Beef broth brings so many benefits to your cooking that it can be hard to imagine making certain dishes without it.
However, sometimes we find ourselves short of staple ingredients that we can sometimes take for granted.
Luckily, most ingredients have substitutes that are just as good and provide just as good a flavor as the original.
Beef broth is an ingredient that really needs to be substituted rather than omitted if you don’t have any on hand as it provides important liquid volume.
Skipping the beef broth will simply leave your dish dry and lacking in flavor.
In this article, we will be looking at some of the best substitutes for beef broth for when you are unable to obtain the real thing.
1. Beef Stock
Beef stock is the most obvious substitute for beef broth because of the similarities in the flavor profile.
The main difference between beef broth and beef stock is that stocks are made with more bones than broth is, which is typically made by simmering just the mean in water.
Because of the beef that is used in both of these products, you can use them like for like in your recipes.
When swapping beef broth for beef stock, you should use the exact same amount of stock as you would broth because it will provide the same liquid volume.
However, you should check the stock for taste as it may need some extra seasoning to help match the flavor profile of the broth.
Alternatively, you could choose to blend common base vegetables such as celery, carrot, and onion to help create a depth of flavor.
2. Bouillon Granules Or Cubes
Similar to beef stock, bullion granules or cubes are another convenient substitute for beef broth that provides a very similar flavor profile to preserve the overall flavor of your dish.
The similar flavor isn’t the main benefit of using bouillon granules (see also ‘Chicken Bouillon Granules: Top 5 Substitutes‘)
or cubes as a substitute for broth, the best thing is that it is convenient to have in your kitchen cupboards as a staple.
Because of the long shelf life of the product, you can have this alternative on hand at all times. It is also a budget-friendly option for when money is a little tight.
Simply follow the instructions on the pack to know how much of the granules or cubes to use to create the amount of bullion that you need for your recipe.
As with the beef stock, you can season the bullion to enhance the flavor before adding it to your dish.
3. Miso Paste
Miso paste may not be the most obvious choice as a substitute for beef broth, however, it can be used and creates a beautiful flavor that enhances your dish.
Miso paste has a deep, savory flavor and contains ingredients that create an umami flavor.
The ingredients that are used in the making of miso paste include rice, barely, and fermented soy beans. This makes it a great vegan alternative to beef broth if required.
To make miso paste into a broth substitute, simply combine the paste with boiling water at a ratio of 1 tablespoon per 1 cup of water.
For example, if you need 3 cups of broth, you will need to add 3 tablespoons of miso paste to achieve a strong enough flavor.
Miso paste can be very salty as standard, however, it is possible to season the liquid further by adding pepper to taste.
4. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce makes a surprising but really delicious substitute for beef broth. The ingredients in the sauce include tamarind, anchovies, and a combination of spices.
It delivers a delicious, complex flavor and a rich taste that can really enhance your meal. Worcestershire sauce offers deep savory flavors and takes care of the salt that is required in most dishes.
It can even provide a layered flavor compared to an alternative such as soy sauce.
To use Worcestershire sauce as a substitute for beef broth, simply dilute it with boiling water at a ratio of 1 tablespoon of sauce to 1 cup of water or even vegetable broth if you want a deeper flavor.
Because Worcestershire sauce often contains anchovies it is not suitable as a vegan alternative to beef broth.
5. Liquid Aminos
If a vegan substitute is required, liquid aminos are a great place to start. They provide an intense flavor while remaining light.
It is perfect for vegetarians and vegans that want to recreate vegan versions of favorite dishes. Amino acids are derived from soy products which are a common staple of many vegan diets.
Liquid aminos have often been hailed as the most suitable beef broth substitute for vegans and non vegans due to the intense flavor that is achieved.
To use liquid aminos as a substitute for beef broth, simply add half a cup of liquid aminos to the recipe that you are following.
If you require a higher liquid volume in the recipe, you can add boiling water or a vegan vegetable stock to ensure the dish doesn’t dry out.
6. Red Wine Or Rich Beer
Both red wine and beer can provide an incredible flavor for your dish. It is important to use red wine instead of white (see also ‘The 5 Best Alternatives For White Wine In Cooking‘) for recipes that require beef broth as it has a richer and deeper flavor.
There are many recipes that already call for a splash of red wine, but you can increase the amount in lieu of beef broth.
Similarly, beer can be a great substitute for beef broth due to the richness and depth of the natural flavors.
It is important to use a rich beer rather than a light beer to ensure you get a similar flavor to that of beef broth.
To use red wine or rich beer as a substitute for beef broth, simply add one cup of the alcohol per one cup of beef broth as required.
The majority of the alcohol will be cooked off during the cooking process, however, if you prefer, non-alcoholic versions of red wine and beer are just as flavorful and work just as well as substitutes.
7. Tomato Paste
Tomato paste is another great substitute to use in place of beef broth thanks to the deep flavors that it possesses.
It also works well as a last minute substitute as it is budget-friendly, easily obtained, and is likely to already be something that you have in your cupboards or refrigerator.
Tomato paste is an ingredient that is often included in beef recipes already so can be a convenient substitute.
To use tomato paste as a substitute for beef broth, simply add the paste at a ratio of 1 tablespoon per 1 cup of boiling water.
8. Mushroom Broth
Mushroom broth is a great beef broth substitute that provides a wonderfully earthy and layered flavor to your dishes.
It also works really well with any dishes that contain garlic, celery, or onion. Because this broth is made by simply simmering a variety of mushrooms in water it makes for a great vegan alternative to beef broth.
This rich and flavorful broth can be made at home with a variety of mushrooms, or you can purchase it at your local grocery store.
The flavors and consistency of mushroom broth are very similar to that of beef broth, making it one of the best like-for-like substitutions on this list.
