Easy Slow Cooker Chicken Broth

Slow Cooker Chicken broth

Back in the first year of this blog I wrote about making chicken broth – how easy it is and how it’s a great way to use things we’d normally throw away (bones and vegetable scraps) to make a super nourishing meat stock.

To make sure I always have some on hand I make big batches to freeze and use not only in soups but also in place of water to make rice (ups the nutrient value and the flavor), and in recipes like curry and risotto. I also find that my homemade stock makes sauces and gravies wonderfully flavored.

However in the warmer months, the idea of a huge pot of broth simmering away on the stove for hours (the longer it cooks, the more flavor it has) loses it’s appeal. And although I’m not making many soups, I still make rice, curries, and other recipes that call for stock. Plus, I simply don’t want to waste the precious chicken bones.

I could freeze the bones to make broth later (which I do a lot when I’m cutting up a chicken – I save those backs until I’ve got enough for a pot), but I’ve found it is really convenient to use the slow cooker.

Here are the steps to make chicken broth easily in the slow cooker:

  • In order to have cooked chicken on hand for salads, wraps/sandwiches or other recipes, throw a chicken in the slow cooker right when you get home from shopping.
  • Season with a bit of salt and pepper and let it cook for about 3 hours and then remove the chicken from the bones and package the meat up for the freezer.
  • BUT, leave everything else in the slow cooker – bones, broth from cooking, and skin.
  • Add onion, carrot, and celery ends and trimmings that you’ve been saving in the freezer.
  • Fill it about three-quarters of the way from the top with water and turn it to HIGH for an hour to get it cooking. After an hour, turn it to LOW and then go to bed and let the bones and vegetables simmer all night.

Chicken broth in slow cooker

In the morning the deepest, most flavorful and nutrient-dense chicken broth awaits you in the cooker. Then it’s a simple matter of straining and pouring into glass canning jars to cool before attaching lids and storing in the fridge for a week or the freezer for longer.

Obviously, you can do this in the morning and let the broth cook all day as well – I simply find it easiest to let it cook through the night after cooking a chicken in the afternoon.

The slow cooker has made it possible for me to have cooked meat and broth ready for recipes – all without heating up the kitchen (well, not too much – and mostly at night) and with a minimum of work. If you made nothing else with a slow cooker but cooked chicken and broth, it would be well worth the investment.

And the fact that this delicious broth is made from throw-away items is still amazing to me.

Have you used your slow cooker to make broth? What is your favorite way to use the broth?


  1. Sharon O says

    That sounds wonderful and quite easy. We use chicken broth or stock for many things so this will be a great help. thank you

  2. Sakura says

    You must be a mind reader. I was just thinking about doing this, but I’m going to try and pressure can both the chicken and broth together along with some broth only jars. I just canned sliced carrots and some potatoes a couple of days ago. I am loving my pressure canner this year!

  3. says

    I used my slow cooker once but I typically just use my stock pot. I like to make a batch once a week and use it for our “soup night” which gives us one dinner and leftovers for lunch throughout the week. I’d like to learn to can it so I can have some on hand when I need it in a pinch.

    • Jami says

      I actually like having that pot of stock simmering in the winter – seems homey to me. But when it’s hot, this is my solution. Plus our “soup night” in the summer becomes “salad night.” :)

      • says

        I would *love* to have a salad night in the summer. We had horrible temps this past month over 110 degrees and being in an older home that isn’t that well insulated the kitchen was warm from the afternoon on. It was too hot to cook. My husband on the other hand, doesn’t feel that he has eaten if he’s had a salad for dinner so we do soup year round. 😕 I’m working on him though…

        • Jami says

          Oh, well. Maybe soup and salad night and those who want can forgo the soup? I find I don’t enjoy soup as much when it’s hot. Funny I don’t have a problem enjoying piping hot ribs, though. :)

    • Jami says

      Ashley – I think you’ll notice a HUGE difference with the added vegetables! I didn’t think it was necessary, either, when I first started making broth and when I finally tried it after reading about using veggie ends and pieces, the difference was amazing. I’ve never made it without at least some vegetables since. I’ll be curious to know if you notice the difference as well. :)

  4. Maggie says

    I’ve never liked the way chicken in the slow cooker came out, but will definatley try making my stock this way. Great idea!

    To beat the heat in the summer, we’ve been cooking our chicken on a rotisorrie (sp?) that attaches to our BBQ grill.

