But it’s hard to say how exactly how much protein is infused into the broth, and the nutritional content is going to vary widely based on the cooking time and temperature, as well as the type of bones. For instance, a 2019 study published in The International Journal of Sport Nutrition and Exercise Metabolism found bone broth samples were unlikely to provide a predictable amount of various amino acids—although the researchers did note that the samples of homemade varieties tended to be higher in amino acids than commercially prepared ones.
Even if bone broth contains a decent amount of collagen, the connection between collagen consumption and oft-touted benefits like skin health, for instance, isn’t super strong. As SELF has previously reported, many doctors aren’t convinced that consuming collagen does much to promote skin health because it’s mostly broken down by the digestive system before it even has a chance to reach your bloodstream and skin.
Ultimately, there isn’t much evidence on whether consuming bone broth will do anything substantive for your health—we need to study it more first. But while it’s unclear whether there’s much that’s truly nutritionally unique about bone broth, it’s unlikely to hurt, and could indeed be providing benefits that haven’t been measured yet. Plus, it’s hydrating! So if it makes you feel good and tastes good to you, drink up.
What kind of bones do you need for bone broth?
Though you technically can throw just about any animal bones into a large stock pot and call it a bone broth, some types of bones will give you better results than others—and the more meaty tissue, the better. “You want meaty bones with a lot of connective tissue, and neck and feet bones are a great place to start,” Canora explains.
As for the type of animal bones that you use, that’s all up to your preference. Bones from pigs and ruminants (like cattle, goats, and sheep) will produce more fat and collagen than poultry like chicken or turkey. You might actually prefer the flavor and lighter consistency of poultry-based bone broths. Or, you can do a mix of different kinds of animal bones.
How do I add flavor to bone broth?
“One of the many great things about broth is how amenable it is to flavoring,” Canora says. Basically, you can infuse bone broth with pretty much any variety of aromatics, herbs, spices, and veggies, and be able to expect great flavor.
Most times, Canora likes to keep things simple by pairing his bones with a basic mirepoix—a mix of carrots, celery, onion, bay leaves, peppercorns, and sometimes tomato. But he’s also found success adding star anise and orange rind to a duck-based broth, as well as spices like garam masala to lamb-based broths. Feel free to get creative and follow your instincts here.
Another tip for peak flavor is to consider blanching and roasting your bones before you start simmering your broth. Blanching removes impurities that may cause unwanted odors, and roasting caramelizes and adds color that will eventually turn into a greater depth of flavor in your tasty stock.
How long do I need to cook bone broth?
The length of time that it takes you to prepare a bone broth depends on the type of bones you use and how large they are—as well as who you ask, frankly. You can tell the bones are spent when there’s no meat or fat left on them and they’re totally clean—usually after roughly 14 to 16 hours, depending on how large your bones were and the recipe you’re following.