How to Make Brown Stock

Beef stock
rusty_clark/Flickr/CC BY 2.0

The procedure for making brown stock differs from that of white stock mainly in that instead of blanching the bones beforehand, they are roasted instead.

Roasting brings out more color and flavor. The mirepoix is roasted too, for the same reason.

Also, some sort of tomato product is used with brown stocks, again for adding color and flavor, but also because the acid in the tomato helps dissolve the connective tissues in the bones, thus aiding in the formation of gelatin.

For more details, check out this illustrated step-by-step guide to making brown stock.

Difficulty: Average

Time Required: 5 to 7 hours

Here's How

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place beef or veal bones in a heavy-bottomed roasting pan. Drizzle them with a bit of vegetable oil if you like.
  3. Roast bones for about half an hour.
  4. Add mirepoix to the roasting pan and continue roasting for another half an hour. Toward the end of the roasting, add the tomato product.
  5. When the bones are thoroughly browned, remove the roasting pan from the oven and transfer the bones to a heavy-bottomed stockpot.
  6. Add enough cold water to the pot to completely cover the bones. Figure about a quart of water for each pound of bones.
  7. Bring the pot to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a simmer.
  8. Skim off the scum that rises to the surface.
  9. Add the roasted mirepoix to the pot along with a sachet d'epices; tie the sachet string to the stockpot handle for easy retrieval later.
  10. Continue to simmer the stock and skim the impurities that rise to the surface. The liquid will evaporate, so make sure there's always enough water to cover the bones.
  11. After anywhere from 4 to 6 hours, once the stock has developed a rich, brown color, remove the pot from the heat.
  12. Strain the stock through a sieve lined with a few layers of cheesecloth. Cool the stock quickly, using an ice bath if necessary.


  1. The best bones to use for making stock are ones with a lot of cartilage, such as the so-called "knuckle" bones in the various leg joints. The bones of younger animals also have more cartilage, which is why veal bones are so desirable.
  2. Always start with cold water when making stock. It will help extract more collagen from the bones, which will produce a stock with more body.
  3. Don't let the stock boil, but rather, keep it at a gentle simmer. Also, don't stir the stock while it simmers. Just let it do its thing. All you need to worry about is skimming the scum off the top, and possibly adding more water if the liquid level drops too low.

What You Need

  • Beef or veal bones
  • Heavy-bottomed roasting pan
  • Heavy-bottomed stockpot
  • Tomato product such as puree or paste
  • Mirepoix
  • Sachet
  • Mesh strainer
  • Cheesecloth