How to Make Beef Bone Broth: Easy Guide for a Nutritious Stock

September 21, 2023

By: Miranda Lamb


Selecting Ingredients for Bone Broth

Making bone broth sounds so earthly and healthy that it was always an interest of mine. But honestly, it wasn’t til recently that I decided to try my hand at using all our wonderful beef bones to make nutritious bone broth. And as you will see, making bone broth is actually very simple. It just takes time to make. But I’ll show you how to make bone broth using your slow cooker for an easy, hands-free method to creating healthy bone broth.

Difference between Beef Bone Broth and Beef Broth

Both bone broth and beef broth are made using animal bones, but there are a few important differences. The key difference is the cooking time required. Beef bone broth requires simmering for a longer period, typically 6 to 24 hours on stovetop or 30-48 hours in the crockpot, to extract collagen and create a rich, gelatinous consistency. Beef broth, on the other hand, is simmered for a shorter time and has a lighter texture.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

Bone broth can be made from a variety of animal bones including chicken, pork, and beef, but for this post we are focusing on making beef bone broth using beef bones. Beef bone broth is made specifically from beef bones.

Choosing the Right Bones to Make Bone Broth

When selecting bones for your beef bone broth, it’s crucial to pick the right ones to ensure maximum flavor and nutritional benefits. Look for meaty bones, such as oxtail and marrow bones, which offer both flavor and ample nutrients. When you order beef wholesale, you can request your beef bones with your order at no additional cost. For my recipe, I requested bones from my processor letting them know that I wanted to make bone broth.

Aim for a mix of these bone types for a balanced and nutritious broth. If possible, opt for bones from cattle that are sold as premium wholesale as the animals are typically around 2 years or slightly younger. These bones will make better quality bone broth.

Here’s a simple list of suitable bones that you can make bone broth:

  • Beef bones
  • Chicken bones
  • Pork bones
  • Oxtail
  • Chicken feet
  • Marrow bones
  • Knuckles

Just a heads up, when you pick up your beef bones, be sure to store in your freezer til you are ready to use. If you place the bones in the fridge, they will only stay fresh for a day or so as they have bits of raw meat on them. I found this out the hard way!

Vegetables, Herbs, and Spices

Adding vegetables, herbs, and spices to your bone broth enhances the flavor and nutrition. You will add vegetables and spices to your bones as they cook. Later, a few hours before your bone broth is finished, you can add your herbs and garlic.

Start with the classic combination of onion, carrot, and celery. This mixture provides a solid flavor base for your broth. Another popular addition is garlic, which can help boost the taste and potential health benefits of the broth.

In terms of herbs and spices, don’t be afraid to experiment. Some popular choices include:

  • Thyme
  • Rosemary
  • Bay leaves
  • Peppercorns
  • Parsley
  • Sea salt
  • Ginger

Remember, adjust the herbs and spices according to your preferences. Just be sure to keep the flavors balanced and not overly complicated. The main showcase is supposed to be the bone broth!

Nutritional Value of Bone Broth

There are many reasons to make bone broth. Making your own bone broth utilizes all the beef bones that you can receive with your wholesale beef order. This makes use of the whole animal. And you can save money by using bone broth as broth for soups and stews.

But more importantly, beef bone broth is incredibly healthy for you. Beef bone broth can be sipped hot with nothing else in it as it is very healing for your whole body.

Here are just a few reasons to make and drink beef bone broth.:

Vitamins – Contains magnesium and calcium. Boosts your immune system and reduces inflammation.

Collagen – Boiling the beef bones releasing collagen. Collagen is great for healthy joints and hair and nail growth!

Gut Healing – Very beneficial for your gut health and healing.

Preparing the Ingredients

Place Beef Bones In Cold Water

Place your mostly thawed bones in a big bowl and cover with cold water. Allow bones to sit in cold water for about 30 minutes. Refresh water halfway though. This step will remove some of the blood and impurities from the bones.

Learn how to make beef bone broth the simple way, in the slow cooker! Bone broth is super healthy and full of vitamins. Use your wholesale beef bones for a homestead friendly project

Roasting the Beef Bones

To prepare the perfect bone broth, start by roasting the bones. Recipes did differ on whether to roast or not roast. Some felt that you could forgo roasting the bones. Others felt that this was an essential step as roasting will enhance the final flavor of your broth.

I chose to roast the bones as it was easy to do, and roasting started the meat juices flowing immediately. And as I wanted to use my crockpot, roasting cooked the bones quickly so that there wasn’t raw meat sitting in water waiting for the slow cooker to heat up.

First, preheat your oven to 450°F . Then, place the bones in a roasting pan. Add your chopped vegetables around your bones. Roast the bones for 45 minutes, or until they are golden brown and caramelized. Remember to turn the bones about half-way through to ensure even roasting.

