Instant pot bone broth is so easy, nutritious and deeply flavored, you’ll be making and freezing this by the gallons. This recipe shows you how to make bone broth including all the tips and tricks you need to become an instant (pot) expert.
Food fads come and go, it is just how long they linger that we can’t always predict. I am fascinated how recipes and cooking techniques that my grandmother and great grandmother mastered daily are now all the rage.
Preserving foods and hot water canning is one these trends. Passing on processed foods and making everything from scratch, from crackers to bread is another. And now comes another popular food trend, learning how to make bone broth.
There are multiple ways to bone broth. This post will share how to make instant pot bone broth as well as the traditional way, in a pot on the stove.
What is the difference between bone broth and stock?
I confess when I first heard about bone broth, I didn’t see what the big deal was. Homemade stock is made with bones, so isn’t stock simply bone broth? Here we go again with everything old being new again!
Bone broth is the slow cooking for many hours (8-48 hours) of roasted animal bones and connective tissues where the minerals and nutrients can be drawn out and the collagen released. Broth by itself is usually thinner than stock because it is usually made with less bones, more meat and cooked for fewer hours.
But, bone broth is a bit thicker than traditional broth. The gelatin and collagen released into the bone broth is what makes it nice and thick. And it is in this gelatin where the nutritional bang for the bone broth’s buck is hiding and coveted by so many.
You can thank the popularity of the Paleo Diet for bringing bone broth back to our awareness again. Bone broth is also rich in protein and is a staple in the Paleo Diet.
Is bone broth really that good for you?
So, if you are like me, you are probably asking yourself, “Why, oh why, is bone broth so popular right now? What’s the big deal about bone broth?” It’s not just those who follow the Paleo Diet who are fans of bone broth. Bone broth is incredibly good for you, as the bones themselves are rich with calcium, magnesium, and phosphorous.
The connective tissues used to make bone broth are very high in collagen. Gelatin is formed from cooking collagen. And this gelatin is rich in amino acids, which are the building blocks of proteins.
I am not a registered dietician or nutritionist, so I will not go into the health benefits of bone broth. I know many people drink bone broth to help reduce their body’s inflammation, fight osteoarthritis and protect your joints. Read this article to learn more about the health benefits of bone broth.
Best bones for instant pot bone broth
Bone broth can be made from any animal bones: beef, pork, chicken and even fish. Each have different pros and cons for use and of course and each have their own incredible flavor. You can even mix different types of bones to create your own unique bone broth.
It is very easy to learn how to make bone broth because there are no set rules on how to make it! For optimum collagen in your bone broth, you do need to make sure to have a nice selection of connection joints included in your bone collection. You also want to include bones with meat so your bone broth will have a nice flavor.
For chicken and turkey, you can use the carcass of the roasted bird. Chicken feet are very rich in collagen so if you can find those at the butcher or even specialty markets (I went to my local Asian market), add them to the mix, too. The neck and wings are also great additions to making bone broth.
For beef and lamb, try a combination of neck bones, shanks, oxtails and knuckles. And for pork bone broth, use neck bones, hock and feet. In fact, some of the cheapest ingredients are used to make bone broth. It just takes a long time for it to cook and extract all the nutrients from the bones.
Again, these suggestions are for using bones that are high in collagen. You can use any bones to make “bone broth”, but if you want a lot of collagen, you need to add parts with a lot of connective tissue.
I made a delicious pork bone broth using a pork shoulder blade. No connective tissue, but the broth was incredibly delicious and full of flavor! Next time I will add some pork neck bones (pictured above with chicken feet) with the shoulder blade to make pork bone broth.
What else do you add to make bone broth
Just like regular stock, when you are making bone broth you not only want the amazing nutrients that make it so good for you, but you also want it to taste good! As I mentioned above, you want a selection of bones with meat and connective tissue.
Roasted bones also add tremendous flavor to your bone broth. You can make bone broth with uncooked bones, don’t get me wrong. The broth will be lighter in color and flavor. Bone broth made with roasted bones have deeper color and flavor.
If you want to learn more differences between roasted bones and raw, Pressure Cook Recipes tested many different bone broths this way. Remember, it is not all about bones and connective tissues. Be sure to add onions, carrots and celery so your bone broth will have more flavor.
Any vegetable scraps you have can add wonderful flavor to your homemade bone broth, like sweet potato peels and parsley stems. Other great flavors can come from herbs and spices. For example, what herbs do you have growing in the garden?
You can use parsley, sage, thyme, rosemary, lemongrass or bay leaves, to name a few of my favorites. Add some garlic, ginger, peppercorns, cinnamon sticks, cloves and/or coriander seeds for even more flavor.
It is recommended to add an acid, like lemon juice, vinegar or wine when making bone broth. The acid helps extract the collagen from the connective tissues during the cooking process. For this instant pot bone broth recipe, I used apple cider vinegar.
Tips on how to make bone broth
And of course, your bone broth isn’t complete without water. You do not want to add too much water because it will produce a more diluted bone broth. Once you place your bones in the pot, cover them with clean water by about an inch or two.
