How to make your own stock

Got vegetable scraps or chicken bones? Don’t let them go to waste.

The recipes in this post were developed by Kate Sherwood, The Healthy Cook, and were taste-tested in the Nutrition Action Test Kitchen. Have a comment, question, or idea? Email Kate at healthycook@cspinet.org.

Click here for a printer-friendly version of these recipes.


Vegetable Stock

Vegetable scraps (peels, skins, tops, cores, etc.) of carrots, onions, celery, mushrooms, leeks, cabbage, bell peppers, and tomatoes make a great vegetable stock.

Tip: Store your vegetable scraps in the freezer until you collect enough for a batch of stock.

Time: 1 hour
Makes 4 cups (1 quart)

2 Tbs. tomato paste
2 Tbs. extra-virgin olive oil
6-8 cups vegetable scraps
3 cloves garlic
2 bay leaves
A few sprigs fresh thyme
1 tsp. peppercorns
2 quarts water

  1. In a large pot, sauté the tomato paste in the oil until it starts to darken, 2-3 minutes.
  2. Add all the remaining ingredients and bring to a boil over high heat.
  3. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 30 minutes.
  4. Strain the liquid through a fine-mesh strainer lined with cheesecloth. You can skip the cheesecloth if you haven’t included any scraps of vegetables like leeks, which could have sand or grit in them.
  5. Return the stock to the pot and continue to simmer to reduce the liquid to 4 cups (1 quart). Let cool, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months.

Tip: Remember to label and date everything you put in the freezer. 


Chicken Stock

It’s best to keep this stock as simple as possible, so you can use it in just about any dish. 

Time: 4 hours
Makes 4 cups (1 quart)

Chicken bones and carcass from a roasted or rotisserie chicken (or turkey)
2 quarts water

  1. Add the chicken bones and carcass to the water in a large pot that’s big enough to fit everything with a few inches to spare. Bring to a boil over high heat.
  2. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3-4 hours, breaking the carcass apart after the first hour.
  3. Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer, return it to the pot, and continue to simmer to reduce the liquid to 4 cups (1 quart). Let cool, then store in the fridge for up to 5 days or freeze for up to 3 months. 

Tip: Remember to label and date everything you put in the freezer. 


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