Chicken stock, one of the building blocks of good cooking, is a snap to make in the pressure cooker. After only two hours, you're rewarded with a rich, flavorful broth that tastes like it simmered all day.
Selecting the Chicken
For chicken stock, you need about three pounds of bone-in chicken. There's always a lot discussion about what makes the best chicken stock. In my opinion, any bone-in chicken works just fine. (Heck, in a pinch you can even use the carcass from a rotisserie chicken.)
For times I want to make stock but don't have any chicken on hand, I do one of two things.
- First, I check with my local butcher. They often have "soup chicken" bones, usually backs and necks, available for a great price.
- If they don't have any bones for sale, I pick up a package of chicken wings or bone-in chicken thighs or breasts. The bone-in breasts are the most expensive option, but tey tend to make the most flavorful broth.
If you are using the carcass from a roasted chicken, consider supplementing with a few pieces of raw chicken. The stock made from a roasted chicken carcass can sometimes taste a little lighter than stock made from raw chicken, especially if you've removed most of the meat from the carcass.
Less Vegetables = Better-Tasting Stock
The pressure cooker has a way of intensifying flavors. The first time I made chicken stock in the pressure cooker, I followed my tried-and-true stovetop recipe. The resulting stock tasted so strongly of onion that it was almost unusable. For a stock, this means using very little vegetables. I recommend half a small onion, half a large carrot, and half a celery. That's it.
In fact, you don't need to flavor the stock at all. Sometimes I simply combine the chicken bones and water and cook. Then when I use the stock later, I flavor it however the recipe dictates.
Filling the Pot
You'll notice that this recipe calls for you to fill the pot to the 10-cup line inside the pot, but does not specify how much water that will require. That's because each batch of bones takes up a different amount of space in the pot. It's important not to fill the pot above the 10-cup line because the chicken releases liquid as it cooks and you don't want your pressure cooker overfilled.
After the cooking cycle completes, allow the pressure cooker to release pressure naturally. This takes about 30 minutes. Open the pot and skim any foam or debris from the top of the stock. Then set a colander into a large pot. Strain the stock, discarding the meat, bones, and vegetables. If you like a very clear stock, go ahead and strain it again through a fine-mesh strainer.
Pro tip: I don't like to use a fine-mesh strainer for the first straining because the large pieces of vegetables and meat tend to clog it and make it hard to clean.
Once you've strained the stock, cool it. I recommend filling your sink with a few inches of water and setting the pot of warm stock in the sink. Then carefully place ice into the sink, around the pot. Stir the stock every 20 minutes or so until it reaches 40 degrees. Once it's cooled, place into containers and refrigerate for up to three days or freeze for up to four months.
How To Make Chicken Stock in an Electric Pressure Cooker
What You Need
3 pounds bone-in chicken (backs, wings, thighs, or chicken breast) or one cooked rotisserie carcasss
1/2 small onion, peeled
1/2 carrot, trimmed and peeled (about 5 inches)
1/2 celery stalk, trimmed (about 5 inches)
Electric pressure cooker
- Place all ingredients into the pot: Place chicken, onion, carrot, and celery into the pot of an electric pressure cooker.
- Cover with water: Fill pot with cool water to reach the 10-cup mark. Do not fill above the 10-cup line.
- Pressure cook the stock: Cover and lock on the lid. Pressure-cook for 120 minutes at high pressure.
Natural release: Allow pressure cooker to release pressure naturally. This takes about 30 minutes. Do not do a quick release, or hot stock may spurt out of the valve. It's fine if your pressure cooker turns to the "keep warm" setting. This will not affect the time it takes to release pressure.
- Strain and cool stock: Place a colander into a large pot. Strain stock, discarding bones and vegetables. Strain stock again through a fine-mesh strainer if desired. Salt stock to taste, if desired. Fill sink with 3 inches of water. Place pot into the sink. Add ice to the sink, taking care not to get any ice into the stock. Stir stock every 20 minutes until it reaches 40°F. Transfer the stock to two quart containers. Refrigerate for up to three days or freeze up to four months.