Broth, Stock and Bone Broth are three terms that are used interchangeably, however, they do not necessarily mean the same thing. The reason why most people think they all refer to the same thing is that they use almost the same kind of ingredients but there are various other things that set them apart which we are going to look at in this article.
What is Broth?
Broth is made by simmering meat, onions, carrots, celery, and water for a short period of time. This could be anything between 30 minutes to 2 hours.
The main distinction here is that you will have to simmer meat that might contain bone, however, you would take out the bone if you wish. In the end, you will have a light liquid that doesn’t gel when cooled.
Broth can be used as a seasoning, mixed with stew, soup, braises, and sauces. It offers a number of health benefits due to the abundance of nutrients, however, its nutrient density can’t be compared to that of stock.
What is Stock?
Stock is made by simmering animal bones (which could contain some scraps of meat or left just bare) onions, carrots, celery and water for a short period of time. The cooking time for a stock is usually between 2 – 6 hours which is quite longer than that for broth. Stock is usually left unseasoned and does not gel when cooled.
The main distinction here is that you are using animal bones instead of meat. These bones would have some scraps of meat attached to them, however, that is not necessary as you would prepare your stock with bare bones. Stock can be used just like broth.
What is Bone Broth?
You can say that bone broth is well-simmered stock. Bone broth is made by simmering roasted animal bones (the bones can still have scraps of meat attached to them), vegetables, onion, celery, carrots, herbs, spices and water for a long period of time.
The main distinction is not in the addition of a lot of ingredients, it is actually in the cooking time. Bone broth is usually simmered between 8 – 24 hours with fishbone broth having the shortest cooking time of 8 hours. Bone broth usually ends up thicker and darker than the three due to the collagen that is liberated from the bones.
Another distinction is that bone broth gels when cooled due to the presence of gelatin (a substance in collagen).
Compared to all three, bone broth has the most nutrients due to its long cooking time. Apple cider vinegar is usually added to bone broths to make it easier for the nutrients to be liberated from the bones into the broth.
Similarities and Difference Between Broth, Bone Broth and Stock
Going by the definitions above, you will see that similar ingredients are used in cooking all three of them, however, bone broth has a lot more ingredient including the ever-important apple cider vinegar.
The major difference between all three is the cooking time
- Broth simmers for less than 2 hours
- Stock simmers between 2 – 6 hours
- Bone Broth simmers between 8 – 48 hours
The cooking time for bone broth usually depends on the type of bone. Fishbone broth simmers for less than 8 hours while the chicken bone broth simmers for up to 24 hours. Beef bone broth, on the other hand, could simmer from anywhere between 24 – 48 hours. The long preparation time is essential to making the perfect bone broth.
Bone Broth Vs Stock: Benefits
Although bone broth is essentially stock, it does have more health benefits due to the presence of many nutrients in the broth. Simmering the bones for more than 8 hours is enough time to release beneficial amino acids in the bone. These amino acids which include proline, glutamine, and glycine offer various health benefits that make many people refer to bone broth as the new green tea.
There are also various minerals including magnesium, calcium, potassium, and phosphorus that are present in bone broth. Although you can find many of these minerals and nutrients in stock, you will find many more in bone broth and gain more health benefits by drinking the broth.
Benefits of Drinking Broth
- Bone broth improves bone and joint health due to the presence of nutrients and minerals like glycosaminoglycans, collagen, calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus.
- Bone broth eases digestion due to the effects of gelatin in the gut.
- Bone broth promotes healthy skin due to the presence of nutrients like collagen which work to maintain skin elasticity and clear out wrinkles.
- Bone broth supports the immune system due to the presence of nutrients like arginine.
- Bone broth promotes detoxification due to the action of nutrients like glycine which assist the body in the removing toxins and excess methionine
- Bone broth boosts energy and performance.
How to Make Chicken Broth
If you desire to make broth, you can follow the basic chicken broth recipe below.
- Chicken meat (bones pieces can be included)
- Bay Leaf
Note: the amount you use will depend on your preferences. However, the more pounds of meat you use in making the broth, the more the number of vegetables, spices, and herbs you should add as they boost the flavor and nutritional value of the broth.
Place the meat and other ingredients in a stockpot and fill the pot with water till all the ingredients are completely submerged by the water.
Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the water to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer gently. Continue to add water to ensure that all the ingredients are completely submerged in water.
Allow the mixture to simmer for an hour or more (at most 2 hours). You can also turn off the heat whenever you feel that the chicken has been fully cooked. When done, add salt and pepper to boost the taste.
Remove the meat and every other ingredient, then drain the broth through a strainer into a bowl. Remove every solid in the broth until only the liquid is left. Then divide the broth into smaller containers and store in the refrigerator or freezer.
Note: This recipe can be used to make beef broth or any other kind of broth
How to Make Chicken Stock
The chicken stock recipe below should guide you on how to make the perfect stock. You can also use the recipe to make other kinds of stock including beef stock.
- Chicken bones (you can use either bare bones or bones with bits of meat attached to them)
- Bay Leaf
- Cut or break the chicken bones into sizable pieces so that they fit into your pot, then add the other ingredients into the pot and fill it with water till all the ingredients including the bone are completely submerged by the water.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and bring the water to a boil. Then turn the heat down to medium-low and allow the mixture to simmer gently. Continue to add water to ensure that all the ingredients are completely covered.
- Allow the mixture to simmer for 6 – 8 hours and skim any foam that rises to the top.
- When done, drain the stock through a strainer and remove every solid particle until only the liquid stock is left.
- Pour the stock into several containers and store in the refrigerator or freezer
How to Make Chicken Bone Broth
Every chicken bone broth recipe has several similarities with the chicken stock recipe. The major distinction between them is the cooking time. This recipe can be used to prepare any type of bone broth, however, you should note that the cooking time for several bones types differs.
Fishbone broth should be allowed to simmer for at most 8 hours while chicken, beef, venison, bison, duck, turkey, and rabbit bone broths can be simmered for at least 24 hours.
- Chicken bones (bones of the neck, feet, wings, and back make for the best bone broth)
- Bay Leaf
- Apple cider vinegar
- Preheat the oven to 400F
- Place the chicken bones in a baking tray and then place the tray in the oven. Allow them to roast for 30 minutes then flip the bones and allow it to roast for another 30 minutes (the roasting helps to boost the flavor of the broth).
- Place the roasted bones in a large pot and fill the pot with water. Add apple cider vinegar and allow the mixture to sit for 30 minutes. Apple cider vinegar makes it easier for the nutrients in the bone to be liberated into the broth.
- Add the other ingredients and make sure the water level is above the ingredients.
- Turn the heat to medium-high and allow the water to boil.
- When the water starts to boil, turn down the heat to a medium-low and allow it to simmer gently.
- Within the first 2 hours, watch out for any foam that rises to the top and scoop it off with a spoon.
- Cover the lid of the pot and allow it to simmer for at least 24 hours.
- When done, turn off the heat and strain the broth through a sieve till the liquid is completely separated from the solids.
- Pour the liquid broth into several containers and allow it to cool before storing in the refrigerator or freezer.
When ready to serve, skim the layer of fat that forms at the top and reheat before serving.
The differences between broth, stock, and bone broth are small which is why the terms can be used interchangeably, however, each offers different benefits due to the varying densities of nutrients in them.
Nevertheless, all three can be used for the same purposes regardless of their preparation method and abundance of nutrients.