How To Make Homemade Ham Stock

Recipe Pin
3 hours 15 minutes
8 servings, based on 1/2 cup portions

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Twice each year, I offer a ham for a holiday gathering, Easter and again at Christmas. Twice each year, I am left with a mighty ham bone once it has been picked clean. This ham stock recipe is very much a hands-off project that will give back each time you reach for it over and above a store bought can of broth.

a glass measuring cup filled with ham stock
All images and text ©Jenny DeRemer for Not Entirely Average, LLC

Learning how to make ham stock at home has been a game-changer!

A rich, nutrient-dense bone broth, ham stock is used in southern cooking to flavor and elevate many dishes like collard greens, braised cabbage, red beans and rice, black eyed peas, porridge, braised bratwursts and sausages.

Plus you can use it to cook noodles and pastas in lieu of water.

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a glass measuring cup filled with ham stock

There is no ham stock substitute that I am aware of that is as good as your own homemade ham bone broth.

And as I mentioned earlier, there’s more ways to use this well seasoned broth than just for making soup. Making stock from scraps that might have been thrown away feels like getting free food, plus the homemade stock is so much more flavorful than anything canned.

Did I mention that your house smells great while the stock is cooking? Call me frugal, but be sure to also call me smart.

How Do You Make Ham Stock from Scratch?

The best part about making ham stock is that there are no fancy ingredients and you don’t need to whip out your slow cooker or pressure cooker. Plus, you can prepare your bone stock up to 3 days ahead, leaving you plenty of time to get the rest of your feast ready!

An easy ham broth recipe requires only a large stockpot, bay leaves, as many cups water is it takes to sufficiently cover the bone, and the trilogy of onion, celery, and carrots.

I also find about a tablespoon of whole black peppercorns to toss in. Bacon fat leftover from breakfast, crushed garlic cloves, and a bouquet garni help to layer the end product. A leek makes it even better if you’ve got one.

Making broth from ham bones and freezing it both in ice cube trays as well as plastic containers makes thawing it for use a cinch. I find using the ham stock cubes which I freeze in ice trays extremely handy.

They add depth to my beef and pork ragu. I also cook pasta salad noodles using half ham stock and half water.

Watch my quick overview video below to see how easy it is to make ham bone broth…

Once your stock is finished simmering, after about 3 hours, allow your soup a 24 hour rest in the refrigerator. This is not a suggestion, rather a quasi requirement if you plan to either use immediately or freeze.

The fat solids need the change to float and collect at the top of the stock. Chilling it allows it to become somewhat firm and easily spooned off.

In the photos I have selected to show, you can clearly see that layer of fat capping the stock. Remove this before using or freezing.

Speaking of freezing…your freshly made ham stock recipe will be good for up to 3 months. Talk about a good use of your time!

a glass measuring cup filled with ham stock

The broth itself will not be fluid, rather mildly gelatinous. This is bone broth. In its chilled state, this is the correct consistency. If yours is like then give yourself a high-five because you’ve done it all correctly!

What can I use ham stock for?

You can use ham stock to flavor dishes like red beans and rice, braised cabbage and collard greens, braised bratwurst, and sausage. Or instead of water, use ham bone broth to cook noodles and pasta.

Can you freeze ham stock?

Yes, you can put ham stock in the freezer and it will be good for to 3 months. So get those freezer-proof containers ready and maximize your efforts in the kitchen!

a glass measuring cup filled with ham stock

How To Make Homemade Ham Stock

Jenny DeRemer
Homemade ham stock is a hands-off project that repays you over and over again by way of rich broth to be used for so many delicious recipes.
5 from 1 vote
Servings: 8 servings, based on 1/2 cup portions
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 8 servings, based on 1/2 cup portions
Calories 74 kcal


  • 8 quart stockpot


Use this Ham Stock Recipe to make Creamy Plantation Potato and Ham Soup

  • 2 tablespoons bacon grease
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 small leek white and light-green parts only, chopped; may substitute ramps or green onions
  • 1 small onion rough chopped
  • 2 stalks celery rough chopped
  • 2 large carrots rough chopped
  • 6 cloves garlic peeled, crushed
  • 1 ham bone scraps attached
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 6 sprigs thyme
  • 2 large bay leaves
  • 1 tablespoon black peppercorns


