Salt free stock in 60 minutes


As World Salt Awareness Week draws to a close I thought it’d be good to share our salt free stock recipe. 

So why do we bother to go to the effort of making stock when you can just use a couple of stock cubes?

Did you know that when you use just one stock cube each 100ml of made up stock contains about 0.75g salt (3.75g per cube)? Compare that to the maximum recommended intake for a baby (under 1) which is just 1g salt in total and you can see why we make ours. Even if you’re an adult the recommended maximum salt intake is 6g per day so if you’re making a dish for two and crumble in a couple of cubes for flavour you’ve had more than half of your ‘allowance’ just from stock cubes and that’s before you’ve added any to the veg and potato / pasta water or added a shake of (salt laden) soy or Worcester sauce. 

Even ‘reduced salt’ stock cubes have about 0.65g per 100ml made up stock! ‘Reduced’ does not mean ‘low’.

High salt intakes can cause serious health issues and even death. This is because a high salt intake is associated with health risks such as high blood pressure which is a major risk factor for stroke. So act now. 

Here’s what we do:

When we roast a chicken we always use the leftover carcass and scraps to make stock. We then use the stock for risotto or soup.

Our method uses a pressure cooker so we can be done in an hour – saving time and electricity. 

Into the pressure cooker goes:

  • Chicken carcass, bones, skin and anything you don’t eat. Rip it apart so that things fit better in the pressure cooker. 
  • 1 large carrot chopped into four. 
  • 1 large onion chopped into chunks – you can leave the skin on as this adds colour to the stock. We actually use a handful of pre-chopped frozen onions. 
  • A stick of celery chopped into chunks. OK, we actually don’t put celery in, but only because I’m not keen on the taste. Normally stocks have celery. 
  • About 10 black pepper corns. I get these out of the top of the pepper mill. 
  • 2 bay leaves. 
  • Some mixed herbs. What ever you’ve got will do. Standard mixed herbs are fine. If you’ve got fresh herbs in the garden even better: rosemary; thyme; parsley etc. If you’re using dried herbs add a bit extra. 
  • No salt 😀. 


  • Push everything down in the pot so that the ingredients are a bit compacted and nothing is sticking up too much. 
  • Add water to just cover the ingredients. Don’t get greedy and try to make more stock by adding too much water. This will just make a thin, weak tasting stock. You can always add water when you’re making the dish e.g. risotto. 
  • Put the lid on the pressure cooker, lock and bring up to the boil over a high heat. 
  • When up to high pressure reduce to a low temperature and keep it cooking for 45 minutes. 
  • After 45 minutes turn off the heat and allow to come off pressure naturally. This takes about 15 minutes. 
  • Finally strain and transfer the stock into pots for the fridge or freezer. I use a pasta strainer when tipping the liquid into a fat separating jug. The strainer holds back the big bits and the jug then skims off any fat. We usually store our stock in old soup pots as these tend to be about the right size for the recipes we cook. 

Other ways to reduce salt when cooking are by using herbs and spices, pepper and citrus fruit like lemon, lime and orange. They give such great flavours that you don’t need to add the salt. 

Avoid adding salt when cooking and, if you must have, at the table but only add after tasting. This is because when salt is on the outside of the food it tastes much stronger than when it’s absorbed during cooking. 

Sometimes people say to me ‘but we need salt to survive’. Although technically true there’s so much salt in everyday foods like bread and cereals that we really don’t need to be adding extra. 

The great news is that even if you’re currently a salt addict if you slowly decrease the amount you use you’ll quickly adapt to a lower salt diet because our taste bud renew every couple of months! 

Happy low salt cooking x

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