Bone Broth (How to Make Beef Bone Broth)

5 from 16 votes
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How to make beef bone broth (beef stock) by simmering bones with aromatic vegetables, herbs, and spices. It’s rich, silky, flavorful, and loaded with collagen, vitamins, and minerals – for soups, stews, sauces, or sipping on as an elixir!

A ladleful of homemade bone broth

From the day I first made homemade beef broth, which quickly turned into making large quantities of homemade bone broth, I haven’t looked back (or touched a store-bought version again). Not only is making beef bone broth simple (though admittedly fairly time-consuming), but the results are far superior.

It’s got a richer mouthfeel and better flavor, is easy to adjust (including the sodium levels), there are no preservatives, and it’s a genuinely frugal recipe – using bones and other scraps that might otherwise go to waste.

Better still, depending on your desired time and effort levels, you can prepare homemade bone broth using several cooking methods. Plus, while you can use it as a delicious cooking liquid in soups and stews, this collagen beef stock doubles up as a restorative elixir, popular to sip on and take advantage of the nutrient-dense liquid.

You might also enjoy these recipes for vegetable stock, chicken broth, chicken stock, and vegetable bouillon cubes/powder!

What Is Bone Broth?

There’s a bit of confusion over several terms used to describe similar products.

Four jars with homemade bone broth

Beef Bone Broth vs Beef Broth vs Beef Stock

Beef broth: Made with an emphasis on beef meat rather than bones, often with vegetables and herbs for more flavor. It’s simmered for just 1 ½-2 hours for a light, aromatic broth, perfect for cooking grains, adding to soups, or even sipping on as-is.

Beef Stock: Is meatier than broth and focuses more on bones rather than meat (or a combination of both), and slow simmers for several hours.

Beef bone broth: This is essentially the same thing as beef stock but simmered for even longer. It’s made with beef bones, focusing on marrow and collagen-rich bones, and connective tissue to create a super gelatinous, collagen-rich broth. The liquid is thick, silky, and packed with flavor, collagen (protein), and micronutrients. It’s also usually only lightly salted or left salt-free.

Long story short: Beef bone broth and beef stock are the same, though bone broth may simmer longer.

What Does Bone Broth Taste Like?

Regular bone broths on the market (which often contain no extra veggies, herbs, or salt) can taste very lackluster/neutral and feel oily, silky, and thick on your tongue. With the addition of various aromatic and herbs, this DIY bone broth tastes more similar to a subtle beef broth but thicker.

Bone broth turned into belly in a jar

Beef Bone Broth Benefits

Since it started becoming popular as a potential restorative elixir, I’ve been seeing the benefits of drinking beef bone broth everywhere. Using bones with meat, fat, and marrow infuses the liquid with collagen, amino acids, protein, essential fatty acids, vitamins, and minerals. So, what is bone broth good for?

  • Many drink bone broth for gut health, including issues with leaky gut.
  • May aid in digestion.
  • Healthy joints and bones.
  • Supporting muscle tissue creation and repair.
  • Supporting immune function.
  • Beneficial for inflammatory diseases.
  • Collagen may be beneficial for skin health.
  • It may improve sleep quality.

Plus, since bone broth doesn’t contain solids, starch, or sugar, you can drink this keto stock even while fasting.

Head over to Healthline to read more about the health benefits of bone broth.

Beef Bone Broth Ingredients

The best bone broth recipe requires just a few simple, inexpensive ingredients as listed here.

  • Beef Bones: It’s best to use a combination of grass-fed beef bones (to avoid hormones and antibiotics) and, optionally, some beef meat scraps. Read below for the best options.
  • Vegetables: I used a typical cooking base to flavor the bone broth collagen elixir. This includes carrots, onion, and celery. I use fresh veggies for a cleaner taste, but feel free to use scraps instead or alongside them.
  • Herbs/Spices: To add extra complex flavor levels for the best beef stock, I use:
    • Ginger,
    • Garlic,
    • A bay leaf,
    • Cinnamon (optional),
    • Black pepper,
    • Sea salt (optional – can add to taste or omit entirely).
  • Vinegar: Adding a small amount of acid like apple cider vinegar, regular vinegar, or lemon juice is meant to help extract more nutrients from the beef bones.
  • Water: You’ll need water for two steps of this beef bone broth recipe.
Ingredients for bone broth

Best Bones for Beef Bone Broth

The best bones for bone broth are the ones that provide the most collagen and connective tissue: beef joints, knuckles, marrow bones (use sparingly to avoid overly greasy stock), neck bones, femur, etc.

