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Oct 3, 2007 07:17 PM

Making stock from frozen chicken

I bought two nice frozen kosher organic chickens so I can make stock. Do I have to defrost the chickens first, or can I ust put them in the water frozen and cook them longer? One opinion I solicited suggested defrosting them first to ensure that they're not spoiled in any way. Does anyone have any suggestions/ideas/experience?



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  1. Are they raw, or frozen cooked chickens? Never heard of making stock from raw chickens. Not only is the stock better with cooked meat, but I like to roast the bones for extra flavor. I'm no expert, though. Anyone else? Stock from frozen meat just seems...not good.

    2 Replies
    1. re: Glencora

      Wha? Never heard of making stock from raw chickens? I mean I've made stock from leftover cooked chicken, but I've always thought that true stock was made from raw stewing hens or other chicken types. Julia Child uses raw chickens.

      I also have used frozen chicken lots of times. I think you need to defrost them at least some before you cook them. I mean, you CAN cook them frozen, but it's usually not done.

      If your chickens haven't been frozen for very long you don't really need to worry about them being "spoiled in any way".

      I say put them in a big pan of cool water or in a sink full of same. Let them sit until you can tell they've thawed a lot.

      PS: I have actually made stock from frozen chickens when I was rushed a few times. It turned out fine.

      1. re: oakjoan

        Most good restaurants have a stock cauldron going. I've worked with more than one chef who through all of the unwanted parts of the whole chicken after butchering. They just made sure that it wasn't in the stock that was being used that day.

        I make stock, broth really, from whole frozen chicken and parts all of the time.

    2. I've made stock from raw chicken parts, usually the backs, wings, etc. I've stored up over the course of a few weeks. What I do is to start the veggies in oil, get some color on them (which will color your stock, so you may prefer to sweat them for a lighter colored stock, in which case add salt now) then add the mostly frozen chicken parts. They will usually thaw somewhat from the heat, but they're not whole chickens. I then add the water and herbs or seasoning, and begin simmering. It sometimes requires quite a bit of reducing to be flavorful (probably because I'm using less meaty parts.) It's always good. I see no problem using frozen birds, but if they are whole, you may want to partially thaw them overnight in a plastic bag in the fridge, to make it go more quickly. If you're fishing out and putting the breast meat for another use, for instance, that'd probably be better from a food safety point of view.

      1. You should have no problem, that's how we do it in restaurants all the time. Chickens get butchered over the course of the week, and the bodies are frozen for stock. The different between roasting and making stock from raw, is a raw stock will taste more "chickeny" where as a roasted stock is going to be milder, with more carmel and vegetable notes. A raw stock will also be a much lighter color than a roasted stock.

        7 Replies
        1. re: brandon_w

          I do that too, though I've now started cutting up the carcasses before I freeze them, since it's impossible to do once frozen, w/o defrosting.

          1. re: brandon_w

            I throw in chicken parts (carcass, etc.) in a bag in the freezer and when there is enough, I make stock with it, frozen. I just use the whole carcass uncut.

            1. re: chowser

              The reason I started cutting up the carcass, FWIW, is so that the gelatin from the bones can be released.

              1. re: MMRuth

                Oh, I thought it was a space issue. I've always ended up w/ gelatinous soup w/ whole carcass, too.

                1. re: chowser

                  Me too - just figured it couldn't hurt!

                  1. re: MMRuth

                    It's a great idea and would take up a lot less freezer space. Thanks!

                    1. re: chowser

                      Trust me - I do have space issues! Lots of carcasses, tiny freezer.

          2. Thanks for all the responses. FWIW, I bought the chickens frozen--didn't freeze them myself, so that's the only concern about possible spoilage.

            1. Because they are kosher, I would strongly suggest thawing them first. I've never come across a kosher chicken that didn't still have pin feathers attached, and you don't want those in your stock. :)

              1 Reply
              1. re: tzurriz

                A few feathers aren't serious - pull them off if you see them.
                Otherwise they will be strained out with the other solids. A more important reason for at least partially thawing is to remove the packet of giblets, if the packaging says they are included. The liver is generally not used for stock, though the rest of the unwrapped giblets are.

                You might want to watch the stock-making episode of Martha Stewart's Cooking School series, now running on PBS. Just don't believe her when she says to throw away the skimmed's wonderful for frying potatoes and other foods.