If you're looking for the best beef broth substitute for any recipe, this list includes plenty of options to help you out in a pinch! Whether you need a vegetarian or vegan substitute, or you just ran out of beef broth, there are plenty of easy alternatives to choose from. Try a beef broth substitute from these suggestions and finish up your recipe without anyone the wiser!
The Best Beef Broth Substitutes
The salty and earthy flavor of beef broth is the start of many favorite recipes. A rich gravy or stew. A light vegetable beef soup. Even the addition that elevates the richness of a red pasta sauce.
Whether in a can or a carton, this staple has a long shelf life that many home cooks keep on hand. While many of us buy beef broth at the store, it is also an easy ingredient to gather at home.
Despite being a staple ingredient, the truth is, sometimes you just won’t have beef broth on hand. Not to worry, as wonderful as beef broth is, there are over a dozen wonderful substitutes to use as well.
There are beef flavored substitutes, vegetarian options, and even plain old water. Whatever your preference, whatever you have on hand, you are sure to find a substitute that will work you!
1. Beef Stock
Beef stock and beef broth are often discussed interchangeably. While there are many similarities in flavor and uses, there are some differences.
The main difference is that beef stock is made from boiling down meat bones (after the meat has been eaten). Stock does not come from boiling the meat itself.
Beef stock is also cooked longer. The result is a deeper flavor and thicker consistency that comes from allowing the collagen (gelatin) in the bones time to come out.
While these two are different in some ways, they can easily be used in place of one another. Replacing beef broth with beef stock will provide a richer flavor to your soups, stews, and other recipes.
Use beef stock in a 1:1 substitution for beef broth. If the stock is too thick, simply add a bit of water to thin it out before using it.
2. Beef Consomme
Beef consomme is the result of boiling down beef broth until it becomes a thick sauce. The outcome is a bold and rich beefy flavor – even richer than beef stock.
While this substitute is great for achieving a similar flavor, it is not the most common to have in your household kitchen. It is sold in most stores though.
Therefore, if your grocery store is out of beef broth look for beef consume as a substitute. *Look for the familiar can of Campbell's brand soup, they offer a canned beef consomme.
Due to the thickness of this ingredient, you will need to thin it out before using it.
Simply mix slowly with some water until it reaches the consistency of beef broth. Then measure a 1:1 ratio of the diluted beef consomme in place of the beef broth.
3. Beef Bouillon Cubes
While you may not have beef broth in your pantry, you may have beef bouillon! Beef bouillon cubes are a great staple to keep on hand.
They are easy to store and stay fresh for a long time. More importantly, they are super easy to use as a substitute!
Beef bouillon cubes are made from dehydrated beef broth. The dehydrated broth is condensed into small cubes. These cubes are full of flavor.
To use in place of beef broth, simply add one bouillon cube to a cup of hot water. Stir until it dissolves. Use in a 1:1 substitution for beef broth in any recipe.
4. Beef Bouillon Granules
If you have beef bouillon granules instead of cubes, they are just as good! These granules are also made with dehydrated beef broth.
However, instead of being condensed into a cube, they are made into small granules that are easier to dissolve.
The flavor is essentially the same between beef bouillon granules and cubes. They will both provide a close flavor exchange for beef broth in any recipe.
Follow the directions on the jar or packet to dissolve the granules in water. Use liquid in a 1:1 exchange for beef broth.
Be aware that beef bouillon (granules and cubes) can sometimes be saltier than regular beef broth. Therefore, you may want to wait to add any additional salt until after adding the bouillon.
Note that I always advise to let your recipe flavors come together before seasoning too heavily with salt and/or pepper. You can always add more later - but it's hard to fix an overly seasoned dish!
5. Beef Base
Like beef bouillon, beef base is a highly condensed version of beef broth or stock. Rather than being dehydrated though, it comes in a thick paste.
This thick paste packs a lot of flavor and a little goes a long way! Just like with beef bouillon, beef base needs to be added to the water before using.
Check the jar for the ratio of beef base to water. Follow the directions to create the desired amount of liquid needed. Then use it as a simple 1:1 substitution for beef broth.
Depending on the brand, the beef base may be quite salty. Add it first and taste it before adding more salt to your recipe.
6. Chicken Broth
Despite being made from chicken, you can use chicken broth in place of beef broth. Made similarly, chicken broth offers the same basic flavor notes needed for most recipes.
The flavor is less intense but still salty and savory.
Since it has a milder flavor, it will take on stronger flavors around it. This makes it easy to enrich the flavor of the broth by adding a little bit of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce.
These two sauces have a savory umami flavor that resembles beef broth. Therefore, adding a splash of either one to the chicken broth will create an even closer flavor substitute.
A splash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce will also help add to the color of your sauce, soup, or gravy.
Use a 1:1 ratio of chicken broth to beef broth. Add soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce to taste.
