9+ Surprising Uses for Chicken By-Products You Didn’t Know About

Chicken by-products like bones, skin, liver, gizzards, feet, and fat have surprising uses: bone broth, cracklings, pâté, stir-fry, soup, bone meal, soap, and jewelry.

chicken by products 9+ Surprising Uses for Chicken By-Products You Didn't Know About

Chicken is a staple food in many cultures around the world. It is versatile, easy to prepare, and appears in a variety of dishes—what is not to love? 

But chances are, if you have ever cooked chicken, you’ve retained residual products, elements that seemed fit for nothing but the trash. Not so fast, dear reader! Those by-products might be more valuable than you know!

We’ve done a deep dive into chicken’s multitudinous uses, and in this article, we will break down some surprising purposes for chicken by-products that you have probably never considered.

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Chicken Bone Broth

Perhaps the most obvious by-product of chicken residue is bone broth!

Bone broth is a delicious nectar beloved for its salty flavor and health benefits. It all starts with chicken bones which are rich in collagen and minerals. These substances make them the perfect base for a delicious and nutritious broth. 

Think broth isn’t worth it? Think again. Store-bought broth tends to be flavorless and watery, usually because of large-scale manufacturing practices. The homemade bone broth, on the other hand, bursts with flavor, adding a unique touch to any homemade stews and soups.

You can simmer the chicken bones with the vegetables and herbs of your choice for several hours. You can even customize the broth according to your preferences by adding spices of your choice to bring out your favorite flavors.

Chicken Skin Cracklings

One of the most egregious forms of food waste happens when cooks toss out the skins of their vegetables, fruits, and, of course, chicken. While the former waste makes stellar ingredients for soups and the like, chicken skin has an even more indulgent use.

If you love salty snacks, there is a secret power inside your chicken skins. Chicken skin can be deep-fried to make a delicious and crunchy snack: chicken skin cracklings. 

Typically, we associate cracklings with pork but chicken skin can work just as well for a crispy, distinctive snack. 

If you want to make cracklings, bake or fry the nearest plate of chicken skin until it’s crispy and golden brown, then season it with salt and spices for a tasty treat.

Chicken Liver Pâté

Despite its poor reputation in children’s books and its place of dishonor in physical chickens, the liver is a rich and flavorful ingredient. One of its best uses is in the iconic dish called pâté, a meat spread that can be used as a dip or in pies. 

To make your decadent pâté, you can sauté your leftover liver with onions and herbs. Combine the meat and condiments in a blender into a smooth paste. Spread the pâté on toast or crackers for a tasty appetizer.

Chicken Gizzard Stir-fry

Chicken gizzards are a nutrient-dense organ that is part of a variety of dishes. Next time you plan on discarding your gizzards, save them for a stir-fry.

You can instead sauté them with vegetables and herbs for a flavorful stir-fry. The result will be a dish packed with protein and other essential nutrients.

Chicken Feet Soup

Chicken feet may seem like an odd ingredient but they’re a traditional ingredient in many cultures. Like chicken bones, chicken feet are rich in collagen, which makes them well-suited to the flavorful and nutritious soup. 

To craft your own chicken feet soup, simmer your chicken feet with mushrooms, vegetables, and/or herbs for several hours to create a delicious broth.

Chicken Bone Meal

Sick of eating chicken products? Not to worry–other organisms are happy to eat it!

Whole chicken bones are great for humans, they can also help nourish plants in the form of fertilizer. To create your homemade plant superfood, just grind some chicken bones into a fine powder. The high levels of calcium and phosphorus in the bone meal make it an ideal soil amendment for gardens.

Chicken Fat Soap

Chicken fat, also known as schmaltz, has more uses than just culinary. It can also go into all-natural soaps!

Chicken fat is rich in nutrients, so it can work well for moisturizing and nourishing human skin. To try out chicken fat soap, you render chicken fat, mix it with lye, and pour it into molds to create homemade soap. Consider adding other aromatics to the soap.

Chicken Bone Jewelry

Want to aestheticize your chicken bones? Good news!

Chicken bones can make excellent jewelry. To do so, thoroughly clean, dry, and polish the bones, then string them on necklaces, bracelets, and other accessories. At the very least, they are guaranteed conversation starters.

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