Chicken broth is a common ingredient used in kitchens across the world. It is a savory liquid made with meat and sometimes bones and vegetables. It offers a light chicken flavor and its warmth can be soothing. Broths have been used since the early 1700s.
So many recipes call for chicken broth as a necessary ingredient. If you have run out, or are looking for an alternative due to dietary needs, you have plenty of options!
Chicken Stock vs Chicken Broth
Chicken broth and chicken stock are very similar. They are often used interchangeably.
The main difference between the two is that chicken stock is made with chicken bones while regular chicken broth is made of chicken meat. Being a bone broth, chicken stock also has a bit of a stronger flavor and a thicker consistency (especially when chilled) due to the bone marrow in the collagen.
For the purposes of this post, we will treat chicken broth and chicken stock as one in the same.
Best Substitutes for Chicken Broth
Because chicken broth is used in many recipes, it is important to have a plan if you run out or don’t have any. There are quite a few substitutions for chicken broth and even a few vegetarian-friendly options. Here are some excellent options for a great chicken broth substitute.
Chicken Boullion Cubes
Chicken bouillon is dehydrated chicken broth. It is an easy solution for your chicken broth needs. This option is a versatile ingredient and comes in many forms. Chicken bouillon is available as chicken bouillon cubes, bouillon powder, bouillon paste, granules, or even in a liquid form.
Bouillon dissolves in a bit of water. To make it a substitute for chicken broth, add one chicken bouillon cube to a cup of hot water and follow the package instructions. If you have the liquid form, you will want to substitute the bouillon at a 1:1 ratio. If you are using granules, it is recommended that you substitute 1 teaspoon of bouillon granules in a cup of water for every cup of broth.
When using this substitute, keep in mind that chicken bouillon may be a little bit saltier than regular chicken broth. Using chicken bouillon granules with a combination of water may make the salt milder. But, plan to use additional seasonings sparingly until you have performed a taste test or two.
The most popular brand of Chicken Base is Better Than Bouillon. You may have seen it at Costco or the grocery store and not known what it is used for. Chicken base is added to recipes to really amp up the chicken flavor. A small amount can take something like a homemade chicken noodle soup from bland and average to unbelievably tasty.
It is shelf stable but must be refrigerated once opened.
Chicken base can also be turned into a chicken broth equivalent. For each cup of chicken broth needed for your recipe, combine ½ - 1 teaspoon chicken base with 8 ounces water.
Beef broth is one of the best substitute options for chicken broth. Obviously, the biggest difference in beef broth is that the main ingredient is changed from chicken to beef.
Beef broth has a great flavor, but, it is a much different flavor than chicken broth. A cup of chicken broth can be substituted for beef broth at a 1:1 ratio.
Beef broth is a great substitute to amp up the flavor of your dish. Try it in a variety of dishes such as Paella or casseroles.
Vegetarian Substitutes for Chicken Broth
Often times, a recipe like a soup or a casserole can be completely vegetarian but call for chicken broth as a liquid. If you are trying to stick to a vegetarian or vegan diet, chicken broth obviously will not work for you.
Don’t worry - there are quite a few substitute options that will meet your needs. What’s better is that all of them are either a pantry staple or something you can easily access in a local grocery store.
Plain water is undoubtedly something you have quick access to. It is a favorite chicken broth substitute as it is so easy to get and use.
If you choose water as your substitute, keep in mind it will not add any additional flavor. Choose to add a few aromatic vegetables, fresh herbs, and seasonings to provide a great flavor for your meal. You can also add melted butter, a tablespoon of olive oil, or salt to the water.
To create a richer taste and richer flavor, you can always add options like coconut milk, onion powder, Worcestershire sauce, miso paste, or red wine to the water.
A few cups of water can be easily added to replace chicken broth in soups and stews.
You will want to use this substitute by using equal parts of water for chicken broth.
Vegetable Broth, Vegetable Stock or Vegetable Bouillon
This vegetarian substitute is a great choice to replace chicken broth. Vegetable broth has a very similar flavor and color to chicken broth, some may not even be able to tell the difference.
