6 Best Beef Broth Substitutes (2024)

Home » Cooking Basics » Substitutes » 6+ Best Beef Broth Substitutes (& How Much to Use)

by Carrie Forrest, MPH in Nutritionon

Sep 25, 2022 (updated: 4/16/24)

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When you’re making your favorite beef soup or beef stew and you run out of broth, don’t panic! There are plenty of alternatives that will still give your dish the delicious beef flavor you love. Here are the top six beef broth substitutes including chicken broth, vegetable broth, beer, liquid aminos, bouillon cubes, and mushroom broth.

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Contents hide

1 Overview of Beef Broth

2 Beef Broth Substitutes

3 Substitute Pros and Cons

4 Conclusions

5 More Best Substitutes Articles You Might Like

Overview of Beef Broth

What it tastes like

The key to making a delicious soup or stew is in the seasoning. And when it comes to beef broth, the key ingredient is time. The longer the broth simmers, the more time it has to develop a rich, robust flavor.

Beef broth is know for having a lot of flavor, that’s why it’s often used as the base of other recipes.

What’s in it

When simmering beef bones in water, the result is a flavorful and nutrient-rich broth.

The key ingredients in beef broth are bones, water, vinegar, and a bit of salt. The bones provide flavor and minerals, while the water helps to extract these nutrients from the bones. The vinegar helps to break down the collagen in the bones, resulting in a richer broth.

In addition to these key ingredients, many people also add vegetables, herbs, and spices to their beef broth. This results in a versatile broth that can be used in a variety of recipes.

How it’s made

First, beef bones are roasted in the oven to help give the broth a richer flavor. Next, the roasted bones are placed in a large pot or slow cooker, along with any vegetables or aromatics that will be used.

Then, water is added to the pot, and the mixture is simmered for several hours.

Once the broth is finished simmering, it is strained to remove any solid pieces. Finally, the broth is typically cooled and then refrigerated or frozen for later use.

Try making your own beef broth if you want to save money and reduce food waste.

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How it’s used

Beef broth or beef stock can be used to add flavor and depth to stews, soups, and sauces, or it can be used as a base for beef dishes such as beef stroganoff or shepherd’s pie. It can also be used as a braising liquid for vegetables or meats.

In addition, beef broth can be frozen and used later for a quick and easy meal. Simply defrost the broth and add your favorite vegetables, meats, or noodles.

Beef broth is a delicious and nourishing way to make any dish more flavorful and nutritious.

Beef Broth Substitutes

When you’re in a pinch and need a beef broth substitute, there are several options available. Depending on what you’re making, you may need to adjust the seasoning of your dish to account for the different flavor of the substitute.

Here are some of the best beef broth substitutes.

1. Chicken Broth

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To substitute chicken broth for beet broth, simmer the chicken broth on the stovetop until it is reduced by half. This gives it a deeper flavor that is more similar to beef broth.

I also recommend adding a few drops of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce to give the broth more depth of flavor.

When using chicken broth as a substitute for beef broth, it is best to use it in dishes that are not heavily reliant on the beef flavor, such as soup or stew. With a little bit of adjustment, chicken broth can be used in most recipes that call for beef broth.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use one cup of reduced chicken broth or chicken stock.

2. Vegetable Broth

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Vegetable broth is a great substitute for beef broth, especially if you want a vegan or vegetarian option.

It’s made from simmering vegetables in water and it’s easy to make at home or buy at the store.

When substituting in recipes, use an equal amount of vegetable broth for beef broth. If you’re hoping to add more flavor, consider adding a bouillon cube or additional seasonings like salt, pepper, and herbs.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use one cup of broth.

3. Beer

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Believe it or not, beer can be used as a substitute for beef broth. The hops in beer add a similar bitterness to that of beef broth, while the malt gives the broth a richness and body.

When substituting beer for beef broth, it’s best to use a dark beer, such as a stout or porter. These styles will have more pronounced flavor profiles that will complement, rather than compete with, the other ingredients in your dish.

When using beer in place of beef broth, be sure to cook it down until the liquid is reduced by half. This will concentrate the flavors and prevent the dish from becoming too watered down.

