Chicken Stock (Gluten Free & Easy, Too!)

Add rich robust flavor to WOW scores of dishes by making my delicious chicken stock gluten free – it’s easy too! 

My chicken stock recipe is the #1 foundational ingredient for nearly every one of my homemade soups. It’s my go-to splash on busy weeknights to help create the best sauces for simple pasta dishes. And I won’t go without it for my roasted chicken risotto. 

Make it often to layer luscious dramatic flavor in everything from stews, meats, and gravies, to vegetables, grains, vegetables and more!

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Freshly made gluten free chicken stock lined up in three tall containers on wooden background with white towel to the side

I have been making chicken stock for years. In fact, my recipe for homemade chicken stock dates back to 2010 and is one of my first documented original recipes. 

After making risotto from scratch with boxed chicken broth that ended up empty and tasteless, I just knew I could do better. I wanted restaurant-quality risotto.

I read somewhere that stock was the way to go when making delicious risotto. But using HOMEMADE chicken stock proved to be the key to bringing pure delight in a grain dish like risotto.

I also quickly learned that using my own chicken stock in homemade soups was the main reason why my homemade soup recipes became show-stoppers.

So after doing a little research, I tried a few recipes. And after making some tweaks, I landed on my own recipe for chicken stock – except it wasn’t gluten free. It didn’t need to be gluten free quite yet.

What is the Difference Between Chicken Stock and Chicken Broth (and Bone Broth)?

Chicken Stock

  • Good quality chicken stock is the result of cooking chicken bones with bits of meat attached in water along with some veggies and aromatics. It has complex flavors and is full-bodied.
  • Stock is usually cooked for at least 2 hours but maybe up to 5-6 hours to help produce a thicker jiggly jelly-like consistency when chilled. This jiggle comes from the extraction of collagen from the bones and connective tissues when cooked over time.
  • Because chicken stock cooks for a while, it contains vitamins and minerals found in bone and connective tissue – the same that we need for our own bones and connective tissue!
  • Many recipes for stock do not include salt. Stock is usually not eaten or drunk on it’s own, but it is used in recipes. It can even be used to deglaze a pan or be used as a binder in place of cream or butter for a lower-fat alternative with rich savory flavor. In these dishes, salt is often added to the final dish. 
  • My recipe DOES contain some salt (which you could omit) because I do not use much salt in most of my recipes.

Chicken Broth

  • Chicken broth is the result of cooking chicken meat and maybe some bones in water along with some veggies and aromatics. 
  • Cooking time is usually at a lower range, from 30 – 60 minutes and maybe up to 2 hours. The end result is a thinner liquid with much less body that does not jell. It can be seasoned and sipped on as is or can be used in most soups and sauces, while adding mild chicken flavor.
  • Truth be told, chicken broth is my least favorite of the three I describe here and I rarely use it. The only time I think I use chicken broth is when I have made poached chicken and retained the cooking liquid (broth) so as to not waste it.

To substitute stock for broth in recipes, simply dilute stock with a little water.

Chicken Bone Broth

  • Chicken bone broth is very much like stock in that it is the end product of chicken bones (that may or may not have meat attached) cooked in water. Veggies and aromatics may be thrown in to boost taste.
  • Bone broth is cooked much longer than both broth and stock – for as little as 12 hours to 24 hours or more! Additionally, an acid (apple cider vinegar is most common) is always added to the water to help extract more collagen, amino acids, and multiple nutritious compounds from the bones and connective tissues. 
  • The longer it cooks the more nutritious it will be as more and more vitamins and minerals are pulled out of the bones and connective tissues into the liquid. Usually the bones will break or crumble easily in the end. That’s some fun food science there! 🤓

6 Reasons Why YOU Should Make Gluten Free Chicken Stock

With some chicken scraps from previously cooked meals, a few vegetables, and some aromatics, it’s just amazing HOW MUCH FLAVOR & TEXTURE infuses into plain old water through the process of cooking! 

And while there’s very LITTLE EFFORT from the cook, the stock can be USED IN SO MANY FOODS!

