How to Make Beef Stock

Make homemade beef stock by roasting marrow bones and cooking on a low simmer with aromatic vegetables and herbs.

  • Yield: Makes about 4 quarts



  • 4-5 pounds meaty beef stock bones (with lots of marrow), including some knuckle bones if possible, cut to expose the center marrow, and include at least a couple veal bones if you can, for their gelatin
  • 1 pound of stew meat (chuck or flank steak) and/or beef scraps, cut into 2-inch chunks
  • Olive oil
  • 1-2 medium onions, peeled and quartered
  • 1-2 large carrots, cut into 1-2 inch segments
  • Handful of celery tops, or 1 large celery rib, cut into 1 inch segments
  • 2-3 cloves of garlic, unpeeled
  • Handful of parsley, stems and leaves
  • 1-2 bay leaves
  • 10 peppercorns


1 Roast the meat, bones, and vegetables:  Preheat oven to 400°F. Rub a little olive oil over the stew meat pieces, carrots, and onions. Place stock bones, stew meat or beef scraps, carrots and onions in a large, shallow roasting pan.

Roast in oven for about 45 minutes, turning the bones and meat pieces half-way through the cooking, until nicely browned. If bones begin to char at all during this cooking process, lower the heat. They should brown, not burn.


When the bones and meat are nicely browned, remove them and the vegetables and place them in a large (12 to 16 quart) stock pot.

2 Add hot water and scrape up the browned bits: Place the roasting pan on the stove-top on low heat (will cover 2 burners), pour 1/2 cup to a cup of hot water over the pan and use a metal spatula to scrape up all of the browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.

Pour the browned bits and water into the stock pot.


3 Add vegetables, water, bring to a low simmer: Add celery tops, garlic, parsley, bay leaves, and peppercorns to the stock pot.

Fill the stock pot with cold water, to 1 to 2 inches over the top of the bones. Put the heat on high and bring the pot to a low simmer and then reduce the heat to low.

If you have a candy or meat thermometer, the temperature of the water should be between 180° and 200°F (boiling is 212°F). The stock should be at a bare simmer, just a bubble or two coming up here and there. (You may need to put the pot on your smallest burner on the lowest temp, or if you are using an oven-safe pot, place it in the oven at 190°F.)

Cover the pot loosely and let simmer low and slow for 3-6 hours.

Do not stir the stock while cooking. Stirring will mix the fats in with the stock, clouding up the stock.


4 Skim scum and fat: As the stock cooks, fat will be released from the bone marrow and stew meat and rise to the top. From time to time check in on the stock and use a large metal spoon to scoop away the fat and any scum that rises to the surface.

(Do not put this fat down your kitchen drain. It will solidify and block your pipes. Put it in a bowl or jar to save for cooking or to discard.)


5 Remove solids and strain: At the end of cooking time (when you want to end the cooking is up to you, 3 hours minimum, 6 to 8 hours if you can do it) use a slotted spoon or spider ladle to gently remove the bones and vegetables from the pot (discard them, though if you see a chunk of marrow, taste it, it's delicious).

Line another large pot (8-quart) with a fine mesh sieve, covered with a couple layers of cheesecloth if you have it.

Pour the stock through the sieve to strain it of remaining solids.


6 Chill: Let cool to room temperature then chill in the refrigerator.

One the stock has chilled, any fat remaining will have risen to the top and solidified. The fat forms a protective layer against bacteria while the stock is in the refrigerator. If you plan to freeze the stock however, remove and discard the fat, pour the stock into a jar or plastic container. (You can also remove the fat, and boil the stock down, concentrating it so that it doesn't take as much storage space.) Leave an inch head room from the top of the stock to the top of the jar, so that as the stock freezes and expands, it will not break the container.


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  • Pattie Sliwa

    ‘‘Tis the season! Making this beef stock again and have some questions. I rubbed the bones with a bit of olive oil and roasted them. There was a lot of grease in the pan. I assume it should be poured off before deglazing the pan. Is this correct? I deglazed the pan with about a cup of water. I poured that into a grease separator cup and poured liquid into the stock pan. Is this correct? I did put in scraps of celery/carrots I collect in freezer and also roasted a few carrots and celery and an onion. I put all that into a “soup sock” ( available at BBB). Is all this ok? That grease I poured off of the roasting pan is congealing to a mushy texture. Should that be discarded?

  • Ien van Houten

    To really get the precious minerals out of those bones, add a good glug of vinegar.

