Instant Pot chicken broth is easy and fuss-free, resulting in a beautifully clear and flavourful broth to drink, make into soup, or use in recipes. Freeze the broth to have on hand whenever you need it. (Skip to recipe.)
I have made chicken stock and broth on the stovetop or in a slow cooker for many years, but my new favourite way is in the Instant Pot. It is quicker than both of these methods, and there’s no watching or stirring needed. The biggest advantage is that the broth is clearer – light and sparkling, yet just as flavourful as with the two longer cooking methods.
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Broth and Chicken Stock?
The two are very similar and can often be used interchangeably.
- is generally made with mostly bones
- it is usually cooked much longer (4 to 8 hours) to extract more collagen and nutrients from the bones
- gels when it cools (due to the high level of collagen) therefore has a silkier texture
- is used as a base in recipes like sauces, risottos, highly flavoured soups
- can be made without added vegetables and/or aromatics and/or seasoning as those are added in the recipe
- is generally made from meat and bones
- is not cooked as long (meat will get tough, but meat can be removed when cooked and the bones cooked for longer), generally 1 to 2 hours
- stays liquid when cooled
- contains vegetables, aromatics, and seasonings
- is well salted
- can be drunk straight as a hot broth
- can be used as a base in recipes like sauces, risottos, light soups
Bone Broth (is actually a stock, but the name Bone Broth has become common usage):
- is made completely from bones
- can have added vegetables and/or aromatics and/or seasoning
- is cooked extra long (12 to 48 hours) to extract more nutrients and collagen from the bones (bones will be soft and pliable after the long cook time)
- often has an added acid, like vinegar, lemon juice, or wine, added to the broth to aid in breaking down the bones and extracting the collagen and nutrients
- is seasoned and drunk as a broth for nutritional value or is used in recipes, either seasoned or unseasoned
My recipe is a combination of stock and broth. I use mostly bones, like for a stock, but add aromatics and seasoning like for broth, and cook it for an in-between amount of time. (1 hour in the Instant Pot on high pressure equals 3 hours stovetop cooking time).
What Can You Put Into a Pot of Chicken Broth?
The Chicken Part
You can start with raw or cooked chicken carcass or assorted bones, or a combination of both. I buy large roasting chickens from a local farmer once a year and cut the chickens into parts to freeze them. I freeze the carcass, wing tips, and neck from each chicken in separate bags to make chicken stock. But I also sometimes use the carcasses from rotisserie chickens if I don’t have raw bones. I just freeze the carcasses after we’ve picked off the meat (and I do admit that I scavenge leftover bones off plates, rinse them, and add them to the bag of carcasses in the freezer), and when I have two or three of them, I make a batch of chicken broth. Anytime you have bones, wing tips, or necks leftover from cooking, or an extra chicken thigh or leg, save them in the freezer, then add them to your stock. Or you can just purchase 1½-2 lbs (700-900gms) of chicken parts to use for the stock, preferably bone in, skin on (wings provide the most collagen for the richest, silkiest broth).
The Veggie Part
Onions, carrots, and celery are the basic trio of vegetables to flavour a good chicken broth. But you can use leeks, green onions, or shallots. Leave the peels on onions to add a richer colour to the broth. You can add fennel, peas, or green beans, or other root vegetebles like celery root (celeriac), parsnips, or parsley root or stems. You do keep a veggie scrap bag in the freezer, right? Every time you have vegetable peelings, scraps, or herb stems, add them to the bag, and when stock-making time comes around, pop a handful of those frozen bits into the pot, too. But don’t overdo it – if you have a lot of vegetable scraps, I suggest making a separate vegeteble stock.
The only vegetables I would keep to a minimum in a chicken broth are the brassicas (cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, brussels sprouts, kale, kohlrabi, etc). They can lend a bitter flavour to the stock. A few pieces are okay, but don’t add too many.
* * I do not add garlic to a chicken stock (but I know many people do). I find it takes over the delicate flavour of a chicken stock or broth. I love garlic, and always add it to beef or vegetable broths, but not when I use chicken.
My 2 Secret Ingredients for a Fantastic Chicken Broth
- I especially like to add 2 or 3 dried shiitake mushrooms to the chicken broth to boost the umami richness, without taking over the flavour. You can buy a bag of dried shiitake mushrooms in the Asian section of large supermarkets or in Asian import stores, and those mushrooms will stay usable for years, so they are a good investment for your stocks (also for beef or vegetable stocks).
- Star Anise – I pop 1 or 2 of the whole pods into my chicken stocks for a unique and special flavour, very subtle but complex. My mom always made her chicken stock that way, and I always do, too. My family is so used to the special flavour of chicken stock with star anise in it, that they miss it when it’s not included. Try adding just one pod next time you make chicken stock and see what you think. You can always add more after that.