1. Just Taste the Difference

I really wish I could make I made the time to make chicken stock every month, because when I run out, those recipes I love to use it in just don’t shine as brightly. 

It’s true – once you use your own homemade stock in your favorite recipes, you really don’t want to settle for the boxed varieties or make it from bouillon or base anymore.

Making your own gluten free chicken stock is an easy way to make ordinary foods taste marvelous! Homemade stock is a delicious foundation in nearly any recipe calling for stock or broth (in my opinion). There are a few exceptions. 

But it’s not just the flavor! When cooked long enough, homemade stock has a luxurious texture. The collagen that exudes from the bones and connective tissues creates a lovely velvety mouthfeel! Kinda like a great quality wine! 😄

That being said, you should know that there are two different types of stock: brown and white. They have their uses and the color has nothing to do with whether the bones came from dark meat or from white meat chicken!

Brown vs. White Chicken Stock

My recipe is a brown stock. 

It uses bones that have already been cooked – usually roasted or grilled or sometimes from a rotisserie chicken in my house. Some bits of meat usually come along with the bone. As such, this stock is opaque and has a deep golden color. 

Brown stock has a nice roasted chicken flavor that is really complex, too, giving the dishes it’s used in a big chicken flavor. But if you don’t want that big flavor, simply dilute with a little water.

A white stock utilizes raw bones and usually has raw meat still attached. When these bones are simmered, the stock is more translucent and has a lighter color and a lighter flavor. 

Because it’s not heavy on the roasty chicken flavors that browned bones contribute to stock, a white chicken stock may be used more easily in some ethnic cuisine recipes and in seafood dishes.

2. Is Chicken Stock Gluten Free? Is Chicken Broth Gluten Free? 

Sometimes YES and sometimes NO. It can be difficult to consistently find gluten free chicken stock or broth in grocery stores. I find that most varieties of chicken base or bouillon are not gluten free either. 

Common gluten-containing ingredients that could be lurking in pre-packaged chicken broth, stock, bouillon, or base may include food starch, (autolyzed) yeast extract, Brewers yeast, wheat, etc, 

In addition, some products not labeled gluten free that also may not contain obvious gluten-containing ingredients may be processed in a facility or on a machine that also processes wheat or other gluten-containing ingredients.

CAUTION: Don’t unintentionally get someone “glutened” by thoughtfully serving them a wonderful gluten free recipe but accidentally using stock or broth in it that was NOT gluten free!

I was so disappointed when I found out the answer to a burning question once my husband was diagnosed with celiac disease: “Is Better than Bouillon gluten free?” 

NO! It’s not. 😟  Ugh! 

Back in the day, that was my chicken base of choice when I didn’t have homemade chicken stock on hand. And at the time of his diagnosis, I had a few homemade soups in the freezer made with that soup base…that he could now NOT eat. 

3. Sustainable Practice

I use chicken bones from previous meals to make my chicken stock. We love whole roasted chicken, bone-in split chicken breasts, barbecued chicken, and in a crunch – Costco rotisserie chicken. 

I have even been known to ASK family and friends for bones they might just throw away. 

“Do you want that bone from the Christmas ham or can I take it to make soup?” 

“That turkey carcass would make great turkey stock. Do you mind if I take it?”

“What are you going to do with those leftover spare rib bones?”

When you use bones from a chicken you’ve already eaten, you get as much out of your purchase as possible. That’s sustainable cooking right there! It’s all part of reducing my impact on God’s great Earth.

Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle to decrease food waste! It just takes a little intentionality and some planning ahead.

If you open my freezer you will almost always find some chicken bones in a large resealable bag. And yes, you may find a ham bone and sometimes even pork rib bones in a different bag, too. Hello risotto! 

Using saved bone scraps produces the most luxurious complex stock!

But do NOTE: to make chicken stock gluten free from previously cooked chicken bones/carcass it is NECESSARY to make sure that those bones came from gluten free recipes!

AND, if you are really on top of things, you can even freeze your veggie scraps for use in making chicken stock. Yep! Just be sure they were properly washed first before freezing.

