How To Freeze Chicken Broth || Storing Homemade Broth

Homemade chicken broth is a flavorful liquid staple that can be used in many different ways in the kitchen. It has a savory flavor profile that enhances a wide variety of dishes.

Chicken broth in jars and an ice cube tray

Basically, this nutrient dense food is liquid gold! And having it on hand, at all times, in your freezer is a great idea.

Making a batch of broth is easy to do. It doesn’t take much effort or hands on time. But it does require a notable length of cooking time. To make good broth, you have to let it simmer on the stove for about 6 hours.

Therefore, it makes perfect sense to cook large batches of it at a time. You can then store them for future use, very easily, by freezing them. It’s a simple method and it works really well.

This storage method makes it easy to quickly put up leftover broth as well. So, the next time you make a batch of chicken soup and the family eats all of the solid foods from the pot, leaving the broth behind, you can freeze it and use it to make a tasty sauce at your convenience.

Choosing What Portions To Freeze Chicken Broth In

Before you set out on a making and freezing broth frenzy for the first time, take a few minutes to think about what size portions you want to freeze your broth in.

frozen chicken broth ice cubes with frozen chicken broth in jars

If you plan to use your broth to make soups and stews, you are going to want to freeze it in 4-6 cup batches. But, freezing broth in amounts this large is not the best way to go if you will be using it to make things like pan sauces.

A good pan sauce recipe will probably only call for about a cup of broth. So, if you’ve frozen all of your broth in 4 cup batches, then after you make your pan sauce, you’ll be pressured to use the remaining broth before it spoils.

Additionally, if you plan to use your broth to saute a veggie side dish, you are going to want to have it frozen in small amounts. I find that having a variety of portions to choose from in the freezer is a good idea.

Then I can simply grab the amount that I need for whatever I’m making at the time. If you freeze a few different size portions, and find that you use one more than the other, then you will know that you need to freeze most of your broth in that size for later use.

Choosing Containers To Freeze Broth In

There are a variety of containers that you can use to freeze chicken broth. And there are several things to consider when you’re deciding which of them is best for your purposes.

containers to freeze chicken broth in

You can use a plastic storage container designed for food storage. These are not airtight. They will keep your broth in the freezer for a month or so, but at that point there is a pretty prominent risk of freezer burn developing on the broth.

Glass containers that don’t have an airtight lid will produce the same result. Personally, when I use a container to store my broth in, I go for glass jars, such as a mason jar, with a plastic lid.

This works well and it allows me to easily freeze either a 2 cup (pint jar) or a 4 cup (quart jar) portion of broth without measuring it out. It is also very easy to monitor the condition of the broth in a mason jar. They have great visibility.

To freeze smaller portions of chicken broth, you can use muffin tins or ice cube trays. And then transfer the frozen portions to an airtight container or a freezer safe baggie.

Im not a proponent of using plastic in the kitchen. So, a plastic bag is not my favorite choice for storing broth in the freezer. But it does work better than other containers, unless you can find something that is truly airtight.

Freezing Chicken Broth In Different Portions

Once you’ve decided on what size portion you want to freeze your chicken broth in, it’s time to get it in the freezer. Before you put your broth in it’s long term storage container, take a minute to label and date the container.

frozen chicken broth ice cubes on a plate

This is one of those things that always seems unnecessary in the moment. It feels like there’s no way that you’ll not know what’s in that container when you pull it out of the freezer later. After all, you’re the one who packaged it, right?!?!

Well … I can assure you that forgetting what’s in a container, frozen or otherwise, happens quite often. And, besides, you want to know when your broth is coming to the end of it’s life cycle so you can use it up.

So, you need to date it anyway. The whole point of freezing it is to keep from wasting it’s yummy goodness. Don’t drop the ball now. 

Go ahead label and date the container. All you need is a little tape and a waterproof marker. Masking tape works well for this purpose, and it’s inexpensive and easy to remove from the container. If you’re using ziploc freezer bags, you can write directly on the baggie.

When you’re freezing broth for future use in canning jars, be sure that you leave a little head space in the container before you put it in the freezer. The broth will expand as it progresses from room temperature to freezing, and you don’t want it’s expansion to break the container or, more likely, the lid.

The first time I used a jar to store my broth, I put it in the freezer without the lid on it until it was frozen. By doing this, I was certain there was enough space in the jar for the broth to expand.

Now I know about how much it expands, so I no longer have to do that. But if you are freezing in a container for the first time, this is one of the best options for you to avoid having any issues with overexpansion of your broth.

If you are using muffin trays to freeze your broth, you’re going to want to fill the muffin cups on the tray with broth, put the tray in the freezer, and let it freeze completely.

Then remove it from the freezer and pop the broth out of the tray. Using silicone muffin pans makes it very easy to pop the broth out. So, if you have them, use them.

Place the frozen portions of broth in a freezer safe, airtight container and put them back in the fridge. This is where a plastic freezer baggie almost becomes a necessary evil. It is probably the best way to go for this storage method.

