I’ve mentioned on twitter that I’ve been making bone broth and some of you asked for the details. And so I oblige!  I’ve become a big fan for a bunch of overwhelming reasons I’ll outline below. Sally Fallon introduced me to the stuff in Nourishing Traditions and since then I’ve followed a community of people who can’t stop raving about it. A lot of nutritionists steer their clients to simply drink bone broth. That’s it. The stuff is so full of good stuff…who needs supplements?

Mushrooms in bone broth recipe below, via The Nourished Kitchen

Making it is easy and cheap, albeit not very attractive. See the pics below, or this from Sally Fallon when describing the final stages of cooking: “You will now have a pot of rather repulsive-looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material. It doesn’t even smell particularly good.”

Nice. But regardless…

I buy the bones from the farmer at the farmer’s market for $2 a bag. But if you’re not near a farmer’s market, your butcher will sell some to you (or give them to you!).

I make a batch and freeze it for soups and stews (in 500ml containers) and also in 200ml serves to drink as a soup, or to use for braising veggies (instead of using oil). You basically use it as you would stock, but it’s richer, more gelatinous and more nutritious.

Here’s a bit of a cheat sheet (if Sally hasn’t scared you off)!

Bone Broth: the deal

Bone broth is like normal stock but made with big, cheap bones which are simmered for a very long time (24 hours-plus).  At the end of cooking, a stack of minerals have leached from the bones and into the broth that the bones crumble when pressed lightly.

Why would you?

Because it is soooo good for you.

1. Our immune systems love it.

It’s rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and other trace minerals, which are easily absorbable, thus assisting the immune system.  Mark’s Daily Apple has a great article breaking down all the nutrients found in bone broth.

2. It’s great for arthritis and joint pain

It contains glucosamine and chondroiton – which help mitigate the deletorious effects of arthritis and joint pain. Rather than shelling out big bucks for glucosamine-chondroitin and mineral supplements, just make bone broth and other nutritive foods a part of your regular diet.

3. It’s a digestive aid

It helps break down grains, beans, legumes, vegetables and meats and is hydrophilic in nature, which means that it facilitates digestion by attracting digestive juices to food in the gut. Bone broths have been used successfully in treating gastro-intestinal disorders, including hyperacidity, colitis, Crohn’s disease, and infant diarrhea.

4. It rebuilds the gut

Chris Kresser says the gelatin in bone broth helps in repairing the integrity of the gut:

“Homemade bone broth soups are effective in restoring a healthy mucosal lining in the stomach. Bone broth is rich in collagen and gelatin, which have been shown to benefit people with ulcers. It’s also high in proline, a non-essential amino acid that is an important precursor for the formation of collagen.”

5. It combats stress + inflammation. 

Which is a boon for AI sufferers. Glycine is an “inhibitory” neurotransmitter, and promotes natural sleep and has a “quieting”, protective antistress action. Read more here.

6. It’s great for thyroid issues

Eating muscle meat with a rich source of gelatin counters the negative effects of methionine, cysteine and tryptophan leading to a more efficient metabolism (healthy thyroid).

7. It’s great for nails, hair and women generally. 

Rich in both gelatin and collagen it promotes bone and joint healing in addition to supporting digestion.It helps to support the connective tissue in your body and also helps the fingernails and hair to grow well and strong.

Also it’s super cheap. I just made 3.5 litres of the stuff and then I got excited and added up how much it cost me…ready…$3.90. By using the bones from leftover roast chickens matched with vegetable scraps you’ve saved, you can whittle that paltry sum down even lower.

beef bone broth

This recipe is mostly taken from Sally Fallon’s Nourishing Traditions.

about 2-3kg of bones (beef marrow, knuckle bones, meaty rib, neck bones – whatever the butcher will give you)
about 3-4 litres of cold water
1/2 cup vinegar
2-3 onions, coarsely chopped
3 carrots, coarsely chopped
3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
several sprigs of fresh thyme, tied together
1 teaspoon dried green peppercorns, crushed or a tsp black peppercorns

Place the bonier bones (ie not much meat) in a very large pot with vinegar and cover with water. Let stand for one hour.

Meanwhile, place the meaty bones in a roasting pan and brown at 180C or 350F in the oven. When well browned, add to the pot along with the vegetables.

Add additional water, if necessary, to cover the bones; but the liquid should come no higher than within one inch of the rim of the pot, as the volume expands slightly during cooking.

Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and add the thyme and crushed peppercorns.

Simmer 12-72 hours.

As Sally says: You will now have a pot of rather repulsive-looking brown liquid containing globs of gelatinous and fatty material. It doesn’t even smell particularly good.

