Building blocks, Pressure cooker
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Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock

Stock is the basis of great cooking. In his book Ratio: The Simple Codes Behind the Craft of Everyday Cooking, Michael Ruhlman says that stock is…

…the single preparation that might elevate a home cook’s food from decent to spectacular.

I absolutely agree. Stock is flavor, pulled out of leftover bones and meat. With homemade stock, you can make pan sauces and gravies that are rich and silky. You can make stews with amazing depth and complexity. And, most important, you have the best base for soup there is.
*If you’re making soup, and you don’t start with your own broth, you might as well just use water.

When I make chicken stock, I use my pressure cooker.
*Chicken stock is my pressure cooker’s “killer app”. I turn to it again and again.

Making stock in the pressure cooker is quick, easy, and the results are delicious. I make my chicken stock while I’m cleaning up after dinner. I get it started, then finish the rest of the cleaning. About an hour later, it’s done, and ready to be strained and refrigerated.

Making chicken stock really seems like culinary magic. You take chicken pieces that you can’t even eat as leftovers, some vegetables, some water, and the end result is liquid gold. Make your own chicken stock – you’ll never go back to the insipid stuff in the can!
*Don’t have a pressure cooker? That’s OK, just check out the notes for how to make chicken stock without it.

Recipe: Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock



Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour 15 minutes
  • Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
  • Yield: 3
  • Category: Pressure Cooker
  • Cuisine: American


Pressure Cooker Chicken Stock from leftover pieces – backs, wings, necks, or the bones from roast chicken.


  • 3 pounds chicken bones w/ clinging meat (I use a gallon zip-top bag full of frozen chicken backs, wingtips, and other trimmings, or the carcasses of two roast chickens)
  • 2 medium onions, ends trimmed and halved
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon whole black peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 celery rib, cut in half (optional)
  • 1 large carrot, scrubbed and cut in half (optional)
  • 3 cloves garlic, crushed, with peels (optional)
  • 3 quarts of water, or just enough to cover the ingredients (or go to the max fill line on your pressure cooker.)


  1. Fill the pressure cooker: Put all the ingredients in your pressure cooker, and add water to cover.
  2. Pressure cook the stock: Lock the lid of the pressure cooker, and bring it up to high pressure. Cook at high pressure for 45 minutes in a stovetop PC or 55 minutes in an electric PC. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the pressure to release naturally, about 20 minutes.
  3. Strain the stock: Scoop out the bones with a slotted spoon, then strain the stock into another pot through a fine mesh strainer.
  4. Defat the stock: (Optional) Refrigerate the stock overnight, or up to 2 days, so the fat floats to the surface and forms a hard cap. Scrape the fat cap from the top of the stock with a slotted spoon.
  5. Use or freeze the stock: Use the stock immediately, or freeze for later use. I portion the stock into 1 quart and 1 cup containers, and freeze for later use. When using the stock, make sure you bring it to a boil to sanitize it; it’s OK if that’s part of the recipe.


Everything in the pot


Refrigerated, the fat cap lifts right off


5.5 quarts of stock, ready for future use

*Add some herbs – I will use a quarter bunch of parsley or parsley stems, and/or a sprig of fresh thyme. I wouldn’t use rosemary, because it can be overpowering.

*More garlic – Alice Waters adds a whole head of garlic to her chicken stock in The Art of Simple Food. I think this makes the stock a little less versatile, but if you know you’re going to use it in something where garlic flavor will be appreciated, go for it!

*Leeks – Leek greens give stock a great flavor, and are Tres Francais. Add them in addition to or in place of the onion.

*As I mention in the ingredients, I make this stock one of two ways:
1. I keep a gallon zip-top bag of chicken trimmings in the freezer. Any leftover bones or trimmings go in the bag. When the bag is full, it’s time to make a batch of stock. These trimmings make great stock; chicken backs, wings or wingtips, rib bones from breasts…they all have a lot of collagen to give up to the stock.
2. When I roast a pair of chickens, I carve the meat off the bones, then make stock with the carcasses. This is in the same spirit as the turkey stock I make around thanksgiving.

**[Update 10/13/09] – You can see this in the pictures, but I thought I should make sure it’s in the recipe:  If you’re using frozen chicken pieces, you do not need to thaw them.  They’ll thaw out in the pressure cooker.

*If I’m desperate, I buy 3-4 pounds of chicken backs from the store for my stock, but it’s been a while since I’ve needed to do that.

*As I mentioned above, I like to keep my stock in 1 quart and 1 cup containers. Another good idea I’ve heard is to freeze your stock in an ice cube tray, then dump the cubes of stock into a zip-top bag for storage. I have an ice cube maker, though, so I don’t own an ice cube tray. Also, I find the 1 cup size to be the smallest amount I use.

*Don’t have a pressure cooker? Use your oven. Use the technique in this recipe, just substitute chicken for the turkey: Turkey Stock Done Right.

*That said, the advantages of the pressure cooker are speed and collagen extraction. The pressure cooker does a much better job of getting the collagen out of the bones and into the stock. Pressure cooker stock looks like Jell-o(™).
*I was trying to figure out a way to show that in the pictures, but I wasn’t creative enough. You can sort of see how jelled it is in the picture where I started to remove the fat cap.

*What should you use the stock in? Soup! See the Related Posts for some ideas.

Questions? Comments? Other ideas? Leave them in the comments section below.

