beef broth

9 Beef Broth Substitutes That Taste Like the Real Deal


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Beef broth is the base of many dishes, from Asian noodle soups to winter stews to filling casseroles. This tasty broth can be made from scratch by simmering beef and beef bones on the stove, or it can be bought premade at the grocery store to make it even easier. Although this simple ingredient is flavorful and ideal for comfort food dishes, we don't always have it on hand. Fortunately, there are many beef broth substitutes that taste just like the real deal, and many of them can be found in your pantry or refrigerator.

Whether you're making shepherd's pie, stew or gravy, there's nothing worse than starting a recipe only to discover that you're missing an important ingredient. You don't want to lose your momentum by putting the cooking on pause for a trip to the store, but you also know that your dish won't work without the missing element.

When it comes to beef broth, there are plenty of alternatives that will allow you to continue the recipe with nothing but a small hiccup in your plans. Beef broth is beloved for its many health benefits, from having anti-aging properties to supporting healthy digestion. It's also known for its deliciously rich flavor, but these can be imitated in a number of different ways. Plus, some beef broth substitutes are perfect for vegetarians and vegans who are adapting a recipe to fit their dietary restrictions. Here are 9 tasty beef broth substitutes for when you run out of this yummy, nutritional ingredient.

1. Beef Stock

Saucepan with bouillon with a ladle on a wooden table. Bone broth

Getty Images/Qwart

If there's no shortage of beef, you can use beef stock in place of beef broth. Beef stock is essentially a reduction of beef bones and veggies, while the broth is made by boiling the meat along with the bone. This means that beef stock will have a slightly less meaty taste, but will be an excellent replacement for beef broth.

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2. Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth is a great substitute as well. It can be made with any veggies you like, along with seasonings like bay leaf, rosemary, basil, and black pepper. For one cup of beef broth, replace with a cup of vegetable broth or stock. Add a splash of red wine or soy sauce if you feel that your recipe is lacking any flavor. For an easier option, you can simply use a veggie broth bouillon cube.

3. Mushroom Broth

Mushroom stock with dried mushrooms

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Another great substitute for any meat stock is mushroom broth. To make it, just sauté a carrot, yellow onion, assorted mushrooms, and any flavorings you like. Add in water and bring the mixture to a boil, and then simmer it until it's reduced. The broth's mushroom flavor will have that distinctive umami taste that makes mushrooms so distinctive. Add miso paste for extra flavor!

4. Chicken Broth

Chicken broth or chicken stock are some of the most obvious beef broth substitutes. Just replace the beef broth that the recipe calls for with the same amount of chicken broth! Although the flavor will be slightly different than beef bone broth, chicken broth will come pretty close.

5. Red Wine or Beer

Although other broths are the best substitutes for beef broth, there are also options for when you find yourself with no broth or stock options. Wine and beer can easily be used in place of beef broth without affecting the final flavor too much. Use half water, half red wine or beer when replacing beef broth. You can use non-alcoholic beer if you prefer.

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6. Soy Sauce or Liquid Aminos

Kikkoman Soy Sauce

Getty Images/Gado

Soy sauce and liquid aminos are very similar, both salty liquids that go into many recipes for flavor. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce or liquid aminos to a cup of water, and stir thoroughly. Use a cup of soy sauce solution to replace one cup of beef broth. Although this won't taste exactly the same as beef broth, it'll still be a tasty base for your dish. Liquid aminos are a great option if you're making a gluten-free meal.

7. Soy Sauce and Steak Sauce

If you have soy sauce but are looking for a more flavorful replacement for your beef broth, try adding it to steak sauce. Add a tablespoon of soy sauce and a tablespoon of steak sauce to a cup of water or vegetable stock. This combo will add a depth of flavor to imitate the flavor of beef broth in a dish. Add soy sauce and steak sauce in small amounts, stirring and taste testing, until you've found the perfect ratio to replace your beef broth.

8. Worcestershire Sauce

Worcestershire sauce in a bowl

Getty Images/Roxiller

Worcestershire sauce is often used in sauces, and is beloved for its rich umami flavor that goes deliciously with meat. Combine a tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce with a cup of water or veggie broth and add it in to your recipe in place of beef broth.

9. Water

Water is a last resort when looking for a beef broth substitute because you'll miss out on that tasty beef flavor. However, you can add butter and seasonings like garlic, bay leaves and parsley to make your water more flavorful. Use the water as a 1:1 substitute for beef broth in your dish.

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