Strain the lot (you’ll need to use tongs our your hands to pull out the bones) into a large bowl. Let cool in the fridge and then…

Operation Remove Fat Layer.

This is a little grose, but somehow satisfying. The congealed fat on top is usually a good 1-2cm thick and you can literally pick it up in chunks (like ice over a pond) and turf it.

Divide into containers and freeze/eat.


Some things to know:

  • You brown the meatier of the bones in the oven first to 200 degrees C for 45-90 minutes. Lamb/beef bones give better broth if roasted in the oven first.
  • Acid is necessary in order to extract the minerals from the bone. Add some vinegar  to aid in leaching these minerals – in particular calcium -and other nutrients from the bones.
  • The water should be cold, because slow heating helps bring out flavors.
  • Stock will keep several days in the fridge…I mostly freeze it though.
  • Boiled down it concentrates and becomes a jellylike fumée or demi-glaze that can be reconstituted into a sauce by adding water.
  • For more information Nourished Kitchen is a great resource. Ditto Sally’s Nourishing Traditions.

Some things to do with bone broth:

* Drink it like a soup

* Make this amazing Wild Mushroom stew (picture above).

* Braise vegetables with it. I use a tablespoon or two instead of oil when doing stirfries.

* Gravy!!!

 Have you tried bone broth? Any tips or tricks you’d like to share?

Have your say, leave a comment.

  • demi

    ok i am new at this and confused and hope you can help me.i can make the bone broth with raw bones which i will brown abit in oven,or bones from boiled or roasted meat?

  • Ruth Harper

    I cooled mine before straining, does that I’m going to lose some of the gloopy goodness? The final broth is not gloopy at all. I haven’t discarded any yet, so I can add more water and reheat. Also the bones aren’t very crumbly. They were huge bones (we went halves in a butchered cow and kept as much as possible). I have popped them back in the pot with more water and vinegar. I think they need longer?

  • John

    Jason is probably a teenager still being breast fed by his mum Hahaha.

  • Vivy

    thanks for the recipe. I expect as bone soup becomes popular we wont be buying the bones at $2.00 a bag for long.

  • Bianca

    I did my first bone broth in a slow cooker for 48hrs but I have been greeted with not much liquid left! Should a slow cooker method only be done for 24hrs maximum? Thankyou xx

  • Hi Sarah, I have made bone broths a lot, but often simmer in a few hourly blocks to get to 20 hours or so. If i leave to go cold, do i get back up to boiling point and then go back to a simmer, or do i start from cold and just build to a simmer without boiling first? I hope this makes sense 🙂

  • Jennifer g

    Hi Sarah, I have just made my first batch and only ended up with 500ml of stock (but followed your recipe Exactly) should I have been topping up to the top of the pot (I was just making sure the bones kept covered) ? Also after cooking for 24 hours the bones were as hard as whenci started, not crumbly, does this mean the stock is still nutritious? I have alopecia (auto immune) and want to drink this to help my hair growth and the myriad of other associated problems that auto immune brings.

  • Amy Reid

    I’ve got mine cooking on the wood potbelly can’t wait

  • Julie

    That is so disgusting I feel sick.

  • Julie


  • Katie

    Hi there! I have just started getting into making bone broth and I have a few questions….

    Can the bones be purchased frozen? Or does this have an effect on the overall result and the bones are best fresh?

    As for the bones themselves, I didn’t use any “meaty” bones…. are they mainly required for flavour and saltiness? Or something more?

    After a good 60 hours cooking time, I noticed that the bones were still rock hard. Is this an issue? They had “shrunk” slightly though….

    Since having the broth cooling in the fridge overnight, it hasn’t become gelatinous… is that bad? I’m worried it’s because of not having the meatier bones…

    Also, I’ve read that you can remove the bone marrow at a certain point to consume it. But I was wondering if you are then taking out a component that is somewhat integral to the broth?

    Any help would be greatly appreciated! Thanks!!

  • Bron

    Just realized my mum used to make something similar for us as kids (and then added a handful of leftover rice and turned it into a very watery “chinese porridge”. Was never sick as a kid actually…

    • Felicity

      Thanks so much for this Sarah! I only eat fish and I was happy to go ahead and buy bones from the butcher / market and still might do that too to try both versions, but I love the idea of trying this with leftover fish bones that I would have just otherwise thrown out. Perfect!

  • Megan

    So does anyone know if bouillon cubes are the same or simular to bone broth or is there a brand that possibly similar to it?

  • rhian @melbs

    I’ve just made bone broth for the first time. Did it in slow cooker for approx 22 hours. Used lamb and chicken bones. I left it to cool down but it hasn’t gone gelatinous in any way. Does this mean i did something wrong? I didn’t brown the bones first. It tastes nice but am wondering if I didn’t do it right?