For more flavor, also use meaty bones: shank, oxtail, and short ribs.

How to Make Beef Bone Broth

There are several ways you can go about making homemade bone broth. The most traditional option is this stove method.

How To Blanch Beef Bones

Transfer the bones to a large, heavy-based pot/Dutch oven and cover them with water. Then bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, drain the liquid, and rinse the pot.

Steps for boiling beef bones

Why blanch bones for beef stock? This will help remove impurities from the bones, including coagulated protein and blood, and improve the stock’s flavor and clarity.

For more flavor, now roast the bones (drizzle with olive oil) on a roasting pan in the oven at 400ºF/200ºC for 40-60 minutes (optionally with the veggies), flipping halfway, until browned. Add a little water to the pan to de-glaze the brown bits, and add it to the stock pan.

Meanwhile, prepare the vegetables. Peel and halve the onion and roughly chop the garlic and ginger. Roughly chop the carrot and celery into 2-inch pieces.

Chopped vegetables to add to bone broth

Simmer the Stock

In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, add all the ingredients for beef bone broth. Pour enough water until the bones are only just covered (I used 12 cups).

Cover with a lid, then bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. Immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook for 8-12 hours. During this process, keep the lid slightly ajar and occasionally skim the foamy scum/fat from the top of the liquid. Add more water, if needed, to ensure the solids remain submerged.

Steps for making beef bone broth

The time it takes to release all the nutrients from the bones will depend on your bone type. You can continue to simmer it for up to 36 hours.

To use any leftover vegetable solids, remove them after a maximum of 1 ½-2 hours simmering.

Finally, strain the beef stock through a fine-mesh strainer, add salt (if using), and allow it to cool slightly. Placing the bowl of bone broth in an ice bath will help to speed up the cooling and avoid bacteria growth. Then transfer the liquid to mason jars/airtight containers.

Draining bones from bone broth

Check the Recipe Card below for other cooking methods – slow cooker, instant pot, oven.

How to Store Beef Bone Broth

First up, how long does bone broth last in the fridge? When stored in airtight jars/containers, it should last 5-7 days.

When chilled, it will become thick, gelatinous, and jello-like in consistency (due to all the collagen). However, it will return to a liquid state when reheated.

You’ll also notice a thin, light layer on top of the homemade beef stock. This fat can be scooped away (to use as cooking fat) or left to help keep bacteria out.

Homemade bone broth poured into four jars

Bone Broth Uses

You can also drink it.

How To Drink Bone Broth

Many people enjoy drinking beef bone broth. It is a warm, soothing liquid. Plus it’s rich in collagen and micronutrients. However, you may wonder how to make bone broth taste better if it’s very plain.

I recommend adding a little salt, a splash of something acidic like lemon juice, and some fresh herbs like parsley for a simple but delicious beef bone broth soup recipe. You could also make it creamy with a little coconut milk, add some hot sauce for spice, or make the flavor more familiar by adding some regular beef broth/beef base.

Homemade bone broth in a jar

FAQs

Does bone broth have collagen?

Yes, it is a rich source of collagen.

How long to simmer bone broth?

If you want a meaty beef stock, use a combination of beef and bone. Remove the meat when it’s cooked (at around 2 hours), then continue to simmer for about 4 hours for a light gelatinous result, or up to 24 hours (or even 48 hours) for a more concentrated, gelatinous bone broth.

Should beef bones be roasted before making bone broth?

In terms of flavor and color, cooked bones yield a richer stock thanks to the caramelized flavor and can help with collagen release from the bones. However, it can reduce the nutritional value and isn’t technically a “needed” step.

