What To Do With Leftover Chicken Carcass

November 2, 2007 19 Comments

Simple Roasted Chicken Soup Recipe

Don’t Throw Out That Roasted Chicken Carcass

Question: When you roast a whole chicken for dinner or buy a rotisserie chicken at the market, what do you do with the carcass after cutting most of the meat off?

I bet many of you just toss it. I often do but last night I again realized what a mistake this is. Instead use it to make a simple chicken broth you can use to make a quick and easy chicken soup. It cannot be easier and the flavor is so much better than anything you can buy in a can.

I’m not talking about making a classic chicken stock that does take time to do properly. I’m talking about covering the chicken with water in a large saucepan or small soup pot and let it simmer for an hour or more with the lid mostly on.

You can remove most of the already cooked meat and just simmer the carcass or leave whatever meat is on the bird and remove it after you are done. Whatever is easier for you.

Last night, I let the carcass simmer for about a 1½ hours while I helped the kids with their homework and worked out. When it was done and the liquid had plenty of flavor, I removed the carcass and any remaining bones from the liquid and added some chopped carrots and celery.

While the carrots and celery were cooking, I removed most of the edible meat from the bones and reserved it until the carrots and celery were tender but still a little crunchy. I could have added leeks or fennel or broccoli but this was for my oldest daughter and me and this is what she wanted. You can add whatever you like or want to clean out of the refrigerator. It’s going to be good.

When the vegetables were done, I added the reserved chicken meat and some store bought cheese tortellinis that I just cooked for my younger daughter who doesn’t like chicken soup. I could have added cooked pasta; egg noodles or even cooked the pasta in the chicken broth. It could not be easier. This is a classic shortcut meal.

This simple chicken soup was incredibly flavorful. So much better than any commercial soup you can find. The flavors are fresh and clean without all the salt and artificial flavorings.

And to think, I almost threw out that carcass.

Last modified on Mon 6 January 2014 8:18 pm

Comments (19)

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  1. Janie in Bakersfield. CA says:

    WOW! I was just surfing around tonight looking for ideas, and for some reason I found this recipe. Great idea and thanks!!

  2. Tracy W says:

    I do this all the time! In fact, I let mine simmer over a couple days, after adding all kinds of “stuff” from leftovers to dinner scraps. I also purposely purchase roasting chickens much larger than I actually need and plan about 4 meals out of one roasting event!

    Love your site – actually gave it a shout out on my blog: http://whitneygang.blogspot.com. Got your site address from Sue S at CHOP – I’m Todd’s wife. I’ve had a blast going through the archives for recipes and tips.

    Keep up the great work!

  3. Den Small says:

    Indeed, it is amazing how much mileage one can get out of a chicken– and like you said, it’s very easy to do! I’m making chicken soup right now from last night’s chicken roast leftovers– I’ll be using winter veggies for my soup ( parsnips, potatoes, carrots, turnips, celery, etc. ) tonite. Wet and chilly out… a great night for some homemade soup by the fireplace!

  4. Darla says:

    Will be trying this tomorrow night, going to simmer the carcass today…

  5. Jeanne McLaughlin says:

    Try this guerrilla tactic: After your roast-chicken meal, drop remaining carcass and meat scraps into your crockpot. Throw in a small onion if you like, add water to an inch of the brim, and run the appliance on low overnight.

    After breakfast next day, pour everything through a colander, catching the broth below in a second pot. Discard spent meat and bone.

    This technique almost effortlessly produces a quart or more of rich chicken broth, ready for seasoning.

    Tip: To avoid cooking fumes, I like to conduct this operation outdoors, setting the crockpot under the hood of my barbecue grill.

  6. Paula says:

    i love Chicken Soup it is so yummy.

  7. Susan says:

    i love to eat Chicken Soup, my mom used always serve that dish with me specially when i am sick during my childhood days.

  8. Kent says:

    Chicken Soup is one of my favorite dishes of all time. it is very tasty and the ingredients are very available. sometimes i put a dash of chili over my chicken soup because i like it spicy hot.

  9. Anne says:

    Thanks for your recipe! It was my first time making chicken noodle soup and it turned out fabulous. Although I actually started with cornish game hen carcasses…

    I threw in roughly chopped onion, celery, carrot and some pepper corns into the initial carcass broth. This might not make a difference though, since I added onion, celery, carrot, thyme AFTER straining…

    Hi Ann, Game Hen Noodle Soup …. I like it. Thanks for posting. – RG

  10. Di says:

    Great idea. Frugal, too. Stretching those dollars is more important than ever.

    You can say that again. – RG

  11. Lynzi says:

    Chicken Soup is THE comfort food for most of us. I love making it and add thawed chopped green chili peppers. Sometime I also add 2 tsp. corn starch with 1/2 cup 1/2/&1/2 and 1/2 cup cream. To either of these changes, I add about 2 tsp. of ground Comino (Cumin). These soups on a chilly evening are like wrapping up in a soft, warm, blanket. Hope you try them and enjoy!
    Lynzi

    Hi Lynzi, thanks for your ideas, sounds delicious – RG

  12. Morgan says:

    Thanks! My kiddos are still recovering from a nasty stomach bug and yet clamoring for something more substantial than toast or oyster crackers. Used my leftover rotisserie chicken to make a simple broth and added some rice. They are loving it!

    Hey Morgan, you are welcome and sorry to hear your kids were not feeling well. That stomach bug was everywhere this season. I can’t tell you how many people I know came down with it and passed it through their entire family. Thanks for the report. – RG

  13. Susan says:

    I have been making this for some years now. The flavor is incredible. I use thyme flakes, salt and pepper to taste. I serve it with a fluffy homemade biscuit dropped in the center of the bowl. It is awesome! You can takes little bites of the biscuit as you eat the soup and it is like eating chicken pot pie.

    Hi Susan, I love the biscuit suggestion. I can’t wait to try it. Thanks for sharing. – RG

  14. sanjay mehra says:

    When you cook stock, put a little salt in it. It helps it to stay for many weeks without going bad.

  15. Coupe says:

    Hi all!
    I tend to throw the carcass away too but since reading this article i’ve been able to make good use out of it! I also love to make Streaky Smoked Bacon and Spicy Tomato soup. It’s inexpensive and very easy to make. Also,i always buy a French Stick,cut it up and add butter,great when dipped into soup! This is a great site,keep up the good work from Scotland!

  16. Beth says:

    I am trying this right now! I also didn’t know what to do with some tortellini I had in my freezer. Thank s.

  17. debbie says:

    im very much thankful to God that i found this site,, this ‘s a big help for my catering services… thank you so much…. More power and God bless….

  18. Rhonda says:

    Question. After finishing off a rotisserie chicken two days ago, I put the carcass along with a little meat into the freezer, because it seemed a shame to throw it away, and I wanted to look for “things to do with a chicken carcass.” Seeing your idea and loving it, will it be okay for me to thaw the chicken carcass in the the refrigerator and then use it to make the broth?

    Hi Rhonda, I don’t see why not, I do it all the time but if you are worried about some health issue, I’m not a food scientist so you many want to reach out to someone who is. I might also suggest you try going right from the freezer to a pot of water to make your broth. You are going to bring it to a boil and then simmer it for a while so it should be fine. Let me know how it works out for you. – RG

  19. Victoria says:

    Im making my 1st batch of Chicken soup using your recipe as my guide. Thanks so much for posting it. :)

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