  • Ern Grover

    Simple enough for this country boy. The doc says the bone stock is a good probiotic. We only use the meat that’s left on the bones in addition to the stock produced. The skimmed fat … yes, SAVE! Mixed with some leftover cereal, cornmeal, peanut butter and some sunflower nuts, the birds will thank you. Beef fat is stable at a higher temperature than chicken or pork fat, so it is ideal as a suet ingredient.

  • gerry

    I make beef stock in a similar way , the bought stuff is just awfuk – the bought chicken stock is ok and I use it but the beef – yuch.
    Nice easy to follow recipe.

    This will make a great tasty stock.

  • Donald Paczowski

    How long will it last?

  • Peggy`

    I hate to admit this, but my family spreads the marrow on bread to eat. Sounds awful, but delicious. Definitely not healthy!! Unless there is something in it of which I am unaware. My family has eaten this for generations, and so far most members have lived well into their 90’s (and even over 100) with no hospitalizations or health issues (barring accidents). I blame that on genetics, not beef marrow LOL!

    • Pj

      Anytime my dad cooked with marrow bones, we used marrow spoons to scrape out the marrow and ate it. It never went to waste!

  • Pat

    I was thinking of removing the marrow from the bones after all the simmering and adding it to my dogs’ food for added nutrition and flavor. Does anyone see a problem?

    • Pj

      No problem for the dogs! Heck, hive thembthr bones; they’ll occupy themselves getting out the marrow! The only problem is that you don’t get to enjoy it!

  • Patricia Sliwa

    I’ve always wanted to know this…when I make a big batch of Beef Stock, I then put into containers and freeze for making Beef Barley Soup. My question is, am I suppose to add water to the stock? is that the purpose of making stock?

    • Pj

      Normally not. You’d usually want a nice rich stock for your soup. But if it tastes too strong to you, then add a little water sparingly, not 1:1like with condensed soup

  • Irene Foss

    Thank you for this recipe for Beef Broth. I was in the grocery store today looking for no salt beef broth. All I could find was low salt. So I went to the butcher and asked what kind of meat would be good for making beef broth. She said that chuck would be good because it has lots of flavor. Lots of flavor is why I always buy chuck roast to cook for dinner. Well I bought the chuck, I have bones in the freezer and have all the other ingredients, so I’m all set to make the beef broth tomorrow morning.



  • Marianne Lottes

    i find this recipe too complicated . all i do is boil the bones about 4 hours , scrape them and use the stock.

  • sylvia winninger

    Hi, I started just simmering the bones in water as my Chinese Medicine Dr. suggested. Next time, I’ll try your recipe. Anyway, after skimming off the fat and putting it back in the fridge, the broth solidified into gelatine. I divided it into an ice cube tray and put it in the freezer. Are these okay to use in soups?

  • Marie M.

    Hi Elise, I have leftover bones from a holiday rib roast. Since the bones have already been in the oven, do I need to roast them again, with vegetables? Or can I just place all the pre-roasted bones with veggies in the pot and start from there? Or, as someone commented, sauté the bones & veggies right in the stock pot before adding water? Thanks!

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Marie, it’s not necessary to roast the bones again, just put them in the pot with the veggies.

  • Karen Prytula

    So if I understand these directions, I am to discard the vegetables?? (see step 5). I am assuming I leave the stewig meat in?? and remove only the vegetables and the bones…Can someone pleas confirm ?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Karen, remove all of the solids to make it easier to strain the stock.

      • Davin

        Do you add the meat back in with the stock to eat though after its drained? Just wondering what the point of the meat is of just throwing out if so?

        • Elise Bauer

          Hi Davin, the simmering the meat for that long amount of time extracts all of the flavor and the nutrients out of the meat into the stock.

    • Kate

      Hi Karen and Davin (below): The vegetables, meat and bones provide flavor for your stock, but after the long simmering time the meat would be stringy and dry and the vegetables limp and flavorless. All should be discarded. The end product here is broth which can then be used to make soup or in other recipes calling for beef stock.

  • Robert

    Well my 5kg of bones turned into 7 litres of stock, plus two bowls of soup from all the meat that came off it. I’m not sure if you would consider that condensed enough or not but it seems to have a very strong(and amazing) flavor at that ratio. I got it mason jars in the freezer now, looks basically the same color as the image in this article. After roasting I simmered the bones for 18 hours on the lowest heat setting.

    I don’t know what the other posters mean by strange smell/taste. This stuff is incredible. I prepared it almost identical to the directions, except I added more garlic to pot and I used granulated garlic when I roasted the bones. I’m just a big fan of garlic. Roasting time was also closer to 2 hours due to the larger quantity of bones and because they were frozen. They came out nicely browned, not burned at all. :P

  • Robert

    I’m in Canada and I order a years worth a meat from a local company called Nutra Farms. With the order they basically offer as much free bones as you want. I decided to get 5kg of bones, didn’t know what to do with them until now. It’s all from grass fed beef as well, so presumably it should be healthier.

