HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >


How do I use homemade chicken stock?

I made a chicken in the crockpot and ended up with some nice gelatonous stock that I cooled and poured into ice trays. I think I made some mistakes though, because I forgot to take off the fat before I froze. It made just short of one full ice cube tray worth of stock.

Anyway, I have a soup recipe that calls for 3 14.5oz cans of chicken broth and 2 cubes of bouillon. Is there a way I can use my frozen stock to substitute for some or all of this?

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Of course! And, I assume the fat rose to the top? Just chip it off and discard (or keep - use with flour to make a roux!)

    If you only have one ice cube tray, that won't make as much as you need, but just put the cubes of stock in a measuring cup, let melt naturally (or thaw in micro), see how much you have and use boxed or canned stock for the rest. You may not need the cubes, but that will be to your taste.

    4 Replies
    1. re: Violatp

      OP clearly has stock rather than broth so it can be diluted but I don't know by how much. Regardless, I'd lose the bouillon.

      1. re: Violatp

        I have never thought of using the fat for a Roux. Damn clever. I love the tips you pick up here.

        1. re: suzigirl

          But I don't think it's a deal breaker to leave the fat there. Most things are going to benefit from some amount. Just me.

      2. I would run screaming from any recipe that called for both canned broth and bouillon cubes. Way too salty. You may as well open a can of mass-market chicken noodle.

        Yes, you can sub your stock as is for as much of the prefab stuff as you've got. Get a jar (preferably the reduced sodium version) of Better than Bouillon and follow the label instructions to make as much additional broth as you need. It's far better than canned/cubed.

        My personal criterion for using homemade vs. Better than Bouillon is homemade for chicken noodle soup, chicken vegetable, or any other thinner soup, where the gelatin adds an unctuous mouth-feel. For a chowder or a bean soup, which is naturally thicker, the gelatin isn't needed or appreciated by the palate.

        5 Replies
        1. re: greygarious

          Are you saying that the stock that I have cannot substitute for the bouillon? I don't have any bouillon, only this stock and a box of broth. I was hoping I could dilute the stock and use the broth and skip the bouillon altogether.

          1. re: cookingnoob

            I bet you can do just that. The stock you have is good stuff. If it gets gelatinous, it's good stuff.

            Thaw your frozen stock, add the box, add enough water to bring it up to full measure and I bet it's just fine for your soup.

            1. re: cookingnoob

              I have no idea how your stock tastes because I don't know what, if any, vegetables and seasonings you used for your crockpot chicken. I am certainly not saying you can't use it instead of bouillon but as a big fan of the various BTB bases, I think the bouillon cube should be extinct and would not trust a modern recipe calling for cubes.

              1. re: greygarious

                I, too, am a huge fan of the BTB bases. In this case, the OP is on a budget and wants to make something tasty out of what she does have on hand.

                I agree that the cubes can be skipped altogether in this case, especially since she's starting out with something homemade.

                And, yes, they're just salt, MSG, and food color jammed into a little cube. Pretty yucky. I'm a fan of MSG and I still think these things are useless.

                1. re: greygarious

                  I see. Thanks for the clarification. They are definitely a non-food looking substance (although I do have fond memories of making some bouillon consume when I was a kid LOL). It is a miracle my blood pressure has never been high with all of the salt I loved throughout my life. But the first time I tried the crock pot stock I was amazed at how much flavor it had. I think I always thought of broth and stock as liquid salt, I never realized there were supposed to be other flavors involved.

            2. I agree with others here that you need to find better recipes.

              1. If you're worried about the fat, you can thaw the stock in a bowl, then refrigerate it: if there's a large amount of fat it will form a solid layer on the top, which you can lift off.

                Otherwise, I use my homemade stock in any recipe that calls for stock. I sometimes dilute it, since I tend to make concentrated stocks. Filtering the stock through a cheesecloth can make it prettier, but I don't bother.

                7 Replies
                1. re: tardigrade

                  Thank you. Yes the fat is at the top. I don't mind a little fat, but it does look like it would be pretty easy to eliminate it.

                  1. re: cookingnoob

                    I freeze stock in containers, not ice cubes in a baggie, because the more surface area there is, the faster and more freezer burn and off-flavors develop. I do not skim the stock, because the fat cap that forms protects the frozen container of stock from freezer burn. It's easy to chip it off later, especially if you allow it to thaw at least partially before using it.

                      1. re: greygarious

                        When I make stock, I refrigerate it and then peel off the fat. Then I barely warm it and pour it into half-liter water bottles. I freeze them upright and then stack the bottles on their side on a freezer shelf. I have used square freezer containers. The use of bottles is much easier. Heck, one time I bought a case of water with good bottles and poured out the water to use the bottles for stock.

                        1. re: John E.

                          I and others have mentioned that we use zipping bags, freeze flat and then stand them up in a box in the freezer.

                          1. re: John E.

                            In what way(s) do you find bottles easier? Rectangular containers and flattened baggies maximize freezer space
                            and while most people don't wash and reuse baggies, rectangular containers are easier to clean out than bottles.
                            Even if you don't reuse them you have to clean them before recycling....

                            1. re: greygarious

                              I use Ziplock type bags for freezing soup, stews, spaghetti sauce, and a lot of other stuff. I just don't like it for liquids such as stock. The corners frequently break in the freezer. I find that the flat bags will slide around on the shelf of the freezer (we have an upright freezer, I suppose it would works better in a chest freezer) and sometimes slide onto the floor. We have a couple of plastic rectangular containers to hold the other stuff frozen in the bags but they take up a lot of room.

