Bone broth

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Bone broth is a reduction of a mixture of animal bones, cartilage, connective tissue, as well as other flavourings that may include vegetables and spices. Bone Broth can be used in various ways, for example as a beverage, in casseroles, stews, curries and soups.

Bone broth is known for its high-protein content and health benefits for example, support for digestive health


Chicken broth soup

The concept of bone broth dates back to prehistoric times where the parts of the animals, that were caught and consumed for sustenance, that were inedible were turned into a broth drink. Bone broth was a very prominent part of the prehistoric diet [1]. It was a commonly used source of nutrition in North American civilisations.[1] The fat that was acquired from boiling the bones was known as "bone butter" and the most commonly used part [1].

It was also and still is commonly used in traditional Chinese medicine and in other cultures through out history [1]. The many uses of bone broth included a treatment for cold and flu and diseases affecting the gastrointestinal tract, joints, skin, lungs and muscles.

Bone broth is also referred to as stock, which is an item often used in cooking for dishes such as stews and soups. Stock has been a staple in historical cooking in many cuisines. It is known to been used in ancient Roman cooking.[2] Some of traditional Roman dishes include Pig's trotters with pearl barley and pork in a sweet wine and fig sauce.[2] The use of stock is also seen in French cooking in the eighteenth century.[3] It was referred to as the “fond”, or foundations, of French cooking.[3] Germany, Scotland, Australia and other European countries are also known for their use of stock for culinary purposes.[4]

The following are reliable book that include historical recipes from various countries that use stock:

A history of cooks and cooking (Symons, M)

Cooking Up World History (Barchers, S., & Marden, P

Bones: recipes, history, lore (McLagan, J)

Roman Cookery: Recipes and History (Grant, M)

History of the term[edit]

The term bone broth is relatively recent (circa 2015) and gained traction alongside the rising popularity of the Paleo diet.


Chicken broth

There are many types of bone broth on the market for purchase by consumers. The more commonly known varieties are beef, chicken and fish bone broth. These can be made at home as well as purchased in both dehydrated and liquid form. A more suitable option for vegetarians and vegans is vegetable broth. This does mostly fall under the category of stock as it does not contain any bones, thus doesn't have the additional benefits of the collagen that would come from bones.

There is no vegan or vegetarian replacement for the collagen that is extracted from bones, but vegetable stock can be very high in nutrients and minerals from all the vegetables used. There are also many suitable food that promote the production of collagen in the body, therefore adding these to a vegetable broth or ones diet can aid in increasing collagen levels in the body.[5]

Some well known brands that make and sell bone broth include: Meadow and Marrow, Vital Proteins and Nutra Organics.[6]


Bone broth is an easy item to make and can be made out of the parts of the animal that aren't usually consumed or cooked with.

The main ingredients of bone broth are animal bones, this can be with the skin and meat on or off. The bones (and flesh) can also be cooked. The other ingredients of bone broth include water, vinegar (white, apple cider, red wine, rice and balsamic are all suitable) and vegetables (either whole or just the scraps).

There are many recipes for bone broth on the internet to suit different flavours, but the standard method is to combine all the ingredients and let them slowly cook for anywhere between 6–48 hours, allowing for all of the nutrients to be extracted from the bones. The mixture is then strained through a cheese cloth and kept in sterile jars or containers in the freezer for months, or the fridge for up to 5 days. [2] [1] It is important to note that to denature collagen to form gelatin, which is what gives bone broth a jelly-like consistency once cooled, the mixture must be simmered at a low temperature.

