antibiotics, growth hormones, or GMO feed. Animals should be raised on pasture and they should not be grain fed, especially cows which should graze on grass. If you start with poor quality bones you are going to get poor quality broth, in which case I wouldn’t recommend using it medicinally.

I most often make chicken broth after roasting a whole chicken, and after Thanksgiving I always use this method with the leftover bones. I think this is the best place to start if you’ve never make bone broth before. (Note: when poultry comes with the neck, liver and kidneys inside I use those in the broth as well, but that’s optional.)

For really rich and medicinal broth, I often recommend making broth with raw beef stew bones. Big bones from cows, pigs and lambs are particularly good for making broth because bigger bones contain more bone marrow and gelatin. You can get these from a whole animal butcher or from certain farmers markets, they may be called stew bones, soup bones, dog bones or beef knuckles.  I like to use grassfed beef knuckles that I get from Novy Ranches.


Broth Boosting Herbs

Herbs for bone broth

Making broth is the perfect opportunity to add healing herbs into your diet that can improve energy, digestion, and immunity. Herbs such as reishi mushroom, Siberian ginseng, and astragalus.

In fact, in Chinese medicine herbs are often processed into a decoction, or a “tang,” also translated as “soup.” Because of this tradition, adding herbs to soups and broths is quite common in Chinese cuisine.

I offer energy and immune boosting herbs in my online shop particularly for adding into batches of bone broth. They make a wonderful addition to a batch of bone broth, especially during cold and flu season.


Using It

Eggdrop Soup made with Bone BrothOf course you can use bone broth in any soup, stew or sauce that you make. If you use bone-in chicken to make broth that makes a delicious chicken soup with veggies, noodles, or rice. Bone broth is also great for braising veggies and making gravies.

It is traditional in many Asian cultures to have soup for breakfast, since it is so easily digested and because it helps our digestive energy to get started for the day.  So bone broth in the morning is one of my favorite ways to enjoy it.

I make a kind of egg drop soup, which I like to call “breakfast soup,” by simply whisking up 2 raw eggs and slowly stirring them into some simmering broth until it has all cooked in.  I often enjoy it as is, or I might then add in some cooked greens like spinach, kale, or broccoli. My new favorite thing is to add chopped up avocado once it has come off the heat. It’s satisfying without being too filling.

You can also simply heat up a cup of plain broth and enjoy it by itself, sip it from a mug like tea!  It makes for a light and warming snack, especially if you have an upset stomach or feel bloated but need something in your system.

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19 Responses to “Making Bone Broth at Home”
  1. Kent says:

    Hi Jacqueline,
    Just wanted to advise you to make sure you are using a good source of Fowl. The commercial business uses a steady stream of arsenic to keep the birds free of disease. So much so that after the 6 – 9 weeks maturity time to raise those birds to market, the manure is too saturated to use as Citrus Grove fertilizer more than once in 10 years.
    Also the birds liver becomes saturated, and the poison then settles in the bones. Thus boiling these birds down with their bones and livers may perhaps produce a gradual arsenic poisoning stew.
    So buy wisely.

    • Jacqueline Gabardy, L.Ac. says:

      Great advice Kent, thanks for commenting! Yes, I didn’t go into detail here but I always advise getting animal products come from quality sources as they an store toxins at much higher levels than plants can. I’ll be addressing it in an upcoming post for sure!

  2. Nicole B says:

    Hello – Just found you surfing the web. I’m delighted, I now put your site in my favorites.
    I want to start cooking bone broth… my old slow cooker is kind of small so I was looking…
    nicole B.

  3. Sacha says:

    Do you recommend where to get the bones from?

    • I do discuss that in the article, but in general make sure they are from organic, pasture-raised animals. If you’re using beef bones they should be from grassfed cows, check out your local farmers market and if you can’t find them there then Whole Foods should have them.

  4. Susan Young says:

    Hi Jacqueline, I knew you when I lived in the LA area and came to Abigail for acupuncture. I now live in Houston, TX and work as a postpartum doula. One of my clients would like me to make bone broth soup for her as part of her care-taking after baby arrives. I’m excited to get up to speed on bone broth soup making! I have a maybe silly question: for storing in the freezer, is it safe to use glass containers? The pictures in your blog show glass containers, but I think glass can burst in the freezer. Could you enlighten me? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Susan! Generally what I’ve found is that mason jars are quite resistant to breaking in the freezer as long as you leave the jar about 1 inch empty at the top before freezing. Every once in awhile I have one that cracks and I throw it out as I don’t want to risk a tiny bit of glass remaining in the liquid, but out of hundreds of jar I’ve only had that happen 3 or 4 times. As most plastic containers aren’t safe to freeze food in I consider a little bit of waste from a cracked jar worth it.

  5. Liz Stockmam says:

    Bone broth does not keep well when canned and on a shelf. It is low acid and has to be frozen to keep a long period of time.

  6. Lynne Parker says:

    Hello, I was wondering what you recommend as a good and sufficient dose of bone broth? Ie: 1 cup daily? Thanks

  7. sandie says:

    can one eat the vegetables you use when making the broth? I don’t understand why every site says to strain them out and dispose of them.


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