Basic Chicken Broth

Preparation info

  • Difficulty


  • Makes

    6 to 8 Cups

Appears in

It’s a pity to waste any of the flavor from meat or bones. That’s why broths are the cook’s best friend. And of all the broths, chicken broth is arguably the easiest to make and the most versatile. Many butchers sell chicken carcasses that have had the breasts and legs cut off but still have plenty of meat and flavor in them. You can also use whole pieces of chicken.

I always add aromatics—ginger, shallots, garlic—but sometimes omit one or another of them. I don’t season the broth until I am going to serve it, when I add salt and perhaps a dash of fish sauce, for extra depth of flavor.


  • 3 pounds chicken necks and wings, 1 large chicken carcass plus 1 pound wings, or 2 pounds chicken legs or breasts, rinsed
  • About 10 cups water
  • 3 slices ginger
  • 3 shallots, halved, or substitute 4 scallions, trimmed


Place the chicken in a large pot and add 10 cups water. Bring to a boil over high heat, and toss in the ginger and shallots or scallions. Partially cover the pot, reduce the heat to maintain a low boil, and cook for 1 hour. If the chicken is not completely immersed in the water, turn it from time to time; add another cup of water after 20 minutes if the level of water has dropped a great deal.

If using Legs and Breasts

Remove the chicken and strain the broth. Set the meat and broth aside to cool. When it is cool, pull the meat off the bones and slice or chop into bite-sized pieces. Use to make Chicken Salad, Burma Style or for another purpose.

If using Necks and Wings or a Chicken Carcass

Lower the heat and simmer for another 30 minutes, turning the meat and bones several times. Let cool, covered, for 20 minutes or so. Strain the broth and discard the solids.

Transfer the broth to a ceramic or glass container, cover, and refrigerate. Once cool, the broth can be skimmed of fat if you wish. It can be stored in well-sealed containers in the refrigerator for 3 days or in the freezer for up to a month.