The Ultimate Guide to Bone Broth

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Bone broth is one of the most deeply nourishing foods you can make affordably and from scratch at home. In traditional cooking methods, bones are never wasted; they are recognized as important ingredients that make a foundation of good soup. Wanted for the concentrated amounts of gelatin, collagen, glycine, and proline, bone broths are warming, savory, and oh so good for your immune system, gut health, skin, joints, and brain.

Use broth to add a deep savory flavor to soups, stews, and sauces. You can even sip a cup of broth to warm up and recharge. There is a South American proverb that says, “Good broth will resurrect the dead.” From South America to Europe to Asia, ancient folk wisdom promotes broth as an important healing food. Chicken, beef, lamb, turkey, and pork broths are all very restorative!

Originally published in June 2018, this post was updated June 2020.

What is the Difference Between Bone Broth and Stock?

Broth, stock, and bone broth – is there a difference between them? Which one is best?

All forms use a combination of water, meat and/or bones, and usually include adding in vegetables and herbs for extra flavor.

The process of all three is similar: simmer all ingredients together in a pot for many hours, cool liquid, and strain to separate.

So, what’s the difference between broth, bone broth, and stock?

  • BROTH is made with meat and can contain a small number of bones simmered for a short period of time (45 minutes to 2 hours). It is high in protein and results in a watery liquid with a mild flavor.
  • STOCK is made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat simmered for a moderate time (3 to 4 hours). Stock is rich in minerals and gelatin. It has a deeper color and a more pronounced flavor than broth.
  • BONE BROTH is made with bones and can contain a small amount of meat simmered for a very long period of time (12-24 hours). It often results in a jello-like consistency, rich in amino acids, gelatin, and collagen.
Yellow soup garnished with egg and herbs.

What are the Benefits of Bone Broth?

There is a slew of health benefits of bone broth. With so much nutrient density in every batch, broth is not only warm and comforting, it can help you feel good too.

Bone broth is a traditional food served for boosting immunity and warding off colds, flues, and infections. Did you know bone broth for dogs is also good?

Grass-fed bones are of a higher nutritional value and therefore will be of better nutritional quality. I recommend using grass-fed bones, organic, free-range, or pasture-raised material whenever possible.

This liquid gold contains minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous as well as sulfur, potassium, and sodium in trace amounts. (source)

There are other important nutrients in broth too:

  • Gelatin – Digestive aid; helps absorb food and soothes the gut
  • Glycine – An amino acid that is important for strong collagen networks, glucogenesis, manufacturing other amino acids, and synthesizing DNA and RNA.
  • Proline – Another amino acid, necessary for strong joints, bones, skin, connective tissue, tendons, and cartilage.
  • Arginine – Also an amino acid, it helps to reduce inflammation
  • Bone Marrow – One of the only food sources of stem cells, it supports the immune system and overall health
How to make bone broth recipes collage of four photos showing the process.

How to Make Bone Broth

If the nutritional profile of broth catches your attention, the ease of preparation will sell you on making it yourself.

Try one of these recipes and you’ll see just how simple homemade bone broth is!

How Often Should You Drink Bone Broth?

There is no minimum or maximum amount required. If you want to drink it every day, you can! You may prefer to cook with broth once a week and that’s great. If using it seasonally is best for you, that’s fine too.

If you are using broth for healing purposes, you may find that you enjoy it heavily for a specific period of time and then back off for a while once symptoms are improved.

The point is to get it in your body.

Broth is especially good for pregnant and lactating women, children, and elderly folk. Since it contains sodium, magnesium, and potassium, it can also benefit people on a keto diet. One of the worst things about starting keto is suffering through an imbalance of electrolytes (also called keto flu). Bone broth can help regulate your levels and mitigate the disadvantages of a keto diet.

As a whole food source of nutrition, it is safe to consume frequently and regularly.

Beef stew in a white bowl with bone broth, carrots, and mushrooms.

How to Use Bone Broth

Broths are great any time of the day, any season, and anywhere. They make a nourishing base for seasonal soups, postpartum soup, stews, one-pot meals and many more dishes.

As long as the savory flavor agrees with the desired taste profile of your recipe, you can use broth to replace water in any recipe.

Try some of these easy keto recipes with broth to get started:

My low-carb cookbooks have many delicious broth-based recipes!

Carnivore Bone Broth Recipes

Broth is known to help and heal digestive conditions, brain fog, and joint pain, while a carnivore diet is extremely effective for autoimmune conditions and rapid fat loss. Carnivore diet success stories show a range of results from hormone regulation, improved mental health, decreased medication, and more.

Combine the two forces together and your health will go to the next level!

