There’s nothing complicated about making bone broth (aka stock), essentially just bones and water cooked long on the stove. But when it comes to how to make bone broth taste better, there are a few tips and tricks that can help. Whether you’re new to the idea or have been frustrated with your efforts, here’s what you’ll want to know.
1. Start with roasted bones.
Whether you’re talking about turkey bones, chicken bones, beef bones or venison bones, if you’re looking to add a little extra flavor to the broth, make sure they’re bones that have been roasted. This is easy if you plan to eat roasted meat as a meal anyway; simply cook the meat for your meal, enjoy it and then save the bones to use in stock–right away, the next day or frozen for the future. (Alternatively, you can roast the bones on their own, at 350F for an hour, simply for the purpose of making stock.) Roasted bones will create a broth that is not only darker in color, but also richer in taste.
Likewise, you can add any number of vegetables and aromatics to the pot to infuse your broth with more flavor. If you do, always remove these additions when they start to break down. This prevents their making the broth bitter.
Fun fact: you can actually reuse your bones again for more broth! If you’re looking to get the biggest bang for your buck, broth wise, you can also start another pot of broth after your first one–and keep doing so until those bones start to fall apart. According to Tamara Mannelly at Oh Lardy, “[B]eef bones can be used up to 12 times and chicken bones up to 3 times.” Keep in mind that the stock will likely become less rich and flavorful with successive batches.
2. Be patient (or use an Instapot?).
Generally speaking, the key to good bone broth is long, slow cooking. Once you’ve brought the bones and water to a boil, reduce it to a simmer and leave it be. All you need to do as it cooks is add water when the liquids reduce and, if desired, skim any scum that rises to the top.
Why would you skim the scum? If you’re only cooking roasted bones and water, you will have little scum; more, if other ingredients are involved. Whether or not to skim any that comes up is your choice, but The Weston A. Price Foundation recommends it because “one of the basic principles of the culinary art is that this effluvium should be carefully removed with a spoon. Otherwise the broth will be ruined by strange flavors. Besides, the stuff looks terrible. ‘Always Skim’ is the first commandment of good cooks.”
But what about a faster route, with an Instapot? At least two of you on Instagram testified to the wonder that is Instapot broth, which led me down a research rabbit hole that surprised me. Get this: making broth in a pressure cooker is faster, more convenient and, most interestingly, potentially better for your health (!!). According to HealingGourmet.com, using an Instapot to make your bone broth may mean superior nutrition retention and bioavailability, the reduction of health-harming compounds and easier digestibility. One reader said she’s found it to lower histamines that aggravate her health conditions. (What! If you didn’t think you wanted an Instapot before, this is a significant discovery. Read more about using this device in one week with an Instapot 6qt multicooker, and keep in mind this additional benefit. I may have just been swung over.)
3. Chill it after straining.
When bone broth is done cooking, you want to strain it to separate the liquids from the other ingredients. I use a strainer that fits a bowl, set it in the sink and pour from the hot pot with oven-mitted hands.
At this point, it’s ready to use or be poured into jars and refrigerated/frozen. However, many people will find the resulting bone broth greasy/oily from the fat content. So one way to remedy this is to chill it. The fat will rise to the surface, making it easy to remove.
Want an alternative to chilling? If you dislike the fatty flavor of bone broth but don’t want to wait for it to chill, try thinning it out. In your soup, use half bone broth and half water, for example. Doing so will often dilute the oily texture of the broth, while still giving you plenty of nutrients from the highly concentrated liquid.
If you’re one of the 60% of you polled on Instagram who’s already made bone broth at home, what other tips and tricks have you found to be helpful? Do you have any secrets for how to make bone broth taste better? I’d love to hear!
Meanwhile, I’m off to research Instapot deals.