Recipes > Chicken Short Stock

Chicken Short Stock


Chicken short stock is an easy alternative when you don't have any stock on hand. It can also be used to enhance or expand an existing stock.
  • Serves: 4 to 6
  • Active Time: 40 mins
  • Total Time: 2 hrs
  • Views: 64,801
  • Success Rating: 100% (?)
    0% - I fed it to the dog


Step 1: Preparing Your Mise en Place

Preparing Your Mise en Place
  • 4 lb chicken bones (backs and necks)
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 carrot
  • 1 rib celery
  • 1 leek


To start your mise en place, first prepare the mirepoix by roughly chopping the onion, celery, carrot into 1/2" diced pieces. Next, clean and slice the leek.

Using the heel of a large, heavy chef’s knife, carefully chop up the bones. Make sure to use a heavy European Chefs’ Knife or cleaver to chop through bones. You could easily chip or damage the cutting edge of thinner, lighter-weight knives, such as Japanese-style knives. You could also ask your butcher to do this for you.

Step 2: Caramelizing the Bones and Mirepoix

Caramelizing the Bones and Mirepoix
  • 2 L/qt chicken stock (or water)
  • 1 to 2 tbsp grapeseed or vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup dry white wine


To start, heat a large, stainless-steel pan over medium-high heat. Add the oil and once hot, add the bones in a single layer. You may need to cook the bones in batches so you don’t overcrowd the pan. Let the bones brown without touching them for a couple of minutes. Then flip them over and continue to cook on the other side until nicely caramelized. As the bones cook, the hot fat will splatter and be quite messy. To avoid this, you could roast the bones in the oven. However, caramelizing in a pan is much faster. Once the bones are caramelized on both sides, transfer to a plate and continue with the remaining bones.

When finished, set aside and drain most of the excess fat from the pan. Add the mirepoix and cook until nicely browned. Toss occasionally, and once softened and caramelized, deglaze with the white wine. Once the wine has reduced, transfer the vegetables to a medium pot.

Add the reserved bones and cold stock to the pot. You can use water if you like, but the stock will add additional richness and flavor. The liquid should cover the bones by about 2 inches. Let simmer over medium heat for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Step 3: Cooking the Short Stock

Cooking the Short Stock
  • 8 to 10 parsley stems
  • 3 to 4 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp whole, black peppercorns


As the short stock comes up to a simmer, skim off any excess fat and impurities that rise to the surface.

During the last 30 minutes of cooking, skim one last time to remove any excess fat. Add the bouquet garni.

Step 4: Finishing the Stock

Finishing the Stock


Once the stock is ready, carefully strain it through a sieve. For an even finer stock, strain it again through a sieve lined with cheesecloth.

The stock can be cooled over an ice bath and stored in the refrigerator or freezer; or, you can use it immediately to form the base for many great dishes and sauces.

Chef's Notes

Short stock is commonly prepared with water.

This approach can also be used to intensify the flavor and quality of existing stock, such as store-bought stock or ‘regular’ stock. In this case, the existing stock is used as the liquid, instead of water.


