How to Make Soup Stock with Leftover Chicken and Vegetables

Making soup stock always follows a good roast chicken dinner at our house. Tossing the carcass and aromatics in a large soup pot and letting it simmer for a few hours is very satisfying.

soup stock ready

Also Read: How to Make Chicken Broth with Raw Chicken Pieces, Homemade Vegetable Soup StockWhat You Need to Know When Making SoupHow to Make Ham Bone Stock

When you make soup stock from leftover roasted chicken bones, you get slightly different results than if you use raw chicken pieces. In fact, generally speaking, when you use mostly meat with some bones and aromatics you get BROTH while when you use mostly bones with a little bit of meat and aromatics you get STOCK. While the end result is pretty much interchangeable, the more bones and connective tissue (joints, gristle, tendons, etc.) you use, the more gelatin you’ll have in your final product. That gelatin is what makes homemade stock jiggly like Jello.  

chicken carcass stock

Here’s how we make soup stock with our leftover chicken carcass and veggies. Click here if you want to make broth from raw chicken pieces.

Homemade Chicken Stock Recipe

soup stock in jars
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5 from 2 votes

How to Make Chicken Stock

Homemade chicken stock made with leftover cooked chicken bones and vegetables. Great tasting stock filled with flavor and nutrients. For more helpful tips and answers to common questions check the full article.
Prep : 10 mins
Cook : 2 hrs
Total Time: 2 hrs 10 mins
Servings: 6 cups
Author: Getty Stewart


  • 1-2 cooked chicken carcasses*
  • chicken neck & giblets (not liver)
  • 1 onion roughly chopped
  • 2 celery ribs & leaves roughly chopped
  • 2 carrots roughly chopped
  • vegetable peelings & ends if available*
  • leftover cooked vegetables if available***
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce salsa/paste/juice (if available)**
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme 1 tsp dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves & stems
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 6-8 cups water
  • 1 Parmesan rind optional


  • Remove as much meat from the cooked chicken as possible. Set these aside to add to your finished soup or to enjoy in another meal.
  • If you saved the giblets and neck before roasting the chicken, add those to the soup as well. DO NOT add liver.
  • Add chicken carcass, coarsely chopped vegetables, vegetable peelings, fridge veggies, tomato sauce, herbs, vinegar and spices in large soup pot. Add Parmesan rind if using.
  • Cover with 6-8 cups cold water so that everything is covered by no more than one inch of water. Too much water will result in less flavourful stock.
  • Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and set lid askew or remove entirely to allow more liquid to evaporate and get a more concentrated stock. simmer for 2 hours to get build full flavour.
  • Taste at various stages (careful it will be really hot!) to see how it is progressing.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes. Remove some of the large pieces and dispose. Strain remainder through fine mesh strainer.
  • Let cool for 1 hour then refrigerate for several hours or overnight until soup has set and fat has hardened on top. Skim off the layer of fat if you wish.
  • Keep in fridge for 4 days. Freeze in convenient portion sizes for 6-12 months.
  • Makes 6-8 cups of stock depending on lid on or off, amount of water to start, type of veggies and how long it simmers.


*If carcass is quite small, consider saving it in the freezer until next time, then combine 2 small carcasses for more flavour. You can also add extra wings, legs, giblets, necks, etc.
*Potato or sweet potato peels will make stock cloudy.
**Tomato products will change the overall flavor of your stock, but add nice body.
***Limit strong tasting vegetables so they don’t overpower the flavor of your stock (beets, broccoli, fennel, asparagus, rutabaga, parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower etc.)
Starchy veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash will make your stock cloudy.
****Make this in a crock pot. Simply toss everything in a crock-pot, turn to low and cook for 8 hours (4-5 hours on high).
Nutrient content will vary with ingredients used.
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Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 19kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 56mg | Sugar: 2g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken soup, chicken stock, soup stock

More Soup Stock Tips

It’s hard to include all the little hints and tips I’ve learned about stock making in the formal recipe, so here some thoughts regarding common questions or concerns I’ve heard about making homemade soup stock.