                              The bottles stack like cordwood in the freezer in our basement refrigerator. They are easy to access. I have found that when using the plastic square containers, the stock can get freezer burned so there ends up being a bunch of snow on the top of the stock inside the container.

                              The bottles are easy to rinse out and recycle. I recycle all of the water bottles that I use. Actually, for the first time in many years I tossed an empty water bottle into the trash at a football game because I didn't wish to carry it around with me for several hours.

                              We probably have about six dozen bottles of various kinds of stock at any given time. We also have probably ten dozen bottles of orange, grapefruit, and lemon juice on the bottom shelf of the upright freezer. My father brought home 21 cases of citrus home from Arizona last winter. (He and his friends picked it all.)

                    1. Incidentally, this is sort of why I suggest that chickens should never be cooked in crockpots: the chickeny goodness in the juices leaches out of the chicken and into the liquid. Result is dry and really over cooked chicken.

                      7 Replies
                      1. re: C. Hamster

                        Although I usually make stock in a stockpot in a low oven, a couple of times I've cooked a chicken til the breasts are done, remove the meat from the bones (not just the breasts), break apart and put back in to make some broth. I don't really consider it stock.

                        1. re: c oliver

                          What I have is gelatinous. Isn't that stock?

                          1. re: cookingnoob

                            There's a range of opinion about the definitions of stock and broth. Depending on who you're talking to, stock is made from meaty bones and aromatic vegetables, whereas broth is made just from meat, OR VICE VERSA. Clarity, straining, seasoning..... all additional variables.

                            Personally, if it's gelatinous I'd call it stock. In my world, broth is not gelatinous, hence there's no such thing as vegetable stock, only broth.

                            1. re: greygarious

                              Thanks. The two terms always confuse me. The first time I made a crockpot chicken I tried to use the "drippings" to make gravy like I do with a roast and was really confused and surprised when it turned into gelatin. I through it all out. Later I read somewhere that stock is gelatinous so I assumed that is what I had after making a crock pot chicken.

                          2. re: c oliver

                            Stock, by definition, is made from bones -- meat too -- but bones have to be involved.

                            If its just meat it's technically broth.

                            1. re: C. Hamster

                              I don't think I was clear. I put the bones back into the slow cooker, along with the attached meat and wings. When I REALLY make stock it's feet, backs and wings that goes in a big stockpot in the oven for 8-12 hours.

                          3. re: C. Hamster

                            I think I am weird in my chicken taste. I never order chicken in restaurants because they are too juicy and it disgusts me. I tend to like my chicken on the dry side, although I have found that the crock put chicken comes out juicier than I normally make it.

                          4. Thank you for all of your replies. I might have different cooking goals and a different palette than most of you but I am here to learn so I really appreciate all of your advice. My cooking goals are purely a way to save money and feed my family somewhat healthier options to our usual go tos of take out, fast food, pasta, top raman, and canned whatever I can find-LOL. But spending a lot of time in the kitchen is a total turn off. Crock pot and 30 minutes meals are my go to's with an occasional weekend real cooking session.

                            This recipe was chosen because I have some chicken I need to cook up before it goes bad, I have no money left in my grocery budget until Monday, and I happen to have everything on hand for this (if I can make this stock stretch although I do have some boxed broth as well). I am hoping the soup can serve as lunch for a few days.

                            About the stock, I always thought that if it was gelatinous it is stock and if it is liquidy it is broth. Am I wrong in that assumption? What I have is definitely gelatinous.

                            I love making chicken in the crock pot. I tend to like my chicken on the dry side but in the crock it is actually comes out juicier than my usual preference. The only disappointing part this chicken (for me) is that you don't get a nice crispy skin, but peeling it off is easy.

                            2 Replies
                            1. re: cookingnoob

                              You are absolutely correct in your differentiation between stock and broth.

                              Stick with us. You're going to learn a lot (I sure have), save money and become a better cook. Hang in there/here :)

                              1. re: c oliver

                                Thank you. I am enjoying reading the posts here.

                            2. As others mentioned, just let the cubes thaw in the fridge and remove the fat from the top. Leaving a little bit in there is fine though since some flavors are only fat soluble.

                              Rather than use bouillon, I would just bring the stock to a gentle simmer and let it reduce until it has a more concentrated flavor. Bouillon cubes are loaded with MSG and other artificial flavors and colors and kind of negate a home made stock.

                              1 Reply
                              1. re: Atomic76

                                Save that little bit of stock to make something special with it.
                                Unless you are simmering chicken a lot you'll not have the 'good stuff' that often.
                                'Better Than Bouillon' is an excellent product IMO. Just be careful not to use too much.

                              2. Thanks again for all the new replies. I made a soup and just sort of winged it since I had to do something before the chicken went bad. Didn't really follow any recipe. I browned some onions garlic and dried herbs threw in all my stock all of my boxed broth about 2 cups of water and the cooked and cubed chicken breast that was the catalyst for all of this, I ended up with a really greasy but flavorful product. I think I might have to water it down some more. I stuck it in the fridge and will try it out for lunch tomorrow with some water.

                                I really want something cheap and easy I can do when I have some extra chicken leftover, something that is not enough to make a meal on its own, but if I turn it into a soup I can stretch it across a few meals.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: cookingnoob

                                  When I have some leftover chicken, I make chicken salad.