Perpetual Bone Broth in the Slow Cooker

Bone broth

When I started eating meat again, one of the foods I was very keen to try was homemade bone broth, since it has so many health benefits. It’s also a great frugal food, as it’s made from bones that you would normally throw away. I store leftover bones and veggie scraps in a ziploc bag in the freezer until I have enough to make a batch.

When I first started making bone broth, I made one batch from each bag of bones and then threw them away. However, recently I discovered that you can keep using the same bones over and over, with more minerals being extracted each time. The slow cooker is perfect for this, since it will keep the broth simmering at a low temperature without the risk of setting your kitchen on fire overnight.

By using a slow cooker, you can make perpetual broth, and just remove a cup or two of broth whenever you need it, replacing it with more filtered water. This means you always have hot broth on hand to eat or use in cooking, plus you end up with a lot more than you would for a single batch. You can keep using the same bones until they begin to crumble and fall apart.

While the subsequent batches of broth won’t be as flavourful, they will still be full of beneficial minerals. You can use this broth as a cooking liquid for beans or rice, where the flavour is not as important. If I am drinking it straight I like to add plenty of salt and some apple cider vinegar.

This recipe is made with whole veggies, but you could also use veggie scraps. Onion tops, carrot tops, wilted celery, anything except veggies from the brassica family (cabbage and broccoli) because they tend to make the stock bitter.


Enough cooked chicken bones to fill the slow cooker half way (I normally use drumstick bones because that’s what I buy, but you could use a whole chicken, or add in some turkey bones).

1 onion, roughly chopped

2 sticks of celery, roughly chopped

1 carrot, roughly chopped

2 tsp dried parsley

2 tsp dried thyme

3 bay leaves

Enough filtered water to fill the slow cooker

Slow cooker bone broth


Place everything in the slow cooker, then fill to the top with filtered water.

Cook on high for one hour, then turn it down to low. Cook for at least 12 hours, then you can start removing some broth to eat/drink. After you’ve removed some, top the slow cooker up again with more filtered water.

Repeat whenever you want to use some broth (you can use it as a soup base, to cook rice in, to add flavour to stews or sauces, or just as a tasty warm drink).

After around 3-5 days, turn off the slow cooker and strain the broth. Store it in the fridge or freezer.

This post was featured in 125+ Gluten-Free Slow Cooker Recipes.

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  1. Last time I made broth, it was just veggies. It wasn’t as flavorful as I had hoped, so I’ll need to add more spices when I use it. We don’t get that many bones around here, but I’ll use them to make some of this hearty broth next time we have them.

  2. That’s intriguing! I’ve never had my Slow Cooker on for such a long stretch. It appeals in winter, but I will have to check the running costs first. Thanks for the recipe, that’s a great thing to know how to do. I think I’d freeze small batches of it to use later as a soup base, to re-heat for a winter Thermos etc.

  3. Is it important when using a whole chicken to remove all the meat and skin after the initial 12 hours? I left skin and meat on the wings and I am concerned that the oil that is now floating to the surface on day 5 has gone bad from being heated too long. Do u think that is possible. On day three I had to remove the top layer since the skin and meat that remained was looking burnt and smelling strong. So.. Do you think the oil that remained in the slow cooker ruined the broth?

    • Thanks for your question Beth. Now that I’ve done a bit more research, I think it’s probably a good idea to skim the oil and remove the meat after the first day. As to whether it ruined the broth, that’s up to you, does it smell/taste okay?


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