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7 Beef Broth Substitutes (in Soups, Sauces & More)

I know that a well-stocked kitchen pantry will almost always come equipped with beef broth. But what if you get into a pinch when making soups and Asian sauces and don’t have any beef broth? You c\oul use some au jus substitutes, but I’ve got the best beef broth substitutes to meet your every need.

You can substitute beef broth with vegetable stock, chicken broth, infused water, and mushroom broth. But this isn’t all, so let’s hop into all the best beef broth swaps!

🤷 What is Beef Broth?

Beef broth is a flavorful liquid that’s made by simmering beef bones, vegetables, herbs, and spices such as bay leaves, thyme, and peppercorns in water for several hours. This creates a rich and savory broth commonly used as a base for soups, stews, and sauces. It’s low in calories and fat and is a good source of nutrients such as protein, collagen, and minerals like calcium and magnesium.

🆚 Beef Stock vs. Beef Broth

Here is a quick comparison graph between both beef stock and beef broth to give you a decent rundown of both:

Beef StockBeef Broth
Made with beef bonesMade with meat
Long cooking timeShort cooking time
Thick and gelatinous when cooledThin and less viscous
Used as a base for soups, stews, and saucesUsed as a base for soups and stews, and as a substitute for water when cooking grains or making sauces

🧑‍🍳 How to Make Beef Broth

To make beef broth, roast beef bones in the oven at 400°F for 45 minutes to an hour until they turn brown. Next, put them in a large pot and cover them with water. Add vegetables like onions, celery, and carrots to the pot. Bring the pot to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the broth simmer for at least 8 hours. The longer the broth simmers, the richer and more flavorful it’ll be. After simmering, strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer or cheesecloth to remove the bones, vegetables, and herbs.

A wooden table of fresh ingredients to make a homemade beef broth.

💡 Best Substitutes for Beef Broth

Vegetable Stock (or Concentrates)

1 cup of beef broth = 1 cup of vegetable stock

Vegetable stock or concentrates are a fantastic alternative for vegetarians and vegans. These flavorful liquids are created by simmering vegetables and herbs in water. These can then be splashed onto some soups, stews, and sauces for pork chops and meats. Both store-bought and homemade vegetable stock are easily accessible options. Concentrates are the more potent form of vegetable stock that can be rehydrated with water. Both save time and enhance flavor in every aspect.

Bouillon Cubes or Powders

1 cup of beef broth = dissolve one bouillon cube or a teaspoon of bouillon powder in one cup of water

Bouillon cubes or powders have become a go-to replacement for beef broth because of their close similarities and convenience. These cubes or powders are created by dehydrating a blend of vegetables, meat, and spices. These are then compressed into a compact cube or powder form. Simply dissolve them in hot water according to the instructions on the package. They can be high in sodium, but you can look for low-sodium options or use less than the recommended amount.

Chicken Broth

1 cup of beef broth = 1 cup of chicken broth

Chicken broth is a common and very popular ingredient created by simmering chicken bones, vegetables, and aromatics in water. This gives it a rich and flavorful flavor. It’s widely available, cost-effective, and contains fewer calories and less fat. It’s also a great source of protein that can provide added nutritional value to your dishes. Chicken broth is also a superb option for those who prefer a milder taste or seek a lighter alternative to beef broth. You can even make a chicken stock concentrate for a more similar flavor.

Infused Water

1 cup of beef broth = 1 cup of infused water

Infused water is a refreshing and nutritious substitute for beef broth. By adding fruits, vegetables, and herbs to a pitcher of water and allowing it to infuse for several hours, you can create a flavorful and hydrating liquid. You can make it with citrus fruits like lemon or lime for a tangy flavor or with herbs like rosemary or thyme for a savory taste. Adding vegetables like cucumber or ginger can also provide additional health benefits.

Red Wine, Beer, or Tomato Paste

1 cup of beef broth = 1 cup of red wine or beer; 1 tablespoon of tomato paste for every 1 cup of water

Consider using red wine, beer, or tomato paste as alternatives. Red wine has a rich fruit flavor that pairs well with beef. Beer is another great option. Choose a dark beer like Guinness or a brown ale. They’ll add a deep, malty flavor that can complement any beef dish. Tomato paste is another excellent alternative that’ll add a rich, savory flavor and a thick, hearty texture to your dish. Use one tablespoon of tomato paste for every cup of water in your recipe.

Mushroom Broth

1 cup of beef broth = 1 cup of mushroom broth

A mushroom broth is a delicious and healthy swap for beef broth made by simmering mushrooms, vegetables, and herbs in water. This process creates a flavorful and nutritious liquid that can add a beautiful richness and texture to soups, stews, and sauces. It’s the perfect option for vegetarians and vegans looking for a meat-free alternative to beef broth. Different types of mushrooms, such as shiitake, portobello, or oyster mushrooms, create different flavors, so pick based on taste.

Beef Stock

1 cup of beef broth = 1 cup of beef stock

When seeking a more than-perfect substitute, beef stock is often the sort-after choice for many recipes. This is because beef stock is made by simmering beef bones, same as beef broth. To create beef stock, all you need to do is simmer beef bones, together with aromatics like onions, carrots, and celery, in water for several hours. This process extracts all of the flavor and nutrients from the bones while leaving behind a tasty and nourishing broth.

🧐 FAQs

How do you thicken beef broth?

You can thicken it by simmering it for longer, which will reduce the liquid and concentrate the flavors. This is a great way to thicken sauce without cornstarch or flour. But for an easier method, use thickening agents as such.

How long is beef broth good for in the fridge?

Beef broth can be stored in the fridge for up to 4-5 days in a tightly sealed container. If you want to extend its shelf life, you can freeze it for up to 6 months.

How do I replace beef broth in a French onion soup recipe?

You can use beef bouillon cube or beef base as a swap for beef broth in French onion soup. They can be dissolved in hot water to make a quick and easy substitute.

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