  • Heat the bacon fat along with the olive oil in a large stockpot over medium high heat. Cook leek, onion, celery, carrot, and garlic, stirring frequently, until tender and golden, about 10 minutes.
  • Add ham bone, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, and peppercorns and cover with water about 1" above top of bone.
  • Simmer, uncovered, until stock is flavorful and fragrant, about 3 hours. You will have about 1 quart of rich stock at this point, give or take.
  • Strain stock through a fine-mesh sieve into a large bowl; discard the solids all but for the larger pieces of ham that have fallen from the bone. Depending on your plans for the stock, the ham can be diced and saved for a later soup or other dish at the very end, like a garnish. If you want to be really over the top, fry the ham bits in bacon fat and then garnish with them. Then…drop the mic…

The nutrition value can vary depending on what product(s) you use. The information below is an estimate. Always use a calorie counter you are familiar with.

Please note that table salt and iodized salt are NOT substitutions for Kosher salt. Do not deviate unless otherwise specified.


Serving: 1servingCalories: 74kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 3mgSodium: 29mgPotassium: 147mgFiber: 1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 3301IUVitamin C: 6mgCalcium: 31mgIron: 1mg
Did you love this recipe?Leave a comment and Let me know how it was!

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    1. Glenda, thanks for your question. The answer is far longer than 3 months, however the Food and Drug Administration dictates safe canning practices and shelf-life length based on their national advisory bulletins. I am therefore bound to communicate their standards. I have canned this ham stock and stored in a cool dark pantry for up to 1 year and it was fine. I do however recommend strongly that if folks reading this reply are beginner canners or are not using best canning practices, that they instead opt to freeze the ham stock as I have recommended in my post. Proceed with canning ham stock ONLY if you are a seasoned canner. I hope this helps you Glenda, and do let me know how you enjoy whatever you end up using the ham stock in 🙂 Jenny Here is a handy link to our FDA’s Best Canning Practices

  1. When I do a ham, I don’t do anything fancy to it until afterwards.
    I cook the ham plain and then save all the juices to add to my broth.

    1. Charlie, you’ve just mentioned another great way to capitalize on flavor by way of the juices; I do this sometimes, too and reduce them (assuming there is quite a lot) to then freeze into cubes and use for highly concentrated sauces at a later time. Thanks for mentioning! Jenny

  2. The short description when this recipe first pops up says that the prep time is “27 hours!” Reading the recipe, it looks to be a little over three hours.
    Maybe a typo?

    1. Phil, great question! It’s not a typo, however I have removed the chilling time because there is in fact a caveat, so I’m glad you brought it to my attention. I like to chill mine overnight. I do this so the fat has time to solidify at the top of the stock. This way, I can skim it off much easier. The caveat it that soooo many recipes specify ‘rich stock’ and therefor you mightn’t wish to skim the fat at all. The stock is “ready as soon as it’s ready,” but if you want to wait a day and skim, you’ll be lightening up a bit with that fat removal.

    1. Hi Joanne! YES! Ham stock is a fantastic base for so many dishes, and not just soup. I am developing a Cassoulet currently with duck, sausage, and white beans. Normally, I’d grab for chicken stock, but I want this to feel and taste deeper and earthier, so am experimenting with ham stock to actually do the entire soak for the beans. So far, I am overjoyed at the result. Thanks for your comment and of course, your continued support! 🙂

        1. YEAH Kelly! Turn the heat off. Move the pot to a cold burner. Set a timer for 30 minutes. After the 30 minutes, pour into a LARGE Pyrex or other shatter-proof/heat-proof bowl. Refrigerate overnight allowing a fat cap to form on the surface. Tomorrow, remove the fat and pour into freezer safe plastic bags in 1 or 2 cup increments. FREEZE THE BAGS FLAT. Use ham stock in lieu of beef stock or when making gravies or soups where you desire a richer outcome to your recipes 🙂 Let me know how you enjoy it – I’ve got some recipes linked in the post. Jenny