Bone Broth 101 / Beef Bone Broth vs. Chicken Bone Broth

Beef Bone Broth vs. Chicken Bone Broth

beef vs chicken bone broth infographic

Before we dive into the nutrition profiles of beef bone broth and chicken bone broth, there are a few key differences between the two, which you may notice right away. For example, taste, digestibility, cooking time, and the overall benefits felt and experienced. Let’s take a look at those differences.

pouring chicken bone broth into a bowl

Key Differences Between Beef and Chicken Bone Broth

Bone broth is becoming the new coffee (yes — even for die-hard espresso lovers like myself). But which one is right for you? Well, when it comes to chicken vs. beef bone broth, most people report experiencing a greater boost in their energy levels from drinking beef bone broth. This is likely due to cattle bones being much more dense and containing a higher concentration of minerals compared to lighter, thinner chicken bones.

Now, this doesn’t mean chicken bone broth is useless. Chicken bone broth still contains minerals such as magnesium that promote long-lasting energy — so why not give both a try and see how you feel?

Chicken Bone Broth is Easier to Digest

All varieties of bone broth are considered easily digestible thanks to the long simmer and cook time. However, some people find chicken bone broth easier to digest, suggesting it may be a better choice for those with weakened  digestive systems.

Chicken Bone Broth Cooks a Little Faster

The longer you cook your bone broth, the more concentrated in nutrients it will be. When it comes to cooking time, beef bones are much thicker and heartier than chicken bones, so for optimal benefits, they require a longer cooking time and should be simmered for at least 24 hours (closer to the 36-hour mark would be even better).

Chicken bones are lighter and thinner, and can get away with a shorter cook time (18-24 hours) — however, a 24-hour cook time is always recommended to really break down the connective tissue and bones to release as many amino acids and minerals, and as much collagen and gelatin, as possible.

Beef for Hearty Flavor, Chicken for a Lighter Taste

Roasting bones for an hour beforehand will always add depth to the flavor of your bone broth, regardless of whether it’s chicken or beef. The flavor you prefer will ultimately come down to personal preference; however, homemade beef bone broth tends to have a heartier, richer flavor, while chicken broth is on the lighter side.

Cooking time and temperature can also influence the flavors of both beef and chicken bone broths (for example, if you keep your bones on a higher temperature for more than 48 hours, the color will turn unusually dark, and the flavor may turn bitter and unpleasant).

As you can see, there are a few subtle differences between beef and chicken bone broth, which you may notice right away. Now, let’s take a look at how they measure up in nutritional value.

canning jars with beef bone broth and chicken bone broth

 Nutrients in Beef Bone Broth vs. Chicken Bone Broth

You really can’t go wrong when it comes to any kind of bone broth. As we covered before, all bones and connective tissue contain essential nutrients with every sip. With that said, here are the differences in the nutrient profiles of beef bone broth and chicken bone broth.

Chicken bone broth has a higher omega-6 ratio than beef bone broth.

Our bodies cannot make omega-3 or omega-6 essential fatty acids, so we must obtain them from our diets. You see, while we need both, omega-3 helps reduce inflammation, and omega-6 promotes systemic inflammation when consumed in excess.

In today’s Western diet, we consume omega-6 essential fatty acids through corn, soybean, and vegetable oils (which are found in deep-fried foods, fast foods and processed foods). In fact, research shows we’re getting nearly five times the amount of omega-6 essential fatty acids in our diets than our ancestors did (3).

Now, going back to chicken bone broth: Poultry has a higher omega-6 content than cattle, so bone broth made from beef (especially from grass-fed bones) may be a better option if you’re watching your omega-3/6 intake.

Chicken bone broth has a higher protein content.

Yes, chicken bone broth is slightly higher in protein than beef bone broth — as long as you add the feet.

Chicken bones may be less dense than heavy beef bones, and they do contain less collagen, but the magic of chicken bone broth is all in the feet. Yes, chicken feet contain collagen (more so than beef bones), which yields a bone broth higher in protein.

In fact, if your bone broth doesn’t gel (which indicates the presence of gelatin and, therefore, a bone broth with more collagen) despite the type of bones you’ve used, a simple quick fix to make your bone broth more gelatinous is to add a few extra chicken feet.

Beef bone broth is higher in minerals.

Beef bones are larger and heavier than chicken bones, which naturally will provide a higher concentration of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus and sulfur, which have been shown to promote higher energy levels.

a mug of beef bone broth

So, is Beef or Chicken Bone Broth Better?

Truthfully, the “better” option will come down to the individual. Of course, taste preference is a big factor, because it must be enjoyable for you to want to drink it in the first place.

Beyond taste preference, you may want to choose chicken bone broth if you’re looking to get more protein in your diet. Beef bone broth may be the ideal choice if you’re watching your omega-6/3 intake. But, hey, there’s no rule that says you can’t combine both chicken and beef bones and get the best of both worlds.

Regardless of the variety of bone broth you choose, it’s a win-win for your body.

titled photo: Beef bone broth versus chicken bone broth

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