How to Clean Chicken Bones


Chicken meat that falls freely from the bones after simmering indicates you've extracted as much flavor as possible from them. Although the hearty, rich broth made from boiling the bones serves as the base for countless soups and sauces, you can also dice the meat you strain from it -- and the meat you scrape from the bones -- as garnish for chicken-based dishes. Cleaning weakens the bones, so never give them to a dog or other pet for chewing.

Things You'll Need

  • Paring knife
  • Bleach

Boiling to Remove Meat

  • Place the chicken bones in a large stockpot and cover with about 2 inches of cold water. Bring the water to a boil.

  • Reduce the heat to medium-high and boil the bones for 45 minutes to 1 hour, skimming the surface of forth and scum with a spoon as needed.

  • Remove the pot from the stove and strain the broth through a colander into a storage container or bowl. Let the broth cool to room temperature and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to three days.

  • Scrape the remaining meat and connective tissue from the bones using a paring knife. Pick the meat and connective tissue from the bones and use within one day or discard.

Preserving Bones for Non-Food Use

  • Wash the bones with warm, soapy water and rinse them.

  • Transfer the bones to a bowl or container cover them with bleach. Soak the bones for 30 minutes.

  • Wash the bones with warm, soapy water and rinse. Place the bones in an even layer on a plate lined with paper towels and allow them to air dry.

Tips & Warnings

  • Wear latex gloves when using bleach and work in a well-ventilated area.

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  • Photo Credit chicken grill image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from
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