How Long Should You Cook Bone Broth?

How Long Should You Cook Bone Broth?
Cooking Times and Histamine Levels

It’s a question we get asked a lot… ‘How long should bone broth be cooked for?’
The short answer is a minimum of 24 hours. But we all know the short answer, though it’s often preferred, is often not what people NEED to hear.

At Broth of Life we cook our lamb and beef broth for 48 hours and our chicken broth for 24 hours. Cooking times vary depending on the reason for the future consumption of the bone broth in question. It also depends very highly on the medical conditions the bone broth will eventually treat. The cooking time of bone broth has a direct correlation to histamine levels. As bone broth is traditionally cooked for a longer period than it’s ‘cousin’ - meat stock; it is higher in histamine levels. To further understand what this means, we need to understand histamine; what it is and what it does.

Histamine is an essential, natural chemical produced by our bodies that we cannot do without. It performs several duties, including;

  • Being a moderator of inflammations and allergies
  • Being a form of defence against bacteria and viruses
  • Transmitting messages between cells (neurotransmitter)
  • Regulating stomach acid
  • Regulating muscle contractions
  • Regulating brain activity
  • And more…

So, histamine affects our immune systems, our digestion and our central nervous system. While this bio-active chemical is key to our day to day function, like anything, balance is essential. Too much histamine, or an intolerance to higher levels can result in a number of side effects. Symptoms of histamine intolerance can range from headaches, hypertension and vertigo; to anxiety, changes to the menstrual cycle and fatigue – to name a few.

Histamine travels through the bloodstream and therefore affects many areas throughout the body. An intolerance to it can be a result of a number of things like diet, allergies, leaky gut syndrome and other pre-existing conditions. While diet can be a cause, it is also a form of treatment. People who suffer from histamine intolerance are advised to avoid histamine rich foods, which brings us back to the original question.

Google it or refer to the wonderfully knowledgeable Doctor Natasha Campbell-McBride and you will find an extensive list of what should and shouldn’t be eaten when histamine intolerance is at play. For today’s purposes, we’ll focus on bone broth (Just pretend to be surprised *wink*).


Bone broth is important in the discussion of histamine tolerances and intolerances because when cooked for a lengthy period (as it should be), high histamine levels are produced. It can therefore be used as a dietary aid for those who suffer from low histamine levels (Histapenia). Although it would seem logical for those with high levels to avoid it, it’s actually not the case. People with high histamine levels can consume bone broth, but they would be better starting it off as a solid (in our dehydrated form), just a quarter teaspoon at a time.

If you’ve discovered that your histamine levels are out of whack and are considering making up your own bone broth at home, be sure you get your cooking time nailed. The basic rules to remember are as follows;

  • A long cook equals extreme histamine and equates to bone broth
  • A short cook means less histamine and is classified as meat stock

Wonky levels or chemical imbalances don’t mean you have to miss out on the goodness that is bone broth. It simply means you need to be completely aware of what your cook time means for your symptoms and treatment.

If you’re not keen on cooking up your own, why not give our handmade, certified organic, dehydrated bone broth a try. We’ve put in the hard yards with the cooking time, so you can enjoy the benefits without the labour!

*Broth of Life does not give medical advice. Please consult a medical professional regarding your condition before making any drastic changes to your diet.



Broth of Life Bone Broth

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