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Simple Crockpot Bone Broth

December 12, 2018 (Last Updated: September 25, 2020)

This crockpot beef bone broth is a fantastic base for rich soup recipes or simply sipping for better health. It’s incredibly easy to make, and with this recipe, you’ll learn all the tips to make sure it’s made right. No weak flavors, no over or under-doing it and no impurities left behind.

It can also be made in the Instant Pot!

A bowl of beef bone broth on a wooden board next to garlic and red onion.

I use this broth in my richest recipes because it’s so flavorful and cozy. Perfect for Beef Bourguignon and  French onion soup. It’s also perfect for sipping if you want to ward off a cold or improve your over-all health. It just takes a bit of time, and it can be frozen for months so you’ll never waste a drop.

A Few Tips!

1. You don’t need expensive marrow bones

Contrary to popular opinion, the best bones to use for beef broth are actually neck and knuckle bones, not marrow bones. Marrow bones are mostly fat, and that fat simply rises to the top and is scooped off when the broth is done.

They’re also much more expensive compared to neck and knuckle bones which are just as flavorful and provide that nice collagen thickness to your broth. 

2. Boil your bones first to rid them of impurities

Even if your bones are frozen, they’ll still have some impurities (bacteria) and dirtiness that comes from storing, packaging and shipping. You’ll want to place your bones in a pot of cold water, bring it to a boil and let it simmer on high for 15 minutes.

3. Don’t use a lot of “flavoring”

It’s not necessary to throw lots of different kinds of vegetables and seasonings into the pot. You’re simply making broth. It’s flavorful enough as it is, and if you intend to make a soup with it, you can always add those ingredients at a later time.

It’s best to make as much room for bones and water in the pot as possible. A simple onion and head of garlic, cut in half, is all you need to give it a little dimension – and make your kitchen smell delicious while it simmers.

You don’t even have to take the onion and garlic out of their skins, but just remember to wash them before you put them in the pot.

A crockpot full of bones, chopped onion and garlic and salt.

A Few Common Questions:

1. How long does bone broth take to make?

You’re going to let it simmer for 2 whole days. Not 8 hours, not 24, but a full 48. You can technically make a broth in just 1 day, but if you came for easy and mediocre, you came to the wrong blog. Here at She Keeps a Lovely Home, we’re all about easy but fancy (and full of flavor!)

It’s SO much better when you let it simmer for 48 hours. It will be so much richer and more flavorful. You’ll also notice that your broth will “gel” when cooled which means you’ve pulled all that highly nutritious collagen out of the bones when you let it go for a full 2 days.

My broth would never gel when I skipped a day. No gel = mediocre broth. Less flavor, less nutritious, less fancy.

2. How do I make it in an Instant Pot?

Unfortunately, that pressure cook function won’t speed up the process. It will just leave you with a flavorless broth if you try to cut down on time (in my experience). You really need to let it take its time to get that rich, jiggly, collagen-rich consistency, so you’re going to do almost exactly as you would in your crock pot – allowing it to simmer for 48 hours, but you’re going to set the Instant Pot to “Slow Cook” on “Medium” not low.

The medium setting on the instant pot is about the same as the low setting on most crock pots. Most Instant Pots can’t be set to slow cook for more than 24 hours though, so you’ll just have to reset it after 24 hours to go for another day.

3. What’s the difference between bone broth and stock?

This “bone broth” you’re going to make is actually “beef stock.” “Beef broth” is made with both meat and bones and simmered on high for a short amount of time. “Beef stock” is made with only bones and simmered for a long time.  So, that “stock” you buy in boxes in the food store is actually mislabeled. It isn’t stock at all, but broth, because it’s often made with a mix of bones and meat, it’s thinner and not slowly simmered.

When the world of super-foodies realized just how healthy beef stock was – which again, by definition, is slow cooked beef bones – they wanted to delineate between the standard, store bought, intensely boiled, quickly made (and mislabeled) “stock” that you buy in stores.

So this bunch of folks essentially branded true “beef stock” as “bone broth” since it’s a term that was not commonly used for store bought (mislabeled) beef “stock.” Quite confusing.

This recipe is not for over-salted, heat-blasted, preservative-filled beef stock, however. It’s for utterly nutritious, extra fancy (and technically mislabeled) “bone broth.”

4. Do I have to brown my bones first?

It’s not 100% necessary, but it’s a great idea. Some chefs say the bones should be dark brown before going into the pot, but I find popping them in the oven for 40-45 minutes at 450 gives my broth a deep, rich flavor, and a deep, dark color.

5. How long will it last?

Bone broth will only last nicely in the fridge for about 4-5 days, but you can freeze it in glass or Tupperware and it will be perfect for months!

