HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


Need advice: Gelatinous chicken soup

Hi all. I'm new to the site and was looking for some advice. I tried to make chicken stock and then soup for my first time last night.

I made the stock from the carcass and some skin of a roasted chicken. I cooked it for about 3 hours, strained everything, skimmed the fat, and that gave me my stock. I then took the stock and added some barley and later some chicken and veggies, cooked it some more, and that gave me my soup.

I stored the soup and stock in separate containers and refrigerated them over night. However, when I went to reheat the soup it was gelatinous and looked gross. I have searched this site and found that everyone thinks that a gelatinous stock is a good thing. That's fine; I can accept that. But a gelatinous soup?! That just seems gross. I admit, I heated it up and ate it and it had a very nice rich flavor, but it just seems wrong. Was I supposed to add water to the stock when I was making soup? Not use any skins in the stock? Where did I go wrong? Thanks in advance for any help!

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. It wasn't gelatinous after you reheated it.

    It's fine; you said it tasted good. It's fine.

    (Skins just add fat, not gelatin.)

    1. ARE you saying it wasn't gelatinous once reheated? If that's what you;re saying then it IS fine. If it was g-nous after heating, then I don't have a clue what caused that.

      1. Personally, I think what you did sounds fabulous and delicious. If you did want to tone down the body of the broth then you can make your chicken soup and stock all at once. Ie: Poach a whole chicken in enough water to cover until it is cooked but all the flavor is not extracted (45 minutes at a bare simmer would be the limit for me.). Take the chicken out and shred some of it. Place your vegetables in, add your other ingredients, and then add your shredded chicken a couple of minutes before you finish the soup. Season you soup a little at a time after you've removed the chicken until you are happy with the flavor. The flavor will be much less intense though.

        I think what you did originally is much better though.

        And skin will add gelatin. It will also add a lot of fat as well and fat in your stock is to be minimized so you get a clear stock that doesn't taste greasy. If you have too much fat in your stock and your cook it too vigorously then you'll emulsify the fat and your stock will always taste kind of . . . dirty, even after skimming. For chicken stock, I'd stay away from the skin but since your skin was roasted I'm sure most of the fat was rendered and didn't pose a problem.

        Now if you really want to keep going in the rich direction, take the left over stock you have and use that as a base for a second stock once you've got another carcass. Mmmm.

        5 Replies
        1. re: Frommtron

          If you make a chicken stock properly--it will be gelatinous. As far as I know, there is no gelatin in the skin of a chicken, but in the bones there are plenty. I personally add a few chicken feet to my chicken stock to make it extra gelatinous. Similarly, I use a pig foot with meat stock.

          1. re: hankstramm

            Chicken skin doesn't have enough gelatin to bother with but it does have some, as all skin does. It comes from the collagen that is essentially melted into gelatin in the simmering process. Chicken feet are much richer and leaner sources of gelatin, as are wings, than skin. I'm with you there.

            1. re: Frommtron

              Do you have to roast pigs feet first?

              1. re: julietg

                I would either roast it or I would put it in a pot with cold water, bring the water to a simmer, skim of the gunk, strain, then rinse off the foot. Now you can use it in a stock. Obviously, roasting it is much easier.

                If you do decide to go with a foot, I'd recommend having your butcher saw the foot into pieces and just use a chunk. If you use a whole foot then you're basically making aspic. I like body as much as the next guy but you need balance and there is such a thing too much here.

                Also, if there is a kosher butcher near you, you could probably score a calf foot, which I think is better.

                For chicken, the feet are great but many Western markets receive their chicken with the feet already cut off. In that case, ask the butcher for the wing tips they trim off when they are breaking down whole birds. They should be cheap and they have tons of gelatin.

                1. re: julietg

                  Agree with Frommtron, poaching/blanching the feet first will get rid of some of the gunk. Also, I always either have them saw it us or do it myself.

          2. My stock from a leftover roasted chicken carcass is always gelatinous or jiggly when cool. The effect disappears when it is hot, although it can be detectable in how it feels on your tongue, sort of rich. Barley could have added to the "gross" effect. It can have a gluey appearance when stored cold in a little bit of cooking liquid. Also, it could have reduced the amount of free liquid in your soup when stored overnight. Pasta especially can suck up all the liquid in your soup overnight.

            If you make a broth with boneless meat, you won't have the gelatinous issue. Leave out the wings and feet. I've always figured the skin adds a bit of collagen, and not just fat, but I could be wrong. If it does add collagen, then it probably also contributes to the "body" feeling in stock.

