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Pressure Cooker Bone Broth

pressure cooker bone broth

Want to know how to make gelatinous, perfect bone broth in your pressure cooker every time? So did I! So, I turned to Michelle Tam of Nom Nom Paleo. It was her post on making homemade bone broth in her pressure cooker that cemented my desire to solve the riddle of whether or not pressure cooking is healthy once and for all! Michelle has generously offered to divulge her broth-making secrets with you. She shares how to make her Pressure Cooker Bone Broth below. Thanks, Michelle!

There’s nothing I like more than a nice steaming mug of bone broth to get me through the cold winter months. It warms me from the inside out and it’s so good for you: check out why in these great posts by Mark’s Daily Apple and Balanced Bites.

I have a recipe for simmering bone broth in the slow cooker and my mom routinely makes a pot on the stove but sometimes I just want a bowl RIGHT NOW. If you haven’t guessed, patience ain’t one of my strong suits.

Enter the pressure cooker.

According to foodie scientist, Harold McGee:

A pressure cooker is a special pot that seals tightly and traps hot steam to build the pressure and temperature.

In other words, stocks and stews that normally take hours to cook are finished in just 1/3 the time in a pressure cooker. I don’t use my pressure cooker for everything but I do love stewing braised veggies and meaty bone broths in it. Why? Because these dishes just turn out better and faster. It’s quite remarkable how pressure cooking can transform meaty, collagen-filled cuts like oxtail and cross shanks into fork tender cuts in less than an hour.

(Although the new generation of pressure cookers are safer than the old ones, please read your instruction manual carefully and check out these helpful tips from Mr. McGee. You do need to babysit the pot and you can’t wing it.)

I’ve got great pressure cooker recipes for Welsh Beef Stew and Phở that I share in my iPad cooking app, but here’s a simple recipe for a flavorful bone broth that’ll be ready in less than an hour. And, yes, it does gel in the fridge. Just throw in a few chicken feet or joint bones and your broth will be all jiggly.

Pressure Cooker Bone Broth Recipe

(This recipe is cross-posted at Nom Nom Paleo.)


The Players

  • 2 medium leeks, cleaned and cut in half crosswise
  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and cut into three pieces
  • 2.5 pounds of assorted bones (I use a mixture of chicken and pork bones from the freezer or cross shanks and oxtails)
  • 8 cups of water (enough to cover the bones but not more than 2/3rd the capacity of the pressure cooker)
  • 1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of Red Boat fish sauce (where to buy Red Boat fish sauce)

The How-To

Dump the veggies in the pressure cooker (make sure it’s at least 6-quarts).

pressure cooker bone broth veggies

Toss in your bones (frozen is fine), cover with water (make sure you don’t fill more than 2/3rds capacity!), add vinegar, and fish sauce.

Pressure Cooker Bone Broth

Lock on the lid and turn the dial to high pressure. Place the pot on a burner set on high heat. Once the indicator pops up showing that the contents of the pot have reached high pressure, immediately decrease the temperature to the lowest possible setting to maintain high pressure (low is normally adequate).

pressure cooker bone broth lid

Set the timer for 30 minutes (I let it go for 50 minutes if I’m cooking meaty shanks or oxtails).

When the timer dings, turn off the burner and remove the pot from the heat. Let the pressure release naturally (10-15 minutes).

Remove the lid, skim of the scum (if you desire), and strain the broth.

Pressure Cooker Bone Broth

I don’t parboil the bones to decrease the scum because I’m lazy. Plus, there really isn’t that much left after you strain it.

This technique is faster and more flavorful than other methods. Really.

pressure cooker bone broth

Meet Michelle Tam!

Michelle TamI am super-excited to have Michelle guest post here at Food Renegade!

Michelle is the sardonic foodie and working mom behind Nom Nom Paleo, a popular and award-winning food blog devoted to Paleo food porn and recipes galore.

Covering everything from kitchen shortcuts to tips on dining out, the site demonstrates with vivid food photography that Paleo eating is possible for anyone — even those with busy schedules and demanding palates. Michelle is passionate about helping readers implement and sustain an ancestral dietary approach; on a daily basis, she writes about how home cooks can spend less time in the kitchen and still end up with nutritious, flavor-packed meals for the entire family.

