How to Make Bone Broth Low Waste

How to Make Bone Broth Low Waste
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“Indeed, stock is everything in cooking. Without it, nothing can be done.”

Escoffier from his Guide Culinaire

Broths…broths are the backbone (no pun intended) of so many dishes. I use it in everything. I use it when cooking quinoa, rice, or even oatmeal to give it a bit more flavor and of course I use it in soups and sauces. And while broths of any sort can be used for these purposes, this time around we will be learning how to make bone broth a.k.a bone stock and how to make it more sustainably.

Technically this bone broth recipe is a stock. A stock is cooked with bones, mirepoix, and some aromatics in water. It is cooked for a much longer period of time. This long cook time produces a thicker liquid that gelatinizes once cooled down (in most cases). And while most stocks tends to be less flavorful than broths, this one is not.

That being said I will be using the terms broth and stock interchangeably in this post. All of that was just an FIY for you. Don’t you just love learning random facts?

Notes on How to Make a Low Waste and Sustainable Bone Broth

This bone stock recipe is packed full of flavor so in many ways it is also a broth. I use it in replacement of broth in everything I make but I can also enjoy it straight.

How to Make It Low Waste

What is the secret?

Use as many scraps as possible. Got a rotisserie chicken carcass that you’ve picked clean? Hold on it. Just finished eating fried chicken? Same thing. Got some bones from a night of pork chops? You know the drill.

There are so many good reasons to use these lovelies. They give you the ability to reuse something that you already have. That creates less waste and saves you money. Likewise using scraps will save you time. Since you have previously cooked most of these bones, you won’t need to roast them. And lastly, they will impart more flavor into the finished broth. These scraps are goldmines.

This is a mix of onion ends, carrot tops, mushroom stalks, and two cloves of garlic.

The same goes for vegetables too. Hold on to the ends of your carrots, celery, mushrooms, and onions. Use those celery leaves and heart centers as well. How about those outer onions skins? Use them. If you get carrots with tops, use those too! If you want to use other vegetables, go for it. Just keep in mind if you use beets or beet greens, the finished broth will come out much darker. If you are looking for a light golden brown broth, stick to using the traditional mirepoix veggies mentioned.

The trick is to freeze them until you are ready. Keep a couple containers in the freezer and just add to them as you go. Once you have enough bones and vegetable scraps, it’s time to make bone broth!

Unfortunately, there are a few bones you will have to buy outright most likely: chicken feet and marrow bones. So while it isn’t zero waste, it damn close.

How to Make it Sustainable

Buy your meats and bones from regenerative farms. Local if possible. While buying organic is better than not, regenerative farms are the best way to go. Not only will that make the best tasting broth but you will be supporting good agriculture practices. Organically raised meats are better than conventional ones but lots of organic farms do not necessarily follow regenerative agriculture. To sum up, in all cases regenerative farms are organic farms but not all organic farms are regenerative. If you are curious about the politics behind the USDA organic label, this post might be of interest.

What is regenerative agriculture?

In the words of Regeneration International, “Regenerative Agriculture is a holistic land management practice that leverages the power of photosynthesis in plants to close the carbon cycle, and build soil health, crop resilience and nutrient density. Regenerative agriculture improves soil health, primarily through the practices that increase soil organic matter.”

And regenerative farms are smaller farms (for now) so you are supporting farmers that believe in integrity, transparency, humane animal treatment, and good practices. So in short, you are supporting small ethical farms, minimizing your carbon footprint in many ways, and even improving the soil. For my fellow DnD folks, it’s like casting both the Plant Growth and Purify Food and Drink spell together in every purchase you make.

Don’t have a local regenerative farm? You might want to check out these 9 Regenerative Online Farm-to-Table Meat Shops in the US.

Tips and Tricks to Perfect Bone Broth

Here are a few tips I picked up from working with this stock recipe that will give you awesome results.

Use as many scraps as possible. Top left to right is drumsticks and a whole chicken. But definitely add a few marrow bones and chicken feet as well.
  • Avoid using too much salt or just skip it entirely. Stocks are traditionally made without salt and with good reason. As the stock reduces and get recooked again, the salt would become concentrated and ruin the results. That being said, I add a pinch to mine and really like the results. If you plan to sip it straight, you can always add more to taste then.
  • A variety of bones really do make the best broths. Since this recipe is mostly using scraps, you will be already using a variety of different bones. But if you are not, try to get a variation of different bones.
  • At all times, use 2-3 marrow bones and about 3 chicken feet. Unless you normally cook with marrow bones or chicken feet, you will need to buy those. These items are very easy to find at most local farms, regenerative farms, farmer’s markets, Asian food stores, and some grocery stores.

Use a kitchen scale to weigh the bones. As you can see it doesn’t need to be accurate, just in the ballpark.
  • Use a kitchen scale to weight your bones. To get pretty consistent results, I use a kitchen scale to weight my bones. I highly recommend using a scale otherwise the water to bones ratio will be off and you might not get that gelatin quality. However, you don’t need to be accurate. I just ballpark it and get my bones around 2 1/2 pounds give or take.
  • Use garlic sparingly or omit it. Depending on what you are planning to use this stock for, garlic can get overpowering really quickly. My household happens to love garlic and we use our bone broth for flavoring oats, quinoa, and the like. So we use 1-2 cloves depending on the size. If you don’t like garlic, just leave it out or do maybe one clove. Really it’s up to you and what you are doing. I just mash it and toss it in. No need to mince it unless you just want to.
  • Do not use bones or vegetables that might have spoiled. I think this is a no-brainer but feel compelled to state this anyways just in case. Use only fresh or frozen food. If it has mold or looks bad just toss or compost it.
  • Use at least a 6-quart pot or container. I can barely squeeze everything into that. Anything smaller and you’ll need to reduce the amount of bones you use.
  • You don’t need to use the stated amount of veggies. There is flexibility with the amount of veggies you can add. You can put in much less than suggested or none at all. I just happen to like lots of vegetables and flavor to my broth but if you want something more neutral, by all means, use less.
  • You don’t need to thaw the bones or veggies before use. If you freeze your scraps, you don’t need to defrost them before throwing them in. I just grab straight out of the freezer, weigh them, and begin. You can defrost if you want, but why waste time unnecessarily.

