How to Make Stock from Chicken Feet

Make delicious soup with stock from chicken feet! The rich gelatin of the feet create a rich and nutritious stock.

  • Yield: Makes approximately 2 quarts


  • 2 pounds of chicken feet
  • 2 large carrots, cut in half
  • 1 onion, cut into wedges
  • 2 celery ribs, cut in half
  • 1 bunch of fresh thyme
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 10 peppercorns


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1 Bring 2 quarts of water to a boil. Put the chicken feet into a large stock pot and cover with boiling water. Boil for 5 minutes. Use a large metal spoon to skim and discard the scum that rises to the surface.

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2 Drain the chicken feet completely. Rinse with cold water so that the feet are cool enough to handle. Using a sharp knife, chop off the tips of the claws and discard. They should cut easily if you cut them through the joint. If any rough patches of claw pad remain, cut them away with a paring knife.


3 Place chicken feet in a clean large stockpot. Fill with cold water to cover the feet by an inch. Add carrots, onions, celery, thyme, bay leaf, and peppercorns. Bring to a simmer, immediately reduce the temperature to low. Partially cover, leave about a half inch crack or so, and keep the stock cooking at a bare simmer, for 4 hours. Occasionally skim any foam that may come to the surface.



4 Uncover, increase the heat slightly to maintain a low simmer with the pot now uncovered. Continue to cook for an hour or two. At this point you are reducing the stock so that it is easier to store. Strain the stock through several layers of cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer (ideally both) into a pot. Pour into quart-sized jars. Let cool for an hour or so before storing in the refrigerator.


When your stock has cooled, it should firm up nicely into a gel.

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  • Julie

    Can you re-use use the chicken feet more than once? How would you store them till the next use? Thank you!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Julie, good question! I’m guessing that after several hours of cooking, you’ve taken most of what you can get out of those feet. That said, it’s worth an experiment. Just pat dry the feet and freeze them to store. Try cooking them on their own later to see if you can get any more goodness out of them. If so, great!

  • MSG Man

    Just in case people read Phillip’s comment regarding MSG:

    MSG is a naturally occurring substance present in almost every protein source, which is why the human tongue has evolved to like the taste of it. Regarding some people’s “sensitivity” to MSG – don’t jump to conclusions and attack the first acronym you see. Any number of trace ingredients could be the underlying cause.

  • Teri

    I LOVE chicken feet to make stock! For the first time ever, I am using 2 pounds of chicken feet with salt, pepper, fresh thyme and bay leaves only, along w/ a splash of ACV- no vegetables…..It smells and tastes really chickeny- I plan on simmering on low for 12 hours. It has been simmering for 4 hours at this point. I will pressure can the stock into 7-8 quarts of stock.

  • Arlene Zsilka

    I’ve never clipped the toenails before, but I believe it did make the soup more gelatinous. I’ve seen recipes that only boil one time for 1 hour. Longer is better. I made chicken foot soup once for a sick friend. She said it was the best soup she’d ever had, and could I give her the recipe. “Sure – as soon as you’re up and around.” She might not have held it down if she knew it had feet in it.

  • Phoebe Scarborough

    I have to admit – clipping those toenails made me cringe a bit – and I generally have no problems handling raw chicken. That said, the end result was fantastic! I’ve got yummy soup in my tummy, and 2 lovely containers of stock in my freezer. Yay! Thanks Elise!

    • Elise

      I’m so glad you like the soup Phoebe! The whole process is rather cringe-worthy, but the result truly is amazing.

  • Richard

    I made this stock, and added turmeric. It is great! Chicken feet rule, no more box stock for me or my family.

  • pam

    i have been making chicken stock by feet for years. i do boil them first then drain.
    but didn’t know you’re supposed to cut off the tips.

    (yes, it is very gelationous & also has a lot less scum to filter too)

  • Cindy

    So many comments, I couldn’t read them all! You don’t mention using any vinegar. I’ve been reading about feet both chicken and beef for making healthy bone broth and finally were able to buy some at our local farm and market. All the meats are local and free of hormones or other concerns. But even the butcher and the cashier were surprised I bought several pounds of each. The recipes I’ve found mentioned adding 2 TBSP of Apple Cider Vinegar for each gallon of water (for chicken and 1/4 cup for beef) when cold and letting it sit for about an hour before adding heat. None of the recipes called for pre cooking the feet or removing the claws. As I was repacking the feet I bought fresh yesterday (into small amounts so I could freeze them), I gave one to my dog and thought of all the health benefits for her with her joint issues. The recipes all said to cook the chicken broth up to 36 hours and the beef for up to 48. Preferrably in a crockpot so as to maintain the heat and levels. They also said to use all the bones at least twice and the beef up to 12 times. As long as you can still get the geletin you’re looking for!

  • Stringtoss

    Ugh why did I listen to my family? They kept telling me it wasn’t simmering, and even explained to me, a cook of 10 years, what a simmer was. I said that it was supposed to barely simmer, but to appease them I turned it up to a simmer… now I ended up with 2 cups of broth instead of 2 quarts… I wish they’d just trust me and I wish I’d stop listening to everyone else when I’m cooking…

    But for what it’s worth, it tastes amazing. A place I go to sells a HUGE package of chicken feet and I think I might buy it just for this purpose. Thanks so much for this. I really appreciate people sharing amazing recipes like this, especially ones I wouldn’t try. I can’t wait to get more, and this time, I’ll cook it the way it’s supposed to be done

  • Mary

    I am thinking of throwing the remains of a 20 hour slow cook chicken feet stock into a bullet and feeding the bone smoothie to my dog in small amnts. What do you think?

  • Barb

    I bought my first batch of feet locally at the Hispanic market. They come cleaned but skin on and toe nails intact. I just plopped them into the stock pot as is, but was checking to see if I should be doing something else first. Let me tell you, I won’t be, the stock was perfect, gelatinous and delish. I discovered the feet about the same time I bought a Sous Vide machine, this is the best invention ever for making stock! Right after feet, of course, or as they’re labeled at the market, ‘paws’. You can set the temp, set the time for days, and not bother to check it until it’s done. I’ve been making stock for 30 years, but this stuff, with the feet, is the best ever.

