DIY Soup Stock: From Scraps to Deliciousness

Food Systems
Apr 11th, 2022 | By Nicole Sturzenberger

Ever wonder what the key is to making delicious soups? It’s in the stock.

Slow cooking vegetables and meat unlocks rich, complex flavors as vegetables break down and bones release collagen. While there are many premade stocks and bouillons on the market, taking the time to make your own will produce a soup with a truly homemade flavor at a lower price.

We’ve shared a few recipes for soup stocks and broths in the past, including this veggie-forward version on Instagram and I Value Food, but we wanted to share a new favorite that’s been a super soup starter in the Sustainable America kitchens.

This recipe features items you might otherwise toss or compost. Instead of discarding, collect the flavor-packed stems of parsley, chicken bones, carrot peels, celery leaves, or wilted greens and store them in the freezer. While this may seem like an overly thrifty practice, consider the extra life you are giving these foods – accounting for the water, labor, fertilizer, and land that was used to grow them.



  • Chicken bones
  • Carrot tops and skins
  • Potato peels
  • Celery leaves and trimmings
  • Onion peels and trimmings
  • Herb trimmings
  • Mushroom trimmings
  • 1 Bay Leaf
  • 4 - 6 Peppercorns


Take a 1 gallon ziplock bag or find a clean empty plastic bag (sliced bread bags work well and can be stacked vertically for easy storage). As you cook, add clean vegetable trimmings and chicken bones to the bag and store in the freezer.

When the bag is full, add the contents to a stock pot, crock pot, or Instant Pot. Add enough water to cover the ingredients, plus about 2 inches.

Add bay leaf and peppercorns.

Cook for 4 to 5 hours if using a stock pot or crock pot. If using an Instant Pot, set the device to pressure cook on high for 35 - 40 minutes.

Allow the stock to cool slightly and skim any foam or scum that has collected on top.

Strain through a fine mesh strainer into a large bowl. Avoid dumping the last ½ cup of liquid as this can sometimes contain dirt. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Store the stock for up to 4 days in the fridge or freeze for 4 - 6 months.

Extra Tip

Try filling ice cube trays with stock. Each time you want to quickly steam or braise food, you just need to pop out a cube or two.

Get Creative

This recipe is a guide for getting started with creating your own upcycled veggie stock but feel free to be creative and use other trimmings from your kitchen. Starting this practice will give you a whole new look on what we consider waste and helps us maximize resources.

Tagged: Food waste, compost, zero waste, waste free kitchen, sustainability, food, stock, vegetables

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