Beef Bone Broth Variations

PrimalBone broth has been getting so much buzz, it doesn’t need a lengthy introduction. By now, you probably know that sipping a warm mug of broth is not only soothing, but also a nourishing source of gelatin. So, you keep a supply of bone broth in your refrigerator or freezer*. And you’re sipping mugs of it, and it’s soothing, and nourishing, and all that—but it’s also getting a little boring. Not because you don’t like bone broth. It’s just that you’re craving a little more flavor, a little more pizazz, a little something different than a basic mug of broth. Perhaps broth with the rich flavor of porcini mushrooms? Or the spicy kick of Sichuan peppercorns? How about of mug of broth laced with the exotic flavor of cinnamon, ginger and star anise, or the comforting flavor of butter and leeks?

Luckily, after you’ve already gone through the lengthy process of making homemade broth, changing the flavor is easy to do. (If you prefer to buy prepared grass-fed bone broth, you can still customize the taste with the ideas below.) Each of the recipes below require 1 hour and just a few ingredients to transform a basic pot of beef bone broth into a whole new flavor experience.

*Wait, you don’t have a batch of homemade bone broth in your freezer? No problem. There’s a basic bone broth recipe at the end of this post.

Servings: Makes 2 quarts/2 L flavored broth

Time in the Kitchen: 1 hour

Beef & Mushroom Broth

Mushroom broth

  • 2 quarts beef bone broth (2 L)
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil (15 ml)
  • 1 pound button or cremini mushrooms, quartered (450 g)
  • 1 cup (about 1 ounce/28 g) dried mushrooms, rinsed to remove dirt and grit
  • 4 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme

Heat olive oil over medium heat. Add the fresh mushrooms and garlic and cook until the mushrooms are soft, 5 minutes.

In a pot, combine the bone broth with cooked mushrooms and garlic, dried mushrooms and thyme. Bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer 1 hour. Strain the stock and discard the solids.

If desired, stir a little crème fraiche into the warm broth before drinking.

Vietnamese Beef Broth

Vietnamese Broth

  • 2 quarts beef bone broth (2 L)
  • 3 inches ginger, peeled and cut in half lengthwise (7.6 cm)
  • 1 cinnamon stick
  • 2 whole star anise
  • 2 whole cloves
  • 2 teaspoons whole coriander seeds (10 ml)

In a pot combine the broth, ginger, cinnamon stick, star anise, cloves and coriander seeds. Bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer 1 hour.

Strain the stock and discard the solids.

If desired, add 1 tablespoon (15 ml) each of fish sauce and coconut aminos to the pot of broth before serving.

Butter and Leek Beef Broth


  • 2 quarts beef bone broth (2 L)
  • 2 leeks, cut in half and well-rinsed, bottom tips trimmed off
  • Salted butter (ideally, grass fed)

Roughly chop the leeks. Because the leeks will be strained out of the stock, use the tough dark green part as well.

Add the leeks to the stock. Bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer 1 hour. Strain the stock and discard the leeks.

Right before drinking, add a tablespoon or so of butter to each serving of broth, letting the butter melt into the warm broth.

Peppercorn Beef Broth


  • 2 quarts beef bone broth (2 L)
  • 2 teaspoons Sichuan peppercorns, crushed with the flat side of a knife (10 ml)
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed with the flat side of a knife (5 ml)

Add Sichuan peppercorns and black peppercorns to the stock. Bring to a boil then turn down heat and simmer 1 hour. Strain the stock before drinking.

Basic Bone Broth Recipe



  • 3.5 to 4 pounds/1.6 to 1.8 kg beef bones. Any type of bones will do, but for the richest, most gelatinous beef broth, add some collagen-rich knuckles, tails, feet, or neck bones
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 celery ribs, chopped
  • 1 onion, peeled and quartered
  • 6 garlic cloves, peeled and halved
  • 2 bay leaves
  • Water (about 4 to 6 quarts/4 to 6 L)


Optional: Browning the bones before simmering gives the broth a deeper, richer flavor, but it’s optional. Preheat oven to 375 °F/190 °C. Spread the bones out on a large roasting pan. Roast 30 to 40 minutes, until nicely browned.

Put the roasted (or unroasted) bones in a large stockpot or 6 to 8-quart slow cooker. Add carrots, celery, onion, garlic, bay leaves. Add enough water to cover the bones by an inch or two.

In a stockpot, simmer on very low heat, with a lid, for at least 10 to 12 hours, or up to 24 hours to extract the most nutrients and flavor, occasionally skimming foam and fat from surface.

In a slow cooker, cook on low for at least 8 hours and up to 24 hours.

The broth is done when it has a rich, savory flavor and deep reddish-brown color.

Pour broth through a strainer to remove all solid ingredients. Cool the broth quickly by pouring it into a shallow and wide container. When the broth has cooled, then cover and refrigerate. Use the refrigerated stock within several days, or freeze for several months.


