5 Best Chicken Broth Substitutes

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

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You may seek out chicken broth substitutes if you are trying out a vegetarian or vegan diet, or if you simply don’t have any available in your pantry.

Chicken broth, also known as chicken stock, is a cooking liquid made by simmering chicken bones, herbs, and vegetables in water for several hours. Chicken broth is as tasty as it is nutritious, and it’s used in cooking all over the world. It can be found in every grocery store, but is also simple and satisfying to make at home, and will surely have less sodium and more nutrients than store brands. Chicken broth is flavorful and nutritious and can be used to cook rice or other grains, as a base for soups or curries, or to make dumplings or stuffing. Its depth of flavor can truly make or break a meal.

Chicken Broth Substitutes

Given its importance in a recipe, knowing the best chicken broth substitutes is important. You may not have any chicken broth at home, or maybe you’re pursuing a vegetarian diet. Either way, there are plenty of chicken broth substitutes such as beef broth, vegetable broth, water, parmesan rind, and alcohol that will be just as satisfying.

A close-up view of bone broth in a bowl

On cold days, curl up and have a huge bowl of bone broth. Photo Credit: Shutterstock

Beef Broth

Beef broth is made just like chicken broth, but it has a much richer flavor that might be overpowering in some recipes. Use half beef broth and half water as a good substitute.

Vegetable Broth

When you make vegetable broth at home, you won’t even miss the chicken. Simmer veggie scraps like onion skins, carrot ends, celery tops, parsley stems, kale ribs, or almost anything else with herbs and a little salt. The results will smell and taste great in a soup, a risotto, or any other recipe where the chicken broth is called for.

Water

That’s right, simple water, straight from the tap can also be a good substitute. Water is the main ingredient in the broth after all, and if you’re making a soup, your ingredients will infuse the water with flavor as they simmer. Add a few drops of soy sauce or liquid aminos to impart a bit of extra richness.

Parmesan Rind

This is a favorite of professional chefs and makes an amazingly rich and flavorful broth. Save parmesan rinds in the freezer and simply drop one into the pot with the rest of your soup ingredients. The hard rind will release umami flavors that will have everyone coming back.

Alcohol

Try a ½ cup of lager beer or white wine in place of chicken stock. These impart their specific flavors and can make for great textures, as the alcohol evaporates during cooking.

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About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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