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If you've ever made your own broth, you know that it tastes infinitely better than what you pour from a can or box. Whenever I roast a chicken, I always make broth from the leftover bones (and sometimes I cook chicken on the bone, as in this White Chicken Chili). But, I don't often cook beef with bones intact and have always bought commercial beef broth. That is, until now.
I was craving Vegetable Beef Barley Soup and headed to the soup aisle in my grocery store to buy some broth. A box of beef bone broth caught my eye - it was $12 for just over 2 cups. So I got to thinking about making my own. At our local butcher, I bought 4 pounds of beef bones with marrow from grass fed and finished cows for just over $13 (enough to make 11 to 12 cups of broth). A few carrots, ribs of celery, head of garlic and an onion, and I was in business.
The process of making broth is very simple, but you'll need to begin a day before you plan to use it. What gives bone broth its rich flavor and luxurious mouth feel is many hours of a slow simmer - at least 12 hours and up to 24.
Roasting the bones and vegetables before adding them to your slow cooker is a worthwhile step to add richness and depth to the broth.
Once the bones and vegetables have nicely browned, you'll cover them with water and toss in some peppercorns to add bite and a few tablespoons of vinegar to aid in extracting minerals from the bones.
And that's it. You'll set your slow cooker to low and let it simmer away until you have 11-12 cups of delicious and beautifully golden beef bone broth. Perfect for so many comforting soups including my favorite French Onion Soup and Mushroom Barley Soup!
More Bone Broth Recipes
Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth
- 4 pounds beef marrow bones
- 1 large onion quartered
- 3 large carrots cut into 1-inch pieces
- 3 ribs celery cut into 1-inch pieces
- 1 head garlic cut in half crosswise
- 3 tablespoons black peppercorns
- 3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- Preheat oven to 400°F.
- Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and place bones, onion, carrots, celery and garlic in a single layer. Roast for 40 minutes.
- Transfer roasted bones and vegetables to slow cooker. Add peppercorns, vinegar and 12-16 cups water (depending on the size of your slow cooker). Cook on low for 17 hours (or up to 24 hours).
- Allow to cool, then strain solids from slow cooker and transfer bone broth to air tight containers. Refrigerate overnight then skim fat from the top of the cold broth. If you plan to use the broth within a few days, leave it in the refrigerator. Otherwise, transfer to freezer to store for up to 6 months.
id really like to male this recipe but wondering if i can keep the veggies in there and enjoy it as a beef bone soup? hoping to hear back from you asap 🙂
Marissa Stevens says
Hi Julia! You can absolutely eat the vegetables, but they'll be very soft and will have given up most of their flavor to the broth.
How big is your slow cooker???? I could only get 8 cups water in with all the bones! Can I refrigerate 1/2 bones and water and cook it all tomorrow? I only have one slow cooker. 🤷♀️
Cook the other half tomorrow, I meant.
Marissa Stevens says
Hi there, Carrie. Sure, you can make this in 2 batches. (I have a 7-quart slow cooker.)
Broth/stock/brodo, call it what you will. No italian mama would be without a substantial supply in the freezer. We make it just like your recipe Marissa, including the pre roast of meat and veg. Pour cooked stock through a metal strainer, remove the bones and give the remaining veg a gentle push so that little bits fall into the broth. Rest in the fridge overnight, remove the hardened layer of fat and freeze in containers. Thankyou, love your recipes.
Marissa Stevens says
aww, Rita, you made my day!
Just made my first beef bone broth. (Almost identical to yours.). I have it in the refrigerator.). I wish I could send you a picture. Mine has a layer of fat, then a small uneven layer of a light granular, then the creamy liquid and on the very bottom a little layer of the granular. Does this sound correct? I strained it several times with a sieve. Thank you for a reply.
Hi there, Judy. Even after straining mine, there is definitely some sediment that remains, which I don't mind. If you want the broth to be more clear, you could let it pass through a coffee filter or a few layers of cheesecloth. Hope that's helpful!
I normally make my bone broth on the stove top. I love the idea of using the slow cooker and not having to check it regularly. However, with that being said, hubby is a fire phobic guy and will not have anything electrical on while we sleep except the fridge and freezer. So, am I able to do what I do with the stove top version and actually turn it off for the night and come back to it again aim the morning to allow for it to cook again for another full day?
Hi Sassy. 🙂 No, I don't recommend making it as you've described. I'm concerned that having it sit overnight at room temperature could cause food safety issues.
Eh, it’s negligible. And I’m a pro chef/serv-safe certified instructor. After I strain the vegetables from it, I cover it and let it sit over night. Typically a layer of fat forms, this layer will protect from a majority of potential issues, as does the cover. Next morning I always pull the hardened layer of fat off (and save it for cooking steaks, whipping it with butter for bread, making beef fat fries, etc.) then bring the broth back to a rolling boil - this should kill any potential bacteria - and reduce to desired consistency.
helgard DEUEL says
Once the bones and veggies - are cooked and I pour the broth off
what can I do with the solids? Of course I throw the bones away
but can I use the carrots, celery and onions and make soup of it?
There is plenty of broth in the veggies and with some sweet cream
or 2% milk it should taste good and still be nutritious, right?? I hate
to throw food away.
Thanks in advance for your response.
Hi there - you could certainly use the vegetables in something, but know that they'll be fall apart soft and will have given up most of their flavor to the broth.
I'm sure this bone broth is amazing! I'll have to try this recipe 🙂
It's so good! If you do try it, I'd love to hear what you think. xo
Faith (An Edible Mosaic) says
I love your tip for adding vinegar, I will remember that one! There is nothing quite like the gorgeous color of a slow-cooked broth - it's liquid gold!
So true - I love that description, Faith!
Dorothy Dunton says
Hi Marissa. Like you I always make chicken and turkey stock/broth, but haven't made beef broth in a long time. I like to be able to control what goes into my food and, more importantly, what does not go into it. We are also very salt sensitive and so many store products just have way too much salt for us. I love beef barley soup, is that scheduled for a post soon?
That's a great point, Dorothy. It's really nice to have control over the amount of seasoning in the stock - canned versions can be SO salty! And, yes - just posted it! xoxo