Oven-Baked Cracklings & Chicken Bone Broth

You can use these instructions to prep one large package of chicken carcasses, also known as “chicken backs” (approx. 3 carcasses). The carcasses, or backs, are everything that’s leftover once popular cuts like legs and skinless boneless breasts have been packaged.

This will yield about four servings of cracklings, along with approximately 9 ounces of cooked meat, and approximately 10 cups of gelatinous, nutrient-dense broth to use in your favorite soup recipe.


Make the Cracklings

  • Preheat oven to 400° F.
  • Pull/cut the skin off the raw chicken carcasses. You can leave it mostly as-is, cutting open any spots needed to make it lay flat. 
  • Sandwich the skin between two pieces of parchment paper, sandwiched between two rimmed baking sheets, salting it lightly (it shrinks a lot).
  • Bake at 400° for about 20 minutes. Carefully drain off fat and save in fridge or freezer for future cooking. It’s great for roasting veggies!
  • Flip the skins, and bake another 20 minutes or so, until desired crispiness. Drain fat again. 
  • If needed, you can put them back in the oven for about 5 minutes without the top layer of parchment/baking sheet in order to get them fully crisped.

Make the Broth

  • After you’ve removed the skin, place the carcasses in a slow cooker with just enough water to cover. 
  • Simmer 1-2 hours, then remove the carcasses from cooker to cool slightly (leave water). Strip all the meat off, shredding as you go, and store in the refrigerator. 
  • Place the carcasses back in the water, add 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, and cook on low for approximately 24 hours. Then strain the broth and discard the bones. Add salt to the broth to taste, starting with ½ teaspoon and increasing as needed.
  • Now you have cooked shredded chicken, plus real chicken bone broth for your favorite soup recipe.  
  • If you don’t have a favorite soup recipe, try this. Sauté these chopped veggies:
    • 1 onion
    • 2 carrots
    • 2 celery ribs
    • 3 garlic cloves
  • Then add:
    • the broth
    • the meat
    • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
    • salt and pepper to taste
  • You can also include cooked rice, noodles, or quinoa. Simmer 20-30 minutes and adjust seasonings to taste. Garnish with chives or parsley and serve with cracklings on the side.

Recipe courtesy ThisIsWhatFoodLooksLike.com, adapted for and tested with Acorn Acres Farm ingredients.