The following is a standard recipe for bone broth. The types of bones and flavours can be changed to suit ones taste: [7]


  • 2 kg animal bones of your choice (beef, chicken, fish), with or without meat still attached
  • 2 medium carrots
  • 2 medium onions halved
  • 1 head of garlic roughly chopped
  • Herbs and spices of your choice (this may include: bayleaves, thyme, sage, oregano)
  • 2 tablespoons of black peppercorns
  • 1 tablespoon of vinegar (apple cider, white wine, red wine and balsamic are all suitable)


  • Preheat the oven to 220 degrees Celsius.
  • Place the bones, carrots, onions and garlic in a large baking dish and put this in the oven for a total of 40 minutes (or until everything is brown). Toss the mixures every few minutes to ensure everything is browned evenly.
  • In a separate large pot add 3 litres of water, the herbs and spices, peppercorns and vinegar.
  • To this pot, add the bone and vegetable mixture, including any juices that may be residing at the bottom of the pan.
  • Ensure there is ensure water to cover the bones and vegetables.
  • Place the mixture on the stove and bring it to a very soft boil, the reduce the heat to a gentle simmer.
  • Leave the lid slightly open and allow the mixture to simmer for the recommended 8-48 hours, during this time skimming off any debris or fat that may rise to the top of the mixture.
  • If needed, add more water to keep the bones and vegetable immersed.
  • This can also be done in a slow cooker if it is available.
  • Turn the stove off, remove the pot and allow the mixture to mildly cool.
  • Strain the mixture through a cheese clock or any fine cloth and discard of the bones and vegetables.
  • Decant the mixture into sterile containers and store in the fridge or freezer. If fat solidifies on the top of the broth while chilling, remove this.

Nutritional content[edit]

The nutritional content of bone broth can differ depending on the type, whether it be beef, chicken, pork, or any other variety.

As a result of the long brewing process to make bone broth,and the addition of acid (in the form of vinegar), the functioning chemical components are extracted from the bones.[1] The contents of bone broth is mostly bones and cartilage, both of these are made up of connective tissue, thus the product will be predominately the components that make up connective tissue. This connective tissue is very high in protein and collagen, and this is passed on to the bone broth.[1] The other chemical components that are extracted from the bones are amino acids and minerals, as well as bone marrow, which has many beneficial qualities including being high in collagen and linoleic acid [8] [9]. Linoleic acid is known for reducing inflammation, with this quality being passed onto bone broth [9].

Other prominent nutrients in bone broth include: calcium, magnesium and potassium, among many others.

It has been found that self-prepared bone broth are higher in amino-acids when a standardised recipe is used.[10] It is these amino-acids that are the forerunner to the production of new collagen in the body, but due to inconsistency with some recipes, there may not be the right amino acids to allow for this.[10]

The following are the standard nutritional contents of different types of bone broth. These may vary depending on the origin of the broth and the method of preparations of the bone broth that one may be consuming.


USDA approved [11]

Nutrient Value per 100mL
Energy (kcal) 12
Protein (g) 2.50
Total lipid (fat) (g) 0.00
Carbohydrates, by difference (g) 0.83
Fiber, total dietary (g) 0.00
Sugars, total (g) 0.00
Calcium, Ca (mg) 8
Iron, Fe (mg) 0.30
Sodium, Na (mg) 100


USDA approved [12]

Nutrient Value per 100g
Energy (kcal) 25
Protein (g) 3.66
Total lipid (fat) (g) 0.99
Carbohydrate, by difference (g) 0.28
Fiber, total dietary (g) 0.00
Sugars, total (g) 0.28
Calcium, Ca (mg) 6
Iron, Fe (mg) 0.41
Sodium, Na (mg) 35
Fatty acids, total trans (g) 0.420
Cholesterol (mg) 6

Vegetable Broth[edit]

USDA approved [13]

Nutrient Value per 100mL
Energy (kcal) 4
Protein (g) 0.00
Total lipid (fat) (g) 0.00
Carbohydrate, by difference (g) 0.83
Fiber, total dietary (g) 0.00
Sugars, total (g) 0.83
Calcium, Ca (mg) 0.00
Iron, Fe (mg) 0.00
Sodium, Na (mg) 267
Vitamin A, IU (IU) 208


Bone broth is a diverse product that can be used in many culinary situations. Bone broth made at home is suitable to drink as it is, or added to a soup, casserole, in a gravy, and even to add flavour to ingredients such as rice. While it is an effective way to add favour to various recipes, it also has positive health benefits, meaning that its addition can enhance the nutritional quality of a dish. A recipe may call for stock but bone broth is also a suitable substitute.

