The 8 Best Chicken Broth Substitutes

Chris Starks
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What is chicken broth?

Chicken broth, commonly referred to as stock, is a liquid made from simmering raw or cooked chicken in water. It is used to flavor soups, stews, and sauces.

Broth is easy to make by just simmering a whole chicken in a large saucepan or Dutch oven. You can also make broth with leftovers such as chicken bones, wings, and skin once you’ve eaten the meat, or you can buy a box of chicken broth from the store.

The quality of broth depends on the quality and freshness of the ingredients. Cooking the whole chicken, celery, carrots, onion, and any other herbs and spices in water until the chicken falls off the bone and the vegetables lose their shape, gives you the most flavor and nutrients. The slow simmering process renders the fat from the chicken and imparts rich flavor. You can also make it creamy and silky by straining the broth after cooking to remove any impurities.

What is the difference between broth, bouillon and stock?

Today, broth is generally thought of as a liquid obtained by long, slow simmering of meat or vegetables in usually some combination of water, herbs, and spices. This definition is fairly generous, and some people count any food as a broth, even if the liquid hasn’t been simmered for hours.

Common ingredients used to make broth include chicken, beef, fish, vegetables, grains, herbs and water. Broth can be made in several ways, which results in a flavor, gelatin and nutritional profile that is unique to the ingredients.

For example, when roasting bones in the oven, the bones are only steeped in a small amount of water and they are not decomposed. This results in a protein-rich broth for use as a base for soups and stews.

Conversely, if bones are boiled for a long period of time, the meat will fall off the bone and the flavor will be extracted. The result in this case, as opposed to above, is thin and gelatinous.

Other broths are simmered for hours in an attempt to extract a lot of gelatin from the bones, which results in a thick and rich broth.

Sometimes, a simple dish is made by just simmering vegetables and meat for an hour or so, then straining the broth to remove the solids. This tends to make a fuller-flavored broth with more collagen.

How healthy (or unhealthy) is it?

Chicken broth is one of those recipes that pretty much everyone knows. It has stood the test of time, especially since the medical community agrees that it’s a good choice for those hoping to lose weight and increase heart health.

During a recent bout of gastroenteritis, I was instructed to eat a lot of chicken broth.

When I tried to make my own, I really didn’t like the results. It seemed to lack flavor and it tasted too much like chicken. It was difficult to make and I didn’t like it, so I just ate more soup instead.

After giving up on homemade chicken broth (which felt like a huge waste of time), I decided to use store-bought broth as the base of my soups, instead.

Then, I got to wondering about the taste and potential health benefits of broth alternatives.

Nutritional Breakdown:

Chicken Stock vs. Water

Batch of homemade chicken stock is a great way to use the carcass of a leftover roasted chicken. However, many of us don’t have the time or energy to devote to making it on a regular basis. Fortunately, you can easily make a stock substitute that’s cheap, readily available at any grocery store and with basic flavor notes that closely mimic the depth and boldness of homemade chicken stock.

Keeping a batch of homemade stock on hand is always a smart choice if you love recipes that use chicken stock but, if you’re caught without chicken stock in the pantry, you can get by using stock substitutes and the following 8 chicken broth substitutions:

Chicken Bouillon Cubes

These dehydrated (but not dried) stock cubes allow you to easily make quick chicken stock at any time. Just dissolve the cubes in water and add any other ingredients you like to create a quick, homemade stock that’s rich and savory. Try to buy the unflavored cubes, which come in an assortment of flavors—you can pick one that closely matches the flavor profile of your homemade stock.

What recipes are chicken broth used in?

Chicken broth is one of my favorite homemade convenience foods and I use it in soups, stews, and slow-cooked meat recipes. It’s inexpensive, nutritious and you can make a big ol’ pot in about an hour with ingredients you probably already have in the house.

Historically, broth has been made in a way that all the nutritional goodness and flavor gets locked in with the bones. That’s not always an option for meal planning these days.

Chicken broth substitutes are a great way to still enjoy the added flavor without the added calories. These are my top 8 choices.

Why do we need chicken broth substitutes?

Have you ever heard about the importance of chicken broth? It is healthy, loaded with nutrients, and a great food enhancer. Therefore, it’s easy to understand why so many households always keep a healthy stock of the important food ingredient. However, sometimes, you may find that you have run out of chicken broth and need to know the best chicken broth substitute.

Make your own (chicken or vegetable broth) 🥩 / 🌱

The first rule of thumb when making your own broth at home is to make sure your ingredients are high quality. The most important ingredient in making broth is the mirepoix (or mirepois). It is a combination of onion, carrots, and celery and is the key to good broth. Save tips about how to freeze broth for another time. For now, let's get right to the eight best chicken broth substitutes when you're either out of broth or what to vary your cooking rotation.