If you are making bone broth traditionally in a pot on the stove, you need to bring everything to a rolling boil before lowering the temperature to simmer. How long you simmer your stock depends on the types of bones you are using. Smaller bones cook up faster than bigger, thicker bones.
While your broth is simmering, you might find foam floating at the top. Don’t worry about that. Just skim it off as it is just impurities being pulled out of the bones. Keep simmering your broth in an uncovered pot.
After scouring the internet, I have found the following suggestions for cooking bone broth, for optimum flavor and nutrient extraction:
- For chicken and turkey bones, simmer between 5-12 hours.
- For pork and lamb bones, simmer 6-18 hours.
- Beef bones require the longest time, so simmer 8-24 hours.
Because I only make bone broth when I have extra bones from a cutting up a pork roast for pulled pork or a chicken carcass from a roast chicken, I am making bone broth for flavor first then nutrients second. For me, simmering my bone broth over the stove for up to 12 hours is more than enough time.
Those that drink bone broth for health reasons want to insure they are extracting all of the collagen and nutrients from the bones. And that’s when you hear about simmering the bones, especially beef bones, for 24 or even 48 hours.
The time is significantly cut if you make instant pot bone broth. For chicken bone broth, I cooked it for 2 hours in the instant pot and let it decompress naturally, which can take an additional 45 minutes. This is equivalent to roughly 32 hours of slow cooking, following the conversion that 8 hours of low and slow cooking is equal to 30 minutes of high pressure cooking.
Once done, use a slotted spoon to remove the solids from your bone broth. Then use a fine mesh strainer to remove the smaller bits. You can skim off the fat that pools up at the surface during the cooking process or you can chill your bone broth and remove it once it is solidified. You can reserve the fat for cooking or simply discard it.
How to use bone broth
I have friends with health issues that drink a cup of bone broth everyday for the nutrients and gelatin. Again, I am not touting the health benefits of bone broth, just that I know many people who believe in the power of drinking bone broth daily.
I like to use my homemade stock and bone broth in soups. My husband and younger kids can’t eat enough soup. In fact, I have been making several pots of chicken noodle soup with lemon every week for over 10 years so they can take a thermos of soup to school for lunch everyday.
In fact, they eat soup for breakfast, lunch, after school snack and dinner — daily! If I can’t make homemade bone broth or stock for their soup, I like to use this chicken stock concentrate instead. Middle Child’s current soup obsession is my chicken tortilla soup.
But, when I do make instant pot bone broth, then I definitely use it as a base for my soups. For the pork bone broth I made with my shoulder blade, I made a wonderful spicy pulled pork ramen. I’ll share that recipe next week.
And for the chicken bone broth? My kids’ other favorite chicken based soup is avgolemono, the Greek Lemony Chicken Soup with Rice.
How long does bone broth last
If you are not using bone broth right away to eat or to make into soup, it can be refrigerated for up to 5 days or frozen for up to 3 months. If you are using your bone broth for soups and stews, consider freezing bone broth in silicone ice molds. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer safe bag. You can reheat bone broth on the stove or in the microwave.
So what do you think? Are you a big believer in the power of bone broth? Even if you are more like me, then learning how to make bone broth will definitely make your homemade soups taste incredible.
- 2-3 pounds assorted meat bones (see note)
- 2 medium carrots, coarsely chopped
- 3 celery stalks, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium onion, peeled and quartered
- 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 TBS apple cider vinegar
- 1 tsp peppercorns
- 8-10 cups water
- For a bone broth that is richer in flavor and color, roast your meat bones before cooking them in the instant pot for bone broth. This step is optional, as you can make bone broth starting with raw meat bones. You can also sauté the meat bones in the instant pot before pressure cooking.
- Place the bones in 6-quart instant pot. Pot should be about half full of bones.
- Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves, vinegar and peppercorns.
- Add 8-10 cups of water, enough water to cover the bones entirely and still be approximately 1-inch below the MAX fill line.
- Lock the lid onto Instant Pot and set steam release knob to the "sealing" position.
- Press the "soup" button and set your Instant Pot for high pressure for 120 minutes. It will take an additional 20-30 minutes for the Instant Pot to come to full pressure.
- All pressure to release naturally, which takes an additional 45 minutes.
- Place a mesh colander over a large pot and pour the contents of the instant pot through the colander to strain out the solids.
- Once bone broth has cooled, use a fat separator to skim the fat. You can also refrigerate the bone broth and then remove the fat that rises to the top.
- Bone broth will gelatinize when thoroughly cooled.
- Bone broth can be stored in the fridge for up to 5 days and up to one year.
For bone broth high in collagen, be sure to use an assortment of meat bones and connective tissues. Read full post for more information about this.
For this chicken bone broth, I used the leftover carcass of a Costco roasted chicken plus 5 or chicken feet.
If you want to make pork bone broth with a pork shoulder blade, add some some pig neck bones for the collagen.
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Serving Size:1 cup
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265 Total Fat: 14g Saturated Fat: 5g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 7g Cholesterol: 104mg Sodium: 156mg Carbohydrates: 2g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 32g