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

Recently 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.

It has its 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

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  • 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

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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.

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115 Comments / Reviews

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Did you make it? Rate it!

  • Jerry Nelson

    I make this every year; the only difference is that I only use the feet, no veggies or herbs. I add those later as needed in the dishes I make with the stock. I don’t cut the nails, but after a couple of hours of simmering, I pull the feet apart to expose more of the bones and cartilage. I also pressure can the stock and store it in my pantry.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Judith

    I have been making stock for years, but this was the first time using chicken feet. I have to say this is a great recipe. The only changes I would make would be to add 1 TBSP of apple cider vinegar to extract all of the minerals and essentially make a bone broth. I also added a strip of kombu while cooking for more minerals.
    After cooking on the stove for the allotted time and draining all the stock, I took the remaining solids and put them in my crockpot. I added water, star anise, coriander seed and ginger. This I cooked overnight. Wow! I just enjoyed the most delicious dish of pho with my “leftover” chicken feet!
    Thank you for this recipe.

    xxxxxyyyyy

  • Victoria

    I’m about to try this. I’m undergoing bariatric surgery and need foods in liquid form. This looks to be the answer​ to my prayers. Thank you for this alternative to the 48 hour beef bone broth.

  • Sailendra

    Thanks for the recipe. You have really taken pain I’m putting your thoughts in a chronological order with pictures, I can see total dedication in helping others.
    My question is do you need to put the spices to get the full benefit of the Chicken feet or is it for the taste factor ?
    I had broken my leg in a scooter accident and I wish to have the ‘stock’ purely as a medicine.
    I will be greatly gratified if you could reply
    Thank you so much !

  • Tim

    Delicious! I also enjoy eating the remaining cartilage off the bone, as it has a gelatinous texture.

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How to Make Stock with Chicken FeetHow to Make Stock from Chicken Feet