How to Make Collagen Bone Broth

Collagen rich icky chicken parts

This is a recipe for insanely simple broth that I make one or two times per week. Bone broth contains the building blocks of connective tissue which needs to be strong if we are to prevent stretch marks, wrinkles, cellulite, dull hair, bad knees,  back pain…

Bone Broth is amazing!

Really, it does all that stuff. It’s a shame that Americans have taken to throwing out the bones (and collagen rich skin) and dully feasting on the dry ol’ chicken breast. Maybe, just maybe that’s why cellulite, wrinkles, and stretch marks plague the majority of American women these days. Well, it’s a bit more complicated than that, but the lack of collagen in the diet certainly plays a role.

If you’d like to read more about what the proline and the glycine and the gelatin all do for our bodies check out some articles the Weston Price Foundation has posted about bone broth.

Simple recipe for chicken bone broth:
1 or 2 lbs of chicken thighs
3 or 4 chicken feet
Couple chicken necks
Handful of chicken livers
Kelp powder (this is how I get my iodine)
Tbsp sea salt
Tbsp vinegar (Important! The acid pulls the minerals from the bones)
Herbs of your liking

Soup’s on!

You can (and should) add collards, spinach, or chard for more minerals. I like to add about 5 carrots but you can add pretty much any veggie you’ve got on hand to a soup  (except onions – ick). Cover the crock pot with water and cook on low for the day.

I buy free range chicken from my local health food store or farmers market but for the chicken parts such as gizzards, chicken feet, chicken backs and necks, and livers I stock up at US Wellness. Whole Foods doesn’t sell free range chicken to my knowledge, just organic chicken. Whatever good that is, I don’t know – no pesticides but still no sunshine, no worms, no grass, but lots of vegetarian feed! Oh right, that’s not what chickens are supposed to eat

Enjoy your new look with chicken broth! Here’s to your health!

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61 comments

  1. Ali March 20, 2012

    Do you eat the chicken thighs and veggies, or discard them once the broth is done?

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      I eat them for dinner, yes.

      Reply
      1. Rusty March 20, 2012

        Maybe a silly question….when you eat the chicken how do you separate the bones, feet etc that you dont want to eat from the the chicken/veggies you DO want to eat? Do you just do it manually by hand? Do you try to skim the large stuff?

        Reply
        1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

          Rusty,

          Everything stays perfectly in tact inside the soup. There aren’t pieces floating around of anything. Just pull out the feet and necks and pitch them. I pull out the thighs and let them cool for a bit. Then the meat just slides off the bone effortlessly.

          Reply
          1. Rusty March 21, 2012

            Ah! Cool! I can’t wait to try it. Thank you so much!

    2. Kim April 16, 2012

      So, beginner question…. once it has cooked on low for the day, do you strain the broth away from the bones and veggies? Or do the bones totally disintegrate, so to speak? I’m sure that sounds dumb to many, but I honestly don’t know!

      Reply
  2. Ruth March 20, 2012

    I’ve been making broth with my left-over chicken parts (I like to roast the whole chicken instead of deal with the individual parts) for my morning miso soup. The issue I’ve run into is I cook it all day on the stove, and then the smell really lingers in the apartment. It keeps me from wanting to do this on a more regular basis. Do crock pots do a better job containing the smell?

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      Interesting Ruth. I love the smell of chicken soup! I doubt a crock pot would change anything, maybe a pressure cooker would though. The smell of the soup is usually gone by the time we clean up the kitchen in the evening. I’ve never noticed it linger.

      Reply
  3. Ingrid March 20, 2012

    I realize this is a silly question but do you drink it by itself as a meal or with meals? And it’s just the liquid, right? About the wrinkles, they change literally daily depending on what I eat (or don’t eat). It’s a litmus test for how I’m doing with my diet (along with abdominal fat, and my mood). Thanks for the post as always – looking forward to your book. I feel vaguely stalker-ish about your book. No pressure;)

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      Well, this is just me but I have a great big bowl of soup for dinner and I like to have a cup of bone broth in the morning before breakfast, it’s that or a cup of tea. As for the changing of the wrinkles, I know what you mean! Same goes for me with all icky symptoms. They can come and go pretty quickly.

      Reply
    2. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      I can’t wait till I can give you a date for the book. I’m excited about it too! The completed manuscript is due to the publisher in two months. I’m guessing it’ll be out another 2 or 3 months after that.

