Quick Homemade Chicken Stock

Quick Homemade Chicken Stock
Recipe Type: Soup
Author: Cook’s Illustrated
To save time and the mess, I call ahead to my grocery store’s butcher and order 8 lbs. of chicken wings and legs cut into 2-inch pieces. They are ready when I get there, they don’t charge for cutting it up, and I’ve got an extra 4 lbs. to keep in the freezer for the next time.
  • 1Tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 medium onion, diced
  • 4 lbs. chicken wings and/ or legs, cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 2 qts. boiling water
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 2 bay leaves
  1. Heat oil in large stockpot over medium-high heat until shimmering; add onion and cook until slightly softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Transfer onion to large bowl. Brown chicken in two batches, cooking on each hside until lightly browned, about 5 minutes per side; transfer to bowl with onions. Transfer cooked chicken to bowl with onion. Return onion and chicken to pot. Reduce heat to low, cover, and sweat until chicken releases its juices, about 20 minutes. Increase heat to high; add boiling water, salt, and bay leaves. Bring to boil, then reduce heat to low; cover and simmer slowly until stock is rich and flavorful, about 20 minutes, skimming foam off surface, if desired.
  2. Strain broth and discard solids. Before using, defat stock. After stock has been refrigerated, the fat hardens on the surface and is very easy to remove with a spoon. To defat hot stock, we recommend using a ladle or fat separator.



  1. Mary Jordan says:

    Joy, thanks for posting this stock recipe. I am making homemade chicken noodle soup for my girl home from college and needed a stock recipe. Question, is there a reason for cooking the chicken first, other than time constraints? A lot of recipes I have seen start the stock with raw chicken. Another friend of mine says there is something about a cooked or roasted chicken that makes the stock more flavorful than using raw chicken. What do you think? I also noticed the absence of carrots and celery…is that also because this is a quick stock? Would appreciate any of your cooking wisdom surrounding stocks. Thanks so much! Mary

    • JoyAldrich says:

      Hi, Mary! You’re such a good mom. I’m sure your daughter will REALLY appreciate some homemade soup (I know I always do!). So, you are exactly right about browning the chicken pieces – it’s all about adding and layering flavors. The flavor you get from all those tasty brown bits in the pan is SO much richer than the flavor you get from boiling a chicken (or bones). I don’t use carrot or celery because the caramelized onions give it tons of flavor and I save my carrots and celery for the soup. Also, if you get too much in that pan, everything just kind of braises rather than caramelizes. I hope you and your girl enJOY it! Can’t wait to hear how it turns out!

  2. […] Cook’s Illustrated recipe for Quick Homemade Chicken Stock yields a nice, thick broth due to the good-for-you collagen that comes from the chicken bones. […]

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