Beef broth is the base of a huge variety of recipes. It is a health thin liquid made by simmering beef or beef and vegetables. It is light, cloudy and watery broth, but rich in nutrients.
But the thing is some of us are vegetarian, or simply do not like beef or veal and want to substitute beef broth. In fact, you can easily replace beef broth with any other broth, including vegetable broth or mushroom broth, sauces solution or even non-alcoholic (or alcoholic) beer. I’m going to share 15 ideas of substitute for beef broth, as well as homemade beef and vegetable broth recipes.
Jump to the list of substitutes
Beef broth uses:
- sauces (spaghetti sauce), soups (Ramen), stews, and to braise meat
- to cook rice
- for gravy and marinades.
What is the difference between beef consomme, beef stock and beef broth?
Beef broth is a thin, brownish, and light liquid with mild beef flavor, while beef consomme has thicker consistency, better taste and looks clear. The way they cooked is different: regular broth is made by simmering, and consomme is a purified broth. Very generally speaking, beef consomme is a concentrated beef stock.
Beef stock is something in the middle, it is thicker than broth, but less aromatic and meaty than consomme.
Best Substitutes for Beef Broth
The main substitutes that all cooking blog will recommend are other meat-based broth and vegetable broth. In fact, there are more great substitutes! Usual ratio to substitute beef broth is 1 cup to 1 cup.
Here is the list of all substitutes for beef broth.
1 – Beef stock
Beef stock is the first and easy option to replace beef broth, even if it is not quite same. Homemade Beef stock is best back-up option, here is the easy recipe with some spices, and I know that some prefer stock without seasoning.
Substitution ratio is 1:1.
Homemade beef stock recipe
- 2 pounds (1 kg) of beef bones (use bones with some meat, or leftover bones)
- vegetables: onions, carrots, celery
- herbs: bay leaf and parsley,
- peppercorns* you can always skip adding seasoning into the beef stock
- Roast the bones for about 30 – 45 minutes in the oven heated up to 400°F (200°C) until they are brown (turn them during cooking)
- In a pot with a lid, simmer bones, vegetables, spices and garlic for 6-8 hours without stirring.
- Pour the stock through the sieve and let it cool.
Can you turn beef stock into a beef broth?
Yes, you can turn beef stock into the beef broth by adding herbs, salt, red wine and simmering it for 10-30 minutes. Don’t forget to strain the broth.
2 – Bouillon Cubes
Beef bouillon cubes or any other meat or vegetables bouillon cubes can work as substitute for beef broth too. All you need to do it to add 1 cube per 1 cup of boiling water. Cost-efficient, saves time, but it is not a homemade broth, so it will still have some additives.
Technically bouillon cubes are made from stock, not from broth, to achieve stronger flavor.
Substitution ratio: 1 bouillon cube into 1 cup of boiling water to 1 cup of beef broth.
3 – Bouillon Granules
Another close option is bouillon granules. The main difference between cubes and granules is the way they were made: cubes are pressed, granules are ground. But in the base – we have the same beef (or other meat) stock.
Bouillon granules are sold in chicken, beef, vegetable options. With cubes and granules you save a lot of time, as while you’re simmering bones and meat it takes a lot of time for them to give the flavor. In case of granules they transfer flavor to the water immediately.
As beef base products are very salty, you can try to find sodium-free options.
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon for 1 serving.
Bouillon granules brand: Knorr and Maggi, HerbOx have sodium-free beef granules.
4 – Chicken broth
Chicken is cheaper than beef and easy to buy, it has mild meaty flavor, lighter than beef. Homemade chicken broth will take around 2 hrs. You can opt for chicken stock and add bones, meat, veggies and some herbs to make the taste better.
There is always an option to buy chicken broth or stock (Imagine Organic have low-sodium option).
Substitution ratio is 1:1.
5 – Fish stock
Fish stock is faster (30 min – 1 hour) to make at home than meat stock. Fish stock is basically fish bones, heads, and other trimmings. It is a great substitute for beef broth in soups, for cooking rice and in risotto, paella and sauces,
It is easier to make one, but you can also buy it, mostly sellers offer seafood stock.
Yes, it can completely change the taste and will not fit in all recipes.
Homemade Fish stock recipe
- 2 pounds (1 kg) of white fish bones, heads, etc.
- 1 onion
- 1 leek
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 sprigs fresh parsley
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 4 whole black peppercorns
- Clean bones, herbs, spices and onion with 10 cups of water place into the pot.
- Bring to boil, than low heat and cook for 30 minutes.
- Strain and let it cool.
6 – Bone broth
Bone broth is a very similar, simple, but time consuming alternative for beef broth. A good bone broth (beef, pork, poultry bones can work) can take up to a day until bone tissue will infuse water with flavor and nutrients.
Bone broth is extremely healthy to drink as it is, but also good for soups, sauces, stews and gravies.
7 – Wine or Beer
Red or white wine, alcoholic and non-alcoholic beer can work as substitute for beef broth in stews, chilli or gravy.
Substitution ratio: 1/2 wine or beer + 1/2 water to 1 cup of beef broth.
You can also experiment and use a combination of white wine and olive oil, or melted butter to substitute beef broth.
