Sarah’s Broth Rules – I’m Handing Out Life Lessons


Sarah's Broth Rules - Learn all my broth making secrets.  |
Sarah’s Broth Rules – All my secrets for the world to see.

Get ready to be schooled.  

Rule #1: If you want to make truly good soup, you will invest in a pressure cooker. There’s no better way to extract flavor and nutrients. I’m talking beef broth that tastes beefy and delicious, and chicken broth that will make you slap your mama it’s so good. Not only do they make the most out of tough cartilaginous cuts, they also reduce cooking time. Literally, anywhere from 20 to 90 mins depending on the cut. What’s that? You want broth that always gels? No more 24 to 48 hour simmers that stink up your home for days? Sorry, maybe I should say “perfume” your home for days? For the record, I use to do it the low and slow way. Now you couldn’t pay me to pull out my huge 13 quart Le Creuset.

Someone buy that beast off me. Please. 

But which pressure cooker, Sarah? It took me a few months to decide on my current pressure cooker. I read every review, looked at warranty info, where it was made and what it was made of. It came down to two brands — WMF and Kuhn Rikon. The final tipping point for me was a recommendation from (food nerd alert) Nathan Myhrvold. If you aren’t familiar, he’s the former high up from Microsoft turned HUGE foodie and cookbook author. (By the way, his cookbook is beautiful and I highly recommend it.) He tested several brands and came to the conclusion that Kuhn Rikon was the best. I was sold. It’s not the cheapest but have been using it at least twice a week for a year so I think it’s paid for itself by now.  If you don’t already have one, you should really get one. Here are the links to Kuhn Rikon, WMF and a good low end brand Fagor: bestgood, and decent.  

Edited to add: Size is important. Pressure cookers can only be filled to about 3/4 of it’s volume. I recommend you get a size big enough to hold a whole chicken- 7 quart. My 7 quart can also hold 2 whole oxtails. Your family may need a bit larger and Kuhn Rikon makes all the way to a 12 quart . 

Rule #2: You will begin a freezer scrap saving program. Start today! When you prep for other meals and end up with leek tops, celery/carrot ends, parsley stems, onion skins, mushroom stems… ANY bits or pieces of aromatics, vegetables, or herbs! I keep them in the freezer in one-gallon freezer bags. I keep one for more Asian style broths with stuff like scallion trimmings, ginger peels, cilantro stems, hard bits of lemongrass, etc. and one for more generic broth use… your carrots, leeks, celery, and so on. I don’t recommend keeping scraps from broccoli or cauliflower to make broth. In my experience it makes the broth taste gross. It’s okay if you plan to use all the broth that day but if it sits in the fridge or freezer for future use it could affect the flavor.  

I’m working on a few rhymes for my freezer scrap saving program:

“Waste not want not, add minerals…it’s so hot!”

“Waste not want not, add minerals…why not?”

“Waste not want not, add minerals…in your pot?”

I dunno, you guys. Just go with it.

Sarah's Broth Rules - Learn all my broth making secrets.  |
Steaming calf foot, freezer scraps, chicken feet, and jello broth thanks to my pressure cooker

Rule #3: You will always use cuts of meat on the bone. Think beef shank, oxtail, pork hocks, stewing hens, bone-in pork shoulder and leg of lamb, fish with the head (there are more rules about that but we will get there another time, no worries). I don’t recommend boiling or pressure cooking a huge pot of bare bones. It won’t taste that great. You’re only allowed to add bare bones to other meat-on-bone combos. For example, when we eat chicken wings I keep the bones and wing tips in the freezer and add them to my chicken broth made with a whole chicken. Same with ribs. I freeze and keep the ribs bones and add them to my next batch of beef or pork broth. 