Chopping Vegetables and Herbs

Classic choices for bone broth include onions, carrots, and celery. Roughly chop these vegetables as they are going to be cooking for awhile. You can even use the leaves and less desirable carrot and celery pieces as you will eventually remove them from the bone broth.

You should also gather your preferred herbs, both fresh and dried. Typical herbs used in a bone broth recipe include thyme, rosemary, or parsley. Chop fresh herbs finely and set them aside for later. If using dried herbs, prepare the required amount according to your recipe. I chose to use thyme and rosemary.

Preparing Additional Aromatics

Thanks to their powerful flavors, aromatics like garlic and ginger elevate the taste of your bone broth. Peel and finely chop or mince the garlic cloves. For the ginger, you’ll want to peel it first, followed by slicing it into thin matchstick-like pieces or mincing it. Additional aromatics like bay leaves, peppercorns, or even whole spices like star anise can be included whole, as their flavors develop over time in the simmering broth.

Step by Step: How to Make Beef Bone Broth

How to Make Bone Broth – Slow Cooker Method

Making bone broth in a slow cooker is quite convenient and requires less supervision. And as I love my slow cooker, it was the method that I chose!

First, soak your bones in cold water for 30 minutes to remove any impurities and excess blood.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

While your bones are soaking, turn your oven on to 450 degrees. Roughly chop the vegetables that you want to use.

Place your drained bones into a large roasting pan or 9 by 13 inch casserole dish. Place cut vegetables around the beef bones. Place bones in oven for 45 minutes. Turn bones halfway through baking.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

Meanwhile, pull out your slow cooker. Fill crockpot halfway up with water. Add 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar. The apple cider vinegar helps to pull all the minerals out of the bones, so don’t forget this step!

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

Once bones are roasted, remove pan from oven and place bones and vegetable into the crockpot. Finish filling slow cooker with water. Fill all the way to the top with water.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

Set the temperature to low, and allow the broth to cook for a minimum of 24 hours, but ideally 48 hours. I found that I needed about 48 hours to get all the collagen to release from the bones.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

Check in on your broth occasionally to ensure the water level remains sufficient; if needed, add more water to maintain a consistent level. I found that I needed to add a cup of water or more every few hours. Also be aware that every slow cooker cooks at a slightly different temperature. Some recipes suggest cooking your beef broth on high so that it boils. My slow cooker, after several hours, will boil on low. So I kept my slow cooker on low.

Try to find what works for your slow cooker. You want the bone broth to boil enough that all the marrow and collagen cooks out of the bones without all the liquid cooking out too.

Once complete, remove the bones and strain the broth. If you plan on drinking the broth, you can use a fine sieve to strain your broth again. A sign that your beef bone broth is ready is when the bones are hollow.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

Then pour your beef bone broth into a large container and stir to remove some of the heat. Once the liquid has cooled slightly, place into the fridge. You want to allow the broth time to cool, but not let it sit out too long.

Finally, after the broth has completely chilled (typically the next day), remove the layer of fat that has hardened on top. This process will provide you with a more lean source of protein and allow you to better absorb the nutrients, such as iron and connective tissues. These benefits will help alleviate joint pain, support your digestive system, and promote healthy skin.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

If you have cooked your broth properly, your broth should be gelatinous (like jelly) under the fat layer. If your bone broth is not completely gelatinous, then it probably could have cooked longer to release more of the collagen. The broth will still be very healthy and tasty so use as desired, and make a note to cook longer next time.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

Portion your bone broth into quarter plastic freezer bags. Label and place in freezer til ready to use.

Traditional Stovetop Method

To make bone broth using the stovetop method, you’ll need a large stockpot or Dutch oven. Start by placing your bones in the pot and covering them with cold water. Add a few tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, which helps to draw out the minerals from the bones. You can also add bay leaves, garlic, and peppercorns for extra flavor.

Bring the water to a low simmer and let it cook for at least 12 hours, but preferably up to 24 hours. Make sure to occasionally skim off any foam or impurities that rise to the surface. Once your bone broth is finished, strain it through a fine mesh sieve and transfer it to an airtight container. The broth can be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Instant Pot Method

The Instant Pot is great for making bone broth in a shorter amount of time while still achieving a rich, satisfying flavor. To begin, place your bones and desired ingredients, such as apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, and peppercorns, in the Instant Pot. Add enough water to cover the bones, ensuring that you stay below the recommended fill line.

Close the lid and set the Instant Pot to the “Soup” or “Broth” setting. Cook on high pressure for at least 3-4 hours for optimal extraction of nutrients and flavor. Once finished, carefully release the pressure according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Strain the bone broth, and store it in the freezer for future use.

Remember, homemade bone broth is not only delicious but also packed with beneficial nutrients, minerals, and collagen, making it a great addition to your meals, sauces, and soups. Enjoy the process and reap the rewards of your homemade bone broth!