Tips and Notes

  • Where to get bones: You can keep a bag in the freezer to store collected bones/beef trimmings from your cooking. Local butchers and local farms you can order from may also supply low-cost or free bones. Plus, Asian and Mexican stores may stock some.
  • Experiment: Try roasting the bones and the veggies, and use a different selection of veggies, herbs, seasonings, etc., to find your desired flavor profile.
  • Don’t use too much water: You need just enough to cover the bones.
  • To avoid cloudy beef stock: Ensure you boil the bones first, then ensure the simmering stock never boils, removing any scum from the surface.

More Beef Recipes

If you try this healthy bone broth recipe (beef stock), let me know how it goes in the comments below. I’d appreciate a recipe card rating and would love to see your recipe recreations – tag me on Instagram @Alphafoodie!

Bone Broth (How to Make Beef Bone Broth)

5 from 16 votes
By: Samira
How to make beef bone broth (beef stock) by simmering bones with aromatic vegetables, herbs, and spices. It’s rich, silky, flavorful, and loaded with collagen, vitamins, and minerals – for soups, stews, sauces, or sipping on as an elixir!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 8 hours 30 minutes
Servings: 6 cups

Ingredients 
 

  • 10 lb beef bones use grass-fed beef collagen-rich bones and connective tissue – femur bones, oxtail, short ribs, neck bones, and knucklebones
  • 12 cups water plus more for the first boil
  • 2 carrots large
  • 1 onion large
  • 1 head garlic
  • 1 knob ginger optional
  • 2 stalks celery
  • 1 bay leaf large
  • 1/4 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 2 sticks cinnamon small, optional
  • 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar or regular vinegar
  • 1 tsp salt optional

Instructions 

Step 1: Blanch the Beef Bones

  • Transfer the bones to a large, heavy-based pot/Dutch oven and cover them with water. Bring to a boil over high heat. Simmer for 15-20 minutes.
    Drain the liquid and rinse the pot.
    For more flavor, you can now roast the bones (drizzle with olive oil) on a roasting pan in the oven at 400ºF/200ºC for 40-60 minutes (optionally with the veggies), flipping halfway, until browned. Add a little water to the pan to de-glaze the brown bits, and add it to the stock pan.
  • Prepare the vegetables. Peel and halve the onion and roughly chop the garlic and ginger. Roughly chop the carrot and celery into 2-inch pieces.

Simmer the Stock

  • In a large, heavy-bottomed stockpot, add all the ingredients and pour enough water until the bones are only just covered (I used 12 cups).
  • Cover with a lid, then bring the mixture to a gentle boil over medium-high heat.
    Immediately reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, and cook for 8-12 hours. During this process, keep the lid slightly ajar and occasionally skim the foamy scum/fat from the top of the liquid. Add more water, if needed, to ensure the solids remain submerged.
    The time it takes to release all the nutrients from the bones will depend on your bone type. You can continue to simmer it for up to 48 hours in total.
    To use any leftover vegetable solids, remove them after a maximum of 1 ½-2 hours simmering.
  • Strain the beef stock through a fine-mesh strainer and add salt (if using).
    Allow it to cool slightly – placing the bowl of bone broth in an ice bath will help to speed up the cooling and avoid bacteria growth.
    Then transfer it to mason jars/airtight containers.

Slow Cooker Beef Bone Broth

  • Blanch (and optionally roast) the beef bones, then add all the ingredients to the crockpot and cook on LOW for 12-16 hours (up to 36 hours total) with the lid slightly ajar, adding additional water as needed to keep the bones covered. Then strain it.
    Remove the vegetables/herbs after 8 hours if you wish to use them elsewhere.

Instant Pot Beef Stock/Bone Broth

  • Add all the ingredients (making sure to only fill to the 2/3 full MAX line in the pot), select the Soup/Broth setting, and set the timer for 2 hours (120 minutes) for a gelatinous bone broth. Allow it to natural release, then strain.

Oven Baked Beef Stock

  • Blanch the bones (and optionally roast them). Then transfer them to a large Dutch oven along with the remaining ingredients and place them in a preheated oven at 200ºF/95ºC for between 8-12 hours.