Related Posts:

Turkey Noodle Soup – Change to chicken noodle soup by using this stock

Tortilla Soup
Thai Coconut Soup
Pressure Cooker Turkey Stock from my Turkey Stock Shootout
Straining stock

Inspired by:
Just about every cookbook I’ve ever owned; they all say to make your own stock.
Fagor Duo 10-Quart Pressure Cooker/Canner
Cooking Under Pressure (20th Anniversary Edition)

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  1. Jack_in_Ann_Arbor says

    Last Thanksgiving, the NYTimes had a piece in which Jacques Pepin applied Chinese techniques he had seen used 30 years earlier to steam chicken. He applied it this time to turkey. I reverse engineered it, well, to cook chicken. Using the steamer insert in a 12-qt stock pot, I thick-slice big carrots, several big ribs of celery, and wedge-slice a couple of nice, big onions of whatever color you have on hand, all in a gallon of water. Start the water heating and, in the steamer insert, stack a bunch of chicken thighs or leg quarters (what I’m doing right now – the thighs were way over-priced). Put the lid on and once things come to the boil, let everything bubble for 30-45 minutes. The steam renders the fat from the skin and the excellent flavor into the broth (no bones, after all), while perfectly cooking the chicken. You get that elusive Chinese master-chef chicken aroma and flavor. I’m going to try your pressure method again. Try the steam method. Both amazing. Good luck! Love your blog.

  2. aster says

    I’m a bit confused as to how you’re getting 5.5 quarts of stock out of 3 quarts of water (plus the solids). In my experience, one winds up with way less final stock that the starting volume, no? Were those tubs from the same recipe? Also, could you confirm if you’re using the 10 qt Fagor? I don’t have a pressure cooker, but it may be worth buying one just for this purpose. Otherwise making stock takes soooo long!

  3. Aster,

    You will wind up with more stock than the original amount of water because the pressure cooker is sealed. You don’t lose water to evaporation, and the liquids in the chicken and the aromatics are squeezed out and add themselves to the stock.

    That said, it won’t be that much extra stock. I’d estimate a couple of cups of extra liquid. I must have added more water (to cover the ingredients) than the 3 quarts I mention in the recipe.

    Yes, I used the Fagor 10 quart pressure cooker. It’s a great cooker. Here’s where I talk about it:

  4. Jana Hoffmann says

    Hi, Just found your site and love all the great pressure cooker recipes! 🙂 I love making my own stock but I don’t have a huge amount of freezer space. I’ve had this thought of maybe simmering it down to make a sort of concentrate that I could add some water to when required for a recipe but I can’t see it mentioned as a technique anywhere on the internet, which kinda concerns me. What are your thoughts?

  5. Reducing the stock to make it easier to store is a great idea. Just keep simmering until it is reduced to about 20% of the original volume.

    For a recipe, search for “demi glace”.

  6. Jana Hoffmann says

    Thank you! That’s super helpful, going to try it out next weekend! 🙂

  7. alexandria Tevis says

    Hi I have a Fagor 8 quart Chef model I have never used yet. I want to make the chicken stock, Dads version it sounds great. Has anyone used the Fagor Chef model? Is it easy to use? Convenient for stock?

    • The fagor should work fine – I have the slightly more complicated fagor duo model. Just be careful locking the lid – don’t force it or it can jam – and remember that high pressure is when the pressure valve releases a thin stream of steam. Good luck!

  8. Steve Coppage says

    Please add me to your email list. It would help if I could Pin the recipe.

    • Email: Look for “Email Subscription” in the column on the left.

      Pinterest: Hover your mouse over any of the pictures and a “Pin it” button will appear in the top left.

  9. Nancy Smith says

    What are the plastic containers that you use for freezing your broth? I normally don’t like using plastic, but I’m getting tired of losing canning jars (both quart and 1 1/2 pint) trying to use them for freezing broth. Yours look nice.

    BTW, I recently found your site through Nom Nom Paleo’s recommendation. I appreciate all the information that you share. It’s really great! I am currently struggling to decide if the IP-Duo60 will be big enough for our family of 6 big eaters or if I should get the Fagor Duo 10 quart.

  10. Mike, I have been trying to decide if it would be more efficient to freeze a large batch of chicken broth into 2-cup (pint) jars, as I see on your website, or if it would be more convenient (and to optimize freezer space) to pack 2-cups of the the broth into Ziploc quart bags and freeze them flat (and thin) for faster thawing.

    My major problem when packing broths into 2-cup-plastic-bag portions is that the packs slide around a lot in the freezer unless I contain the smaller bags into a larger, dedicated bag or a rigid carton for Ziploc broth BAGS. I’m looking for a more efficient approach to freezing and thawing the stock.

    Thinner (2-cup) bags thaw quicker than pint jars of broth. I can’t decide on whether to freeze my broth in bags or jars.

    Any thoughts on which approach you might have found the most efficient and convenient?

    Oh, oh, I did just now see a previous pot. I will check it out.

    • I don’t freeze in bags often – it seems too fiddly to me. I go with canning jars, because I have a lot of them lying around. I live with the fact that they’re not as efficient, space wise, as square containers.

  11. Nrat says

    This is the best chicken stock ever! I omit the salt and add 1 chicken boillon cube per 2 cups of water. It really does turn to Jello! Sometimes I dont want a super Jelloey stock so I use whole chicken quarters instead of a batch of wing tips, and freeze it in icecube trays.

  12. Mike in Austin says

    Mike, just wanted to add my two cents. If you can get chicken feet from the farmer’s market (or wherever) it makes the stock just more fabulous. Mine is gelatinous when in the fridge and I mean giggly! Makes killer soups and sauces.

    • Mike, I agree, chicken feet make great stock. The only reason I don’t use them all the time is I have to make a special trip to the poultry store downtown to get them. My grocery stores don’t carry them. (I think it’s time for a trip to Difeos!)

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