Quick and Simple Broth Substitutes – Beef Base Substitute

by Daisy Dao

Broths are staples to any kitchen and go with almost everything, be it rice, soups or casseroles. It's a popular ingredient because of its rich flavor that elevates any dish to a better taste. It's not expensive and comes in different forms like mixes and powders in the market.

They are different from stocks as they are denser and pack a bit more flavor. This is because broths have some seasoning and salts in them that stocks don't. However, since people use it so often, it's not unnatural to run out of broth unexpectedly.

Therefore, to make sure you can cook up that perfect dish without worry, here we've listed some quick and simple broth substitutes that you can use for situations exactly like that.

Quick and Simple Broth Substitutes - Beef Base Substitute
Quick and Simple Broth Substitutes - Beef Base Substitute

What Is Broth and What Are Its Benefits?

Broth is a key ingredient in many Asian and other cuisines, but what exactly is it? What about bone broth that makes it such a powerful food?

What Is Broth?

Broth is made from boiling animal bones. Some types of broth may also include vegetables and seasonings, but the basic ingredients are water, bones, and sometimes joints.

Broth is simmered for up to 24 hours, which not only provides minerals from the bones but also breaks down some of the tough connective tissues in meats. The long cooking process essentially 'teaches' the broth how to be tasty on its own, without any seasoning! In fact, a lot of the flavour in a broth comes from how it was made, not from what goes in. This is the reason why simmered broth often tastes much more flavourful than instant broths.

The Benefits of Bone Broth

As for the benefits of bone broth, Dr. Axe says bone broth actually heals your gut and reduces joint pain, boosts your immune system, helps fight colds and the flu, helps maintain strong bones, improves sleep quality, reduces inflammation throughout the body (especially in the gut), enhances skin health (including reducing acne!), builds muscle and fights aging.

One thing to note is that some of these claimed benefits are either unproven or preliminarily proven through rat trials. Despite this, bone broth is known to provide many health benefits and has been used as a remedy for centuries.

Broth Substitutes

Turning Stock into Broth

Turning Stock into Broth
Turning Stock into Broth

Whether it's chicken or beef stock, it's possible to convert it into a dense broth anytime. All you need is some seasoning, red wine, and fresh herbs. You can add some salt to it as per your preference.

Boil the seasoned stock and leave it to cook for 10-30 minutes. This allows all the flavors from the seasonings to get into the stock properly. Finally, you can use a filter and collect the ready broth for storage and use.

Using Soy Sauce

Using Soy Sauce
Using Soy Sauce

Add garlic, bay leaves, and parsley to soy sauce along with other herbs and seasoning salts. It is essential to add the seasonings in small portions because too much or too little of it can lead to the taste being entirely off.

As many famous chefs do, it is good to taste as you go along with the recipe. If the feeling doesn't turn out as you wanted, it's best to start over. Also, you can try using white wine if soy sauce isn't available.

Using Bouillon Cubes

Using Bouillon Cubes
Using Bouillon Cubes

In almost all recipes that call for broth, it is possible to use bouillon cubes or granules instead. The ratio is 1:1 for bouillon cube to the broth. That means, just 1 bouillon cube can be dissolved in boiling water (8 ounces) to substitute for every cup of broth required. Bouillon is a popular substitute for chicken stock or broth.

But you can use it as a beef broth alternative too. Marketed bouillon cubes contain high amounts of sodium. So, it's better to have a higher quantity of water than bouillon. Usually, you can add 1 cube to every one and a half cup of water. Many brands make bouillon with less sodium, including- Wyler's, Campbell's, Marigold, etc.

One Broth with Another

One Broth with Another
One Broth with Another

It might come off as a surprise, but it's not uncommon to switch one broth for another. If you are running short on chicken broth, you can easily use beef broth instead. Again, any vegetable broth can be used instead of chicken breast or beef and vice versa.

Concurrently, take note that some broths are more natural to substitute than others. While it may be possible to switch out the chicken broth for beef, the taste won't be the same.

Liquid Aminos or Worcestershire

Liquid Aminos or Worcestershire
Liquid Aminos or Worcestershire

A popular gluten-free alternative to soy sauce is liquid aminos. Worcestershire or Worcester sauce is a liquid native to the UK and can also substitute soy sauce. Both these liquids usually have vegetarian bases and are used in dishes like beef stew, chili con carne or even with hamburgers.

These liquids are sources of umami and background flavors. But to elevate their presence as a broth, they can be added to a cup of water. They can even be added to a cup of vegetable broth to get the same flavor as a beef broth.

Besides, liquid aminos are a popular substitute for vegans as well as for paleos. They are made from soybeans.

Mushroom Broth

Mushroom Broth
Mushroom Broth

One of the most effortless substitutes for beef broth is mushroom broth. It's easy to make and rich in flavor. You can use either fresh or dried mushrooms. Add a sautéed carrot, yellow onion, some mushrooms along with seasonings and herbs like thyme, parsley springs, bay leaf, peppercorns and salt to a pan of water and bring the mixture to a boil.