Rule #4: You will get over it and get into feet. Chicken feet, ox feet, pig trotters. Get them. They will turn your broth into a masterpiece thanks to the high connective tissue content. You want that stuff in your tummy. It’s the stuff of firm youthful skin, gliding healthy joints, pretty hair and nails and healthy digestion. And if you have access, why not get some chicken heads & necks, beef tendons & pig tails and ears too!  BUY ALL THE GRISTLY COLLAGEN FILLED THINGS! I have found farmers markets and farm buyer’s clubs to be great resources for those hard to find parts. And if you have an Asian grocery store near by…yeah you can find everything there. 

Rule #5: You will reuse the boney & gelatinous bits you strained out of that first batch of broth and start afresh. Say I make a broth with beef shank, beef tendon and a few bones from my freezer stash. Afterwards I will be left with very tender meat, a very tender chunk of tendon and some bones. You definitely want to remove the meat and add that to your soups or salads or eggs or whatever. For the tender chunk of tendon, you could cut it into bite-sized pieces and do the same as with the meat. Or say you don’t love the texture of soft tendon, you could keep it with the boney pieces and use them in your next broth batch. Or you could just toss them back in immediately (with some freezer vegetables?) and make a “second” broth that is perfect for cooking starches, vegetable side dishes or bathing in*. 

That last rule had a lot of options. You’re welcome. 

Sarah's Broth Rules - Learn all my broth making secrets.  |
My hands/chicken feet, shorts ribs in pressure cooker with veg, raw beef tendon, & pressure cooked beef tendon

My whole system is a continuous cycle of getting the most nutrition out of your meats and vegetables. If you purchase organic vegetables and grassfed/pastured humanely raised meats then you really wanna get your money’s worth, amiriiight? 

These are my basics. From time to time we’ll make a broth that doesn’t use freezer scraps or is a bit more specialized. But if you stick to these basics you will always have a great tasting broth ready to be turned in to soups, stews, risottos, sauces, and gravy, or as a flavorful liquid to cook starches and vegetables in, because plain water sucks.

In fact, it will taste great plain. Okay, maybe add some salt. I feel like the Broth Nazi right about now. 

*I’m kidding about bathing in the stuff. I mean, if you wanna try it lemme know, I’d be open and stuff but dang I’m gonna think you’re weird. 


Here are all of my broth recipes (I will add more as I create): 

Simple Beef Broth

Two Types of Broth From One Chicken. Seriously.

Lemongrass Shrimp Broth 

Korean Seafood Broth 


 Questions? Comments? Suggestions?  Let a brothmaker know. 

59 comments on Sarah’s Broth Rules – I’m Handing Out Life Lessons

  1. You should make a basic tutorial with amounts, times, etc., for the beginner or timid brothmaker. WE’RE NOT ALL BOLD AS BRASS BULLS LIKE SOME PEOPLE, is all I’m sayin’.

    1. While you make a very valid point, lemme give you my thought process: I was typing up a soup recipe which lead to typing up a broth recipe which lead to me telling people what’s acceptable for brothmaking. SOOO I just did this post first. There will be MANY MANY broth recipes on this site. I promise you that.

      1. Hey should I change this article to “Belinda’s Broth Rules”? Hmmmm? 😉

        I actually only dilute my broth when I make something that is very spiced like Pho or Sichuan broths. I want maximum gelatin intake. It’s my version of bathing in blood. I WILL BE YOUNG FOREVER!

    1. Hi Iana- When I was researching the various brands I remember 3 things that turned me off electric pressure cookers: They are bulky and would have to live on my limited space countertop, they couldn’t be used as regular cooking vessels and I read a lot of reviews complaining that they couldn’t consistently hold high pressure.

      What’s your experience with them (if any)?

  2. I am actively shopping, and looking for all the info I can find. I had about decided on a Kuhn Rikon, when a friend pointed out that the Instant Pot can steam rice. Apparently, it can even slow cook, make yogurt, keep food warm — several cooking modes. Although, I don’t eat cereal grains or chicken. I have limited counter space, but also, limited cabinet space, so, either way, I’ll likely keep it on my counter. Having it serve as a rice cooker is a plus. I’ve just been reading reviews on hippressurecooking and the WMF sounds interesting. Very difficult to decide when the top brands seem to be so good.



