Joyous Blog

Simple Chicken Bone Broth

Feb 29, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy

I love using my oven in the winter to roast just about anything. About two times per month we roast an organic chicken and then I use the carcass to make stock/broth for soups. I've done this for as long as I can remember and learned it from Ma McCarthy. But years ago, I never knew what a healing superfood I was making until I became a nutritionist. I'm so excited to share this information with you!

Bone broth has many benefits including: 

  • Wonderful source of very easy-to-digest minerals including calcium, magnesium, potassium, and phosphorus
  • Fantastic source of amino acids. If your broth congeals when it's refrigerated you know you've got lots of gelatin which contains amino acids essential for healthy bones and connective tissue like tendons and ligaments. 
  • Incredible for the building and the healing of the digestive system. Bone broth helps reduce allergies by aiding in the integrity of the gut lining
  • Immune boosting and anti-inflammatory making it very healing for autoimmune diseases such as arthritis, crohn's and colitis 

Now that sweet Vienna is ready for eating and drinking more than just breast milk I was super excited to introduce her to bone broth. Guess what? She LOVED it! She's had avocado, sweet potato, applesauce and banana and the bone broth was by far her favourite. Next up she will have some egg yolks -- I'm not going to introduce the white until much later.

She's having about 2 tbsp per day of the broth because breast milk is still the main source of her nutrition. Solids and broth will only be complementary to breast milk for a few more months as I don't want to "wean" her for a while yet. As you can see in this photo, we spilled quite a bit of the broth.. ugh! It's like liquid gold that stuff.

From joint health, to reducing heartburn, skin, hair, nails and bone health — bone broth is a mighty powerful superfood for babies and adults alike.

I strongly recommend you use certified organic chicken or from a local farmer who you are familiar with their farming practices to get the most nutritious bone broth possible.

Here’s my recipe for bone broth, it is incredibly flavourful, nourishing and delicious:


  • 1 organic chicken carcass
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic carrots
  • 1/2 cup chopped organic celery
  • 1-2 tbsp raw unpasteurized apple cider vinegar
  • Filtered water, enough to cover ingredients
  1. Place carcass and vegetables in a large soup pot on stove top. Pour enough water to just cover ingredients.
  2. Bring to a soft boil and reduce to a simmer for 12 to 24 hours.
  3. Strain solid contents from broth. Refrigerate for up to a week or freeze for longer.
  4. Mine reduced down to about 3 cups of broth but I didn't have a large carcass to begin with.


Some more notes about this bone broth: 

  • In case you’re wondering, the apple cider vinegar (acv) helps draw out the minerals from the bone matrix. Don’t worry, it won’t make your broth taste like ACV!
  • The vegetables help to increase the mineral content as well.
  • As for skimming off the fat after refrigerating it.. I never do. This fat is essential for brain health, skin health and makes the broth super tasty so I just leave it.
  • Wondering why I didn’t add herbs or onions or garlic like I normally do? This is because I made this batch for Vienna and I’m not introducing those foods just yet. That’s why I called it “Simple Chicken Bone Broth”. Even though I didn’t add these ingredients it was still incredibly flavourful.

Want to learn more? These fantastic article from Paleo Leap and Wellness Mama goes over these benefits in much more detail.

I put it in ice cubes for the bean so that I can give her one per day. I've got about one month worth of it!

I hope you love this healing recipe as a base for all your favourite soups or just to sip on a cold winter's day.

Feb 29, 2016 BY Joy McCarthy
Jeremy Potvin   •   March 1, 2016

This is great. I like to roast the bones a little before I throw them in the pot. Adds a different flavour and renders off some of the fat that can end up as a brown foam. I'm with you though - post freezing, leave that fat on the top and use it :)

Joy McCarthy   •   March 1, 2016

Sounds awesome!

Irina   •   March 3, 2016

Wow, never seen a recipe for brith to simmer for so long! I guess you extract more nutrients this way?


Frances   •   March 3, 2016

I am vegan so, I cannot promote this recipe. Organic or no organic, go & check out where this animal lives. Otherwise, you come up with a lot of good info.


