Pimp Your Broth: 6 Tips To Take Your Broth From Good to Great

as it sets, a thick layer of congealed fat forms...tasty

as it sets, a thick layer of congealed fat forms…tasty

If you’re a member of the Weston A Price or Paleo/Primal movements (jeez, we foodies do love to label ourselves eh?!), then you’re probably familiar with the concept of bone broth as a superfood.

Both camps advocate regular consumption because it turns out that sticking animal bones in a pot and boiling them for umpteen hours results in a nourishing tonic full of gelatin, calcium, magnesium and other essential minerals.

Every Sunday we roast a chicken and the carcass goes into the pot. Twelve hours later (you can simmer your broth for up to 48 hours if you so wish) it’s a bubbling, aromatic, dark brown nectar.

I make about a gallon of the stuff a week so hubs and I can have at least a cup a day

I make about a gallon of the stuff a week so hubs and I can have at least a cup a day

If you’re shrugging your shoulders about now and thinking “huh, big deal” then fair enough, you know how to make broth.

(If you don’t and you want some good recipes check here, here or here)

But I want to share a few words of wisdom on how to take your broth to the next level.

Those little added touches you might not have tried that will help make it tastier and healthier.

this is breakfast in our house

this is breakfast in our house

1. Add some cloves.

I toss a few of these in along with some black peppercorns and the result is a spicy, flavourful broth with an extra kick. Also cloves are antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and great for the immune system. If you think you’re getting the latest cold/flu bug then cloves in your broth are a must.

2. Sprinkle in seaweed.

I made fish broth once. It stank and tasted foul. However it was so full of healthy iodine and extremely good for the thyroid that I forced myself to choke it down.


I boiled these babies, eyes and all

While it’ll be a cold day in hell before I boil up some dead fish again, I still want that iodine kick so I get it by adding edible seaweed to my chicken broth. I add a few strips of dried dulse (kelp would also be a good choice) to the bones right at the start, before it comes to a boil, and let the weed do its thing.

You might not be able to taste it but your thyroid knows it’s there, and is thanking you.

3. Vinegar is vital

….if you want maximum nutrition from your stock. This is because vinegar helps leach out minerals from the bones. I use about two tbsps per gallon of broth. Any vinegar will do so choose your favourite. I usually go for apple cider vinegar but you could experiment with balsamic or even red wine vinegar. Apparently plain white vinegar results in a bitter broth so perhaps stay away from that one.

4. Dem bones

While my chicken roasting always happens on a Sunday (what can I say? I’m a Type A creature of habit), we will occasionally have some thighs or drumsticks during the week.

last Sunday's chicken

last Sunday’s masala chicken

When we do, I simply freeze the leftover bones and, when Sunday rolls around, toss them in the pot along with the more recent carcass. The more bones, the better your broth because more bones mean more gelatin, more minerals and more glucosamine so don’t let any go to waste. Your body needs them!

5. Mix it up

Your broth can be a great opportunity to mix it up with some interesting flavour combos. Although lamb is not my favourite meat (it’s a bit too gamey for a recovering vegetarian), we had some good quality New Zealand stuff in the freezer that I dug out one night and made into a delicious herby roast.

like this!

eh voila, the herby roast

Afterwards the bones went into the pot for broth. To take the edge off and make the resulting broth more palatable, I threw a tbsp of dried rosemary leaves in there too. It worked. Other pairings that I’ve had great success with are chicken bones and fresh tarragon and chicken with cilantro leaves. Have a favourite herb? Throw it in.

6. Go heavy on the garlic and onions

This is especially pertinent if you’re making your broth to ward off the cold/flu as garlic and onion are legendary immune system boosters. I use at least two large white onions in my broth and pretty much a whole bulb of garlic. You don’t need to worry about peeling it carefully. I usually just score the sides of the bulb, smash it a bit and chuck it in.