      Reply
  4. lauren March 20, 2012

    Hi Peggy – Thanks for posting about bone broth! I love the stuff. While we’re on the topic of your book, is it going to include information on PCOS and diet? I am an acupuncturist specializing in fertility and pregnancy, and I always recommend a paleo/primal diet to PCOS patients but I have such a hard time finding resources and information for them in the scholarly literature. I would love it if your book could be a good resource that I could refer PCOS patients to! Thank you so much for all that you do, Peggy!

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      Hi Lauren,

      Because of my own battle with it I do actually have a section devoted to PCOS, although, since the book is more about pregnancy than about infertility, I don’t go into great detail. I think the book would be immensely helpful for women with PCOS anyway because it will give them someone with whom to sympathize and emulate – someone who has overcome it and become very fertile. All my tricks and research are detailed. Sometimes I wish I could write a book for every topic!

      Reply
  5. Chelo from healthyguts March 20, 2012

    So true about the wrinkle factor… I was being labeled for “some wrinkle free-maniac”… what they don’t know is that colagen rich broths are my thing ; ) f***K expensive lotions!

    P.S. they’ve helped with my old strech marks too. They look so much better now, almost seemless.

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      Yeah, you seriously do look like you’re about 18! But I don’t think there are any 18 year olds out there that speak six languages and have given birth to 4 kids, so I know you’re not. ;)

      Reply
  6. dani March 20, 2012

    Sweeet. I make bone broth but it’s kind of a pain in the ass because I only have a crappy old pot. What kind of crock pot do you use?

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      A cheap one from a cheap store. I think it’s called CrockPot. It works like a charm. :)

      Reply
  7. LizMc March 20, 2012

    Chicken bone broth is my favorite! The farmer I buy my feet from at the farmer’s market has started recommending the feet to people on the basis of my glowing reports of the amazing broth they make. It’s a huge shame more people aren’t aware of how awesome it is, but it also means more feet for me :)

    Reply
  8. Shan March 20, 2012

    It’s nice to read that you can actually improve old stretch marks! I’m kicking off a paleo challenge (for life, but I’m saying “30 days”) and I think I’ll make some of this tonight! I won’t be able to get online meat in time, so if I improvise with the best chicken available at the grocery store … is it still worthwhile?

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      Heck yeah, it’s still worth while! Cooped up grain fed chickens have a pretty high omega-6 fat content and they’re a lot fattier in general. There are definitely benefits to eating free range but the collagen will still be there even in the other stuff.

      Reply
      1. Shan March 21, 2012

        Made it! Woke up to a steaming crockpot full of your recipe. I improvised with other chicken parts because the store didn’t have feet and necks–but I told the butcher what I was making so he tried to give me suitable pieces. I had to substitute dried pieces of kelp for powder–the supplements section only had kelp capsules, but I found some dried kelp near the nori.

        Just slurped down a mug for brekkie. :) Thanks for sharing.

        Reply
  9. katie @KatieDid March 20, 2012

    any reason you avoid onions other than taste?? I;ve made a few bone broths and I love cooking it so far down and extracting enough nutrients to make it a gelatin.

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 20, 2012

      It’s a taste thing. My boyfriend always used to put green onions in the soup and it just ruined the flavor. I don’t like white onions in it either. Maybe they’re just too strong for my taste. A little fresh green onion on top with cilantro though is delicious!

      Reply
  10. Jade March 21, 2012

    Yum! I have two or three cups a day – sometimes simmered with chopped ginger, skins and all, which helps with water retention.

    I started adding various sea vegetables to the pot while reading up about the connection between iodine deficiency and PCOS. Why is it you add kelp powder instead of whole kelp, like kombu?

    About the smell – it does stick to my flat as well, especially if it’s beef broth. I find the best way to get rid of it is to boil a pot of cinnamon and vanilla in water for 20 or so minutes after the soup’s been put away. It’s a much more pleasant smell.

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 22, 2012

      Mmm, yum, ginger. I love ginger. Why kelp powder. Because I have some? Hahaha. Kombu sounds great though. I’ll add some of that next time!

      Reply
  11. Shan March 22, 2012

    Hey Peggy … I have a couple of questions: When reheating, do you stir the fat that has gathered on top back into the broth or skim it off? And, do you use tap water or filtered water?

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 22, 2012

      Hey Shan,

      I skim the fat off when it’s cold. If I were eating truly free rang chickens, I wouldn’t do this, but since “free range” actually means access to the outdoors with a good sized trough of corn nearby, the chicken fat will be higher in omega-6s. The only problem with that is that you might lose some fat soluble vitamins so I eat it once and then skim it once. Personal decision.