    1. lana-
      It is very difficult to decide!
      I’ve have gotten so used to cooking rice the old fashioned way, but eventually I’ll get the smaller Kuhn Rikon to cook starches. Seems like it would be more energy efficient than using my larger one now.

      Good luck with your pressure cooker quest! Be sure to come back and let me know how you like the one you go with!

  3. I seem to remember talking to SoMeoNE for days…. about my PC and discussing brands and sizes and quality of broth. Hum… Who was that?

    1. Oh Lori how could I forget to mention the wonderful human who first mentioned pressure cookers to me!? I’m so rude. I think my rudeness has something to do with the somewhat (okay, lotswhat) disturbing memory of you pressure cooking a steak.

  4. Hi Sarah, thanks for sharing your secrets. If I understood well, you use both raw meat and cooked bones and meat pieces (left overs from another meal)? It made me want to start a broth right now.
    Thanks again.

    1. Hi Midut,
      Glad you enjoyed. :) I think you understood well but I don’t add cooked meat pieces back. Just if they are boney leftover pieces from a meal- like eaten chicken wing bones or eaten beef rib bones. I’m not sure I was clear about that.

      Maybe the confusion is because I mentioned throwing a piece of beef tendon back in? Beef tendon has the ability to completely dissolve if you cook it long enough. So sometimes I add it back in to let it dissolve and other times I slice it thin and add it soups-like pho. Just depends on if you like the texture of beef tendon- some do not.

      So a few examples are. Chicken broth- whole raw chicken, leftover chicken wing bones and their tips, and a few chicken feet plus my freezer veggie scraps.
      Beef broth- whole raw beef shank on the bone, ox foot, leftover beef rib bones, and freezer veggie scraps.

      Basically you just want to add a meat on bone, extra gelatinous pieces (feet, tendon, etc) and any extra bones you have. And of course the aromatic vegetable scraps.

      Does that make it clearer? I am new at blogging so please let me know where I was confusing and I’ll edit. Thanks for your feedback.


  5. I assume that asparagus stems would be one of the vegetables that you would leave out of the freezer scrap bag for broth?

    1. Hi Jack- yeah probably not. Maybe the really young spring asparagus stems?
      I would probably use them in a stir fry or soup.

      But, if you try it out let me know!


  6. Great article, but “slap your mama”? Sounds like you are promoting domestic violence. Perhaps something got lost in translation :(

    1. It’s just a figure of speech:) I don’t know where it originated, but she only means it will be the best broth you’ve ever had. Nothing more:) American figures of speech are weird haha!

    2. Hi Pamela- Thanks for saying it’s a great article. And yes, just like Sonia mentions it’s a figure of speech. No promoting of domestic violence.


  7. I have yet to ask this anywhere, but am confused and maybe you can help. I’ve been on this journey to health since reading Nourishing Traditions. I make bone broth either on the stove top or in the slow cooker. One of the only kitchen items WAPF recommends against is the pressure cooker. I’m hesitant to do my broth in one but so many others do. I know it’s quicker and easier but not sure it’s the best way. What’s your opinion?

    1. I too used to be anti pressure cooker because of Nourishing Traditions. If memory serves me right, Sally Fallon was against pressure cookers because they denatured proteins. Well, all cooking denatures proteins, your stomach denatures proteins!

      But, if you have ever over boiled a broth you know that the gelatin can break down relatively easily; and pressure cookers always make broths that gel.

      Btw, when I tried the slow cooker method my broths wouldn’t consistently gel. And they didn’t taste that great especially the chicken broths. So when I switched and noticed that my broth always gelled and tasted cleaner and more chickeny I was sold.

  8. Thank you SO much for your reply. It sure would be helpful as I make broth every week. It takes so long otherwise. I also don’t have broth that gels as of yet. I’ll have to research one that isn’t going to break the bank and also other things to do with it. Thanks again!

