How to Make Beef Stock: Ultimate French Recipe for Fond Brun

Elevate Your Culinary Game with Fond Brun

Welcome, culinary aficionados! Today, we’re diving deep into the heart of French cuisine with a recipe that’s the cornerstone of countless classic dishes—Fond Brun, or Brown Stock. This liquid gold is the secret behind the rich, velvety sauces and soul-warming soups that have put French cooking on the global map. Ready to elevate your culinary game? Let’s get started and learn how to make beef stock like a pro! And if you are looking for the best French Onion Soup recipe online, look no further than ours using this beef stock recipe!

Best French Onion Soup Recipe
The classic French Onion Soup recipe is also the best! A rich and savory soup base and perfectly caramelized onions topped with bread and gooey French Cheese.
A rich and savory French Onion Soup recipe made with this Fond Brun!

The Ingredients for Fond Brun: A Symphony of Flavors

For 2 gallons (8 liters) of this heavenly broth, you’ll need:

  • Bones: 12 lbs (5 kilos); think knees, shoulders, shanks
  • Meat: 12 lbs (5 kilos); a mix of beef, veal, chuck, brisket, skirt, bone-in short rib
  • Vegetables: 28 oz (800 g) carrots, 14 oz (400 g) celery, 28 oz (800 g) onions
  • Clarified Butter: Around 8 tbsp, melted
  • Mineral Water: 3 gallons (12 liters)

Herbs and Spices:

  • Fresh parsley with stems: 3.5 oz (100 g)
  • Fresh thyme: 2 sprigs
  • Bay leaf: 2 leaves
  • Cloves: 4 whole
  • Fine salt: 3.5 tbsp (60 g)—kosher or sea salt
Meat for a French Beef Stock

Rich and dense French beef stock (Fond Brun)

How to Make Beef Stock, the French Fond Brun

Step 1: Roast the Meat and Bones

Spread your chosen pieces of meat and bones in a single layer on one or more baking sheets. Drizzle them generously with melted clarified butter. Roast these beauties in a preheated oven at 500°F (250°C) until they’re gorgeously browned—about 20 minutes.

Heads Up: The aroma of roasting bones can be intense. If you’re sensitive to smells, opt for mostly meat with a few bone-in pieces.

Step 2: Roast the Veggies

Chop your carrots, celery, and onions into large, rustic pieces. Spread them out on a baking sheet, drizzle with clarified butter, and give them a good toss. Roast these at 500°F (250°C) until they’re beautifully caramelized—15-20 minutes.

Step 3: Unite the Elements

Combine your roasted meat, bones, and vegetables in a colossal stockpot—preferably a 5-gallon (20-liter) one.

Step 4: Add Aromatics

Tie up your herbs with butcher’s twine into a ‘bouquet garni’ and attach it to your stockpot’s handle. Toss in the cloves for good measure.

Step 5: The Simmering Symphony

Pour in the mineral water and add the salt. Now, let this aromatic concoction simmer for a whopping 15 hours. Yes, you read that right—15 hours of slow, transformative cooking. Keep an eye on the water level; you’ll want the stock to reduce by only a third.

Skim to Win

During the first few hours, you’ll notice foam bubbling to the surface. Skim it off to ensure a clear, pure stock.

Step 6: Chill and Skim

Once your stock has reduced to perfection, chill it completely. Skim off the layer of fat that forms on top.

Step 7: The Final Touches

Remove all the solids—meat, bones, veggies, and herbs. Strain your stock, first through a coarser sieve and then through a cheesecloth if possible.

Voila! Your Fond Brun is Ready… for our Best French Onion Soup Recipe?

Use this liquid gold to craft a traditional French Onion Soup, a luxurious Demi-Glace, and so much more. Your culinary creations will never be the same!

So, what are you waiting for? Dive into the world of French cooking with this ultimate Fond Brun recipe and elevate every dish you make. Bon Appétit!

And speaking of our best French Onion Soup recipe

Best French Onion Soup Recipe
The classic French Onion Soup recipe is also the best! A rich and savory soup base and perfectly caramelized onions topped with bread and gooey French Cheese.

A bit of chilled Fond Brun (Brown Stock), packed with gelatin and nutrients—see how dense and jiggly it is?

