Bone broths are all the rage right now and for good reason!
A secret weapon of chefs and traditional home cooks, a bone broth is a great way to use up all the bits and pieces of your food to create something that is rich in flavor to take your cooking to another level.
Each broth offers a great way to increase the flavor and nutrient density of your meals. I love using different types of broth to make soups, noodle bowls, cook my grains, or use as the base for rich and delicious sauces.
So, what does bone broth taste like? It depends a bit on the type of bones you use. Chicken broth will taste savory and like a liquid roast chicken dinner. It’s a bit subtler than a beef bone broth, which can be much richer and have a stronger beefy flavor. Other types of bone broth, such as lamb, duck, or pork will be a little milder than beef broth in taste.
Read on to discover more about what bone broths taste like, how they’re different from vegetable or mushroom broths, and how to make your own bone broth using an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stovetop method!
What Is Bone Broth?
The simplest bone broths are typically made from some sort of animal bone such as chicken, turkey, duck, beef, pork, or lamb, simmered in water for several hours to release the mild meaty flavor into the water.
However, most chefs and home cooks jazz their broths up by adding different aromatic vegetables and herbs, some sea salt, and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
Bone broth is a food that should be cooked low and slow for a long time to develop rich flavors. That broth can then be used for everything from soups, to stews, to sauces to a liquid to cook your vegetables or grains.
And in countries around the world, folks use a variety of different spices, herbs, and cuts of meat to make incredibly flavorful, nutrient-dense bone broths.
One of my all-time favorites is a pho broth from Vietnam. It’s packed with fennel, star anise, cardamom, and other strong spices.
Whatever your preference, there’s bound to be a bone broth that suits your taste buds and kitchen needs.
What Does Chicken Bone Broth Taste Like?
If you’re new to the world of bone broths, then I recommend starting with a chicken or a turkey broth, since they are typically a little milder in terms of their flavor profile.
When you’re making a chicken or turkey broth at home it will smell like a roast chicken dinner.
And that’s typically what a chicken bone broth will taste like: a subtle, salty chicken flavor.
It won’t be as strong as eating chicken skin or dark meat, but it will have a beautiful layer of chicken flavor that adds an extra layer to soups or makes a great base for a gravy or sauce.
If you add some aromatic vegetables or herbs, then your bone broth will taste like mild chicken combined with those different vegetables.
If you want a stronger taste, add more salt and let the liquid reduce by about 1/4 to 1/2 depending on how strong you want it.
What Does Beef Bone Broth Taste Like?
The strongest tasting broth is typically a beef bone broth since beef has a richer flavor than many of the other types of meat.
The broth will be a darker brown and have a hearty beefy flavor to it. Again, you may want to add some extra herbs and spices to get another layer of flavor.
This broth is probably better for folks who are already familiar with eating bone broths and enjoy the flavor and texture, since it can be quite a bit stronger.
Beef broth is typically used as the base for pho broths, au jus, and other rich sauces and gravies.
What Does Pork Bone Broth Taste Like?
Another stellar broth is one made from pork bones. It’s milder than beef broth but still has a nice porky flavor.
It’s great for hot pots, ramen broths, and other dishes. If you want to up the flavor in your broth, try adding some cooked leftover bacon to the pot as it simmers.
What Does Lamb Broth Taste Like?
If you’re a fan of lamb, then making a broth from leftover lamb bones should definitely be on your to-do list.
It’s not quite as rich as beef broth, but it has a distinct lamb flavor and a beautiful deep color. Since lamb is gamier than beef, pork, or poultry, it isn’t the best introduction to broth.
You can use lamb broth for soups, hearty stews, or to make rich sauces and gravies.
What Does Duck Bone Broth Taste Like?
I love duck and duck broth is probably ranked up there with one of my favorites because it’s a little richer than a chicken broth, but not quite so strong as a beef broth. It also has an undertone of gaminess that you get from duck.
It makes a nice dark brown broth and is another option to use as a base for richer sauces and soups.
What’s The Difference Between Bone Broth And Vegetable Or Mushroom Broths?
If you’re wondering whether there’s a big difference between bone broths and vegetable or mushroom broths, the answer is yes.
While all types of broth are a wonderful way to add more flavor to your cooking, there is a big difference in taste and texture between these broths.
Vegetable and mushroom broths are going to typically have a milder flavor than bone broths simply because vegetables are milder than bones.
Mushroom broth will have a richer, umami taste than a regular vegetable broth, but it will still have less of a roasted, meaty taste than a bone broth.
Another difference between bone broths and vegetable or mushroom broths is the fat content.
When you simmer bones, there is often still some skin and other tissue attached, which can contain fat. The inclusion of these bits in your broth will imbue your broth with more fat.
