An easy bone broth recipe that uses your slow cooker. Use whatever bones you have on hand – chicken, beef, lamb or fish, then cook for several hours over very low heat.
Traditional cultures always simmered bones in water to make stock, utilizing every possible part of the animal including the carcass. But even in our modern society, which tends to shy away from offal and focuses on muscle meat, the idea of cooking bones to create a rich and nourishing soup is not foreign.
After all, it’s a beloved Thanksgiving tradition to use the turkey carcass to make a tasty broth, which serves as the basis for a delicious leftover turkey soup.
The ingredients you’ll need
Here’s an overview of what you’ll need for this recipe (the exact measurements are listed in the recipe card below):
2 lb. bones: You can use whatever you have on hand. Chicken, fish, beef or lamb – anything works. It will simply produce a broth with a different flavor.
Vegetables: Onions, carrots, and celery. They add great flavor to the soup.
To season: Parsley, garlic, salt, whole peppercorns, thyme, and dried bay leaves.
How to make slow cooker bone broth
It’s truly easy. You do need to roast the bones if they’re raw. But other than that, you simply put everything in a large stockpot, add water, bring to a boil, then simmer for a few hours. The detailed instructions are included in the recipe card below. Here are the basic steps:
1. If using raw bones, roast them first for 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
2. Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Pour a gallon of water on top. Bring to a boil over high heat.
3. Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover except for the tiniest crack, and allow to gently simmer for 8 hours.
4. Carefully pour the soup through a strainer into a large container, getting rid of the bones and overcooked vegetables.
Where to get the bones
Then once in a while, when I have enough of them (about 2 pounds), I make this recipe.
How to make a flavorful bone broth
Want your broth to have lots of flavor? Cook it with vegetables and herbs. Add plenty of salt (it still won’t be as salty as the store-bought stuff). And cook for at least 8 hours.
This is especially important if you’re using beef bones. Those are tougher and take longer to soften.
How to store leftovers
Bone broth keeps in the fridge for about 5 days. It freezes well, so I usually freeze some of it in mugs (covered in cling wrap), then gently thaw in the microwave.
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Slow Cooker Bone Broth
- 2 lbs bones – beef, chicken, lamb or fish, preferably organic and/or grass-fed
- 1 large onion, quartered
- 2 large carrots, roughly chopped
- 2 stalks celery, roughly chopped
- 1 bunch parsley
- 2 tablespoons minced garlic
- 2 tablespoons coarse salt
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 2 bay leaves
- If using raw bones (bones that you bought especially for this and not leftover bones), roast them first for 30 minutes in a 350-degree oven.
- Place all the ingredients in a large stockpot. Pour a gallon of water on top. Bring to a boil over high heat. This will probably take 20 minutes or so.
- Reduce the heat to medium-low, cover except for the tiniest crack, and allow to gently simmer for 8 hours. During the first hour of cooking, check the soup occasionally and if a foamy layer has formed on the top, use a spoon to remove it.
- Carefully pour the broth through a strainer into a large container, getting rid of the bones and overcooked vegetables. Serve immediately, or allow to cool to room temperature, then cover and refrigerate until ready to serve.
- When ready to serve, remove the layer of fat from the top if you wish (I don’t), heat and serve as a delicious, good-for-you appetizer.