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


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.

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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.

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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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  • jackie

    OMG Fantastic!! I did add a little rosemary. But hubby who hates chicken loved it.. PS. I used scissors to clip the toes. Thanks so much love love love this!!


  • Kristen

    Once you make the stock and it gets gel-like do you add water when you use as base for soup?

  • Gaby

    After you cook the feet or paws of the chicken for five minutes can they then be frozen?

    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Gaby! I assume you want to boil them but then actually make the stock later, correct? If so, I think that you should be able to freeze the boiled feet alright. Let them cool completely and make sure they are dry, then pack them up with as little air as possible. They should be ok for at least a month before developing freezer burn.

  • jerry

    can pressure cooker be used for this recipe ? thx

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jerry, I haven’t tried using a pressure cooker with this recipe, but I have with other chicken stock recipes, which have worked fine. So I don’t see why this wouldn’t work in a pressure cooker. Make sure that you don’t go above the max line in your pressure cooker. Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes. Do a natural release for 30 minutes. Strain and cool the stock.

    • CK

      Hey Jerry, I tried this recipe in my 8qt Instant Pot and it turned out great!

  • Judi

    Can I add the chicken feet to the chicken carcass when making the stock or must they be cooked separately?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Judi, if you are making chicken stock with a chicken carcass, you can easily add a few chicken feet to the carcass. I often do that.

  • AttaGirl

    This may be a dumb question, but can you pressure can stock made from chicken feet? I just canned for the first time. It came out so good, I want to try everything.

  • Wasabi

    What should I do with the feet afterwards? It just seems such a waste to throw it in the bin and I dont have a dog that could gnaw on it.

    • Elise Bauer

      After they’ve simmered that long there is no nutritional value left in them. You can discard without guilt.

    • CK

      Yes, you can eat the chicken feet if you’re inclined to do so. Many food cultures worldwide have their own take on chicken feet. You can just suck the flesh off the bone, and be careful of the small bones that are found within the claws.

      P.S. I actually would not recommend giving chicken bones to dogs; they break and splinter easily when gnawed on and can get lodged within a dog’s teeth.

  • Deadly Hotpot

    They cut off the toe nails because chickens scratch the ground and the ground contains poo. That’s the Chinese reasoning behind it growing up.

    • Elise Bauer

      All of the chicken feet I’ve bought have been very clean. That said it’s easy enough for dirt to get lodged in under the nails, assuming that the chickens ever walked in the dirt. Since most of the chickens sold in America are raised in cages, perhaps that’s why their nails are clean? Kind of a sad thought isn’t it.

  • Lotta

    I often do broth with chicken feet. My question is do you need to cut out the ’rough patches under the claw pad’ – The feet I buy are cleaned and skin taken off but maybe 25 percent have these patches underneath. I just want to throw all in the pot without having to touch the feet :).

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Lotta, I cut off the patches because I think they’re kind of gross. You probably don’t need to if you don’t want to.

  • Rin

    I made this with 20lbs of feet, I didn’t peel but cut the nails off, did the first boil, cleaned, trimmed toes and then cooked with ACV, salt and pepper with a bit of turmeric for 7 hours. But mine didn’t gel :( Looks like a decent broth but I was hoping to extract more collagen, wonder where I went wrong?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Rin 20 lbs of feet? or 2 pounds of feet? I haven’t added vinegar to this recipe, and I don’t know if that would inhibit the gelling process. Don’t know why you aren’t getting more gelling. That’s all I ever get with chicken feet.

  • [email protected]

    Great Recipe!!! Do you have nutritional values?

  • Peggy

    Do you have the nutritional values? I love using this stock recipe in all my chicken recipes that call for stock, it adds so much flavor.

  • Glenda faatoafe

    Have to try this , I grew up in Taiwan as a young person and our Many would make the best broth in always had chicken feet in it Always wondered how to do it thanks for the recipe.

  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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 !

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sailendra, I’m so sorry about your scooter accident! I hope you recover soon. You do not need to include the spices in this recipe. It will taste much better if you do, but you don’t have to.

