What is bone broth? Bone broth is made by boiling water from animal bones and connective tissue (usually cattle or chicken) with vegetables and spices. This post is a complete guide to bone broth, it's uses, benefits and a recipe for how to make bone broth at home.
Is Bone Broth the Same as Bone Stock?
What is the difference between bone broth and bone stock? Nothing. However, there is a small difference between bone broth/bone stock and regular broth.
Bone broth, stock, and regular broth use the same ingredients but have a different cook time. Bone broth & bone stock are cooked much longer than regular broth…usually as long as 24-48 hours. Bone broth and bone stock result in different liquids to regular broth because the added cook time allows for all the collagen, marrow, etc. to seep out of the bones and add their nutrients to the liquid that you then drink or eat.
Broth is generally a lighter, more flavorful liquid whereas stock is much thicker, and is more often used as a base for sauces and soups.
Which is Healthier - Bone Broth or Bone Stock?
This is a nuanced question, because bone broth and bone stock both have their uses and benefits. Having said this, bone broth is regarded as being particularly healthy. Because bone broth is simmered for so much longer than bone stock, it fully absorbs the vitamins and minerals in the bones and vegetables, making it rich in marrow and amino acids which have great health benefits when consumed. It is also rich in collagen, though ingesting collagen has no proven health benefits.
Do You Drink Bone Broth?
Drinking bone broth as it is may seem like an odd idea, but is actually a healthy addition to your diet. Bone broth is perfectly good to drink alone in addition to using it in soups, stews or other recipes.
What are the Benefits of Drinking Bone Broth?
This list is not exhaustive, but here are some of the widely reported health benefits of drinking bone broth:
- Improved digestive and gut health
- Supports joints and joint health
- Healthier skin, hair and nails
- Aids sleep
- Supports weight loss
- Speedier recovery from illness (e.g cold and flu)
- Fights inflammation
Why is Bone Broth so Healthy?
Due to the way bone broth is made, the liquid absorbs the vitamins and minerals in the bones and vegetables that are boiled with the liquid. Simmering with water and vinegar breaks down the bones and tissues used and helps release their nutrients. Tissue and bones contain vitamins such as calcium and magnesium. Also, bone marrow is rich in amino acids.
Further, it is a great source of collagen which is said to promote healthy hair, skin, and nails. However, none of the benefits of ingesting collagen have been proven.
Needless to say, this all serves to make bone broth extremely nutritious and beneficial for health.
Is Bone Broth Keto?
True bone broth contains no carbohydrates, making it compatible with a Keto diet. In fact, many Keto diet plans advise that you drink bone broth alongside the Keto diet to help minimize the side effects of drastically reducing your carbohydrate intake.
How Long Should You do a Bone Broth Fast?
A bone broth fast is a period of time where you only consume bone broth and water. Recommendations for bone broth fasting do vary, so if you're considering trying a bone broth fast it may be best to start with an initial 24 hour fast, or try the popular three day fast.
Many people use a bone broth fast as a short term, healthy 'detox' and report great results. As always, do your research on what's right for you and seek advice before trying anything too drastic.
Can you Simmer Bone Broth Too Long?
In short, yes. Simmering for a long time is beneficial up to a point, but cooking for longer than 48 hours might result in the broth's flavor becoming bitter and tasting a bit off, in general. The broth will darken as it goes past the beneficial cook time.
Make sure to check on the broth for the water reducing too much. There should always be at least a few quarts of liquid in the pot. You can do taste tests every few hours after the first 24 hours for the flavor you want to achieve, and remove it from the heat & strain it when it has reached your desired flavor. This may not be 48 hours. I usually remove mine around the 30-hour mark.
Remember, this recipe does not have any salt, so keep that in mind during the taste tests. I prefer to season it as I use it.
How to Make Bone Broth
To make great bone broth, you don't need to spend the $10 on a cup of bone broth, the $7 on the carton, or the $40 on the powder. Every time I buy a chicken, I ask them to remove the backbone for me (if I'm feeling lazy and don't want to do it at home myself) and I collect those bones in a gallon-sized Ziploc bag in my freezer. When making your bone broth, you can throw in any leftovers like chicken feet, chicken bones, even full chicken carcasses.
When the bag gets 4-6 backbones in it, I'm ready to make some bone broth! You can also buy cattle bones for almost nothing at your butcher shop. Some places even end up throwing them away. So go ahead, just ask, and rescue all that marrow.
First, you will add all your bones and vegetable ingredients to a stock pot or slow cooker. Cover all the ingredients with water. Bring the water to boil, then reduce until it's lightly simmering. Cover with the lid of the stock pot and leave for 24-48 hours. You can see the difference in the liquid before and after below. When ready to eat, season with soy sauce to taste and serve however you like.
What do I do with my finished bone broth? I love to make this simple Bone Broth Udon Soup!
Or try my other favorite broth-based soups:
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- 4-6 chicken backbones chunks of beef bones, or leftover chicken/turkey bones from cooked whole bird
- 1 bulb fennel quartered
- 1 onion quartered
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 tbsp black peppercorns
- 3 inches fresh ginger sliced
- 1 head garlic cut in half
- 1 jalapeño optional (or use half)
- Add all your ingredients to a stock pot. Cover with water.
- Bring to boil. Reduce to a light simmer. Cover. Cook 24-48 hours on lowest setting.
- Season with soy sauce to taste before serving!
This post was originally published in March of 2018, but was republished with the complete guide, FAQ, new photos, and step by step instructions December of 2019.