Simply add the amount of broth that the recipe calls for as you would with beef broth.
9. Soy Sauce And Steak Sauce
While soy sauce by itself doesn’t make for a great substitute for beef broth, a combination of soy sauce and steak sauce (see also ‘Top 16 Best Steak Sauce Brands‘) make one of the best.
The unique combination of flavors means that your dishes are filled with flavor and substance.
The result of this combination is a tangy and deep flavor that pairs well with most recipes that call for beef broth.
The only downside with this substitution is that the consistency of the combination differs from that of broth and therefore may alter the consistency of the dish.
You may also need to add more liquid volume to the dish to ensure that it does not dry out.
To make this combination when you don’t have beef broth on hand, simply mix steak sauce with soy sauce at a ratio of around 2 parts steak sauce and 1 part soy sauce.
You can experiment with the mixture until you are satisfied with the flavor profile.
10. Chicken Stock
As with beef stock, chicken stock makes a great substitute for beef broth.
The main difference between using chicken stock and beef stock as substitutes is that chicken stock provides a much lighter color and milder flavor than beef stock or beef broth.
However, if chicken stock is all that you have available to you, it can still work in place of beef broth.
To ensure that you still end up with a rich and deep flavor for your dish you can season the stock with pepper and even add a little bit of tomato paste or red wine to the dish.
To use chicken stock as a substitute for beef broth, simply add the same amount of chicken stock as the recipe calls for with the beef broth.
A pinch of gravy granules can also help to provide extra richness to the chicken stock.
11. Vegetable Stock
Vegetable stock is another alternative that can be used in place of beef broth. As with chicken stock, the color is often lighter than that of beef broth and the flavor will be more mild.
However, vegetable stock is still incredibly flavorful and has the same consistency as beef broth.
It is possible to get the color and flavor slightly closer to the flavor that would be added by beef broth through additional seasoning and ingredients.
Seasonings such as bay leaves can add an interesting flavor to the stock whereas gravy granules or red wine can add a depth of flavor that helps to make the flavor profile closer to that of beef broth.
Because vegetable stock has the same consistency as beef broth it can be used 1:1 with the amount that is stated in the recipe that you are using.
Bovrite is one of the best beef broth substitutes on this list. If you have never had Bovrite, it is essentially a beef stock concentrate or paste.
Because Bovrite is concentrated, the flavor that it brings to food is intense and has a strong beef flavor.
This makes it an incredible substitute for beef broth and the flavor is so strong that it may have you using it more often than actual beef broth.
It is also a long lasting product so you can always have some on hand if you need to.
Simply add 1 tablespoon of Bovrite to 1 cup of boiling water to create the amount of liquid volume that you need for your recipe.
13. Bone Broth
Bone broth is very similar to beef broth, especially if it has been made from beef bones. The consistency and the flavor can be extremely similar which makes it easy to swap one out for the other.
One of the best things about bone broth is the purported health benefits that come with it. These claims are mostly due to the collagen content of the broth which can help keep your joints supple and healthy.
The high collagen content also gives the broth a silky and glossy appearance which can really enhance your dish.
When using bone broth as a substitute for beef broth you can follow the recipe instructions and amounts exactly as the consistency is exactly the same.
If you find yourself in a pinch, unable to go to a store and with nothing suitable in your cupboards to use as a substitute, you can always resort to just water.
Although this isn’t the most flavorful option it is better than nothing and still meets the liquid volume requirements of the recipe.
You can add flavor when using water as a substitute by adding extra seasonings although it will always be a less flavorful result.
To use water as an alternative to beef broth simply add the amount of water that the recipe calls for.
Additional seasoning and thickening agents such as corn flour can help to maintain the desired consistency and flavor of the dish.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is The Difference Between Broth And Stock?
Despite sounding like very similar things, there are actually a few significant differences between broth and stock.
Stock is made through a process of boiling the bones or carcass of an animal to infuse the flavors into the liquid.
This process creates a balanced and flavorful liquid that brings a lot of flavor and aroma to a dish. Stock is often a slightly more viscous liquid because of the collagen content of the bones.
Alternatively, broth is made through a process of simmering the meat of the animal instead of the bones. This process results in a liquid that is thinner than that of stock but is just as packed with flavor.
The most obvious difference between broth and stock is the seasoning that is added. Stock is generally unseasoned as standard, including salt.
This makes it much more of a blank canvas in terms of cooking and allows you complete control of the seasonings in each dish.
However, broth is generally made with seasonings and spices including salt, pepper, and other spices that can give it a different, layered flavor.
Dishes made with broth will most likely not need any extra salting during cooking.
Are Vegan Alternatives As Good As Beef Broth?
The short answer to this question is, yes. In this list, a few substitutions have been mentioned that are vegan by nature.
These substitutes were included in this list because of the fact that they are really good substitutes rather than because they are vegan-friendly.
This is a testament to the quality of the vegan beef broth substitutes. One of the main reasons that vegan substitutes are just as good as beef broth is that the main ingredient of both is water.
Flavor can easily be added through different sauces and seasonings to provide the rich flavor profile that you are looking for.
What Is A Good Substitute For Beef Broth In Beef Stroganoff?
Beef stroganoff is a common dish that calls for beef broth in the recipe. A good alternative in such a recipe is chicken broth or vegetable broth if you want to make a vegetarian alternative.
Both of these substitutes provide a mild and gentle flavor that is similar to that of beef broth which fits the recipe perfectly.
Substituting beef broth with chicken or vegetable broth can also be a great way to keep costs lower if you are on a budget.
There are many substitutes for beef broth that can provide a similar flavor and consistency when you are unable to use the real deal.
A lot of the substitutes can be made from things that you are likely to have in your kitchen cupboards already which can be useful in an emergency.