  • Manille S
    Manille S
    I don't quite understand the difference between a short stock and a regular says here it's great in a pinch if you don't have stock on hand, then tells you to boil the stock bones in...stock. Am I missing something?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    There is really no difference; they are both deliciously flavored liquids. Short stocks are usually cooked for a shorter period of time with the ingredients being cut smaller, so you can extract more flavor in a shorter period of time. You can absolutely use water to make a short stock. We used stock as our liquid just to show that it is a great way to enhance a store-bought stock or to intensify or fortify regular stock. I usually always use stock to make my short stock just for that added layer of flavor and richness. But again, water will work just fine.
  • Kimberley S Rouxbe Staff
    Kimberley S
    Hi there, The recipe has been updated. You can check out the Short Stock Lesson in our Cooking School There is great information in all of our Stock-Making Lessons. Happy Cooking!
  • Bernadette T
    Bernadette T
    I made this today. Perfect b/c its raining and will be raining till Monday!! Kept the kitchen nice and warm. The stock is very good. I'm going to save it so I can make French Onion Soup.
  • Patrick O
    Patrick O
    Hi Dawn, when you mention using this recipe to enhance store bought stock, do you mean broth? meaning this is a method to improve broth by turning it into a stock? I have a few litres of Nonna's Chicken stock in the freezer, some of which I would like to turn into a dark stock, rather than starting from scratch. Would this recipe/technique work for that? In my warped sense of logic, I put these liquids in this order of intensity. 1.Clear broth or Bouillon 2.Broth (IE good quality store bought such as Pacific or a homemade version somewhere between 1 and 3) 3. Stock, either from scratch or short stocks made from broth with or without caramelizing the bones/mirepoix but more concentrated than broth. 4. Dark Stock (caramelized bones and/or mirepoix)and reduced to a point that it will solify when cold. 5. Glace (IE. Veal Demi)Dark stock reduced by about half. I'm really getting into making stocks lately. Its such a simple way to add great flavour to a dish either as part of it like a soup or in a sauce to go with it. Cheers!
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    You are totally on the right thinking path, Patrick. So glad that you are really getting into making stocks. It really does change one's way of cooking and thinking, doesn't it? As for your question, yes you can darken and/or increase the flavor of your Nonna Chicken Stock by making a short stock with it. In fact, we just did that the other day with some stock we had in the freezer. The only other thing that I might add is that the order you have as far as flavor goes could be adjusted or tweaked. By this I mean that #2 Broths and #3 Stocks could be the same there is an overlap between broth and stock. And, depending on the water ratio, broths can be very flavorful and even more flavorful than stocks. An example of this is broth-based soups, where the broth is so flavorful that it is sometimes the entire soup (no garniture at all). Anyhoo, keep up the stock making and happy cooking!!
  • Patrick O
    Patrick O
    I didn't realize that there was this big grey area between broths and stocks. Then again, with my technical background I seem to see things more in black and white ;) Well that settles it then, my weekend project is a "dark short stock" using the Nonna's stock as a base. Lately i've notice a big price increase in boneless/skinless chicken breasts so I've been buying the bone-in variety and deboneing them myself. Now I've got several lbs of bones in my freezer for times like these. Cheers!
  • Jorge A
    Jorge A
    Unfortunately, I am unable to find chicken backs here in this Alabama town. Could I use chicken wings? I guess I could use thighs with the back attached, and detach the back. This sounds expensive. Any suggestions? Jorge in Alabama (sigh...)
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    The wings will work. In fact, most any chicken bones will work, Jorge. For a darker, richer short stock, you could even roast the wings in a hot oven, until golden brown.
  • Jorge A
    Jorge A
    When I first started looking at the recipe, I saw Roasting a chicken with a V shaped rack. I have not been able to find it again. Can you help? Jorge
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    I am not sure exactly what you are looking for. Here is the lesson on Enhnaced Roast Chicken - this lesson covers using a V-rack. Hope this helps!
  • Jorge A
    Jorge A
    I have been told that brining a chicken will make the chicken extremely salty. Any thoughts? Jorge
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    This is a thread about Short Stock, so I will point you to the thread on "How to Brine", in the cooking school. I guess the fact that we did a lesson on it says that we believe in brining and it's benefits. I also should say that, while brining does add salt to the meat, the meat requires less salt topically when cooked. Hope this helps!
  • Tad S
    Tad S
    I am definitely a fan of short stocks. I've made lots of stocks and have devoted many hours to a just cause; however, I LOVE the shorter cooking time and the amazing flavor! My first short stock was made with a store bought broth but today's will be water only. I want to control the sodium better in my final dish which is easier to do if I use water. Keep up the great work Rouxbe. My 10 year old wants to be a chef and your lessons and quizzes are the best thing to her!
