Whether you’re following SCD, AIP, GAPS, or just a healthy gut diet, you should be doing one thing: making and drinking bone broth regularly.
Bone broth helps heal leaky gut by restoring the mucosal lining of the intestines. It’s a potent source of glutamine and other essential amino acids. It can help with everything from gut pain, to joint pain, to skin health.
The traditional way to make bone broth is “low and slow.” You start by combining plenty of high-quality bones with water on your stove or in your slow cooker, and then you wait… and wait… and wait a little longer.
24 to 36 hours later, you (finally) have delicious bone broth (plus a hot kitchen with a very particular odor!)
For the past 7 or 8 years, this is what I’ve been doing just about every week. (I drink a mug of bone broth nearly every day). The only time I got a break was when I bought high-quality packaged broth like Kettle & Fire.
The New Bone Broth Tool That Is Blowing My Mind
Some of you are gonna laugh when I tell you what I recently bought that is totally blowing my mind. (A lot of you already know about or own this tool, which is great!)
But other people still may not have heard about it, or may be on the fence about it.
I hope this convinces you.
It’s an Instant Pot.
Basically, the Instant Pot is just a pressure cooker (like what my mom had way back when, but never, ever used).
The Instant Pot is really easy and safe to use – since I bought it on Black Friday, I’ve been using it to cook meats (even from frozen), make quick soups and stews, and of course, make bone broth!
I’m a single dad who works full time. I’m busy. But putting real, nutritious food on the table for my kids is a big priority for me. And the Instant Pot is making it so much easier for me lately.
(On a side note, another thing I love about it is that you can cook meat from frozen in just a few minutes. If you buy grass-fed meats frozen or in bulk (like I do from Butcher Box) it makes dinner that much easier – no defrosting.)
If you’re following a real food diet, an Instant Pot is a kitchen must-have.
Today, I want to share with you not just my recipe for chicken bone broth in the Instant Pot but the actual method I follow all week to make it happen, easily.
How To Make Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth
You can make bone broth with any kind of bones, but I want to share the one I make most often – chicken bone broth.
I’ve made making fresh bone broth in the Instant Pot part of my weekly routine. Just like I wouldn’t skip taking my garbage out or packing my kid’s lunches, I don’t miss making my broth. Here’s how…
Step 1: The Bones
Now that we’re making bone broth in the Instant Pot, we always have a whole roast chicken one night per week. (Make sure you’re sourcing high-quality, free-range meat. Especially when you’re making bone broth, this is really important).
Logistically, this usually means eating an early Sunday-evening roast chicken dinner with my family. After dinner, I throw everything in the pot and start it. Then, I do the kids’ bedtime routines and my own Sunday-evening stuff. When the timer goes off on the Instant Pot, I strain and package it up, clean up the kitchen, and I’m ready to start the week.
After we eat, the bones go one of two places: into a bag in the freezer (if I’m going to make broth later in the week) or straight into the Instant Pot. Along with the bones goes anything else we didn’t eat (like the gizzards, neck, skin, cartilage etc.). Any extra meat goes into the fridge to eat in the next few days.
Sometimes I add in chicken feet if I have them (you can get these from your butcher).
If your bones are frozen, you don’t need to thaw them – just put them in the Instant Pot straight from the freezer.
Step 2: The Extras
You can make great-tasting bone broth with just bones, water, and a little salt. But I usually like to add a few other things. These are some common extras I throw in the Instant Pot:
- Herbs (fresh or dried rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaves, etc.)
- High-quality natural salt and pepper
Just about any kitchen scraps you’d normally put in the composter can go in the bone broth instead – onion skins, carrot peels, mushroom stems, celery and carrot tops and ends, and herbs that are about to go bad. I save these up in the freezer all week specifically for making bone broth.
These all go in the Instant Pot, too – frozen or thawed, it doesn’t matter – right on top of the bones.
You can use as much or as little as you want. (That’s the great thing about bone broth – it always comes out a little different, but it never comes out bad!)
I also always add 1 tablespoon of apple cider vinegar (this helps the bones break down) and at least 1 teaspoon of sea salt. You can always add more salt to taste later – and adjust how much you add at the beginning as you perfect your method over time.
Step 3: Add The Water
To recap, here’s what you should have in your Instant Pot so far:
- Bones, skin, and extras from 1 cooked chicken
- Any veggies you have on hand to add in
- Garlic, herbs, and spices (if you want!)
- At least 1 teaspoon sea salt
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
Once all that is in the pot, add fresh, cold, filtered water to just cover everything. You don’t want to fill the pot more than ? full or an inch below the maximum fill line. This is really important – more water isn’t better. Don’t overfill the pot.
Step 4: Turn On Your Instant Pot
Some people say you only need 30 minutes to make bone broth in the Instant Pot. But in my opinion, a really short cooking time like 30 minutes makes more of a chicken broth than a true rich, meaty, thick, might-even-gel-in-the-fridge bone broth.
The more time you give the pot to work, the better your broth will turn out. With that in mind, I like to cook my broth for 2 hours. This means I like to have 3 hours dedicated to making my bone broth, start to finished-and-packaged-in-the-freezer.