      I use spring water for everything. I like to avoid flouride.

      Reply
      1. Shan March 25, 2012

        Thank you for all of the responses! I am a kitchen novice. ;) Much appreciated.

        Reply
  12. ak March 22, 2012

    do you think there is value in drinking the liquid left over from making chicken gizzards? To make them edible you have to boil them for a really long time, and the liquid comes out a very golden chicken soup color, but of course, there are no bones inside. It doesn’t make my stomach feel the greatest and I don’t know why since it is just chicken stock, but I hate wasting food. What do you think from a nutritional standpoint? We use conventional chickens.

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 23, 2012

      Most of the nutrients from everything you throw in the pot ends up in the broth. I use gizzards in the stock often but I never eat them. That is one texture I don’t find enjoyable.

      Reply
  13. Alex March 23, 2012

    Last week’s broth was my most gelatinous yet! It was old spareribs, checked carcasses and chicken feet from a Chinese supermarket… practically had the cut it with a knife ;)

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 24, 2012

      Nice! Like jello, eh? Sometimes I’ve added too much water to the pot which totally dilutes it. I had to learn just the right water level for the amount of parts I use.

      Reply
  14. noodletoy March 27, 2012

    i’ve been making and eating bone broths about 2 months now, in my quest for more minerals in my diet. i just made a bunch, reduced it, portioned and froze it. i have many months worth in the freezer and i eat it about 4 times per week. i heat it, add some green veggies and a few eggs.

    no crockpot, so i make it on the stove. once it’s done, i strain out all the solids and reduce it waaaaaay down. cuts storage space this way too.

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 29, 2012

      I’ve been meaning to freeze broth forever. Somehow I just keep making fresh small pots of soup frequently… But I really like the idea of having broth on hand all the time. I also really like your idea of adding green veggies and eggs. That sounds great!

      Reply
  15. Jackie March 30, 2012

    Actually, Whole Foods here in Philadelphia does sell organic pastured, free range chicken. Lancaster Red and Free Bird (both available only as whole birds) are indeed available; however, the average price per bird is about $16.

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent March 30, 2012

      Maybe it’s based on availability by location of stores. I know that they try to buy local when they can so it might just be that there isn’t much around here to offer. Thanks for the info.

      Reply
  16. Viki April 16, 2012

    I’ve never used chicken feet. In fact I’ve only ever seen them at Walmart. My farmers market chicken guy just lost his farm, but even he never offered chicken feet.
    I’ll have to ask a few other people at the Farmers Market.
    Usually I make my soup/broth out of the bones and skin of a chicken I have roasted. Love it!

    Reply
  17. ste April 28, 2012

    can you eat the bones ?

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent April 29, 2012

      I think that might be a little like eating sticks. You can, however, pulverize egg shells and eat that. I suppose you could do the same with bones but I don’t know anything about that specifically.

      Reply
      1. ste April 30, 2012

        could the apple cider vinegar or lemon juice in the broth,if it pulls the minerals out of bone would the bone broth itself do it to teeth when you drink it?

        Reply
        1. Peggy the Primal Parent May 3, 2012

          You’re not going to let the broth soak in your mouth are you? Just kidding. There really isn’t enough acidity to cause any irritation while eating a bowl of soup. A couple of tablespoons is all you need. Your soup doesn’t come out very acidic at all.

          Reply
  18. Heather May 23, 2012

    Thank you so much for all the important information you’re sharing on this blog!
    I’ve been eating paleo for a year now and feeling great. I’m now 6 weeks pregnant (found out 10 days ago :-)) – can’t wait for your book to come out!
    I’m concerned about stretch marks, since i got a lot of them during puberty. my question is, how much stock do you think I should consume for it to be effective in preventing stretch marks due to the pregnancy? would a cup a day do it?
    I know this is not exact science :-) but would really like to hear your thoughts on the matter.
    btw i LOVE this stuff and make it all the time during winter, according to grandma’s recipe- with celeriac, fresh turmeric and ginger root.

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent May 24, 2012

      Hi Heather and congratulations! How much stock to drink is not an exact science :) but I imagine a cup a day would be great, even less would probably be fine. Don’t forget your oranges or lemons for vitamin C and oysters for zinc and throw some organs in your soup too!