Please note that most beers are not gluten-free, so take that into consideration if you are on a gluten-free diet.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use one cup of reduced beer.

4. Liquid Aminos

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Liquid aminos are another great alternative to traditional beef broth.

While beef broth can sometimes be too intense in flavor, liquid aminos provide a milder taste that will still allow the beef flavor to shine through. In addition, liquid aminos a real so lower in sodium than beef broth, making it a healthier option for those watching their salt intake.

To substitute liquid aminos for beef broth, simply add it to the pot when you would normally add beef broth. With this simple substitution, you can still enjoy all the flavor of beef broth without all the sodium.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use 1/2 cup of liquid aminos + 1/2 cup of water.

5. Bouillon Cubes

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Bouillon cubes are a great substitute for beef broth. Simply dissolve one cube in a cup of water. Keep in mind that bouillon cubes are quite salty, so you’ll likely need to adjust the amount of salt added to your recipe.

Look for beef bouillon cubes at your local grocery store.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, dissolve one bouillon cube in one cup of water.

6. Mushroom Broth

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Mushroom broth is a great way to add depth of flavor to soups, stews, and sauces, and can be used as a beef broth substitute

It is easy to make at home, but it can also be bought in stores. Simply simmer mushrooms and aromatics in water for 30 minutes, then strain the mixture.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use one cup of prepared or homemade mushroom broth.

Bonus Substitutes

If you don’t have any of the above substitutes for beef broth, you can also try to re-create the flavor using dried herbs. Bay leaves are a great option for simmering in your soup or stew to help add flavor.

You can also try options like fish stock, red wine, white wine, miso paste, steak sauce, a splash or soy sauce, or non-alcoholic beer.

Substitute Pros and Cons

Here’s a simple chart summarizing the pros and cons of each of the beef broth alternatives discussed above.

Chicken BrothSimmering reduces it for a deeper flavor, can be enhanced with Worcestershire or soy sauce.Not ideal for beef-centric dishes due to different flavor profiles.
Vegetable BrothVegan and vegetarian-friendly, easy to make or buy, can be enhanced with bouillon or herbs.May lack the richness of beef broth without additional seasonings.
BeerAdds bitterness and richness similar to beef broth, dark beers like stout or porter recommended.Not gluten-free, requires reduction to concentrate flavor which may not suit all dishes.
Liquid AminosMilder and lower in sodium than beef broth.Lacks the full-bodied flavor of beef broth, requires mixing with water to substitute properly.
Bouillon CubesConvenient and easy to use.Can be very salty, requiring adjustments in seasoning.
Mushroom BrothAdds a rich, umami flavor similar to beef broth, easy to make or buy.Flavor might not align perfectly with all beef broth applications.


There are many substitutes for beef broth, including chicken broth, vegetable broth, beer, liquid aminos, bouillon cubes, and mushroom broth. Each of these options will provide a different flavor profile to your dish, so choose the one that best fits your needs. With a little bit of experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect beef broth substitute for your next meal.

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6 Best Beef Broth Substitutes (2024)


6 Best Beef Broth Substitutes? ›

There are many substitutes for beef broth, including chicken broth, vegetable broth, beer, liquid aminos, bouillon cubes, and mushroom broth. Each of these options will provide a different flavor profile to your dish, so choose the one that best fits your needs.

What can be the best substitute for beef broth? ›

Substitutes for Beef Broth
  • Miso Paste. ...
  • Vegetable Broth. ...
  • Chicken Broth. ...
  • Chicken Bouillon Cubes. ...
  • Liquid Aminos. ...
  • Tomato Paste. ...
  • Dashi. Dashi is a type of stock commonly used in Japan that is typically made from dried kelp (kombu) and dried bonito or skipjack flakes (katsuobushi). ...
  • Beer. Viiviien / Shutterstock.
Nov 30, 2023

Which has better flavor beef stock and beef broth? ›

As a result, stock is usually a healthier product, delivering a richer mouth feel and deeper flavor than broth. Stock is a versatile culinary tool that can deliver taste to any number of dishes. Darker in color and more concentrated in flavor than broth, it's ideal for use in soups, rice, sauces and more.