  • Tim

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

  • Suzanne

    I make my chicken stock in the pressure cooker. I put two pounds of chicken feet with onion, celery and carrots in the pot and just enough water to cover the contents. I cook on high pressure for 50 minutes and strain. The result is very gelatinous and flavorful stock. (I do not cup off the toes. Maybe the pressure helps to extract the collegen)


    • Sherry

      Thank you for your method! I have an instant pot and I’m glad to have your guidance.

    • Noreen

      Thank you was just looking for this exact info!

  • Becky

    Do you peel the feet first? I get my feet fresh from the farm so I’m inclined to peel them for sake of cleanliness.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Becky, if you are getting your feet from the farm, blanch the feet first in boiling water and peel off the skin.

  • Michelle Wolfley

    I come from a family of great cooks, and my brother was a chef before he had a family. He cooks in the traditional French style, and frequently says “fat is flavor!” He also had to start taking a statin drug at age 35 for his outrageous high cholesterol! My mother, another great cook, got her BS in Nutrition, a master’s degree in Public Health, is a Registered Dietician, and a Certified Diabetes Educator. Needless to say, she cooks much leaner! I try to cook like her, and one of my greatest thrills is getting thickened, creamy, more healthful soups, stocks, and sauces without having to add cream. YAY for the lowly chicken paw!! I just crave that unctuous texture in good soups that can only come from stock saturated in gelatin.

    • Linda

      Sorry, but fat does not raise cholesterol levels and RDs have no clue about how to actually eat healthy. The low fat fad is why diabetes and obesity are rampart these days.

      • Laura

        Yes! Thank you, Linda!

  • Raineth

    I find inexpensive, great-aunt chicken feet at my local Mexican supermarket. Usually I’d be making Korean-style spicy chicken feet, but I had to give this a try! One thing I noticed right away is the difference in the aroma of the broth, as opposed to using a simple carcass or other parts. Mmmm. I’m going to save the spent parts for a “soft” version of spicy chicken feet! Thank you so much for the recipe.

  • Jenny

    How long can the broth be stored in the fridge? Can it be frozen?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Jenny, you can store it in the fridge for 2 weeks, as long as you allow the fat to solidify and stay on top as a protective layer to help keep out bacteria/mold. At that point if you need to store it longer in the fridge, just reboil the stock (rolling boil 10 minutes) and then allow to cool again and then refrigerate.

      The stock can be frozen. I store stock in mason jars, leaving about 1 1/2 inches of head space in the jar to allow for expansion. Frozen stock is best used within one year.

  • Vicky

    I’m not a cringe type of person when it comes to handling raw meat, but I cut one nail off and couldn’t do it. I’ll try again tomorrow! :]

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Vicky, you can skip cutting off the nails if it grosses you out too much (as long as they are clean, otherwise you do have to cut them off).

  • Ann

    I never remove the claws. I strain the stock afterwards anyway! Sometimes, after I’ve used the feet for stock, I’ll toss the feet in some soy sauce, sesame oil, and garlic and throw them on the grill. Makes a great snack! Try duck paws…they make a flavorful stock, too!

  • Teresa Heilevang

    After simmering the chicken feed and making the broth with them… I take the already cooked feet… roll them in flour and deep fry them for just a short minute or two. Fried chicken feet are delicious. Very tender and very flavorful. .

    • Ann

      That sounds good! I like to grill mine!

    • Henrik

      Awesome, Teresa and Ann

      Do you cook them first for 4 hours or less to make the broth? The reason I ask is that I’d assume that most of the taste is out of the chicken feet after simmering for 4 hours. Or am I wrong here?


  • betsy

    I’m making this stock right now. I had seen the feet in my grocery store and no idea what they might be used for. One question, if the end product is concentrated, about how much would you use if you were making a recipe that calls for a cup of stock?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Betsy, I would use about 1/2 a cup of stock with a cup of water.

  • Shelley Dell

    After making this recipe many times I decided to experiment to get a ‘browner, less raw’ color. I roast the feet at 300 degrees on a rimmed cookie sheet for about an hour, with about 2 cups of water in the pan to keep the pan easy to clean, then I put them in my crockpot on low for about 6 hours with the rest of the ingredients. The broth gels firmly and is a nice color.