It is not a great option for the environment, but it works better than any other way I’ve found. I simply use the bag for as long as I possibly can. It lasts through many batches of broth.

Finally, if you’re using an ice cube tray to turn your tasty, homemade broth into chicken broth cubes so that you have smaller amounts at your fingertips in the kitchen, follow the same procedure that you would when using a muffin tray.

Any of these different methods will serve you very well.

How Long Will Broth Last In The Freezer?

Chicken broth can be successfully stored in the freezer for up to 6 months. It’s actual shelf life will be determined by two different factors. The most prominent factor being exposure to air.

two mason jars full of homemade chicken broth

If there is no air seeping into the container that the broth is stored in, it will last longer in the freezer. Lack of exposure to air will also prevent the broth from developing freezer burn.

The other factor that contributes to lifespan of frozen broth is power outages. That is out of your control, and unless you live in an area where it happens often, it really is just an unfortunate circumstance.

If you live in an area where power outages are common, you have likely already taken back up measures to deal with that issue.

The fact is, frozen food doesn’t generally ever become unsafe to eat if it maintains the right temperature and it is not exposed to air. It is a decline in the taste and texture of the food that is an issue if it is frozen too long. 

If there is no air, and the temperature is maintained, the food will stay safe to eat indefinitely. And it will also retain it’s nutritional value.

However, the point here, is to eat good food that is enjoyable. So, shoot for using up the broth you freeze in 3-6 months time for best results.

How To Thaw Frozen Chicken Broth

To thaw your broth when your ready to use it in the kitchen, you can place it in the refrigerator overnight. This is the preferred method for thawing any food.

overview of a mason jar sitting in a bowl of ice water

If you choose to use this method, be sure to place the broth on a plate or in a bowl so that it doesn’t leave a puddle of water on the refrigerator shelf as it thaws.

If you need to thaw it on the same day you plan to use it, you can place it in a bowl of cold water on the counter to get the job done. Don’t use hot water. It will increase the risk of bacterial growth exponentially.

This is a rule that I strictly follow in my kitchen. If you’ve been around the blog for awhile you know that I can be a bit of a rule breaker when it comes to the best practices recommended by the FDA.

I find many of them overly cautious and prefer to do it the way my ancestors always did. But thawing food in warm water is really not the best way to go. Besides, it thaws more quickly in cold water anyway.

And you can speed the process up a little further by putting some ice cubes in the water. As the cubes thaw the broth will thaw with them.

I know that it doesn’t seem to make sense that cold water works best, but it’s true. It was explained to me once. I definitely don’t remember how it works. But the truth is, I don’t care how it works because I don’t have to know how it works to do it.

And I do it because it works very well every time. I use this method when I want to thaw something quickly. Usually I just set my broth in a clean sink and let it thaw out on it’s own.

This is definitely not recommended by the FDA. And if you’re careless about doing it, and leave the broth sit until it reaches a temperature that puts it in the danger zone for bacterial growth, than it is definitely a problem.

However, any food can be left on the counter for up to 3 hours according to food and safety regulations for restaurants. So, considering your broth is starting off in a frozen state, you should be good for at least 4 hours or so.

It will be thawed in that amount of time sidestepping any bacterial issues. If you’re using small portions of frozen broth in a recipe, like the muffin tray or ice cube portions, it is rarely necessary to thaw them at all.

They will melt down very quickly if you toss them right into the dish you’re making with them. Or you can heat them in a small saucepan if you want to go that route.

How To Use Thawed Broth

Thawed chicken broth is very versatile in the kitchen. It will enhance the flavor of many of your favorite recipes. 

two mason jars with plastic lids full of homemade chicken broth

You can use it to make soups and stews. There is nothing like a steamy, hot dish of chicken soup on a cold winter’s night. Truth be told there is nothing like it on just about any night. It’s good stuff. And chicken stew is no slouch either.

In my opinion, it is a dish that is far too underrated. You can also use thawed broth instead of water when cooking rice, pasta, or other grains. It has a great savory flavor that will shine through in your grains no matter what you use them for.

It is called for in many pan sauce recipes, and it makes a great gravy. It gives any dish that you use it in a nutritional boost. So, the next time a recipe calls for water, consider using thawed chicken broth instead. 

If it seems like a good fit for the flavor profile of the dish you’re making you’re in business. You will find that it works really well in many different casseroles. And it makes the perfect stuffing. Oh my, don’t get me going on stuffing made with homemade chicken broth! So divine! 

A few cubes of broth tossed in the pan when you’re cooking meat or veggies is a great way to curb the use of butter and oil in your kitchen. I am a proponent of the nutritional value that a high quality butter/oil adds to a dish. 

It’s not an ingredient that I am looking for ways to eliminate from my diet. However, there can be too much of it. It’s nice to have a few frozen cubes of broth on hand to keep it all in balance.

Thawed chicken broth is one of those simple ingredients that you really want to have at your fingertips at all times in your kitchen. Make a big batch of broth and get it in the freezer so you can start using it in your kitchen right away. Your taste buds will thank you!

pinnable image for how to freeze chicken broth

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