How to Make Stock from Chicken Feet

How ToChicken FeetStock

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

Photography Credit: Elise Bauer

The other day my father announced that he missed chicken feet. (What?!)

His mother, my grandmother who was born in 1899 and lived to the age of 97, used chicken feet when she made her stock and my dad could always tell when a soup had been made with stock from chicken feet.

Chicken feet have their own unique and wonderful flavor, and the added gelatin from the feet give whatever dish is made with the stock a luxurious feeling when eating it.

The “Eww” factor of chicken feet I think comes from the fact that chicken feet look a lot like our hands.

Silly eh? Especially when we consider that making stock from chicken feet has been a human activity for thousands of years.

Most of our grandmothers or great grandmothers used feet in their stock as a matter of fact. They would laugh at us today to see us cringe. Stock made from chicken feet is fabulous, and incredibly good for you with all that gelatin.

After a lot of digging, I found a few old recipes. All recipes call for boiling the feet first, and then draining the boiling water. I think the point of this step is to get most of the extra protein and impurities to leave the feet and come to the surface.

Another step that all the old recipes take is to cut off the claw tips. I’m not sure why, but I’m guessing that by cutting off the tips of the toes, it’s easier for the marrow and therefore the gelatin in the bones to come out.

Expect to get a lot of stock out of the chicken feet. A pound of feet will yield about a quart of stock, pretty much a bargain at $1 a pound for feet. Where to find chicken feet? Probably the best place to look is in Chinese or Asian markets.

How to Make Stock from Chicken Feet

  • Yield: Makes approximately 2 quarts

Ingredients

  • 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

Method

1 Boil chicken feet initially for 5 minutes at a hard boil: 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.

2 Drain, rinse, and cut off and discard the tips of the claws: 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.

5 Strain the stock through several layers of cheesecloth or a fine mesh strainer (ideally both) into a pot.

6 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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Links:

Why did the chicken cross the road? - "So you wouldn’t wack off its feet and make chicken stock!", Just the Right Size cooks up a batch of chicken feet stock

Elise Bauer

Elise Bauer is the founder of Simply Recipes. Elise launched Simply Recipes in 2003 as a way to keep track of her family's recipes, and along the way grew it into one of the most popular cooking websites in the world. Elise is dedicated to helping home cooks be successful in the kitchen. Elise is a graduate of Stanford University, and lives in Sacramento, California.

More from Elise

187 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  1. Bernard

    Good Japanese Ramen uses tons of chicken feet for the stock that is how they get the silky mouth feel.
    I get feet for C$.99 and use the base for french onion soup and for gravy’s.

  2. Dexy83

    I came across your recipe when I was searching to see if I have to roast or blanch chicken feet before using for bone broth. Reading your description of why people get creeped out by looking at them is ! I’m not sure how I’ll actually do anything with them other than dump them into my pressure cooker, but I’ll try. lololol Your recipe isn’t “just” stock, but bone broth, too. Not sure if it has bone broth as a tag, but it should. Thanks for posting.

  3. Aish

    Just a question, once the stock is reduced, how much would you use if the recipe calls for 1 litre for example?

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  4. rsp

    My local stores don’t always have chicken feet, but I asked my daughter (who’s shopping for me now) to look out for them, and they were finally available. So she got some, and they’re cooking right now. BUT they were $3.69 a pound! Not sure what goes into that pricing. Maybe the demand forthem for commercial (i.e., canned and boxed) chicken stock? Maybe the labor in cleaning, packing, shipping? Maybe high profit? But I’m not going to buy them again, at that price. When I can get to Chinatown again, maybe. But I’m better off buying chicken parts, when at least I’d get some actual meat to eat.

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  5. Johanna

    I make a pot of chicken feet a couple of times each week. I rinse the feet, pour boiling water and vinegar over them and let them soak, then rinse again. I cook them in the Instant Pot on slow cook, along with onion tops, parsley stems, carrot tops, etc ( veggie scraps that I keep in the freezer) , and bay leaves, for 30 hours. We use this in all of our soups and stews, to cook dried beans, veggies, grits, and so forth. It has done wonders for my husband’s inflammation–he used to take prescription drugs for this; he no longer has to. Interesting tip on removing the claws. I leave them on because of the keratin, but I’m going to try it your way, too. Thanks for an excellent post.

    xxxxxyyyyy

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