I made stock for the first time. I used the carcass of a duck, no meat, just the bones and added only peppercorns.

The result tasted like bones, as you might expect, since that is what it was made of.

Although bones do not taste bad per se, neither is it a very good taste either.

I did not add other ingredients because I thought I could always add other seasonings later.

When I read cooking books in their description of stock, they say that it "extracts the flavor from the bones" but in all honesty I do not understand why we want to do this, because bones do not have a particularly good flavor.

I cooked it just below boiling for about 4 hours. Is the plain bony taste to be expected, or was it too plain because I cooked it for too long?

  • 2
    Did you roast the bones before making the stock? I find that improves the flavor dramatically. And most people add some vegetables to balance out the flavors.
    – Joe
    Apr 17, 2017 at 11:46
  • @Joe The carcass had been cooked. Does roasting the bones involve more than the cooking of the meat? Apr 17, 2017 at 12:52
  • 1
    Yes. You end up browning the bones, so they're cooked more than they'd have been from the initial cooking.
    – Joe
    Apr 17, 2017 at 13:10

2 Answers 2


A good bone broth doesn't taste like bones per se, at least not exclusively; it tastes like the meat of the animal whose bones it's made from. However, the majority of meaty flavors don't per se come from meat either; they come from the complex Maillard reactions that occur when meat is cooked and the meat proteins and reducing sugars react. This is as true for the meaty flavors of good bone broths as for the meaty flavors of meat itself. Thus, no matter how the chefs may have described it, the overall preparation of a bone broth doesn't merely "extract" pre-existing flavors: it literally creates the compounds responsible for the flavors we love (via roasting), and only then extracts them via the simmering/boiling process.

Now that said, a bone broth will have flavors that aren't identical to a meat broth. Bone broth is (understandably) especially known for being higher in mineral content than meat broths. But bone broth shouldn't be "plain"; that's a sign that something went wrong.

Speaking of that, in addition to not roasting them, you did likely also undercook your bones. When I make bone broth, I usually let mine simmer at least overnight in my crock pot (a bowl of warm chicken bone broth in the morning does the heart good) or sometimes longer (if I'm making chili, I'll let it go as long as two days, long enough that I have to add water partway to prevent it burning dry). I've read online that it should be about 12 hours for a poultry broth and 24 for a beef/redmeat broth, but in my experience, you shouldn't be afraid to let it go longer even than that; the longer you simmer it, the longer you let the minerals leach out into the broth.


Never make poultry stock with just bones.

  • Put the carcass in a deep pan.
  • Add some vegetables (onion, carrot, zucchini, leek, or whatever at hand), and seasoning, peppercorns, etc.
  • Add cold water and bring to boil.
  • Skim (remove the froth/foam from the surface).
  • Turn the heat down to simmer.
  • Continue to simmer for 3-4 hours.
  • Remove the bones and vegetables and pass the stock through a fine sieve.

If you need to concentrate the stock, reduce it by boiling once sieved.

  • Whoever downvoted at least may explain why...
    – roetnig
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:26
  • 1
    Well, it wasn't me, but I do wonder: Why is it that op can't add the vegetable flavors later as planned? - or are you saying the bones don't taste good at all, so you need to get the flavor from those veg., in which case, why not leave out the bones altogether?
    – Lorel C.
    Apr 17, 2017 at 15:34
  • 1
    Because the stock gets the flavour of the bone marrow. If the OP complains of the stock "tasting bony" maybe because he didn't make the stock as should be, adding some veggies and seasoning, then boil-skim-simmer-sieve.
    – roetnig
    Apr 17, 2017 at 17:56

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