Stock Tips: How to Turn All Your Scraps Into Delicious Broth!

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In “Kitchen Confidential,” Anthony Bourdain famously said that stock is one of the biggest differences between restaurant cooking and home cooking. It’s the secret ingredient that adds depth, intensity, and structure to any dish. Don’t take his word for it, though.

  • Why you should make stock: Stock not only brings tremendously concentrated flavor to any dish, it is also the way to turn scraps that might otherwise go to waste into a delicious, versatile, and long-lasting super ingredient.

  • What qualifies as scraps: Stock is a great way to use up excess aromatic vegetables or vegetables that are on their last legs like celery cores, slightly wilted carrots, or that random half an onion that your roommate stashed in the fridge and never finished. Stock is also a great way to use parts of vegetables that you don’t normally cook with, like leek greens, scallion roots, and fennel fronds. We do not recommend using things like onion skins and carrot peels in stock as they don’t add a ton of flavor, but the final call is up to you!

  • Imperfect vegetables that are great in stock: Onions, carrots, celery, garlic, leeks, fennel, mushrooms, thyme, parsley. NOTE: Avoid cruciferous veggies like cabbage or brussels sprouts as they can result in a bitter stock.

  • Other fun ingredients to add: Fresh herbs like thyme and parsley are lovely in stock but be careful of intense/woody herbs like rosemary as they can overpower it. Double concentrated tomato paste adds a nice combo of sweetness, acidity, and savoriness. A parmesan cheese rind (too often thrown out!) in stock adds a wonderful savory flavor. If you’ve got a splash of wine left over, it can be a great way to round out your stock, too.

  • These principles are great, but what about a recipe?

    • To start, try this vegetable stock

    • If you eat meat, try this chicken stock

    • For a “catch all” stock recipe that incorporates a range of scraps, try this one!

    • See how our friends at Food Shift make stock in this fun video!
  • Some tips for making your stock more delicious: Try roasting or sautéeing your vegetables ahead of time to deepen their flavor. If you’re using meat, save the bones/meat scraps from your roast chicken or choose cuts like shanks and oxtails as they are cheaper and make for a more flavorful stock with more body.

  • How to incorporate stock into your routine: Save your veggie and meat scraps in your freezer and once you’ve got enough to make stock, make a big batch on a Sunday. The great thing about stock is once you put it on a simmer, you can start cooking other food, go for a hike, or just chill until it’s done. Once you’ve strained and cooled your stock, label and date it and keep it in the freezer!

  • How to use stock: In addition to being the perfect base for a restorative fall soup, you can use your stock as a braising liquid for meat or vegetables, as a medium for cooking rice or grains, and as the ultimate flavorful punch for your next sauce!


  • Marshall James
    January 29, 2018 at 1:52 am

    Love the encouragement, but I am a complete novice and was hoping this article would have actual instructions on how to make stock. I appreciate the lists of what to use and what not to, but how does one make stock? Off to Google, I suppose.

    • John Zamora
      January 29, 2018 at 8:17 pm

      Hey Marshall! Thanks for reading and for sharing this feedback! We’ll get to work on writing a basic stock recipe as well. You’re absolutely right that we ought to include options for the novices and veterans alike! Here’s a good starting recipe from Bon Appetit:
      Happy cooking!

    • Macel Posey
      February 20, 2021 at 3:21 am

      Just throw your leftover veggies or meat in s pot. Cover with water and. Boil for one hr. Strain everything. And save the broth. I season when I use it. Very easy. Good luck. Don’t forget to strain over a container or it will go down the drain. ( like I did once)

  • mary thompson
    February 17, 2021 at 4:45 pm

    i am new to imperfect . I love waiting for my box THE vegetables and fruit is great . I have started eating plant based but my husband still eats meat so this is great .i cook all our meals and my sister lives with us and she is eating more plant based since i am . she says she loves my concoctions .I see recipes as merely a suggestion . thanks for making my shopping less complicated .

    • Imperfect
      February 19, 2021 at 12:30 am

      This is so awesome and we love to hear it all! So fun that everyone is eating more plant based but you’re also able to buy for everybody! 💚

    • Macel Posey
      February 20, 2021 at 3:27 am

      I love opening the box and finding surprises. I will be so happy when we can recycle those sturdy boxes and the foil bags. I was saving them and my husband laughed at full our garage became. Would be great for moving. Not planning on that soon.

      • Imperfect
        March 2, 2021 at 8:57 pm

        Hey! We’re sorry we had to put a pause on the take back program for now. But check out this page on how to properly dispose of our packaging in the meantime: 📦♻️💚


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