How to Clean Chicken Bones

Written by christopher godwin
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How to Clean Chicken Bones
Leftover bones from cooked chicken have a variety of different uses. (chicken grill image by Aleksandr Ugorenkov from

Cleaning chicken bones from a cooked whole chicken or cooked chicken pieces can be useful for a variety of reasons. Meat extracted from chicken bones can be used in soup recipes and casseroles, and much of the flavour will still be present after boiling the meat, which otherwise would have been very difficult to separate from the bone. Chicken bones can also be used for non-food purposes like science projects or decorative centrepieces for a table setting.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

Things you need

  • Chicken or chicken pieces
  • Large stockpot
  • Cold water
  • Wooden spoon
  • Soap
  • Bowl or container
  • Bleach
  • Protective gloves
  • Paper towels

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    Boiling to Remove Meat

  1. 1

    Fill a large stockpot with the chicken and enough cold water to cover the entire carcase or chicken bones that you wish to remove the meat from.

  2. 2

    Cover the stockpot and bring the contents to a boil. In an 8-qt. stockpot, this should take about 30 minutes over high heat.

  3. 3

    Reduce the heat to medium-high and continue boiling the chicken, stirring every 10 minutes with a wooden spoon to aid in the cleaning process.

  4. 4

    Allow the chicken to boil until the meat easily falls from the bone when you stir the chicken pieces. Most of the meat should be at the bottom of the pot, though some may remain no matter how long you continue boiling the bones.

  5. 5

    Remove the pot from heat and allow it cool until you can handle the chicken bones.

  6. 6

    Remove any remaining chicken meat from the bones that did not come off during the boiling process with clean hands.

    Preserving Bones for Non-Food Use

  1. 1

    Wash the bones with soapy water and rinse them with tap water.

  2. 2

    Transfer the bones to a bowl or container and pour in enough bleach to fully cover them, wearing protective gloves. Allow the bones to soak for 30 minutes.

  3. 3

    Wash the bones with soapy water again.

  4. 4

    Place the cleaned bones on a paper towel until fully dried.

Tips and warnings

  • Chicken bones can be added to soup stocks for up to 48 hours after boiling them, as long as they are stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container so bacteria do not build up.
  • Bleach is necessary to disinfect chicken bones if they are to be used for purposes other than food preparation. Bleach will also help to whiten the bones and remove any dark spots and bruising present.

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