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Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe from 1833

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Bowl full of homemade chicken broth

I recently roasted a whole free-range chicken, and this time I did something I had never done before – I saved the carcass and used it to make my own homemade chicken broth. It was actually really easy to make and much cheaper than buying store-bought broth. I also really liked the fact that I was able to use the entire chicken without wasting any of it and that I didn’t have to worry about my broth having any unnatural ingredients like MSG or other artificial flavors in it either.

The recipe I used was from a book called The American Frugal Housewife. It was written by Mrs. Lydia Marie Child and was a popular guidebook for 19th-century homemakers. The book had several different editions, but the one my recipe came from was the 12th edition published in Boston in 1833.

This old-fashioned homemade chicken broth recipe is full of flavor and nutrition. Now that I’ve tried making my own broth, I can’t believe I ever used to just throw the chicken carcass away!

This is the original version of the recipe as printed in Mrs. Child’s book:

“Cut a chicken in quarters; put it into three or four quarts of water; put in a cup of rice while the water is cold; season it with pepper and salt; some use nutmeg. Let it stew gently, until the chicken falls apart. A little parsley, shred fine, is an improvement. Some slice up a small onion and stew with it. A few pieces of cracker may be thrown in if you like.”

Homemade Chicken Broth Recipe from 1833

This is the version of the recipe that I used. Since Mrs. Child’s recipe doesn’t specify any amounts for the herbs and spices, you can adjust the amounts as you like. This recipe includes nutmeg, which was a common 19th century flavoring. I wasn’t sure at first how the nutmeg would be with the chicken, but the flavors actually pair really nicely together, and the nutmeg is very subtle and adds just a hint of spice.

You can add a few crumbled-up crackers or breadcrumbs like the recipe suggests, or some rice as a thickening agent. Or if you prefer a grain-free broth, you can just let the broth simmer for a bit longer to thicken.

This is completely optional (and it takes a little getting used to at first), but another great way to make a nice thick, rich broth is to add chicken feet to the stock pot along with the chicken carcass. The little farm where I buy my pasture-raised eggs sells chicken feet from their meat chickens, so I get some to add to my broth whenever I stop by there. The chicken feet add a lot of extra gelatin and minerals to the broth, and whenever I use them, my broth actually thickens like jello when it’s in the fridge.

If you don’t have a good source of chicken feet from healthy chickens, though, (or if the idea of having chicken feet floating in your broth is just too weird), the broth will still turn out perfectly fine without them.


  • 1 chicken carcass cut into quarters (mine was from a 5 lb. chicken)
  • 3 quarts (12 cups) water
  • 1/4 tsp pepper
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt (I like real salt)
  • 1/4 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
  • 2 tsp parsley chopped fine
  • onion slices (I used about 1/2 of an onion)
  • 1 cup rice or crumbled-up crackers or breadcrumbs (optional)


Divide the carcass into four pieces and put them into a large pot filled with the 3 quarts of water. Add the rice if you like, and then heat the pot until it is simmering. Add the herbs and spices and use a spoon to stir everything around a bit.
Pot of water simmering on the stove with chicken carcass and herbs

My broth ingredients ready to simmer

Cover the pot and let it simmer until the bits of leftover meat have fallen off the bones. Every once in a while, it’s a good idea to just check to make sure the water level is ok, and you can add a bit more if it looks like it’s getting too low. It’s also good to check to make sure that it stays at a simmer and doesn’t start to boil too much, but other than the occasional check, you can mostly just let it sit on the stove while you go do other things. 

I usually simmer mine for about 8-10 hours or so, but you can let it go for even longer depending on how much time you have, or if you’re running short on time, you can let it simmer for less. Even if you only have a couple of hours, you’ll still end up with a good homemade broth.

Pot of broth finished simmering and ready to strain

Finished simmering and ready to strain.

Once the broth has finished simmering, strain it through a colander into a large bowl, and then it’s ready to use for soup or homemade gravy, or any other recipes that call for broth. I like to divide my broth into smaller freezer-safe containers so I can just take a little out of the freezer whenever I want to use some for soup or chicken pot pie or something like that. I also like to put some of the broth in 8 ounce Mason jars so that I have some broth that is already pre-measured and I can easily take out a cup to use in a recipe when needed.

Description of Heritage Cooking Cookbook with picture of book cover with sliced loaf of bread and link to learn more.
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Bowl full of homemade chicken broth
Another great homemade broth recipe to try:
Slow Cooker Bone Broth by Our Small Hours


This post is linked to Sunday School at Butter Believer and Hearth and Soul at Elsa Cooks.

(We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to and affiliated sites.)

The information in this post is not to be taken as medical advice and is not intended to diagnose or treat any disease.

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Brenda Mead

Saturday 25th of March 2017

This is the best and simplest recipe for broth. I made some using wild rabbit as well and it is perfect. Thank you for sharing.

Denise M. Baran-Unland

Tuesday 29th of November 2016

I love old recipes and the photo sold me. I'm going to try this one. :)


Tuesday 29th of November 2016

I hope it turns out well for you! :)


Wednesday 3rd of February 2016

Hi Lori I am wondering if this broth is something I could pressure can :)


Wednesday 3rd of February 2016

Hi Nadine, I've never actually tried it before myself, but the Ball mason jar website has a recipe for making chicken broth and canning it, so it looks like it can be done :) Here's the link for the Ball instructions for canning:

The Old-Fashioned Dinner Habit that Can Help You Sleep Better | Our Heritage of Health

Thursday 31st of October 2013

[…] The solution for those times when you still want to have meat for supper is to eat foods rich in gelatin, such as homemade jello or fruit snacks or homemade chicken broth. […]


Tuesday 29th of May 2012

I definitely need to get this book. This is exactly the kind of recipes I love making. Thanks so much for stopping by Hearth and Soul! I will be featuring your recipe on my blog tomorrow.

Lori Elliott

Tuesday 29th of May 2012

Yeah, this book is a great primary source for information about old-fashioned cooking recipes and methods. Thanks so much for featuring my recipe on your blog!

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