8 substitutes for Beef Broth | Don’t have it or want to go vegetarian?

by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  October 15, 2020
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There’s one thing no one can do without in their kitchen, and that’s a good broth.

This is a staple ingredient that you can use in almost anything, from soups, sauces, to casseroles.

However, you might realize that you don’t have any broth in your kitchen when you’re ready to make your next dish.

6 Substitute for Beef Broth

 My of our readers asked for a post on beef broth substitutes. Why? Because you might not want to use a beef broth, or because you’re on a vegetarian or vegan diet.

But, this shouldn’t worry you at all! You can easily make your own beef broth or substitute it with a meatless alternative.

A delicious substitute still makes your meal flavorful.

In fact, the main reason why many people love using beef broth is that it gives sauces, stews, and soups a rich and deep flavor.

You can use beef broth instead of other liquids like water or wine, to flavor fast cooking dishes like sautés and stir-fries.

That brings me to my first solution. You can always change these back and switch the beef broth for beer or wine in your dish. Also, you can use vegetable broth.

Apart from powders and mixes, there are other types of broths that you can use to achieve the same results you could have achieved with beef broth.

Here are the best replacements real quick:

6 Best Replacement for beef broth infographic

Top Beef Broth Substitutes

  1. beef stock
  2. chicken bouillon
  3. vegetable broth
  4. mushroom broth
  5. beer or wine
  6. soy sauce & steak sauce

I’d first like to address the difference between beef stock and beef broth as they are two separate things. It’s something you want to keep in mind when looking to make your own beef broth. 

Difference between beef broth and beef stock

Difference between beef broth and beef stock

There are plenty of people who are confused about the difference between beef broth and beef stock. So, what is the difference between these two?

Beef stock is a bit waterier and doesn’t have as many flavors as beef broth.

The first main difference between broth and stock how it’s made:

Stock is made by simmering beef bones for a long time. The result is a well rounded and flavorful liquid.

The broth is made by simmering beef meat. The result is a thinner liquid but it also has tons of flavor.

The second main difference between these two comes down to seasoning. In the case of beef stock, it’s not seasoned with spices or salt, whereas beef broth is.

However, you can still use beef stock in case you don’t have beef broth, and you can still season it if you quickly need to make a broth.

How can you turn beef stock into a beef broth?

There are three steps involved in this process. These are:

How to substitute beef broth for beef consommé

How to substitue Beef Broth for Consomme

It’s not really a substitute as consommé is actually the term for purified stock or broth. But still, a lot of questions are asked about consommé as a broth substitute.

You get comsommé by simmering your cloudy stock or broth and it’s a clear liquid. It’s richer in taste and thicker in consistency so it’s more an upgrade from beef broth than a substitute.

To get the clear and perfect consommé broth (consommé means “to make perfect” in French) you purify regular broth and simmer it with egg whites and minced meat. When simmered, the egg whites will rise to the top of the broth where you can scoop them up.

6 best substitutes for beef broth

simmering pan of beef broth

Ok, so we already did one: the beef stock. Now let’s take a look at the remaining five options you have at your disposal.

Also read: best dashi stock and instant powder, even a vegan one

Chicken Bouillon Cubes

Besides chicken stock in liquid form, there is also a great way to cook: using bouillon cubes!

Although chicken and beef bouillon cubes have a different flavor, they still add that savory and meaty goodness to any dish. It’s so easy to use them, you’ll find yourself reaching for cubes all the time. 

So what is a bouillon cube?

It is a popular seasoning cube all over the world. Basically, bouillon cubes are small compact flavored cubes with a very long shelf life. They are concentrated stocks made of dried, ground, and compressed seasonings. 

The reason bouillon cubes are so popular is that they are the epitome of convenience in the kitchen. If you want to make a soup, simply add in a cube, put in the ingredients, and let it boil. 

How to use them:

Dissolve 1 cube in 1 cup of hot water and then add to your food and boil.

Vegan Bouillon Cubes

Did you know you can find tasty vegan bouillon cubes? They are also gluten-free and healthy. The taste is similar to a savory vegetable broth. These seasoning cubes try to imitate the meaty flavor and according to customer reviews, they are full of yummy flavor.

Check them out here:

Vegan bouillon cubes

Bouillon Granules

If you don’t like the cubes, there are many types of bouillon granules in all kinds of flavors.

The most popular types are the chicken granules and you simply add a teaspoon straight into your food. It infuses the food with chicken flavor instantly, so it’s easy to cook with. 