Michelle has a degree in Nutrition & Food Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and a Doctorate in Pharmacy from the University of California at San Francisco. Although Michelle’s training emphasized conventional approaches to nutrition and health, she discovered the science and benefits of Paleo eating two years ago, finding that it was the only approach that helped to whittle down her midsection and fuel her with enough energy to wrangle two small boys, hold down a full-time night shift hospital job, cook for a houseful of hungry cavepeople, lift heavy stuff at her CrossFit box, and maintain a daily blog.

In the Spring of 2012, Michelle released the Nom Nom Paleo interactive cookbook for the iPad®, a visual feast packed with brand new recipes, as well as updated versions of classic Nom Nom Paleo dishes. Within the first 24 hours of its release in April 2012, it was featured as one of the top three paid Lifestyle apps in the App Store. It continues to be one of the Top 10 bestselling paid Food & Drink apps in the App Store.

Michelle’s blog was recently recognized by the editors and readers of Saveur Magazine as the Best Special Diets Blog of 2012. She also won Apartment Therapy and’s 2012 Homies Award for Best Food Photography on a Blog.

So, if you haven’t checked out Nom Nom Paleo yet, what are you waiting for? Go do it now!

What if you don’t have bones on hand or a pressure cooker?

What if you still want all the benefits of homemade bone broth, but you don’t have a time-saving pressure cooker or a pile of bones on hand?

Good news! You can now buy real bone broth online. It’s traditionally-prepared from pastured animals and ships frozen.

(where to buy real bone broth online)

If buying any pre-made broth isn’t up your alley, then I highly suggest you invest in a pressure cooker! This is the one I got.

NO EXCUSES, FOLKS. Get ‘er done!

(where to buy pressure cookers)

(photos by Nom Nom Paleo)

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I am a passionate advocate for REAL FOOD -- food that's sustainable, organic, local, and traditionally-prepared according to the wisdom of our ancestors. I'm also an author and a nutrition educator. I enjoy playing in the rain, a good bottle of Caol Ila scotch, curling up with a page-turning book, sunbathing on my hammock, and watching my three children explore their world.
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38 Responses to Pressure Cooker Bone Broth
  1. Walter Jeffries
    December 21, 2012 | 5:10 pm

    Aye, bone soups are so good and good for us. We eat a lot of bone soups. And then the bones go to our pack of livestock working dogs who devour them. Thrice eaten.

    We often can the broth and gelatin. Another good source of gelatin is from making lard from back fat.

    • KristenM
      December 21, 2012 | 8:58 pm

      I love saying “thrice eaten.”

      I don’t have dogs, but my bones get cooked until they dissolve into mush. At that point, I put them in the garden. So, maybe I can consider that feeding the soil and say my bones are thrice eaten as well?

  2. Jerian
    December 21, 2012 | 8:42 pm

    What does the fish sauce do for the recipe?

    • KristenM
      December 21, 2012 | 8:48 pm

      The fish sauce adds a complex, salty undertone to the flavor of the broth.

      If you don’t have any on hand, you can omit it and substitute salt to taste.

    • Michelle Tam
      December 22, 2012 | 12:19 pm

      Hi Jerian! Fish sauce adds that elusive fifth taste, umami, to the broth, deepening the flavor profile and elevating it beyond just saltiness. One of the reasons a bowl of pho tastes so good is because the “salt” in the recipe is typically fish sauce.

  3. laura h
    December 21, 2012 | 8:59 pm

    So that time really gets all the goodness out of them? What happens is you run them through again?

    • KristenM
      December 21, 2012 | 9:01 pm


      As with any bone broth, you could probably run them through the gamut once or twice more before they completely dissolve (at which point you’d probably toss them in your garden or compost if you didn’t have dogs to feed).

  4. Krissy
    December 22, 2012 | 12:43 am

    Do you think the high heat of the pressure cooker is a concern for the fish sauce? Would you get the same effect adding the fish sauce after the pressure cooking?

    • KristenM
      December 22, 2012 | 11:39 am

      I’m not concerned about the fish sauce being added during the cooking process. It is not that heat-sensitive. (It has already been pasteurized, so it’s not like it’s raw and you have to fear for probiotic loss.)