  5. Ann says

    I also use the slow cooker to make broth and other things, but I also like to plug it in outside on the patio when it is this hot (112º!)

    • Missie says

      Ann, I was going to suggest the same thing! In the summer, I gather all the necessary ingredients that have been sitting in my freezer, dump them all in the crockpot, then plug it in out in our garage — which is super hot anyway! That frees up my counter space and keeps any additional heat out of the kitchen.

      Jami, I have been known to let my stock cook for up to 48 hours. It is rich and dark golden brown and beautiful. Absolutely love it! I had been freezing it in the Ball freezer jars, but I will have to try your glass jar idea. I have plenty of those lying around!

      • Jami says

        Well, Missie, most of the time I DO use canning jars to freeze items like stock and tomato sauce which seem to expand more than the pesto I freeze in regular little jars. I’ve read that some people have a lot of breakage from freezing glass jars, although I can’ think of only one time that a jar broke on me. I think if there is plenty of head room left for expansion when freezing, using regular jars should be ok.

        • brenda from ar says

          I try to keep as much heat as possible out on the patio also. Have set up an old kind of ugly microwave cart just outside the back door. This holds a crockpot of pinto beans or stock or whatever. Also, the turkey roaster fits on the cart, and it has a temperature control. I’ve even baked bread on parchment on the rack in the roaster. When the temps cool down in the Fall, I switch back to indoor cooking.

          • Jami says

            Wow, Brenda, you really plan for the hot weather, don’t you? Sadly, we don’t have enough hot weather to go to that much trouble here. :)

  6. Robyn says

    I always make my chicken stock this way! So much easier than watching it on the stove. And I measure out the same amount as canned stock and store in Ziploc freezer bags or freezer containers, easy to add to recipes even when frozen. Since I started doing this, no one in my family will even eat anything made with store boughten stock, as it is too salty for us!

  7. Martha Ellen says

    I used to make stock on top of the stove until my daughter told me she made hers in the slow cooker. It makes life so much easier. Let it bubble all night and in the morning your house smells divine!
    Martha Ellen

    • Jami says

      Me, too! It was a good day when I learned that – I had tried, but I just couldn’t put perfectly good carrots, onions, and celery in just to throw them away. :)

  8. Gloria Clayton says

    I can chopped turkey and chicken with homemade broth. In the winter my hubby adds frozen mixed veggies and a handful of noodles for a delicious soup. Cheaper and much tastier than store bought.. I
    wonder? have you used this method for beef. I roast all my bones in the oven before simmering for a heartier flavor. Thank you for the tricksy crockpot tip!

    • Jami says

      I actually have made beef broth in the slow cooker, too – it turns out great! I just haven’t done it after cooking, say, a roast ’cause there’s usually only one small bone. :) I’m impressed that you can meat- I’ve always been intimidated by low-acid canning.

      • Gloria Clayton says

        I have a book from 1972 from the Dept of Ag that I have used for many years and I havent killed anyone yet! Trick on meats is to precook the meat, I have never done raw packing as I always think it may be dangerous.

        • Gloria Clayton says

          There is one small grocery here on the lake and it has a butcher so I can purchase big old beef bones from there. Just had not considered doing it in the summer cause of the heat here in TX.

          • Jami says

            Great idea! I hope to be able to buy a 1/4 beef this year, so maybe I’ll have some bones from that to use for broth. :)

  9. Ellen Jacob says

    I just did this last night with my turkey carcass from Thanksgiving, I woke up to the most delicious stock for my turkey noodle soup that I have ever tasted! And the house smelled good overnight, too :)

  10. Brenda Powell says

    In addition to the chicken bones & veggies for broth in slow cooker I add bay leaves & peppercorns. Very tasty broth. We have a covered deck just outside my kitchen. Our gas grill is on the deck. I use it in hot or inclement weather (even in winter here in Georgia) for all kinds of things and year round for frying so as to save the messy cleanup on my indoor electric stove. Great for fish and other smelly cooking. Husband prefers his meat charcoal cooked rather than on gas grill so I use the deck grill for an extension of my kitchen. Love it!

  11. Teresa says

    Hi there. I want to try this asap. When you initially cook the chicken for 3 hours in the slow cooker, are you cooking it on high? Thank you.

  12. Dexter says

    Once we ve accumulated enough, it s time to fire up the slow cooker to make a batch of whichever stock we ve got bits and pieces for.


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