Learn how to cook chicken backs! Here are two easy chicken back recipes for family dinners. First, we’ll make chicken back stock, a nourishing bone broth that’s low carb, keto, and gluten free. Next, we’ll turn our soup base into a comforting chicken back soup by adding vegetables and herbs. Get info on where to buy chicken backs, how to cook chicken backs, nutrition info, and much more.
- 🤔 What is the chicken back?
- ➕ Where can I find chicken backs?
- ❓ What kind of meat is on the back of the chicken?
- 🐔 Is chicken back good for stock?
- 🔪 How to Use Chicken Backs (Broth)
- 🥣 How to Make Chicken Back Soup
- 🌡️ Can you put chicken backs in the freezer?
- ⭐ Chicken Backs Nutrition
- 💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
- 👩🏻🍳 Other Ways to Use Chicken Back Stock
- 📖 Recipe
- 💬 Comments
🤔 What is the chicken back?
The chicken back is literally the back of the chicken. It’s the chicken backbone and meat leftover after the chicken breast, wings, and chicken legs are removed.
➕ Where can I find chicken backs?
Where are chicken backs for sale? In the US, you may be able to get chicken backs at farmer’s market, or purchase them directly from a farm near you. You can find pasture raised chicken backs from US Wellness Meats here.
I could not find chicken backs at the Whole Foods or regular grocery stores near me. Chicken backs are good for dogs too, so make sure the chicken backs you buy aren’t intended for pet food. (US Wellness also sells chicken backs for dogs, which you can buy here.)
❓ What kind of meat is on the back of the chicken?
Are chicken backs white meat? Yes, the meat on chicken backs is basically what’s left after the white chicken breast is cut away. Chicken backs are mostly white meat.
Is chicken back good eating?
Chicken backs are good eating if you have the right chicken backbone recipe. Chicken backs have a high bone to meat ratio, meaning they’re mostly bone, without a lot of meat. That said, some chicken backs you buy may be meatier than others.
Good chicken backbone recipes will take advantage of both the meat and bone in chicken backs. Making chicken back soups or stews is a super way to use this cut of poultry.
🐔 Is chicken back good for stock?
Yes! I love the taste of homemade bone broth, and I bet you will too. You not only get the bones to make a rich bone broth, you get some meat too. IMHO, stock is the best way to use chicken backs.
What is the best bone for bone broth?
Chicken feet make the best bone broth, and I love my chicken feet soup. That said, you don’t get meat with the chicken feet, so a mix of chicken feet and chicken backs might be best. Then you get the richness from the chicken feet and meat from the chicken backs.
🔪 How to Use Chicken Backs (Broth)
Chicken backs often come frozen, so you’ll need to thaw them in the fridge for 24-48 hours. I used 2.75 lbs. (1.25 kg) thawed chicken backs for this recipe. Here are the step-by step instructions for chicken back broth:
- Place the chicken backs, 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar, and 12 cups of water in a big pot. The chicken backs should be covered by water. Feel free to add more water if needed.
- Simmer your fresh, uncooked chicken backs on the stove top on low or medium-low for 2-3 hours. Skim any scum that forms on the top of the stock off. Partially cover the pot and turn down the heat if too much water is evaporating off.
- Strain the hot broth through a colander. To make a nice clear broth (as pictured), strain the broth through cheesecloth over the colander. The cheesecloth does a great job catching any bits that will cloud the stock.
- Remove the chicken back meat from the skin and bones. Chop it and set it aside in the fridge to use in the soup recipe below. My chicken backs only yielded about 2 cups of meat.
- To maximize the minerals in your broth, you can put the bones back in the pot with the broth and simmer longer. Bone broth can be simmered 18-24 hours, if you wish. (You don’t want to cook the meat that long, as it may become too tough.)
The addition of cider vinegar is another way to extract a little more nutrition from the chicken bones. You need 7 cups of broth to make the soup, so make sure you don’t boil off too much water. No need for a meat thermometer, since the chicken simmers so long.
🥣 How to Make Chicken Back Soup
Here are the directions for the chicken back soup recipe. Get specific quantities of ingredients in the printable recipe card at the end of the article:
- Mince the garlic, and dice the onion, celery, and carrots.
- Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven over medium to medium-high heat on the stovetop.
- Place the garlic, onion, celery, and carrots in the pot, and soften over the heat for 10 minutes. You’re not looking to brown them.
- Add the dried thyme, dried oregano, chicken back broth, cooked chicken back meat, salt, and pepper. Cook until it comes to a visible simmer (about 10-15 minutes). (Note: if the meat is still warm from making the broth, add it when you add the pasta instead.)