  • Veggie scraps to keep could be any of the following:
  • Onion and garlic peels
  • Ends from leeks and green onions
  • Carrot stems and peelings
  • Trimmed celery pieces 
  • Mushroom trimmings
  • Parsley stems

4. Low Cost & 5. Just So Simple!

The cost and effort of making your own stock from scraps is literally little to none. Plus you do not have to buy stock to use in recipes.

Did You Know…?

When you purchase pre-made stock or broth, there really isn’t much difference between the two products.
The stock might have some more flavor than broth, but purchased stock doesn’t jell like a made-from-scratch chicken stock. 

Some bones may have been used to make that pre-made chicken stock, but not enough to make it much different from broth. 

So why bother buying the boxed or canned stuff?

Still Not Sure What to Do with Chicken Stock?

Chicken stock is so versatile. It can be used in a variety of courses from soups to main dishes to sides and condiments. 

And because this recipe is gluten free, having it on hand ensures that the final product it’s used in won’t accidentally get glutened by something as simple as stock.

gluten free chicken noodle soup bowl in snow
Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup

Use stock in soups, stews, and casseroles
To deglaze pans and to make roux, gravies, and sauces
To make risotto, rice, and quinoa
And to cook vegetables and meats.

2 white bowls of gluten free tomato soup garnished with grated Romano cheese, fresh basil leaves, and cracked black pepper on sheet pan with spoons in the background on white and blue towel
Gluten Free Tomato Soup

6. Better Nutrition  

When you make food yourself, you have more control over what goes into your body. My recipe contains less sodium than many pre-packaged chicken stocks and broths (and you could omit the salt entirely). 

Homemade chicken stock contains many nutrients and is overall more nutritious than most stocks and broths available on the market. As a result, all the foods you use it in will be more nutritious as well! Win-WIN!

See “Nutrition Benefits” section below to read more about the nutrition of chicken stock made from scratch.

What Do I Need to Make Chicken Stock Gluten Free?

For complete step-by-step instructions to make gluten free chicken stock, see the recipe card below. 

I’ve compiled a list of the ingredients and kitchen tools you’ll need to make this must-have kitchen staple.

Ingredients Needed for Easy Gluten Free Chicken Stock

Gluten free chicken stock ingredients on white cutting board on gray granite counter clockwise from top: chopped celery, halved garlic, and seasonings, chopped carrots, ground black pepper and bay leaf, cooked chicken bones in gallon size resealable bag and chopped onions in the center.
  • Olive Oil, Celery, and Carrots – the classic aromatic mirepoix, sautéing these veggies adds a depth of flavor and a velvety texture not to be skipped in homemade brown chicken stock.
  • Garlic Cloves, halved – no need to mince! Garlic adds another layer of flavor that marries well with the roasty chicken flavors. Because it cooks so long in the liquid, the flavors are not pungent but earthy, somewhat nutty, and mellow.
  • Chicken Bones & Scraps (from previously cooked gluten-free chicken) – the star of the stock show! Any bit of bone or connective tissue from a previous gluten free chicken dish should be saved for this stock recipe. Those scraps are a gold mine ready to produce full-bodied textures and exquisite savory chicken flavors with nutritious collagen benefits!

Plan ahead and SAVE BONES in your freezer. There’s a lot of flavor left in those bones!

  • Water, Dried Herbs, Kosher Salt & Black Peppercorns, Bay Leaf & Fresh Parsley – small amounts of common pantry staples add depth to further enhance the rich chicken flavor. *See Ingredient Note below.
    • It is very important to note that not all spices are prepared in facilities that are gluten free. Be sure to check the label and/or contact the manufacturer! See *Ingredient note below!
    • *Ingredient Note: I like using spices and seasonings from The Spice House. All of the seasonings and spices used in this gluten free stock recipe do not contain gluten, like the majority of their products. YAY! Refer to The Spice House Ingredient & Allergy Information page for more information.
  • Cider Vinegar – A little bit of acid goes a long way with zero flavor. It helps to release collagen and other nutrients from the bone and connective tissues, creating a rich stock with more body and more nutrition.

