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Bone marrow

Updated: Tue, 27 September, 2022

Roasted bone marrow is the finest delicacy that costs next to nothing. Try it on toasted sourdough, and butter will never taste as good again.

bone marrow

Marrow bones for healthy bones

Marrow bones are the thick, fat, big ones, usually from the cow’s legs (I think. Google seems vague about it). The benefits of bone marrow have been appreciated for ages, mainly by turning the bones into the best, nutritious broth.

Marrow contains collagen which is essential in bone building and bone deterioration preventing, as well as all that stuff about healthy hair, skin and nails. It also helps fight joint wear and tear, osteoarthritis, and it has considerable anti-inflammatory properties (vegans – eat your hearts out).

roasted bone marrow

Marrow for (chefs’) healthy profit

But not so long ago chefs discovered that marrow, that gooey fat scraped from inside of the roasted bones – so basically what you would normally throw away – can be sold to punters as a ten quid starter. Money for old bone, eh?

They are roasted and arranged decoratively on narrow serving plates, looking like miniature tree stumps or models of Devils Tower from Wyoming. They come with long and narrow spoons and a (usually too skimpy) piece of toast to spread the goodness on. A few salt flakes, kerching! a tenner.

marrow bone portions

Marrow for superpowers

For those who think it’s a bit gross to suck out marrow, a bit like drinking blood, let me point out how madly trendy it has become of late.

There are some urban legends attaching superpowers, nutrition-wise, to bone marrow; probably devised by devoted paleo dieters: the image of a Neolithic man waving a big bone about and setting down to suck the marrow from it in one long slurp sounds irresistible.

And then of course there’s the actual Marrow: frankly rather a repulsive Marvel character who manipulates her own bones to fashion weapons, spears and projectiles spurting out of her limbs. No intel whether they are powered by the marrow inside.

baked bone marrow

How to cook marrow bones

Marrow does contain omega-3 fatty acids and a host of minerals but it is mainly fat. It is delicious, creamy and it requires no particular cooking skills to make a tasty appetiser.

It is a doddle: roasting for about 20 minutes does it. The one difficulty is finding a butcher who sells them as they are not normally advertised or presented on display so it’s worth asking.

bone marrow appetiser

They are likely to let you have them at a ridiculously low price too: that’s it, apart from everything else marrow bones are super cheap.

The other problem is chopping them into manageable pieces. You need to either own a junior hacksaw or buy from amenable butcher who will saw the bones into portions.

But if you didn’t ask the butcher to cut the bones for you, don’t panic. Grab the bone with folded kitchen towels and saw an incision around the circumference with a junior hacksaw. Place a sturdy large knife in the crack and tap it with a mallet or a rolling pin to split the bone piece.

how to chop marrow bones

How to serve your marrow

Once roasted, scoop the marrow with a narrow butter knife or a slender spoon.

Spread it on toast or a crust of freshly baked sourdough and butter will never taste as good to you. Roasted marrow with flaky salt sprinkled over it is the essence of umami.

But you can make fancier topping for your feast as well, like the herb and anchovy paste below, just divine.

roast bone marrow

More healthy appetiser recipes

Beetroot and horseradish cured salmon, or gravadlax, gets the fantastic colour from the beet. Cured salmon is really easy to prepare and it needn’t be made in huge quantities, but it will disappear sooner than you think!

Fresh cucumbers with cumin tahini dressing, sprinkled with extra sesame seeds are crunchy, juicy and wonderfully refreshing.

Hot butterflied tiger prawns in a spicy marinade by Ottolenghi. Grill them, fry them or barbecue them as long as you’re quick – they only need a minute in the pan.

More high protein recipes

Negimaki-style veal escalopes, marinated in teriyaki and sliced across like sushi rolls. A party snack with a wow-factor or a dish for the special dinner à deux.

Steak tartare with crispy capers should be served deconstructed, the diner mixing it to their taste. My secret to perfect tartare is three Cs: the cut, the chop and the crunch.

Cured duck breast meat, tonnes of umami flavour produced over three days with just salt and sugar. Homemade prosciutto, and it’s lean and healthy if you discard the skin.

marrow is incredibly nutritious

Bone marrow

Servings: 4-6Time: 20 minutes


  • 2-4 marrow bones, sawed horizontally into 7cm/3in pieces
  • For the topping:
  • 5 anchovy fillets, drained (or 1 tbsp anchovy paste)
  • 1 tsp coarse salt
  • ½ bunch parsley
  • ½ bunch tarragon
  • ½ bunch thyme
  • a few sprigs of dill
  • ½ tsp coarsely ground black pepper
  • To serve:
  • slices of rustic bread, toasted
  • sumac
  • flaked salt


1. If you didn’t ask the butcher to cut the bones for you, don’t panic. You can cut them with a junior hacksaw, sawing an incision around the middle; then place a large knife in the crack and tap it with a mallet or a rolling pin to split the bone piece.

2. Preheat the oven to 220C/425F/gas 7.

3. Line a large baking tray with parchment and sit the bones on it upright; on the even edge. Bake for 20 minutes.

4. To make the topping, pound the anchovies, then herbs with salt and pepper in a pestle and mortar to a paste; if using anchovy paste, start with the herbs and stir the paste in at the end. Taste for seasoning – it should be seriously salty and sour.

5. To serve, place a dot of the herb paste atop each bone portion, sprinkle with sumac and salt flakes. Serve with long thin spoons and/or butter knives, plenty of rustic bread or sourdough, the remaining topping and more sumac and salt flakes.

6. The roasted bones will keep in the fridge if not all used and can be reheated in a warm oven. Alternatively scoop the marrow out of them and transfer into a small tub.

Originally published: Mon, 4 February, 2019

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Hello! I'm Anna Gaze, the Cuisine Fiend. Welcome to my recipe collection.

I have lots of recipes for you to choose from: healthy or indulgent, easy or more challenging, quick or involved - but always tasty.


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