    Anyway, for those of you having trouble finding bones, try a local farm that sells directly to consumers.

  • Jack

    i enjoy making beef ribs in the oven for the wife and I about once a month. I cook them slow and low for a few hours and finish under the broiler. We cut ou meat from the bones and save them on a bone plate before we add any sauces I have with the beef ribs. I then follow a similar recipe and browning process even though the bones have already been cooked, and it still makes an wonderful stock. I add a titch of Worcester sauce and a small bundle of herbs from our garden (thyme, parsley, sage). I haven’t found that it makes a difference in adding vinegar but a small amount of apple cider vinegar can’t hurt, right?

    The broth makes excellent French Onion soup and is good just as a sipping drink. So yummy!

  • l king

    I made a lot of beef stock, but it has turned out all cloudy? How can I clear it up ? Or do I start over?

    • Elise Bauer

      It probably tastes just fine, taste it! If it’s okay, then don’t do anything. You can sometimes clarify stock with egg whites if you don’t like it cloudy. Look up how on Google.

    • Andrew Smith

      Try separating a few eggs and add the whites lightly beaten to catch the impurities from the stock. Make sure it is at a light simmer, than simply run through a sieve And the hardened whites will take all the floaties with it.

    • Katherine Billard

      You may not have used cold water when you started your stack, if you use warm or hot water the stock will often become cloudy.

  • Anan

    Hi elise, i’ve read your post about making beef stock and chicken stock and im wondering about this little difference in your post about making beef stock and chicken stock. It’s about the salt. In making beef stock you dont put the salt in the stock and ive read you replied someone comment with “You do need to add salt to the stock at some point before or as you use it”. Then why did you add salt in chicken stock?

    Btw i thing this is a great recipe from reading the comments and great tutorial too with step by step photos. Thanks for the recipe elise, i will try making my first stock with your recipe tomorrow. ive never tried making any stock.

  • Brad

    You say “cut to expose the center marrow”. I’m curious what this means exactly and how one would do it. Do you mean cut the bones through fully? I feel like this would take a saw of some sort and I’d have to ask a butcher to do this. Is this only necessary for certain types like knuckle, or would it also hold true for oxtail?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Brad, I usually just ask the butcher for stock bones which have been cut to expose the marrow. Yes the bones are cut through fully. You don’t need to do this with oxtail because the center is already exposed. Oxtails make excellent bones for making beef stock!

    • Ruby

      Very good question, Brad. I was wondering the same thing.

  • Keli M. from Lino Lakes

    Love this post! Inspires me to make more beef stock, because while you can buy decent chicken stock, no one makes a decent beef stock.

    One thing that I’ve found though – when I make a stock, I pour the cooled and skimmed broth into gallon ziplocs and then lay them flat in the freezer until they’re frozen. Once they’re frozen, you can slide them in anywhere and they take up very little room, plus then you can note on the outside when you made it, and what kind of broth it is.

  • J

    I like healthy fats, so I’m inclined to leave the fat in, has anyone tried not straining it and not skimming the top for fat?

    • Robert

      Because I use grass fed beef I leave the fat in and let it rise to top and harden in fridge. I scoop it off and store separately. It’s basically beef tallow, I use it as alternative to butter for frying certain things. It adds more flavor. I freeze my tallow in jars and use as needed.

  • Anna Pettinicchi

    When I make my beef stock I use short ribs or beef shank which has the marrow. I cook the meat right in the pot on the stove top . I brown the meat in a little olive oil and let it caramelize. I then add carrots, celery, onion , salt and peppercorns and enough water to cover everything by 2 ins. I bring it to just before it’s in a full rolling boil and lower it to simmer. This way only 1 pot is used and the fond from the bottom of the pot during caramelization in there, no need to transfer from roasting pan to pot.
    After the both is done I remove the meat and the next day I make a stew of sorts out of it. I cook carrots, celery and onion in olive oil
    then add 1/2 can of crushed tomatoes and let it simmer for 20 mins. I add some of the stock from the day before and 2 small peeled and quarter potatoes and cook until the potatoes are tender. I remove the beef from the bones , cube them and add then to the stew . Cook an additional 10 -15 mins and you’ll have a delicious stew – yum.