  • Sjka Klijnstra

    Hi! Recently I made a delicious braise for the chicken feet I cooked and decided to save it as it tastes perfect for a ramen broth. My question is, is it necessary to remove the fat that collected at the top after I refrigerated it? Don’t wanna lose the flavor I achieved! Thank you, love your recipe!

    • Elise Bauer

      HI Sjka, I always keep the fat cap on the stock, whether refrigerating or freezing, because it provides a barrier to bacteria and will help the stock stay good longer. When you go to use the stock, you can easily scrape away some of the chicken fat. Leave only as much as you want in your dish. And you are right, there’s a lot of flavor in the fat, so you’ll want to use some of it.

  • Steph B

    I just bought some chicken feet at the farmers market, I am so hoping the toenails are already chopped off. I’m so cringing at the thought of this process but I really want the end product! I have some roasted chicken carcass I wasn’t planning on cooking with the feet, should I skip that?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Steph, I would definitely add the chicken carcass in with the feet. Even more flavor that way.

    • Ann

      Just don’t chop off the toenails. The stock is strained afterwards anyway.

  • joy

    oh no i read the directions wrong. i didn’t pour out after 5 mins of boiling to start over boiling. did i mess up? ive been skimming the scum off tho.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Joy, no big deal. If you do the boil, discard water, start over step, then there isn’t as much to skim. As long as you skim you’re fine.

      • Joy

        It was awesome. I was thinking about this again. I want to go to the store and get some to make more. Our walmart always has
        them. m always seeing adds for bone broth health.

  • Jasmine Wiest

    How might you augment this recipe for the slow cooker/crock pot?

    • Ann

      Cook the feet for 5 minutes stove-top then drain. Prior to that, have the water and aromatics warming up in the crock-pot. Then add the feet! You can’t overcook the feet when making stock.

      • Jasmine Wiest

        OK great thanks…would you still keep the same cooking time or double it? I’m assuming cook it on low.

        • Ann

          High or low. Just check it occasionally in case you need to add liquid. If it’s going to be unattended then definitely low. Unless you plan to use the feet afterwards for something (which I do) then cook them forever and your stock will still be fantastic! 12 hours on low may not be long enough to extract all the calcium and collagen from the feet.

  • Brooke Biggs

    Is there any value/negative in roasting the feet with a chicken and using the feet and carcass for the stock? Does roasting the feet detract from anything?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Brooke, I haven’t tried roasting the feet with a chicken, but don’t see why it wouldn’t work.

    • Ann

      Roasting the feet works great! It depends on the flavor of the stock you’re seeking!

  • Whitney

    I found chicken feet at Walmart. I saw this recipe and knew I had to try this.

  • Starr dawn

    Bless y’all. I have been longing for a recipe like mom’s.I should have known I could count on simply recipes.can’t wait to try it.

  • Sarah Robinson

    Would there be any pros/cons to roasting the feet first instead of boiling prior to beginning the stock? I’m thinking color, depth of flavor, etc.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sarah, good question! I haven’t tried roasting the feet first, but if you do, please let us know how it turns out for you.

      • Shirley

        Thank you for sharing your grandmother’s recipe! I pop off the stems of mushrooms & freeze them in a baggie. When I make chicken stock, I put 4 to 6 stems in with the other veggies. It gives the stock color & a yummie flavor!

  • 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!

  • Sparks

    ‘Addidas’! That is hilarious!

  • 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.

    • Ann

      I’m Japanese. I agree!

  • 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.

    • Ann E.

      Thanks for your comment about clipping the toenails indeed making the soup more gelatinous. I’m making my first batch right now. :)

    • Ann

      I never remove the the nails either!

  • 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 Bauer

      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.

  • 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?

    • Sherry

      Why not? If your dog caught the chicken himself, he’d definitely crunch up the bones and feet and all!

  • 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 Bauer

      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 Bauer

      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.

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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.

    • Diane

      Wow, that’s amazing. Thank you for sharing your experience. I have mine on now with 1T/gallon as that’s the amount I’ve seen mentioned most often but my next batch will be with your proportions.
      Truth be told, it’s for my cat but after all I’ve read I think I’ll start drinking it as well.

  • 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.

  • 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!!!

  • 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

    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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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?


  • 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 Shaw

    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.

  • Patricia Ann

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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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

  • 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!

  • 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