Stacey   •   March 3, 2016

Great article, as always! I have made broth a number of times by placing all my ingredients into my slow cooker and setting it for 10hrs on low overnight, sometimes a second time for 8hrs on low after that. It comes out wonderfully and definitely is that lovely thick and gelatinous consistency when it's all done and cooled. Mmmmm!!


Laurie   •   March 3, 2016

Thanks Joy for everything you do, you have changed the way my family and I eat and live and I am so grateful. I have a baby a wee bit older than your sweet Vienna so I love the posts about baby nutrition. I have a quick question for you.. I see you freeze the broth, how do you defrost it? Or any other home made baby food for that matter? Microwave or other? Also, I just did your post natal meal plan about a month ago and loved it. Made me feel a ton better. I especially loved the salmon recipe. Thanks!

Kate McDonald Walker   •   March 4, 2016

Hi Laurie, We're not huge fans of microwaves over here at Joyous Health. When I defrost stuff, I just take it out of the freezer first thing in the morning and let it thaw on the counter. Hope this helps! Kate - Joyous Health Team

Brittney   •   March 7, 2016

Hello! I am very interested in making this bone broth for my baby girl.. I am just wondering about the first step in the process, cooking the chicken. What is the recipe that you used to roast the chicken? Did you use any spices/herbs to season it? Or was it just plain? Also, did you add the bone broth to anything before giving it to vienna, so it was thicker? Or did you just give it to her as a liquid on a spoon? Looking forward to hearing from you! It seems like a yummy recipe! Thanks!

Kate McDonald Walker   •   March 7, 2016

Hi Brittney, Joy just plain roasted the chicken first before using it for the bone broth. And then she just fed Vienna the bone broth as is once it was done. She loved it! Kate - Joyous Health Team

virginia   •   March 8, 2016

Hi , if you roast the chicken with a blend of spices but pull off all meat touching the spices to make the broth is that to risky for baby broth ? Thanks :)

Kate McDonald Walker   •   March 9, 2016

Hi Virginia, It would depend on the spices. And since they infuse into the chicken when cooking, it would be impossible for even the most diligent hand to avoid all the spices. Kate - Joyous Health Team

Marissa   •   March 19, 2016

Hi! I've tried making bone broth twice now, and once it's done & in the fridge for a while, mine is not gelatinous. Any suggestions on this? Does it have to be gelatinous in order for there to be plenty of nutrients? Thanks!

Heather Allen   •   March 21, 2016

Hi Marissa! There is still tons of wonderful nutrients in bone broth even if it doesn't gel in the fridge. It all depends on how much collagen was in the bones. Next time, try leaving a bit more of the connective tissue on the chicken before making the broth. That might help :) Enjoy! Heather- Joyous Health Team

Kaitlyn   •   April 18, 2016

Hi Joy! Have you found an efficient way to feed V the broth? I have been cooking carrots and sweet potato in the broth (crock pot) and then blending them for my 6mo baby. Do you think he's still getting the benefits of the stock by eating it this way? Or would the nutrients be cooked out of the veggies having them in the slow cooker for so many hours...making it counter productive..?? I just can't figure out how else to give it to him as it clogs his bottle!! Thank you!! :))

Joy McCarthy   •   April 19, 2016

I give it to her on a spoon or put some in her sippy cup -- which she is just learning to use. That's a great way to use the stock. As long as you are not tossing out the liquid from the crockpot then you are getting all the goodness because minerals will leach out of veggies and go into the water. Hope that helps!

Diane   •   August 31, 2016

Hi Joy! When is it okay to start giving the bone broth? I read in Sprout Right that meat shouldn't be given until later, like 8-9 months. Does the same advice apply for bone broth because of the enzymes?


Lucia   •   September 8, 2016

What are your thoughts about the bone broth protein powders that they are talking about now a days??

Heather Allen   •   September 8, 2016

Hey Lucia! They sure have gotten popular, but we've been too busy enjoying the real deal that we haven't tried any yet! Whole foods are always best, but depending on how the product is processed and the ingredients, it has potential to be a good product but it will really depend on the quality. I hope that helps! Heather- Joyous Health Team

Maryse   •   September 25, 2016

Hi Joy! Can't wait to make that for my babe! Can you share where you bought the ice cube tray in the picture above? They're so hard to find? It's vegetable silicon, right? Thanks!