7. Vegetable Broth
Another good alternative to beef broth is vegetable broth. Especially if you are trying to create a vegetarian or vegan version of your recipe.
Vegetable broth is made from only boiling down vegetables, without any added animal protein like beef or chicken.
Like chicken broth, the flavor is less intense than beef broth. However, it still offers those similar salty flavor notes.
Its mild flavor also takes on the stronger flavors of other recipe ingredients.
If desired, you can add a dash of soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce when using vegetable broth. However, Worcestershire sauce is not vegetarian-friendly due to the addition of anchovies.
So, be aware of using it if you are aiming for a vegan or vegetarian dish.
Use a 1:1 ratio of vegetable broth for beef broth. Add additional sauces for flavor as desired.
8. Mushroom Broth
While not as popular as other broths, mushroom broth is a great substitute! Especially for beef broth.
Mushroom broth is made from boiling down mushrooms. The result is a savory and earthy broth that reflects the umami flavors also found in beef broth.
It is a great choice for staying close to the original flavor of a recipe that calls for beef broth while making it vegan-friendly. Plus, it is easy to find in most grocery stores.
Mushroom broth can be used in a simple 1:1 substitution in any recipe that calls for beef broth.
9. Red Wine
Red wine is commonly used to elevate the savory flavors that have a beef base. Think, beef stew or richly flavored red pasta sauce.
While red wine does best when it is combined with beef broth, it can also be used on its own. However, it needs to be balanced out with water to not overpower the other flavors.
Mix equal parts red wine and water (1 cup red wine + 1 cup water). Use the diluted wine in a 1:1 substitution for beef broth (1 cup wine + 1 cup water = 2 cups of beef broth).
Moreover, if you have some beef broth available, just not enough, replace the missing portion with red wine.
10. White Wine
Like chicken broth, white wine is not the ideal flavor exchange for beef broth. However, in a pinch, you can use a dry white wine to elevate the flavor of a dish.
This works best for casseroles or sauces that call for a small amount of beef broth. As well as dishes that don’t rely heavily on a rich savory beef flavor. It will lend a lighter overall flavor to the dish.
Mix equal parts dry white wine with water. Use the mixture as a 1:1 substitute for beef broth.
Beer is another great way to enrich the flavors of a beef dish. Moreover, beer is great for tenderizing meat. Therefore, using it as a substitute in a meaty casserole, soup, or sauce will help enrich the flavor and tenderness.
Be careful to not overdo the flavor though! A hoppy beer can quickly overshadow the other flavors in your recipe. It is best to use this substitute in small quantities or to enhance the flavor of another substitute.
Combine 1 part beer with 1 part water (or another broth). Use this mixture in a 1:1 replacement for beef broth.
Notes on Cooking with Alcohol
The alcohol in wine and beer will cook out when heated - eventually. This is a disputed fact when adding alcohol into a recipe.
While it is indeed true, it actually takes at least three hours for any alcohol content to fully cook out of a dish. The longer your recipe cooks, the more alcohol content will cook off.
If all else fails, plain old water can be used as a substitute for beef broth. Obviously, it won’t have a rich and savory flavor.
It will provide a convenient, versatile base to create a soup, stew, or sauce though.
The great thing about water is that since it doesn’t have any taste, you can easily add seasonings and spices to enrich the flavor as desired.
Adding garlic, parsley, and bay leaves is a great starting point for adding a simple savory flavor.
In addition, you can add a splash of any of the flavors below. Just measure a 1:1 ratio of water for beef broth.
Then, add a dash of your favorite flavor enhancer. Taste. If needed, slowly add more until you reach the desired flavor.
- Liquid Aminos
- Steak Sauce
- Soy Sauce
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Miso Paste
Making Beef Broth At Home
Simply keep hold of the juices and liquid that comes from a roast that you make (this alone can be used as beef broth).
Take it one step further and add the leftover meat, bones, and veggies to a large pot of water. Boil slowly to extract all those delicious flavors!
After a few hours, strain the broth through a fine mesh sieve to remove the meat and veggies then bottle up your own beef broth.
You can still make your favorite recipes thanks to these easy beef broth substitutes! Let us know how they worked out for you by leaving us a comment below!
Best Beef Broth Substitute
- 1 cup beef stock
- ½ cup beef consomme
- 1 beef bouillon cubes
- Use beef stock in a 1:1 ratio of equal amounts as any beef broth called for in your recipe.1 cup beef stock
- Thin beef consomme down before using if desired, otherwise it can also be used as an equal exchange for beef broth.½ cup beef consomme
- Dissolve 1 beef bouillon cube in 1 cup hot water, then use the broth as a 1:1 exchange for beef broth.
Angela is an at home chef that developed a passion for all things cooking and baking at a young age in her Grandma's kitchen. After many years in the food service industry, she now enjoys sharing all of her family favorite recipes and creating tasty dinner and amazing dessert recipes here at Bake It With Love!