{1}. Water (use a bit of salt to flavor it up)
{2}. Chicken bouillon cubes
{3}. Vegetable broth powder
{4}. Fish broth / anchovy broth
{5}. Vegetable broth powder
{6}. Roasted chicken meat
{7}. Miso paste or paste-base soup stock
{8}. Strong chicken stock (or beef or fish)

Chicken broth is an amazingly versatile cooking ingredient. It’s very simple to make since all you need is a chicken, water, and herbs, and it’s a great way to fortify a meal with the gut-boosting power of gelatin.

But when you omit the chicken from your diet, you also omit the broth, leaving you high and dry with regards to those gut-fortifying benefits. So what are your options if you can’t use chicken broth?

This post is for anyone who has eliminated chicken from their diet but still craves the gut-healthy benefits of chicken broth – whether those reasons are related to animal welfare, food sensitivities, or health benefits.

Beef broth 🥩

You can substitute beef broth with ice cubes. Just add them to soup before you add other ingredients and heat them through. If you prefer to add the broth right before serving, make broth with wine for a low-calorie version of beef broth.

Chicken broth is an amazingly versatile cooking ingredient. It’s very simple to make since all you need is a chicken, water, and herbs, and it’s a great way to fortify a meal with the gut-boosting power of gelatin.

But when you omit the chicken from your diet, you also omit the broth, leaving you high and dry with regards to those gut-fortifying benefits. So what are your options if you can’t use chicken broth?

This post is for anyone who has eliminated chicken from their diet but still craves the gut-healthy benefits of chicken broth – whether those reasons are related to animal welfare, food sensitivities, or health benefits.

Vegetable broth 🥩 / 🌱

Vegetable broth is probably the easiest of the vegetable broth substitutes but it’s the one that’s the most likely to be forgotten when you’re in a hurry. I can almost guarantee that vegetable broth will be in your fridge because it’s the go-to broth for vegetarian recipes. And when you get that craving for a rich vegetable and meaty soup, vegetable broth will do in a pinch.

If you’re not a vegetarian, you probably have some kind of meat base around too. You probably have beef broth or a carcass from a roasted chicken or some chicken stock. You could use those instead, but vegetable broth is basically free, so it’s a great way to keep costs down.

Keep a jar of vegetable broth in your pantry (or even better, in your fridge) and you’ll always have a way to easily turn leftover veggies, grains and beans into a healthy, delicious soup.

Chicken broth is an amazingly versatile cooking ingredient. It’s very simple to make since all you need is a chicken, water, and herbs, and it’s a great way to fortify a meal with the gut-boosting power of gelatin.

But when you omit the chicken from your diet, you also omit the broth, leaving you high and dry with regards to those gut-fortifying benefits. So what are your options if you can’t use chicken broth?

This post is for anyone who has eliminated chicken from their diet but still craves the gut-healthy benefits of chicken broth – whether those reasons are related to animal welfare, food sensitivities, or health benefits.

Water and bouillon cubes 🥩 / 🌱

Bouillon cubes are a great substitute for chicken broth. You can store bouillon cubes for up to a year and they are whole food (no added chemicals or preservatives). If you prefer a vegetarian substitute, try vegetable broth cubes.

You can brew your own at home using a Lipton chicken flavor packet and 1 gallon of water.

When building meals from a recipe, use 1/4 or 1/2 the amount listed. You can also mix chicken broth with water to make a 1/2 substitute.

Water and butter / olive oil 🥩 / 🌱

Chick broth is great for tasty soups. But it isn’t so handy when you’re overwhelmed with work all day or don’t feel like cooking. Switch these chicken broth substitutes into your dinner plans!

You can also add some extra flavor to your chicken soup recipes by using chicken bouillon cubes. Just dissolve the chicken bouillon cubes in some hot water, and add it to your recipe.

Now, let’s take a look at these 8 chicken broth substitutes in more detail.

While water is definitely one of the most obvious choices for any alternative to chicken broth, it won’t provide the rich flavor you might be looking for. Overall, water is a safe option but definitely not the most flavorful.

Butter / olive oil:

Your lean chicken meat will soak up the juices of butter and olive oil, making your recipe mouth-watering

Soy sauce:

Instead of adding chicken broth to your chicken soup recipes, you can dissolve some soy sauce in your recipe. You will get a delicious chicken soup with a great salty flavor.

Salt:

A spoonful of salty broth can be especially tasty in chicken soup recipes. Especially if you are trying to use fewer calories, salt is a great alternative

Pepper:

Wine (white or red) 🌱

It might sound surprising to the uninitiated but, yes, wine can substitute as a chicken broth.

It’s a well known fact that chicken stock or broth – the liquid that’s left behind after boiled or roasted chicken meat – is a versatile cooking ingredient. This is perhaps why we get “chicken broth” dishes all over the place. The subtle taste of chicken broth gives food a certain depth. There are so many uses for it, and we use chicken broth to cook for hours, if not days, on end, to add flavor to a dish.

Now, there’s variation among chicken broth type that we make at home, but I’ve yet to taste chicken broth in a restaurant that comes closest to the one that I can make at home. This is why I’ve gathered 8 different recipes for copycat chicken broth.

This post may contain affiliate links.

