Home canned chicken stock, without all the sodium dumped into commercial versions meant to make up for lack of actual flavour!
Here we walk through the USDA procedure for making chicken stock.
See also: Canning turkey stock.
Jar size choices: Either half-litre (1 US pint) OR 1 litre (1 US quart)
Processing method: pressure canning only
Headspace: 3 cm (1 inch)
Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.)
Processing time: Half-litres (pints) 20 minutes; litres (quarts) 25 minutes.
Serving size: 1 cup (250 ml / 8 oz)
Fat: 0 g
- Chicken bones or carcass
- Take chicken bones or carcass, clean all meat off it. (Tip: you can freeze meat in a baggie for adding to soup later.)
- (Optional: Some people like to roast the bones for an hour or so at this point, for a darker, richer-tasting stock. )
- EITHER : Put bones / carcass in pot with enough water to cover. Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for 45 minutes. OR Put in pressure cooker. Add enough water to cover bones. Cook for 30 minutes on high pressure (13 to 15 lbs for most North Americans. See Notes.) A couple bay leaves tossed into either process make an inspired addition.
- Strain into a large bowl or tub; have a second go at picking more of the loosened meat off it, add that to your bag of frozen meat, and put the stock in fridge over night.
- In the morning, scrape all the fat off the top; discard the fat.
- Reheat the stock to boiling in microwave (or pot.) If you used a microwave, be careful of surge when removing.
- Pour hot into half-litre (1 US pint) jars or 1 litre (US quart) jars.
- Leave 3 cm (1 inch) headspace.
- Wipe rims.
- Put lids on, put in pressure canner.
- Processing pressure: 10 lbs (69 kPa) weighted gauge, 11 lbs (76 kpa) dial gauge (adjust pressure for your altitude when over 300 metres / 1000 feet.)
- Processing time: half-litre (1 US pint) jars for 20 minutes. OR 1 litre (1 US quart) jars for 25 minutes.
See also if applicable: Dial Gauge Pressures.
How to pressure can.
When pressure canning, you must adjust the pressure for your altitude.
Chicken stock flavouring options
The USDA and So Easy to Preserve give directions for plain, pure chicken stock, unfiltered.
Ball and Bernardin add flavouring options. The Bernardin Guide (2013, page 99) and the Ball / Bernardin Complete (2015, page 399) suggest you add 2 stalks celery, 2 onions cut into quarters, and 10 peppercorns. The Ball Blue Book (37th edition, 2014, page 105) suggest those items plus 2 carrots. All 3 of those books have you remove and discard those items along with the bones before canning the broth. They also add the suggestion that you strain the broth through a cheesecloth-lined sieve before canning to remove any particles from it. Their canning and processing times are identical otherwise.
- Note: you may see some people saying they simmer, boil or pressure cook chicken bones for stock for 5 or 6 hours. Should you choose to boil, notice that the USDA suggests that 45 minutes is completely adequate. And if pressure cooking, 30 minutes will yield the maximum result you are going to get. Any time beyond that is really just increasing your cooking fuel bill with zero benefit to show for it.
- Laura Pazzaglia, author of Hip Pressure Cooking, says that for pressure cooking (note, not pressure canning), HIGH PRESSURE equals 13 to 15 lbs, or 90 to 100 kilopascals, or .9 to 1 bar.1 The pressure cooking time of 30 minutes for poultry stock also comes from the same excellent book, page 48. Note: if you are using an electric pressure cooker to make the stock in, such as an Instant Pot, she advises increasing the time to 33 to 35 minutes. (Don’t take our word: check with her over at hippressurecooking.com.)
- Above all, please do keep clear the difference between pressure cooking the stock to save energy and produce a superior stock, and then pressure canning it later to preserve it.
- Roasting the chicken bones can result in a wonderful deep rich flavour but also results in a quite dark stock, usually (photos show on this page show stock from unroasted bones.)
- Safety tip: After you have a plate of meat you have picked off a chicken carcass, always take a minute to feel carefully through that meat with your fingers, pressing it all, feeling for small bones.
- Pressure cooking uses less energy and extracts more flavour and gelatin from the bones, resulting in a better quality stock to can.
- A bay leaf or two while you are boiling or pressure cooking the bones will elevate your stock.
- You could add a bit of salt or salt sub per jar, but it could be argued that it’s just better to can it as is, then do flavour adjustments when you go to use it in something.
- When discarding the fat, check how to best do so for your area. Many municipalities are now saying they do not want it going down your drain and into their sewer systems, where it causes great problems overtime.
- The USDA Complete and So Easy to Preserve do allow that you can add tidbits of chicken meat to the stock. As there is no definition of what quantity of meat that exactly allows, and we’d never be able to answer that question for ourselves let alone others, we have left that out of the directions. But that certainly is there as part of it. Ball and Bernardin don’t have that: as noted above, they have you strain the stock to get anything out.
United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Complete guide to home canning. Agriculture information bulletin No. 539. 2015. Page 5 – 7.
- Added bay leaf for flavour;
- Added phase of overnight in fridge to skim fat off.
Serving size: 250 ml ( 1 cup / 8 oz )
Per 250 ml ( 1 cup / 8 oz ): 17 calories
Weight Watchers PointsPlus®: 250 ml (1 cup / 8 oz ): 0 points; 500 ml ( 1 US pint / 2 cups/ 16 oz): 1 point.
Weight Watchers SmartPoints®: 250 ml (1 cup / 8 oz ): 1 point; 500 ml ( 1 US pint / 2 cups/ 16 oz): 1 point.
* Nutrition info provided by MyFitnessPal.
* PointsPlus™ and SmartPoints™ calculated by healthycanning.com. Not endorsed by Weight Watchers® International, Inc, which is the owner of the PointsPlus® and SmartPoints® registered trademarks.
Pazzaglia, Laura. Hip Pressure Cooking. New York: St Martin’s Griffin. 2014. Page 12. ↩