I’ve dedicated this month to learning all about the Instant Pot, and after the Instant Pot whole chicken, Instant Pot brown rice and Instant Pot beans, think I’ve found my new favorite recipe: Instant Pot chicken stock!
In fact, this post is part of my Instant Pot Basics Series. It goes hand-in-hand with my 31 day challenge. Learn more about it HERE.
I used to make slow cooker chicken stock, but it takes a full 24 hours to make one batch. If you only have a slow cooker, then this isn’t a bad way to make chicken stock at all. I’ve been doing that for YEARS and I’ve gotten along just fine.
But I LOVE the fact that I can make chicken stock in under an hour (including coming to pressure, cooking and pressure release). This means that I can make a triple batch of Instant Pot chicken stock BEFORE LUNCH!!
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Stock
The only ingredient you MUST have to make Instant Pot chicken stock are chicken bones.
A lot of people add carrots, celery, onions and garlic… even herbs to enhance the flavor. I’ll jump on board with that and say that chicken stock made with these aromatics is truly delicious, but they’re not required and I certainly wouldn’t suggest you waste carrot and celery on chicken stock if it’s the end of the month and you’re down to just a few grocery dollars left.
However, you can save money by saving the ends and peels of these specifically for stock. I keep a plastic bag in my freezer just for these things. It lets me add amazing flavor to my chicken stock without wasting a single penny.
When I started to write this post though, I didn’t have any chicken bones or scraps in the freezer. I had literally made stock just a few days before and used it all up!
I put two oranges cut in half at the bottom, all the cloves from a head of garlic, and fresh herbs that I got marked down at Kroger (a poultry blend of sage, thyme and rosemary) on top of the chicken. You guys – the smell from this chicken was out of this world!! I don’t think I’ve ever been so excited to have salad for dinner, LOL!
As soon as the chicken was cool, I picked all the meat off and put the bones right back into the pot. That’s exactly what you see in these photos. Other than taking the oranges out, everything is the same.
- I’m re-using the garlic.
- Re-using the herbs.
- Re-using the chicken bones and skin (plus the innards that I set aside before cooking the whole chicken).
- I’m even re-using the juices that came out of the chicken when I first cooked it!
What I’m adding to the leftover chicken bones, is three carrots, one onion and the light green inner portion of a head of celery (about three ribs worth, plus the leaves).
Again, you don’t HAVE to add these aromatics. They’re entirely optional and ONLY if you have room in your budget or leftovers ends in the freezer.
How to Get More Chicken Bones for Instant Pot Chicken Stock
I don’t make Instant Pot whole chicken every week, but we do eat chicken and we keep ALL of the chicken bones. It doesn’t matter how the chicken was cooked, we keep the bones. We even keep the bones leftover from dinner plates!
Every single chicken bone goes into gallon plastic bag labeled “chicken stock” that I keep in the freezer. When the bag is full, that’s my sign to make chicken stock.
How Many Times Can You Reuse the Bones?
Did you know that you can re-use the bones to make even more chicken stock?
You can! In fact, when I make Instant Pot chicken stock, I make a triple batch. I buy organic chicken from the grocery store and have learned that I can get about three rounds of stock before my bones turn to mush.
Every bird is different though, so you’ll have to play with it to see how many batches of stock you can get.
For example, I made stock for my sister-in-law and was only able to get two solid batches of stock. She buys her chicken from a local (to her) Amish farm and after two rounds, there were literally no bones left!
My Instant Pot Chicken Stock Routine
After I make my first batch of Instant Pot chicken stock, I put my colander on top of a really big stock pot (I have this one) and dump everything that’s in the Instant Pot into the colander and let the stock drain through.
Then I dump what’s in the colander right back into the Instant Pot, add water to the max fill in, a splash of apple cider vinegar and I hit “soup” to make another batch.
I repeat this twice, for a total of three batches of stock. Then I toss the bones and vegetables into the trash. You can definitely feed them to chickens or compost them if you’d like! I don’t have chickens or a compost pile (yet!).
I let the chicken stock cool overnight, and then portion it into freezer-safe containers. One of my goals for this year is to not use as many plastic bags, so I started re-using yogurt containers for stock instead.
I use a fine mesh strainer to catch any solid remnants as I ladle stock into a large measuring glass. Then I pour the stock into the yogurt containers.
You don’t HAVE to use a measuring glass, but I like to know how much stock I froze in each container so I know I’m using the right amount for recipes.
For example, I know that if the container is capable of holding at least 32 ounces, then there’s 32 ounces (one quart) of chicken stock inside.
Whew – I know that’s a lot of information considering I haven’t shared the recipe yet, BUT I think it’s equally important to know how to make great changes work in the long term. Sure you can make chicken stock once, but it’s one of the BEST ways to save money on real food – why not do it all the time?
That’s why I share these tips – so you can see how someone else does it, does it consistently, and makes it work within a busy schedule.
This post is part of my Instant Pot Basics Series. It goes hand-in-hand with my 31 day challenge. Learn more about it HERE.
- chicken bones (from one whole chicken, or saved bones)
- 2 Tbsp apple cider vinegar
- aromatics, if desired (onion, celery, carrots, etc., can be whole or scraps/peels)
- water to fill the Instant Pot to the max line
- Place all the ingredients in the Instant Pot and fill with water to the max line.
- Turn the pressure valve to "sealing" and press the "soup/broth" button. If you don't have that button, you can press the "manual" or "pressure cook" button so your pot is on medium pressure.
- Use the "-" and "+" buttons to adjust the timer to cook for 30 minutes.
- When the timer has gone off, use natural pressure release (i.e. do nothing) to let the pressure come down on its own. If you are in a rush, you can use the quick release pressure method, but be careful when turning the valve from "sealing" to "venting" so that your hands and face are NOT over the holds of the vent.
- When the pot is finished venting and the float valve has come down, pour the contents of the Instant Pot through a colander into a large pot.
- Freeze or can the chicken stock if you are not using right away. If you still have bones, repeat this process as desired.