  • Kerri Jantzen

    I’ve been making my own stock since I was a teenager…the only time I use a packaged is when I need maybe a 1/2 C for a recipe and the freezer is bare. It’s worth a weekend to fill the house with wonderful aromas and being able to adjust to your liking what goes in the stock…and there’s Nothing like homemade! I have a bot of beef stock on the stove now which will be turned into veggie beef soup tomorrow…winter is on it’s way and there is no better feeling than coming home on a cold winters night to a bowl of homemade soup and crusty bread!

  • jamie schnirch

    Hi there, In regards to the congealed fat creating a seal on the top of the cooled soup keeping out bacteria – how long can it stay in the fridge (rather then freezing) and still be safe to eat? Thank you for such a nice website. Love your recipes.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jamie, about 2 weeks. Note that if you bring the stock to a boil for 10 minutes every 2 weeks and put it in a clean jar and back in the fridge, it will last a lot longer.

  • George R

    Great article, if i want to boil it down to concentrate do i have to wait until after cooling first time or can i just simmer longer in the initial process?

    You can simmer it longer in the initial process, but after it is strained. ~Elise

  • Catherine

    When do you add salt for this? I presume it would be at the end, after draining right before serving?

    Yes. This stock by the way, is just stock. Not a seasoned broth. So you wouldn’t serve it straight. It would be the base for a soup with other ingredients and seasonings. ~Elise

  • Deb in Indiana

    Great recipe, Elise, and such clear directions, as always. Thanks!

    By the way, Trish in MO, some info on your 2-year-old question: it is quite possible to use a pressure canner to seal up pint and quart jars of beef stock, or beef broth with meat.

    In general, you reheat the stock to boiling, fill clean CANNING jars, adjust the lids, place in a pressure canner and seal the lid, bring up to pressure and process specified amount of time (less than 1/2 hour for broth or stock).

    If you want to do this, google for directions from only a .gov site (USDA has done research on safe canning for years), or from a pressure canner manufacturer, or from the Ball Blue Book (bible of home canners). There’s some scary advice out on the net, and it is important when preserivng low-acid foods like meats and soups to follow the directions carefully. If you do, there will be no problem.

    It is great to have jars of broth or meat in the pantry for quick use.

  • Tammy

    Great Stock! I followed a few of the suggestions but mainly stuck to the recipe!

    1) PRESSURE COOKER! I don’t make stock any other way now!

    2) I have always seen my mom rub the bones with tomato paste and always done that so I did it here too.

    3) I tried the star anise, but was skeptical, so I only used a small piece – 4 arms. It was perfect… I’ll keep that ingredient but keep it at a small piece.

    It turned out to be an AMAZING stock! Way better and WAY less expensive than buying it!


  • Kate

    Can someone please explain why roasting ahead of time is important? I’ve always just boiled the raw bones. Does it make a difference from a health point of view?

    Roasting the bones creates browning which creates flavor. I don’t think it makes any difference from a health perspective. ~Elise

  • Sarah Lamando

    Hi Elise!
    I can’t thank you enough for sharing this recipe : ) I have Late Stage Lyme Disease, and was going through a rough time last week when my mother an I stumbled across your site…
    She made your beef stock over the weekend (following the recipe to a “T” (lol), and it was AMAZINGLY soothing and healing for me.

  • Sean

    Any issues with using beef feet for this? I make chicken stock with chicken feet and the gelatin that leeches out is wonderful. The mexican market near me always has beef feet and I’m curious to try.

  • Lauren

    I’m making this right now! First time I’ve ever made broth – I’m more excited than I probably should be, but oh well. We’re doing German Bacon-dumpling soup tomorrow with some and Pho the next day.

  • Rebecca

    I love this recipe. My husband trapped an enormous snapping turtle and I decided to make my (cajun) grandmother’s recipe for turtle soup. The recipe called for beef stock which I have never made. I browned the turtle bones along with the beef bones. The soup turned out deliciously rich and smooth. This was my first turtle soup to make or eat and it was truly a delicious gourmet meal. Thanks for the specific instructions, pictures and tips from everyone in the comments thread!

  • Chente

    Is the beef stock supposed to gel when you place in the fridge? I’ve heard that the stock is supposed to gel but my stock still had a liquid consistency.

    It sort of depends on the bones you’ve used and how much you’ve reduced the stock. If you used a lot of veal bones, then you might get some gelling. If not, then probably not. ~Elise

  • Allie

    Last time I made chicken stock it was fantastically delicious, and I drank most of it without modifying it in the slightest. From what I’ve seen from your replies to some peoples’ comments, however, is beef broth not like that? If not, how would I make it so? I’m pregnant and so far good soup stock has stayed down nicely and is nutritious, so I’m trying to expand.

    Thank you!