Dashi 🥩 / 🌱

This Japanese stock staple continues to gain popularity outside Asia. Dashi makes the most delicious, rich, and savory stock. It’s traditionally made by roasting kelp and konbu (sea kelp) with sugar and sake. This gives it a rich, smoky flavor and a natural sweetness. It uses few ingredients, but it’s the quality of these ingredients that makes it truly special. In Japanese, dashi means “saved” and it’s believed to have medicinal properties, keeping food in your system longer and boosting metabolism.

If you can’t find Japanese kelp for your broth, the next best substitute is to use common kelp or kombu (kelp/seaweed which has been dried and usually sold in sheets).

Water 🌱

A bit of a stretch, but chicken broth does contain some water, so adding pure water is not a terrible choice. It’s quite concentrated and makes a great flavor base for soups and sauces. If you already have stock in the freezer, it can be used to make your soup base.

The Bottom Line

Chicken broth is incredibly popular and its presence is found in almost every kitchen due to the vast number of dishes it can enhance. If you’re wondering how to replace it, here’s a list of chicken broth alternatives. I’ve compiled the eight best chicken broth substitutes.

Chicken has always been a popular option in soups, stews, braises, and slow-cooked dishes because of its versatility. With such a widespread use, it’s not surprising that you’d want to find a substitute from time to time. And if you want to try a different flavor, texture, or a completely different ingredient, here’s a list of chicken broth alternatives. I’ve complied the eight best chicken broth substitutes that can help you get the most out of your kitchen.

Here are the 8 chicken broth substitutes.

Top vegan picks

Plant-based broth powders: These are an excellent vegan substitute for traditional chicken broth powders. Organic brands are usually better in taste. Some plant-based powders are fortified with calcium as well.

Ingredients: thyme, basil, rosemary, oregano, nutmeg, parsley, dill, bay leaves, coriander seeds, peppercorns and salt.

  • Tomato paste: This is an easy to obtain pantry item that can be used to add flavor to curries, soups and stews.
  • Vegetable stock: Vegetable stock is a great substitute that you can use to make vegetable based soups and stews. Vegetable stock can be added to curries, risotto and casseroles to make them heartier and more filling.
  • Miso broth: Miso is one of the oldest forms of fermentation and is a great substitute for traditional chicken broth. Miso broth is high in umami which is the fifth taste we get from eating protein.
  • Vegetables and legumes: You can use vegetables and legumes to make soups and stews. Vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli, potatoes, and cabbage lend themselves well to soups while beans and legumes can be used to make stews.

Top healthy picks

This is a list of some of the top healthy choices for chicken broth substitutes. I encourage you to try them when you are in a pinch. Frequent use, however, isn’t recommended as you will gain weight and consume food products which have no nutritional value.

Turkey broth

Turkey broth is a great substitute for chicken broth, as it is dairy-free, low-calorie, and low-fat. Turkey broth is also packed with protein, which makes it much more filling than beef broth.

Fish stock

Cod, carp, and haddock make excellent fish stocks that you can use to replace chicken broth. Fish stocks are packed with protein that’s bound to fill you up, but they are lacking in carbohydrates and fat.

Vegetable broth

Vegetable broth is a good substitute for vegetable soup especially when you want to keep your diet low-fat. It has a light flavor and is packed with vitamins, minerals, and nutrients.

Kelp stock

Kelp stock is made from seaweed and makes for a good alternative if you’re trying to lose weight. It’s low in calories and filled with minerals, zinc, and vitamins.

Minestrone soup

Top convenient picks

There are a few reasons why you might not want to make your own chicken broth. Preparing chicken broth is a time-consuming process that involves simmering an entire carcass for hours or adding lots of water to a concentrated chicken broth powder. Then there’s the issue of storage, which can quickly become an issue with chicken broth.

Luckily there are a few commercially available substitutes that provide essence of chicken broth without too much of a fuss. Although they don’t replace the flavor of homemade, they’re convenient enough to consider if you can’t spare the time to make broth yourself.

Below, you'll find our more detailed reviews, but you can also click the links above to see current prices or read customer reviews on Amazon.

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Top convincing picks

Would’nt it be nice if you had a perfectly clear chicken broth in thefridge at all times? While that might be a little bit of a stretch, there are certainly plenty of choices when it comes to chicken broth substitutes.

In Save On Meats you can find different kinds of broth, in fact, already made broth is one of the top 10 products sold, but if you need a substitution for chicken broth here is a list of products that will help you make your kitchen a better place.

Keep in mind that you don’t need to keep the flavour bland to have a healthful diet. If you need a chicken broth substitute, these are the best options:

Bouillon cubes

Bouillon cubes are a budget-friendly alternative, and they are easy to store. The cons? You can’t decide how much of the flavor you want. Sometimes the flavor profile is rather thin.

Beef broth

Let’s keep it real. If you’re looking for chicken flavour, beef broth is not going to give it to you. This is a very classic substitute, and it can transport you to the Old West, to the land of cowboys and cattle drives. But beef broth will probably not trick a picky palette.

Kettle Brand potato chips