I have been making beef and chicken bone broth and stock for years in my stock pot. I loved simmering chicken broth in my stock pot but I really didn’t love simmering beef stock in there all night. Phew STINKY! I always make sure my freezer is stocked with bone broth. I mean our grandmother’s were right: chicken soup is for the soul…and health! There are so many benefits to bone broth and I am going to highlight 5 here in this post and also tell you how easy it is to make it in your Instant Pot. No longer can you give yourself the excuse that it takes too long to make this beautiful and healthful sacred food! This Instant Pot bone broth method is super easy and FAST!
What is Bone Broth?
What is bone broth vs. stock vs. just plain broth? Frankly I don’t care much for the semantics although people will argue for one way or the other. I think that all broth is wonderful! But here goes:
‘Broth’ is something made quickly – in under 2 hours – mostly from the meat of chicken or beef. It is light in color and thin. I doesn’t ‘gel’. Generally when you poach a chicken lightly and reserve the poaching liquid this is what I would define as simple ‘broth’.
Stock is made from less-expensive cuts of meat, inexpensive meat trimmings, and bones. Stock was something originally used in kitchens to facilitate soup, stews and sauce making. Think of a stock as a balance between the deep flavor of cooking a broth with lots of meat (which adds the flavor) and the benefits of gelatin from cooking it with the bones. There are white and brown stocks. White stocks are made with bones and meat that isn’t roasted. Brown stocks are made with bones and meat that has been roasted.
Bone broth is touted as the most beneficial to your health and is mostly made from bones and a little meat. One could argue we are splitting hairs between traditional stock and bone broth. They are generally the same thing except that bone broth is simmered for a long time – over 24 hours. Bone broth is super nutrient dense with a variety of minerals, gelatin and collagen. You know you’ve achieved greatness when you cool your bone broth and it is a solid gelatinous mass (check out this post to get my tips on how to get your bone broth to gel)!
I would say I generally make bone broth in most cases when I am using beef because I use more bones than meat. However, when I use chicken I am likely making more of a chicken stock. I am going for flavor and gel and so I used a higher proportion of meat to bones. Plus, I can’t fit more than a whole chicken in my Instant Pot. Does this mean I am not getting the benefits? I can’t imagine that could be true because my broths are always highly gelatinous and they look like a jello mold! It is all about proportion of water to bones and meat and as long as you are using bones and meat from grass fed / pastured animals you are going to be getting the benefits of the vitamins A and D and the amazing minerals, gelatin and collagen. So I use the terms interchangeably. Because really who cares?
5 Benefits of Bone Broth
1. Staple pantry food makes cooking easy
Having bone broth on hand in my freezer is MUST. I use it to make so many items in my kitchen and it speeds up my cooking time tremendously. It is like having a box of broth without all the nasty things in the box! I like to avoid neurotoxins like MSG for my family and so that is why we avoid the boxed broth. Not to mention they are expensive and really do not taste much like the real thing and they don’t gel!
What do I make with my on-hand stock?
I store them in my freezer in these containers. Yes they are plastic but I never heat them. I store cooled stock in them because when you get a pint of stock out of the freezer you want to use it right away. I rarely remember to prepare ahead to take the stock out to defrost the night before. If you run water over the deli-tainer the block of frozen stock will pop right out and then I can use it for whatever I need – within 30 seconds. If I were to do this with a glass jar, the frozen jar would expand quickly with the running water and break. I don’t need that kind of mess or disaster in my kitchen when I am hurrying to get dinner ready – do you? I reuse them over and over again and it is one of the few things we use in our kitchen that is plastic but in this case I have found the benefits outweigh any risks or impact.
2. Super inexpensive health food
The more bones you use in your proportions, the less expensive it is to make it. You can easily get beef bones from any butcher – many times they will even give them to you for free. Amazing that you can make such a beneficial food for so little money. I sometimes roast a chicken and then as we eat it, we save the bones and I freeze them until I get a big batch and then I made chicken bone broth from those bones. I even save carrot tops, peels and onion pieces and freeze them along with it. So it is seriously a free food except for the time and effort it took me to cook it.
3. An excellent source for minerals
Our bodies are built on the building blocks of minerals. Yet we really do not get enough of them in the foods we eat. Bone broths are rich in: calcium, magnesium, phosphorous and other trace minerals. The way the bone broth is cooked and balanced with other beneficial ingredients allows for easy absorption of these minerals. I would rather make my rice with bone broth to get my minerals then take them in a pill! Plus supplements of these minerals are pricey and bone broth is inexpensive and tastier for sure!
4. Amazing GELATIN!
Want more beautiful skin, less creaky bones and joints and beautiful hair and nails? Yes please! Bone broth provides all of that without the expense of creams, supplements or drugs! For added gelatin you can follow my tips here for super gelatinous stocks!
5. Supports a healthy digestive system
Chicken soup is great for when you are sick right? There is a tradition in healing broth. Why? Well 80% of our immune system resides in our gut. If our digestion is off then we can become sick with a variety of ailments. Bones, marrow, skin, tendons, ligaments, and the cartilage on the bones are all made of collagen. Collagen contains two pretty interesting and special amino acids: proline and glycine. Collagen has been found to help heal the lining of the gastrointestinal tract. I think of it as an antidote to when I eat poorly and my intestines just feel awful! Once I get back to my daily practice of sipping my morning bone broth or eating soup for lunch, I feel much better!
How to Make Bone Broth in Your Instant Pot
If you have never made bone broth before in a stock pot, this is your lucky day! You get to skip that part and go straight to the easy part of making it in your Instant Pot (What’s an Instant Pot?)! For years I have made bone broth in a regular stock pot. This takes time (about 24 hours) and focused attention in the beginning to ensure you skim off the scum and ensure it doesn’t boil over. For the past year, however, I have been making my bone broth in my Instant Pot and have never looked back!
So how do I make it? It’s pretty easy really, I take the ingredients for either my chicken stock or my beef bone broth and put them all (whatever will fit) in my Instant Pot. I put the meat in frozen – yes a whole FROZEN chicken or FROZEN bones and meaty soup bones. This saves so much time and I can do things much more last minute. I don’t have to worry or prepare ahead of time by defrosting anything. I fill the pot about 2/3 of the way with water, add my veggies and close the lid. I push ‘Manual’ and set the time for 90 minutes and let it do it’s thing! I don’t have to worry about skimming or watching a pot never boil!
Because it is only a 6 quart insert, to make as much bone broth as I used to get from my giant stock pot, I cook one batch and then strain it. I remove the meat from the bones, saving it for another use (enchiladas or chicken salad anyone?). I then put the bones back into the pot with new vegetables and water and I set it for another 90 minutes to cook a second batch. I then strain that batch and mix these two batches together. Voila – I used the bones twice and I have a ton of bone broth to freeze. All in about half a day’s time whereas before this would have taken me over two days to accomplish! It is truly an amazing gift to own one of these pressure cookers. I didn’t think I could save more time in the kitchen but using one of these has helped tremendously! If I start early in the morning, I can make two batches of bone broth and then make a batch of black beans or soup and have it ready for dinner!