Basic Chicken Broth

This image courtesy of Joseph DeLeo

This broth is delicious with vegetables or noodles, or as the base for other soups. If you prefer a lighter flavor for vegetable-based soups, add more water to taste.

NotesFor variety, try various root vegetables, in addition to carrots and parsnips, to flavor the soup. For a sweeter soup, add half of a red garnet sweet potato or yam.

Makes8 to 10 Cups



Total Timeunder 4 hours

Make Ahead RecipeYes

Dietary Considerationegg-free, gluten-free, lactose-free, peanut free, soy free, tree nut free

Taste and Textureherby, savory

Type of Dishstock


  • 1 large stewing chicken or small roaster (about 4 pounds), quartered
  • 1½ pounds chicken parts, such as backbones, wings, giblets, and feet
  • 2½-3 quarts cold water
  • 6 whole cloves
  • 1 large onion, peeled
  • 2 large carrots, peeled and halved
  • 2 celery stalks, trimmed, leaving some leaves
  • 1 large parsnip, peeled and halved
  • 2 teaspoons black peppercorns
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 3 large sprigs fresh parsley
  • Salt to taste
  • Snipped fresh dill and parsley leaves


  1. Wash all the chicken under cold water. Place in a large, heavy, deep soup pot that’s not too wide, and cover with water (8 to 10 cups). Bring to a boil, lower heat, and simmer, uncovered, skimming the scum as it rises to the top. Continue simmering and skimming 30 to 45 minutes or until the broth is clear. Add 2 cups of cold water to bring additional scum to the surface and skim again until clear.

  2. While the broth simmers, press the cloves into the onion. Add the onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, peppercorns, bay leaves, parsley sprigs, and salt to taste to the pot and simmer, partially covered, for 1½ hours.

  3. Off the heat, let the broth cool slightly, then remove the chicken and vegetables, reserving them if you wish. Line a large strainer or colander with cheesecloth and strain the broth into a large bowl. Skim as much fat as possible off the surface with a degreaser cup, gravy strainer, or large spoon, or for use the following day, chill the broth overnight, and remove the congealed fat before reheating.

  4. To serve, reheat the soup to simmering. Adjust salt to taste. Ladle into bowls and sprinkle with dill and parsley.

  5. The broth can also be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or frozen in 1- or 2-cup containers.

  6. Variations:

    ORIENTAL CHICKEN BROTH Replace the cloves, onion, carrots, celery, parsnip, bay leaves, parsley, and dill with one 3-inch piece of gingerroot that has been peeled and cut into 4 pieces, 2 scallions, 4 garlic cloves, and 1 teaspoon of Szechuan or black peppercorns.

    ROASTED CHICKEN BROTH Replace the raw chicken with the bones of two roasted chickens, but use the same vegetables and seasonings as in Basic Chicken Broth. Simmer, partially covered, for 2 hours.


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