Once boiled, you should allow it to simmer on low heat so that all the flavors get extracted. When all the vegetables have a mushroom flavor, and the mixture has reduced, the broth is ready. This might take about an hour. Similarly, adding some red wine and soy sauce to this can make the broth taste even better.

Some also add miso paste for a more exciting experience. As mushrooms have a meaty flavor to them, they can be passed off quickly as a beef-based broth in any dish. Thus, button or assorted mushrooms are suitable for this recipe.


Quick and Simple Broth Substitutes - Beef Base Substitute
Quick and Simple Broth Substitutes - Beef Base Substitute

Whether you are cooking gravy or braising meats, beers and wines are an excellent substitute for beef broths. You can mix some light beer with water in equal proportions to dilute it. This can be used to deglaze a pan, make a wonderful sauce or even in stews.

On the other hand, since wines and beers are flammable, they should be cooked cautiously until all the alcohol gets evaporated. There's always an option to use non-alcoholic beer as well. You can use either red wine or white as per your preference.

At the same time, be aware of the heat during cooking with an alcoholic liquid. You don't want to end up setting your broth ablaze.

How to Make a Broth Substitute Using Vegetables

There are several ways to make broth substitutes using vegetables. One can use carrots, celery, onions, garlic and bay leaves to simulate the flavor of a traditional broth. To do this, simply chop the vegetables into small pieces and boil them in water for one hour or until the vegetables become very soft. Then, take out and discard the vegetables and use the water to cook pasta or rice, thicken soups, stews and sauces or to make a gravy.

Generally, it is best to avoid making a vegetable broth substitute if it will be consumed by children, pregnant women or people who have compromised immune systems. This includes elderly relatives and friends as well as anyone for whom eating vegetables may be dangerous.

Most vegetables can be made into a broth substitute, but root vegetables with higher starch contents make the best broths; these include parsnips, potatoes and turnips. Alternatively, you can use carrots or celery root.

Any vegetables used to make a broth substitute should:

  • Be free of blemishes or bruises
  • Not be over ripe or rotten

After preparing the vegetables, peel them if desired. Then chop them into large chunks and place them in a pot with room to spare. Add enough water to cover the vegetables by about two inches. If desired, add herbs such as parsley, sage, thyme and bay leaves for seasoning. Put on the heat and bring to a boil. Once it boils, reduce heat to low and let simmer for an hour or two if desired. Strain the broth through a fine sieve, discard vegetables and store broth in fridge for up to one week or freeze for later use.

If you are not going to consume this broth immediately, you will need to add a little salt to it. This can be done after the broth cools. If you prefer, you may also add an appropriate amount of salt when beginning to make the broth and let it cook with all of the ingredients.

If your vegetables are fresh, they should not need any additional seasoning like salt upon cooking. This extra salt will need to be removed before consuming the broth.

To make this process simpler, consider buying pre-cut vegetables from a grocery store or farmer's market. Some stores even have organic vegetable scraps for those who are willing to pick through them and clean them thoroughly before cooking with them. If you do not feel as if doing this is worth it, consider buying a vegetable stock powder or soup base at a grocery store.

Maintain a clean kitchen and a clean stovetop when you are making this broth substitute by quickly washing surface areas that have been splattered with food. Wash your hands frequently to prevent cross-contamination from the raw meat if you handled it before beginning to make the broth substitute.

Keep in mind that an alternative to making a broth from vegetables is simply using store bought broths. Some good choices are organic, low sodium and gluten-free options if you have dietary restrictions or need to be careful about what you eat for health reasons.

Beef Base Substitute

Beef broths are so popular and widely used. It is essential to have some alternatives up one's sleeve in case of emergencies. Some beef-based broth substitutes are mentioned below:

  • A cup of vegetable broth
  • Bouillon cubes/granules mixed with water or vegetable broth ( 1:1 ratio)
  • A cup of Red/White Wine with Beer (alcoholic/ non-alcoholic)
  • A cup of seasoned Soy Sauce
  • A cup of mushroom broth
  • A box of liquid Aminos and Worcester sauce (for vegans)


With these quick and simple broth substitutes and beef-based substitutes, you can always let your dishes burst with exciting flavors no matter the situation.

You can visit our recent review about Best Turbo Convection Ovens to get proper guide how to cook perfectly.

About Daisy Dao

Daisy grew up on the beautiful Honolulu island where she often found herself spending most of her day enjoying the ocean scent in sea waves. As such, Daisy came to appreciate the art of cooking seafood. She has experimented with baking, roasting, broiling, poaching, grilling (and every other cooking technique you can think of); and with all kinds of spices too. Now she is ready to present her experience: the art of cooking healthy food without any pre-packaged ingredients; food product recommendations for people who need a bit more guidance on what goes into their bodies; how to maintain an active lifestyle without having to give up your favorite foods!

Be with Daisy:

Leave a Reply

Check for FREE Gifts. Or get our Free Cookbooks right now.

Disable the Ad Block to reveal all the recipes. Once done that, click on any button below