Why is My Stock Jiggly?

soup stock on spoon

If your stock turned into a thick jiggly jelly after it cooled, congratulations!  You have yourself a rich, flavorful and nutritious stock filled with gelatin – a protein from the chicken bones. It’s highly prized in the soup making world and it’s healthy – it’s probably one of the reasons chicken soup has a reputation for fighting illness. And don’t worry, once you heat that stock it’ll be liquidy again, no need to add water or anything.

If your stock didn’t turn jiggly, that’s okay too, it just doesn’t have a lot of gelatin in it. This may be because your water to bones ratio was a little too high or you just didn’t simmer your stock long enough. To get the most gelatin, chop bones with a clever so that there is more surface area exposed to all the goodness inside them.

Should I Add Salt When Making Stock?

You’ll get different answers to this question.  Personally, I add a bit of salt while making stock to help draw out the flavor from the meat and bones. However, I wait to add any more salt until I’m making whatever recipe I’m using the stock in.

Why isn’t My Stock Very Flavourful?

A common concern that requires a two part answer.

First, don’t expect your soup stock to taste like canned stock or like bouillon cube stock. Commercial products are often high in salt and MSG to boost flavor, things we don’t include or limit in our homemade stock.

Second, your stock is not soup and will not taste like a finished soup.  It is an ingredient you use when making soup. You’ll add additional seasoning when you make your final recipe using the stock.

With that said, here are some ideas for making stock more flavorful:

  • Make sure you’re letting it simmer long enough so that you’re getting the maximum flavor out of your ingredients.  It really does take at least 3-4 hours.
  • Be cautious of your water to meat and veggie ratio. It’s tempting to try to make a lot of stock by adding more water, but this will impact the final flavor. If you want more volume, add more veggies and bones. To ensure you have enough meat/bones and veggies, consider keeping a bag of stock add-ins in your freezer. Whenever you have vegetable ends or a couple of bones, freeze them. Then add those to the pot when your making your stock.
  • Add soy sauce or fish sauce to boost the flavor profile. Just make sure their flavor will go with how you intend to use your stock.
  • Reduce your stock by simmering your strained stock for another 1-2 hours.  This will evaporate some of the water and leave a more concentrated flavor.
  • My recipe calls for a tablespoon of vinegar to help up the flavor. Consider adding more acid to the stock – lemon or lime juice or even red or white wine depending on your final use.
  • Add more umami flavour by adding Parmesan rind, miso paste, nutritional yeast or mushroom powder.

Why is My Stock Cloudy?

First, let me ask you – is that really an issue?  Unless you’re serving a clear broth, who will ever notice how clear your stock is? If clarity is a concern for you, here are some tips for getting a more clear stock:

  • Simmer don’t boil your stock. Boiling will break everything up into tiny bits that are hard to filter out later. A crock pot really helps in ensuring a nice even heat without boiling.
  • Skim frequently throughout the simmering stage.
  • Consider your ingredients carefully. Starchy vegetables like potatoes, sweet potatoes or corn will make your stock cloudy. Tomato products will darken the color.
  • Consider clarifying your stock by adding 2 lightly beaten egg whites to the top of your stock and letting them float there while your finished stock simmers for 5 minutes. As the egg white cooks, it will pick up any particles in the stock.  I rarely use this technique, because cloudy stock rarely impacts the final recipe.
    skim off fat

How Long Will Soup Stock Last?

  • Keep your stock in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze your stock in commonly used amounts (eg. 1 or 2 cups) for up to 6 months. It will be safe to consume even longer than that, but will start to lose some flavor.
  • Safely can your soup stock in a pressure canner as recommended by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.

If you’re looking of other soup stock or broth options consider these:

For stock made with just vegetables: Vegetable Soup Stock

For stock made with leftover ham bones click here: Ham Bone Stock

For broth made with raw chicken pieces click here: Chicken Broth from Raw Pieces

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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