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Stock
Put all your ingredients into the insert of the Instant Pot. Add water to the maximum fill line.
Cook on high pressure for the desired amount of time. Broth will be done in 45 minutes, but I like to cook it for 1 hour. You can cook it for up to 2 hours for making the longer-simmered stock. (Bone broth should be made in a slow cooker or on the stove top.) Allow a 30-minute natural release time before opening the lid.
All the goodness is cooked into the broth.
Strain the stock through a colander into a large bowl or pot. Pick any large bits of meat off the bones if you wish. Discard the rest of the ingredients (they’ve given up all their flavour and nutrients). To get an even clearer broth, you can strain the liquid again through a fine meshed sieve lined with a clean cloth or several layers of cheesecloth.
Can You Freeze Chicken Stock or Broth?
Yes! The finished broth freezes beautifully in freezer containers with tight-fitting lids. Or you can freeze the broth in ½-cup portions in silicone muffin pans, or 1-cup portions in larger plastic containers, then pop the frozen blocks out of the muffin pans and store them in heavy-duty ziptop freezer bags in the freezer. You can also freeze the broth in ice cube trays (silicone or regular), then pop them into freezer bags for small amounts of stock to use in recipes. If you often make a certain recipe calling for chicken broth (like risotto), then freeze the amount needed for your recipe in a plastic container, label it, and it’ll be ready to defrost and use.
You can also freeze chicken stock in heavy duty freezer bags. Set the opened bag into a measuring cup or tall bowl or mug. Add the measured amount of stock to the bag, then carefully press out as much air as possible and seal the bag tightly. Lay the bags flat in the freezer to freeze – they will take up less freezer space this way. To defrost, cut the bag off the frozen chunk of stock and defrost the block in a bowl or rimmed shallow dish, or add it directly to the pot if making soup.
Frozen chicken broth or stock will retain its best quality for up to 6 months, however cooked chicken broth or stock that has been kept constantly frozen at 0°F will keep safe indefinitely.
* * * * *
Kitchen Frau Notes: You can use the carcass and bones from a raw chicken. Augment it with some wings, backs, or necks if you have them, or even other more meaty pieces (bony pieces will give the best flavour). You can also use the carcass and any bones from cooked chicken or turkey. If using rotisserie chicken, it’s best to use the carcass and bones from two chickens, since they are smaller.
*How to Make Chicken Broth or Stock in the Slow Cooker: Use 12 cups of water, or fill the slow cooker up to 2 inches from the top. Cook on low for 8 to 10 hours for broth, 12 to 24 hours for stock.
For Bone Broth: If you wish to make bone broth, it’s best to use a slow cooker. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons white wine vinegar or apple cider vinegar, or 2 tablespoons white wine, or half of a lemon with the peel, and cook on low for 12 hours or up to 48 hours. If you are cooking the bone broth for at least 24 hours, you can get a great broth without the addition of an acid as the long cooking time will help to extract nutrients.
Instant Pot Chicken Broth (or Stock)
- 1 large raw chicken carcass or bony chicken parts (wings, backs, necks), 1½-2 lbs (700-900gms), or use 2 carcasses from rotisserie chickens
- 1 large onion
- 1 large or 2 medium carrots
- 2 stalks celery or a chunk of celery root (celeriac)
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
- 10 cups water
- 1 to 2 teaspoons fine sea salt
- 2 or 3 dried shiitake mushrooms
- 1 or 2 star anise pods
- a handful of parsley stems or other herb or vegetable scraps (optional)
Cut the onion in halves or quarters (no need to peel, unless there is mould). Cut the carrots and celery into 2-inch lengths (no need to peel the carrots).
Place all the ingredients into the Instant Pot.
Seal the lid and turn the vent to the ‘Sealing’ position.
Set the Instant Pot on ‘Manual’ Mode (‘Pressure Cook’ on newer models) to High Pressure and set the time to cook for 60 minutes (set it to 90 to 120 minutes if you wish to make stock). When it is finished, don’t touch it, just allow it to naturally release its pressure for 30 minutes, then turn the vent to the ‘Venting’ position and open the lid.
Scoop out the larger pieces of carcass with a slotted spoon or straining spider and put them into a colander set over a large pot or bowl. Pour the contents of the Instant Pot insert into the colander to drain. Pick off any bits of meat from the bones, if desired, to use in a soup or on sandwiches. Discard the rest of the contents of the colander.
If you’d like a clearer broth, strain it once more through a fine meshed strainer lined with a clean tea towel, muslin, or several layers of cheesecloth.
Allow the broth to cool, then use it or pour it into containers with lids. If freezing, leave enough headspace for expansion when frozen. The broth can be refrigerated for up to 1 week or frozen for up to 1 year.
Makes 10 cups or more.
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