Homemade chicken stock just got even easier! This slow cooker chicken stock recipe is truly 'set it and forget it' all while using 4 simple and classic ingredients to create traditional flavor.
📸 See how to turn bones into stock
Classically, stock is made in a pot on the stove but it requires a watchful eye and moderate attention. I modernized this popular staple with a slow cooker and I am never looking back! This slow cooker chicken stock recipe is unbelievably easy, giving you the same traditional flavor but with way less fuss. If you've been searching for an easy recipe, look no further!
- Load in all of your ingredients and add enough water to cover.
- Place the lid and cook on low for 12 - 24 hours.
- Strain the stock and refrigerate.
- Once the stock has cooled, skim off and discard the fat and enjoy!
- Check out the recipe card at the bottom of this page for full recipe details -
➕ Recipe additions & alterations
🥕 How to flavor chicken stock
Use this simple chicken stock recipe as your base but as you get more comfortable, build up the flavor by playing around with different ingredient additions. Toss any of the below ingredients into the slow cooker along with the other step 1 ingredients and cook all together.
Stock flavor enhancers:
- Whole garlic cloves
- Whole peppercorns
- Bay leaf
- Sprig of rosemary or thyme
- Roast the bones and vegetables in the oven before cooking
- Play around with the onion, celery, and carrot ratios
Reuse flavorful veggie scraps:
- Green carrot tops
- Vegetable peels
- Onion ends or cleaned outer shells
- Celery tops and bottoms
- Parsley stems
Avoid adding to your stock:
- Cruciferous vegetables, like cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, or brussels sprouts.
- Dark colored vegetables, like dark greens or beets, because they could change the overall stock color.
- Salt! Store bought stocks are usually loaded with salt but homemade stocks are much more flavorful. Also, you would be essentially pre-seasoning a recipe using a salty stock, which gives you less control of the dish's final flavor.
⏱ How long should I cook stock?
The longer you let your slow cooker chicken stock go, the more flavorful it will be! I recommend letting it cook for at least 12 hours but you can also continue cooking for up to 24 hours for a darker, richer roasted flavor.
🐓 Chicken bone tips & tricks
The easiest way to repurpose chicken bones is with chicken stock. Those leftover chicken carcass odds and ends are full of flavor, they just need a little help to reach their maximum potential!
All leftover chicken carcass bones, joints, and cartilage can go into the slow cooker. You can add the skin too but just be aware that it will add more fat to the stock.
TIP: The amount of chicken bones needed for this slow cooker chicken stock recipe is equal to one average-sized whole chicken with the meat removed. Basically, if you buy a rotisserie chicken or cook a whole bird, you will have the exact amount of bones needed for this chicken stock!
🦴 Where to get chicken bones
Store-bought rotisserie chicken:
I highly recommend this method! After the hot chicken is cool enough to handle (but do not let the chicken sit out at room temperature for more than 2 hours), separate the meat from the bones and joints. I find that it's easier to remove the meat when the rotisserie is still warm and refrigeration makes the meat much more difficult to remove.
Grocery store meat department or local butcher:
Some grocery stores carry frozen bones but it can be hit or miss. It would be best to call around and ask either the grocery store meat department or your local meat shop if they carry chicken bones. If they process poultry at their location, they may be able to set some bones aside or even order some for you!
🧊 Storing Chicken Bones
The best way to store your leftover chicken bones is by freezing them. When you are ready to make this chicken stock, just toss the frozen bones into the slow cooker, no need to defrost. Here's the best way to freeze your chicken bones:
- After removing all the meat, put the entire chicken carcass in a gallon-sized ziplock bag.
- Date and label the bag. The gallon-sized ziplock bags are big enough to fit several carcasses, so I always keep a tally in the corner for future reference. Squeeze out all extra air and seal the bag.
- Both cooked and raw chicken bones and carcasses can be kept in the freezer for up to one year.
📍 Recommended equipment
- Amazon affiliate links below -
- All-Clad slow cooker: You can use any style or variety but I linked my favorite below. I used an older brand in the photos because it photographs better but for everyday recipes, I love my All-Clad!
- 11 cup Anchor TrueSeal container: This is the exact container size and brand I use when storing and refrigerating my slow cooker chicken stock. The 11 cup container size holds my entire batch of stock and the longer, rectangular shape increases the liquid's surface area, which helps the stock cool down faster.
- Silicone Souper Cube freezer trays: I absolutely love these for storing leftover stock! Each freezer tray holds one cup making it easy to freeze, then stack for quick and compact storage.
🍜 11 Ways to use chicken stock
I like to think of chicken stock as a flavor booster that can replace water as a cooking liquid in a variety of recipes. Below are a few fun ways to use this slow cooker chicken stock recipe or any store-bought stock!