Equipment Used to Make Stock

  • Large Stock Potto cook the chicken stock
  • Long-Handled Spoon – to stir stock
  • Large Fine Mesh Strainer with handle – to strain tiny ingredient particles from stock
  • 2-Quart Colander with Handle – to strain larger ingredient particles and bones/scraps from stock
  • Tongs to remove large and small bones from stock

How To Make Chicken Stock From Scraps

Before you set out to make stock, you have to mindfully stockpile chicken bones from previously cooked gluten free chicken. Save some veggie scraps, too! Just place them in a resealable bag and give it a home in your freezer. One for the chicken scraps and one for the veggies.

Then when you have enough scraps and a few hours to let stock cook on the stove…

  1. Sauté onions, celery, and carrots in olive oil in a large stockpot until browned and cook garlic for a bit.
  2. Add gluten free chicken bones/scraps to the pot and add water.
  3. Fill with enough water to completely cover, bring to a boil, and add aromatics and remaining ingredients.
  4. Allow to simmer uncovered for 2-3 hours.
  5. Take the stock pot off the heat and remove bones with tongs to a mesh strainer/colander  combo that’s set in a large bowl. Discard contents from the strainer as it fills.
  6. Carefully pour warm stock and all remaining contents from the pot through the strainer/colander combo.
  7. Stir liquid before pouring into airtight freezer-safe containers (not pictured). Or freeze into cubes using ice cube trays!

NOTE: The numbered steps above correspond to the numbered stock-making process pictures shown below.

6-step process image - 1. top left: sauteed onions, celery and carrots in stock pot topped with halved garlic.
2. top right: sauteéd veggies topped with pre-cooked chicken bones and some water in stock pot. 3. middle left: stock pot of chicken stock cooking. 4 middle right: stock pot of cooked brown chicken stock. 5. bottom left: colander filled with chicken bones with stock pot of cooked brown chicken stock to right. 6. bottom right: 2 quart glass measuring cup filled with cooked brown chicken stock with empty stock pot to right.

After cooling strained chicken stock at room temperature, place uncovered stock in the refrigerator until set and fat has risen to the top. Skim the solidified fat from the surface with a spoon and discard. Refrigerate or freeze homemade stock for future use.

3 Phases of Freshly Made Chicken Stock with top view of 3 vertically-lined up quart-sized containers - Left: hot cooked & strained stock, Center: chilled (middle skimmed) Right: chilled & fat layer skimmed

Nutrition Benefits of Chicken Stock

Research surrounding the nutritional content of chicken stock is still emerging, especially with the recent increased hype of its sibling, bone broth. What we do know is that cooking bones and connective tissues used to make chicken stock yields a nutrient-rich liquid that has been linked to many health benefits.

  1. Most animal bones are like ours – rich in calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and other trace minerals – all nutrients that give structure and help to keep our own bones strong. 
  1. It’s not a coincidence that the cartilage and connective tissues in animals produce the compounds glucosamine and chondroitin – nutrients sought after in common supplements to keep our own joints healthy and limber.
  1. Bone, marrow, and connective tissue all contain the protein collagen which is released during cooking. Collagen becomes gelatin, a characteric of high-quality stock and bone broth.
  1. The vegetables and aromatics in this chicken stock recipe also contribute antioxidants, including vitamin C.

Studies have shown that amino acids and other nutrients that are released into stock may help to protect the digestive system, reduce inflammation, assist in joint health, help to relieve osteoarthritis, and even improve sleep.

In comparison, because chicken stock is cooked longer than basic chicken broth, it contains more amino acids and protein and significantly more vitamins and minerals. Stock is overall more nutritious than basic broth.

While stock is recognized as a nutritious cooking liquid, it’s not possible to know exact amounts of each nutrient in stock without taking each batch to the lab. Each batch of bones is different.

Recipe FAQ for Chicken Stock (Gluten Free)

Here are some common questions you may ask as you prepare this recipe:

Can I Make Chicken Stock in the Crockpot Instead of on the Stovetop?

Yes! I still recommend following the directions to sauté the veggies on the stove first. You don’t want the final stock to be without that layer of big flavors from that simple step. 

