How to Make Chicken Broth in a Slow Cooker

chicken broth in jars (640x506)
Yesterday I shared that I discovered that I was out of both vegetable broth and chicken broth AFTER my dinner guests had arrived. The kitchen emergency would have been pretty obvious if I had sent my husband to the store, so I improvised a substitute for  vegetable broth. The first thing I did this morning was pull the chicken bones from the freezer and start a batch of broth.

Chicken broth is easy to make in a slow cooker. I buy organic, free-range, whole chickens because I can often find them for $1.99 a pound which is a great price for organic, free-range meat. I roast the chickens and then use the meat for several meals. (Here is a great post at The Book Lady Online about stretching a whole chicken to make several meals). After I have gotten as many meals as possible from the chicken, I freeze the carcass. When I have 2 carcasses, I make broth. Why do I wait until I have 2 carcasses? Because I have a large slow cooker, they both fit, and I can make a lot of broth at one time.

This is not a recipe, it is more of a guideline, because there is so much room for adaption.

I begin with 2 frozen chicken carcasses and whatever veggetable leaves and peelings I have frozen:
chicken carcasses (640x558)

Then I add the equivalent of:

4 stalks celery, coarsely chopped
2 large carrots, coarsely chopped
1 large onion, coarsely chopped
4 cloves garlic, coarsely chopped
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar

I say the equivalent because I save up the carrot peeling, celery tops, and odd pieces of onion from making dinner and use those. If I don’t have any celery tops in the freezer, I cut the tops from a bunch of celery, rather than use the stalks which can be used for other dishes:
celery tops (640x477)

And if I don’t have any carrot peelings saved up, I just might sit over my slow cooker and peel a week’s worth of carrots over the slow cooker, rather than cut up whole carrots:
peeling carrots (640x477)

I fill the Crockpot with water. Cook on high for 2 hours. Then reduce heat and cook on low for 10 – 12 hours.

Strain the liquid. Save any bits of meat to use later in soup, but discard the bones and veggies. The nutrients have transferred to the broth, so you can toss the mushy veggies in your compost bin without feeling guilty about wasting food.
straining broth (640x477)

I cool the broth in the refrigerator, then I place a flour sack towel in a colander and strain the broth one more time. This produces a clearer, reduced-fat chicken broth.
straining chicken broth (640x477)

Finally, I ladle the broth into jars and use a pressure canner to can the broth:
ladeling broth into jar (477x640)

If you do not want to can your broth or do not have a pressure canner, you can freeze it in 1 and 2 cups portions.
chicken broth in jars (640x506)
Making broth is not that time consuming and is a great way to stretch your groceries budget a little farther.

Related Posts:

How to Make Vegetable Broth in a Slow Cooker

How to Make Turkey Broth in a Crock Pot and Turkey and Rice Soup Recipe

This post is linked to Tasty TuesdayReal food Wednesday, Frugal Friday and Fight Back Friday.

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About Alea Milham

Alea Milham is the owner and editor of Premeditated Leftovers. She shares her tips for saving money and time while reducing waste in her home. Her favorite hobby, gardening, is a frugal source of organic produce for her recipes. She believes it is possible to live fully and eat well while spending less.


  1. CrystalsCozyKitchen says:

    I love home made chicken broth! It puts the canned stuff to shame.

  2. KatiePerk says:

    Interesting! I make my own broth, but have never done it in the slow cooker. Will try your method out for sure!

  3. Thanks so much for this great tutorial! I have been wanting to try making my own broth at home & love that I could do this in the slow cooker! Thank you for sharing!

  4. I love this! The idea of using the leftovers of carrots and celery is amazing. And canning it as well! I usually just use the carcass and freeze it but I will definitely start saving the veggie odds and ends…so much less waste!

  5. Get Real Chris says:

    Hi Alea,
    I'm stopping over from Real Food Wednesdays. I love to make stock in the crock pot and recently had a post about it on my blog. I love the way you peel your carrots into the crock pot.

  6. a moderate life says:

    Alea my love! This is a great tutorial on making clear chicken broth! I am a crock pot stock maker myself and you are reminding me it is time to make more! I think that stock is one of the most important items you can have in your kitchen and that is why I am sharing this tutorial on the hearth and soul hop highlights this week! Thanks so much for sharing on the hearth and soul hop and I look forward to next week when you will be hosting along with us! HUGS! Alex

  7. I always save my chicken bones and assorted vegetables and I used to make stock/broth on the stove top. That is until I tried the crock pot method. I just tried this for the first time a couple of weeks ago. I have to say it could not be any easier and if you put it on after dinner the smell permeates the whole house all night long. Best part is, the broth is done in the morning and ready for soup.

  8. Mara @ Kosher on a Budget says:

    Thank you for this very helpful post! I'm bookmarking it – can't wait to make some broth soon.

  9. Rebekah Daphne says:

    This is EXACTLY what I do! I love doing it in the slow cooker because then I don't have to worry about burning on the bottom. I just started saving my carrot peelings and onion ends– they were an amazing addition to the last few batches. I've never tried garlic but that sounds like a great idea.

  10. Anonymous says:

    Hi – can I ask, I was somewhat taken aback about the carrot peelings – seems like they are so hard to get clean since they sit in the dirt – do you feel like you're eating a little bit of dirt when you do that? Not to be gross.

  11. Alea Milham says:

    I am so glad you asked. This answer falls into things I do without thinking, but people may be interested in knowing. So when you see a post on the subject, you will know you were the inspiration. :)

    I fill my sink or a large container with a couple of inches of water and let the carrots sit in it to loosen the dirt. then I use a soft bristled brush to gentle scrub the carrots. I also do this with other hard to wash veggies so I can leave the skin on when I cook them.

  12. Nice idea! I've been doing my broth on my stove, so I'll have to try this.
    Have you ever let it cook longer and extract MORE minerals and such from the bones? I make bone broth, following the same technique as you (except the crock pot–that a great idea) and add some apple cider vinegar to my pot with all the veggies. I also like to toss in parsley, too. I let mine cook for up to 3 days. It turns a glorious golden color and the bones become soft.

  13. Just FYI, if you really want to get the most out of your bones (thawed), let them soak in water and a bit of apple cider vinegar for an hour, then let them “cook” on low for 18-24 hours. The cider draws out the bone marrow and when you’re finished, essentially you have concentrated bone broth. So 1 cup of broth = 2 cups because you will add 1 cup of water. If you are feeling very adventurous, you can also add the feet and the heads. I get these free from a local organic farm. They are rich in nutrients.

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