Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Aug 26, 2011 01:09 PM

Chicken stock question

How much stock does 1 chicken carcass typically yield? I'm buying a new stockpot and am trying to pick a size based on the answer to this question.


  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Look up (google) a few recipes.

    1. Rule of thumb is 1:1, 1 quart water per 1 lb of whatever (bones, meat). Having said that, I always work by feel and have never measured. Just remember that the more water, the longer you have to cook it down.

      1. If by carcass you mean the backbone, wings, thigh and drumstick bones with most meat removed, you woudn't need more than a 3qt saucepan to make stock with one carcass. I'd figure on a quart of finished stock per 3lb chicken (whole uncooked weight). That is, if you want the stock to be rich enough to go gelatinous in the fridge.

        You gould get a bit more if seeking a thinner stock (broth), which can be useful for many things, like light soups or rice or a base for cous-cous.

        If I were shopping for a stock pot, though, I'd look to 8qt minimum. Many uses, such as boiling pasta water, larger stock recipes, chilis, etc.

        1. Depends on the chicken carcass and how strong you like your stock to be.

          Very roughly: an uncooked carcass from a 4.5 pound bird will yield roughly 4-5 cups of medium concentrated stock. That's probably just a little lower yield than ferret's rule of thumb, but I probably make stock just a bit more concentrated than he/she does.

          Carcasses left from cooked birds yield a weaker stock and have to be cooked down more for a comparable effect.

          If you're getting into stockmaking now, you might also consider a pressure cooker (especially if you already have one). It gives excellent results and is far quicker than traditional methods.

          7 Replies
          1. re: cowboyardee

            CBRD - really! i had no idea that using a cooked bird meant you get a weaker stock. first, let me say that i am almost completely ignorant of the science of this, and i'm very much an amateur home cook. but i guess i thought it was like when you roast beef bones to make stock, that the cooking of the bones adds to the depth of flavor. would you mind giving me a quick "chicken stock for dummies" lesson on this topic? thanks!

            and also thanks for that tip about the pressure cooker. i did not know that either. i love my pressure cooker.

            1. re: mariacarmen

              I'm going to speak here from my experiences, not from anything I that has been verified by McGee or the food science guys:

              Your thinking is right. As you say, cooking the bones definitely adds depth of flavor. The resulting stock might be slightly less gelatinous than a stock from raw bones, but if there is a difference it's muted.

              What I was referring to is cooking a whole chicken and then using the carcass for stock (some people do that). It seems to me that you lose gelatin and flavor when you cook a whole bird and then use the bones for stock. Some of the gelatin and flavor from the bones seems to 'leak' out into the meat and juices, which are then mostly eaten and don't get into the stock. Obviously, since the bones themselves aren't browned, you don't get that nice rich, dark flavor and color.

              I suspect that with bones that were removed from a raw chicken and then roasted, flavor and gelatin don't really have anywhere to go, and they still tend to make it into the stock pot. You probably lose some of the gelatin to fond from the roasting pan, but it's still not as much as if you had cooked the whole bird and then used the bones.

              Definitely give the pressure cooker a try. A batch of stock takes maybe an hour and a half (you have some wiggle room, btw, and even shorter times can give good results). Try to keep the PC from venting as much as you can while you cook the stock. The bones don't even need to be fully submerged. The results are so good and so much quicker that I can't see myself cooking a stock traditionally ever again.

              1. re: cowboyardee

                DId you buy the chicken primarily to make stock, or is stock a way of using parts of the chicken that don't work well in other recipes (or are left over from other uses)?

                I nearly always do the latter. And the stock is rarely served alone. It goes into a hearty soup, or by the spoonful into sauces or other dishes. It's a step in making best use of my food dollars, not an end in itself.

                1. re: paulj

                  I personally don't buy chicken just for the sake of making stock, no. I make a lot of chicken though and cook it a lot of different ways, so it's not hard for me to get bones, wingtips, etc, either cooked or otherwise.

                2. re: cowboyardee

                  all makes good sense. and thanks for taking the time to write that all out.

                  and when you say try to keep the PC from "venting" as much as possible, do you mean keep it on low so it's not "hissing" so much? will definitely try this. thanks again.

                  1. re: mariacarmen

                    These guys did quite a bit of testing with PC stock. I believe they talk about the 'non vented' stock. Check that article for details, but I think it requires a particular brand of PC. Venting or not, a PC can make a good stock.

                    1. re: paulj

                      thanks. i'll have to check my PC out.

            2. For one carcass I just use the enameled steel covered roaster that I do the chicken in.