Bone broths will typically have a layer of flavorful fat on the top of the broth once they are done simmering.
While it may be tempting to throw that fat away due to decades of brainwashing that says fat is bad for you, don’t do it! This fat is full of flavor and nutrition.
The fat also adds a great texture to sauces and soups and can help with mineral absorption.
If you’re a vegetarian and want to make some vegetable or mushroom broths instead of a bone broth, I recommend sauteing your vegetables in some olive oil prior to making the broth.
The fat from the olive oil gives the broth a great texture and can help increase nutrient absorption.
How To Make Your Own Bone Broth: Slow Cooker, Stove Top, Or Instant Pot Directions
- 2 lbs. of animal bones of choice
- 4 liters of water
- 1/4 of a cup of apple cider vinegar or balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp. of sea salt
- 2 strips of kombu
- 1 carrot, rough chopped
- 2 celery stalks, rough chopped
- 1 onion, quartered with skins
- 6 cloves garlic, smashed with skins
- 4 stalks of fresh thyme (or 1 tsp. dried herb)
- 2 stalks of fresh rosemary (or 1 tsp. dried herb)
- 6 bay leaves
For The Instant Pot
- Add all of your ingredients to your Instant Pot. You can use more water if you have space. I like to make sure that all of my bones and vegetables are fully submerged.
- Put on the lid and make sure that the valve is in the sealed position.
- Hit the manual button and set it to cook for 120 minutes. If you’re using beef bones, you may want to add an extra 30 minutes.
- Let your Instant Pot pressurize and cook for 120 minutes. You can let the steam release automatically or if you want to use it right away, move the valve from the sealed to the released position. Make sure you keep your hand away from the steam!
- Strain out the veggies and bones and pour the broth into glass jars.
- Let your broth cool and then store in the fridge for up to 6 days. If you are going to freeze some jars, make sure you leave at least 1 inch of space at the top of the jar for expansion.
- It can last in the fridge for 5-6 days.
- Broth can last in the freezer for up to 12 months. Make sure you put a label on your jar so you know what you made and when you made it. Don’t trick yourself into believing you’ll remember what you made 6 months from now.
For The Slow Cooker
- Add all of your ingredients to a slow cooker and turn to high heat until it starts to boil. You may want to add more water if you have space so that all of your veggies and bones are fully submerged.
- Once your broth has boiled, turn the heat to low and let it simmer for about 6-24 hours. You may need to add some more water if it evaporates. I find chicken bones need about 6 hours and heartier bones like beef need 12+.
- The longer you let your broth simmer, the deeper and richer the flavor since it has more time to roast and develop.
- Once your bones are soft to the touch, you can strain out the veggies and bones and pour your broth into glass jars.
- Let your broth cool and then store it in the fridge for up to 6 days. If you are going to freeze some jars, make sure you leave at least 1 inch of space at the top of the jar for expansion.
- Broth freezes really well. It can last up to 12 months in the freezer.
- Make sure you create a label for your jars with the date and type of broth you made so you don’t have to guess what it is six months from now.
- Broth can stay fresh in the fridge for up to 6 days.
For The Stove Top
- Add all of the ingredients to a large saucepan and turn to medium/high heat. You may have space to add more water. If so, make sure all of your veggies and bones are fully submerged in liquid.
- Bring the broth to a boil.
- Once boiling, turn to low and let everything simmer for 6-24 hours. You may need to add some more water if it evaporates. I find chicken bones need about 6 hours and heartier bones like beef need 12 or more.
- The longer you let your broth simmer on the stove, the deeper and richer the flavors you develop will be.
- Once your broth is a beautiful golden or dark brown color (depending on the bones and amount of time you simmer), remove the pot from the stove.
- Strain out the veggies and bones and pour your broth into glass jars.
- Let your broth cool and then store it in the fridge for up to 6 days. If you are going to freeze some jars, make sure you leave at least 1 inch of space at the top of the jar for expansion so your jars don’t crack. If they crack, throw them away. No one needs to eat glass.
- If you’re not going to use your broth within 6 days, make sure you freeze it.
- Put a label on your jars with the date and contents so you remember what you made 6 months from now.
- Broth can stay in the freezer for up to 12 months.
- I like to use the knuckles/soup bones from cows, lamb, or pork; chicken/duck feet/backs, or any leftover bones from roasts. Store your bones in the freezer until you have a couple of pounds worth.
- Instead of using whole carrots, onions, celery, and garlic, I like to save my scraps from cooking and store them in an airtight baggie in the freezer until it’s full.
- I save everything from the ends of carrots, celery, and onions to the skin off my garlic and the stalks of my cilantro and kale. This is an awesome way to prevent food waste, increase the flavor and add a cheap, nutrient-dense punch to your broths!