Heather Allen   •   September 26, 2016

Hi Maryse! Joy found this one at HomeSense. You may also be able to get them on Happy hunting :) Heather- Joyous Health Team

Maryse   •   October 24, 2016

Hi Joy! So I forgot you had a baby version of your chicken broth and I made your regular recipe.....are you recommending to not feed it to my 6 months old yet? I did not think about the onions and garlic at all! I can always wait and make another batch for him but was so excited to made him try it! Also, I was thinking of giving him quinoa to try, what are your thoughts and recos on that front? When did you introduce it to Vienna? My lil guy will be 7 months in 2 weeks. Thanks! Maryse

Heather Allen   •   October 24, 2016

Hi Maryse! Thanks for reaching out. It really depends on how many foods you have introduced into his diet already. Has he had onions or garlic in other foods? If not, perhaps try introducing them one by one before trying the bone broth. I think quinoa would be a great introductory food for grains. Feel free to experiment with it at this age if you feel it's the right time. :) Heather- Joyous Health Team

Erin   •   November 4, 2016

I just cooked a whole chicken with organic garlic powder on the skin and lemon inside the carcas. It was then in the oven with rice and organic chicken broth(bouillon cube). I rinsed the carcas in the colander but wondering if you think I should avoid the bone broth with my daughter who is six months?

Heather Allen   •   November 4, 2016

Hi Erin. It really depends on how many (if any) foods you have introduced to her at this point but I think it would be just fine. You could start off giving her a few Tbsp every so often (like Joy did with Vienna) and see how she does. Also, check the ingredients on your bouillon cubes. Even the organic ones can have added gums, salt and thickeners that might be best for your little one to avoid, but I wouldn't be too worried about it especially since you rinsed off the carcass. I hope that helps! Heather- Joyous Health Team

Soleil   •   April 28, 2017

This is a good recipe, thanks for sharing it. Will try this one of these days. But since I'm always on the go, I drink Au Bon Broth and it's really good. I felt the changes in my health almost instantly.

Rachel Molenda   •   May 1, 2017

Hey Soleil, Yes, bone broth is mega healing! Let us know if you get a chance to try it :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Cameron   •   July 6, 2017

Thank you for sharing this. I'm surprised you're already introducing this to your baby already but it's healthy so I guess it's good. I'd like to make my own one someday but I'm just too busy. I'm drinking Au Bon Broth and I really love its taste.

Rachel Molenda   •   July 6, 2017

Hey Cameron, It's super nourishing and great to help build the integrity of their gut. It seems like it would take a while but once you pop it into the crock pot, its really not so bad :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Helen T.   •   September 1, 2017

Hi! I am pescetarian but have been wondering about chicken bone broth, since I have friends who also speak highly of it. Do you have a recipe for using fish bone? Or would I just substitute fish bone in this recipe (if I can get my hands on a really large fish carcass)?

Rachel Molenda   •   September 1, 2017

Hey Helen, Bone broth is super nourishing for the gut, but you won't find the collagen and gut healing supportive nutrients in fish bones. You could look into a vegetarian source of collagen though like WithinUs Trumarine Collagen, which is Joy's preferred source of vegetarian collagen :) Hope that helps! Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Shifana   •   November 10, 2017

Hello Joy 👋🏼 Shouldn’t we add salt ?

Rachel Molenda   •   November 10, 2017

Hey Shifana, Yes, you can definitely add 1 tbsp of real sea salt :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

Liz   •   November 14, 2017

Hello - I tried this recipe and the broth boiled down to almost nothing; it yielded approx. 1 cup (if even). Did I do something wrong? Maybe my temp was too high? I'd appreciate any insight! I'd definitely like to try this again.

Rachel Molenda   •   November 15, 2017

Hey Liz, It could have evaporated faster if your heat was too high or if you used more vegetables than the recipe called for which would've absorbed the water. Alternatively, you can now use it as a concentrate and water it down when you're using the broth :) Rachel - Joyous Health Team

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