Slow Cooker Chicken & Broth

Let’s kill two birds with one stone! I mean, cook two birds in one pot! You may only be able to cook one at a time, depending on your crock pot. I have a gigantic slow cooker, 7 quart, and can hold two nicely. This is the easiest thing you have ever done. Before the process let me tell you why!  First of all, I needed a way to cook chicken during the hot summer months without having my oven on for hours! Yes, I love a freshly roasted chicken as much as the next gal, but really? Not in the summer time…if ever! Second of all, store-bought rotisserie chickens have a ton of sodium.  This method allows me to control exactly what is or is not in my chicken. Third of all, I am able to cook a ton of chicken, freeze it, and defrost it on the day I need it for a ton of different recipes! Ok, here is the big bangin’ “fourth of all”, it allows me to conveniently make my “bone broth” (or chicken broth if you prefer) right there in the same pot. Only one dish to clean, only one full day of your house smelling like chicken!

COOKING THE CHICKEN:

That was the why, this is the how. 3 very easy steps:

  • First, you will need 2 Free Range Organic Roasting Chickens (Trader Joe’s has them for $2.49 a pound!). Please note, if you choose to not eat/buy organic food, you really should consider buying free range chickens. Too many reasons not to eat regular chickens to list. Remove the inner parts (set aside for bone broth or give to your dog!).
  • Second, pat dry and fit into crock pot.
  • Third, rub with salt, pepper, paprika, or any other seasonings you prefer. I usually do just s&p. Add water to fill the crock pot half full. Cover and turn on low. Cook for 8 hours. (Note: My crock pot seems to cook nicely at 7 hours, so check on yours between 6-8 hours depending on its power).

That’s it! Juicy and tender! Please note that one Chicken only takes about 5 hours in my crock pot. Times may vary depending on your cooker. If you look really closely in the next picture you can see that it made so much liquid while cooking. This is near the end of the process:

Take the lid off and let it cool for a bit (until you can touch it). Slip on some kitchen gloves and start taking that chicken off the bone! I end up with about 12 cups of cooked chicken. I put them in quart size freezer bag (4 cups at a time) and freeze until I need them (to keep them fresh but they do go fast!). As you are pulling the chicken off the bone, put the chicken in a separate dish and put the bones, skin, and anything else that falls off back in the crock pot (with the existing broth).

COOKING THE BONE BROTH:

Now you have a crock pot full of bones, broth, and skin. You can add the inner parts (optional) at this point. I also add the following:
  • a few carrots (I use organic so I just wash and toss. If you do not use organic than you may want to peel)
  • a whole onion (peel only the outer layer and cut into quarters)
  • two bay leaves
  • 2 celery stalks, washed and tossed in.
  • a few sprigs of thyme (or any other herbs your heart desires)
  • water to cover the mixture plus about 2 inches or more (I end up adding water to about the top)
  • Some Apple cider vinegar to help draw minerals out of bones (a few tablespoons, this is optional).
  • Cook on low for 12 hours (or overnight)! Please note this is a “taste thing”. You may like it cooked more or less. (The picture below is the stock before I cooked it and before I added the water. It looked so pretty I just had to take a pic).
Check that it is “done” but “mashing a bone”. Just pinch it with your finger. I do this to make sure I have ALL of the calcium and nutrients out of the bone! Run ingredients through a mesh strainer. I store mostly in a quart jar (the same size container you would buy in the store). I also store 1 quart as ice cubes so I can pick small amounts as needed without wasting the rest! Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag to keep from burning. This makes about 4 1/2 quarts of stock!
There you have it! For about $22.00 (cost of chickens – I am assuming you have everything else on hand) you have 3+ bags of chicken for meals plus 4+ quarts of stock. What a huge value for natural, organic, free range chicken and stock! However, you cannot put a price on homemade chicken stock…nothing beats it!
Notes:
  • If you don’t want to make bone broth now, take the bones and throw them in a freezer bag in the freezer. When it comes time to make them just add water (or you can freeze the broth as well).
  • I was using the fridge in the garage so I got to “utilize” my husbands workbench outside! If you know him you know how “special” that was

REVISION: Once frozen, scrape the fat off the top and store in the refrigerator for use (or keep frozen in the refrigerator for future use).  This is a VERY good fat for you (like bacon grease) and used in cooking vegetables will help your body absorb minerals. You need a diet high in fat, believe it or not! For more on this click here.

Recipe from Nikki
This recipe is linked to Real Food Wednesday and Pennywise Platter and Monday Mania

About Nikki

Comments

  1. millermilleu says:

    Lovely. I have never done the bone broth in the crock. After all these years, i let the house stink for 24 hours! And after who knows how many ice cube tray fulls of baby food i made, I never considered freezing chicken broth in the freezer trays. I have bag fulls of coffee ice cubes for all kinds of concoctions. I use chicken broth way more, too!

  2. Erin Stephens says:

    OK perfect home for our old laying hens! Great idea!