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34 thoughts on “Beef Bone Broth Variations”

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  1. I’ve read that using Apple Cider Vinegar (Braggs, preferably) can help leech out minerals in the bones into the broth. Is there any truth to this?
    I usually add parsley to mine as well.
    My last batch I added a sprinkle of tumeric, and it was good but definitely different, so depending on how daring one chooses to get I suppose the possibilities are endless!

    1. Mark did a post here on MDA back on Nov. 2, 2015 about bone broth and one of the comments relates to whether to add vinegar to the pot – or not. I found the info enlightening as I always used vinegar as well. Check it out – it’s a good article. and may answer some of your questions.

    2. When i made it with vinegar, i didnt like the flavor. Im gonna try the anove recipe.

      1. Perhaps you’ve used too much vinegar? There isn’t a need for more then 2 spoons – if any.

        Great Idea Mark. A general note to everyone about browning the bones prior to preparing the broth. Use a kitchen blow torch for a fast browning effect. This way, you won’t be loosing marrow, as it tends to melt under the oven’s high heat. And, you’ll be saving on your electric bill 🙂

        I got the idea from a demo about searing a steak after using sous vide.

        1. Love it! If only everyone prioritized energy efficiency… I also am wondering why mark often suggests for parts of the meal to e discarded, like the leeks

        2. Thank you Zach. You have an interesting site, even If we differ on some of the dietary issues. I guess, Mark feels that all the nutrients were drawn out it into the broth after cooking for so long and I tend to agree. I too filter the soup once it’s done cooking and add some fresh vegetables when reheating. Adding chopped carrots, onion, garlic, ginger, celery and parsley would yield soup rich in potassium among the other goodies. Warm the soup just enough to keep the vegetables crunchy.

          For some reason there’s no option to reply back as a tread.

          Mark, as of late, emails notifying me of respond to comments arrive in a long HTML form…

      2. If you feel bone broth really needs an acidic component, try adding a little wine instead of vinegar. The flavor will be much better.

        1. I really dont likentgevacidic flavor, and felt that method was a waste of tkme and ingredients. Next time ill just leave it out.

        2. Julie, the idea that vinegar releases a powerhouse of nutrients from long-simmering bones has been pretty much debunked. Well made broth will jell without adding vinegar; therefore, there’s no real reason to add it to the broth if you don’t like the flavor it imparts.

          Not to badmouth Mark’s recipe suggestions here–which sound like good ones–the reason bone broth has developed such a cult following is that there are now several generations of people that have never made (or even tasted) broth or stock made from scratch (using raw meaty bones and veggies, instead of “broth” from a can and a load of salt to boost the flavor). Bone broth is really no more a superfood than old-fashioned homemade stock.

  2. Do you need to add extra veggies to bone broth? I’ve never seen an explanation why they’re needed, and I’d like to substitute the veggies for high collagen items like chicken feet/beef tendons instead. Do they help bring out extra nutrients from the bones, or are they just added for their own sake?

      1. Recipes for beef stock are almost identical, minus the ridiculously long cooking time. Stock recipes are done in 4-6 hours and they jell beautifully. IMO, fresh meaty bones and a mirapoix are a must for good flavor, whether you go for the lengthy simmer or not.

  3. Hubby’s taste buds demand that I put a couple tablespoons of Sambal Oelek into the bone broth, finish simmering it, then straining out the solids–that way, he gets the hot flavor he wants, and I eliminate the carbs I don’t want.

  4. I add vinegar. Just to be safe!! But have to say I do best with chicken broth. My beef bone broth has not been great. Have some bones in the freezer and this post has me inspired to try again!

  5. Personally, I really enjoy browning the bones before making beef bone broth. That and using a lot of neck bones makes for an amazing bone broth!

    I’ve also been traveling a lot and found a company (that you suggested on Twitter Mark!), Kettle & Fire, that has an amazing beef bone broth – They’re the best source I’ve found online and don’t require freezing. Thanks for that tip!

  6. I don’t see the point in adding veggies just to strain them back out. After making bone broth and straining the bones I load it up with an armload of vegetables and any meat scraps around. All the leftover veggies from the fridge go in: outer leaves of cabbages, celery tops, chopped broccoli stems, and all the other things that aren’t otherwise our favorites can hide in soup. When the dark green leafies are taking over the garden in summer I process and freeze them in great wads for winter soups. Whole bunches of parsley and cilantro go in, plus garlic and basil and oregano, or tarragon if it’s chicken, and maybe a glug of sherry or burgundy (which is not terribly primal, but then, it doesn’t take much to improve the flavor a whole kettle of soup.) Winter soups: yum!

    1. I agree! I like add the veggies at the end so they stay more fresh. Then I can the broth with vegetables as soup. One of my favorite things to do is make leek noodles by slicing lengthwise from the root to the top in long 1/4 inch strips. Leek noodles hold up well even if you put them in at the start. Chicken broth with leek noodles, Jerusalem artichoke, celery root and fresh thyme is very effective prebiotic reset.

