Bone Broth vs. Chicken Broth: 3 Key Differences & When to Use Each

Bone Broth vs Chicken Broth Differences

Bone Broth vs. Chicken Broth: 3 Key Differences & When to Use Each

You may have first seen bone broth at health food stores, but at least one brand of bone broth is now available at most neighborhood grocery stores. If you’ve noticed bone broth on the shelves, you might have wondered what the difference between bone broth vs. chicken broth is.

The name is a bit misleading since bone broth is technically stock, not broth. Bone broth is made by simmering the animal bones and connective tissues in water. On the other hand, chicken broth is made by simmering raw chicken, herbs, and vegetables in water. To make bone broth, you can use bones from any animal whether it’s a chicken, cow, lamb, or fish.

Let's dive more into each below!

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Bone Broth vs. Chicken Broth: What Is the Difference?

Glass jar with yellow fresh bone broth on dark gray background. Healthy low-calories food is rich in vitamins, collagen and anti-inflammatory amino acids
Compared to chicken broth, bone broth is thicker and has more nutritional benefits.

©Daria Arnautova/Shutterstock.com

The primary difference between bone broth and chicken broth is that bone broth simmers bones and connective tissues while chicken broth is usually made from chicken meat.

Bone broth can use the bones from nearly any animal while chicken broth uses mostly chicken meant, but bones, vegetables, and other seasonings can be added. Both bone and chicken broth are cooked for a long period. However, bone broth is usually cooked for a longer time. Many bone broths simmer for 24 hours or more while chicken broths simmer for a shorter period.

Because bone broth is cooked for longer, it extracts more collagen, minerals, and amino acids which makes it more gelatinous when cooled whereas bone broth is lighter, thinner, and more subtly flavored. While both can add depth of flavor to dishes, bone broth is often consumed on its own for its perceived health benefits.

Chicken broth has more sodium when purchased premade, but you can control how much sodium goes into your broth if you make it at home.

Unlike the name implies, bone broth isn’t actually a broth since it’s made with animal bones. Let’s take a look at the difference between broth and stock.

Is Bone Broth Actually a Broth?

Despite their similar uses, chicken broth and stock aren’t the same thing. While chicken broth is made by simmering the meat of a chicken, chicken stock is made by simmering the bones of a chicken. Chicken stock is thicker than broth and has a more gelatinous texture that comes from the collagen in the bones turning to gelatin when heated.

Considering you make bone broth by simmering the bones of an animal, it's actually a stock, not a broth. Although “bone stock” doesn’t have as much of a ring to it as bone broth.

What Is Bone Broth?

Bone broth is a type of stock made from simmering animal bones and connective tissue for an extended period of time. While you also make stock by simmering animal bones, bone broth cooks for a much longer time. 

To make stock, you simmer animal bones between 1-6 hours, but you would simmer bone broth for closer to 12-48 hours. The collagen in animal bones is released into the liquid during the simmering process, so the longer the bones are cooked, the more nutrients are released.

While bone broth can be used as a base for soups, stews, and sauces, it’s also a healthy and delicious beverage. You can add fresh herbs, lemon, or lime to give it extra flavor.

History of Bone Broth

Bone broth started to become popular in recent years mainly due to the Paleo diet. There’s even a Bone Broth diet, which consists of Paleo meals, intermittent fasting, and plenty of bone broth. 

While bone broth may seem like a recent fad, many claim the idea has been around since the Stone Age. During that time, hunter-gatherers didn’t get rid of any part of the animal. They ate anything they could and used the rest for creating shelter, clothes, or tools. More or less, modern bone broth is just a modern way of making prehistoric food.

Bone broth has also been a staple in Asian countries for thousands of years. This type of stock was used for medicinal purposes and as a way to support digestive health. What has seemed like a new discovery in the American diet has been a known health food in other cultures for over 2,000 years.

What Are the Benefits of Bone Broth?

Compared to stock or chicken broth, bone broth has more nutritional value. Studies have shown bone broth contains nutrients such as protein, amino acids, and other minerals that may lead to many health benefits. Here are some of the benefits of bone broth:

Improved gut health

One study showed that the nutrients and amino acids found in bone broth have an anti-inflammatory effect, especially for those with gastrointestinal diseases. Collagen, the protein found in bone broth that comes from animal bones, has also been shown to help reduce digestive symptoms

Better sleep

One of the nutrients present in bone broth is the amino acid glycine. This amino acid has been used as a therapeutic option to improve sleep outcomes. Glycine works by reducing your body’s temperature, which influences your circadian rhythm, also known as your sleep-wake cycle.


Since bone broth is made by simmering bones and cartilage in water, it naturally has a high water content. Most of our bodies are over 70% water and hydration is essential to survival and overall health. The high water content of bone broth can help hydrate you while providing you with many nutrients.

Chicken stew with potato and carrot in red pot, top view, copy space. Chicken soup with vegetables and herbs. Comfort food recipe.
Chicken broth makes a great base for a variety of soups and stews.

©Nina Firsova/Shutterstock.com

What Is Chicken Broth?

