Are you a fan of making bone broth? The traditional method is to simmer bones on the stove for many hours. But what about using cooking appliances that may be a little easier or require less time. Can they be used to make bone broth? Read on to learn the pros and cons of making bone broth in an Instant Pot (pressure cooker), a Crock-Pot (slow cooker), and the “old-fashioned” way by using a pot on the stove.
Choose Your Pot Carefully
Bone broth is traditionally made by boiling bones for a long time. Chicken, beef, lamb, game, or even fish bones can be used to make bone broth. Vegetables like celery, onion, and carrot can be added, or the bones can just be boiled solo. (If you need a quick refresher on how to make bone broth at home the traditional way, read this article.)
The thing that sets bone broth apart from other broths and stocks is the long boiling time that breaks down hard bones and extracts the amino acid-rich marrow from inside them.
Unfortunately, all cooking containers have the potential to be made from toxic materials. Regular pots are sometimes made from aluminum and some slow cookers still contain lead inside the ceramic seal. Even a few of the older models of the Instant Pot, a popular brand of pressure cooker, have been shown to contain trace amounts of lead and cadmium in the outer area .
No matter which cooking method you choose, make sure that your pot is made of either:
- stainless steel
- cast iron
- enameled cast iron
Never use Teflon, aluminum, or a pot that is too old or scratched as the chances of harmful toxic metals leaching into your broth will be high with these products.
Choose a broth-making container that has been tested and is free from all harmful chemicals and heavy metals, no matter which cooking method you choose.
Making Bone Broth in a Pressure Cooker or “Instant Cooker”
An instant cooker, better known by the Canadian brand name Instant Pot, can do a lot of things including make yogurt. For the purposes of preparing bone broth in a fraction of the time, however, its use as a pressure cooker is what we’re interested in.
Pressure cookers work by expelling air from the inside of the vessel and trapping the steam inside along with the boiling liquid.
Bone Broth Pressure Cooker Pros
The high heat and pressure created inside the pot allow food to be cooked far quicker than any other method.
Of course, the biggest “pro” to using an Instant Pot or pressure cooker for your bone broth is that you can make it in as little as two to three hours. Another big plus is that it is truly a “set it and forget it” operation.
You don’t have to worry about a pot boiling over on the stove, forgetting to turn off the burner, or adding extra water because of off steaming. A few hours later, you get to come back and enjoy your broth. That’s it!
Many people also claim that chicken, beef, or other kinds of bone broth prepared in a pressure cooker creates more consistent results. In the “bone broth world” that means more consistent “gelling” after it cools.
Consistency with the Instant Pot also includes the amount of broth made, since how much water you put in is pretty much the amount of broth you are going to get. Of course, there is also little chance of burning with a pressure cooker.
Bone Broth Pressure Cooker Cons
All that being said, there are some cons to making bone broth in an Instant Pot. For one thing, you will not be able to make as much broth as you could if you used a regular pot or crockpot.
Most pressure cookers hold around 8 quarts. That won’t necessarily yield you 8 quarts of broth, however, because you need to leave room at the top for the steam to gather. Likewise, because of the small size, Instant Pots aren’t the greatest if you have large bones to work with.
If you choose to use a pressure cooker for making bone broth, make sure to use just the right amount of ingredients for the container. Crowding means you won’t have as nutrient-rich of a broth as you would if you would have left some “breathing” room.
Making Bone Broth in a Slow Cooker or Crock-Pot
Crock pots have been around for generations and can be used for anything from stews to casseroles. But how do they fare for making bone broth?
Crock Pot Bone Broth Pros
Although they are not as handy as Instant Pots, slow cookers for bone broth are great if you want to make large quantities or you are using large bones.
Like cooking with a pressure cooker, there is not much “babysitting” needed with this method and adjustment in temperature is not usually required either. In fact, many people simply put their slow cooker on “low” and let their broth cook throughout the night.
Crock Pot Bone Broth Cons
Now to the cons regarding crock pots. The first one is pretty obvious if you have a small kitchen. Even the smaller-sized crock pots take up a lot of counter space, and all of them need to be near a plug.
Another con regarding crock pots is loss of liquid. Steam inevitably escapes over the hours, even if you have a secure lid. For that reason, it’s a good idea to check your broth at least a couple of times during the course of the day if you have your bone broth slow cooker temperature set on anything other than “low.”
The result of loss of liquid can be either a less gelatinous, more diluted broth (because of added water) or a bitter broth because of overcooking. The potential for either overcooking or burning are two other downsides of making bone broth in slow cookers.
One final note is that some Crock-Pots will automatically turn off after a set number of hours (e.g., after 6, 8, or 10 hours). As bone broth often takes longer than that you will need to be around to start the slow cooker up again.
Bone Broth in a Regular Pot (aka The “Traditional” Way)
Bone broth made in a regular pot is the “tried and true” way of doing it and has been the go-to method for literally thousands of years. Cooking bone broth on the stovetop (or over an open flame for our ancestors) is a great choice if you want to control how long you cook it, if you plan on adding things into the broth throughout the day, and if you know you’re planning to be at home all day to keep can keep an eye on it.
Another “pro” when it comes to cooking with a pot on the stove is you get to decide how much you want to make depending on the size of the pot you use. You also have control over the temperature and can adjust it as needed.
As a side note, most pot-on-the-stove users say that gas stoves are more reliable then electric stoves in terms of consistency. Also, the heavier the bottom of your pot is, the better the heat distribution will be for your broth overall.
The downside of the pot-on-the-stove method is that your pot will most definitely need to be “babysat” to keep from boiling dry since this method inevitably leads to loss of liquid. Leaving the stove on overnight comes with its own potential hazards and good safety practices need to be followed.
One final note about cast iron pots. Keep in mind that because you will be boiling your broth for so long in this kind of container, the iron content in your bone broth will be higher than if you use a pot made of a different material.
Bone broth already contains a certain amount of iron, along with other essential minerals. Using an iron pot will kick that amount up quite significantly. One study in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association found that iron content rose from 0.6 mg to 5.7 mg after spaghetti was cooked in a cast-iron pot . This is a potential concern for certain individuals who wish to avoid iron toxicity .
Bone Broth the Easy Way
If you want to cut out the hassle altogether, one super easy option is to take advantage of 100% organic, non-GMO, allergen-free Organixx Bone Broth Protein powder. All you need to do is add a scoop, blend with your favorite beverage, and serve. No pot of any kind needed!