Bone broth is a drink we include in our Carnivore Diet Food List. This list is available for you to download for free and save on your device or print out at home.

Many carnivore diet recipes are delicious when broth is added!

Want to Buy Bone Broth Instead?

If you’re not ready to make bone broth at home yet or your life is too busy and you can’t find the time, buying bone broth is a great way to bring it into your life.

Kettle & Fire is an excellent place to buy beef and chicken broth made in the traditional manner using a long and slow simmer time. Plus, their ingredients are 100% organic and grass-fed!

Even if you make your own broth at home, I would still recommend checking them out. In addition to bone broth, they also have bone broth-based soups and flavored broths made for sipping.

The best part about their broths is their genius packaging that protects the broth long-term at room temperature. Buy Kettle & Fire’s shelf-stable bone broth in bulk; it should be in your list of healthy pantry staples and storable low-carb Keto Emergency Foods to keep stocked all the time.

Troubleshooting Bone Broth

Is your broth giving you trouble? Is it not coming out how you expected? There could be a few reasons why, so let’s troubleshoot bone broth together.

Bone broth won’t gel?

The most common reason that broth doesn’t gel is that too much water was used in proportion to the bones and therefore, the broth couldn’t reduce properly. Follow the recipe directions more carefully next time.

It’s also possible the broth was cooked at too high of a temperature or for too short of a time. Next batch, maintain a low simmer throughout and make sure to cook for the entire cooking time (chicken broth: 6-12 hours, beef broth: 18-24 hours). 

The final thing to check is the type of bones you use. Some types add gelatin while others add flavor and color. I recommend the picked carcass of 2 meat chickens or a combination of parts that include the necks, backs, wings, and feet. Knuckle bones, joints, the foot, and marrow bones are great for beef broth. In addition to using feet for broth, they are a Filipino favorite in this Chicken Feet Adobo Recipe. It’s great to snack on as a side to your bone broth!

Don’t dump the broth if it hasn’t gelled! It’s not a total failure and can be remedied by adding 1 tablespoon of grass-fed beef gelatin per 1 quart of liquid.

How can you tell if bone broth as gone bad?

Fortunately, there’s no need for guessing if the broth is spoiled or not. Broth gets a sour smell as soon as it spoils. It may look the same but will smell off, so let your nose guide you. If it’s significantly past due, part of the liquid rises to the top and looks slimy, in addition to having a strong sour odor. There will be no doubt if your broth is good to eat or not.

Does your bone broth smell?

Yes? But how bad? If it smells like roadkill, you may have used too old of bones. If this is the case, you probably caught on that something was off during the cooking process because it would get pretty stinky. Double-check the expiration date on the package next time you buy bones and make sure they come from a quality producer.

If the smell just wasn’t what you were expecting, that’s a different story. Compared to store-bought canned and boxed broths you might be used to, homemade bone broth is different. Chicken broth usually smells like chicken soup and is slightly sweet. Beef broth is more often than not the one that challenges people’s olfactory receptors, however, the smell doesn’t translate into the flavor so it will still taste fine. You’ll get used to the cooking smells with time. For now, open a window and turn on the fan.

How to make broth taste good?

Did you come out with a boring broth? Try roasting the bones before simmering them next time. You can also sauté or roast the vegetables (carrot, celery, onion, garlic). Adding more fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, oregano) will help brighten up the flavor too. 

Even if the broth is on the bland side, it will still be good in recipes. Make a flavorful soup or stew instead of sipping the broth straight.

More Resources on Nourishing Foods

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6 thoughts on “The Ultimate Guide to Bone Broth”

  1. Can I use my Ninja foodie pressure cooker to make bone broth? It takes a lot less time and I wasn’t sure if that is part of the process to have it cooking for hours.

    • An important point of making bone broth is cooking “long and low”. However, many people adapt bone broth to work with a pressure cooker. Some broth is better than no broth, so do what works for you 🙂

  2. In Romanian there is a recipe called “piftie” which is made out of a pig’s leg and sometimes you can put half of a pig’s head. It is a recipe we usually make in winter and it is astoundingly nutritious, especially for cold weather.

  3. Hi Jessica and Tristan,

    I like meat and Greg doesn’t. I liked making bone broth but Greg couldn’t stand the smell of bones cooking to make the broth. Do you sell bone broth?

    We are yin and yang that’s for sure. We are Married now for 47 years and direct opposites.
    Thanks so much for what you do, see you both in town.
    Reenie Esterlund

    • Sorry Reenie, I don’t sell it in town anymore. Maybe if you cook a batch, keep your window open and a fan or essential oil diffuser on 🙂

  4. Really liked reading this information and links. It was helpful as now I know I was simmering at too high a temperature. Broth was good – but not much gelatin!


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