8 – Store-bought beef broth
No cooking, no problem! You can always buy a ready-to-use beef broth or stock and ass some seasoning to it (soy sauce, onions, spices and herbs).
Some brands offering beef broth: Campbell’s, Knorr, Kitchen Accomplice.
Vegetarian substitutes for beef broth
9 – Vegetable broth
Vegetable broth is the most common, easy to cook and best vegetarian substitute for beef broth. Great in soups, stews or served as it is.
Substitution ratio: 1 to 1 ratio.
Homemade vegetable broth
- 3 carrots
- 1 onion
- 4 cloves garlic
- 4 stalks celery
- 2 twigs thyme
- salt to taste
- 2 sprigs parsley
- 4 peppercorns
- 2 bay leaf
- 1 gallon water
- 1 tbsp vegetable oil
- Cut vegetables and lightly sauté them with the vegetable oil for around 4 minutes
- Add 8-10 cups of water, seasoning, and bring it boil, then low heat and simmer for 30 – 60 min.
- When all the vegetables are soft, it is done
- Strain it and let it cool.
You can also add mushrooms to the recipe.
10 – Mushroom broth
To bring some umami, use mushroom broth as alternative for beef broth. Mushrooms are the best choice to mimic meaty flavor and consistency.
Homemade mushroom broth is cooked same way as vegetable broth and you actually can add veggies too. If you are looking for something even more meaty and with more concentrated flavor, go for mushroom consommé.
The best mushrooms to use are common white mushrooms, cremini, and shiitake (best as for me).
Substitution ratio: 1 to 1 ratio.
There are some store options too, like mushrooms base (Better Than Bouillon Mushroom Base is a good one), but it is better to make a homemade one.
Substitution ratio for store-bought mushroom base: 1 teaspoon in 1 cup of water to 1 cup of beef broth.
11 – Vegan Bouillon Cubes
Same as with regular bouillon cubes, most manufacturers make vegetable options (Knorr, Maggi, Edward & Sons Garden Veggie Bouillon Cubes). They are also gluten-free and healthy.
Better as substitute for soups and stews.
Substitution ratio: 1 vegetable bouillon cube into 1 cup of boiling water to 1 cup of beef broth.
12 – Liquid Aminos
Liquid Aminos is a popular seasoning, gluten-free, vegan and soy based. It is quite salty and savory. Liquid Aminos is made of fermented coconut sap, salt, and water or soybeans mixed with an acidic solution. It is also contain less sodium and more protein.
Work well as substitute for beef broth in salads, rice, beans, tofu, poultry, fish, popcorn, meat and potatoes, in dressings, soups, stir-fries, gravies, jerky and casseroles.
Substitution ratio: 1 teaspoon into 1 cup of water to 1 cup of beef broth.
13 – Soy Sauce, Vegan Worcestershire Sauce
Soy sauce, or veganWorcestershire Sauce (80% less salt than Soy sauce) can be a great alternative for beef broth, as they all have rich flavor. You can add peppercorns, garlic, bay leaves, parsley, or other seasonings.
Work great in dressings, soups, stir-fries, gravies, jerky and casseroles or just as sauce.
Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon to mimic the taste, or 1 cup of soy sauce + water to 1 cup of beef broth.
14 – French Onion Soup
French onion soup is a savory vegan substitute for beef broth with unique and distinctive flavor. You can serve it as it is, and make some sides like noodles, sandwiches, salads, paninis, etc.
Substitution ratio: 1:1.
15 – Miso paste
Miso is a fermented soybeans with rich salty umami flavor and creamy texture. In fact, there is a variety of miso, the ones that will substitute meat are brown and dark red.
It works perfect is soups (especially, in Ramen, of course), stir-fries, sauces, marinades, etc. which makes it one of the best vegetarian substitute for beef broth.
Substitution ratio: 1 tablespoon to mimic the taste, or 1 cup of miso paste + water to 1 cup of beef broth.
HOW TO MAKE beef broth substitute TASTES BETTER
To make broth substitute taste better try to add spices, veggies, or mix some of the substitute from the list.
- Add spices: peppercorns, coriander, cloves, etc.
- Add carrots, ginger, garlic, and celery root.
- Add herbs: parsley, thyme, bay leaves, sage, lemongrass, rosemary, etc.
- Add cheese: parmesan or camembert.
- Simmer the broth with lemon or lime peels.
- Try hot chili sauce.
- Add smoked salt.
- Add 1 teaspoon of vinegar.
Homemade Beef Broth Recipe
This recipe uses slow-cooker and made for 4 servings. You can always use your Dutch oven.
- 4 pounds or 2 kg of beef bones
- 2 onions
- 3 medium carrots
- 8 cups water
- salt/pepper, to taste
- spices to taste (peppercorns, thyme, oragano, etc)
- bay leaves
- Add all your ingredients to the slow cooker, then set to low heat.
- Cook on low for 16-18 hours. The longer it simmers, the better the flavor.
- Remove bones and let it cool
- Serve or store.
Another way to make it is to first roast bones and vegetables, then cook them simmering for up to 6 hours.
Through this article, we hope to help you understand Beef broth substitute for pot roast