Just transfer the sautéd veggies to the slow cooker after they’ve browned. 
Place the remaining ingredients in the Crockpot as directed in the recipe and cook on high for up to 3-4 hours. Strain and cool as directed in the recipe.

Can I Make Chicken Stock in the Instant Pot?

-If your Instant Pot capacity is 8-quart or larger: Use all ingredients as directed. BUT add enough water just to barely cover the bones and do not exceed the “max fill line.” It’s OK if some bones are sticking out!

-If your Instant Pot capacity is smaller than the 8-quarts: You likely will need to reduce the amount of bones, water (and perhaps other ingredients slightly) called for in the recipe. Do not overfill the Instant Pot and exceed the “max fill line.”

NOTE: Because there is no evaporation in a pressure cooker, all liquid stays inside and the end product is not as concentrated. After making my stock in the Instant Pot for the first time, the flavor was not as intense and a bit less impressive as my stove-top version. 

-As such, I recommend returning the strained liquid to the Instant Pot and simmer on low for 25-30 minutes to reduce it slightly (see step 8 below). Reducing it allows the robust flavors to return, meeting my taste bud standards!

To Make Chicken Stock Gluten Free in the Instant Pot:

1. Sauté veggies as directed in recipe on low. Add a couple teaspoons of water to prevent scorching if needed. IF YOU HAVE a metal strainer insert made especially for the Instant Pot, use a spatula scraper to scrape the mixture out into a dish and set aside briefly. Otherwise SKIP to step 4 below.

2. If you have one: place the metal strainer insert for easy clean-up. You do not HAVE to have one for this recipe. (I do not yet!)

3. Place sauteéd veggies into the bottom of the strainer insert if using.

4. Place all other ingredients into the Instant Pot as directed in recipe. Do not exceed the “max-fill line.”

5. Place lid on Instant Pot, ensuring that the quick release button is set to the “sealing” position.

6. Cook on high pressure for 40-45 minutes. At the end of cooking time, allow for natural release of pressure for 30 minutes. Then turn the quick release button to the “venting” position to release remaining pressure.

7. If using the metal strainer insert, carefully lift it up out of the cooked stock, and just place it in the large bowl you will use to strain the stock with a fine mesh strainer. Allow to drip  for 4-5 minutes, then discard solids. Pour what liquid seeped out into the bowl back into the Instant Pot.

8. Meanwhile, select the “sauté” function on the Instant Pot and simmer stock for 25-30 minutes to reduce it slightly. Turn off the heat and allow it to sit a few minutes or until it is not too hot to handle.

9. Carefully strain the stock as directed through the fine mesh strainer/colander set and cool as directed in the recipe.

How Should I Store Freshly Made Chicken Stock?

For QUICK Stock Access of Small Portions: Simply stir freshly made stock and pour into ice cube trays or into ½ cup freezer-safe containers. Use these smaller portions to deglaze pans and to make flavor-rich sauces for quick pasta dishes.

For LARGER Quantity Stock Uses:
Stir stock before pouring into airtight (freezer-safe if you intend to freeze) containers leaving at least 1-inch headspace. Allow stock to cool at room temperature for a bit; place uncovered stock in the refrigerator until set and fat has risen to the top. 

Skim the solidified fat from the surface with a spoon and discard. Cover and refrigerate for up to 7 days.
Dietitian Pro Tip: For Simple Removal - Use a soup spoon to easily skim fat from the top of chilled stock, scrape into a double layer of paper towel, and toss in the garbage.

To Freeze: Follow directions above to store. Once the fat layer has been discarded, ensure there is at least 1-inch headspace to allow for expansion during freezing. Cover chilled and skimmed stock and freeze for up to 12 months.

To Thaw: Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or microwave uncovered on 40-50% power until mostly thawed.

