How to Make Collagen Bone Broth

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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!

Author: Peggy the Primal Parent

The blog owner!

66 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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 :)

  4. 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?

    • 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.

      • 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.

  5. 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.

    • 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!

      • ohh interesting! I was also curious if you’ve had any food aversions or cravings since pregnancy that have been out of the ordinary from your typical eating style?

        • Ah, you reminded me! I was going to write a post about that and it kind of got put on the back burner… I don’t know if you saw this brief mention about food cravings a long time ago. http://theprimalparent.com/2011/08/20/qa-pregnancy-cravings-and-spotting-periods/

          Things are a little different now since I am not trying to maintain a low animal fat Paleo diet. I don’t crave fat this time around like I did before. I eat a lot of fat but I don’t crave it.

          The post probably won’t be all that interesting actually because I don’t really crave anything!

          • interesting, and thanks for the quick response. Yup I remember reading that post. I know lots of pregnant woman build aversions to tons of veggies etc. and crave more starch and carbs… guessing that hasn’t happened to you. I’m curious about strict paleo woman who get pregnant and find their usual staples to be gag worthy!

            • I had a few aversions in the first trimester. One of them was chicken! I didn’t have any broth for over a month. There were a couple of other things I didn’t like. The only craving I’ve had has been veggies. Before I got pregnant I wasn’t eating them and suddenly, at about 6 weeks or so, I couldn’t get them off my mind. I’ve eaten veggies ever since and haven’t had another craving since. I haven’t had any cravings for carbs, though I force myself to eat more than I’m used to.

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

  7. 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?

    • 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.

  8. 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;)

    • 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.

    • 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.

  9. 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!

    • 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!

  10. 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.

  11. 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?

    • 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.

  12. 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.

  13. 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 ;)

  14. 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.

    • 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!

  15. 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.

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  18. 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!

  19. 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.

    • 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!

  20. .. 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!

  21. Peggy,
    do you use white distilled vinegar?

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  23. 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.

  24. 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.

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  26. 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.

  27. Colagen from bone broth is also excellent for healing leaky gut

  28. 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

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  30. 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?

  31. 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?

  32. 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.