Here are all my tips on How to Make Ham Stock and Recipe Ideas Using Ham Stock. Use the delicious stock in soups or stews where you want more ham flavor.

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I’m not always the most frugal cook on earth, but one frugal thing I love to do is save scraps of meat and vegetables and use them to make homemade stock. 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 canned stock, and your house smells great while the stock is cooking.

If you’re already making homemade chicken stock, turkey stock, or beef stock, you may not need this tutorial on making ham stock, but when I’ve mentioned ham stock to people, I’ve been surprised how many people have told me they’ve never thought of it.

Why do you need ham stock?

If you’re fond of making soup with ham bones or even pieces of ham rind, you may be wondering, why not just add those things to the soup instead of going to the bother of making stock. Of course you can do that and still get good results, but cooking the ham stock for hours concentrates the flavor and gets every bit of goodness out of the ham. I don’t buy ham as much as I do some other types of meat, but whenever I use ham stock in a recipe, I’m always happy with the rich ham flavor it produces.

How to Make Ham Stock collage photo

How to Make Ham Stock

(This is just a summary of the steps; scroll down for complete recipe.)

  1. Save scraps of ham or ham bones in the freezer until you have enough to make stock. 
  2. You can also freeze scraps of celery, onion, and carrots if you’d like.
  3. Use the largest soup pot you have for making stock. Put the ham scraps into the pot along with pieces of onion, celery, and carrots, and fill the pot with water.
  4. You can add some coarse ground pepper or a few peppercorns, but DO NOT ADD SALT!
  5. Turn the pot on to the lowest possible simmer and let the stock cook for 6-8 hours, adding a cup or two of water about once an hour. (See recipe for slow cooker cooking.)
  6. After 6-8 hours, remove the ham pieces and vegetables with a Slotted Spoon (affiliate link) or large spoon and discard.
  7. Taste the stock (carefully, since it’s hot!) If the flavor is not as strong as you’d like, turn the heat to medium and boil gently for 30 minutes or more until some of the water is boiled away. 
  8. I like to use a ham flavor base to make the stock more intensely ham flavored, and Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate (affiliate link) is my favorite product of this type.
  9. If you have a fine mesh stock skimmer (affiliate link) that’s a good way to skim off any scum that rises to the top while the stock is cooking.
  10. When the stock has concentrated enough to have a rich ham flavor, strain again, using the finest strainer you have. I use a fine mesh Yogurt Strainer (affiliate link) and strain the stock into a Fat Separator (affiliate link) which lets the stock pour from the bottom, leaving the fat to be discarded. 
  11. I like to freeze the stock in 2 cup or 4 cup containers so I know exactly how much I have when I’m thawing it for a recipe, but you can use any plastic container with a tight fitting lid.
  12. I use adhesive tape and a sharpie market to label stock with the type and date. Stock can be stored frozen for 6-12 months, although I never manage to keep it in the freezer for that long!
  13. I’ve been making ham stock using this method for a very long time!

Ham Stock

How to Make Ham Stock top photo
Yield: 8-10 cups ham stock (or more)

How to Make Ham Stock

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 20 minutes

Save scraps of ham and vegetables and simmer them together to make delicious ham stock to use in recipes!

Ingredients

  • ham scraps, including the rind from the ham
  • ham bones, if available
  • celery scraps, including the leaves and root end of the celery
  • carrot scraps, including the carrot tops but not the leaves
  • onions scraps or several onions, peeled and cut in half
  • 12 cups water (or more if you have a really large stock pot
  • ham flavor base (optional)

Instructions

  1. Save scraps of ham or ham bones in the freezer until you have enough to make stock. (I usually try to have at least 4 cups of scraps for a very large soup pot, but you don't have to have quite that much. You can also freeze scraps of celery, onion, and carrots if you have leftovers.
  2. Use the largest soup pot you have for making stock. Put the ham scraps into the pot along with pieces of onion, celery, and carrots, and fill the pot with water. (I use vegetable scraps equivalent to about 2 onions, 3-4 carrots, and 3-4 large celery stalks.) You can add some coarse ground pepper or a few peppercorns, but DO NOT ADD SALT!
  3. Turn the pot on to the lowest possible simmer and let the stock cook for 6-8 hours, adding a cup or two of water about once an hour.
  4. If you want to cook this when you won't be home, it can be done in a large slow cooker, but you will need to reduce the stock on the stove after it simmers all day in the slow cooker.
  5. After 6-8 hours, remove the ham pieces and vegetables with a Slotted Spoon (affiliate link) or large spoon and discard.
  6. Taste the stock (carefully, since it's hot!) If the flavor is not as strong as you'd like, turn the heat to medium and boil gently for 30 minutes or more until some of the water is boiled away. (I nearly always need to do this.)
  7. I like to use a ham flavor base to make the stock more intensely ham flavored, and Goya Ham Flavor Concentrate (affiliate link) is my favorite product of this type.
  8. If you have a fine mesh stock skimmer (affiliate link) that's a good way to skim off any scum that rises to the top while the stock is cooking.
  9. When the stock has concentrated enough to have a rich ham flavor, strain again, using the finest strainer you have. I use a fine mesh Yogurt Strainer (affiliate link) and strain the stock into a Fat Separator (affiliate link) which lets the stock pour from the bottom, leaving the fat to be discarded. You can also strain through cheesecloth if you don't have a strainer.
  10. If you don't have a way to remove the fat, you can let the stock cool in the refrigerator and the fat will harden on top and can be scooped off.
  11. I like to freeze the stock in 2 cup or 4 cup containers so I know exactly how much I have when I'm thawing it for a recipe, but you can use any plastic container with a tight fitting lid. I use adhesive tape and a sharpie market to label stock with the type and date. Stock can be stored frozen for 6-12 months, although I never manage to keep it in the freezer for that long!
  12. And as you can see from the photos in this post, I've been making ham stock using this method for a very long time!

Notes

This method of using ham and vegetable scraps to make ham stock has been used by Kalyn for more than 30 years!

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Recipe Ideas Using Ham Stock:

CrockPot Low-Carb Ham and Cabbage Soup
CrockPot (or Stovetop) Cannellini Bean and Kale Soup with Ham
Split Pea Soup with Ham, Bay Leaves, Epazote, and Red Bell Pepper

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