When you’re looking for a comfort meal or you’re feeling under the weather, chicken soup may be the first food you reach for. The best chicken soup starts with homemade chicken broth.

Chicken broth is made by simmering raw chicken, seasoning, and aromatics, which usually include vegetables such as carrots and onions.

Although you can use stock or bone broth to make soup as well, chicken broth is the most common base for many soups and sauces. Chicken broth is usually seasoned ahead of time and has a higher sodium content than stock or bone broth. 

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Can You Substitute Bone Broth for Chicken Broth?

Bone meat chicken broth in a plate. Gray background. Top view. Copy space.
Chicken broth has been known to ease joint pain. Making it a great liquid to drink or eat in a soup.

©Mironov Vladimir/Shutterstock.com

When it comes to using stock or broth in a recipe, you can usually use them interchangeably. Since bone broth is actually a stock, it will be thicker and more jelly-like than chicken broth. When you do use it as a base for soup or sauce, keep in mind how much seasoning the recipe is calling for.

If the recipe called for chicken broth but you use bone broth instead, you may need to use more salt or other seasoning. You’ll also need to consider the consistency of the bone broth or chicken broth. Since chicken broth is thinner than stock or bone broth, a recipe may need more or less liquid depending on the other ingredients.

How to Make Bone Broth

Bone Broth
Bone broth being prepared.

©Brian Yarvin/Shutterstock.com

Bone broth is made by simmering the bones of an animal of your choice. You can use a large pot or Dutch oven to simmer the bones, or you can make bone broth in a slow cooker.

After filling the pot or slow cooker with water, you can add seasoning if you choose, but this is optional. You can add seasoning after the bone broth is finished instead.

Typically, you add something acidic to the bone broth, such as apple cider vinegar or lemon juice. The acidity helps break down the collagen in the bone broth. You would then simmer the bones in the water for at least 10-12 hours although you can simmer them for up to 48 hours.

How to Make Chicken Broth

When you need chicken broth for a recipe, you can purchase pre-made chicken broth in the store. However, the quality of store-bought broth doesn't compare to that of homemade broth.

It’s also beneficial to make chicken broth yourself. With homemade broth, you can control what goes in it and make it without any unnecessary additives or preservatives.

The best way to make chicken broth is to start with raw chicken meat. You can add the meat, any desired vegetables, and seasonings to the water. Then, bring the water to a boil and then simmer it for up to 5 hours.

You do want to remove the chicken after it’s fully cooked around an hour. Removing the chicken will keep the meat from drying out.

Chicken Broth vs. Bone Broth Nutrition: Calories, Fat, and More

Bone Broth vs Chicken Broth Nutrition Comparison
A nutritional comparison of bone broth and chicken broth


Both chicken broth and bone broth are light in calories, but the added time bone broth spends absorbing a more gelatinous quality adds more calories per serving. Beyond just calories, bone broth typically has more protein, fat, and vitamins as well.

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Chicken Broth Recipes

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Roast Pork Tenderloin with Potatoes and Baby Carrots: Sliced pork medallions surrounded with vegetables on a platter

Boneless Pork Medallions in Mushroom Wine Sauce

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  • Author: Moms Who Think
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x



4 boneless pork cutlets (4 ounces each)
1 teaspoon canola oil
1 1/2 pounds sliced fresh mushrooms
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup white wine or reduced-sodium chicken broth
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup water
2 Tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon pepper


1. In a large nonstick frying pan coated with cooking spray, cook the pork in oil over medium heat for 3 to 4 minutes on each side or until no longer pink.

2. Remove and keep warm.

3. Add mushrooms, onion and garlic to the frying pan; cook over medium-high heat for 5 to 8 minutes or until tender.

4. Add wine, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan.

5. Whisk together flour and water until smooth; stir into mushroom mixture.

6. Bring to a boil; cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened.

7. Stir in the parsley, salt and pepper. Serve sauce over pork.


  • Serving Size: 1 cutlet with ¾ cup mushroom sauce
  • Calories: 271
  • Sodium: 381mg
  • Fat: 12g
  • Saturated Fat: 4g
  • Carbohydrates: 12g
  • Fiber: 2g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Cholesterol: 74mg


Infographic showing the differences between bone broth and chicken broth.
Bone broth is often consumed on its own for its health benefits.
  • Bone broth is, expectedly, made from the bones of an animal. Any animal can be used, although chicken is a popular choice. Chicken broth is made from the meat of a chicken.
  • Because it's made with bones and cooked for longer, bone broth has a thicker, more jelly-like consistency than chicken broth.
  • Bone broth generally takes longer to make than chicken broth, so make sure you give yourself enough time to cook it.

Bone broth has become a popular staple in many diets. Due to its rise in popularity, you may have wondered the difference between bone broth and chicken broth. Despite the label of broth, bone broth is technically a stock since it's made with animal bones instead of meat.

Even though chicken broth is a great base for many dishes, bone broth has more nutritional benefits and can be a substitute for chicken broth to add nutrients and protein.

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