  • Carmen

    Hello this is my first time making chicken broth with chicken feet. I’m trying not to freak out. I put them in a vitaclay for 4 hrs but I didn’t cut the nails off and I blended the garlic ,onions, celery, carrots to a liquid will these affect the gel like outcome?

    • Elise

      There is so much gelatin in chicken feet I think you can do anything to them and you’ll still have a lot of gel.

  • Maggie

    Actually Whole Foods DOES carry Chicken feet but its seasonal. I called today and they are almost out but are saving them for me (I’m in So. Cal). They told me its just a seasonal thing. Once the Holidays are over they won’t have them… Great recipe here- can’t wait to try it!

  • Sally

    I went to whole foods to purchase some organic chicken feet and heads, they didn’t have them and the folks working behind the butcher counter looked at me like I was from mars!!!!

    • Elise

      Yeah, WF doesn’t carry chicken feet. And heads? No way. I would seek out a local Asian market. Good luck!

  • Pura Vida

    What other recipes can I use the chicken feet stock ? Other that soups and stews.

    • BlackBird

      Stock is stock, anything you’d use stock in. Cooking rice or pasta comes to mind.

  • diana

    OMG this is so awesome! My mom used to make chicken soup using feet, necks, wing tips etc back in India. I’m married to a non-Indian and the thought of throwing an entire chicken into a pot to make soup was a real shock to me! You can feed a family of 10 for a week on that!! Well, maybe I’m exaggerating :)
    Anyway, thank you for posting this. I have never made chicken feet in the US and once had a very sweet friend tell me how she almost threw up when she saw them in the chinese food market in our neighborhood. Sigh!
    In India we used to turn the chicken feet in an open flame to be able to peel off the hard yellow skin. Once you did that and chopped off the nails (I think that was because they stayed really sharp no matter how much you cooked them!) they were ready for the pot. so that would save the step of boiling them first.

  • Donna Straub

    My mother did not use chicken feet, I found a recipe years ago and started adding them to my soup, best stock ever. Whole Foods AKA whole paycheck carries them.

  • Cher

    I plan on canning my broth instead of freezing it. I should be able to do that the same way as I do the regular chicken stock right?

    Chicken feet stock is still chicken stock, just with more gelatin. As long as you are pressure canning, you should be fine. ~Elise

  • Allen Bennett

    Two more questions, and I will (try and) promise not to bug you again. How much salt (unrefined salt, so I’m not worried about its raising my blood pressure)? Also, how much broth do I use (in addition to the amount of broth called for, if any) when the recipe says to add a bullion cube? And should the substitution be warmed to melt the gelatin? Oops–that was three questions!!!

    Hello Allen, if a recipe calls for chicken stock, just add the chicken stock. Add salt to taste to whatever it is you are making. No idea on the bullion cube question. As for warming the stock before using it in a recipe, there is no need to do that. ~Elise

  • Allen Bennett

    My broth (made in a slow cooker, for 14 hours on low) gels quite well, but is totally tasteless. Is it supposed to be?

    Yes, unless you season stock with salt, it won’t taste like much. Stock is meant to be a base for soups, not to be eaten plain. However, if you just add some seasonings to it, including plenty of salt, it will be lovely. ~Elise

    • Barb

      Stock has a lot of benefits as a health tonic, though. Add some salt and pepper, heat it up, and drink a mug in the morning instead of coffee. Protein, collogen for your joints, and filling.

    • Cindy

      I like to add some veggies and Italian seasonings for extra nutrition and flavor. You can also thicken it a bit with flour (kind of like left over chicken and dumplings broth is more like gravy).

  • Allen Bennett

    Boy, those chickens have some TOUGH feet, especially for this 64-year-young man with mild cerebral palsy!!! I have a chefs knife, and it’s still difficult for me. Can you recommend a kitchen shears (or some other tool) on Amazon that may be good for me to use?

    Kitchen sheers should do the trick. But you can also skip the cutting off the tips if you want. It’s only to help the collagen come out into the soup more easily. ~Elise

  • Cat

    Wow, yeah my first reaction to this is “yuck”. I’ve processed my own backyard chickens and always thrown away (composted) the feet. My dad said dogs love them and I’ve heard that Asians enjoy fried feet. I wonder if the first part is necessary if the chicken is properly scalded? It seems like it would accomplish the same purpose of cleaning the feet. Thanks for the recipe. I’m currently away from home at college but I miss being able to make my own food. I’m trying to scheme up a plan to raise chickens this summer. I’m looking forward to trying this out next time I have some chickens to process.

  • Samantha

    I just saw chicken feet in the store for the first time and they had it labeled at chicken paws. ‘> What is the shelf life of the broth in the fridge and the freezer?


    Same as any chicken stock. Up to two weeks in the fridge, and several months in the freezer. Note that if you reboil the stock for 10 minutes, once a week, it will last longer in the fridge. ~Elise

  • old.frt

    Just bought 2.5 lbs of duck feet.
    Looking for ways to bone them out, I stumbled on this blog.

    Elise, you are doing a good deed by introducing a basic recipe upon which all of us can take a whack.

    Braised chicken feet for dim sum, red braised feet with black mushroom, you name it, these are flavors and umami which just doesn’t quit.

    BTW–I should have bought the boneless edition of duck feet (AKA duck webs).
    Apparently the cooking part is simple and straightforward, it’s the surgical procedure which is the tricky part!

    You might want to take a look at this recipe for dark duck broth that is on Hank’s site. ~Elise

  • Sara Clevering

    Wow! I didn’t know you could make it JUST from feet. I throw a foot or two in to my stock but I admit I had wondered when I was trying to whack a few feet off of my huge solid block of 10 frozen feet. Too bad I didn’t pick up more feet on my last trip out to get my chickens from the farmer, but I will remember this for next year!