    That is correct. Homemade chicken stock has a very different taste than beef stock. Much easier to eat straight in my opinion. To make the beef stock more palatable, I would roast lot of onions with the bones, and then purée the cooked onions with the stock. ~Elise

  • Sam

    Thank you for this it was so helpful. I just wanted to point out one thing. It always dangerous to let food cool to room tempter if it had meat our dairy in it. You need to cool it as fast as you can. Get it in a shallow pan or casserole pan and put it in your frig, even you freezer. Just get it cold fast. Thank you again.

    • Dee

      Yes you need to cool it fast but you NEVER put anything hot in your frig, it will elevate the tempature inside your frig and make things already in there come to an unsafe temp. You can let it cool outside of the frig for up to 2 hours.

  • Karen

    I followed this recipe to the letter- and this was awful. Tasted watery and now trying to doctor it up. I was so disappointed as I went to Whole Foods for fresh, organic ingredients, had the bones sliced as in the picture – don’t know what went wrong -but for the money and time this just wasn’t worth it.

    It’s stock, not soup. You use it as a base for soups, not on its own. Use it as a base for French onion soup for example. ~Elise

  • olivia

    I have tried beef or lamb bone broth a few times but each time it ends up with a bitter burnt taste. I either use bones from a previous roast or fresh bones that I gently roast in oven (and don’t let them burn), put in filtered water with some vinegar, onion, carrot and celery, bring to boil, skim the impurities, then transfer to my crockpot/slow cooker for a day or two. What could I be doing wrong? I’m losing hope that I can do this :-( but I really want to have homemade bone broth.

    I’ve never heard of using vinegar when you make stock. Seems to me that the acid in the vinegar could possibly leach out minerals from the bones that would make the stock bitter. ~Elise

  • olivia

    So can I put this directly into my slow cooker/crockpot? I always brought it to the boil first and then transferred to the slow cooker. I think maybe bringing it to the boil quickly is not a good idea?

    If you are trying to create a clear stock, then it’s best to heat the water slowly. ~Elise

  • Stephanie

    thanks for the post…cant wait to try it out

    how long will it keep if stored in the fridge or freezer?

    In the fridge if you keep the fat layer on? 2 weeks. Without fat layer, one week. In freezer, several months. ~Elise

  • Penny

    We have a spell of weather coming in, so I decided to make the 8-hour version of this overnight. Even though it was gloomy when I woke up, I was giddy about having a giant pot of this amazing stock! Now just have to decide which of the soups or stews to orchestrate…

  • denise

    I am making my first batch of beef stock. This is fabulous! I am doing it in my crockpot, however, I like the idea of the pressure cooker instead. Faster is better with my busy schedule! I know NOTHING about pressure cookers. What size and brand would work for beef stock? When I researched a few it talks about a gadget inside that holds the canning jars. I do not need that, correct?

    thanks for your help! I think I will always make my own stock from now on!

  • Rebecca

    Can you tell me how to store and use the beef fat for cooking? Is it the same as bacon fat? I usually store that on the counter, but I usually use it up pretty fast so I am not sure how long or how to store the beef fat!

    Hi Rebecca, I so not save beef fat for cooking, but here is a link on cooking with beef tallow that you might find useful. ~Elise

  • andrew

    I am going to try this stock right now, just have to go get some meat and veggies since I already have the bones. One thing I wanted to add/ask – when the stock has finished cooking, it will take a while to cool to room temp (longer than 2 hours, the cut-off point for food safety). Alton Brown puts his finished hot stock in an ice chest (I am just going to put it in an ice bath in my sink) to help it cool more rapidly and avoid contamination. Just a thought… anyways, never made stock before, so I am excited to see the results!

    Remember that the heat from cooking the stock has killed anything that would be problematic, just seal the jar after you pour the hot stock into it. If you want to use an ice bath, let the jar of stock cool down enough, so that it is warm, not hot, to the touch, before putting it in the ice bath. Otherwise the differences in temperature could cause the glass of the jar to shatter. ~Elise

  • KJ

    I’ll second GraceFace on the seullongtang – it’s definitely made from beef bones and boiled until the bones are practically disintegrating. To mask the unique animal scent, you’ll add ginger. It’s not a particularly complex dish in terms of ingredients, but it takes a lot of dedication (skimming and watching for several hours).

    There’s a similar dish called gomtang, but it uses more meat and less of the bones (no leg bones like you might in seullongtang). It’s also usually cooked for a lesser amount of time, so no disintegrated bones here. Sometimes you’ll let the bones sit in a bowl of water overnight to drain excess blood before boiling. (I blame these soups for my abysmal failure at making beef stock the first time around; didn’t caramelize the bones at all, so my French Onion Soup wasn’t really all that rich).