Making Fond Brun: Tips and FAQ

Here are some tips you’ll want to keep in mind to make the ultimate Fond Brun:

  1. Quality Bones: Start with high-quality bones, preferably from grass-fed animals. This will ensure a richer flavor and better gelatin extraction.
  2. Roasting: Don’t rush the roasting process. This step is crucial for developing the deep color and flavor of the stock.
  3. Skimming: Regularly skim off impurities and foam that rise to the surface during simmering. This will result in a clearer stock.
  4. Avoid Stirring: Resist the urge to stir the stock frequently. Excessive stirring can make the stock cloudy.
  5. Slow Simmer: A gentle, slow simmer (not a rolling boil) is key. This helps in flavor extraction and ensures clarity.
  6. Cooling: Use an ice bath to cool the stock quickly. This not only helps in preserving the flavor but also reduces the risk of bacterial growth.
  7. Storage: If storing for extended periods, consider freezing the stock in portion-sized containers or ice cube trays for easy use later.
  8. Fat Cap: After refrigeration, a layer of fat may solidify on the surface. This acts as a natural preservative. You can remove and discard it before using the stock or use it for cooking.

Do roasting bones smell bad?

Roasting bones should not produce an unpleasant or foul odor. In fact, the process usually emits a rich, meaty aroma that many find appetizing. If you’re experiencing a bad smell during roasting, it could be indicative of a few issues:

  • Spoiled or Rancid Bones: If the bones were not fresh to begin with, roasting them will amplify any off-odors. Always use fresh, high-quality bones for stock-making.
  • Residual Marrow or Meat: Sometimes, bits of marrow or meat clinging to the bones can produce a strong smell if they start to burn. Make sure to clean the bones well and monitor the roasting process to prevent burning.
  • Oven Cleanliness: Sometimes, the smell may not be coming from the bones at all but from residue or spills in the oven that start to burn during roasting.
  • Chemical Odors: If the bones were treated or processed in some way, they might emit an unusual smell when heated. Always source your bones from reputable suppliers to avoid this issue.

If you notice a bad smell while roasting bones, it’s advisable to investigate the cause before proceeding with making your stock. Quality ingredients and proper technique are key to achieving a flavorful and aromatic result.

Really sensitive to smells? Try this…

Escoffier’s classic recipe for Fond Brun calls for a lot of roasted bones. However, if you are at all sensitive to smells (or anyone in your house is), we recommend simply adding some pieces of meat ‘bone in’ to the roasting pan. This will significantly reduce the smell of roasting bones that many have described as unpleasant.

Or… use a few pieces of meat with ‘bone in’ along with the roasted meat and veggies to make a Fond Brun

What’s That Scum?

The foam that rises to the surface when simmering broth or stock is primarily composed of proteins, fats, and impurities that are released from the bones, meat, and vegetables during the cooking process. This foam is often referred to as “scum” in culinary parlance.

As the stock heats up, the proteins in the bones and meat begin to denature and coagulate. These coagulated proteins, along with fats and other soluble impurities, float to the surface due to their lower density compared to water. If left unattended, this foam can cloud the stock, affecting both its appearance and flavor. It can also emulsify into the liquid, making it greasy and diminishing its clarity.

Skimming off the foam is a crucial step in achieving a clear, pure stock. It’s generally best to start the stock with cold water and bring it up to a simmer slowly, as this allows for more effective skimming. The foam usually starts appearing during the initial stages of simmering, and it’s most abundant when the stock first reaches a simmer. Frequent skimming at this stage will help you achieve a cleaner, more refined end product.

So, the next time you see that foam bubbling up, grab a ladle or skimmer and gently remove it. Your diligence will be rewarded with a stock that’s not only clear but also rich in flavor and free from unwanted impurities. Here’s a look at us skimming the scum in a Fond Blanc (White Stock) recipe:

Skimming the ‘scum’ off a Fond Brun is the same process as skimming for a Fond Blanc (White Stock)— as shown here.

The Legacy of Fond Brun: A Culinary Time Machine

This “brown stock” is a culinary relic that dates back to the era of Auguste Escoffier, the godfather of modern French cuisine— a prominent figure during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Fond Brun is not just a recipe; it’s a technique, a tradition, and a rite of passage for any serious chef. It serves as the backbone of French cooking, infusing dishes with complexity and depth that are unparalleled. From the luxurious Demi-Glace to the comforting French Onion Soup, Fond Brun is the unsung hero that elevates French cuisine to an art form.

Our Fond Brun Recipe

PIATTO’s fond brun recipe is heavily based on that of Auguste Escoffier, the renowned French chef—with some tweaks for modern convenience. You can find Escoffier’s ‘fond brun’ recipe in his seminal work, “Le Guide Culinaire”—available on Amazon translated into English and in the original French (affiliate links).

Products You’ll Need

Very Large Stock Pot

A very large stock pot is a must for making a big batch of beef stock. We use a 5 gallon (20 liter) stock pot similar to this one: (affiliate link)


For the purest brown stock, you’ll want to finish filtering with a fine unbleached cotton cheesecloth: (affiliate link)

This will give you the most options for using your Fond Brun.

