Slow cooker chicken broth

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Ahhh, Canadian March. That glorious time of year when we all pause, survey the recent surge in photos of strawberries and blossoms across America, and wonder what the hell we are doing here.

We are a bewildering people, let me tell you.


But at the same time, there’s something magical about this not-quite-spring time of year. The very air buzzes with expectation and hope. People begin to emerge from hibernation, and, smiling at one another, brave the streets again on our sunny, cold days.

Not long ago, I had some friends over for dinner. They arrived around six, and we poured ourselves some cocktails and suddenly it struck me that we hadn’t turned any lights on, as it was still light out. Six o’clock and still light out! It was enough to set my heart a-fluttering, dreaming about the long summer evenings to come, and trees with real foliage, and flowers, cocktails, picnics in the park.


And yet it is precisely this March-induced wishful thinking that tends to get us into trouble. The sun tricks us into wearing lighter coats, or leaving our scarves behind, only to regret it later on when we’re hit with a sudden onset of the sniffles. Thankfully, there’s soup. Or, in this case, the beginning of many soups: chicken broth.


This recipe came about when I decided that I wanted all the flavour from a slow-simmering broth, without having to stand by the stove and keep watch all day long. The slow cooker, of course, saved me from that, and made a gorgeous broth that also happened to be completely hands-off. It comes together in a flash, especially if you get in the habit of keeping a couple freezer bags stocked with all your vegetable odds & ends, as well as your chicken bones. Once my bags become full, I chuck them all into the slow cooker, dump some boiling water on them, then go about my life while the house slowly fills with the gloriously rich smell of simmering broth.

Stock is also a great way to use up all the bits you rarely cook with. Carrot butts? Throw ’em in. Same for woodsy celery ends, onion skins, garlic skins, wilted parsley, outer layers of fennel — almost anything goes. As for the chicken bits, I tend to have carcasses, wing tips, and necks hanging out in the freezer because I buy my chickens whole, quarter them myself, and save up the leftovers with this stock in mind.


There’s just the teeniest pinch of salt and pepper in the broth, so that you can adjust the seasonings later with the final product. It makes a great foundation for Chicken Noodle Soup (a.k.a. Jewish Penicillin), any Asian-spiced noodle soups, or the aptly-named Rainy Day Soup. A couple bowls of this, and you’ll be ready for whatever spring throws your way.


Slow cooker chicken broth

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 12 hours

Total Time: 12 hours, 30 minutes

Yield: 2 - 2.5 litres of broth

A simple, hands-off chicken broth recipe that delivers tons of flavour.


  • 500g/1 lb chicken bits (whatever assortment of bones, neck, giblets, and wing tips)
  • 2 large carrots, very roughly chopped
  • 2 celery stalks, very roughly chopped
  • 1 medium onion, quartered
  • 3 cloves of garlic, smashed, skins on
  • 5 peppercorns
  • teeny pinch of salt
  • 2.5L (10 cups) boiling water


  1. Throw all of the ingredients (except water) into your slow cooker, then slowly and carefully pour the boiling water in, until everything is covered.
  2. Cook in your slow cooker for 5-6 hours on HIGH or 9-12 hours on LOW.
  3. Allow to cool. Remove & discard the larger chunks, then strain the rest in a fine mesh sieve lined with cheesecloth. Pour into jars and cool in the fridge overnight.
  4. The next day, spoon out the layer of fat that's settled on top of the jars and either discard it, or set it aside for cooking. Whatever broth you aren't going to use in the next few days, freeze (being careful to leave enough room in the container for expansion).
  5. Season to taste & use in any recipe of your choosing!



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2 Responses to “Slow cooker chicken broth”

  1. Mary, Living a Sunshine Life January 28, 2016 at 3:52 PM #

    This looks fantastic! I always fail at chicken broth, so I can’t wait to try this one! Thank you!

  2. Elsa March 31, 2015 at 6:47 PM #

    Loved your Rainy Day Soup! I’m sure this is equally delicious! Elsa.