    Either way, you’ll get a healthy dose of calcium, and you’d be surprised at how delicious it can actually be. They’re rather savory and in some ways hearty (lots of collagen). Even if you don’t order these the next time you’re at a Korean restaurant, keep in mind: Korean markets will often have beef soup bones at MUCH lower prices than supermarkets will (I got a giant bag for only about five bucks, whereas some stores I’ve visited charged eight dollars for a measly handful of bones).

  • Gary

    I recently bought an electric smoker and was wondering if you had ever used smoked bones or meat in this recipe?
    I am thinking of trying it using oxtail bones and smoking them for a couple of hours the next time I do a briskit then using the bones and some of the leftover meat in your recipe.
    I just wonder if the smoke flavor will be too overpowering.

    I have had a soup made with a clear broth that had been made from smoked pork bones. It was the most outrageously wonderful soup I have ever eaten. So I would say go for it. ~Elise

  • Carolyn

    I am going to be making this delicious-sounding stock today. I’m wondering if there’s any reason I can’t use the stew beef once the stock has been made. Will it be overcooked? The bones and the stew beef are from grass-fed beef–and thus $$$$–so I’d like to get every bit of use out of the meat that I can. Thanks for the post and the great photos!

    Most of the flavor will have cooked out of the meat, but yes, you can easily eat the meat. ~Elise

  • Liane

    When you reduce stock, and a recipe calls for a certain amount, do you add water to get it back up to the right concentration?

    Yes. You can do that to taste. ~Elise

  • Anya

    Thank you Elise! I just put everything in the pot after browning the bones and the veggies.

    I accidentally discovered a way to avoid washing the cooking sheet: prior to putting everything on it, I lined the sheet with parchment paper, then laid out the bones and the veggies, and in the end when it was time to put them in the pot I got everything off of the parchment paper with a brush.

    A couple of modifications that I picked up on other websites: I added half-a-cup of vinegar for ~7.5 qt of stock and I spread a thin layer of tomato paste on the meaty bones prior to putting them in the oven – they said it would improve the flavor in the end.

    Great tips, thanks! ~Elise

  • Dan


    My mother makes a wonderful beef stock and uses it to make (beef) Cottage Pie for my young sons! They can never wait to eat it!

    I know she scoops the marrow out of the bones and uses it in the stock, but she doesn’t roast first – this sounds like a great idea!

    I have a stock on the go right now – thanks for the great pictures!

  • Linda

    Elise! Another wonderful recipe. I followed your directions completely. The pictures were extremely helpful. The stock and beef are in the fridge right now, and the dog is loving the bones! I simmered the stock overnight, but the good smells kept waking me up!!! LOL I am going to put the stock in mason jars, as you suggested; but I don’t know if I can wait on making vegetable beef soup! Thank you for this recipe and the excellent instructions.


    • lilredcougar

      Just FYI: It’s unsafe to give the cooked bones to your dogs as the cooking renders the bones brittle and the dog can choke on it. My butcher had warned a friend of this but she gave it to the dog anyway and the dog did choke and died.

  • Susannah

    We use our crockpot to cook stock in overnight. We put the chicken carcass and some skin that didn’t get eaten in the crockpot and put it on hight for the night. It tastes much better than store bought even with this very simple method!

    Making stock is such a great way to pinch your food penny until it screams :)

  • Barb

    When I make bone broth, I simmer (not boil) the ingredients for several hours, usually overnight, in my 18 qt. electric roaster. Very flavorful, no grit.

  • Michelle

    Well, I followed this recipe (minus the peppercorns and celery because I forgot to pick them up) and allowed the broth to simmer through the night. I awoke to find a beautiful almost chocolate colored broth – but the smell! When I pulled the bones out of the oven after roasting I couldn’t help but snack a bit on the bits of carrot and onion and the meat smelled fantastic. What happened? Is beef broth supposed to smell a bit funky? I must admit that I do like the saltiness of the store bought stuff. Do I just need to add salt? I know there’s a way to fix this, or it’s just how it’s supposed to smell because I have yet to find a recipe here on your blog that my family didn’t rave over. We absolutely love simplyrecipes and almost daily pass on links to recipes I’ve tried to friends and family. Thanks for any insight.

    You do need to add salt to the stock at some point before or as you use it. The stock shouldn’t smell bad, but it isn’t going to smell like soup. ~Elise

  • Gia

    If I put this in a mason jar anyway, is there any reason they can’t be canned and stored in the pantry?