  • Amy (Minimally Invasive)

    I picked up some chicken feet at the farmers’ market today and wanted to check on any extra steps that might be involved in making stock with them. Had an inkling I’d find the perfect recipe here and I’m making it now! So happy you like the nasty bits, too. :)

  • jacob

    This sounds very interesting, I definately will have to try it. Quick question first though: are you saying to use a whole bunch of thyme, like the bunch that you would buy in the store? That seems like a lot of thyme. I’ll be trying this either way. Thanks for the cool post.

    Yes, a bunch of thyme. I go outside and pick several large sprigs from the garden when I make this stock. ~Elise

  • Avi

    I finally added feet to my regular chicken stock. I normally just use backs, wing tips, etc since I buy whole chickens (sans feet) and cut them up at home. This time I saw the chicken feet in the store for just a dollar and thought why not? They really do make an extra delicious and jelly stock. I refrigerate stock overnight, skim the fat off, and freeze. Skimming fat off a pot of jelly was quite an experience, but it was so tasty I think I will be adding feet from now on.

  • jerry

    no salt at all ?

    No salt. You can add salt at the end if you wish, or just add it to any recipe that is using the stock. ~Elise

  • ANA


  • Crystal

    Hello, I was wondering how to use this stock in recipes when it calls for chicken stock. Sounds good and you can get the feet very cheap… thank you.

    Use this stock the way you would use any chicken stock. It is chicken stock, it’s just made from the feet which has more gelatin in it. As with other homemade chicken stock you might need to add some salt. ~Elise

  • mommymita

    Just made it but my kids want to eat the feet – I haven’t read anything about eating the feet here just sucking on them. Should I let them chew on them?

    In parts of Asia, chicken feet are a delicacy. You can order them here in Chinatown at a dim sum place. So yes, I don’t see any problem with kids chewing on them (cooked). ~Elise

  • Mike

    Thanks for this!

    When I was a kid my mom would make chicken soup using the feet and necks. I was thrilled to see one or two in in my bowl becuase I loved eating them.

    A lot of people wrinkle their noses if I ever bring it up like it’ll kill you but hey, I’m still around 50+ years later :).

  • julie

    Just wondering…how much chicken gel should you use when recipe calls for a cup of broth?

    It depends on how much you have concentrated the gel by boiling it down when you were making it. Do this, taste it, and see how concentrated it is. (It’s good!) We tend to concentrate our stock so I typically use 1/2 cup of gel and 1/2 cup of water to get a cup of stock for recipes. ~Elise

  • Angela

    Thanks. I live in Spain where chicken feet are readily available and I never knew what to do with them. I was browsing to find out how long proper chicken stock would keep in the ‘fridge.

  • Linda

    This is great!! I remember as a child looking in a bowl of food prepared by my grandmother and seeing chicken feet sticking out. I was totally grossed out! Now grown up,I went to a store recently in VA and saw chicken feet in the freezer area.It brought back the same memory. My children were grossed out and I explained to them the first time I saw them. I will definately try this recepie. I don’t think we will be sucking on them but I am looking forward to the broth.Now I understand what they were fore! Thank you so much.If you come up with anything else please post!

  • Larissa

    OMG, those pictures are HILARIOUS!!!!!….

  • baven

    Hi Elise,
    Great! In India everyone will cringe or condemn you if they hear about eating chicken trotters,you are condemned. I don’t know how glad I was seeing your article. I have tried soups and chewing on the feet.

    Question- I have parboiled the legs in boiling water in different ways and timings, but as you have said, I have tried to slide off the yellow skin, but it doesn’t come off at all. Could you give me the detailed way to tackle this problem.

    Hello Baven, most chicken feet around here are sold with the thin papery yellow skin already removed. However if you are dealing with a freshly killed chicken, then you have to parboil the whole bird to remove the feathers and the yellow skin over the feet. A couple dunks into almost simmering hot water, for 30 seconds at a time is what is needed to loosen the skin enough for the feathers to be easily plucked out and to remove the outer scaley skin of the feet. I suspect that if you are having a difficult time removing the skin, then the skin is probably already removed. I had a tough time figuring this out initially, as all of the old recipes called for removing the skin. What I didn’t understand was that by the time I got the chicken feet, that step had already been taken and what I was trying to remove was actually the skinlike flesh of the feet itself. Which is almost impossible, and unnecessary. ~Elise

  • PMH

    I’ve really loved Cook’s Illustrated chicken stock recipe – it’s quick, and good, but never “gelled.” So I took the Cook’s recipe, dropped it to 2 lbs of chicken legs, and added 1 lb of chicken feet. I boiled them (the feet) about 3 minutes, then rinsed, chopped the nails, and followed the Cook’s recipe sauteeing onions, then chicken legs (hacked to 2 inch pieces) and chicken feet in 2 batches, then simmered until juices released at about 25 minutes. I then covered with 2 quarts of boiling water, and simmered another 30 minutes. The result is fantastic, and far quicker than the 4 hours here. It’s gelled nicely, and has amazingly rich flavor.

  • Annie

    Am excited to have found your recipe; our farm source sells “chicken parts,” being 4 feet and 2 heads (not sure if they’re from the same chicken or not, lol!) and we just bought two packs. So I have 8 feet and 4 heads. Any thoughts on throwing the heads it? I do have a scale, I’m sure I don’t have 2 lbs of feet w/ only 8 feet. I liked someone’s post about being a nurse. I’m not a nurse, and can be easily grossed out! It will take a lot of mental effort to do this, but your post will help. Thanks!

    You can still make stock even with only 8 feet, you just won’t make as much. As for the heads, great question. I had a chicken soup the other day prepared by a Hmong woman in a traditional Hmong style specifically for women. The soup included the head and the feet (and the rest of the body) of a whole chicken. It was delicious. If not a bit disconcerting. So I would try it, heads and feet, and see how you like it the result. ~Elise

  • Anna

    I love to make broth with feet (pig feet, calf’s foot, or chicken feet). You’re right, adding feet makes for a better, more nutritious and flavorful broth that’s full of gelatin.

    I’ve got some chicken bone & feet broth going on the stove right now! I can’t believe how much culinary and nutrition wisdom has been lost since we started consuming “machine cuisine”. We might be living a long time thanks to modern medical technology, but we’re living sicker and weaker than ever.

