AIP Beef Bone Broth


(Note: Unlike most other bone broth recipes out there, this is fully compliant with the Autoimmune Protocol. If you’re not on the AIP, it’s still a delicious & easy recipe you will love. It can be made with an Instant Pot or other electronic pressure cooker, large stock pot, or a combination, which is what I do. Depending on your method, it can take anywhere from about 4-5 hours to over 36. Explanation below.)

Forgetting for a second the health benefits of beef bone broth, I happen to just think it’s a delicious savory food, especially on these cold winter days. The flavor can be built up with all manner of herbs, spices, and veggies according to your tastes.

On the other hand, you might have to get past some ick factors. There is the potent beefy smell during the cooking and simmering stage, and probably for at least the whole next day. Gelatin and collagen-rich beef broth can be very prone to solidifying into a kind of jelly in the fridge too, even if you were diligent about removing the hardened fat crust that forms on the top when the freshly cooked broth cools. That last part sounds fun too, right?

I happen to love all this stuff, but if you don’t, you’re still going to find your efforts to be worthwhile. Yes for the final flavor, but also as I alluded to at the beginning, the undeniable health benefits. I became interested in bone broth when I began practicing my own spin on the Paleo diet, which I’ve had great success on. But it didn’t become an imperative to make it until a loved one started facing some serious gut health issues.

Humans evolved eating all possible parts of hunted animals. This included connective and fatty tissues, and other cuts that have gone by the wayside in our modern world, besides the leaner meats we enjoy today such as steak and chicken breasts. Bones were boiled en mass to create a broth that was nutritive and mineral rich.

While clearly I’ve sided with the omnivores of the world in terms of my eating habits, this doesn’t mean our meat consumption should be excessive (hunting animals took hard physical and mental work, and time), or disrespectful to animals. Incidentally, the healthiest meat and bones for you to eat is that which is treated with care and respect.

Besides you looking for “pastured” or “pasture-raised” on the label, buying your bones at a reliable natural foods store who makes animal wellbeing a priority will pay off for you in the long run when you consider the long-term effects of our diet and ever increasing health care costs.

Look around to see what’s in your community. Whole Foods is the only grocer I know of in my entire state that provides a rating scale by its meat products to indicate the quality of the animals’ living conditions. On the other hand, there are many local farms with storefront business hours which provide their own meat and bones or work cooperatively with other local farms who do. I can see the animals in an optimal and caring environment with my own eyes.

This isn’t my first foray into recipe writing for those concerned with gut health and other autoimmune diseases. Fermented foods are excellent to replenish healthy gut flora, so check out my AIP Pickle recipe. I’ll be working on an AIP sauerkraut and other AIP recipes in the coming weeks as well.

Likewise, besides containing minerals and micro-nutrients, beef bone broth is high in collagen and gelatin which help heal and support your intestinal lining (which can become highly inflamed, either for short periods or as part of various chronic illnesses like Crohn’s and Colitis). However, while bone broth recipes are in no short supply, the list for those which are AIP (autoimmune protocol) compliant is more limited. Many common seasonings are off limits, including something as common as black pepper, which is frequently found in store brands.

But while this recipe is AIP compliant, it is anything but dull. Even if you don’t have gut issues, or they’re kept in check by a regular Paleo or other clean diet such as Whole30, I think you will love this broth and make this your go to recipe.

Let’s get started, shall we?

This recipe will yield about 6.5 cups of beef bone broth (6-7 servings).

You will need: a 14″ (or larger) cooking pan; spatula; half gallon jar or other suitable broth storage container; knife and cutting board; Instant Pot (optional but cuts cook time down by up to 80%) or large stock pot; vegetable peeler (optional); strainer (this straining ladle is very helpful); a canning funnel also makes getting broth into a jar easier.

Times: If you only use the Instant Pot, the total time will be around 5 hours. Cooking the bones in the Instant Pot but finishing the broth by simmering the veggies in a stock pot (my chosen method, which will preserve more of the vegetables’ nutrients) can take from 9-15 hours depending on how long they are simmered. Using only a stock pot will take over 30-36 hours with prep time.

Ingredients: Use organic ingredients whenever possible & affordable

  • 3 pounds beef broth bones (buy the best quality you can reasonably afford, and ideally it includes a mix of knuckle, marrow, joint, and feet bones); you can also add in other bones such as chicken carcasses or oxtails, turkey necks, etc.
  • 8.5 cups filtered or distilled water
  • 1 TBS salt, can be a mineral rich salt like pink himalayan salt if available (this one comes already ground at a reasonable price)
  • 2 TBS avocado oil (or Extra Virgin Olive Oil, aka EVOO)
  • 3-4 carrots
  • 1 hand of ginger root (around 100g), sliced
  • suggested: finger of turmeric root (around 50g), sliced
  • 1 large onion quartered with skins retained
  • 1 head celery
  • 2 heads garlic, separate the cloves but retain inner peels
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 bunch parsley

Added ingredients: You can add (or substitute) any ingredients you may have on hand. For example, I had 7-8 large turnip tops from my garden I had cut and frozen, but no celery, so I put those tops to good use. Some possibilities are: rutabagas, mustard greens (or any other greens, these are prevalent in my garden), green onions, chives, radishes, cilantro, sage, lemongrass and more. Just check your AIP checklist if in doubt (if this is a requirement for you.).