  • Lea
    Since we have a long weekend ahead I plan to give the short stock a try. Since my local grocer doesn't sell bones, I've had to buy whole chickens to cut up. My question is: for the first time should I try making this with water or store bought stock?
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    While using a stock, will provide additional flavor, you can still make a very flavorful short stock using only water as your liquid. Perhaps this time you make it with water and the next time you make it with stock to see if you can tell the difference—you may even want to go so far as to save some from this batch so that you can do a side-by-side comparison. Cheers!
  • Lea
    Too late! I tried it using water. Two comments ( maybe three): it seemed a little thin (but it was delicious); butchering a chicken isn't as easy as it appears (I sliced a couple layers off my index finger and had to throw away half a chicken because I bled on it); my local grocer doesn't keep necks, backs, bones. They give them to a manufacturing company. I know there's a butcher in town. Goal this week: find them and make them my friend! Butchering isn't as easy as it looks.
  • Dawn T
    Dawn T
    Good job Lea. I will say that with things like stock—and with most cooking for that matter—practice really makes things seem easier over time. The thinness might just be your ratio of bones to water, or how much you reduced the stock. Butchering, in general, is not easy at first, but with practice, it really does get easier—just be sure to keep your fingers out of the way—and/or, make friends with your local butcher :-)
  • Lea
    Point! I did use more water than called for. I was trying to completely cover the bones so I used more than was called for. Although I was a bit bummed this morning, I haven't given up the idea of butchering for myself. I will try again...once I heal. Until then, I will seek out a butcher who can give me the bones I need :)
  • Yuseph K
    Yuseph K
    Hi, I broke down a chicken for the first time yesterday. I think I did a good job until the back because I cut at the wrong place. Anyways, now I have wing tips and carcass to make stock. I have two questions before I start: 1) How clean should the bones be before making the stock? There is still quite a bit of fat and some meat. 2) When you make a mistake a cut the bone, blood appears. Is this blood dangerous? Thanks!
  • Ken R Rouxbe Staff
    Ken R
    Hi Yuseph- I would reccomend having another look at the stock making lessons to get a general overview of stick making technique. 1) How clean should the bones be before making the stock? There is still quite a bit of fat and some meat. Simply rinse them in cold water. Fat and meat can/should go in the stock. 2) When you make a mistake a cut the bone, blood appears. Is this blood dangerous? I'm not sure you mean exactly - but the blood is not necessarily dangerous than any other part of the carcass. You need to use sanitary practices and proper cooking when handling and preparing all animal protein. ~Ken
  • Brendan I
    Brendan I
    Sorry all can you refreeze frozen stock that has been used in a short stock ? Many thanks
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Yes, you can, Brendan. However, keep in mind the bigger picture of food safety, whereby foods are generally good in the refrigerator (before spoilage sets in) for about one week. This includes stock because it is a perishable food. So, each time the stock is in the refrigerator (or at room temperature)--before it was originally frozen and when you thawed the stock--this cumulative time counts against the 'one week shelf life' guideline. If you lose track of how much time the stock has spent outside the freezer, then simply pay attention to the color, clarity, aroma, and flavor of the stock as it reaches its 'end of life'.
  • Layla J
    Layla J
    can I use a whole chicken instead of the bones
  • Lauren L
    Lauren L
    Hi Layla. Yes! What my mom does and I grew up doing is this: Cook a whole chicken and vegetables into a pot of water. Simmer until the chicken meat is cooked. Pull it out, take the meat off of the chicken and then continue to sauté the bones/ carcass and proceed as the recipe suggests with caramelizing the bones. You can use the stock from the cooking chicken to finish the stock. Lauren
  • Jon G
    Jon G
    Hello! How much stock does this recipe typically produce? It says it serves 4 - 6 but it's hard to know how much that actually is :).
  • Sandy S
    Sandy S
    Hi Jon, I would say this makes about 6 cups +/-. Hope this helps! Cheers, Sandy
  • Deanne M
    Deanne M
    A little overwhelmed I know I can do it Will continue with head up
  • Cancelled
    I'm not seeing anyplace where you tell anyone there's a need to have and add "stock" to make this stock? Huh? It's not even on the ingredient list. I think. Am I missing something?
  • Eric W Rouxbe Staff
    Eric W
    Hi Andrea, Short stock is commonly prepared with water. This approach can also be used to intensify the flavor and quality of existing stock, such as store-bought stock or ‘regular’ stock. In this case, the existing stock is used as the liquid, instead of water. ~Eric
  • Pavel D
    Pavel D
    What size pot is recommended for the quantity of ingredients that are listed, please?
  • Char N Rouxbe Staff
    Char N
    Hello Pavel, Generally speaking, you would use a stock pot--while they come in various sizes--usually 8-12 quart in size. Hope this helps. Take care, Char

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