  3. This sounds awesome! Great one pot approach. Now a few good recipes for all that shredded chicken please:)

  4. This looks amazing. I will definitely give this a try! I subscribed to your blog and look forward to more!

  5. Heather :) :) :) says:

    I just saw this post, when I was commenting on a post you did more recently :) :) I’m eating a gluten free diet…and specifically am working with my naturopath, and starting the GAPS diet :) :) The first thing I have to make is chicken stock with all the bones, meat etc…because I need the broth and all the stuff you get from the bones. This is a really great tutorial. Thank you :) :) I didn’t even thnk to look at Trader Joe’s…I bought my organic chicken at Whole Foods…but we have two Trader Joe’s in the area, so I’m going to check it out ;) :) Have a great day. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

    • Heather please keep us posted with your progress! TJs is MUCH cheaper than WF!

      • Heather :) :) :) says:

        I made my first batch of chicken stock yesterday. I made it in the crock pot. Next time I’ll make it in the slow cooker, that way I can do whatever I need to do, and not worry about anything catching fire :) :) I did stop by Trader Joe’s today and picked up some organic, free range chicken. It’s only $2.49 a pound and such a deal :) :) Have a great day. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather ;)

  6. Heather :) :) :) says:

    OH, I forgot to add “THANKS” for making this printable in PDF format. I’m printing out this recipe right now :) :) I’ll file it away in my scrapbook :) :) Have a great day. Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)

  7. Tamacga16 says:

    i have only one question…you put the chicken broth in the freezer in the glass jars? I confused me a little

  8. Thank you so much for this! I buy whole chickens all the time and cook them in the crock pot. But I’ve always just thrown the bones away. I assumed making my own broth would be too complicated, but I always have everything else listed to make this. So next week I will be making my own chicken broth! Who would have thought?

    • Awesome! I Love having mine! Even if I am lazy (ahem) and buy a rotisserie chicken. I save the bones and skin and make it then too!

  9. Hi: I’m new to your blog and loved this recipe. I love the bone-in advice. Thanks!
    I’ve tried to freeze my broth in glass jars before only to find them a few days later frozen AND broken. I lost 8 quarts of chicken broth.
    Any advice on how to freeze in jars vs. plastic bags? My broth had cooled and I did leave some head-space before putting on the lids. We’d rather use glass vs. plastic.

    • I have had them break before. Cool completely and then leave about 2 inches (minimum) of space for growth on a quart sized jar. I would leave the top 1/4-1/8 open as a good rule of thumb. Welcome!!

  10. Yolanda says:

    I am doing this today! A friend needed help with slaughtering her chickens and I came home with 3 huge chickens, all of the livers, necks and feet and half the gizzards! Not bad for a few hours work and lots of fun conversation. Thank you for posting this method. I’ve got one of them in the crock pot and the necks and feet (parboiled and toes cut off as well as the dirty looking feet pads) in a pot on the stove. YES. :) One will go into the freezer and the third will get fried for supper.

  11. Hi Nikki,
    This looks like a great recipe. My Dad is battling cancer and I thought real homemade chicken soup might be a nice thing to make for him. But this recipe is just for the chicken broth, right? Do you have a recipe for chicken soup that you like? Also, could you tell me how big your crockpot is?

    Thanks!

    • My crock pot is a 7 quart (it is a really big kitchen aid). I love it!! THis is the healthiest best chicken stock you can make. Here is what I do for chicken noodle (or rice) soup: Once chicken is cooked through, removed and debone, as per the original instructions. Strain the broth that is in the crock pot, reserving into a bowl. Return to the crock pot, add 2 cups of the chicken (diced or shredded, your preference!) plus salt and pepper to taste. You can add fresh celery, carrots and parsley if you want. If you do, let them cook on high for about 30 minutes to an hour (until they are your desired doneness). Then add your rice or noodles. Cook on high for 30 minutes more (maybe longer for brown rice?) and then you are done! Meanwhile you can finish storing the rest of the chicken. When you are done with the soup and have it stored, put all of the bones back in the crock pot, add water and remaining ingredients for the bone broth. Yum! I am so sorry he is battling cancer :(

  12. This may be a goofy question to ask but why do you put all of the veggies etc in the crockpot when making the broth? I thought chicken broth was supposed to be plain. Is this broth supposed to be used for a specific recipe or do you just like flavored up broth? I am new at this and have no idea what I’m doing… Haha Thank you!

    • This is the standard way. It is still plain tasting. The vitamins and minerals in the veggies work together with the bones and make a healthy broth. If you didn’t have the veggies it would taste so blah!

  13. I was wondering whether you sealed those quart Kerr jars with the stock inside or not? Did you keep them in your freezer, fridge or cupboard (if sealed)? I’m new at all this and I have all my ingredients now to get started! Sorry if I missed this somewhere if already mentioned.

    • I did not can them. I stored in the freezer. To can, you would need to use a pressure canner, sanitized jars, and follow specific canning instructions.

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