Bone Soup: How long?

So, for those of us who make bone soup somewhat regularly, how long do you like to cook your bones for?

I cook for anything ranging from 4 hours to 12 hours. It is unusual, but I have gone longer than 12 hours. I find that if I cook for less than 4 hours, usually I only get the favor from the meat, and that tendon or cartilage has not been broken down yet.

What about you?

When making a bone broth I usually do 24-36 hours of total simmer time, turning it off at night and back on in the morning. I think that you need at least 24 hours of cooking time. I find there is a positive flavor change that increases depth, starting around the 20 hour mark. Something in the bones and connective tissue comes out after so much time.

1 Like

How many bones do you need to make a decent amount of broth? You can freeze some of it, no? There are times when just buying a commercial bone broth would be better…

I have two old (cooks at a lower temp than newer versions) crock pots that I use for this. I let them go for 36 - 48 hours.

1 Like

Yeah. I do what you do too – for extensive simmering. Turn on, turn off, turn on and turn off.

I didn’t know there are commercial bone broth. Good to know.

The last year or so I’ve noticed them with the shelf stable boxes of soup/stock in conventional grocery stores. Prior to that I had only seen freshly made in the refrigerated section in natural foods or specialty stores going back 5 years.

Yeah, you are right. Now that I think about it. I didn’t use to see bone broth, but I may have now seen one or two brands out there. Have you tried them? Are they good?
Just like regular broth, maybe the home made ones are better, but sometime it is nice to reserve the home made ones for more important usage.

Like everyone, I have limited freezer space, so I only have two kind of stock/broth in my freezer.

I haven’t tried them nor have I heard any comments about them.

My broth is what nudged me to purchase a bigger pressure canner. I can it in quarts, pints and 1/2 pint jars. It’s been great freeing up the freezer space and now I can make stock or bone broth when I have the bones vs when I have the space.

Cool. How long do you think self canned stock can last? Yeah. I really like some of my stock/broth (for various) dishes, but they are taking at least 1/4th or more of the freezer space.

I bought a chest freezer to hold all my broths and foods I used to can. I also have a chamber vacuum so I vac pack and freeze. indefinite shelf life and no loss of flavor like canning.

Bone soup, bone broth is now a big thing in certain parts of the country. Apparently now its marketed as some sort of nutritious elixir. There are shops that serve nothing but bone broth. Something near $10 a cup.

No answers to my question, yet. How many bones does it take to make, say, a quart of decent bone broth?


Between hurricanes and power surges from thunder storms I’ve lost a lot of frozen food over the years. Canning works best for my storage space and frequent power outages.

I also suspect my flavor standards are a bit looser than yours.:slight_smile: The work you do seems to indicate a very exacting palate.

Wish I’d remember to weigh the last batch but I just used one package of bones = three good chunks that would be about eight inches of bone if stuck together. Big hefty ones, about 2 inches dia. W/meat and cartilege attached. Cooked on and off over several days. Yield = about three cups. I’m not going by a recipe, I go with what will fit in my favorite stovetop pot, which is 9.5" dia. And a good fit for my burners. But the end product is pretty good. I’m probably the authoritative person to contribute to this thread but I’m putting this out there for reaction.

Impelled by this topic, I made my first bone broth. Although I did consume one at Marco Canora’s Brodo in the East Village last October. I read a number of recipes, and cooked it for about 40 hours in a vintage slow cooker that brought it up to about 200F.
My question is, why do the recipes, at least all those I saw, not call for salt? When one is making stock, which may be reduced for various purposes, salt is often left out, so that the result after having been reduced, not be too salty. But bone broth is most often consumed as it is. Why no salt?

Just as important as time is the temperature you maintain. If you keep it at a sub simmer you are left with a thin flavored clear stock.

The trick is to boil a little harder than you’re used to - that creates a thick cloudy stock like you see in Japanese tonkotsu ramen or Korean gomtang. Obviously this is a taste preference thing, but if you’re really looking to get the most out of your bone this is the way to do it.

You can actually use the same set of bones and extract different flavor profiles out of it. For example you can do a first stock at sub simmer, say give it like 4-6 ish hours and you’ll get the clean stock. Set that aside and add water again, and boil harder for 6-8+ hours. You’ll get a nice milky stock this time.

If you’re using thick bones like beef marrow or ham shank you can take it for another 6-8+ hour boil. I like doing it in stages like this because I feel like it gives you distinct tasting stocks with different characteristics that hasn’t lost too much to extended vaporization.

YMMV depending on the bones you use.


When did stock become bone broth? Sounds pretentious.


It’s probably to clarify the bone portion of the program. Technical definitions aside, colloquially stock and broth are used interchangeably with the assumption that it probably contains both meat and bone.

Hey, Jammie. Jammie here. Correction. You’re ‘probably’ the LEAST authoritative person to respond to this thread.
Cheeks are red.

“Food is a pretty good prism through which to view humanity.”

― Jonathan Gold

Market stall in Lima
Credit: TXMX 2