Storage Instructions

  • When stored in airtight jars/containers, it should last 5-7 days in the fridge . When chilled, it will become thick, gelatinous, and jello-like in consistency (due to all the collagen). However, it will return to a liquid state when reheated.
    To freeze: There are several ways to successfully freeze beef stock. First, remove any excess fat, then freeze it either in Ziplock bags, Ice cube trays, or Jars (leave at least 1 inch of headspace) for up to 4 months (label the jars/Ziplocks to avoid waste).
    To use, allow it to thaw in the refrigerator overnight, use the microwave defrost setting, or add cubes directly to cooking dishes.

Video

Notes

What are the best bones for beef bone broth? These are bones that provide the most collagen and connective tissue: beef joints, knuckles, marrow bones (use sparingly to avoid overly greasy stock), neck bones, femur, etc.
For more flavor, also use meaty bones: shank, oxtail, and short ribs.
What else could I add to the stock? There are several ways to add more flavor:
  • Herbs/Spices: Parsley, thyme, rosemary, oregano, coriander seeds, star anise, etc.
  • Other vegetables: Scallion greens, leeks, tomato, mushrooms, etc.
  • Umami: you can enhance the umami flavor with dried mushrooms, seaweed, miso paste, soy sauce, or tomato sauce.
  • Bouillon powder: Some like giving the beef stock a head start with a small amount of beef bouillon/beef base. However, this will add sodium, too.
More tips and notes:
  • Where to get bones? You can keep a bag in the freezer to store collected bones/beef trimmings from your cooking. Local butchers and local farms you can order from may also supply low-cost or free bones. Plus, Asian and Mexican stores may stock some.
  • Don’t use too much water: You need just enough to cover the bones.
  • Don’t stir the broth. There’s no need, and stirring will yield a cloudier stock.
  • Experiment: Try roasting the bones, and roasting the veggies, use a different selection of veggies, herbs, seasonings, etc., to find your desired flavor profile.
  • To avoid cloudy beef stock: Ensure you boil the bones first, then ensure the simmering stock never boils, removing any scum from the surface.
  • To reduce the beef stock: After straining the solids from the stock, return it to the pan and simmer, with the lid off, until it reduces/concentrates to your desired level (I usually halve it). When using the beef stock concentrate, you can add the water back.
  • Reuse the bones: If they aren’t yet falling apart, no need to discard them. You can reuse them for a second batch of broth (combined with new bones).
Check the blog post for serving recommendations and answers to top FAQs!
Course: Appetizer, DIYs, Drinks
Cuisine: American, Global
Freezer friendly: 4-6 Months
Shelf life: 5-7 Days

Nutrition

Serving: 1cup, Calories: 29kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 1g, Fat: 0.1g, Saturated Fat: 0.03g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.05g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Sodium: 444mg, Potassium: 155mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 3463IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 52mg, Iron: 0.3mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

5 from 16 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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6 Comments

  1. Bonnie Parker says:

    love it!
    for gut and skin health when is the best time to consume? it kinda greasy is that from the marrow bone. is this E2M and keto friendly? how often should you drink a cup?
    Thank You!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Hi Bonnie,
      It is both E2M and keto-friendly. You can consume it in the morning or between meals – 1-2 cups per day but it’s best to drink as much or as little as you feel comfortable with.

  2. Bulk Collagen says:

    5 stars
    Making beef bone broth is a game-changer! By simmering bones with aromatic vegetables, herbs, and spices, you create a rich, silky, and flavorful elixir loaded with collagen, vitamins, and minerals. Once you taste the homemade bone broth, you’ll never go back to store-bought versions. It’s easy to adjust to your preferences, preservative-free, and a budget-friendly recipe that utilizes leftovers that might otherwise go to waste. The versatility of this collagen beef stock is impressive, as it serves as both a cooking liquid for soups and stews and a nourishing elixir to sip on. For detailed instructions and more health-related tips, check out Gembrahealth.com. Cheers to homemade bone broth and its amazing benefits!

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you for your comment!

  3. Florida Welle says:

    5 stars
    Best Description, easy to follow recipe, very detailed additional information (why, how)! I cooking bones for many years and will follow this recipe. Our Grandson, thinks
    I am doing the best rice dishes, yes, I am using bone broth or chicken/turkey broth.
    Thank you

    1. Support @ Alphafoodie says:

      Thank you so much for your comment. So happy to hear you are enjoying the recipe!