Bone Soup, the Crock-pot Version

With an intensity usually only reserved for the day after Thanksgiving, I woke up Sunday craving a roasted poultry carcass. More specifically, I craved bone soup and chunky breast meat sandwiches.

I was actually stuck in a blanket at the time, but I didn’t feel like painting one in the pic.

Unfortunately, I was busy all day Sunday and Monday, so I had no time to properly fill my cravings. I did, however, have a fancy new large crock-pot that was just the size of a chicken and a brief amount of time to chop vegetables. Thus, Bone Soup, the Crock-pot Version was born.

Isn’t my new crock-pot adorable?

At the beginning of each winter, I make a large vat of bone soup, which I swear can cure any disease/virus/bacteria/parasite/itchy rash you could ever come down with during the cold gloomy months. This year, however, I’ve been so sick that my bone soup was gone by December. I’ve been wanting to make more, but I’ve been too lazy to slave over my stove for 5 hours listening to Ani DiFranco and crying, from the onions of course. This version isn’t nearly as yummy, and probably doesn’t cure diseases quite as effectively, but it’s a heck of a lot easier.

Jump to Sections of This Recipe:
Cooking Time
Nutritional Information
Dietary Adjustments

Click below for the full recipe:

Cooking Time
I let this sit in my crock-pot for 8 hours and low and 4 hours on high, which was a bit much. I’d go with just the 8 hours on low instead. Plus about 30 minutes for prep.

Servings Servings for this depend on how you divvy it up, but it’s about 10, one-cup servings of broth; three, one-cup servings of cooked veggies (if they survive, mine didn’t); four, one-cup servings of chicken meat

$24.81, depending on the amount of seasonings you need to purchase. That’s about $6 a serving for the meat, or $2.47 per serving for the broth.

*Note: Like a true Portland hippy, I buy mostly sustainably farmed ingredients from my local co-op and occasionally Whole Foods Market. Cost can vary greatly depending on where you buy your food and what quality of food you buy. As a farmer’s daughter, I highly encourage you to support local farmers and sustainability efforts. Even if it is more expensive now, it pays off in the long run.

Nutritional Information* Because this recipe is eaten in various stages, it is hard to break down into servings, so here’s the stats for the whole pot. Individual servings will be a lot less: 3055 Cal,129.3 fat, 10963mg sodium, 209g carbs, 43g sugar, 37g fiber, 278.3g protein, 189% Vitamin A, 541% Vitamin C,42 % calcium, 47% iron

*Note: This is based on an online nutritional calculator and is in no way official or guaranteed to be accurate.


  • 1 whole chicken, whatever size will fit in your crock-pot
  • 5 cloves garlic
  • 1 lemon, quartered
  • 3 carrots, peeled and chopped
  • 1 large or 2 medium leeks
  • 1 large parsnip
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp Mediteranean blend salt (salt with rosemary, thyme, basil, garlic)
  • ½ tsp dried rosemary
  • ½ tsp dried thyme
  • 10 twists of the pepper mill
  • 2 inches of ginger, cut into five slices
  • 1 tsp minced dried onion or fresh chopped onion if you have one (I didn’t)
  • 1 bunch chard, chopped, or 2 cups spinach
  • 4 tsp bouillon

Dietary Adjustments

Because the point of bone soup is to gather the nutrients from chicken bones and cartilage, this dish isn’t done well vegan or vegetarian. However, making a similar veggie stock broth that sits for awhile with lots of ginger, lemon and healthy veggies could be good. I’ll try making one and posting a recipe here. This meal should be free of most allergens as long as you’re careful about what bouillon you use.


Start by chopping all the vegetables, placing them in the slow cooker and sprinkling the spices over them.

Placing the seasoning on the veggies is easier than having to rub them all over the chicken.

Wash the chicken. All that really means is take out the innards and run water over the chicken for a bit while maybe giving it a nice rub down.

I think this chicken looks like a rabbit with floppy ears/wings.

To make your chicken extra yummerific, place tasty things inside it, like lemons and garlic. You can also add fresh herbs (especially rosemary, thyme and sage), oranges, an onion, heck you could even throw in another animal like sausage or bacon if you really want.

Don’t be afraid to shove it in there.

I fit a whole lemon chopped in half in the butt cavity.

I fit 5 cloves of garlic in the head cavity.

It’s est to seal the chicken up so the lemon and garlic doesn’t fall out. I got these little pokey metal things a few Thanksgivings ago and am glad to finally use them again. Now I can justify keeping them around so long.

Securing the neck.

Securing the butt.

I felt bad until I realize people pay a lot of money for acupuncture so the chicken should be happy and relaxed. (Not meant to offend my animal rights defending readers.)

Place the chicken on top of the veggies, rearranging the veggies if needed.

My chicken didn’t fit…

…so I had to move the veggies aside a bit.

Boil about 3 cups of water and pour it over the chicken until the slow cooker is about 3/4 full.

I love my tea kettle, stolen from my mom because I loved the sound it made when boiling. If this picture could speak, it would sound like a freight train.

Cover the chicken with chard, set the slow cooker to low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.

Isn’t my slow cooker perty! I know, I am obsessed, but I love it so!

When you return home, check the chicken and bump it up to high if needed. If not, carefully remove it from the slow cooker and place it in a large bowl, collecting any broth that runs off of it. The meat should just fall off the bones easily.

Separate the chicken bits from the bones and set them aside to be used for sandwiches, chicken salad or just eaten by itself for a protein boost after a work out or before sitting on your butt to watch TV.

Careful however. My chicken fell apart too easily and left small bits of bone and cartilage in with my veggies, making them inedible and I had to strain them all out. The broth was still great and the chicken was safe, but I lost all the veggies which made me sad. I don’t know if there’s a way to avoid this is a slow cooker, so if anyone has a suggestion, please comment.

Pour the liquid broth through a colander into a bowl, discarding the solids and saving the delicious, nutritious broth for future use in soups, purées or rice. Let the broth cool to room temperature, however, before placing in the refridgerator or freezer, as a hot soup can lower the temperature of your appliance.

About Queerie Bradshaw

Lauren Marie Fleming is a writer, speaker and motivator known for her intimate, informative and often hilarious look at sex, relationships and body-image. Lauren runs the critically-acclaimed blog, writes for major news sources including VICE, Nerve, Huffington Post and Curve, and is the author of her memoir Losing It: My Life as a Sex Blogger. In 2013, Lauren founded Frisky Feminist Press ( as a way to enhance conversations about sexuality through educational guides, online classes and entertaining publications. A law school graduate, Lauren has spoken all over the United States and is internationally recognized for her dynamic, engaging style. In everything she does, Lauren’s goal is to educate, remove stigmas and encourage people to achieve their desires.
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