- As a soup or stew base, from chicken noodle soup to a ramen noodle bowl
- Help soften vegetables when sautéing in a pan
- Cooking liquid for risotto
- Use as the cooking liquid when preparing grains, like rice, quinoa, buckwheat, barley, polenta, or couscous
- Use as the cooking liquid if making a one pot pasta where the liquid is fully absorbed and not drained
- As the braising liquid for roasting meat or vegetables
- When creating any kind of sauce, like a classic tomato sauce or sweet vegetable glaze
- Use as the liquid base if making slow cooker or Instant Pot shredded meat
- Cooking liquid for mashed potatoes (note: this may darken the color of the mashed potatoes)
- Drink it
- Freeze it for up to 3 months
DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE? Rate & comment in the section below or tag me on Instagram @mymillennialkitchen. I’d love to know if you made any ingredient swaps or if you have any questions!Print
Slow Cooker Chicken Stock
Homemade chicken stock just got even easier! This easy slow cooker chicken stock recipe is truly 'set it and forget it' all while using 4 simple and classic ingredients to create traditional flavor.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 12 hours
- Total Time: 12 hours 15 minutes
- Yield: 6.5 cups 1x
- Category: Stock
- Method: Slow Cooker
- Cuisine: French techniques
1 pound of chicken bones (NOTE 1 & 2)
2 cups of diced white or yellow onion (about 1 medium onion)
2 cups of diced celery (about 5-6 celery ribs)
2 cups of diced carrot (about 3 medium-large carrots)
Enough water to cover all ingredients (about 8 cups of water for a 7-quart slow cooker)
- Add chicken bones, onion, celery, and carrots to the slow cooker and top off with enough water to cover all ingredients.
- Place the lid and set the slow cooker to high and let cook for 12-24 hours (See NOTE 3). Do not stir or open the lid until it has finished cooking.
- Using a ladle and fine mesh strainer, strain the stock directly into a long, rectangular container (See NOTE 4). Discard the leftover chicken carcass and vegetables. Cover stock and refrigerate for 3 - 24 hours.
- Using a spoon, skim off and discard any fat that has risen to the top. Use your homemade chicken stock within 3 - 4 days or freeze for up to 3 months.
Linked equipment contains affiliate links.
NOTE 1: The amount of chicken bones needed for this slow cooker chicken stock recipe is equal to one average sized whole chicken with the meat removed. Basically, if you buy a rotisserie chicken or cook a whole bird, you will have the exact amount of bones needed for this recipe!
NOTE 2: You can add all chicken bones, carcass joints, cartilage, and skin but just note that the skin will add more fat to the stock that you'll need to skim off in step 4. You can also leave the chicken carcass whole or break it down into smaller pieces so it's easier to fit into the slow cooker.
NOTE 3: After 12 hours, the stock will have amazing flavor but if you continue to cook up to 24 hours, the stock will become more dark, rich, and roasted.
NOTE 4: Using a longer, flatter container helps the stock cool faster than a large bowl because you are increasing the liquid's surface area for the refrigerated air to chill. You always want warm food items to chill as fast as possible in the fridge to prevent any food safety issues.
Once you get more comfortable with this easy chicken stock recipe, build up the flavor by adding in more ingredients! Here are some fun ingredient suggestions you can also throw into the slow cooker in step 1 to cook all together:
- Flavor enhancers: whole garlic cloves, whole peppercorns, bay leaf, sprig of thyme or rosemary, roasting the bones and vegetables before cooking, and playing around with the onion, celery, and carrot ratios.
- Reusing flavorful veggie scraps: green carrot tops, vegetable peels, onion bottoms and cleaned outer shells, celery tops and bottoms, and parsley stems.
- Nutrition boosters: Adding 2 tablespoons of vinegar will help extract more collagen from the chicken bones (source 1, source 2).
- Avoid adding: Salt because it can pre-season future recipes that you will make with your chicken stock. Cruciferous veggies (like broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, and brussels sprouts) to the slow cooker is not recommended and some of the above food items could change the overall color. Lastly, avoid adding dark colored vegetables because it can change the overall color of the stock.
Storing & Freezing:
- Store in the refrigerator for 3 - 4 days
- Freeze for up to 3 months. I recommend freezing in individual serving sizes instead of one big block.
*The nutrition analysis for this recipe is an estimate. There are so many different variables that can change the overall nutritionals, like how much water you add to the slow cooker or how much collagen is extracted, etc.
- Serving Size: 1 cup *
- Calories: 86
- Sugar: 4 g
- Sodium: 343 mg
- Fat: 3 g
- Saturated Fat: 1 g
- Unsaturated Fat: 2 g
- Carbohydrates: 9 g
- Fiber: 0 g
- Protein: 6 g
- Cholesterol: 7 mg
Keywords: Slow cooker chicken stock