  9. I use my cheapo Fagor for everything: hard boiling eggs, making rice, boiling potatoes, making stock. I’m really happy with the stove top pressure cookers and can’t imagine making the switch to electric.

    The only thing I’d do differently? Had I known about the Kuhn Rikon at the time of my purchase, I’d have gone with that over the Fagor. The Fagor is fine but the Kuhn is significantly more efficient.

    On another note: I am sensitive to tyramine so quick cooking the stock I’ll be consuming frequently is absolutely necessary. Those sensitive to histamine will also likely benefit from using a pressure cooker v a slow cooker for making stock.

    Thanks Sarah!

  10. The evidence seems to support the hypothesis that pressure cooking reduces anti-nutrients significantly in beans. In fact, pressure cooker might just be the best of the options!

    From a comment on Kresser’s site:
    “This study found that lectins in canned beans are mitigated during the pressure-cooking process. Also less than 5% trypsin inhibitor remained. (

    According to one study, simmering beans without a pre-soak has the smallest impact on phytic acid, with 64-92% still present after cooking. Soaking first shows a further reduction, with 30-48% remaining. But the best results came from canning/pressure-cooking, with only 8.5-32.4% remaining. (”

  11. And from Staffan Lindeberg’s Food and Western Disease:

    “Cooking beans in a pressure cooker deactivates their lectin,
    which has been shown for Turkish beans609 and which is expected to be true for
    most plant lectins”

    “Seed lectins are often not destroyed by normal cooking but some of them by
    pressure cooking609,”

    “Root vegetables are best cooked in a pressure cooker to deactivate the lectins and
    other bioactive proteins.”

    Grant, G., More, L.J., McKenzie, N.H. & Pusztai, A. (1982) The effect of heating on the
    haemagglutinating activity and nutritional properties of bean (Phaseolus vulgaris) seeds.
    J Sci Food Agric 33, 1324–6

    Interesting reading, anyway!

    1. Katherine just sold me on a smaller pressure cooker. I really want to start cooking my rice, potatoes, and hardboiled eggs in them. Totally wishlisted. Bonus- less anti nutrients! Yay.

      Thanks for the Lindeberg excerpts & Kresser links.

      What’s next? Pressure cooker pudding?

  12. Ok, so gelled bone broth is good? Is that what I heard? I’m a newbie. Please explain. I thought bone broth was to drink a little each day.

    1. Hi Cindy, Yes a gelled bone broth is very good. That means it is full of gelatin. It only gels when it has been cooled. So if you’d like to drink a little each day you can just heat it up a bit. Hope that helps.

  13. I’m so intrigued, inspired, and now informed. I am just imagining the first taste of such delish sounding broth. I had no idea there was such passionate love that could be put into broth on this level. I can hardly wait…..Thanks very much Sarah for your passion and even the time this blogging must take…..I really appreciate it.

    1. Roniless- Thanks for such a wonderful comment. I’m glad my broth obsession has come off as passion instead of madness. :) Please let me know how your broth comes out. Thanks again! 😀

  14. Ok; I’ve just recently discovered your blog, and OMG I LUUUUUURRRRRVVVE IT!! Great food, great writitng, great pics.
    So, aside from the weird gushing from a stranger, I just wanted to ask if you’ve ever made seollengtang broth/soup?; It’s my current fave; I actually just drink the broth with a bit (well…kind of a lot ;)) of salt for breakfast these days. Drinking it feels like it’s literally feeding my soul it’s so simple and delicious. After reading this post though, I’m thinking I need a pressure cooker ASAP, as I’m currently doing a 48 hr simmer.

    Keep up the great blogging!

    1. I was in the same boat as far as the 48 hour simmer. Since I got my pressure cooker my broth has always come in under 4 hours. Well worth the investment.

      1. If I could “like” your comment I would. Since I can’t, I am commenting to tell you I like your comment. :) Thanks Jack. Pressure cookers rule.

    2. Hey there Sparklypear! Thank you! I’m so glad you enjoy. I love strangers so no worries. How did you come across my blog if you don’t mind me asking?