  • margie

    yep I just made it last night for the first time with my pressure cooker. Three and a half hours.

  • Anette KuMiko

    Can I cook bone broth by using double boiler?

  • Veronica

    This broth recipe works in a pressure cooker, you just have to adjust the time. It’ll save you lots of time actually so it’s a good option. If you don’t have one, buy one, it’s one of the greatest kitchen tools every invented. When I bought a pressure cooker some questions I considered were what I’ll be using it for, how many people I will be cooking for, what’s the warranty on the cooker, and what will work on the stove that I have. Good luck!

  • Daenerys

    I don’t eat beef, can chicken be used?

  • CurlyAmy

    I made bone broth with chicken bones at the weekend which I left for 7 hrs. When I came home all the water had boiled away and I was just left with bones and vegetables. What did I do wrong?! I used approx 2 litres of water as that was my biggest pan.

    • rose

      Sounds as though there was too much heat under the pan. A gentle simmer, with just a few small bubbles coming through, is enough.Lucky for me, I can get that on the lowest setting on the cooktop, I leave the broth on (covered with well fitting lid) for at least 24 hours with minimal water loss. Cheers.

  • Bec

    I just made my first stock of bone broth with beef, and the bones didn’t break up:( what could’ve gone wrong?

  • My2Yen

    Mia Bluegirl: One reason: Autoimmune Disease, which this site is well known for.

  • Anzjuli

    Does the bones have to be from organic, pasture raised cattle?

  • Broth

    I’ve just finished my first broth and it’s been in the fridge a few hours now but still no fat layer. How long does it take to form? Have I made it wrong maybe?

  • susan

    How much should the above receipe yield. I got 1L and a bit?

  • The gladwrap tip is genius- thank you!

  • Donna

    I keep having to add water to the broth. Doesn’t this dilute the whole thing making it less nutritious?

  • Sarah G

    I am on my second version of bone broth for the week. My first, chicken, was ambitiously started without reading your recipe, so I only used one chicken carcass… then added the ingredients in your recipe as I realised I might actually need help.

    Despite the low bone content, it was super delicious, and to my surprise, the chicken bones did completely crumble.

    Is the idea to mash them into the broth, or to eat them separately? Or not eat them at all? (they were very tasty so I had them for lunch today…)

    Today I’m doing a beef bone broth. Looking forward to seeing if the bones crumble down like the chicken, or stay hard like most of these commenters have observed. I have a few marrow bones in there so I’ll make sure the marrow stays in the broth, regardless of whether it muddies the water or not.

  • I made risotto with my bone broth.

  • Bec

    Just wondering whether keeping the fat from a bone broth and using it in cooking is a good idea or not?

  • roe

    Maybe I ask a super dumb question… But, I’m pretty annonymous now… So i’m just gonna do it…

    Can’t I just simmer the broth… Then turn it off to go to bed… And then put it on again in the morning?

    There are two things in life I don’t trust… Gypsies and fire. Needless to say, if I go to sleep I don’t want either one of them in my house. Granted, i’m pretty well insured… But there is a lot of paper work I’m just not looking forward to.

    So, isn’t there a way I can do all of this without having an open fire in my house while I slumber? Thanks in advance.

  • Pat Stone

    I was told that the roots and skins of the veggies we normally toss out should be saved and used in bone broth for added nutrients. Has anyone done this? If so, did you add them toward the end or in the beginning? I have a bag of onion roots and skins, garlic roots and skins (even from roasted garlic) and other roots and peels in the freezer in anticipation of broth.

  • Anzjuli

    My broth is brewing as we speak! (as I type…) I wanted to know if you can use the far on top as an oil of sorts? For pan frying or covering vegies to be baked in the oven? Seems a bit of a waste tossing it out.

  • hollybygollygirl

    I have made bone broth quite few times now but each time the broth never gets gelatinous. I sometimes leave it in a stock pot for a couple of days and I add the vinegar but it only comes out rich and dark but not wobbly like jello. Any suggestions?

  • Amy

    Hi Sarah, can I use chicken stock or another animals bones instead of beef. It’s the one animal I will not consume. Thanks Amy 🙂

  • Sarah

    Hi I’m wondering I have autoimmune disease so eating some meat is good to help fix it. But according to the blood type diet I’m an A which is all legumes and no meat. I’m confused. I want to go with the science I want to fix my body. What’s your thoughts?

  • gemmu

    do you need to discard the fat, or can you use it for cooking, like frying chips?

  • Ben Cadoret

    Hello. New to this site; do the bones need to come from animals that are grass fed/antibiotic free? Curious if I’m looking for organic bones.. Many thanks.