  • Toni

    I was born in Romania and I remember my grandma making stock out of chicken feet. I was very little, and at the time a chicken foot was something I could actually hold in my hand and gnaw on. I was around 2-3 years old. I was too young to be grossed out or anything I just remember liking the flavor.

    A few years later we came the US, and we never had chicken feet again. Until I saw them at the local ethnic latino market, I asked my mom to buy some and make some broth.

    She did it similarly to you with the boil and the cleaning in the first 5 minutes.

    What she did differently though was she put them in the crock pot to boil slowly. The broth flavor was fabulous.

    I think cooks in Western culture let alot of good ingredients go to waste just because of custom.

  • Mary

    I made the stock, now what? Is it like regular stock, or do I dilute with water? By the way, it’s darkening in my fridge…is that normal?

    Hi Mary, depending on how much you concentrated the stock you may or may not need to dilute it. Taste it. If it tastes concentrated, add water until you get the dilution you want. If it is good to go as is, don’t add water. As for darkening in your fridge, I’ve never heard of stock doing that and don’t know what to tell you. My main advice with almost anything is if it smells off or tastes off, throw it out. ~Elise

  • Raymond

    What is the conversion ratio from gel to cups of stock/broth?

    Depends on how much you’ve cooked the stock down. Sometimes 1:1 gel to water to give you stock, sometimes less, sometimes more. Taste it and add water (or not) to preference. ~Elise

  • Sher

    Thanks for the recipe – I’ll be trying it this weekend. I normally make what we call bone broth from roast chicken carcasses, but decided I need more for the winter season. I just placed an order at my local meat market for 40lbs of feet (the smallest amount they offered) and can’t wait to fill my freezer with amazing, nourishing stock!

  • Sue


    I have given the chicken feet as a joke gift to friends turning 70. I paint the toenails bright red, make cuffs with lace, and add a ring. Looks like our real hands as we age. Now I will try the broth with the extra feet.

    Your friends must LOVE you. Hah! ~Elise

  • may

    Hey! I made my first batch of chicken feet stock last night. I really wish I’d had this recipe beforehand.

    I was just wondering though, why the need for reducing time, is there a special reason or is it just so there isn’t as much? I need to make enough for a single person to eat 2 cups worth/day for 7 days, I don’t have a clue how many cups adds up to 2 quarts though.

    Is the time for reducing the stock required for a better quality? Why is it needed? I only ask because where I am 2 pakages of feet is almost $10 and a bit expensive, so I’d like to be able to make as much as I can with what I’ve got.

    Hello May, there are 4 cups in 1 quart, so if you need 14 cups (7 days x 2 cups per day), you need 3 1/2 quarts of stock. Beyond the initial 4 hours of cooking, you are reducing the stock to make it more concentrated, to make it easier to store. Why store 4 quarts of stock when you can reduce the stock to 2 quarts and store that? When you reduce the stock, you then can add water back to it when you go to use it. Or you can just use the more concentrated stock. ~Elise

  • Renée

    I’ve heard that chicken feet make the best broth so I had my local butcher order me some. He could only get them in if he ordered a big box and I had to buy all of it. So I came home today with it and it was soooo disgusting! I had to package them all in freezer bags and felt so off about the whole thing, wondering what I got my self into. I found your recipe right before I started and kept telling myself as I bagged them up that this used to be normal for our ancestors to do and I sure felt like I was one of them!!! My 3 year old took one look at them, said “YUCK!” and then got right into helping me, which he enjoyed doing! I ended up with 14 1/2 medium sized freezer bags jammed full of feet!!! I figure there is a little over 2 lbs in each bag and I only paid $24, which is going to make such cheap broth! Aside from the gross factor of dealing with chicken feet, I am super excited to try out the broth! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  • Ren

    I’ve eaten chicken feet at a dim sum restaurant. They were still whole feet, you just suck the meat off of them. Granted, there’s not a LOT of meat, but it’s incredibly tasty.

    I can buy raw chicken feet at the local chain supermarket. They’re just packaged up like any other meat, it’s not a specialty item at all. (I live in Springfield, Massachusetts.)

  • Jessie

    Thanks for the recipe. I have a farm where I normally get backs & necks for stock. Well they sell feet too. So this time I ordered backs, necks & feet. But a mistake was made & I only got the feet. So I used the recipe & it worked great. Although the end product was kind of brown gold & not really gold. I think I let it cook down a bit too much in the first 4 hours.

  • Michelle

    Sorry if this has already been asked (I skimmed the comments) but can you freeze the chicken feet stock and if not how long will it keep in the fridge?

    Yes, you can freeze chicken stock. Just skim off the fat first and be sure to leave enough head room in the container, as the liquid will expand as it freezes. ~Elise

  • Irina

    Finally I found some reference to cooking chicken feet!
    Very common practice in my country of origin, very healthy – all the easy to digest proteins, calcium, chicken stock in general being very healing…

    I will admit not to only like the stock but crunching the bones with my teeth and getting all the cartilage out – been doing so since I was a child.

    The only thing I can not find on the web yet – is calorie amount in chicken feet and broth :)

  • Maggie Lawler

    I was talking about eating chicken feet the other day with my friends, and it grossed them out! My grandmother used to raise chickens for eggs, and when they started moulting (I understand they don’t lay during this period), because it was too expensive to feed chickens who weren’t producing, she’d gather the family together to slaughter the chickens. Everyone got a hen or two to take home, but grandma always kept the feet. She’d boil them up, and after making the broth, she’d give the kids the feet (and some grownups as well), and we’d run around the neighbood with a fistful of them…munching away and happy as larks! I remember those days with a smile, and wish now that grandma was here to make more of that awesome broth….and give me some of those feet, of course!!