Commercial bone broth often comes in a concentrated form therefor needs to be diluted. Once it is diluted it can be used in the same way as a home made one.

Bone broth, broth and stock[edit]

There is little difference between the three liquids, with the minor differences lying in the cooking time and addition or subtraction of certain ingredients.

Broth is usually cooked for around 45 minutes to a few hours hour. it is predominantly made up of meat, vegetables, and herbs and spices.[14] There are some bones but this is not essential.[14] It is considered to be a light soup that can precede a meal, or enjoy as a light beverage. Broth does not solidify as it cools, unlike stock and bone broth. [14]

Stock is a combination of bones (with or without meat still attached) that may have already been cooked, vegetables, and herbs and spices. Stock is simmered for four to six hours, allowing for enough to achieve the goal of extraction of collagen. It is this that causes stock to form a jelly like consistency when cooled, and is also known as gelatin. Stock is not traditionally consumed on its own, but rather added to gravy, soups or other dishes. [14]

Bone broth is cooked for the longest time of the three liquids, anywhere between 24 and 48 hours. It is made of the same ingredients as stock, but with vinegar added. The longer cooking time extracts not only the collagen from the bones, but also the other beneficial minerals including amino acids and calcium.[14]

Stock and bone broth can be used interchangeably in recipes as they serve very similar purposes. Stock is commonly unseasoned so if using this product, additional seasoning to taste is recommended.


  1. ^ a b c d e Siebecker, Allison (2004). Traditional bone broth in modern health and disease. NCNM. OCLC 56637867.
  2. ^ a b Grant, Mark. Roman cookery : ancient recipes for modern kitchens. ISBN 9781909150461. OCLC 910237377.
  3. ^ a b Symons, Michael (2004). A history of cooks and cooking. University of Illinois Press. ISBN 0252025806. OCLC 54112742.
  4. ^ Barchers, Suzanne I. (1994). Cooking Up World History : Multicultural Recipes and Resources. ABC-CLIO. ISBN 9780313079306. OCLC 609857448.
  5. ^ Ettinger, Jill. "This Vegan 'Bone Broth' Recipe is Way Healthier for You Than the Other Stuff". Organic Authority. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  6. ^ "top bone broth brands - Google Search". Retrieved 2019-06-05.
  7. ^ a b c "Beef Bone Broth". Epicurious. 2014-12-31. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  8. ^ Kerley, Conor; PhD (2018-08-31). "Drinking Bone Broth - Is it Beneficial or Just a Fad?". Center for Nutrition Studies. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  9. ^ a b "Bone Marrow: Nutrition, Benefits, and Food Sources". Healthline. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  10. ^ a b Alcock, Rebekah D.; Shaw, Gregory C.; Burke, Louise M. (May 2019). "Bone Broth Unlikely to Provide Reliable Concentrations of Collagen Precursors Compared With Supplemental Sources of Collagen Used in Collagen Research". International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism. 29 (3): 265–272. doi:10.1123/ijsnem.2018-0139. ISSN 1526-484X.
  11. ^ Food Composition Databases Show Foods -- ORGANIC BONE BROTH, UPC: 052603056076. (2019).
  12. ^ "Food Composition Databases Show Foods -- CHICKEN BONE BROTH, UPC: 842350100074". Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  13. ^ "Food Composition Databases Show Foods -- VEGETABLE BROTH, UPC: 5051379087272". Retrieved 2019-05-15.
  14. ^ a b c d e Nast, Condé. "Stock, Broth, and Bone Broth—What's the Difference?". Epicurious. Retrieved 2019-06-07.
  • Conor Kerley, P. (2019). Drinking Bone Broth - Is it Beneficial or Just a Fad? - Center for Nutrition Studies.
  • Publishing, H. (2019). What's the scoop on bone soup? - Harvard Health.
  • McCance, R. A., Sheldon, W., & Widdowson, E. M. (1934). Bone and vegetable broth. Archives of disease in childhood, 9(52), 251.