There is also a tasty beef flavor, which comes in regular and sodium-free versions.

So, if you want a healthier beef stock substitute with no salt, try the sodium-free cubes. They come in most flavors, including beef, chicken, and vegetables. 

Vegetable Broth

This is one of the most popular and best substitutes for beef broth as it already is a broth and will contain a lot of the same flavors through its seasoning.

In addition, when using vegetable broth as a substitute for your beef broth, you can add any vegetables you have as leftovers to add to the flavor.

These include garlic, carrots, onions, and mushrooms, among others.

These vegetables will give your broth a savory, rich taste. In addition to this, you can add some Italian seasonings, rosemary, bay leaf, thyme, or pepper as you sauté the vegetables to allow the flavors to infuse well.

Vegetable broth

When it comes to using the vegetable broth as a substitute, you can substitute every cup of beef broth with your vegetable broth on a 1 to 1 ratio. This makes the food taste very good.

IF you want to add an unexpected twist to your dish, you can add a bit of miso to your broth (we are an Asian cuisine blog after all, just wanted to throw it in there, but it’s really delicious!).

Also read: those thick Japanese noodles are called Udon and this is how you can use them

Vegan Mushroom Broth Recipe

Vegan mushroom broth beef both substitute

This is one of the most exciting and easiest broths to make at home and a great vegan substitute for beef broth.
Course Soup
Cuisine Italian
Keyword Broth, Mushrooms, Vegan
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 4 people
Author Joost Nusselder
Cost $4

Ingredients

  • 1 carrot
  • 1 yellow onion
  • 1 cup assorted mushrooms
  • 2 twigs thyme
  • salt to taste
  • 2 sprigs parsley
  • 4 peppercorns
  • 2 bay leaf
  • 1 gallon water
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil

Instructions

  • First cut the mushrooms, carrot and onion into slices and lightly sauté them in the bottom of a large stockpot with the vegetable oil for around 4 minutes
  • Add the water and the rest of the seasoning and allow the mixture to boil, and then let it simmer on low heat until it reduces.
  • You can use button mushrooms as a replacement for your assorted mushrooms as they will serve the same purpose.
  • But, you might wonder how to know when the broth is done. This is actually very simple: when all the vegetables are soft, and your stock has some mushroom flavor to it.
  • However, you will have to be patient as this can take up to one hour.
  • After the broth has taken the flavor and the vegetables are all soft, you can strain the ingredients out and what's left is a delicious vegan mushroom broth.

You can use button mushrooms as a replacement for your assorted mushrooms as they will serve the same purpose.

You can add a splash of soy sauce and a dash of red wine as you sauté the veggies. This infuses the mushroom broth with extra flavor.

Also, you can add a bit of miso paste, but this is for someone who wants to try something more interesting (and Asian, which is amazing!).

Beer or wine

Yes, you heard it right! Beer or wine can make a great substitute for your beef broth.

You can add it instead of beef broth to either your chili, stews, or gravy to achieve that full-flavored result.

However, you need to get everything right from the beginning, starting with the measurements. For every portion of wine or beer you use, make sure that you use the same portion of water to dilute.

In addition, you also might need to add some extra cooking time to whatever the recipe says. Since the liquids will need time to cook as well, you want all the alcohol content to evaporate.

If you don’t want to use alcohol, then you can go ahead and use non-alcoholic beer as a substitute. Also, you can use red wine as a substitute for your white wine.

Soy sauce & Steak sauce & Worchestershire Sauce

Although soy sauce is somewhat eccentric for some of you, it will definitely serve as a unique replacement for your beef broth.

The soy sauce replaces the salty flavor of the beef broth. But, what you really want to do is to add one teaspoon of steak sauce and soy sauce to your dish to replace the beef stock with, and you’ll be good to go.

This will serve as an excellent substitute for your beef broth.

You can add this in addition to vegetable stock, but in case you don’t want to use any stock, you can use one cup of water and add one teaspoon of soy sauce and steak sauce each, and then stir well.

Worchestershire sauce is also a great option to use instead of soy. In fact, it is more flavorful. It gives that umami background flavor to any dish, so your broth tastes better.

With those quantities, you’ll be able to substitute this one cup of soy sauce solution with one cup of beef stock.

Vegan Substitute: Liquid Aminos

If you want a great vegan substitute that comes in a liquid form like soy sauce, then try liquid aminos. 

