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Dec 28, 2011 04:04 AM

What did I do wrong? Homemade chicken stock

I made homemade chicken stock last night for the first time, using leftover bones from a whole chicken, onion, and carrots. I put the stock in the refrigerator overnight, and every recipe I read says that the fat should rise to the top and solidify. It's been 9 hours and the stock is still all liquid. Does it just take longer for the fat to solidify or did I do something wrong?

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  1. Unless it is very concentrated then the stock itself will probably remain liquid at fridge temps, but yes, the fat should be a solid layer (maybe about 1/4 inch thick?) on top. You must have used only the least fatty bits of chicken carcass I guess, and therefore there is almost no fat to see. Most people would probably include the skin, which would indeed yield quite a lot of fat.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Robin Joy

      agree RobinJoy

      I do mine with a whole chicken cut up or otherwise.
      skin and all.
      there is much fat that layers on top of pot when put in frig after a few hours, always.

      and for yumcoconut, did you season it with salt and pepper and a lot of onions and carrots and celery also did you add any fresh herbs? a big pan of water and all those ingredients make for a good flavored full bodied stock. buy those quart or smaller sized reusable containers and divvy it out among them, then freeze for later use.

      1. re: iL Divo

        I agree, except for the salt. Stock shouldn't be salted, except for the incidental salt that may be included from leftover roast chicken bits. When you use chicken stock in a recipe, you need to be able to easily control the amount of salt in that recipe. Also, you might want to reduce the stock to concentrate it, and then you could end up with over-salted stock.

        Generally, whole black peppercorns are used.

        1. re: sandylc

          I stand by salting (I never add a salt lick full) and altho peppercorns are the preferred method, I can't be bothered fishing them out so my Michael Chiarello wooden wine bottle pepper mill works perfectly.

          1. re: iL Divo

            The peppercorns are captured when you strain the finished product.

    2. I usually wait closer to 24 hours for all the fat to congeal. It's probably there but not solid yet.

      7 Replies
      1. re: coll

        Thanks. I'll wait until tonight and see what happens. I did not use much skin so maybe that is why there is not a lot of fat.

        1. re: yumcoconut

          If you didn't use much fat you wont' have much fat on top. And it sounds like you need to cook the stock more to concentrate it. The more concentrated it is, the more gelatinous it will become.

          1. re: wincountrygirl

            true wincountry, I let mine simmer all day long, with the lid barely half cocked.
            also, one of our supermarkets here, and I know this'll sound gross, sells chicken feet.
            when asking why, butcher told me it makes much better stock/broth as much more gelatin in them \?/

            1. re: iL Divo

              Yes - that. although sounding truly yucky sounds like it would add a lot to stock - as marrow bones do to beef stock. Actually, thanks for the tip!! Next time I make chicken stock I'll add some feet.

              1. re: iL Divo

                Apparently, you're not into dim sum. Chicken feet is a dish in its own right. Thete's more to eat on a chicken foot than you think.

              2. re: yumcoconut

                The best stock uses everything from the chicken that was not eaten. This includes ALL skin, fat, bones, connective tissues, and any leftover drippings. You will not get a good stock if you pick through the remains and add only bones, for example.

            2. If you didn't use the skin of the chicken or much meat, you might not get a layer of fat. You don't really find that much fat in bones, especially if they are from a previously roasted chicken.

              5 Replies
              1. re: Terrie H.

                I agree with Terrie………..I don’t think you necessarily did anything wrong.

                Bottom line is, are you pleased with the taste? Is it something you can work with? If yes, then it was a success. We aren’t launching the space shuttle here, there are no “right” answers and there are many ways to accomplish similar results in cooking. Find a way that works for you and provides the desired outcome.

                I’ve made what I would call chicken broth more than stock several times based on what I used, this past Thanksgiving I definitely made turkey stock as I was able to extract much of the gelatin from the bones and it is very concentrated………it is what it is…..if it tastes good, eat it.

                1. re: Terrie H.

                  This is my thought, too. At this point, the stock should be gelatinous and not liquid, though. I wonder if there was high enough bones to water ratio for the stock.

                  1. re: chowser

                    Ditto. If I use too few bones sometimes, my stock won't be very gelatinous and will remain liquidy after refrigerating. Likewise, the less fatty meat/skin used, the thinner the fat layer is on the top.

                    1. re: chowser

                      Sometimes, my "poor man's stock" is still liquid, because the bones have been roasted already, meat is off the bones, and not much in the way of gelatin is present. and yes, too much water for the amount of bones. But, with the addition of vegetables, it's more like a vegetable broth, with the addition of a bit of chicken flavor.

                      1. re: wyogal

                        Try cracking the bones. Sometimes, that helps.

                  2. When I cut up chicken wings, I usually save and freeze the tips to throw in with the carcass when I make stock.

                    1. It's also possible your fridge isn't cold enough. My experience is the fat doesn't really get hard until it's below 35F.

                      Agree that if the stock itself is still liquid and not jellylike, you just haven't reduced it enough.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: acgold7

                        My refrigerator is set at 38 and the fat always solidifies in my stock.

                        1. re: acgold7

                          "Agree that if the stock itself is still liquid and not jellylike, you just haven't reduced it enough."

                          Does this mean the solution is to simmer it longer on the stove? I'm not so good with the kitchen lingo. :)

                          FWIW I just checked it and there is what appears to be a thin layer of almost solid fat on top. But it's pretty sparse.

                          1. re: yumcoconut

                            "Does this mean the solution is to simmer it longer on the stove?"

                            Pretty much:


                            1. re: Jen76

                              I would add that you add more chicken meat and/or bones to it, bring it to a boil, and cook with the lid off for a while so it can reduce some. Ten minutes before you turn off the heat, cover the pot and reduce the heat so it won't boil over, and let it simmer for ten or so. Then turn the heat off, let it sit out until it's no longer smoking hot, and put back in the fridge. The last part with the lid isn't necessary, but will help kill off any bacteria that floated in while it was cooking uncovered, which there's probably very little of, but may make you feel better about the stock sitting out covered while it cools enough to refrigeratge it. BTW, once the lid is on and the heat is off, don't take the lid off again until after it's cold.

                              i'm guessing your stock wasn't made with the fatty part of the chicken (hence not much fat on the surface) and it may be fairly weak too (why it isn't gelatinizing).