fish soup

Fish Stock Substitute | Use this if you’re out or want to go vegetarian

Many people like to get everything right when cooking. However, there is one secret behind this, using quality and the right amount of ingredients to achieve the best results. However, there are some moments when you will not be able to use the required ingredients, such as fish stock.

Although the fish stock is a fantastic ingredient for various types of soups and broths, there are times when you might be required to use a substitute for this amazing ingredient.

Therefore, if you want to know what to add or use in your recipe to get the same consistency and taste in your meals, then this article is for you. We shall discuss the different substitutes for fish stock.

But first, what is fish stock?

Fish stock is an amazing ingredient, which is mostly used as a base for sauces or soups. This ingredient is just the same as other vegetable or meat stock. However, it is made out of fish bones or fish heads. Fish stock is very easy to make since it requires particular parts of a fish and no other ingredient. However, it will need some seasoning.

Even though there are different variations of this ingredient, the Japanese version is the most common. The fish stock is referred to as dashi, a kelp and fish stock, and it is set aside for dishes. Its end product is a milky-white broth, with a sweet, rich umami flavor.

As highlighted earlier, there are different variations of fish stock, but the preparation method is the same. First, you boil the fish head or bones in simmering water for around 30 minutes. This will assist in bringing out the amazing seafood flavor that many people like in certain dishes. You can use fish bullion cubes, which you can find in your local supermarket to make the fish stock. Alternatively, you can use unused fish heads or bones to make fish stock.

Why do people love fish stock?

As mentioned earlier, the fish stock has different uses, mostly in sauces and soups. It is important to note that there are a variety of dishes across the world that require fish stock, particularly dishes made in Asia Cuisines.

However, have you ever known that fish stock has other uses, apart from enhancing flavors in meals? Different types of fish stock have different benefits.

What are these benefits?

  • Boosting metabolism – fish stock offers a thyroid hormone, which assists in boosting metabolism. In addition, it provides gelatin, which helps in maintaining a person’s metabolism levels, as well as helping them to burn calories. This way, a person can maintain and lose weight in an efficient manner.
  • Thyroid – all that fish stock focuses on is the thyroid, which assists in different conditions and illnesses like skin health, fatigue, and bone loss. Also, it is essential to note that thyroid also helps in improving how you think.
  • Improving your health – different types of fish stock have a significant amount of natural nutrients and proteins, which assist in boosting and maintaining your immune system.

Are there any fish stock substitutes available?

a fish soup

You don’t need to worry at all if you don’t have fish stock and you need to prepare some sauce or soup. There are different varieties of fish stock substitutes, which can assist you to achieve the same results, just like with original fish stock.

What are these fish stock substitutes?

Clam juice

Bottled clam juice is an easy and common fish stock substitute for anyone who cannot make fish stock. You can buy 2 or 3 bottles of the clam juice, but this will ultimately depend on the amount of stock required. Next, you need to boil the clam juice with half bouillon cube (vegetable). Make sure the pot is uncovered for the liquid to evaporate fast. Ensure that the liquid reduces by around 25%. With this, you will get the same flavor concentration while keeping the juice clear and light.

Also read: how do you cook with these different Japanese noodles

Chicken broth

Here, you will need ½ a cup of vegetable broth or chicken broth, mixed with a ½ cup of water. This will also assist you to achieve the same results just like fish stock. You will need to use broth to cut the water in order to prevent seafood flavors from being spoilt because both vegetable and chicken broths tend to be very salty and strong.


This is a Japanese fish stock, made traditionally using bonito fish flakes like these I talked about here. This fish stock is used in various noodle dishes, as well as miso soups. There is also a vegan version of this fish stock substitute, which can be made using shiitake mushrooms and dried kombu kelp. Even though this vegan version will not give you the expected seas food taste, you will be able to enjoy the sea-like and savory depth saltiness.

Vegetable Broth

Mixing equal parts of vegetable broth and clam juice will assist you to achieve lighter and faster flavor. However, you should not reduce the amount of liquid used.

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Substitute fish stock

If you don’t have a problem with shellfish, then you can use other seafood to make the fish stock. For instance, you can use crab, lobster shells, or shrimp, and some white wine and vegetables to make a simple shellfish stock. This will give you the same results just like the fish stock made out of fish heads or bones.

Bottom line

It’s important to note that fish stock will add extra flavor to your dishes and also boost your health. However, you might have to replace your fish stock for some reasons. That’s the reason why you need to understand that different fish stock substitutes, that you can use in case you need them. This will assist you to save valuable time and also assist you to achieve the best results for that favorite dish.

Also read: use this if you’re out of beef broth