- Add 1 cup of dry pasta noodles (I recommend cavatappi) to the soup. Cook until the pasta is al dente and the soup is simmering, about 15 minutes.
- Ladle into bowls. Add a squeeze of fresh lemon juice, a sprinkle of fresh parsley, and enjoy.
🌡️ Can you put chicken backs in the freezer?
Yes, chicken backs freeze well. Keep raw or cooked chicken backs in a vacuum-sealed freezer bag for long term freezer storage.
Chicken back soup can be used as a meal prep recipe if the pasta is cooked separately and added right before serving. Keep the soup and pasta in separate air tight containers in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. The soup also freezes well.
To reheat chicken back soup, place it in a microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 1-2 minutes. You can add more broth if the soup is too dry.
⭐ Chicken Backs Nutrition
What are the benefits of chicken backs? Here are the nutrition facts for chicken backs (per Cronometer for ½ back serving):
- Calories: 316
- Carbohydrates: 0 grams
- Fiber: 0 grams
- Fat: 28 grams
- Saturated fat: 8 grams
- Cholesterol: 78 mg
- Protein: 14 grams
- Thiamin: 3% DV
- Riboflavin: 7% DV
- Niacin: 24% DV
- Pantothenic Acid (Vitamin B5): 8% DV
- Vitamin B6: 9% DV
- Vitamin B12: 4% DV
- Folate: 2% DV
- Vitamin A: 5% DV
- Vitamin C: 3% DV
- Calcium: 1% DV
- Iron: 5% DV
- Magnesium: 4% DV
- Phosphorus: 11% DV
- Potassium: 4% DV
- Selenium: 17% DV
- Zinc: 8% DV
These nutrition facts are for the meat and skin of ½ raw chicken back. Chicken backs are an excellent source of niacin. They’re a good source of the minerals phosphorus and selenium.
You can lower the total fat and saturated fat in chicken backs by removing the skin before eating. Chicken backs are a naturally keto, low carb, and gluten free food. Nutrition information for chicken back soup, which is not gluten-free, can be found in the recipe card below.
💭 Expert Tips from a Dietitian
This is a level 1 recipe (may help support fat loss). Chicken back soup is the ultimate in comfort food, and it has elements that make it great for weight loss too. In general, broth-based soups are a good choice when you want to lose weight or maintain a healthy weight.
First off, you get a BIG serving of food for a bit over 500 calories. It’s a hearty meal that will nourish you and help keep you full. You must maintain a calorie deficit to lose weight, and foods that help you feel full on fewer calories may help.
Three important elements to make meals more satisfying are protein, fiber, and fluid volume. Chicken back soup has all three. You get lean protein from the white meat chicken, fiber and fluid from veggies, and more fluid from the broth.
Use whole grain noodles in your soup to help bump the fiber up even more. (Brown rice or wild rice won’t work here because they have a much longer cooking time.)
This soup is great to take in a thermos for lunch, and it’s much lower in sodium than many canned soups. Plus, the simple ingredients tend to appeal to even picky eaters. It’s really a win all around!
Hot tip! For the most accurate nutrition info, divide the entire recipe between 3 serving bowls or containers. There can be significant variation in volume measurement (i.e., measuring the soup cup by cup). This can leave you under or over the expected number of servings.
Do chicken backs have collagen?
Yes, chicken backs contain collagen. Chicken collagen is found in bone (as well as skin, cartilage, and other tissues in chickens). Save money on expensive collagen supplements and make chicken back bone broth instead!
How to cook chicken backs in oven?
You can roast chicken backs in the oven similar to how you’d roast chicken legs and other chicken pieces. Keep in mind though that there’s not a lot of meat on chicken backs. You’ll likely get more from your purchase if you make chicken soup or chicken stew instead.
What are chicken backs used for?
There are so many ways to prepare chicken backs besides soup! For example, try this Jamaican Chicken Back Stew, AKA brown stew chicken. It’s a tasty way to enjoy chicken backs and rice. Another idea is to make fried chicken back (AKA “chicken ribs”- confusing!), similar to how you’d make fried chicken.
Is chicken back healthy?
What’s healthy always depends on what your personal diet needs and preferences are. Chicken backs are a nutrient-dense food that can be a healthy protein source in the diet. They’re rich in many essential vitamins and minerals, especially niacin.
👩🏻🍳 Other Ways to Use Chicken Back Stock
Here are some other recipes using chicken back bone broth:
- Shrimp Chowder (New England Style)
- Instant Pot Italian Sausage Soup
- Instant Pot Lima Beans
- Lobster Ravioli Sauce Recipe
Use leftover meat for tacos, casseroles, BBQ sandwiches, rice dishes, or anywhere else you’d use chicken!
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