  • Elyse

    Hello Elise. I’m another Elyse, spelled a little differently from your name. I’m 79 years old, and a year ago was diagnosed with osteoporosis. I refused to take any of those prescription drugs that are supposed to be so helpful, but often can have such terrible side effects. (My doctor is very open-minded and never argues with me about the benefits of taking medications, but he really knows nothing about holistic methods.) So, I did some research. Finding a paragraph in an Alternative Healing book I have on my bookshelf about the osteoporosis healing benefits of soup stock made with vinegar in it, I searched the web. Your site came right up! and I copied your recipe, although I found no reference to how much vinegar to put in it. So I experimented on my own. I cooked a huge pot of five pounds of feet at once, 2 quarts of water to a pound, and started my experiment with 2 Tbsp. of vinegar to 4 qts. of water, and cooked for about 16 hours. This turned out pretty good, but I wanted the bones to soften more (thus removing more calcium for my healing) and eventually settled on 1 Tbsp of vinegar for every qt. of water, cooking for 18 hours. This week, I cooked the stock for 20 hours, and I think I’m now satisfied with my experimentation. The bone ends are actually crumbling away. And best of all! I’ve had my second bone scan! The report that came from the nurse in the doctor’s office said, “Your bone density has improved, and doctor says to just keep on doing what you are doing!” My 85 year old husband has osteoporosis, too, and I truly expect this wonderful food medicine to heal him, too. Thank you for this great web-site. I’m sure it is helping a great many folks who need to know about natural healing.

  • lobstersquad

    bless you, Elise! I just bought an organic chicken that came complete with feet, and now I know exactly what to do with them.

  • Phillip

    A little information on how I use my chicken feet stock…

    I strained out all of the chunky bits and put the broth in the fridge overnight. The next morning I took a large spoon and skimmed of what little fat had congealed on the top.

    Next, I melted the stock by warming it slightly. Once it was pourable, I put it in a pitcher and carefully poured it into plastic ice cube trays that had been lightly sprayed with non-stick canola oil spray. I don’t know if the spray was necessary, but the “chicken jigglers” came out pretty easily.

    Next, I placed each chicken broth cube on a non-stick cooling rack (not touching each other) placed over a shallow drip pan and placed them all in the freezer. As they froze, the moisture rose to the surface and a thick layer of frost formed on each cube.

    Once they were all frozen, I squeezed each one to break off the frost, and placed them together in a large zip-lock freezer bag.

    Now, whenever I need chicken broth I make it by placing a cube in a cup or two of warm water. I recently made fresh green chili and used chicken feet stock made from one cube per cup of water and the resulting sauce was a little thick and gelatinous for my taste. I think one chicken cube to a 1.5 to 2 cups of water would be ideal.

  • Phillip

    Whenever I make chicken wings, I always buy the whole wing and use the wingtips for making chicken stock.

    My wife is very sensitive to the neuro-toxin in Monosodium Glutamate (and all of the various ans sundry names they hide it under on labels), which makes it tough to use store bought chicken broth, or just about all canned soups in recipes. We always have to make everything from scratch.

    I am intrigued about chicken feet stock, and at this very moment I have a stock pot with a little over three pounds of chicken feet in it… simmering away.

    As far as where to get Chicken Feet, I found some fresh chicken feet today at a very nice Asian market we have here in Colorado Springs. They were about $2.50 for a 1.6 pound package. I bought two packs.

  • Meredith Sobel

    I am making this recipe tonight. I wanted a whole chicken from the market, but they only had feet and they gave me them for free – so why not. I don’t have any celery, but I am sure it will work out with carrots and onions. I’ll throw some garlic in there and some other veggies.

    Can’t beat free! ~Elise

  • Tish

    Okay Elise,

    I ran out to the butcher and bought the chicken feet. I was so excited after reading all of the comments about how rich my stock would be. Then I got home…I looked at the feet in the package and started to have a conversation with myself (outloud). I should mention that I am a nurse and have seen many things that would make the normal person cringe. With that being said, I couldn’t touch the feet. I kept saying to myself, “you can do this, you’re a nurse for crying out loud. You’ve seen brains, but you can’t touch a chicken foot!” SOOOO, I grab a pair of gloves and kept cheering myself on. When it got to the pedicure, I sharpened my blade and turned on the music LOUD so I could drown out the crack of bone, or whatever the sound was. I now have the chicken feet simmering and my house smells heavenly. My neighbor from downstairs came and knocked on my door and asked what was I cooking. She said I was making her hungry for whatever was simmering in my pot. I told her I was making chicken stock. She didn’t believe me. She said stock never smelled so good. I smiled and said I had a secret ingredient. I offered to bring her some stock when it finally cooled and she could taste for herself. I sit happily at my computer now, satisfied at my chicken feet stock. My next Sunday adventure in the kitchen will be tamale making!!! Wish me luck!!!

  • Tish

    Thanks for this recipe. I shop at a butcher’s shop, where they sell chicken feet. I would always stop and look at them and wonder what could I do with them. As I perused the internet this morning, I found this! I want to make chicken soup for a co worker that’s not feeling well. I am sure this will impress her. I will keep the chicken feet as my secret ingredient, lol! They say, chicken soup has natural healing powers. They just don’t know the secret is in the feet!

  • Brenda

    I’ve read about how good this is for you. Bummer, I had a bag of chicken feet in my freezer for over a year, finally got frustrated with it and had my son feed them to our dog – one foot a day. I think they’re gone now and I will have to wait until my friend butchers chickens – next summer. Our dog enjoyed them though. If I had only known… I just wasn’t sure exactly how to go about it. Thanks, I hope I can remember or figure out how to save this.

  • Carol

    I grew up in Jamaica and remembered my mother and grandmother being very creative with the whole chicken. Chicken feet were always used in chicken soup and we loved sucking on the bones. I remember them also making a stew of the feet with curry – we call it Curry Chicken Feet. Made just like stewed chicken but with the feet and a little curry powder. The resulting delicious stew is then eaten with white rice. I have not had this in years so might just try this myself this week!!!!!

  • Brian Van Wetter

    Thanks so much for your quick response Elise! I will definately follow your advice. I saw your recipe for stock and thought it would be a terrible waste to throw the feet away. So, thank you for inspiring me to use as much of the chicken as possible!
    Best wishes,

  • Brian Van Wetter

    Hi Elise,

    I’m butchering 30 chickens next week and don’t know how to prepare the feet for freezing. Do I skin and declaw them first? Do they need to be skinned? Should they be blanched first?Obviously they are very dirty and contaminated on butchering day. Any help would be much appreciated!

