What is Beef Consommé vs Broth? A Complete Guide

Beef consommé and beef broth are two common ingredients used to boost flavor in many dishes. But what exactly is the difference between beef consommé and broth? And when should you use each one in cooking? In this complete guide, we’ll compare beef consommé vs broth looking at how they differ in preparation, appearance, consistency, taste, uses, and more.

What is Beef Consommé?

Beef consommé is a highly concentrated and flavorful broth that originated in French cuisine. The term “consommé” comes from the French word meaning “complete” or “perfect”.

Traditionally, consommé was considered a luxury dish served as an appetizer in upscale restaurants. However, today it is more commonly used as a cooking liquid to enhance the flavor of soups, sauces, stews, and other dishes.

While similar to beef broth, consommé has a much deeper, richer flavor and velvety texture. This comes from the extra gelatin extracted through the lengthy preparation process.

How is Beef Consommé Made?

Making beef consommé is very intricate involving simmering beef broth with egg whites and ground meat. This allows impurities to be removed, leaving behind a clear, concentrated liquid.

The basic steps are:

  • Simmer beef bones and vegetables to make a highly flavored beef stock
  • Cool the stock completely
  • Mix egg whites, ground beef and spices into the cold stock
  • Simmer for 1-2 hours without stirring
  • Strain through a fine mesh strainer
  • Chill and remove the fat before using

This lengthy process extracts more gelatin from the ingredients, giving the consommé its signature texture. The egg whites help clarify the liquid by trapping impurities.

Uses for Beef Consommé

  • Drinking as a warm appetizer garnished with vegetables
  • Enhancing the flavor of soups, stews, sauces, gravies
  • Braising and cooking meats and vegetables
  • Aspics and glazes

What is Beef Broth?

Beef broth is a basic brown cooking liquid made from beef bones, meat, and vegetables simmered in water. It has a milder beef flavor than consommé.

Broth is sometimes confused with stock. The difference is broth is made from meat while stock uses bones. But the two words are often used interchangeably.

How to Make Beef Broth at Home

Making beef broth at home is very simple:

  • Place beef bones, leftover meat, vegetables, and seasonings in a pot
  • Cover with water and bring to a boil
  • Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours
  • Strain the liquid through a sieve
  • Cool and store in the fridge for up to 5 days

The basic ingredients are water, meaty beef bones, vegetables like onions, carrots, and celery, and herbs.

Uses for Beef Broth

Since it has a subtle beefy flavor, broth can be used in more dishes:

  • Soups
  • Stews
  • Risottos
  • Gravies and sauces
  • Braising liquids
  • Deglazing pans
  • Cooking rice or other grains

Broth is a versatile all-purpose cooking liquid for many recipes.

Key Differences Between Beef Consommé and Broth

Now that you know the basics, let’s look at some of the key ways beef consommé and beef broth differ:

  • Preparation – Consommé requires a much more lengthy and complex cooking process. Broth is simpler to make.

  • Appearance – Consommé tends to be darker and more transparent. Broth can be light brown and slightly cloudy.

  • Consistency – Consommé has a thicker, velvety texture while broth is thin.

  • Flavor – Consommé has a very concentrated and intense beef flavor. Broth is mild tasting.

  • Uses – Consommé is primarily used in small amounts as a flavor booster. Broth can be used in larger quantities in more recipes.

While they have their differences, both broth and consommé add great flavor to dishes!

Beef Consommé vs Broth – Frequently Asked Questions

Still have some questions about beef consommé and broth? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions:

Which is better – beef consommé or broth?

This depends on how you want to use the liquid and your flavor preferences. Consommé has much bolder beef flavor, so it’s better for enhancing other recipes. But for dishes where you want a more subtle flavor, broth is a better choice.

Can you substitute consommé for broth?

Yes, you can substitute beef broth with beef consommé in most recipes. However, since consommé is so rich, you may want to use less or dilute it with water to prevent overpowering other flavors.

Is consommé the same as bouillon?

Bouillon is simply broth condensed down and dried into cubes or powders to make instant broth. So bouillon and broth are very similar, while consommé differs in flavor and preparation.

How do you drink consommé?

Consommé can be consumed like a broth straight from a cup or bowl. It is often garnished with thinly sliced vegetables or herbs and served warm as a light appetizer.

What’s the best beef broth substitute?

The best subs for beef broth are beef consommé, beef stock, mushroom broth, vegetable broth, or water. Make sure to adjust seasonings since consommé and stocks are more strongly flavored.

Tips for Cooking with Beef Broth and Consommé

Both beef consommé and broth are great cooking ingredients to keep on hand. Here are some tips for using them:

  • Look for low-sodium options if using store-bought broth or consommé. It’s easy to adjust seasoning but you can’t reduce the salt.

  • Make large batches of homemade broth and freeze in portions for later use. Thaw overnight in the fridge before using.

  • For a smoother, lump-free sauce or gravy, blend a ladle of broth into a slurry before adding to the pan. This prevents clumping.

  • When simmering rice, grains, or legumes, use broth instead of water for extra flavor. Just reduce any added salt.

  • Don’t throw away vegetable trimmings and scraps! Simmer them with bones to make a flavorful broth base. Strain and use as is or prepare consommé.

  • To round out acidity in broth-based dishes, add a spoonful of tomato paste, a splash of lemon juice, or a dash of vinegar.

  • If substituting consommé for broth, start with half the amount and add more to taste. A little consommé goes a long way.

  • For an easy and flavorful soup base, sauté aromatics like onion, garlic, and celery in olive oil before adding broth.


While beef consommé and broth share some basic similarities, they differ greatly in preparation method, flavor, uses, and more. Consommé has a concentrated beef flavor and silky texture best for boosting the taste of other dishes. Broth is milder so it can be used in larger quantities in soups, stews, and more recipes.

Understanding the differences allows you to choose the right liquid to get the perfect flavor profile for any dish you make. Both are great to have on hand in your kitchen!

#Beef #Consomme vs #BeefBroth in the #Kitchen #buykitchenstuff @BuyKitchenStuff


Can you use beef consomme in place of beef broth?

Yes, you can substitute beef broth with beef consommé. Keep in mind that consommé is much more flavorful than broth or stock. If you are concerned about the flavor being too rich for your dish, simply use less consommé or dilute the consommé with a little water.

What is the difference between bouillon broth and consommé?

Texture: Bouillon often presents a lighter, more straightforward texture, while consommé offers a rich, smooth, and slightly viscous mouthfeel due to its concentrated nature. Flavor: Bouillon imparts a homely, comforting flavor, whereas consommé delivers a robust, intense, and refined taste.

Can you eat consommé by itself?

Consommé is a soup that is typically consumed on its own, at the start of a meal. And although it sounds fancy, don’t let the French name scare you (or the translation, which roughly means it is the consummate, complete, or finished soup).

What is Campbell’s beef consomme used for?

Use it as the hero ingredient in recipes like Slow Cooker Beef Birria Tacos, try it as a stew or soup base, or add it to homemade gravies, sauces and more. It’s also delicious on its own or enjoyed with a sandwich or salad.

Leave a Comment