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Basic Stock

Recipe Info

Difficulty: Easy
Mess Level: Low
Yield: 1 Gallon
Prep Time: 10 min
Cook Time: 4 hr



  • 1 ½ Gallons Cold Water


  • 1 lb Celery
  • 1 lb Carrots
  • 2 lbs Yellow Onion


  • 1 Bunch Parsley Stems
  • 2 Sprigs Fresh Thyme
  • 2 Bay Leaves
  • 2 Tablespoons Peppercorns



Note: For chicken stock add 1 chicken carcass or ½ lb of chicken bones.

Note: For beef stock smear two beef bones with tomato paste. Roast beef bones at 450 Fahrenheit until browned before adding them to the stock.

  1. Wash the vegetables and cut everything into pieces small enough to fit into a soup pot.
  2. Cover the vegetables with the cold water. Add the herbs/spices (you may tie them in a cheesecloth for easy removal if desired) and bring the mixture to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a very low simmer and cook, uncovered, for at least four hours. If using bones or anything with fat, skim the fat off the surface every 30 minutes or so and discard it.
  4. Strain the stock into a large bowl or container. Allow to cool completely and refrigerate for 1 week or freeze indefinitely in small portions. See details below on modifications and using scraps to make stock.

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Make It...

  1. Gluten Free: Yes! This dish is naturally gluten free.
  2. Vegan: Yes! This dish is naturally vegan.
  3. Instant Pot: Follow these steps to make it in an Instant Pot:

    1. Combine all ingredients in the instant pot and cover with cold water. Use the soup or broth button to cook. You may release the pressure manually or naturally. Strain, cool, and store as directed above. This method is perfect for vegetable stock. If you use bones or meat scraps you will have a cloudier stock due to the fat but the flavor will be excellent.
  4. Slow Cooker: Follow these steps if you want to make it in a Slow Cooker:

    1. Combine all ingredients in the instant pot and cover with cold water. Cook on low for at least 8 hours and up to 24. Strain, cool, and store as directed above. This method is perfect for vegetable stock. If you use bones or meat scraps you will have a cloudier stock due to the fat but the flavor will be excellent.
  5. Meal Prep: Follow these steps if you want to prep ahead of time:

    1. Complete this recipe all the way through. You may store the chilled stock in your fridge for up to a week, or freeze it in sealed containers.
    2. To save space, once you have strained out the vegetables, you may boil your stock until it is reduced by half. This will concentrate the flavor and take up less space in your fridge or freezer.

Savannah Says...

  1. What other vegetables can I use in stock?

    1. Mushrooms, leeks, scallions, chard and other hearty greens, bell pepper, green beans, asparagus, etc. The ends of these vegetables can be saved for stock as well. I usually keep scraps in a freezer bag.
  2. What should NOT go in a stock?

    1. Nothing cruciferous such as cabbage and cauliflower. Starchy items like potatoes are no good, and strongly flavored items such as garlic and fennel will overpower your stock so don’t use them unless you specifically want your broth to be that flavor. Avoid anything fatty as it will cloud your stock.
  3. What makes a stock cloudy?

    1. The cloudiness comes from fat being incorporated into the liquid. This is either from not skimming the fat off or letting the stock come to a roiling boil.
  4. Can I add salt to my stock?

    1. The idea behind a stock is that is is a blank canvas for anything and that salt will be added appropriately depending on the use. Therefore a traditional stock is never made with salt. What if you wanted to add soy sauce to a broth to make a soup? You couldn’t because you’d already added salt.
  5. What is the difference between stock, broth, and bone broth?

    1. Stock is made with bones, though a vegetable stock is still considered a stock. Broth is made from a carcass with meat still attached. Bone broth is actually a stock that is cooked for up to 3 days. The benefit is that it leaches extra nutrients out of the bones.

Ramblings of a Line Cook

Any restaurant worth its salt will constantly have a vat or pot going with stock, though adding salt to a stock would be treacherous. Vegetable ends are saved, carrots and onions go in by the pound, often left whole, as tilt kettles filled with 24 gallons of mirepoix and water are left at just below a boil overnight. A true testament that a kitchen is never really at rest.

A new batch of stock being started is a happy thing for the busy prep cooks. As they break down 5lb bags of mirepoix they can simply toss all their scraps into the stock going on the stove. Anytime someone walks by that stock they’d better take a second and skim off any fat. A cloudy stock leads to a cloudy sauce and an angry sous chef.

Fish stock is less exciting as the heads, fins, tails, and skeletons are roasted with onions and leeks and the aroma of cooked seafood wafts down the line all day and clings to your clothes and the hairs on the inside of your nose.

Vegetable stock is a necessary thing and oft used in complex recipes where enough flavor is being built that the absence of animal will not be as noticeable. Boom stock is made primarily with mushrooms, sometimes with nothing more.

Making stock is easy. Straining a stock is necessary, though tedious and dangerous. Reducing a stock saves space and concentrates flavor. A sip of stock can calm the stomach and the nerves before the dinner rush that you’re never quite prepared for. Once you’ve come into the habit of making stock at home, it is hard to go back.

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