    . If you have a pressure canner and are familiar with canning meats and low-acid foods, then sure, why not? Personally I am not and wouldn’t risk it. If you don’t do it right there is a potential for botulism. ~Elise

  • Denise

    I just did this last weekend – LOVE the beef stock. Had always made chicken but now I have a new fave. It is the only way to go!

  • stephanie

    I am wondering if the metal of the stew pot makes a difference, i.e. does stainless steel versus aluminum make any differences in taste or the gelatinousness (?) of the stock?

    The only issue with cooking with aluminum is when you cook acidic foods like tomatoes or citrus or anything with vinegar in it. The acidity will leach the aluminum and you’ll get an off taste in your food. But, this stock doesn’t have acidic elements, so you should be fine. As for the gelatin, I don’t see how it would make a difference. ~Elise

  • GraceFace

    I really enjoyed your prologue to this recipe. However, I would really suggest that you visit a good Korean restaurant nearby and try what’s called a “seolleong tang”. I guess it is essentially what you tried with the lentils – minus the lentils. It’s a rich and flavorful broth made from boiling soup bones for hours until the broth becomes milky. Only salt, black pepper, and sliced green onions are used to flavor the soup. It’s truly delicious and warms your entire body. Try it sometime. I bet it tastes a little different from your lentil creation :) and you just might enjoy it

    Are you sure they use beef bones and not chicken bones? I have boiled chicken bones for hours and the result is cloudy, but when beef bones start falling apart the result is gritty. I don’t recommend it. Maybe they’re boiling the bones for a good long time, but not so long that the bones start to disintegrate. ~Elise

  • kathy

    I freeze some in ice cube trays for sauces and rice; but most of it gets frozen in a 12-count muffin tin; pop out and put in ziploc bags. The muffin tins help make nearly perfect 1/2 cup portions, so you don’t have to worry about losing that last little bit going bad.

    Great idea, thanks! ~Elise

  • Joanna

    Great post! I’ve never made beef stock but when I do, I’ll turn here. :) Also wanted to chime in on the storage question… with chicken stock, after reducing it, I always pour some into ice cube trays. Once they freeze, I pop them out and put them all in a ziploc bag, and then I use them sort of like bouillon cubes, whenever something could use extra flavor. One of my favorite uses is to add one or two to water when I make rice.

    Great suggestion! ~Elise

  • Mary

    I’ve read a lot of articles about making beef stock, and they are pretty much all like yours, except for the wonderful photos. I don’t see so much about making chicken stock. Could one follow this technique with chicken? What changes would you make? Commercial chicken “stock” is not much more than colored salt water, IMHO. Anyway, here I am, at breakfast time, starving, and craving onion soup! Thanks for that. I guess it will be lunch time soon.

    Check out How to Make Chicken Stock here on the site. ~Elise

  • Edward

    Never freeze glass jars…!

    We freeze glass jars all the time. You just need to leave enough head room. ~Elise

    • Dee

      We freeze in glass jars too, never a problem. Just need to leave headroom for expansion.

      • lilredcougar

        I had questioned once whether you could too when I was freezing pizza sauce so contacted Ball and they confirmed that their jars can be safely used for freezing as long as you leave headroom as you both said.

  • Matthew Wei

    Looks great. I will only add a small suggestion. For an asian/chinese style stock which is often used in soups, dishes or delicious bowls of noodle soup the only ingredients are beef bones, a small onion and a few star anise. The procedure though is about the same. =) thanks for writing this, I had a long discussion with a friend about the importance of homemade stock and this makes me believe it even more.

  • Erica

    This is a great post! Thanks, Elise. I haven’t ventured into making beef stock yet, just chicken stock.

    One note about making stock and getting the most out of the “curative powers” of soup stock: add some vinegar to the stock pot. I supposedly softens the bones, and they release more calcium.

    Not sure how true this is, but the bones are defintely softer.

  • Kristen

    Stock is so incredibly nutrient-dense.

    There’s only one addition I’d have to this delicious and highly nutritious recipe:

    Make sure that the bones are from beef that was raised without the use of artificial hormones or antibiotics, preferably on grass.


    Because all animals (including humans) store these toxins in our fat & bones. Making stock leeches all the stuff out of the bones, good (vitamins, minerals, gelatin) and bad (hormones, antibiotics, toxins).

    Other than that, this is exactly how I make my stock.

    And if you’re really a Food Renegade like me, you’ll save that beef fat you skim off the top and render it for tallow to use in your cooking!

  • Rose

    I’m currently making chicken stock with leftover bones as I type! A splash of vinegar helps the minerals leach out more from the bones. Yum!

  • Michael Ruhlman

    Of all the “stocks” in cans and boxes available for purchase at the grocery, the worst by far are the beef stocks, so making them at home is all the more valuable (and so delicious).