    Hi Brian, great question. I’ve never worked with freshly butchered fowl, but my friend Hank is a duck hunter and what he does is parboil the whole bird to help get the feathers out (if I’m recalling correctly) and the yellow skin covering the feet comes right off. If you are preparing the feet for freezing I would parboil them, remove the skin and chop off the claw nails. ~Elise

  • Carol

    When I asked my butcher if I could order chicken feet, the lady next to me assumed I was Jewish and started chatting with me in Yiddish! (I’m not and had no idea what she was saying, much to her disappointment.) Maybe feet are the secret to the famous “Jewish penicillin”! :)


    Our local Wal-Mart, which is a Supercenter, has chicken feet & we have a very low local population of Orientals. We do have a higher number of Hispanics though. Not sure who all purchases the feet but they continue to be in the meat section.

    This might be easier for most readers if availability is prevalent in most of the Wal-Mart Supercenters.

  • Julie

    They had these at Price Rite – I wasn’t sure what to do with them. Now I really want to try them – hope Price Rite still has them!

  • Gina

    Hi, Elise! Great post. I decided to try and replicate your feet-based stock, and it was delish! Here is the link to the post on my blog if you care to check it out:

    Thanks again! –Gina

  • Sarah

    Wow! How scary and freaky and totally awesome is this picture!?! Love it.

  • Chinese Chicken Feet (Phoenix Talons) Recipe

    This is a great recipe for the chicken feet (aka “Phoenix Talons”) that you get at Dim Sum restaurants. There’s pretty much no meat here, it’s all about the tasty sauce & skin being sucked off the bone. Not for the chicken-hearted, ha ha…

    1 pound chicken feet
    2 quarts oil
    2 quarts water
    1 ounce fresh ginger
    3 pieces star anise
    2 ounces Chinese parsley roots
    2 ounces maltose sugar (see note)
    2 tablespoons oyster sauce
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 tablespoons soy sauce
    1 tablespoon sake
    1 ounce chopped chile pepper
    2 cloves garlic, minced
    1/2 teaspoon white pepper
    1 tablespoon black bean sauce
    1/2 teaspoon sesame seed oil

    Heat the oil and mix the chicken feet with maltose sugar. Fry them until they are golden brown. It should take about 7 minutes. Remove the feet and drain.

    Boil water and add ginger, star anise, parsley roots & marinade. Add the chicken feet. Bring the mixture to a boil again. Then reduce the heat and simmer them for 90 minutes, until feet are glazed.


  • Jasmine

    I was told to cut the toes off because there is a gland underneath them that is really bad for you…

    Well that’s an interesting theory. Never heard that one before. ~Elise

  • Lady Jane

    In Barbados, my grandmothers maid always makes chicken stock with the feet. She soaks them in lime and salt for about 30 mins first, and then scrubs them. That’s the cleaning part.

    The reason to cut off the toenails, is otherwise they will end up in your soup.. not v. enjoyable;-(

  • Julie

    Eww! That was my first thought, my second…you are awesome. I don’t know anyone that would try this. I don’t know that I could do it, but now thanks to you I know how. Thank you!! I am going to link to this so all of my readers can learn as well. :)

  • michael bash

    A good question here is why are some of us bothered/disgusted, I feel it too a bit, and then I think how much I enjoy the gizzard which logically has a better claim on disgust, don’t you think. Are chicken guts used for pet food, fertilizer? Answer to Mbash1944 AT please.

  • Nicky

    The coolest food-related picture I have seen in quite some time – although a bit creepy ;)

  • Odete

    This post surprise-me!
    Chicken feet soup is my husband’s favorite. As I never found it in regular supermarkets, I used to buy it in asian markets.

  • Helena

    I cannot but laugh. My husband and I visited super store yesterday , and there they where – chicken feet. They where a little bit of an attraction in the store, and people were stopping for a short period of time and then leaving with a shocked face, most of them shaking their head. LOL Yes it was a blast from the past for us to. There was no chicken soup without chicken legs when we were growing up. My baba made sure that I get the leg in my plate, as I loved to nibble on the little bones :))
    Wow that was long time ago :)))

  • Daniele

    Yes, I confirm everything you say. Also my grandmother, who was born in 1892 and lived to 98 years, loved chicken feet…

  • Kathy (Just the Right Size)

    How do you use the gel/stock afterwards? Do add it to thinned chicken stock? Reheat it? Add water?

    Fascinating! I’m going to have to try this for sure!

    Just reheat it. If you have reduced it substantially to begin with, you may need to add some water to it. Just go by taste. ~Elise

  • Margaret

    I grew up in the country and my aunt used chicken feet to make broth for chicken and dumplings also she fried them. They were was delicious. I now live in Los Angeles and I love to go for Dim Sum, where they have chicken feet, braised or deep fried with a dipping sauce. Don’t knock it until you try it.
    You can buy chicken feet in most Latino markets in Los Angeles.

  • Lisa (Homesick Texan)

    I remember when Garrett mentioned your buying chicken feet on his blog, so I’ve been waiting for a recipe. I can find chicken feet in New York City at Bravo Supermarkets, which are all over town in largely Hispanic neighborhoods.

  • Michele

    I never thought I’d see this recipe on a website!I’ve been eating chicken feet & rice all of my life. I was raised by my grandmother(she was born in 1902, now deceased), & I make them @ least twice a yr. My kids won’t eat the actual feet,but they sure enjoy the rich, savory broth over rice. Having a bowl of rice with the broth & 2 or 3 feet always makes me feel loved & cared for @ my “Grammo’s” kitchen table again.

  • Denise

    I hope they’re tasty because they look disgusting… They looked creepy raw but then I scrolled down and saw them cooked… yuck! Raw, they looked like “witches hands” but cooked, they actually looked more “human-like”… I’ll leave them for others to enjoy…

  • Kristi

    When I was in Africa several years ago, my team carefully looked in our soup bowls upon presentation. Whomever had the chicken feet (as well as the chicken head) had won the prize! I had no idea people here used them as well.