Finishing and Storing the Bone Broth

Storing in the Refrigerator

If you plan on using your bone broth in the short term, storing it in the refrigerator is a great option. Transfer the strained, cooled broth into airtight containers and place them in your refrigerator. The bone broth can be stored this way for up to a week. Just be sure to heat it up again before using it in your favorite recipes or sipping it as a warm beverage.


For longer-term storage, consider freezing your bone broth. An easy method is to pour the broth into quart freezer bags in one or two cup portions. Make sure to label your bone broth. Properly stored, frozen bone broth can last up to a year, allowing you to reap its numerous health benefits in various dishes whenever you need a boost of nourishing goodness.

Serving Ideas and Variations

Using Bone Broth as a Base for Soups and Stews

Incorporating bone broth into your favorite soups and stews is an excellent way to boost their flavor and nutritional value. Simply replace part or all of the liquid in your bone broth recipe with water or your typical broth for soups and stews. This ensures an incredibly rich taste, as well as the benefits of gelatin, collagen, and amino acids found in bone broth.

how to make beef bone broth nutritious stock

Try this Hearty Beef Stew recipe and instead of using 2 1/2 cups of beef broth use 2 cups of beef bone broth and 1/2 cup of water. The beef stew turned out amazing with my homemade beef bone broth!!

Incorporating Bone Broth into Sauces and Gravies

Another way to take advantage of bone broth’s benefits is by incorporating it into sauces and gravies. Swap the liquid base of your sauces with bone broth to create a nutrient-dense and flavorful addition to your dishes. The gelatin and collagen present in bone broth help thicken the texture while providing a delightful taste.

Here are some ideas for bone broth-infused sauces:

  • Creamy mushroom sauce: Mix bone broth with sautéed mushrooms, onions, and a splash of cream for a tasty sauce to serve over pasta, chicken, or steak.
  • Gravy: Combine bone broth, pan drippings, and a thickening agent like flour or cornstarch to prepare a delicious gravy for your meat dishes.

Creating Nutrient-Dense Drinks

Bone broth doesn’t just belong in savory dishes; it can also be used to create health-focused beverages. Sipping on bone broth as a warm drink is a great way to gain its benefits, such as vitamins, collagen, and amino acids essential for maintaining bodily functions.

Personally, I prefer the bone broth for use in my soups and stews. But you may want to experiment to see if you enjoy sipping on bone broth straight, especially since now you know all the benefits!

Remember, when making beef bone broth, use quality beef bones ingredients and take your time to simmer the bones to extract the full potential of nutrients and flavors! Experiment with these serving ideas to enjoy the health benefits bone broth has to offer.

Homemade Beef Bone Broth

Make savory, health boosting beef bone broth at home in your crockpot! Utilizing bones from your wholesale beef, make your own rich bone broth easily at home.
Prep Time45 minutes
Active Time2 days
Total Time2 days 45 minutes
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: beef, beef bone broth, bone broth
Yield: 8 cups


  • 1 large crockpot
  • 1 strainer
  • 4 quart freezer bags
  • 1 9 by 13 pan


  • 2-3 lbs beef bones
  • 1 medium onion coarsely chopped
  • 1 cup carrots coarsely chopped
  • 4 stalks celery coarsely chopped
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1 tsp rosemary
  • 1 tsp thyme
  • 2 tbls apple cider vinegar


  • Soak beef bones in bowl with cold water for 30 minutes. Rinsing and refilling bowl halfway through.
  • Place bones in a 9 by 13 pan with onions, celery, and carrots.
  • Cook bones in 450 degree oven for 45 minutes. Turn bones half way through cooking.
  • Place cooked bones along with cooked celery, onions, and carrots in crockpot. Add 2 tbls of apple cider vinegar.
  • Fill crockpot, with beef bones, with water up to the very top rim. Turn on crockpot on low.
  • Keep checking crockpot for the next 30 – 48 hours. You want the crockpot to be simmering or a light boil. If crockpot gets too hot, simply turn lid sideways to allow some heat out.
  • Add a cup of water occasionally to the bone broth.
  • A few hours before bone broth is ready, add in garlic cloves and herbs.
  • Bone broth is ready when the bones are completely hallowed out.
  • Allow crockpot to cool slightly, Remove and throw away bones. Then strain out all the vegetables from the beef broth. You can also use a fine mesh sieve to strain out any herbs if you wish to drink your bone broth.
  • Pour beef broth in a separate container, allow to cool a little more by stirring out heat, and then place in fridge covered.
  • Several hours later or the next day, remove broth from fridge. Remove the fat layer from bone broth. Bone broth should be gelatious.
  • Portion beef broth, that you do not plan on using immediately, into freezer quart bags. Label and place in freezer.

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