These are culinary seasonings that look brown like soy sauce and have a similar salty flavor.

Aminos are made out of fermented coconut sap, salt, and water or soybeans mixed with an acidic solution. The amino acids are naturally vegan and gluten-free, plus they add tons of savory flavor.

Can I use chicken broth instead of beef broth?

 

Chicken and Beef Broth uses

Many people will tell you that you can swap these two broths and substitute one for the other. However, keep in mind that the tastes are actually quite different. Beef broth has a strong flavor that can add a distinct taste to highly flavored dishes, while chicken has a milder, less intense flavor. 

You can often use chicken broth where the recipe calls for beef broth and loose some of its taste. On the other hand, you can’t substitute beef broth where chicken broth is needed, because it will overpower the dish.

Also check out these substitutes for chicken broth

Can I just use water instead of beef broth?

You can use water instead of broth. It adds moisture to the dish for cooking soups and stews, but you’ll lose all of the taste the beef broth would add. That’s because beef broth actually has quite a strong taste.

It’s easier to substitute chicken stock with water because of its lighter flavor.

Tips for using beef broth substitutes

When determining which broth substitute would be ideal for your recipe, make sure that you have a good understanding of what makes a broth, a broth.

Typically, the broth is a flavorful and rich liquid, made out of simmering meat, vegetables, or chicken in water with additional seasonings.

Therefore, you need to understand that the seasonings are the primary elements whenever using a beef broth substitute.

So, if you are using soy sauce as a substitute for beef broth, make sure that you add some peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, or other seasonings in order to make the substitute more convincing.

In addition, make sure that you add these seasonings in small quantities at a time. This is especially important when you experiment with seasonings for the first time. Then, proceed to taste your broth before making any additional adjustments.

In case you find that you’ve added too much seasoning or the substitute does not taste the way you wanted, you can add some more water and start the entire process of tasting and adding again.

Most of the ingredients are not expensive, which means you can buy as much you need.

If you are searching for a substitute, you can either use bouillon or any other broth. These can all work perfectly and you can even opt to use white wine or soy sauce.

However, this all depends on your recipe.

How can I make my broth taste better?

If you want something better than a regular broth, you can always add in more ingredients to take the flavor to the next level.

Here is a list of things to do to make broth tastier:

What’s the best substitute for beef broth in stroganoff?

If you don’t have any beef broth or don’t want to use it you can add some similar flavor with dried shiitake mushrooms. Also, add some of the water you get when you rehydrate your mushrooms. The soy sauce/ steak sauce combination works well with Stroganoff as well.

What’s the best beef stock substitute for shepherds pie?

If you’re making Shepherds pie, you can substitute the beef stock for another broth if you don’t have any. Vegetable broth works best, especially with a lot of mushrooms which should also include garlic, carrots, onions, among others.

How can you substitute one broth with another?

Tips on chicken and beef substitute

 

 

In case your recipe needs a beef broth, but you have chicken broth, then go ahead and use the chicken broth.

Your recipe might not turn out 100% as the recipe prescribed but be assured that the chicken broth will serve the purpose pretty well.

You will notice some minor changes in the flavor and maybe most changes will be in the color of your finished dish, but it will still have a great taste.

However, it’s important to note that some broths are more easily substituted than others.

For example, vegetable broth is a little less of a substitute for beef or chicken broth than beef is for chicken and vice versa. This is because of the fat content in meat-based broths.

Is beef broth healthy?

Now that you’ve seen all the alternatives, you’re probably wondering if the beef broth is actually healthy for you. If you have time to make the broth at home from scratch, then yes. 

Drinking beef bone broth is healthy and beneficial for the joints and the digestive system. The reason is that beef contains important nutrients for the body such as minerals. 

Nutritional Value of Beef Broth

According to the USDA Nutrient Database, 100 grams of homemade beef stock, stock, or consomme has the following nutritional value:

Also, beef broth is a source of calcium, iron, potassium, minerals, vitamin B, and more. Therefore, it is relatively healthy food. 

Bottom line

The most interesting and exciting part when it comes to cooking is experimenting with ingredients. Your skills are definitely put to the test when having to use what you have lying around to make a recipe.

But enjoying your meal and knowing that all your efforts have paid off as you intended is such an amazing feeling.

Especially when you’re trying out new recipes, because even the tiniest changes, like substituting an ingredient can make a huge difference.

Read more: What are the different kinds of Japanese noodles?

 

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.