  • deb

    I really love this entry, but especially the pictures. I imagine you having a lot of fun taking them.

  • Lisa

    Heavens! Those photos are something else!

    I can probably get chicken feet from the farmer I get meat from; I’ll have to ask him about it. I’ve never heard of using chicken feet before, but my mother adored pickled pigs’ feet—and tripe. I would not go near either item!

  • Terry Day

    I have bone loss and I took a class with
    Jeanette Turner, at the Wedge coop in
    Minneapolis, MN. One of the great sources
    of calcium is to simmer a couple pounds
    of chicken feet for 24 hours. The stock
    is a great calcium source and I freeze it
    and add to much of my cooking.

    Adele Davis suggests adding a little vinegar to the stock when cooking, if you want more calcium extracted from the bones. You might need to add a little salt to offset any taste of the vinegar. This way you wouldn’t have to cook the bones 24 hours, but the standard 4-6. ~Elise


    This is by far the BEST IDEA / recipe I had read this year. I never thought of using chicken feet to make stock!!! Thankyou for sharing your ideas.

  • carrie

    I couldn’t imagine the kind of stomach it takes to chop off the little toenails/tips of the feet. Pretty hypocritical of me, yes, but I just couldn’t do it myself. This would really make me realize I am eating another animal, similar to myself…chicken feet have probably turned some people vegan.

  • Jenni

    Mmmm… this makes me crave chicken feet soooooo badly! Glad its Lunar New Year on Thursday, my mom makes pickled chicken feet everytime! Thanks for the stock recipe Elise!

  • Renni Dwyer

    I am Asian and you could always find chicken feet soup on my grandmother’s table. The broth is great. The gelatinous texture of the cooled broth reminds me of broth made with oxtail, very concentrated and rich. I haven’t had chicken feet soup in years and am tempted to try this recipe. Thanks.

  • John Kriss

    I would pay or trade just abount anything to obtain a recipe of Chinese Dim Sum Chicken Feet in black bean sauce as served in Vancouver B.C. Canada Dim Sum Chinese restaurants. Any help greatly appreciated. John Kriss

  • Malou

    Growing up, my dad would always request my mom to cook chicken feet and the preparation is similar to your recipe with the addition of fresh ginger slices. I think this was to remove the “fishy” taste from the chicken feet.
    Most local Chinese restaurants here in the Philippines would serve chicken feet in a sweet chilli sauce, steamed with black beans or a sweet barbeque. This is also served as a popular street food that is grilled. We call them “Addidas”.

  • Seamaiden

    Oh! disgusting! You made me look.

    Now where do I get tofu chicken feet…. ;) haha. Sorry, couldn’t resist. But you know I love your blog.

  • Janna

    Wow, thanks for posting this!
    I have to admit, I’m a little grossed out by the little claws and all, but I’m all for using the whole animal.
    Looking forward to trying this, once I locate some chicken feet in my area.

  • S'Mo

    Hi, I really like your blog, but I must say, that picture of chicken feet is the nastiest thing I have ever seen. It does not turn me off to your blog, but I had to say something. haha :)

  • denise

    Just found this page looking for a different recipe and couldn’t resist reading this article… my first thought was similar to the many who connected the chicken feet with Chinese cuisine. My mother is from Taiwan and LOVES to get chicken feet when we go to eat dim sum. As a matter of fact, when my husband and I were dating, we took him with to dim sum… you can only imagine the look on his face (he was raised in northern Wisconsin) when he was offered the chicken feet! But he tried them and forever went down in my mom’s book as approved by her! I love trying new recipes and if this stock is as wonderful as you say, I can’t wait to try it!!

  • joey

    Have to pop in on this one … one New Year’s eve, my dear friend brought a ‘mystery’ dish to share. “It deserves your finest serving dish,” she requested, “and don’t peek!” Imagine my surprise when I uncovered my prized flow blue casserole to discover … chicken feet … with bright-red painted toenails!

  • Fer Guimaraes Rosa

    Elise, these pictures are very disturbing!
    My mom kept the feet in the chicken soup, for she loved to suck on them–only her, nobody else. ;-)

  • cptx

    Thank you so much for this post. I see chicken feet all the time at two stores here but not sure what to do with them. I know they are used for making stock but how. Now I know. My weekend project, thanks again.

  • ejm

    I know we can buy chicken feet at at least one of our local butchers’ shops. But I haven’t examined them all that closely to see whether they are peeled or not. We’ve often bought necks and backs (they sell huge bags of them for $1.00) that we oven roast before making into stock. It turns out pretty gelatinous but perhaps not quite as much as in your chicken feet stock. (And it is a great base for soup!)

    Does anyone ever roast rather than boil peeled feet before making them into stock?


  • Doff Trolio

    I am not Chinese, but I did not know a chicken had meat above their knees until I was 21 years old. Very Very goooood eating. Pigs feet too.

  • merd

    HAHA! That picture just brightened my day!

  • Kisha

    Hi Elise, regular reader and first-time poster here. I am from Singapore and have tried a number of your recipes already with good results (thanks!!). I must chime in with the others who have talked about chicken feet in Chinese cuisine. My Chinese grandmother used to boil these into a soup with peanuts. As a child, I could not get over the ewww factor of seeing the feet, but I have to admit, the taste of that rich, nutty stew has more depth than any other kind of chicken soup I have tried.

  • Hank

    Sweet! I never use all chicken feet in my stock, but I always try to use a few. I just made two gallons of wild duck broth and used about 40 duck feet in that batch. One tip: Use a cleaver to roughly hack up the feet, which releases even more gelatin.

  • letti

    My grandmother used to make “braised” chicken feet and to this day, I love them :)

  • Susan

    My grandmother also used to make her stock from chicken feet, sometimes mixed with the necks. It really was good stuff! I remember how we used to gnaw on those feet afterwards. Most kids would find that gross nowadays, but we thought it was a treat!