Weigh in: Everyone has their own way of making their broth, if you’re a veteran of the art please share your tips in the comments. If you’re not on the broth train yet, why not? Join us!

This post was also shared at Party Wave WednesdayReal Food Wednesday and Fresh Bites Friday.

36 thoughts on “Pimp Your Broth: 6 Tips To Take Your Broth From Good to Great

  1. Broth is made with meat, stock is made with bones. I make my own stock often, nothing can beat home-made stock. I also use plenty of onions and garlic, but I bump it up to three bulbs. I just cut them in half and toss them in. I also always put in celery and carrots. When I have it, I try to put in about an inch of fresh ginger cut in half. A turnip or rutabaga is great too! I’m going to try the vinegar tip. I try to always have some stock on hand. I use it in my cooking, especially in making braised kale with onions and bacon.

  2. I made chicken broth, then froze it in jars. I took one out to thaw in the fridge, and it has a tiny rim of white fat on top, then a layer about halfway down that’s… sludgy looking… then the bottom half of the jar is clear yellowish. I don’t know if I did it wrong or what? I poured the broth through a wire strainer before I stored it – should I shake it up? Or try to separate the clear from the opaque? HELP ME. I have six jars of this stuff. 🙂

    • It’s fine, just separated. 🙂 As soon as you heat it up it will come back together. You could get rid of the white part at the top if you wanted, it’s just fat, but everything is good!

    • As others have said Abbey, it’s nothing to worry about it – the broth will separate as it cools, mine gets a thick white layer of fat on top too! It’s actually a good sign as it means there’s lots of gelatin in your stock. You can either use that fat in cooking or skim it off. I have taken to removing it based on this article from The Healthy Home Economist who says chicken fat is quite high in polyunsaturated fats (when compared to other traditional fats).
      Here’s another article on why stock separates, hope that helps, Cat

  3. So dead chickens are okay? Just saying. It’s not a very nice image for those of us who eat fish broth, especially if that’s our only option for broth when grassfed dead meats are not available.

    • I’m not keen on anything dead to be honest (perils of being an ex veggie) but I’m getting better. As for the fish corpses, I think it’s the eyes. They freak me out. However that’s just my own hang-up, I think fish broth is one of the healthiest things you can eat/drink and I’d like to get more of it in my diet.

  4. Cat, these are fantastic suggestions! I have fallen off the broth-making train but a few friends have been sick recently, so it’s clearly time for a little homemade broth and chicken no-noodle soup. I love the idea of adding cloves. Thanks for the tips!


  5. Being that we live in Albania, we eat lamb and mutton. I make a bone broth as you’ve said, than keep in the frig. Pour out what I’m going to eat and add whatever I find in the frig to make my soup. Something new every time! Green onions, squash, eggplant, tomato, pepper, cabbage, if you only have one lil’ squash perfect.

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  7. I totally agree about the fish broth. I cook it on the 3 season porch, in the crock pot, winter and summer, because my family pretty much gags when I do it inside. The resulting soup is absolutely delicious when you add the umami factor. I use the Thai brand fish sauce and red curry paste, and add spices fish meat and vegetables to taste. I follow the healthyhomeeconomist recipe for making the broth. I live in the Midwest so it is very hard to source the appropriate fish heads!

  8. I want to add I have gotten very adventurous with my bone broths. I have used fish, chicken, beef, goat, lamb, deer, rabbit, turkey, and duck. I have used chicken feet and fish heads. I believe bone broth soup made with the meat (or egg yolks) and vegetables is one of the most delicious healing foods available for us. I eat it almost every morning for breakfast and often for lunch, too. Try it, you’ll like it!

  9. I have made broth a few times, but not once has it gelled like it is supposed to! Rather frustrating. Any ideas?

    • Hi Poppins, I feel your pain – when it doesn’t go right, it seems like a waste of good, meaty, health-giving bones. Have a look at this article, it’s got some great pointers specifically about that problem. G’luck!

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