As an Amazon Associate, we earn from qualifying purchases. This means at no extra cost to you, PIATTO may earn a small commission if you click the links and make a qualifying purchase.

How to Make Beef Stock: Ultimate French Recipe for Fond Brun

Discover the ultimate guide on how to make beef stock the French way with our Fond Brun recipe. Elevate your culinary game with this rich, flavorful base that's a cornerstone of French cuisine.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 40 minutes
Cook Time 15 hours
Skimming and Straining 20 minutes
Total Time 16 hours
Course Soup
Cuisine French
Servings 2 gallons


  • 1 Large Stock Pot We use a 5 gallon (20 liter) stock pot: (affiliate link)
  • strainers or sieves of a few sizes to filter the broth
  • cheesecloth preferably an unbleached cotton cheesecloth: (affiliate link)
  • baking sheets for roasting the meat, bones and vegetables


  • 12 lbs meat: beef, veal or a mix chuck, brisket, skirt, or bone-in short rib
  • 12 lbs beef or veal bones preferably knees, shoulders, shanks
  • 28 oz carrot large pieces
  • 14 oz celery large pieces
  • 28 oz onion large pieces
  • 8 tbsp clarified butter
  • 3 gallons mineral water or filtered water
  • 3.5 oz fresh parsley leaves and stems
  • 2 sprigs fresh thyme
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 4 whole cloves
  • 3 ½ tbsp fine salt kosher or sea salt


Roast the Meat and Bones

  • In one or more baking sheets, spread the pieces of meat and bones in one layer.
    12 lbs meat: beef, veal or a mix, 12 lbs beef or veal bones
  • Drizzle the meat with melted clarified butter and move the meat around in order to distribute the butter. 
    8 tbsp clarified butter
  • Roast the bones and meat in the oven at 500°F (250°C) until browned— about 20 minutes.
    Warning: Some find the smell of roasting bones to be unpleasant. If you are sensitive to smells, you may want to roast mostly meat with a few pieces of ‘bone in’ meat rather than adding the entire quantity of bones.

Roast the Vegetables

  • Cut the vegetables into large pieces. 
    In one or more baking sheets, spread the vegetable pieces in one layer. Drizzle the vegetables with melted clarified butter and move the vegetables around in order to distribute the butter. 
    28 oz carrot, 14 oz celery, 28 oz onion
  • Roast the vegetables at 500°F (250°C) until browned—15-20 minutes.

Combine Brown Stock Ingredients

  • Add the roasted vegetables, meat and bones to a very large stock pot. We use a 5 gallon (20 liter) pot. 
  • Bind the herbs up with butcher’s twine leaving a tail long enough to attach to the stock pot’s handle—we are creating a ‘bouquet garni’! Add the cloves to the pot as well.
    3.5 oz fresh parsley, 2 sprigs fresh thyme, 2 bay leaf, 4 whole cloves

Add the Water and Salt

  • Add cold mineral water and salt to the stock pot with the other ingredients.
    3 gallons mineral water, 3 ½ tbsp fine salt

Simmer the Stock

  • Simmer the stock uncovered for 15 hours. Add more water as needed to make sure the final stock has only reduced by a third. During the first few hours… 

Skim the Foam (Scum)

  • Skim the 'scum' during the simmer as it bubbles to the surface. 

Chill the Finished Brown Stock

  • Once the stock has reduced by a third and is finished simmering, chill it completely. 

Skim the Fat

  • Once chilled, skim the layer of fat off of the top of the stock. 

Remove the Vegetables, Meat, Bones and Herbs

  • Remove all of the vegetables, meat, bones and herbs from the stock. Save the meat and vegetables for an excellent stew!

Strain the Beef Stock

  • Strain the stock in several phases, starting with a coarser sieve (with larger holes) …
  • …and finishing with a cheesecloth if you can!

Ready to Use!

  • Use this dense, delicious classic Fond Brun to create a traditional French Onion Soup, a Demi-Glace and more. 
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2 thoughts on “How to Make Beef Stock: Ultimate French Recipe for Fond Brun”

    • Hi Mary—Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment! You can absolutely freeze Fond Brun (we do). We freeze it in sensible portions (freezer bags or containers). Fond brun can generally be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months without significant degradation in quality.

      Make sure that the stock is cooled completely before transferring it to a freezer-safe container, leaving some room at the top for expansion. Using an airtight container or vacuum-sealed bags will also help in preserving its flavor and nutritional content. Always label the container with the date it was made to track its storage time 🙂

      For best thawing results, use the defrosted fond brun within a week if kept in the refrigerator. Rapid defrosting methods, such as using a microwave or submerging the container in a bath of warm water, can be employed if you need to use the stock quickly.


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