How to Make Fish Stock (step-by-step pictures + video)

Fish stock are easy and quick to make, and they can be used to make delicious fish soups, chowders, risotto or fish pies.

They are also very good for our health, and in this video I’m explaining exactly why (plus I tell you a little story from when I lived in China).

Why Homemade Fish Stock Is Healthy

Fish stocks or broths are a rich source of calcium. As you cook the stock, the calcium that’s in the fish bones is released in the water, and you then get to absorb this calcium. Then, fish are rich in other minerals, especially iodine.

When I lived in China, when we had dinner, people would always politely offer me the head, because it is the most prized part of the fish. And for a good reason.

Fish heads contain the thyroid glands of the fish, and thus supplies thyroid hormone and other substances that nourish our own thyroid gland. These glands have been used for centuries by both traditional Chinese medicine and traditional Western medicine.

According to some research, at least 40% of all Americans suffer from a deficiency of the thyroid gland, associated with symptoms of fatigue, weight gain, frequent colds and flu, inability to concentrate, depression and more serious health issues like heart disease and cancer. So, fish stocks are a really good idea for most people.

Makes 1 quart – Prep. time 70 mn.

Head, bones, skins and trimmings of non-oily fish such as sole, rockfish, hake, snapper
1 tbsp butter
1 onion or 2 shallots, coarsely chopped
1 carrot, coarsely chopped
1 tsp thyme
1 tbsp parsley
1 bay leaf
1/8 cup (30ml) apple cider or white wine vinegar
1.5 quarts cold water


Melt butter in a large stainless steel pot. Add the vegetables and bay leaf and cook on low to medium heat for about 5 minutes.


Add the fish carcasses and then add cold water and vinegar. Bring to a boil.


Skim off the scum and impurities as they rise to the top.

Add herbs to the pot.


Reduce heat, cover and simmer for 1 hour.


Remove carcasses with a slotted spoon and strain the liquid.


– Don’t use oily fish such as salmon or mackerel, because unsaturated fish oils get oxidized during cooking.

– Unlike meat stocks, fish stock can be made in only one hour; longer simmering would dissolve calcium salts of fish bones, which may give the stock a chalky taste.


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