So last November, Black Friday to be more specific, I bought myself a little present. I impulse bought an Instant Pot, at a hefty 35% discount, I might add. What is an Instant Pot? It’s a 7-in-1 magical cooking device–or a pressure cooker that also does a bunch of other cool stuff. Sounds crazy, I know, but I had already been on the market to buy a pressure cooker and the wide array of other features this one offered sold me instantly (no pun intended). I bought it primarily to make cooking dry beans and “slow cooked” meat faster, and didn’t really intend to post about it much on Budget Bytes. You see, I don’t want to give anyone the false impression that you need fancy, expensive equipment to make good food, because you absolutely DO NOT. This machine is just fun and makes life a little faster and easier.
I’ve been experimenting with the Instant Pot for a few months and the other day I made my first Instant Pot Chicken Stock. OMG. You guys. This is the best chicken stock I’ve ever made. It’s so good that I had to post about it here for the few of you that have (or want to buy) an Instant Pot, and for all the Instant Pot owners out there on the web that might need a little more instruction or encouragement. I’m not exactly sure why it was the best I’ve ever made, but I suspect that the super high pressure and temperature just extracted more goodness than I’ve been able to do in the past with my slow cooker or on the stove top. I’ve likely not let my stocks cook long enough with the other methods, but with the Instant Pot, it was done in just one hour, start to finish. That simplicity might just be the one factor I needed to motivate myself to actually make this on a regular basis.
Like I said, you don’t need a fancy pressure cooker to make chicken stock or broth. You can absolutely do it on the stove top or in a regular (and inexpensive) slow cooker. I’ve made tutorials for both in the past: How to Make Chicken Broth and How to Make Slow Cooker Chicken Broth. With both of those methods, just keep in mind that the longer the cook, the better.
Instant Pot Chicken Stock
How to Make Instant Pot Chicken Stock
- 1 rotisserie chicken carcass
- 1 yellow onion
- 1-2 carrots
- 1-2 stalks celery
- 2 cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- Freshly cracked pepper or whole peppercorns
- 1 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 8 cups water
- 1/2 tsp salt, or to taste
Turn the Instant Pot on to Sauté mode. Add the chicken carcass pieces and sauté for 2-3 minutes, or until browned and pieces begin to stick to the bottom of the pot. Press the cancel button to turn off the heat.
Cut the ends off the onion, then cut it in half or into quarters. Remove any of the papery skin if it has dirt on it, otherwise leave the skin on. Scrub the carrots and celery. Cut them in half so they fit easily within the pot. Peel the garlic cloves and add them to the pot with the bay leaves, some freshly cracked pepper (or 10-15 whole peppercorns, if available), and a splash of apple cider vinegar.
Pour 8 cups of cool water over the contents of the pot (do not fill more than 2/3 to the top). Lock the lid into place, close the steam release valve, and press the "manual" button. The display will show 30, indicating the default time set for that mode. We want it to cook for 30 minutes, so no need to adjust the time. After 10 seconds the display will turn to "ON" indicating that it is heating and pressure is building (this takes about 10-15 minutes).
Once the pot has reached high pressure, the display will begin to count down 30 minutes. When 30 minutes is up, it will beep and switch to "keep warm" mode. Press the cancel button and allow the pressure in the pot to reduce naturally (this takes about 15 minutes). You'll know the pressure is at a safe level and it's okay to open the pot when the silver float valve on the lid has fallen down and is no longer elevated. Open the steam release valve, then carefully open the lid.
Place a fine wire mesh strainer over a large bowl, then ladle the stock into the bowl through the strainer to catch any pieces. When the level gets too low to ladle, remove the large pieces and carefully pour the remaining liquid through the strainer. Taste the stock and add salt if desired.
Place the stock in an air-tight container and refrigerate until completely cool. Keep the stock refrigerated and use within three days, or freeze for longer storage.
Step by Step Photos
We’ve bought a few rotisserie chickens lately and instead of tossing the carcass, we put the WHOLE thing into a freezer bag and “tossed” it into the freezer. This one had a few pieces of chicken still left that we didn’t get around to eating. I think using a rotisserie chicken added extra flavor because everything had already been slow roasted.
Press the “Sauté” button, which will heat the bottom of the pot like a hot plate. Add the chicken pieces and sauté for a few minutes, or until they begin to brown and stick to the bottom of the pot.
See how it’s browned and stuck to the bottom? Those browned bits will add a LOT of flavor to the broth. Now press the “cancel” button to turn off the heat.
I haven’t had many vegetable scraps lately, so I bought a carrot and some celery fresh, but you can save your vegetable scraps in a freezer bag the same way we saved our chicken carcass, and then use them for the stock (just make sure to clean them REALLY well). Because I didn’t have any scraps this time around, I used one big carrot, two stalks of celery, one yellow onion (with peel but dirty ends cut off) and two cloves of garlic. I also added two bay leaves, a splash (about 1 tsp) of apple cider vinegar, and some freshly cracked pepper. I thought I had whole peppercorns in my pantry, but I was wrong, but a little cracked pepper did the job just fine.
Add 8 cups water, or enough to cover the chicken by a couple of inches, but do NOT fill the pot more than 2/3 full.
Lock the lid into place and close the steam valve. Press the “Manual” button, which is just the basic pressure cooker function. The display will show 30 minutes, which is the default time set for that mode. We want 30 minutes, so no need to press + or – to adjust the time. After 10 seconds, the display will switch to “On” and it will begin to heat. Once it reaches the proper heat and pressure (after about 10-15 minutes), the display will begin to count down 30 minutes.
After cooking at high pressure for 30 minutes, it will beep and switch to “Keep Warm” mode. Press the cancel button and allow the pressure to come down naturally (this takes about 15 minutes). You’ll know the pressure is at a safe level when the silver float valve on top has fallen back down and is no longer elevated. Open the steam valve first, then open the lid. This is what you’ll see. :) And oh my, does it ever smell amazing!
To separate the liquid gold from the debris, just place a fine wire mesh sieve over a large bowl and ladle the stock through the sieve. For extra filtering, you can use cheese cloth, but I found that the mesh sieve worked fine. When you get down towards the bottom of the pot, just remove the large pieces and carefully pour the rest through the sieve.
Taste the stock and add salt if you prefer. I added about 1/2 tsp. Refrigerate the stock and use within three days, or freeze for longer storage. I filled two containers like this before placing it in the refrigerator to cool. Separating it into smaller containers helps it cool faster.
I’m not kidding when I say that this stock was so good that I wanted to just drink it like a beverage. And I might just do that next time because apparently it’s really good for you. I ended up using it to make more Matzo Ball Soup yesterday, but it would also be really good for making chicken pho or ramen. This Instant Pot Chicken Stock was super thick and flavorful, and gelled up nicely when cooled. That’s how you know you got all the good stuff out of the bones! :D
Is it silly that I think it’s beautiful??