      I think you could add it after cooking the broth, but I think the flavor will be less subtle and won’t infuse the broth as well after the fact.

      I haven’t ever tried it. I will ask Michelle and see if she’s tried it the other way!

    • Michelle Tam
      December 22, 2012 | 12:21 pm

      I’m not concerned about the high heat affecting the fish sauce, either. I always add it before I cook the broth because I want the flavor to infuse the broth without overpowering it. If my broth needs more salt when it’s finished, I season to taste with some celtic salt.

  5. Elyse
    December 22, 2012 | 9:10 am

    I’ve had some chicken feet in my freezer and have never worked up the nerve to use them in broth. I recall reading once that you had to clean them thoroughly and trim the nails. Is that always the case? These look pretty clean to me.

    • KristenM
      December 22, 2012 | 11:41 am

      I *never* clean my chicken feet or trim the toe nails!

      The toe nails often fall off when the broth is being made, but you just strain them out in the end with the rest of the bones, skin, and cartilage.

      And I can’t see being concerned about germs because you’re *cooking* them, so any bad germs will die.

    • Michelle Tam
      December 22, 2012 | 12:23 pm

      I just dump the chicken feet in the pot because the ones I get from the butcher are clean enough for me!

      • Rachel B
        December 22, 2012 | 2:24 pm

        I never clean mine either. They look clean enough when I dump them into the pot.

  6. Rachel B
    December 22, 2012 | 2:07 pm

    Just want to mention that after the first round of making my broth in the pressure cooker, I take out the broth and then add more filtered water and give the bones a second go-round. I get twice as much yummy gelled broth out of it! Today I’m making it with pork neck bones and a sheep foot.

  7. ahmo
    December 22, 2012 | 5:47 pm

    Thanks to the 2 of you, I’ve now gotten a new pressure cooker. (Well, 2, in fact, I settled on the Fagor Duo.) I’ve cooked my first 2 batches of broth and meat. I am THRILLED to have my cooking done in 2 hours,low pressure, resulting in beautiful thick gel. This is a great advance in GAPS cooking. Renegades Rule! thanks.

  8. churyl
    December 23, 2012 | 8:04 pm

    every time i have meat or bone broth/ stock, i feel drugged with an intense fatigue and have to go sleep for four hours. it’s horrible! i’m wondering if this pressure cooker broth would be different? i don’t know if it’s the glutamates or histamines or what it is, but i’d really love to have broth! any opinion?

    • Alyssa Luck
      December 27, 2012 | 9:58 pm

      Hi churyl!

      That’s so strange! And that happens with all meat products? What about eggs? I have kind of the opposite problem, because I seem to tolerate meat just fine but any kind of carbohydrate gives me digestive distress. Have you ever had your stomach acid levels checked, or tried supplementing with HCl? That’s really the only thing I can think of; I don’t know much about glutamates or histamines. I hope you can figure out what’s going on!

      • churyl
        January 1, 2013 | 9:24 pm

        no, no…just with broth. not meat itself or eggs. thank god!

        • Shelley
          September 30, 2013 | 5:06 pm

          Churyl – Have you found a way around this? I am having the same problem.

  9. Alyssa Luck
    December 27, 2012 | 10:00 pm

    This is fascinating! I always make bone broth in my slow cooker, and it simmers for two days and smells up the whole house. This sounds so much easier! I’ve always been wary of pressure cookers, because they seem so…’unnatural,’ I guess, but maybe I’ll have to reconsider. And I’ve never thought of adding fish sauce! Sounds yummy though. Does all fish sauce have sugar? The kind I bought does, and I’m wondering if that’s always the case. Thanks!

  10. Catherine
    December 29, 2012 | 11:46 pm

    Sounds like a wonderful bone broth recipe! Kristen, I was wondering if you (or anyone else reading this) have come across any pressure cooker cookbooks that you would recommend. Specifically, did you have to adjust cooking times for soaked grains and beans when referring to recipes that don’t include soaking as part of the recipe, or did you happen to find ones that do suggest soaking?

