Basic Chicken Stock

Makes about 2 1/2 quarts

Use this versatile chicken stock as a base for classic soups, such as Broccoli Cream Soup and Creamy Tomato Soup. The recipe is adapted from the "Martha Stewart's Cooking School" cookbook.


  • 5 pounds assorted chicken parts (backs, necks, legs, and wings), rinsed

  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and chopped into 2-inch lengths

  • 2 celery stalks, chopped into 2-inch lengths

  • 2 medium onions, peeled and cut into quarters

  • 2 dried bay leaves

  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns


  1. Place chicken parts in a stockpot just large enough to hold them with about 3 inches of room above (an 8-quart pot should do) and add enough water to cover by 1 inch (about 3 quarts). Bring to a boil over medium-high heat, using a ladle to skim impurities and fat that rise to the top.

  2. Add vegetables, bay leaf, and peppercorns and reduce heat to a bare simmer (bubbles should just gently break the surface). Cook, skimming frequently, for at least 1 1/2 hours and up to 4 hours.

  3. Pass stock through a cheesecloth-lined sieve into a large heatproof measuring cup or another bowl or pot; do not press on solids. Discard solids.

  4. Skim off fat if using immediately, or let cool completely (in an ice-water bath, if desired) before transferring to airtight containers. Refrigerate at least 8 hours to allow the fat to accumulate at the top; lift off and discard fat before using or storing stock.

    David E. Steele

Cook's Notes

Stock can be refrigerated up to 3 days or frozen up to 3 months; thaw completely in the refrigerator before using.

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