Here are 18 easy ways to substitute for beef broth when you’re in a pinch, plus how to make homemade beef broth in your slow cooker.
Beef broth is a popular pantry staple used for soups, casseroles, and sauces. You’ll find it in many of your favorite recipes like French onion soup and beef stew.
Beef broth is readily available in grocery stores, but if you need a vegan or vegetarian alternative or if you don’t have any on hand, you may find yourself in need of a replacement.
Luckily, there are several easy ways to substitute for beef broth. It’s also easier to make your own than you might think.
Here are some simple substitutions to try and an easy recipe for homemade beef broth.
- Common Substitutes for Beef Broth
- Recipes with Broth
- Want More?
Common Substitutes for Beef Broth
1. Beef Stock
One of the best substitutes for beef broth is beef stock.
Beef broth and beef stock can be used interchangeably, but they are not the same thing. The difference between broth and stock is that beef broth is made by boiling down mainly meat, whereas stock is made by reducing down bones, vegetables, and aromatics.
Use beef stock as a 1 to 1 substitute for beef broth.
2. Beef Consommé
Beef consommé is made by reducing down broth until it becomes a sauce. Consommé is richer in taste and thicker in consistency than broth, so a little goes a long way.
If you happen to have consommé on hand or find it in a store, you’ll want to mix it with some water to thin it out.
Once you’ve matched the consistency of broth, use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
3. Chicken Broth
Chicken broth (or chicken stock) makes a decent stand-in for beef broth. It is less rich and deep in flavor, but still a very popular and flavorful ingredient. You can make your own chicken broth in a similar way to beef broth (see instructions for making broth below).
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute and add a dash of soy or Worcestershire sauce if you want more color and flavor.
4. Vegetable Broth
Vegetable broth (or vegetable stock) is made by boiling aromatic vegetables and herbs in a similar fashion to how beef and chicken broth are made.
And, just like chicken broth, you can use vegetable broth as a 1 to 1 substitute and add a dash of sauce to enhance the color and flavor if desired.
5. Mushroom Broth
Mushroom broth is another similar beef broth substitute to vegetable broth. It is a great vegetarian substitute and it’s also vegan-friendly.
Mushroom broth can be found at some grocery stores, or you can make your own. It works well in soups, stews, casseroles, and more.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute and throw in some soy or Worcestershire if desired to give it a meaty flavor that will mimic beef broth.
6. Beef Bouillon
The word bouillon is a French term that means to boil. Dried beef bouillon cubes are concentrated beef stock that contains herbs and salt, giving it the same taste as beef broth when dissolved in water. They are a great substitute for beef broth and a convenient addition to your pantry staples, thanks to their long shelf life.
To use beef bouillon cubes as a substitute, simply boil a cube in the recommended water on the package directions and use as a 1 to 1 substitute.
7. Beef Base
Beef base is a highly concentrated form of stock and is a great choice to use in soups and stews. It’s reduced down to a syrupy paste-like consistency and has a deeper flavor similar to consommé.
To use as a substitute, thin out your beef base with water and replace 1 to 1.
Beer might sound like an odd beef broth substitute, but many gravies, sauces, and soups already call for these ingredients. It can add great flavor and color to your dish in a pinch.
And if you don’t consume alcohol, there are non-alcoholic beer options you can try, too.
Use as a 1 to 1 substitute for sauces, soups, and gravy.
9. Liquid Aminos
Liquid aminos are a great vegetarian alternative to beef broth. This ingredient is very similar to soy sauce (they are both made from soybeans) and can add a similar rich flavor to your recipe. It’s also gluten free and has less sodium than soy sauce.
Mix in equal parts with an alternative broth like vegetable or chicken or with water to make a 1 to 1 substitute.
10. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is a popular Asian ingredient that is readily available in grocery stores. You can use a lesser amount of straight soy sauce to replace broth in a recipe (start with a tablespoon of soy sauce and taste to adjust).
Or, mix with water or an alternative broth as you would liquid aminos.
11. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce has a unique, umami flavor that pairs well with beef recipes. It’s also a good choice for vegetarians looking to cut out animal products.
Start with a little Worcestershire to flavor your dish, or use as a 1 to 1 substitute when mixed with water or broth alternative.
12. Soy Sauce + Steak Sauce
Try mixing soy sauce with steak sauce for a flavor-packed substitute to use in place of beef broth. It will mimic the depth of flavor that beef broth brings to the table, but a little will go a long way.
Add a tablespoon or two and taste to adjust.
If you’re really in a pinch, you can use water with added seasonings and butter or oil. For beef broth, consider adding parsley, garlic and a bay leaf to add some flavor.
Use water as a 1 to 1 substitute when broth isn’t a key ingredient in your dish.
It makes sense that red (or white) wine would be a good substitute for beef broth because red wine is often paired with a perfectly cooked steak and beef stew owes its balanced taste to the wine used in its base.
Although not an exact replacement, the recommended method for using red wine in place of beef broth involves mixing half a cup of red wine with an equal amount of water per cup of beef broth. To achieve the desired consistency and richness, it’s essential to simmer the mixture to thicken it and cook off the alcohol.
Dashi is known for its umami, seafood-forward flavor and can be found in liquid or dry versions in Asian markets. This substitute for beef broth is best for stews, soups, casseroles, or sauces. You’ll want to use Dashi in moderation because of its powerful flavor.
Mix in water to dilute to your taste and add to your recipe just a little at a time until you reach your desired intensity of flavor.
16. Miso Paste
Miso paste is made from grains, beans, and a mold called koji. It’s a great choice for vegetarians as it offers a deeper flavor than vegetable broth.
The best substitute for beef broth is yellow or red miso. Combine a tablespoon of miso paste, a splash of soy sauce, and a cup of vegetable broth to replace 1 cup of beef broth.
17. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste can serve as a suitable replacement for beef broth in soups and stews, providing similar richness to the dish. However, as it may have a slightly sweet taste, its suitability as a substitute depends on the desired flavor profile.
To counteract the sweetness of tomato paste, a quick tip is to add a splash of vinegar or lemon juice, which will introduce an acidic component to the recipe and help balance out the sweetness.
Mix 1 tablespoon of tomato paste with 1 cup of warm water to replace 1 cup of beef broth.
Make Your Own
It’s easier than you might think to make your own beef broth. Start by saving your scraps of vegetables and meat and store them in the freezer to use later.
- 1 pound beef bones
- 1 cup onion, chopped
- 8 cups water
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- (Add additional seasonings and veggie scraps to use up what you have if desired)
See the full recipe for step-by-step instructions.
You can use the broth right away or put it into mason jars to keep in the fridge or freezer.
The main difference between stock and broth is that broth is simply meat simmered in water while stock has more ingredients.
The difference between bone broth and stock is the quality of ingredients and types of bones used.
Bone broth uses specific bones with lots of connective tissue to harvest collagen and amino acids. This gives bone broth amazing health benefits. On the other hand, stocks primarily use bones with no connective tissue or meat.
The other difference between all three is the cook time. Bone broths are simmered for up to 48 hours to maximize the protein, while stocks are cooked for 1-6 hours, and broth for just 1 hour.
Yes, you can use chicken broth or stock instead of beef broth. Chicken stock has a stronger flavor than chicken broth, but neither is as flavorful as beef broth so you’ll want to add a tablespoon of soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, or liquid aminos.
Recipes with Broth
Here are some simple recipes that call for broth. Use these to try out your favorite substitute for beef broth.
If you’re looking for more substitutes, check out these posts: