Bone broth has tons of nutritional value. Making homemade bone broth is not only easy but also cheaper than buying store-bought. Make this easy bone broth recipe in your slow cooker or Instant Pot.
Updated 2020 with Instant Pot instructions
What Is Bone Broth
When I talk about bone broth, I often get the questions what’s the difference between stock and broth? Is bone broth just stock? Can I substitute one for the other in my recipes? These are all great questions. Both stock and bone broth are remarkably similar, but stock is made with bones whereas broth is made from meat & vegetables. Bone broth is actually stock. Why not just call it stock? The short answer is that a few years ago it was trendy to call it bone broth & the name stuck. Bone broth is a savory liquid made by simmering bones, vegetables, and sometimes spices together over an extended period of time in a Dutch oven, slow cooker, or pressure cooker (Instant Pot) to extract the flavors out of the foods and into the water. This creates a rich, delicious stock that can be used in a variety of meals and is a key ingredient in many sauces, soups, and stews. Bone broth can be made using just about any animal bones, including fish, and you can use the scraps or leftovers of your vegetables from meals throughout the week to add flavor. Some standard ingredients are carrots, onions, and celery and, of course, bones and meat. Once the bone broth is finished simmering in either the slow cooker or Instant Pot, it will be run through a strainer and drained into another container to remove all the ingredients from the bone broth itself. The finished bone broth should be just the liquid that should have turned a beautiful golden-brown color. This finished product is what you will want to store it for use in later meals and recipes as needed.
Benefits of Bone Broth
The saying good broth resurrects the dead may be a bit of an exaggeration, but it is based in at least a little bit of truth. You might have heard stock or bone broth being called a super food lately. And if you don’t believe me, maybe the late legend Kobe Bryant can convince you otherwise. He credits it with helping him pull through two injuries within months of each other, and the Lakers team chef also makes it for all the players to get a boost while on the court. But you don’t have to be a player in the NBA to get some benefits. There are claims that bone broth is super nutrient rich and offers a wide variety of health benefits that can help all over the body. Some people say that bone broth is good for arthritis and can help reduce wrinkles. Bone broth can be good for your hair, skin, and nails due to the collagen that comes from the bones in the cooking process. There are also benefits for your teeth and bones because of the calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus levels. The vitamin packed liquid might even be able to give your immune system a boost without needing those expensive daily vitamins.
What Kind Of Bones to Use
Just about any bone is a good bone for broth (except, of course, the ones you’d find in the pet section). I like to save leftover bones in my freezer whenever I have a recipe that calls for a cut of bone-in meat, and I always look forward to those meals because I know I’ll be making a flavorful bone broth at the end of the week! You can also check with your local butcher to see if they have spare bones, and they are usually a great option for finding locally sourced and ethically raised animals. What you see here are beef bones from Belcampo. They’re big bones with a little bit of meat left on them. Keep in mind that bones with a lot of marrow on them will produce more gelatin than bones without out like chicken bones.
How Long To Cook Bone Broth
This bone broth recipe is done in 12 hours if you cook it in the slow cooker, 2 in the Instant Pot. A common misconception is that you have to slow cook bone broth for a very long time in order to get the full beneficial value. This is not true. While it does take time to extract collagen from the bones, it doesn’t need to simmer for days. I achieved a bone broth with a nice gel after only 12 hours. How long you cook bone broth for depends what type of bones you’re using for your broth. As a guide, poultry bones you will need to slow cook the bones for least 4 hours and up to 12 hours. For red meat bones, at least 6 hours and up to 18. For the pressure cooker, the time is 120 minutes on high pressure regardless of the type of bones used.
The Gelatin Factor
By simmering your bones, you are releasing collagen into the water. This collagen is what makes stocks different than broths (unless of course you are specifying bone broth like I am) and makes bone broth and stock a little bit thicker than traditional broths. Collagen is also the key ingredient in gelatin, which is what gives Jell-O it’s semi-solid shape. It is here is where all those vitamins and nutrients are hiding in your bone broth! The collagen is what is holding onto and storing all those nutrients and will release them into your body to send great benefits everywhere. You might also notice that your bone broth is completely liquid when it’s nice and warm, but as it cools it will become thicker or gelatinous. This is again because the collagen turns just a little bit of your bone broth into gelatin when it cools; this is completely normal, and the bone broth will go back to being liquid once it has been slowly warmed up on the stove, in your slow cooker, or in your Instant Pot. If your batch of bone broth doesn’t gel , it’s okay your bone broth will still have all the nutrients even if it doesn’t gel. It simply means that either your bones didn’t have a lot of collagen.
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Save the fat! Rather than discard the fat that you skim off the top of the cooled bone broth, re-use it. This fat can be used in place of oil, butter, or ghee in recipes.
Storing Bone Broth
Since bone broth is a just a liquid, it can be amazingly easy to keep and store and leftovers that you have. In the refrigerator, bone broth could last up to two weeks in an airtight container, and in the freezer, it can be kept for six to eight months if stored in freezer safe containers or bags. I also like to save mine in different amounts based on what I think I might need the bone broth for in the future. For example, I have quite a few recipes that call for amounts as small as one tablespoon. Ice cube trays are perfect for storing small amounts of bone broth for recipes like these, just make sure you cover them with cling wrap before you freeze it and keep the frozen broth cubes in a freezer safe bag or container until ready to use. These frozen cubes can go straight from your freezer into whatever dish you are cooking, too! To store larger amounts of bone broth, I will put about two cups of liquid into either glass jars or some other reusable storage container. I prefer to use glass jars just because I find them a little easier to pour from and organize in my refrigerator or freezer. If you are going to freeze, make sure you use a freezer safe storage option, and pull your bone broth out of the freezer either overnight or at least six to eight hours before you plan to use it.
- 4 pounds bones (red meat bones or poultry bones)
- 3 celery stalks, chopped
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 4 garlic cloves
- Handful of fresh herbs of your choice
- 2 tablespoons white vinegar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 bay leaves
- Water to cover
- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker. Add enough water to cover all the ingredients.
- Cook low 10-12 hours.
- Let cool.
- See final steps below.
- Add all the ingredients to the pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover. Make sure you do not go over the maximum fill line.
- Close lid and seal valve. Set high pressure and cook for 120 minutes. When done, let the pressure cooker naturally release all the pressure. Let cool.
- See final steps below.
Once broth has cooled, strain the broth through a mesh strainer. Remove the layer of fat off the top.
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