Healthy and EASY Homemade Chicken Broth in the Slow Cooker

Aug 3
Written By Kenna Kanneberg

If you’re anything like I was, the idea of cooking a whole chicken is kind of intimidating. I grew up, like most, buying boneless, skinless chicken breasts from the grocery store and using them to cook any chicken recipe I wanted. So when I was beginning to look for more local options to source my food from, I was a little nervous to see that I would have to learn how to cook a whole chicken.

You could imagine my surprise when I unwrapped my first whole chicken that we bought from a local farmer and there was a neck still attached! What was I supposed to do with this whole chicken? Well, it’s not difficult to find a yummy recipe online for ways to roast a whole chicken in the oven, or cook it on the grill ( I hope to share several of our family favorites on this blog). However, I felt like I was wasting so much of the bird that I was paying for by the pound!

If you remember me mentioning in my blog 4 Books that Changed the Way We Eat (and Live!), we were also diving into eating more whole foods. One of the ways that I could make the most of my purchase and avoid buying another food from the grocery store was to use the parts of the whole chicken that I don’t eat (i.e. the bones, cartilage, and neck) to make a chicken broth! This recipe was adapted from the 100 Days of Real Food cookbook by Lisa Leake, and I use it every time I make a chicken.

There are some serious benefits to making your own broth:

  • Saving money $$

  • Knowing what’s in the food you’re feeding your family

  • Controlling the amount of sodium in the broth you create

  • Getting a double use of your whole chicken

  • Never having to buy broth from the store again

  • Getting the nutrient dense broth from a chicken you know is healthy!

  • You can do it all in the slow cooker - set it up and leave it for 12-24 hours!

I rarely need broth the day after making a chicken, but this recipe freezes beautifully! I usually freeze it in glass jars. When freezing in glass, make sure that you leave ½”-1” of space at the top so that when the liquid expands your jar doesn’t crack! Make sure to freeze it after you’ve let the broth cool in the fridge, as well.

If you don’t have time to make the broth today, freeze the parts of the chicken that you won’t eat (bones, neck, cartilage, etc) and make it later! The more chicken you add to the slow cooker, the more flavorful the broth! I also like to freeze the parts of the veggies I don’t use to add to the broth. For example, if I cut off the tops of carrots or celery, I will throw them in the freezer in a container until I am ready to make a broth. Then, I don’t even have to cut anything up to flavor the broth - I can just put it all in the slow cooker with the chicken, add water and spices and let it cook!

Without further ado, here’s the recipe:

Slow Cooker Chicken Broth


  • Leftovers from 1 (or more) whole chickens (bones, neck, cartilage, etc.)

  • 1 onion, cut in quarters

  • Veggies (celery, carrots, mushrooms, radishes - whatever you have on hand)

  • A splash of apple cider vinegar

  • Herbs (I like thyme and parsley)

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt (optional - I like to add it to the recipe I’m using the stock in to control the saltiness)

  • Water


  1. Place the chicken, onion, veggies, herbs and bay leaf into the slow cooker. Add a splash of apple cider vinegar.

  2. Fill the slow cooker up with water so that it is about ½” from the top.

  3. Cook on LOW for 12-24 hours.

  4. Let cool enough so you don’t burn yourself. Strain the veggies and meat out of the broth using a colander.

  5. Ladle into jars, leaving 1” headspace at the top. Let cool on the counter before moving to the fridge.

  6. Once cooled in the fridge, you can use the broth within 3-4 days or freeze and use within 2-3 months.


  • The possibilities with this broth are endless. Just vary the spices and veggies to make different types of broths. I currently have a Mexican Chicken Broth in the fridge from when I made Slow Cooker Salsa Chicken. I could also see a Moroccan Chicken base being really good in a Chickpea Soup! Let us know how you use your creativity to make some yummy kitchen concoctions!

Thanks for reading!

Your Farmer,