  11. Robin
    January 1, 2013 | 2:34 pm

    Who sells the bone broth online? I can’t find any mention of bone broth on the resources page. Thanks!

  12. Catherine
    January 2, 2013 | 2:29 pm

    I just made it in my mom’s Presto pressure cooker from the 90s and it turned out GREAT! I didn’t have leeks but I subbed one medium onion cut in quarters with the skin on and added two ribs of coarsely chopped celery. Can’t wait to try beef stock using the pressure cooker!

  13. SJ
    January 7, 2013 | 9:26 am

    I’ve got it going now (figured out what the problem was with my pressure cooker btw) and am so excited that I won’t have to deal with watching a pot for hours at a time.

    When I make bone broth I use only the bones with no veggies (If I put onions in then my dog can’t have the bones) and then I freeze it.

    I also put the bones through with a little less water two more times and by then they’re crumbly. They still produce gelatin even after two go-arounds!

  14. Cindi
    January 16, 2013 | 3:03 pm

    I’ve always roasted my soup bones in the oven prior to making bone broth. Is there any reason against roasting beforehand when using a pressure cooker for the broth?

  15. Chris Calentine
    February 5, 2013 | 8:22 am

    We use everything. Stock is a staple at our house and the pressure cooker is used all the time. Don’t overlook fish stock and yes use the heads. You can often find the head and bones at the fish markets.

  16. Elena
    July 1, 2013 | 10:24 am

    I was wondering if pressure cooked foods could be pressure canned. I thought that I recalled reading somewhere briefly that they could not be, but I haven’t been able to find anything comprehensive on the mattter.

  17. Tami R.
    August 7, 2013 | 5:05 pm

    Hi there. I was just wondering if you knew what pressure this might be cooked at? My pressure canner has a gauge on it. Thank you! Oh, just to verify, this can be canned correct? TIA!

  18. jenn
    January 14, 2014 | 6:17 pm

    I just made broth with my pressure cooker for the first time yesterday. It didn’t gel very well, but I think that’s because I had cooked the crap out of the chicken for a Sunday dinner. (Not a very good cook….) but! I was delighted to see that I could just dump chicken feet in without trimming them first. They totally creep me out, but I really want to use them! I did run the bones through twice and ended up with almost a gallon of broth! I’m so happy with this method. I also can’t wait to add fish sauce. I think it will give it that missing flavor oomph!

  19. Celia Ready
    June 13, 2014 | 10:39 pm

    So please let me know with cooking Broth in Pressure cooker once it is finished then and you take the lid of and there is scum sitting on top. Do you have to ladle the scum off. Is it not healthy to leave the scum in the broth. ?????

  20. Alex
    June 24, 2014 | 8:31 am

    I’ll remember to save my leftover bones once I purchase a pressure cooker. Do you know any websites like where I can find more reviews?

  21. Janice
    September 16, 2014 | 7:56 pm

    Thanks so much for the pressure cooking and the broth recipes. I was given a bag of pork backbone, and really didn’t know what to do with the bones. I am pressuring them now with the intentions of getting them soft enough for my six dogs. After reading, I guess I will have to try the broth. I had no idea how much I need it. I also have some jelly left over from rendering lard..reckon the dogs won’t get that either..thanks again for the info.

  22. Michaela Bitner via Facebook
    October 11, 2014 | 12:54 pm

    I love synchronized thoughts amoung humans..less than an hour ago I’m vacuuming, happy over my crock pot gelled beef broth, thinking I wanted to share this with my brother cause is soup is great but he can’t get his broth to gel…but he has a pressure cooker. I should find rood renegade pressure cooker broth save me the time.

  23. Food Renegade via Facebook
    October 11, 2014 | 2:33 pm

    Michaela, great minds think a like!

  24. Gayle Trepanier via Facebook
    October 14, 2014 | 8:14 am

    I really need to get one of these. :)

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Who Am I?

My name is Kristen Michaelis. I'm a nutrition educator, author, and mother of three. I adore hats, happy skirts, horizons full of storm clouds, the full-bodied feel of wind as I ride motorcylces, reading in my hammock, and a hearty shot of Caol Ila scotch. I'm also a rebel with a cause.
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