What is Bone Broth and How to Make It

Bone broth is an ancient miracle elixir that is making a comeback. Here is an explanation of what it is and how to make it.

Bone broth

A few weeks ago we wrote about becoming an environmentally friendly shopper. We ended up trying out this amazing bone broth from Kettle & Fire because it was packaged with Tetra Pak.

My first thought was this stuff tasted amazing! I was interested in why it tasted so good and the package talked about how good it is for you.

That got me wondering: What is bone broth? And how the heck do you make bone broth?

In doing my research, I realized how magical bone broth is. I knew it was something we had to make. Let’s start with what is it before we get into how to make it.

What is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is simply a liquid obtained from boiling bones from chicken, turkey, pork, beef, or fish in water over an extended time. It can have vegetables and herbs in addition to bones but they aren’t required.

Bone broth differs from broth and stock in its preparation. Bone Broth is simmered between 24 and 48 hours. Bones are naturally high in phosphorus, magnesium, and calcium. The process of making bone broth extracts the maximum nutrition while enhancing the flavor.

bone broth

Stock vs. Broth vs. Bone Broth

I hear a lot about making your own stock or broth. And then of course there is this new magic elixir – bone broth. You can make broth from meats, bones, vegetables, or any combination of all of the above.

It can get a little confusing and many of the terms are used interchangeably. Let’s break down what they mean and how each type of liquid is prepared. Before we start,  be aware that there is no standard definition as to what is called stock and what’s called broth. Recipes may call for stock or broth. In those cases, you can use the terms interchangeably. If a recipe calls for stock, broth is fine and vice versa. If you’re making it at home, you can make true stock or broth.

Stock vs Broth

Let’s talk about vegetables. Vegetable broth and stock are the same thing. The difference between stock and broth has to do with meat and bones. Since neither are found in vegetable broth or stock, they are the same thing.

To make vegetable broth, you simmer a variety of vegetables in a large pot of water.  Use what you have in the house. Even vegetable scraps that you might compost will work. Simmer them in water for 1-2 hours or until your broth has a good flavor. Strain the liquid and you’re good to go.

Now let’s talk meat and bones. We’re talking stock, broth and bone broth here. They can be made from chicken, turkey, beef, pork, or fish. You can use multiple kinds in a batch but most people stick to one type of meat.

Broth is a light liquid. To make it you simmer bits of meat and sometimes bone along with some vegetables and herbs in water. Broth is simmered for 1-2 hours and the finished liquid will remain liquid when cooled.

Stock includes a lot more bone and cooks for at least a few hours.  The longer cook time allows things like cartilage and fat to dissolve into the broth. This results in a lot more flavor than a simple broth. It also tends to firm up as the fat will congeal once the stock cools.. Broth is a lighter liquid while stock has more body and more nutrients.

Bone Broth

Bone broth is a specialty stock. It is made mainly from bones without much meat left on them and vegetables are optional. It is a stock that is cooked for a very long time. This long cook time releases some really good things. We’re talking about phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, glycine, glucosamine, collagen, and gelatin. Good bone broth cooks for at least 24 hours. Apple cider vinegar is almost always added as this helps release the vitamins and minerals.

How to Make Bone Broth

Basic bone broth is pretty easy. All you need is some marrow bones (beef, chicken, pork, ect), apple cider vinegar, water, salt, and veggies if you would like.

Before you begin, be sure to blanch your bones in a pot of boiling water for 20-30 minutes to remove any impurities. Next you need to roast your bones.

Always make sure you roast your bones at 400 degrees for 30 minutes before adding to the pot. The roasting process enhances the flavor. Unroasted bones can lead to a bone broth that has a very off putting flavor.

Put your roasted bones in a pot and add just enough water to cover the bones. Any more water than that and you risk a watered down product. You want your bone broth as concentrated and flavorful as possible.

Add remaining ingredients into the pot. Let it sit for 1-2 hours to let the apple cider vinegar leech the nutients out of the bones, bring the mixture to a boil, and lower to a simmer for 24-48 hours.

Strain the bone broth to leave only liquid. One healthy byproduct of bone broth is gellatin. If you made your bone broth right, your broth will congeal when it is cooled down.

When making a small batch of broth, an Instant Pot is a great option to use. If you’re making a very large batch, this Amazon best selling stainless steel stockpot is a great option. You’re getting a great deal if you see it for less than $40!bone broth

Beef Bone Broth Recipe

Basic Beef Bone Broth Recipe
Prep Time
15 mins
Cook Time
1 d
Total Time
1 d 15 mins
  • 4 pounds Beef bones cut in half
  • 1 Large Onion - Sliced
  • 4 Cloves Garlic - Halved
  • 1 Tbls Apple Cider Vinegar
  • Water to Cover Bones
  1. Blanch bones by boiling in water for 20-30 minutes.

  2. Roast Bones for 30 minutes at 400 degrees.

  3. Place bones, garlic, and apple cider vinegar in large stockpot. Add enough water to cover bone.

  4. Bring to a boil. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 24-48 hours.

  5. Strain liquid into a shallow dish with ice to cool down quickly.

  6. Store in the fridge for up to 7 days or freeze for long term storage.

Bone Broth Safety Tips

Bone broth needs to be simmered for a long time, often overnight. Be sure you’re home while it is cooking. You don’t want to have an issue in your kitchen while you’re away. If you don’t feel comfortable having it simmer overnight, you should cool it down then store in the fridge overnight to simmer it more the next day.

Speaking of cooling down your broth, you want to cool it down quickly in order to avoid bacterial growth. Put your bone broth in a shallow dish to help dissapate the heat more quickly. You can also add some ice cubes to cool it down even faster. If you didn’t put too much water in your pot early in the process, the ice shouldn’t water down your bone.

Never put hot broth in the fridge. This will significantly raise the temperature of your fridge and encourage bacterial growth in your bone broth as well as everything else in your fridge. I once put hot left overs in the fridge next to the milk. A few days later I had a very gross surprise when drinking that milk.

Final Thoughts

Bone broth is a tasty, nutricious addition to your daily diet. If you have the time available to make it at home, your wallet and palate will thank you. If you don’t have the time or just want to try it, I highly suggest checking out the Kettle & Fire Bone Broth.

Have you tried bone broth? Next week I’ll be sharing the health benefits of bone broth!


bone broth

bone broth

bone broth