Pressure Cooker vs Slow Cooker vs Stovetop

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I wanted to leave a quick note about these different methods. While any of them will produce a great tasting broth, I am a HUGE fan of pressure cooking.

This is the Instant Pot Max 6-Quart Pressure Cooker. (affiliate link when you click on photo)

Pressure cooking bone broth will save you a ton of cooking time and give you consistent results. Because of the shorter cooking time, I find pressure cookers to be more sustainable as they use less electricity or gas (if using a gas stove). And because it is sealed, you don’t have to refill the water level or babysit the broth throughout the cooking time. In fact, ever since I switched over to using this Instant Pot Pressure Cooker (affiliate link), I make bone broth more regularly because it’s so much easier and less time consuming. That has in turn kept me from needing to buy store bought stuff and in turn reduce my household waste. Seriously worth it folks!

Because I use an Instant Pot Pressure Cooker, I wrote my pressure cooker instructions using it. If you have a different pressure cooker, please read your manual before using and adjust your PSI (use a high pressure setting) and cooking time accordingly. The ratio of bones to water will remain the same.

Second to a pressure cooker, I found a slow cooker to be better than a stovetop. The cooking time is the same for either one but I felt safer leaving it on overnight in a slow cooker. Because of that, it was ready sooner. Also it was less likely to get contaminated from letting it cool down enough to store in the fridge and heat back up the next day.

Coming from years of food service, having bone broth spend that much time at varying temps always made me cringe even if I never got sick from it. Plus, think about all the electricity your fridge and stovetop has to spend cooling down and heating up the broth. I would think a slow cooker would be more sustainable and eco-friendly than the stove top because of that.

That’s it! So without further ado…

If you give this recipe a try, I’d love to see your awesome creation! Leave a comment, rate it, and don’t forget to hashtag a photo on Instagram #sustainablesauceresses!

Or if you have any questions or feedback, you are always welcome to leave me a comment below. I’d really love to hear from you!

Bone Broth

This bone broth is packed full of flavor and very easy to make. The recipe uses bone and vegetable scraps for a low waste and sustainable alternative. Learn how to make this bone broth using an Instant Pot, slow cooker, or stovetop.
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time3 hrs
Course: Main Course, Side Dish, Soup
Keyword: bone broth, bone stock, how to make bone broth, how to make bone stock
Servings: 10 8 oz. (1 cup)
Author: Tina


  • Instant Pot or Slow Cooker or Heavy Stock Pot


  • 2 ½ lbs. bones (any assortment but include a few marrow bones and 2-3 chicken feet)
  • 4 cups vegetable scraps (carrot ends and tops, celery ends and leaves, onion skins and ends, and mushroom ends)
  • 1 tbsp. apple cidar vinegar
  • 10 peppercorns, whole
  • 4 bay leaves
  • 1 pinch pink himalayan or sea salt (optional)
  • 1 – 2 cloves garlic, crushed (optional)
  • 1 tsp. any other dried herbs (optional)
  • 8 cups filtered water (or until water barely covers the top of the bones)


Instant Pot

  • In the basin of your Instant Pot, place the bones, vegetable scraps, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, garlic (if desired), other herbs (if desired), and 8 cups of water. Do not add more water than this.
  • Close lid and turn knob to sealing, set to cook on max (roughly 15 PSI) pressure for 2-3 hours. When time is up, let the pressure release naturally.
  • Once cool enough to handle, strain broth through a fine mesh sieve, and transfer to jars for storing in the fridge or freezer. Leave a thin layer of fat on top but skim the rest (if needed).
  • Once chilled, the broth should be jiggly like jello. Scrape off the layer of fat when ready to use.

Slow Cooker

  • In the basin of a slow cooker, place the bones, any onion scraps, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, garlic (if desired), and other herbs (if desired).
  • Fill pot with water until it barely covers the bones.
  • Cover with the lid slightly ajar, and cook on low for 24 hours. Add more water throughout the cooking time as needed until the last 4 hours. Add other vegetable scraps in the last 2 hour of cooking time.
  • Once cool enough to handle, strain broth through a fine mesh sieve, and transfer to jars for storing in the fridge or freezer. Leave a thin layer of fat on top but skim the rest (if needed).
  • Once chilled, the broth should be jiggly like jello. If it isn't do not worry it is still good to use. Scrape off the layer of fat when ready to use.


  • In a large stock pot or Dutch oven, place the bones, any onion scraps, apple cider vinegar, bay leaves, peppercorns, salt, garlic (if desired), and other herbs (if desired).
  • Fill pot with water until it barely covers the bones.
  • Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat, then reduce heat to a simmer. You want it to just be barely bubbling. Cover with the lid slightly ajar. After the first 30 mins to 1 hour skim off any impurities (if needed). Add other vegetable scraps in the last 2 hours of cooking time.
  • Cook for 24 hours. If leaving the stove on overnight makes you nervous, you can place the whole pot (covered) in the fridge instead, and continue the cooking time in the morning.
  • Once cool enough to handle, strain broth through a fine mesh sieve, and transfer to jars for storing in the fridge or freezer. Leave a thin layer of fat on top but skim the rest (if needed).
  • Once chilled, the broth should be jiggly like jello. Scrape off the layer of fat when ready to use.

Did you give this recipe a try?

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