  • Patricia Ann

    Thanks for the great info on the feet.
    Do you have any info on using the head?

  • C

    I actually remember my Mom using them when I was younger. I know that I’m far too detached from my food to actually do it myself – but I remember soups made with them being so, so good.

  • steph

    I was in a Mexican super store and saw that they had chicken feet. The store is called La Superior.

    The La Superior in Sacramento? Great store. ~Elise

  • Karine / Carrefour

    You are right! It looks like a little disformed baby hand on that picture where you hold it :o
    But I want to try anyways! I guess it is easier than cooking live lobster…

  • Jerry

    Man that stock looks fantastic! I have no dea where I’d get chicken feet, but it’s roughly the same method I use with necks and wings that are left over from cutting down chickens.

  • Melissa


  • Jeanette

    My Mom put the chicken feet in her soup too. She never made a soup broth exclusively from chicken though. My mother always used stewing hens for making chicken soup, the older ones that were no longer good layers. They would always have egg yolks inside them too, of various sizes, that would have gone in an egg if the chicken lived long enough. When the soup was almost done, my mother added those yolks in the soup too, we fought over them!!!

    One further word about chicken feet. If you do purchase them, either purchase them already “peeled” as in the picture OR you will have to attend to that process to yourself. Since my mother butchered her own chickens, she also peeled the feet, how though escapes me.

    Good point on the peeling of the feet. I looked into it and apparently it’s pretty easy to do and part of the reason to boil them first for 5 minutes. After the first boil, and then rinsing, you can easily slip of the outer (yellow) layer of skin. ~Elise

  • Jean

    I chuckled when I read about making stock from chicken feet. My Mom always included them when making soup. Delicious! The chicken feet I mean. A friend came over in the middle of butchering chickens and wanted to help clean them but couldn’t handle touching the feet. She insisted on putting rubbers gloves over her hands. Her comments were hilarious! Yea for chicken feet!

  • Lisa S.

    Nope, sorry Elise, this one won’t make it into my cookbook. I saw fried chicken feet on a Chinese buffet once and that was the last time I ever went there. My father used to swear by pickled pigs feet until he brought some home in a gallon jar – we threw it out after it grew mold (about 2 years later).

    Nope, my rule sticks – nothing that could ever lick me, kiss me, or kick me, or organ meats. Something has to go into dog food! Load up on the unique fruits, veggies, and spices, but keep my meats clean and pure.

    That’s funny, I have a jar of pickled pigs trotters in the pantry just for my mother. I won’t touch them, don’t like the taste, but she loves them. ~Elise

  • katy

    Wow, Elise, this is an incredibly helpful post. I was reading on another blog recently that feet make the best stock (for beef and chicken), so now I know how to make it! They do look kind of like hands though! :-(

    Quick question — how long with this stock keep in the fridge and/or freezer?

    Usually with stock, we’ll keep it in the fridge for a week, and then if we haven’t used it we’ll bring it to a simmer for 10 minutes, let it cool, and then it will keep for another week. If you want to freeze the stock, you should skim the fat off the top first, before freezing, and then I think it can last for months. We don’t ever freeze stock because we go through it so quickly. ~Elise

  • The Food Hunter

    I just recently made stock with chicken feet and it was delicious. There’s an hispanic supermarket chain called Pro’s Ranch Market in Phoenix, Texas, and California that sells chicken feet.

  • Troy

    Great pictures. I don’t know that I will ever try this recipe, but reading it and seeing the pictures is definately worth while!

  • Monica

    I use wings and get a similar result.

  • yw

    Chicken feet are a very common dish enjoyed by the Chinese, most often braised or stewed, or in soups. As you note, the gelatin gives it that special richness missing from using a normal chicken carcass for stock. Another popular delicacy is de-boned chicken feet eaten in a chilled sour-ish Asian salad. Yum!

  • Kelly

    That is the creepiest picture I’ve ever seen! ;-)

    Oh no, this one is much creepier. ;-) ~Elise

  • Sally

    Grandma used everything but the oink when she butchered a pig. I don’t remember her using chicken feet for stock though. She might have and I just don’t remember it. Thanks for the recipe Elise.

  • Wendy

    Am I weird for finding those feet really cute?

  • Kalyn

    When I went to China I discovered that chicken feet are are considered quite a delicacy there. They appeared to be deep fried, and were served with some type of sauce (maybe black bean sauce, I can’t remember for sure.

  • Francie

    That reminds me. I need to clip my dog’s toenails.

  • jonathan

    No where in the list of ingredients do I see chicken lips. Perhaps that’s a “West Coast” thing. ;)

    Aside from that, thank you for removing the chicken’s shoes prior to making this. That often overlooked step enhances both the clarity and flavor of the stock.

  • CJ

    Wow, talk about a blast from the past.

    Every time I tell anyone about using feet they look at me like I’m crazy. I remember my grandmother and great aunts making soup from chicken feet too. It was the richest, most flavorful stock you can imagine.

    For any readers that are skeptical, don’t be. It’s the most luxurious broth you’ll ever have.

    Thanks Elise. This brings back many happy childhood memories and a hankering for that great broth too!

  • Carol Shani

    My grandmother came from Poland to Canada in the 1920’s. One of my warmest memories (in the 50’s and 60’s)of her home was soup from chicken feet (she didn’t use the bay leaf or the peppercorns). And we always “stole” the cooked feet afteward to suck on.
    You’re right: it has an absolutely unique flavour and is truly delicious.
    Thanks for memories!

  • Sun

    I definitely plan on trying this recipe this weekend, but I won’t deny the idea of touching chicken feet still makes me cringe a bit. Not sure how I’m going to pull this off.

    BUT… GREAT recipe and thank you for it! You’re absolutely right. I can’t believe we let chicken feet go to waste!

  • Margaret

    Where can you get chicken feet these days? Especially here in Sacramento. I thought it was illegal to sell them. I love chicken feet. My mom used to put them in her chicken soup all the time when I was a child.

    The American Poultry Company on Broadway at 3rd in Sacramento is where I got these. ~Elise