A large portion of your disposable income is spent on food. No matter if you eat at home exclusively or enjoy dining out, food costs money. Your food budget is also one of the easiest areas to save money when you get intentional. That’s why I love cheap & easy food. Learning how to make bone broth is a frugal option.
In the spirit of full disclosure, my sister prepared these recipes & took the photos. She’s also the one who introduced me to the Instant Pot (and air fryer). When cooking for her 3 busy kids, she makes an effort to:
(1) save money
(2) prepare quick & easy meals
(3) steer the kids away from their preferred diets of candy toward something with a little nutritional value.
Those are huge factors in my meal-planning process as well, so we often swap recipes and sales tips.
Since this isn’t a cooking blog, I’m not going to actually list any recipes here. Instead, this is a discussion of how cheap & easy Instant Pot bone broth is.
Why is the Instant Pot great for bone broth?
First, why is the Instant Pot great, in general? Because it’s a hands-off way to cook quickly.
There is an up-front investment of at least $100 (unless you find a great sale), but the convenience is definitely worth it for my family. You can also purchase other add-ons, like an egg basket, a steamer basket, a lid to make the Instant Pot into an air fryer… but you don’t need all of that.
One important thing to remember is that the Instant Pot needs to get up to pressure before the actual cooking begins. For large amounts of liquid, like soup or stew, that can take 20 minutes. That does make it harder to time everything for your dinnertime.
The Instant Pot is so nice for making this recipe because it cuts the cooking time from 12 hours to 45-180 minutes. You don’t have to keep an eye on a pot that is simmering on the stove for hours & hours.
Some people are scared of the pressure aspect of the Instant Pot, but they have tons of safety features. As long as you’re careful & follow the “rules,” you’ll be fine. You can’t even open the lid while it’s pressurized.
The worst part is opening the valve to release the pressure. I usually fold a kitchen towel into quarters & use that to open the valve. It dissipates the steam & is quieter.
Why is bone broth good for you?
I always assumed bone broth was basically the same as the canned option you can buy from the store. Turns out, it’s not… bone broth is actually really good for you.
The process of cooking bone broth releases all the nutrients from the ingredients used. Animal bones contain calcium, magnesium, and other minerals, as well as collagen.
The gelatin that is extracted from the bones during cooking is beneficial to gut health. It seems like you’re always hearing about the importance of gut health, but this is a cheap way to boost it.
Plus it’s cheap & easy
In addition to being easy (set it & forget it in the Instant Pot), bone broth is super cheap to prepare. It can be made from scraps, basically, so there’s almost no cost to making this nutritious liquid.
Even at Walmart, organic bone broth is over 8 cents an ounce. That’s still pretty affordable, but using food scraps & water to make something even healthier is a definite win.
Make sure to incorporate your bone-broth-making plans into your meal plan as much as you can. For example, roast a whole chicken on Thursday. On Friday, use the remaining chicken on a chicken and spinach salad. On Saturday, make bone broth from the carcass. For Sunday’s dinner, make
Ingredients for bone broth
Bone broth is the easiest thing to make. You just need:
- A chicken carcass or beef bones
- Vegetables, such as onion, garlic, celery, and carrots
- Spices and seasonings
- Apple cider vinegar
Seriously, that’s it.
You can play around with the vegetables and seasonings, depending on what you have in the house. I like to throw the leftover bits of vegetables into a gallon-size baggie that lives in the freezer. Once that bag is full and I have the bones needed, it’s time to make get cooking.
How to make bone broth in the Instant Pot
- Put everything except water in the Instant Pot
- Fill with at least enough water to cover the ingredients (for a thicker broth). Add more water to thin it out. It’s important to leave at least an inch of headspace between the waterline and the max fill line.
- Set your Instant Pot to manual & select the appropriate length of time.
- 2-3 hours will produce bone broth
- 45 minutes will produce stock
- After the cook time has ended, allow the Instant Pot to naturally release for 30 minutes
- After that time, carefully vent the Instant Pot to finish releasing the pressure.
- Strain the contents of the Instant Pot into a large bowl.
- Allow the liquid to cool before storing.
For a more in-depth walk-through of the bone broth-making process, see How to Make Instant Pot Bone Broth from Kristine’s Kitchen. She also helpfully explains the difference between bone broth & stock (who knew there was a difference?!).
How to use bone broth
The simplest way to use bone broth is to warm it up & drink it from a mug. You will get all of the health benefits with minimal effort.
If you want to make real food, you can use bone broth anywhere you’d use stock or canned broth. When making a broth-based soup, you’ll save a couple of dollars at least by using homemade bone broth.
One healthy option is Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup from The Girl Who Ate Everything. The bone broth adds a great flavor to the whole soup and increases the nutrition content.
You can also use bone broth as the liquid for cooking quinoa and rice, or as an ingredient in sauces.
How to store bone broth
Bone broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Make sure it cools to room temperature before refrigerating. A mason jar is a convenient way to store the liquid you’ll use soon.
The easiest long-term storage method for bone broth is freezing. You can freeze the cooled liquid in larger, 1 or 2 cup containers. You can use a glass jar (and risk cracking), plastic containers, or ziplock bags. Bigger quantities are great when you mostly make soups.
If you want to use smaller quantities, for everyday cooking, freeze the broth in smaller amounts. You can use an ice cube tray or silicone mold, like Nom Nom Paleo recommends.