6. What do I need to make this recipe?

  • 4 quart crockpot
  • Mesh strainer
  • Large glass container
  • Sharp knife and cutting board

A cutting board with bones, chopped garlic, chopped onion and a small bowl of salt.

Crockpot Bone Broth – Step by Step

First, place your bones in a pot of cold water and boil them for 15 minutes to remove the impurities before placing them in your crock pot.

1. Slice a small-medium sized onion and head of garlic in half. Add 2 pounds of bones, chopped onion, chopped garlic, 1 tbsp. salt and 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar to a 4 quart crock pot.

2. Add 8 cups of water (or enough to cover the bones), but leave a little space at the top for your broth to simmer. You don’t want it to over-flow as it heats and bubbles a bit. Simmer on LOW for 48 hours. If you’re using an Instant Pot, set it to Slow Cook and MEDIUM for 48 hours.

3. When your broth is done simmering, remove the bones and boiled vegetables.

4. Strain the broth through a mesh strainer to remove any other bits left behind.

A step by step process showing how to make bone broth.

5. Place broth in a refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours. The layer of fat will harden on the top.

6. After the fat has hardened, remove the layer with a spoon. Discard the fat and use your broth to make a tasty soup!

A step by step process showing how bone broth fat sets.

I use this bone broth to make this incredibly rich, irresistible French onion soup! Once the broth is done, it’s the EASIEST recipe!

A bowl of French onion soup on a lace table cloth beside candles.

Help yourself to these other cozy winter recipes:

For more inspiration, follow me on INSTAGRAM @shekeepsalovelyhome, on PINTEREST and FACEBOOK! And if you ever make any of my tasty drinks or treats, take a picture and tag me. I want to see!

A bowl of bone broth on a wooden board with onions and garlic.
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5 from 1 vote

Crockpot Bone Broth

This beef bone broth is a fantastic base for rich soup recipes or simply sipping for better health.
Prep Time5 mins
Cook Time2 d
Cooling time5 hrs
Total Time2 d 5 mins
Course: Soup
Cuisine: International
Keyword: bone broth
Servings: 8 cups
Calories: 166kcal

Ingredients

  • 2 pounds beef knuckle and/or neck bones
  • 1 small-medium red onion - chopped in half
  • 1 head garlic - chopped in half
  • 1 tbsp. sea salt
  • 1 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 2 quarts water - or enough to cover bones

Instructions

  • Slice a small-medium sized onion and head of garlic in half. Add 2 pounds of bones, chopped onion, chopped garlic, 1 tbsp. salt and 1 tbsp. of apple cider vinegar to a 4 quart crock pot.
  • Add water to cover the bones, but leave a little space at the top for your broth to simmer. You don’t want it to over-flow as it heats and bubbles a bit. Simmer on LOW for 48 hours (If using the Instant Pot, set to Slow Cook and set to MEDIUM for 48 hours).
  • When your broth is done simmering, remove the bones and boiled vegetables. 
  • Strain the broth through a mesh strainer to remove any other bits left behind.
  • Place broth in a refrigerator to cool for at least 4-5 hours. The layer of fat will harden on the top.
  • After the fat has hardened, remove the layer with a spoon. Discard the fat and use your broth to make a tasty soup!

Notes

TO MAKE IN AN INSTANT POT you're going to do almost exactly as you would in your crock pot – allowing it to simmer for 48 hours, but you're going to set the Instant Pot to "Slow Cook" on "Medium" not low.
Most Instant Pots can't be set to slow cook for more than 24 hours though, so you'll just have to reset it after 24 hours to go for another day.
Broth will last up to 4-5 days in the refrigerator once the fat is removed. Freeze broth to keep longer.

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup | Calories: 166kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 17g | Sodium: 728mg | Potassium: 14mg | Vitamin A: 50IU | Vitamin C: 1.1mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg

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5 Comments

  • Reply
    Patty
    October 21, 2020 at 8:07 am

    Do I need to boil the bones first?

    • Reply
      Genevieve Morrison
      October 21, 2020 at 5:40 pm

      Hi Patty! Boiling them first removes impurities, so I would suggest it. It results in a “cleaner” broth.

  • Reply
    Natalie
    June 2, 2020 at 7:02 pm

    Do you leave the vent on the instant pot to Seal or Vent?

  • Reply
    Sierra
    April 19, 2020 at 8:48 pm

    If you were to brown the bones first, would that be before or after you boil bones for 15 minutes? Giving this recipe a try!

    • Reply
      Genevieve Morrison
      April 25, 2020 at 4:27 pm

      You’ll want to brown the bones after boiling 😉

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