Freshly made gluten free chicken stock lined up horizontally in three tall containers on wooden background with white towel to the side

Gluten Free Chicken Stock Recipe

Add rich robust flavor to WOW scores of dishes by making delicious chicken stock gluten free – it’s easy too! Layer luscious dramatic flavor to not only soups and stews, but also to gravies, sauces, grains, meats and vegetables.
5 from 1 vote
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Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Diet: Gluten Free
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes
Servings: 11 cups

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp olive oil extra virgin
  • 2 medium onions coarsely chopped
  • 2 stalks celery coarsely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots coarsely chopped
  • 1/2 head garlic cloves halved
  • 2 pounds chicken bones/scraps from previously cooked gluten free chicken
  • 12 cups water + 1 cup more (if needed)
  • 1/2 tsp dried thyme
  • 1/2 tsp dried basil
  • 1 1/2 tsp Kosher salt
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns freshly cracked
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4-5 sprigs fresh parsley (or 1/2 tsp dried parsley)
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (or white vinegar)

Instructions

  • Heat the olive oil in a large stock pot oven over medium heat. Add the onions, celery, and carrots and cook and stir often until lightly browned. Add halved garlic and sauté a couple more minutes. If the veggies begin to scorch, just add a bit of water and scrape up all the bits.
  • Add the gluten free chicken bones and scraps to the pot, and pour in water to just cover the bones. Bring to a boil; stir in thyme, basil, kosher salt, peppercorns, bay leaf, fresh parsley, and vinegar.
  • Reduce heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 2 – 2 1/2 hours. Add up to 1-1 1/2 cups water (if necessary*) to keep bones covered most the time.
  • Once cooking time has been reached, remove stock pot from heat. Place a fine mesh strainer over a large bowl, pot, or large measuring cup with spout; place another colander inside the fine mesh strainer.
  • Using tongs, remove large and small bone pieces and discard. Carefully pour warm stock and remaining contents from the stockpot into the strainer/colander set. The stock will be cloudy and some seasoning components will remain in the liquid. Stir stock before pouring into airtight freezer-safe containers or freezing into cubes using ice cube trays.
  • Allow to cool at room temperature in containers; place uncovered stock in the refrigerator until set and fat has risen to the top. Skim the solidified fat from the surface with a spoon and discard.* Cover and refrigerate or freeze for future use.
  • Use stock in soups, stews, and casseroles, to deglaze pans and to make roux, gravies, and sauces, to replace water to make risotto, rice, and quinoa, and to braise vegetables and meats.

Notes

*Check labels to ensure they are gluten free. I use spices and seasoning from The Spice House: Dried Thyme, Dried Basil, Black Tellicherry Peppercorns, and Bay Leaf in this recipe.
*Adding More Water: The stock will reduce slightly; adding too much water will take away from the stock’s deep rich flavor.
*Skim & Discard Fat: I use a soup spoon to easily skim the fat from the top of the chilled stock, scrape it into a double layer of paper towel, and toss it in the garbage.
Cooking, Storage, Substitution and Serving Tips: Please see FAQ in blog post above for tips.
Nutrition: Nutrient contents listed below for this recipe are estimates and are not a guarantee as each batch of chicken bones may differ in nutritional content.

Your Own Notes

Video

Nutrition

Serving: 11cups | Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Sodium: 340mg | Potassium: 99mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 1921IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 1mg
Keyword: chicken stock, gluten free, gluten free chicken stock, Stock

Recommended Equipment

Large Stockpot
Fine Mesh Strainer
Colander
Tongs

Enjoy using this gluten free chicken stock in your recipes! When you make this stock recipe, please consider leaving a recipe rating and comment below! 😊

Try My Soup Recipes with this Chicken Stock Recipe!

Gluten Free Chicken Noodle Soup

Gluten Free Tomato Soup

Don’t forget to pin this post to save for later AND to share with others!

Freshly made gluten free chicken stock lined up in three tall containers on wooden background with white towel to the side

Tell me: What recipes do you use chicken stock in?

Julie Christensen

Julie Christensen, RD, LD is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian with over eleven years of experience in the field of dietetics, specializing in Wellness and Disease Prevention, Heart Health, Weight Management, and Celiac Disease. She holds a dual Bachelor of Science degree in Dietetics and Nutrition, Fitness, & Health as well as a Bachelor of Arts degree in Psychology and is a member of the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics.

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