    I have yet to find a boxed beef stock for sale that doesn’t say “beef-flavored” on the label. ~Elise

  • bobby

    I called 15-20 local grocery stores and butcher shops in my area (raleigh nc) and couldn’t find any where to to buy beef bones. One butcher said they sold all bones to some company that makes dog treats. Any ideas?

    Call the chef at the best restaurant in town and explain the situation, ask where he/she sources his bones for stock. You should be able to order bones from a butcher if they don’t have them readily available. Also, those marrow bones? People buy them to give to their dogs to chew on. I even find them shrink-wrapped in the meat department at the big grocery stores. ~Elise

    • JoeKaye

      Well, for one thing, they’re now selling those for $5.50 a pound! Almost the price of steak. It’s a new “business.” The stuff about “get it from your butcher” is history. He probably sells them back for mark up.

  • Garrett

    Elise, the beef stock you gave me made for the most amazingly delicious french onion soup. So tasty that I literally drank every drop. =)

    Yep, it makes a difference doesn’t it? So glad you turned it into a great soup. Can’t buy anything like it. ~Elise

  • Marion Reeves

    Another method after step 2 is to use a crock pot. It’s worry free and safe.

  • Trish in MO

    Oh, Jonathan, my question precisely! What are the steps for getting a more concentrated outcome?

    I just made chicken stock, and froze it in freezer containers for future use. A bit too many containers, so I’ll have to revisit that process as well.

    Another question I had, Elise, was what containers are best used for storage. I saw you have them in mason jars. Do you go through the same sealing steps as with canning jellies? (I’m clueless to exactly what is done, but I’ve seen my mom do it once or twice) I really think I would prefer the mason jar approach versus the freezer variety.

    Thanks! I also appreciate the step by step photos.

    Just simmer the stock down as much as you want. As for the containers, most people I know use plastic containers, I only have mason jars and pickle jars. No need to take any of those sealing steps, you’re not canning here, but freezing. Just remember to leave plenty of head room for the liquid to expand as it freezes. ~Elise

  • jonathan

    I’d probably be inclined to do the “boiling-it-down-to-concentrate-it” step at the end, if only for space saving in addition to having a stronger, richer finished product that could always be stretched with the addition of water, wine, etc.
    What’s the rule of thumb on the final boiling down step? Reduce to half to get a double concentrated stock?

    I think you can boil it down as much as you want. We usually reduce by half at least. Though I have left stock simmering on “warm”, forgotten about it, and returned to find demi-glace, which is what happens when solidified gelatinous stock starts to caramelize. ~Elise

  • Dana McCauley

    Bravo – I’m a huge champion of homemade stocks and broth! Thanks for sharing the love.

    I always add a heaping spoonful of tomato paste to the roasting bones. It also caramelizes and helps to add flavour and colour to the broth. A dried mushroom or two is also usually in my beef broth pot.

    When I strain my broth/stock, I find lining my sieve with cheesecloth is really helpful, too.

  • Phoo-D

    Roasting the bones makes such a big difference. I like doing this for all stocks including chicken.

  • Stephen

    If you have a pressure cooker, try making stock with it. If you don’t have one, buy one to make stock in. It is worth it! I’ll let Heston Blumenthal*** explain the why and hows.

    Anyway, at the Fat Duck we’ve just started using a brilliant gadget to make stocks. It’s not exactly cutting-edge – it’s the humble pressure cooker – but it makes stock better and quicker than any other method I know of.

    Now, this may seem obvious, but when you smell those wonderful odours while you’re cooking, it’s a sign that you’re losing flavours through those volatile elements that disappear in the air. A pressure cooker, however, keeps the aromas and flavour molecules sealed in the pot. Also, it cooks at a higher temperature than conventional methods – as high as 140C, which is round about the point when those lovely meaty flavours in the stock really begin to develop. In a normal stockpot, by contrast, water evaporates at boiling point, taking flavour with it. A final advantage is that the pressure keeps the liquid inside the cooker much less turbulent, which helps to keep the stock that much clearer even before you clarify it (unlike the traditional method, which renders all sorts of impurities).

    So, sweat some chopped onion and star anise (this really brings out the meaty flavours) in a little oil, add the stock bones or meat, along with water (or stock), clamp on the lid of your pressure cooker, and set over the heat. And, after 30 minutes’ cooking and 10 minutes’ cooling down time, you will have the best, truest tasting stock you’ve ever made.

    And modern stainless steel pressure cookers are easy and safe to operate.

    *** – OK, I know his food can be difficult to prepare and might be derivative but he can cook and he taught himself to cook.