            1 Reply
            1. re: saltwater

              If there was a difference in taste or texture of the soup before storage, and after reheating, I would attribute it to starch from the barley. The gelatin from the chicken would have contributed the same mouth feel when hot, whether before storage, or after.

            2. And how exactly do you have a problem?

              Stock SHOULD be gelatinous when cool (or cold). It should jiggle, almost like jell-o.

              2 Replies
              1. re: ipsedixit

                The gelatin is from the bones and more importantly the cartilage, and it is to be desired. Homemade stock can't be compared to store-bought broth; celebrate the jiggle and the flavor it imparts. The fat you skimmed is different from the gelatin the bones and cartilage imparted--the latter adds the real flavor punch.

                1. re: ipsedixit

                  EXACTLY. I've never made homemade chicken stock that wasn't gelatinous! :)

                  All that collagen is really good for you!

                2. Why would you want a thin watery broth??? That gelatinous quality adds to the flavor and savoriness to your soup and is very nourishing! If you want thin and watery use the stuff that you can buy at the supermarket. In fact, when I start cooking the chicken, I start out with the store-bought (Swanson) instead of plain water.

                  After all.....when you heat soup stock that is genatinous, it all turns to a fluid anyway. I always thought soup without the gelatinous quility wasn't very tasty and without much food value.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: Lisbet

                    To be fair, we might be beating up on the OP a bit. I think there are plenty of low-gelatain broths and soups made throughout the world's various cuisines. A vegetable stock can be full-flavored and it contains no gelatain at all.

                    If the OP is looking for a lighter broth then by all means the OP should have it. People like boneless chicken breasts, too.

                    You and I can keep eating the good stuff.

                    By the way, try saving half of your stock from a previous batch and use that as a the liquid. I used to do what you decribed and there is a huge difference between keeping it homemade through and through. Even if you have to add water to get enough liquid. I couldn't go back to using storebought if I wanted to.

                  2. I'm trying to understand what you did-did you make soup and have some stock, too, leftover and refrigerated both? Did both turn out gelatinous, after refrigerating, or just the soup? Both should be gelatinous, as your soup was. If not, then it might have been the barley. What made it seem wrong? Was it the soup itself or the idea that it had been gelatinous? If you do want it thinner, less gelatinous, you could make a vegetable broth and add it to the stock. The skin has some flavor and collagen but more fat--as long as you skimmed it after, it's not a problem.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: chowser

                      Thanks everyone for the great responses.

                      Chowser, to answer your question, yes, both my stock and soup were refrigerated over night and both were gelatinous. The only thing that made it seem wrong was that gelatinous soup was completely new to me (as was gelatinous stock). I thought the soup tasted great, I just wanted to make sure that I wasn't doing anything bad that would make me sick :)

                      Thanks to all of these posts, I now know that gelatinous stocks and soups are OK and even desired, so I can keep doing what I did the other night!

                    2. Gelatin is from the bones, the fat that floats to the top is primarily from the skin.

                      The more concentrated the stock becomes, the denser the gelatin; eventually, this would be reduced to a glace.

                      If you want stock without gelatin or fat, you would have to use only the meat in the stock--no bones or skin.

                      What you did was correct, but if you want a clear stock which doesn't solidify, use meat only.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: Caralien

                        Not to engage in logomachy, but isn't a stock without gelatin basically ... broth??

                        1. re: ipsedixit

                          There is no *classical* difference between a stock and a broth. The term stock derives lossely ( I recall reading long ago but can't recall where) from the fact that the kltchen was "stocked" with previously made broth that is intended to be used to prepare other sauces and dishes.

                          For some reason in this country, stocks = made with meat and bones and broths = made exclusively with meat. Even Alton Brown profers this distinction. While it's far from universal it does seem to carry weight.

                          A better distinction might be that stock is not seasoned with salt so that it may be reduced as part of a sauce or some other preparation. Broth seems to imply a finished product and so should be a seasoned stock.

                          And thanks for making me pick up the dictionary.

                      2. You have reached the holy grail of stock making, pat yourself on the back, you have extracted proteins which form a gelatin when cooled, the sign of a good broth. Usually cracking the bones open to expose the marrow aids this process. It is more nutritious than non jelatinized broth. Enjoy.

                        1. I had the same problem and thought something was wrong. I am glad I got to the holy grail of broth. LOL