Is Homemade chicken stock high in calories?

Homemade chicken stock is a staple in many home kitchens. It forms the basis for soups, stews, risottos, and other dishes. But many home cooks wonder – is homemade chicken stock high in calories?

The short answer is that homemade chicken stock can be high or low in calories, depending on how it’s made. The ingredients, cooking method, and cooking time impact the calorie content of homemade stocks.

What is Chicken Stock?

Chicken stock is a flavorful liquid made by simmering chicken bones and vegetables in water. It’s used to provide moisture, flavor, and body to savory dishes like soups, stews, risotto, etc.

The ingredients in homemade chicken stock typically include:

– Chicken bones – this can include bony chicken pieces like wings, necks, backs, and feet. The bones provide gelatin, minerals, and flavor.

– Vegetables – this usually includes onions, carrots, celery, and herbs. The vegetables provide additional flavor, nutrients, and color.

– Water – this helps to extract flavors and gelatin from the solids.

– Optional extras – garlic, peppercorns, bay leaves, and other aromatics.

The key aspects that impact the nutrient content of homemade stock are:

– Ingredients – using more bones vs meat, types of vegetables used.

– Cooking time – longer simmering time extracts more gelatin and flavors.

– Skimming fat – removing excess fat from the surface affects calorie content.

– Portion sizes – the serving amount of stock consumed makes a difference.

Are the Ingredients in Chicken Stock High in Calories?

To understand if homemade chicken stock is high in calories, let’s look at the calorie content of the main ingredients:

– Chicken bones – bones themselves have minimal calories. The calorie content comes from any chicken meat attached to bony pieces.

– Vegetables – onions, carrots, celery, and herbs are very low in calories. Onions have around 40 calories per 3.5 oz, carrots 30 calories, and celery 6 calories. Herbs are negligible.

– Water – zero calories.

So the ingredients that go into homemade chicken stock are generally low in calories or have minimal caloric impact. The ingredients alone don’t make chicken stock high in calories.

Does the Cooking Method Impact Calories?

The way homemade chicken stock is cooked can affect its nutrient content. Here are some key factors:

– Simmering time – longer simmering extracts more gelatin and flavor compounds from bones. But it doesn’t concentrate the liquid or impact calories.

– Skimming fat – stocks should be skimmed periodically to remove excess fat on the surface. This can lower overall calories.

– Adding meat – browning and simmering chicken meat adds flavor as well as fat and calories.

– Roasting bones – roasting bones before simmering adds depth of flavor. But it doesn’t significantly affect calories.

Overall, standard cooking methods for homemade stock don’t concentrate flavors or reduce liquid, so the calorie density remains relatively unchanged. Steps like skimming fat and avoiding adding chicken meat help keep calories in check.

How Many Calories are in 1 Cup of Homemade Chicken Stock?

The actual calorie content of homemade chicken stock depends on the specific ingredients and recipe. But here is the calorie estimate for 1 cup of a typical homemade stock:

– Chicken bones – Negligible calories from bones alone.

– Vegetables – Onions, carrots, celery provide around 5-10 calories total.

– Meat – Pieces of chicken can add 50-100 calories per cup if simmered.

– Fat – Around 50-100 calories if the fat is not skimmed.

* So a cup of homemade stock simmered without meat or fat skimmed would have:

– Around 15 calories from bones and vegetables.

* A cup of stock with chicken pieces and no fat skimming may have:

– 100 to 150 calories from meat and fat content.

The most lean version of homemade stock using bones only and diligent fat skimming would be extremely low in calories. Adding chicken and not removing fat increases calories.

Homemade Chicken Stock Calories per Cup
Bones only, fat skimmed 15 calories
With chicken meat, no skimming 100-150 calories

What Factors Increase Calories in Chicken Stock?

Certain practices in making homemade chicken stock can increase the calorie density:

– Using fatty chicken pieces – chicken wings, skin-on thighs, and drumsticks have more fat.

– Not skimming fat – allows rendered fat from bones/meat to remain.

– Adding extra oil – sauteing vegetables in oil before simmering.

– Reducing stock – simmering for longer to concentrate stock.

– Thickening with starch – adding cornstarch or flour-based roux.

– Adding cream or milk – creates higher-calorie creamy stocks.

Following a lean recipe and cooking method keeps homemade chicken stock lower in calories. But high-fat ingredients and reducing the liquid can quickly increase the calorie content.

Is Chicken Stock Healthier Than Broth?

Chicken broth and chicken stock are often used interchangeably. But there are some differences:

– Chicken broth is usually made by simmering meat with vegetables.

– Chicken stock uses bones and vegetables, less meat.

– Broth has a thinner consistency compared to stock.

– Stock is more concentrated in gelatin, minerals, and flavor.

Since stock utilizes bones rather than meat, it is often lower in calories and fat compared to broth. One cup of chicken broth contains around 50-100 calories, while stock has 15-50 calories depending on preparation.

So chicken stock is considered healthier overall with more protein and a nutrition boost from bone minerals, as well as lower fat and calories.

Tips to Make Low-Calorie Chicken Stock

Here are some useful tips for keeping homemade chicken stock low in calories:

– Use bony chicken pieces like necks and backs rather than fatty cuts.

– Roast bones before simmering to enhance flavor without adding fat.

– Avoid browning chicken meat before simmering.

– Skim fat from the surface frequently while simmering.

– Avoid adding excess oil when sauteing aromatics.

– Simmer for 8-12 hours to extract flavors without concentrating liquid.

– Don’t reduce stock at the end or thicken with starches.

– Add meat and vegetables to dishes instead of the stock for extra flavor.

Following a lean cooking method allows enjoying homemade stock flavor while keeping calories low.

Is Chicken Stock Part of a Healthy Diet?

Chicken stock made with a few simple ingredients is considered very healthy:

– It’s an excellent source of minerals like calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium from the bones.

– It contains chondroitin and glucosamine associated with joint and gut health.

– It provides hydration without calories.

– The gelatin may provide digestive and anti-inflammatory benefits.

– The vegetables add antioxidant carotenoids, vitamin C, fiber.

– It enhances flavor allowing salt use to be reduced.

Homemade chicken stock is recommended as part of a nutrient-dense, low-calorie diet. It provides a range of potential health benefits beyond just its nutritional value. Sipping plain stock or using it as a base for healthy recipes boosts nutrition without calories or fat.


The calorie content of homemade chicken stock can certainly vary based on specific ingredients and cooking methods. But made following a lean recipe, chicken stock is generally low in calories with around 15 calories per cup.

Adding excess chicken meat, not skimming fat, and reducing the liquid all increase the calorie density. But simple stocks simmered for several hours using bones, vegetables, and water are very low-calorie while providing a nutrition boost.

Homemade chicken stock is considered a healthy, nutrient-dense addition to a diet with minimal impact on calorie intake. It provides plenty of flavor for minimal calories, allowing home cooks to create satisfying low-calorie dishes.

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