What can I use if I don't have beef or chicken broth? ›

If you need a chicken broth substitute, you can use the same amount of white wine or a combination of water with 1 tablespoon of olive oil or melted butter. For beef broth, combine water with 1 tablespoon soy sauce.

How to get beef flavor without beef? ›

If you're not actually vegetarian, things like worcestershire, fish sauce, or beef stock can add a lot of that flavor you're looking for without adding meat directly. For actual vegan options: mushrooms, miso, fermented black bean, smoked salt, nutritional yeast, kombu, marmite.

What can I use instead of beef broth in crockpot? ›

Water + Soy Sauce – Combine 1 cup water with 1 tbsp soy sauce, and voila! You have “beef broth.” You can mix in some parsley, garlic, or bay leaves to make it more convincing.

What happens if I use beef stock instead of beef broth? ›

Can You Substitute Broth for Stock? You can always substitute equal parts broth for stock. Since stock is generally thicker and more flavorful, you might find your favorite recipes get more of a flavor boost by using stock.

What add to beef broth for more flavor? ›

Woody herbs like rosemary, thyme, oregano, sage, tarragon, and marjoram release tons of flavor as they slowly simmer in stock. Give them a rinse and toss in a big handful of sprigs per quart of store-bought stock.

How do you make beef broth taste richer? ›

♨️ Saute fresh or warm up leftover garlic, onions, carrots, mushrooms, fennel, leeks, etc., then mix them into your broth. You'll score warm, savory, deeply satisfying aromas and flavors in each sip.

What is the difference between Swanson beef broth and beef stock? ›

A: Good Morning, Stock is made by slow-cooking a variety of vegetables, olive oil and bones or boney pieces of meat, then strained. Broth includes the skin or fat of the animal plus additional vegetables and meaty pieces for flavor.

Can I use Worcestershire sauce instead of beef broth? ›

Worcestershire sauce offers complex umami flavors that take care of the salt factor required in the dish and can even make it a better flavorful choice versus something like soy sauce. To use Worcestershire sauce as a substitute, add 1 tablespoon to 1 cup of water or vegetable broth for each cup of beef broth.

Is beef bouillon the same as beef broth? ›

The terms bouillon and broth are often used interchangeably. Both refer to the translucent, flavorful liquid that is made by simmering beef, chicken, vegetables, and other ingredients. Colloquially, bouillon is often meant to describe the resulting broth from cubed and powdered forms of bouillon.

Can I use au jus instead of beef broth? ›

While the definition of au jus has expanded over time to mean almost any thin sauce paired with meat, its singular purpose of saucing a roast or sandwich without being as thick as gravy is still its primary attribute. Any other purpose, and you are back to calling it beef broth.

How do you replicate beef flavor? ›

Beef Flavor

To make your own spice blend: Start with a base mixture of salt, pepper, brown sugar, onion, garlic, cumin, and cayenne pepper. Other great flavoring agents for beef-alternative dishes are: Vegan Worcestershire sauce – Adds that signature umami flavor.

How to make vegetable broth taste like beef? ›

Leeks, turnips, or mushroom scraps are all excellent. For even more richness, we add dried mushrooms (these can be purchased online, and I often find them in the spice aisle of larger grocery stores). They pack a punch and add a “meatiness” to the broth.

What spices give a beef flavor? ›

Beef tastes great when seasoned with oregano, rosemary, sage, garlic or a combination of these seasonings. Poultry gets an added burst of flavor with spices like paprika, lemongrass and saffron. Fish can be made more flavorful with dry mustard powder, thyme and turmeric.

Can you use apple juice instead of beef broth? ›

You can also try apple juice, provided that the flavor of the juice will complement the other flavors of the dish as well. As a last resort, simply use water; however, before serving, check the seasoning, as you may need to add salt and pepper to make up for the loss of seasoning in the broth.

Is water a good substitute for broth? ›

Fortunately, we're here to let you in on a game-changing secret: Water makes a more than acceptable replacement for chicken stock in most soups, stews, sauces, and braises. And in many cases, water actually produces a better-tasting result.

Is condensed beef broth the same as beef broth? ›

Condensed is a stronger broth. So you would double the amount of beef base that you put in.

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