    2. Can you tell me how you are processing these as you say:” I process and freeze them in great wads for winter soups”. Thank you! A wonderful reminder to use everything.

  7. Looks like an awesome recipe, definitely the way to go!

    That “said”, I was going to post something on a forum about this, but can’t seem to create an account. For those of us on the go that don’t have the time or inclination to collect bones etc. (I know, excuses excuses) are the commercial brands any good? The Pacific brand I buy at the health food store has 0% fat so I’m wondering how it can have gelatin etc. and if it is doing me any good? It’s not exactly inexpensive either.

    1. I’m quite sure that gelatin is a protein, not fat, similar to whey. I mean, they sell it powdered, it has to be. 🙂 Anyway, I can’t say specifically that what you’re buying is good but how much protein has it got and how thick is it? Really gelatinous broth is nearly solid in the fridge.

      1. Thanks Wildrose, good info and I will research the topic in more depth. It does have 12 grams of protein per 8 ounces, but it is very thin even when stored in the refrigerator.

  8. {sigh} This (really good) blog entry makes me look askance at my chicken broth. I take my Costco rotisserie chicken carcasses and make delicious broth. Three days in my Crockpot: Costco ‘organic’ broth to cover the torn-up carcass, pureed-and-frozen ((Costco!) yellow, orange, red, and green) peppers and pureed-and-frozen onion (no straining and healthy?). I just skim the layer of fat after cooling in the fridge! Freeze in 1.5C “loafs” in a silicon mini-loaf pan.

    When I get chilly, I microwave a frozen “loaf with a couple TBL of KerryGold, then add a couple TBL of MCT Oil — lovely whole-body warmer!

    BUT, it’s not pasture-raised chicken (I’m pretty sure), and I expect Costco puts stuff I would not approve of in their preps. (Or not?)

    I’m seriously NOT fond (I think?) of beef broth, but I love oxtail soup — so maybe it’s how it’s made? With trepidation, I ‘m going to try making some beef broth — once I find some grass-fed bones! (Well, grass-fed COW bones! {wink})

    Thanks –as always! — Mark

    1. Read the label on the Costco rotisserie chicken container. You will see that you’re putting a whole lot more in your bone broth than just chicken. I don’t know why Costco sees fit to add so many questionable additives to their rotisserie chicken, but that’s why we don’t buy them.

      From a primal standpoint, you would be better off buying a raw chicken that’s nothing but the bird itself. Simmer it in plain water (versus canned broth) with some veggies and seasonings. You can strip off the meat after a couple of hours and return the bones to the pot to cook longer if you like. Poached chicken is delicious in any kind of soup, chicken salad, shepherd’s pie, and many other dishes.

  9. I’ve been using a couple of chuck short ribs when making the bone broth. This gives you some nice, tender meat to use later on.

    My current favorite is the following:

    Heat broth with 3-4 oz of cooked stew meat per cup of broth along with some thinly sliced onions. Allow to come to a low boil. Add a handful of chopped kale, chopped fresh ginger, a sprinkle of cayenne and salt and black pepper to taste. Top with diced avocado.

    This is a very flavorful, filling and nourishing soup.

  10. Back home we make bone broth without vinegar or veggies, only add a whole garlic head before the end of cooking and simmer for half an hour more. I understand that vegetables will give the broth more minerals, but I do not like the taste of long boiled veggies and the color of the broth won’t be as clear. The broth can be used instead of water to make any soup when veggies do not need to be boiled for hours. Lately, my favorite way is to chop the entire bunch of water cress and throw it into my bowl of hot broth. I like how spicy it gets. Or to pour the broth into a shallow dish with some soft meat and crushed garlic spread at the bottom, refrigerate until it solidifies, cut in cubes, and eat it with Dijon mustard. The cold version is called “holodets” from word “cold”, and the hot version is “hash”. The hot version is widely spread in Azerbaijan and Armenia, the cold one is traditional in Russia. Armenians eat it with a dried flat bread called “lavash” while Azeri like it with “chorek” bread. Both cold and hot go well with vodka.)))

    1. Adding eggshells to the pot can clear up a lot of the cloudiness that comes from using certain veggies.

  11. My experience with beef bone broth has not been that great. The process takes a whole lot of time (not to mention expense) to find out if it was a gelatinous success or not.

    Making an amazing duck broth on the other hand is a guarantee!

    Recipe: 2 duck carcasses,12 duck feet, 12 cups of water. Roast the duck & feet for 45 min. Put into a crock pot and add water. Simmer for 12 hours. Strain. Refrigerate. Remove fat. Wow! Beautiful Gelatin. Heat some up and add salt & pepper. Crazy Good!!!

  12. I make my bone broth with the above, but I use a pressure pot. It is done in about 2 hours. Great stuff!

    1. Oops, I also save any peeled vegetable skins, veggie tops, etc throughout the week and toss that in my broth too. Yes, the ACV helps bring out more marrow goodness. You only need about 2 tbs for the broth. Use alkaline water, if you have access to it. Don’t use your city water. yuck