Vegetable broth is also low in carbs and calories. A cup of broth has only 17 calories and 1.9g of carbs. Vegetable broth can help to cut down on excess calories. Using vegetable stock as a replacement for chicken broth is a great way to cut down on sodium. One cup of vegetable stock has 200 mg of sodium while chicken broth has 500mg.
Another added benefit is that it is easy to make your own broth at home. Vegetable stock is made from only chopped vegetables and water. Many add to the stock by adding spices and herbs such as garlic and bay leaves.
Try a vegetable broth replacement for dishes such as stuffing, soups, or sauces. It is also a great choice for making rice or braising a tender side of vegetables. Vegetable broth is a popular choice in Japanese cuisine dishes such as Miso Soup. Add in a few dashes of soy sauce and this good substitute can be made great. Use a 1:1 ratio when substituting vegetable broth for chicken broth.
White wine is another good option to substitute for chicken broth. This ingredient is likely on the list of chicken broth substitutes you have at home. It can provide a savory taste to your dish that will make your taste buds sing.
White wine is a great replacement cooking liquid in sauces or to deglaze a pan. You will want to use a 1:1 ratio of white wine for chicken broth. Use a dry wine to get a great level of acidity to your dish. The flavor profile of white wine will be a great addition to your meal.
Because of the intense flavor and acidity, it is only white wine is only recommended as a substitute when a small amount of broth is needed. Larger quantities will need to be diluted with water or replaced with another option on this list.
Chickpea liquid is one of the best vegan substitutes for chicken broth. The next time you use a can of chickpeas, do not get rid of the liquid left behind. It is nothing like plain old water. It actually has a special name, aquafaba.
Aquafaba has a mild chickpea flavor but it transforms to become tasteless when incorporated into your recipe. It can be used in a variety of dishes.
You will want to dilute the liquid with equal parts of water as it will be starchier than chicken broth. Use diluted Aquafaba at a 1:1 substitute ratio for chicken broth.
Homemade Chicken Broth
Chicken broth is probably best known for its magical healing properties in chicken soup. While it may not have actual magical healing properties, it is one of the top selections for sick kids and adults.
In fact, Americans eat more than ten billion bowls of soup per year. Chicken noodle is rated the top favorite. Chicken broth is widely available in any grocery store. You can also make homemade chicken broth.
If you are looking for a solid chicken broth substitute, homemade chicken broth can be a great solution.
Did you know you can make homemade broth in your pressure cooker? Talk about a game-changer. Check out this great homemade Instant Pot Chicken Broth recipe by the Self Proclaimed foodie. To make this recipe you will need:
- 1 pound of raw chicken pieces (various cuts work, must have bones and skin )
- ½ onion (quartered)
- 1 stalk celery (chopped)
- 1 carrot (chopped)
- 1 whole clove garlic
- 1 bay leaf
- 1 teaspoon whole peppercorns
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
Making your own chicken broth is a great choice if you try to avoid preservatives and added chemicals. Homemade broth freezes well which makes it a convenient way to always have some available. Nothing you can buy at the store will taste better than homemade chicken stock either. Not to mention that there are many health benefits to making your own foods.
However, it is not always the easiest or quickest choice. If you don’t have the desire to make your own chicken broth or don’t have the needed ingredients, there are plenty of great substitute options.
Summing It Up: Best Alternatives for your Recipe
There is no common ingredient that binds together the best substitutes for chicken broth. Each item listed is unique and will provide a specific benefit to your final dish.
Finding the best substitute for chicken broth can vary based on your needs and what you have on hand.
If you are looking for a healthier substitute, vegetable stock is a great option. But, if you are looking for a rich flavor you may opt for beef broth. If all else fails, water is the easiest substitute choice, but chicken bouillon or chicken base will create the most similar flavor.
No matter the substitute option you choose, you should be able to create a great meal.
Do you have any other tried and true substitution recommendations? Please let me know in the comments!