The 5 Best Bone Broths You Can Buy Off the Shelf

Alyse Whitney
·4 min read

This article was originally published in 2018.

The best bone broths are a labor of love. To reap the benefits of the warming elixir—improved gut health and immune system, stronger joints, nails, and hair—you’re looking at least a full day of blanching, roasting, and boiling bones until they transform into a gelatinous, collagen-rich stock. But not all of us have 8 to 24 hours to commit to making such a fortified stock, and there are dozens of bottled, jarred, boxed, and bagged bone broths on the market now. But how do you know which bone broth is actually worth buying?

We tried 22 chicken and beef bone broths, comparing them to the flavor and body of a great homemade stock, and found just five worth your time and money.

A note on nutrition: “There is no concrete evidence that shows whether chicken is healthier than beef bone broth,” explains registered dietitian and nutritionist Charmaine Jones (M.S., RDN, LDN). She suggests adding 4 to 8 oz. of any variety of bone broth to your diet each day, which can help with healing wounds, improving skin, hair, and nails, and strengthening bones.

Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth

This shelf-stable bone broth didn’t smell like much of anything, so we were surprised that it tasted “SO CHICKEN-Y” and homemade. It had a nice body and the mouthfeel of a home-cooked broth, which was surprising since it didn’t have to be refrigerated or frozen like most of our other picks. It was packed with a lot more vegetables than other bone broths: roasted poblano peppers, and all organic green peppers, scallions, tomatoes, celery, onion, carrot, garlic, and assorted herbs. The use-by date was a full two years after we sampled it, which makes it a great pantry-friendly version of chicken bone broth.

Kettle & Fire Chicken Bone Broth

$8.00, Kettle & Fire

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Brodo Beef Bone Broth

Chef Marco Canora started brodo out of the kitchen window of his NYC restaurant Hearth in 2014, and its 18-hour simmered broth is now frozen and shipped nationwide. We thought it had a “surprisingly clean, yet also very intense beef flavor.” There were some notes of “sweetness and brightness,” and it coats your palate in a very comforting way, like mom’s homemade soup. It has a lot of strong, beefy umami flavor, so it’s best sipped in small doses.

Brodo Beef Bone Broth

$13.00, Brodo

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Bare Bones Beef Bone Broth

This was a “very drinkable” bone broth that had a thinner texture than expected, but a “pleasant, well-rounded flavor” that we went back to for a few more sips. It was surprisingly shelf-stable with a use-by date 10 months from the date we purchased. Ingredients included beef bones, tomatoes, organic vegetables and herbs (onion, carrot, garlic, parsley, thyme), sea salt, bay leaves, and black pepper, and any flavoring was subtle and not overpowering.

Bare Bones Beef Bone Broth (2 Pack)

$23.00, Amazon

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Bonafide Provisions Beef Bone Broth

“This broth has a very clean and light aroma—no trace of barnyard,” remarked one taster. It was a “definitely drinkable” broth but was a “little bland” and in need of some flavor enhancers. We noted this could be a good one to cook with, whether for soup, brothy beans, or a batch of quinoa.

Bonafide Provisions Organic Beef Bone Broth

$10.00, Whole Foods

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Swanson Chicken Bone Broth

This was our surprise late addition supermarket pick. Swanson had more body than we expected from a shelf-stable stock and a little bit of a spicy black pepper note. There’s a good chicken flavor that is a step above the bouillon-y taste you typically get from a mass-produced stock and an herby note that reminded us a little of Thanksgiving stuffing. We may not drink big mugs of this, but in a pinch, it’s the least expensive decent-tasting option you can find at almost every grocery store across the country, and it will last in the pantry for a year.

Swanson Chicken Bone Broth

$4.00, Target

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Originally Appeared on Bon Appétit