      And yes, I have, I freaking love seollentang soup. It’s one of my faves. I def add a TON of salt and green onions to mine. It’s such a soothing and calming soup. Like yoga in a bowl! :) So yes, a pressure cooker would significantly reduce your cook time. I plan to do a recipe for Korean seollentang in the future. But please friend me on something (like instagram or fb) and show me pics of your pressure cooked broths.

      Thanks so much!

    1. Hey butternhoneyJulie,
      Thanks so much. I always wanna scream when someone tries to make broth with just bones. Well, I do scream. But in my head, so as not to get locked away. 😉

      Glad you agree and thanks for reading!


  15. Hi there, I’m wondering how you get enough liquid out of your broth after putting the chicken in there. Since PCs can’t fill to the top, and you are only using a 7 qt with a 3-4 lb chicken, is seems like you get a very concentrated, small amount of broth, no? Do you end up with at least two quarts?

    1. Hey Gillatine,
      The KR is 7.4 quarts. You can really stuff a bunch in there, but with that said, I would probably prefer an 8 quart. I’m always experimenting and trying to get the most favorable broth ever which means packing it full.
      But, I do end up with at least 2 quarts baggies of broth. And, I also tend to make broth more often because it’s so fast compared to stove top cooking. So it works.

  16. You sold me on the pressure cooker way. I always do the slow cook for my broth because I have had a fear of pressure cookers from old family tales of exploding ones ( most likely from bad, seals, etc) So many people I know have been using them without incidence so I guess I need to just take the plunge and save hours of time and start enjoying way better broth! Thanks!!—– Oh!! question….I roast my bones before cooking to intensify the flavor and do the vinegar soak….can you still do that when using a pressure cooker or is that not needed?

    1. Hey Laura,
      You will love your pressure cooker. The newer wave of pressure cookers are much more safe than the olden pressure cookers.

      I’m usually lazy and don’t roast by bones. But! When I have, the broth is richer. So I would say to try it both ways and see which you prefer. Honestly non-roasted pressure cooker broth is super tasty.

      As far as the vinegar soak, there has a been some debate on whether or not it’s necessary. I don’t bother with it. I’m confident in the nutrition that my broths give without the extra step.

      Good luck! Come back and let me know how you like your new pressure cooker. :)

  17. Hi Sarah! Love your blog. You, basically, are me. What’s not to love?

    I noticed in the above post that you mentioned buying the odd bits at Asian markets. I am a huge fan of Asian markets myself, but have always shied away from buying any meats or fish there. Primarily because I am worried about their sourcing. Are you at all concerned about where they get their meats? I have made an effort to source from grassfed and pastured sources. I’m pretty sure that’s NOT what Asian markets are doing. Is that something you don’t feel is important in cooking broth?

    The other thing I worry about with Asian markets is their products high exposure to radiation. Do you worry about this? Whenever I’ve asked about where their meats are from and if they’re imported, I have a hard time getting a straight answer. I get one answer from one person, and something completely different from someone else in the same store. Hard for me to trust I guess.

    I am hoping you have a really good reason why that’s a good idea, because I often look longingly into their freezer cases and wish our markets had similar cuts, like chicken feet, and oxtails. The only thing I am able to source locally that’s grassfed are cow longbones, and occasionally joint bones. Never with meat on them.

    Also, what’s the best way to source whitefish carcasses? I have a great upper-end fish market near me, but they sell all of their fish carcs to a dogfood mfg company. When I have asked them to save me some, all they have is salmon, which Sally Fallon warns against using due to the high fish oil content. She says that the oily fish shouldn’t be cooked as long.

    Thanks Sarah! I love your blog. I learn so much here!


  18. First if like to mention that I’m pregnant and once I added chicken feet to my broth the slowed down digestion symptoms were completely relieved if you know what I mean.
    Second, I have chicken feet and a nice lamb bone in the freezer. Is it strange to use both in a stock? Also the bone was roasted with the meat on it, should I roast it again or is it good to flavor the broth as it is now?

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