Once I’ve got all the ingredients in my Instant Pot and I’ve added the water, I close the lid and select the “Soup” setting, and then manually increase the time to the max amount allowed – 119 minutes. You can also set it manually to pressure cook at “High Pressure” and then increase the time to 120 minutes.
After the time is up, I usually allow the pressure in the Instant Pot to release naturally (on its own) – but you CAN use the quick release pressure valve if you prefer or are in a hurry. It takes about 20 minutes for the pressure to release on its own.
Step 5: Strain and Store
Straining your bone broth is really important, and while it’s my least favorite step, if I try and skimp on doing it the right way, I always regret it.
First, though, let’s talk about the “fat cap.” Skimming the fat off the top of your bone broth is a totally personal choice.
If you’re just getting started on a gut-healing diet and you still have diarrhea or trouble digesting fat, though, you may want to skim at least some of the fat to start.
There are a few different ways you can skim the fat:
- Use a spoon to skim the fat off the top of the hot broth before you strain and package it
- Use a glass “gravy separator” like this with hot broth as you strain
- Don’t skim the fat off, but package the soup as-is and then remove the solidified “fat cap” after refrigeration
Once you’ve decided what to do about the fat, it’s time to strain the soup. If you’re removing the fat by skimming with a spoon, do that before this.
Using either a fine mesh strainer or a regular metal (not plastic) colander lined with cheesecloth, strain the broth. I usually strain into a big glass pitcher (make sure it is heat-safe, like this one). Having the broth in a pitcher makes it easy to portion into mason jars.
I push on the bones and veggies in the strainer with the back of a big spoon to try and extract all the broth.
If you want to reuse your bones, you can separate them out now and freeze them again. Some say that chicken bones can be reused up to 3 times. Personally, I don’t reuse my bones – so I don’t save them. I like to make broth with fresh bones every week (it has a stronger flavor and more nutrients).
If you’re using a glass gravy separator, strain the broth directly into the separator (you might have to do this in 2 or 3 batches).
Once your broth has been strained, give it a stir and make sure there are no bone fragments or other scum in the broth. If needed, strain again with the cheesecloth.
If you’re going to consume your broth within 7 days, you can store it in the fridge. In this case, I’ll just keep my broth in the pitcher, covered – or in a big mason jar with the lid on. You can also portion into individual mason jars if you want to be able to take it on the go.
If you’re freezing your bone broth, store it in glass jars like this. Make sure you leave at least an inch of space at the top of the jars so they don’t explode when you freeze them! I use these reusable jars and plastic lids – but I make sure my broth never touches the lids.
By the time I’m done straining and packaging my broth, it is usually cool enough to go straight into the freezer or fridge – but if yours is still very hot, allow it to cool for 1 to 2 hours on the counter.
Instant Pot Bone Broth FAQs
Here are some of the questions I asked myself when I first started making bone broth and get asked by others:
What if my bone broth doesn’t gel?
The collagen in the bones is what makes bone broth turn into a semi-solid gel when cooled. If your bone broth isn’t gelling, it just means the ratio of collagen to water isn’t quite high enough. But actually, that is OK – your broth is still full of powerful nutrients. If you really want your broth to gel, you may need to use more bones or add in some more collagen-rich parts, like a few chicken feet.
Can I use other bones or a mixture of bones?
Absolutely! You can use chicken, turkey, duck, lamb, pork, and beef bones – and I’m sure a few others I forgot to mention here. If you’re using raw bones, I recommend roasting them in the oven at about 425? until they are golden brown. This helps deepen the flavor of the broth.
How can I use my bone broth?
I drink it straight out of a mug, use it in cooking, to moisten leftovers, as a base for soups and stews, to make rice, and just about anywhere else I’d use water in cooking.
This Is Why We Call It A “Lifestyle”
There’s a reason Steve and I call it the “SCD Lifestyle.” Getting and keeping a healthy gut isn’t just a 60-day project – it’s a commitment to making health-supporting choices for the rest of your life.
If you’re in it for the long haul, having tools that make a gut-healthy lifestyle easier are really priceless – and the Instant Pot is definitely one of those for me.
I hope this tutorial has helped you understand not just how to make bone broth in an Instant Pot – but how to integrate habits that make it an easy part of your routine.
P.S. Do you have tips for me? Other Instant Pot recipe suggestions? More questions? Please leave us a comment below. We can’t wait to hear from you.
Easy Instant Pot Chicken Bone Broth
Time: ~3 hours (30 minutes hands-on)
- Carcass from one cooked ~4 pound chicken (bones, skin, cartilage, neck, gizzards, etc.), extra bones or chicken feet optional
- Veggie scraps (optional, to taste)
- Garlic cloves, herbs, and spices (optional, to taste)
- 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 teaspoon natural sea salt (more to taste)
- Place chicken carcass, veggies (if using), and herbs, garlic, or spices (if using) in Instant Pot
- Add apple cider vinegar and salt
- Cover with water to no more than ? Instant Pot capacity or 1 inch below the maximum fill line
- Set Instant Pot to “Soup” and increase time to 119 minutes (maximum time)
- After time has elapsed, allow pressure to release naturally (~20 minutes)
- Skim fat (optional), strain, and store
Will keep for up to 7 days refrigerated. For use beyond 7 days, freeze.