What Can You Use in Place of Beef Broth? 9 Savory Substitutes

Beef broth is a versatile kitchen staple used to make flavorful soups, stews, gravies and more. But what do you do when a recipe calls for beef broth and you don’t have any on hand? Thankfully, you have several options for substitutions that can stand in for beef broth’s rich, savory taste.

This article explores 9 tasty ingredients to use in place of beef broth so you can still pull off great-tasting dishes.

An Overview of Beef Broth

Before looking at substitutes, let’s first understand what exactly beef broth is and why it’s useful:

  • Beef broth is made by simmering beef bones, meat and vegetables to extract flavor. This liquid is then strained.

  • It provides a rich, meaty flavor as the base for soups, stews, braises, gravy and more.

  • The collagen from beef bones gives broth body and a silky mouthfeel.

  • Beef broth can also be used to cook grains like rice and quinoa, or to deglaze pans for making sauces.

  • It typically contains onions, carrots and celery, as well as herbs and peppercorns.

  • Commercial broth may also have added seasonings like basil, thyme or parsley.

  • Beef broth is high in sodium but low in calories, fat, carbs and protein.

Knowing exactly what beef broth contributes helps narrow down the best substitutions.

9 Ingredients to Use in Place of Beef Broth

When you don’t have beef broth available, look to these handy substitutions to provide savory flavor and body for your dishes:

1. Chicken Broth

Chicken broth makes an ideal 1:1 substitute for beef broth since it provides a similar savory profile. It can be used in the same quantities in any recipe. The only difference is chicken broth has a slightly lighter and sweeter flavor.

2. Vegetable Broth

For vegetarian/vegan cooking, vegetable broth mimics the rich flavor of beef broth. Look for a low-sodium variety. You may also want to boost flavor with aromatics and seasonings.

3. Beef Bone Broth

Homemade beef bone broth is naturally savory and contains collagen for body. Simmer beef bones for at least 12-24 hours to extract nutrients. It freezes well for future use.

4. Beef Stock

Beef stock is made from simmered beef bones. It has more body than broth but a less intense flavor since it lacks seasonings. Use it 1:1 in place of broth.

5. Mushroom Broth

Mushroom broth provides savory umami flavor reminiscent of beef. Puree and simmer mushrooms before straining for an easy homemade version. Porcini and shiitake work best.

6. Red Wine or Stout Beer

Red wine or stout beer builds savory depth in braises, stews and soups. For each cup of broth, use 1/2 cup wine/beer and 1/2 cup water or additional broth.

7. Beef Consommé

This flavorful. clarified beef broth concentrates beefy flavor so you may need to dilute it slightly before using in place of regular broth.

8. Liquid Aminos

As a soy-based seasoning, liquid aminos offer savory salty flavor similar to broth. Use a 1:1 ratio but dilute with water for less sodium.

9. Low-Sodium Beef Broth

Low-sodium broth lets you control the sodium level in your dish. Dilute regular broth with water or add salt and seasoning as desired.

Tips for Using Beef Broth Alternatives

  • If the substitute has a stronger or more concentrated flavor than beef broth, dilute it with water or additional broth to avoid overpowering your dish.

  • You may need to compensate for lost savoriness by increasing aromatics like onions, garlic, mushrooms and tomatoes.

  • Boost flavor with beef base or demi-glace for intense meatiness.

  • Sprinkle on extra herbs, spices, Worcestershire or soy sauce to round out brothy flavor.

  • Allow dishes made with wine or beer more time to simmer to mellow out the boozy taste.

  • For a smoother mouthfeel, whisk a bit of cornstarch into your broth substitute before adding to stews or gravies.

With so many options for replacing beef broth, you can easily recreate rich flavor in soups, stews, grains and more even without beef on hand. Get creative combining broths, wines and seasonings so you’ll never have to scrap a recipe when you run out of this versatile kitchen staple.


Is chicken broth or vegetable broth better for replacing beef broth?

Chicken broth is the closest 1:1 substitute for beef broth since it has a similar savory, salty flavor. Vegetable broth is a good option for vegetarian cooking but may need seasoning boosts to mimic beef broth’s hearty taste.

What can I use if I don’t have any broth?

If you have no broths or stocks available, you can make substitutions like red wine, beer, soy sauce, liquid aminos or mushroom soaking water. Water down stronger flavors and season with aromatics.

Can I use water in place of beef broth?

Plain water lacks any flavor, so it is not an ideal substitute on its own. For best results, dilute broth concentrates or wine with water and season the liquid.

What is the best homemade beef broth substitute?

Making your own beef bone broth yields the most similar homemade substitute. For vegetarian options, simmer mushroom broth or a mix of vegetables. Adding soy sauce, miso or nutritional yeast boosts savory depth.

Is there a powdered beef broth substitute?

Yes, beef broth powder or bouillon cubes provide concentrated beef flavor that can be reconstituted into broth. However, these contain added MSG and may not replicate the silky mouthfeel of real broth.

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Can I replace beef broth with water?

You can make a stew with water but beef broth is a better choice. The water will pick up the flavors of the stew’s ingredients, it won’t be flavorless, but you’ll get a better tasting stew if you use broth.

What is a substitute for beef broth in a slow cooker?

Chicken Broth – While the taste might be slightly different, chicken broth makes a great substitute for beef broth. In most recipes, you won’t even notice a difference! And because you can use a one-to-one ratio, it’s easy peasy. Mushroom Broth – One of our favorite ways to use up mushrooms is to make a batch of broth!

What can I use in place of beef stock concentrate?

Use regular beef broth which you have cooked down in a pan to half its original volume. Alternatively, use a beef bouillon powder or paste (Bovril, Better-Than-Bouillon, etc.) diluted with half the recommended amount of water. You’ll need to reduce the amount of salt in the recipe too if you do this.

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