      Reply
  19. guest August 5, 2012

    .. thank you for all the wonderful info! I’m planning on making this, for the first time.

    one question: what’s a good ration of bones-to-water ? i.e. how many cups/quarts to, say, 1 lb of bones ?

    I’m going to use chicken feet and necks, for the first time. I bought them already. and have a relatively small crockpot (2.5 qts) but a huge soup pot, if necessary (8 qts).

    and my hope is rather serious: I’ve got severe tendinopathy in my left foot/ankle- and am trying to avoid surgery! )-: so I googled a bit.. and found BONE healthy stock- chock full of collagen.. just what tendons are made of.

    I’m grateful to have found this!

    Reply
  20. kaitlyn August 15, 2012

    Peggy,
    do you use white distilled vinegar?

    Reply
  21. Thia September 10, 2012

    Seems to me you are throwing out your bones before you’ve gotten the nutrients out of them, based on your comment that everything is still intact & eaten for dinner. Typically, “bone broths” are simmered until the bones are about to disintegrate.

    Sounds like a lovely soup, but I recommend saving the bones from those thighs when you are done eating, toss them in a stockpot with the feet and other bones, an acid (vinegar or lemon), and simmer until the bones are soft, and strain it. A crockpot will take a day or more, a pressure cooker takes two hours.

    Reply
  22. Sean September 17, 2012

    Yeah I usually make a two stage broth with chicken. Roast a whole bird. Make soup/ clear broth with the picked over parts, then make a paste like bone mash.

    Reply
  23. Charles Cloessner November 6, 2012

    Peggy I have dry skin on the tops of my arms, can you also use the fat in the broth that come to the surface as a lotion. I have just started drinking the broth a couple days ago. I have not heard of this and have check numerous website. Thanks for your answer.

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent November 6, 2012

      I’ve never heard of anyone doing it either, that i can think of, but I have done it. I’ve used butter too, though that doesn’t smell very good. Anyway, it can’t hurt you in any way.

      Reply
  24. Martin December 20, 2012

    Colagen from bone broth is also excellent for healing leaky gut

    Reply
  25. Sarah January 22, 2013

    Hi everyone, sorry this is an old post so I’m not sure if I’ll get an answer but I’ve just followed your recipe Peggy and I’m super excited to find out what the result will be. Just one point of concern as I live in Asia (Thailand) in a small island with only access to conventionnally-farmed chicken (CAFO): will the benefits of drinking collagen and mineral-rich bone broth outweigh the drawbacks/risks of ingesting the toxins stored in my conventionnally-raised chicken, or should I just pass and get my collagen from other sources (such as gelatin supplement)? In other words, am I doing more harm than good to my body? Thanks a lot for your feedback! Sarah

    Reply
  26. Tiffany April 21, 2013

    I only have chicken necks on hand now so is it ok if I just use chicken necks for chicken bone broth? I get my pasture raised chickens from my local butcher shop but they won’t be having any whole chickens till june or july but they happen to have necks since no one buys them…if no one buys them does it mean they’re no good?

    Reply
    1. Peggy the Primal Parent April 21, 2013

      Tiffany,

      Chicken necks are great to make broth with. Just because nobody eats them doesn’t mean they’re bad. It just means that most people here aren’t interested in making broth. We are not an “eat the whole animal” kind of people anymore.

      Reply
  27. Gabby July 22, 2013

    I have beef marrow and cow liver, can I do the same thing? Haven’t found free range chicken liver here in Utah but we so have loads of beef :) Also, how long would I cook the marrow to render the goodies from it?

    Reply
  28. Sarah Kollmann August 4, 2013

    Hi there Peggy, When you did your healing diet that was listed in your book (meat, broth, and nothing else fiberous), do you feel like it made you acidic with no vegetables? I’m trying this right now, and just feel more dumpy than normal. Like you did, I deal with PCOS difficulties, poor digestion, the works. Also, wanted to know if you’ve ever heard of Denver Urban Homesteading. I just went there with a few friends, they have everything from pastured chicken eggs to local meats and veggies especially on Saturday mornings. They’re at 2nd and Santa Fe in Denver. Thanks for all you do to help others, I would love the turn around that you’ve experienced… am trying so hard to achieve it, and stopped all the ‘medicines’ I was on for various things. I especially enjoy croc pot chicken broth, and am sooooo glad for chicken feet, they really make the broth gel and become ‘authentic’. Hope you and your family are well!
    -Sarah K.

    Reply

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