1.) Add 1-2 TBSP oil to a large pan or skillet and add the bones. They may be frozen or thawed. Cook at a medium-high heat around 9-10 minutes, turning periodically until all sides have are golden brown. (You can bake oil-rubbed meat on an aluminum lined sheet for 40 minutes and flip in the middle, but the skillet method is faster.) Transfer all the bones to your Instant Pot or alternately place in a large stock pot.

The garlic can be cooked with the meat or the veggies; I used a head of garlic with the bones and the other head with the veggies

2.) Add 8.5 cups water and 1 TBS salt to your Instant Pot or stock pot with the beef bones. Set the Instant Pot at the Normal setting for Soup/Broth for one hour. Make sure the ventilator is sealed. For a stock pot, add the water and bones and bring to a low boil. Then reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook for 24 hours. Periodically remove any foam that forms at the top with a spoon.

The beef bones have just been combined with the water at the outset of pot cooking. The cooler water temp hardened some of the fat. It can stay in the pot, as fats will be removed later.

3.) As this initial bone broth gets closer to completion, the veggies are now prepped. Rough chop the carrots (peeling optional) and celery, quarter the onions (retaining peel), and pull apart the garlic cloves, retaining some peels. Slice the ginger and optional turmeric into 1/4″ slices (doesn’t need to be peeled).

I added green onions from my garden to this batch. Note that the parsley or other soft herbs should not be sauteed in the pan.

4.) Add another 1 TBS oil to the pan and cook all the vegetables including the garlic, ginger and optional turmeric (but exclude any soft herbs including the parsley) at a medium-high heat for around 5 minutes, trying to lightly brown some of the veggies without burning anything. (Note that pan sauteing the bones and veggies can be skipped to save time but will add a delicious depth of flavor.)

Pan sauteing the veggies will impart a great flavor

5.) In Instant Pot: once the pressure has been released and you are able to open your Instant Pot, add the veggies, parsley and bay leaves (and any other herbs) and again set it to Soup/Broth – Normal for one hour. Combo method: if you’d like to finish up your Instant Pot broth with everything in a stock pot, which is my preferred method, then transfer your bones and broth to the stock pot and add your veggies, parsley, and bay leaves (and any other herbs). Then follow the next step. In a stock pot: add the veggies, parsley, bay leaves (and any other herbs) to the bones and broth, bring to a low boil, then cover. Reduce heat and simmer for 6-12 hours (the final flavor and nutrient count won’t differ much between the two cook times, but the longer time is noted simply in case you won’t be able to turn it off earlier.)

All veggies and herbs added to the broth. The bones may stay in the broth to continue releasing minerals and nutrients and adding flavor.
The broth after it has cooked with the veggies and herbs. The remaining steps are straining out solids, cooling, removing the fat, and placing in the final container

6.) Regardless of which cooking device is used, when the broth is complete, all bones, veggies, and herbs should be removed. A straining ladle is a good tool here but a mesh strainer will work too.

7.) Allow the broth to cool in whichever pot you used. The Instant Pot enables you to pull out the metal casing holding the broth and this can be placed in the fridge (with a tight plastic wrap covering). If a stock pot was used, it can be placed in the fridge with a plastic wrap covering or the broth can be transferred to a covered bowl or large tupperware.

8.) Keep the broth in the refrigerator for several hours (or overnight), allowing the fat to harden at the surface. Using a large spoon, remove all the hardened fat and discard. (You may notice that the broth itself hardens into a thick, gelatinous form. This is normal and a sign of excellent collagen and gelatin levels.)

Fats will harden at the top and should be removed with a spoon.

9.) If the broth was in a bowl, transfer it to a longer term storage vessel such as a large tupperware or half gallon jar. You can keep it in a gelatinous state to do this (if it has congealed) or if you prefer, you can warm the broth back up on your stovetop and transfer it as a liquid. There will about 6.5 cups of broth.

I like to keep my broth in glass jars as plastics can retain old flavors indefinitely, even with thorough washings.

Notes & Ideas:

  • The broth may be in a liquid or gelatin form in your fridge; either way, measure out a cup for one serving, and heat it in a small saucepan or microwave oven. Despite some myths that microwaves destroy mineral and vitamin counts, this is an acceptable method with similar results.
  • What to do with all the leftover bones and veggies? I happen to like the taste of the meat pulled off the bones (not all cuts will have this but some do) and I put what I can salvage – both meat and veggies – in paleo tacos. Or I just put some pieces of the meat into my bowl of broth. These leftovers may not be for everyone and if you just want to discard it, you’re far from alone on that.
  • What should you add to your bone broth once it’s complete? While you can drink it as is (I love it), you can treat it as a soup base and add any fresh meats or vegetables you want. We combine it with chicken broth and add chicken and veggies for a nutritive gut-healing chicken soup in my house often. I frequently add my older, more pungent kimchi, and it is delicious. This is extremely gut healthy but kimchi should not be eaten while on the AIP due to the hot pepper. Here’s a photo:

I hope you enjoy it. Let us know what you like to do with your bone broth!

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