Beef broth is a savory liquid made by simmering beef, often with some herbs or vegetables in water for a long time. It can be consumed as it is or used as a base for other dishes like sauces, gravies, and soups. Beef broth is very easy to make at home, or you could visit the supermarket and pick from a large variety.
Out of beef broth or looking for a vegetarian alternative? Here is a curated list of the top ingredients you can substitute for beef broth in your recipe and keep it interesting.
#1. Beef Stock
Beef stock is not that different from beef broth, and the two terms are often used interchangeably. This is because they’re both made the same way, except for one minor difference. Beef broth is made using meat and vegetables, whereas beef stock is made using bones.
Beef broth and beef stock have an identical flavor and are both used for the same purpose in cooking. However, since beef stock is made by reducing boiled beef bones, it has a less meaty taste and body. It is also relatively watery and doesn’t have much flavoring, but you can change that by adding some seasoning to the stock.
If you add some seasoning and simmer beef stock a little longer, you will end up with beef broth. After that, you can use them interchangeably in your recipe.
1 Tbsp. Beef Broth = 1 Tbsp. Beef Stock.
#2. Vegetable Broth
Vegetable broth is the most common vegetarian alternative to beef broth. Meat and vegetable broths are made the same way, except vegetable broth is made purely with vegetables like carrot, celery, garlic, onions, and cabbage with fresh herbs and other flavorings.
Not only is vegetable broth a tasty alternative, it is also a much healthier alternative than beef broth. It’s lower in calories and loaded with nutrients, which isn’t surprising. You can add any kind of vegetables you want to your broth. Try to pick herbs and vegetables that go well with the dish you’re trying to make. For instance, if you’re making tomato soup, throw in some basil.
Vegetable broth can be swapped evenly for beef broth in most recipes. Add some Italian seasonings like oregano, rosemary, tarragon, pepper, or thyme when sauteeing the vegetables. This will allow the flavors to get infused and merge properly.
1 Tbsp. Beef Broth = 1 Tbsp. Vegetable Broth.
#3. Mushroom Broth
Mushroom broth is an easy alternative to beef broth and the closest vegan option in terms of flavor. Mushroom broth has a savory, nutty umami flavor. It goes well with sauces, soups, and cooking grains.
While it is widely available, you can also make it yourself with ingredients available at home. All you will need is some mushrooms, yellow onion, carrot, parsley sprigs, thyme, and a little bit of salt. Add the ingredients to a pan of water and simmer them until your broth is ready. You can also add a splash of white wine or vinegar to enhance the taste.
It’s not a perfect substitute for beef broth in every recipe, but it does the job and provides an interesting experience.
1 Tbsp. Beef Broth = 1 Tbsp. Mushroom Broth.
#4. Chicken Broth
Chicken broth is made by simmering chicken bones and meat in water along with sauteed vegetables and aromatic herbs for seasoning. Having a meaty element makes it a good stand-in for beef broth. Chicken broth goes best with stews, soups, and creamy sauces for pasta.
Chicken broth and beef broth don’t taste exactly the same. Chicken broth is a bit lighter and has a less-intense flavor. If you’re swapping beef broth with chicken broth, it will likely add a less noticeable taste to your recipe.
Although you can substitute them in equal parts, bear in mind, chicken broth will give your dish a lighter taste and color.
1 Tbsp. Beef Broth = 1 Tbsp. Chicken Broth.
#5. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire is a rather unique condiment. It’s liquid amino that can take the place of beef broth in a couple of recipes. It is made from a combination of vinegar, anchovies, garlic, tamarind extract, molasses, chili pepper, sugar, salt, and other ingredients. Some recipes have also included soy sauce and cloves.
Because of the odd combination of ingredients, Worcestershire sauce has a complex flavor. It’s got the right balance of sweetness, spiciness, and umami. It pairs great with beef recipes, so it’s likely that any recipe that calls for beef broth will go well with Worcestershire sauce.
This sauce is typically used to boost meat stews, marinades, soups, and complex sauces. It has a pretty potent flavor, so you might want to consider watering it down a bit before adding it to your dish.
1 Tbsp. Beef Broth = 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire Sauce (Mixed in equal parts with water).
#6. Beer Or Wine
Meet the wild cards of this article — beer and wine.
Might seem odd, but wine and beer have a lot of complexity to offer dishes and have been used as key cooking ingredients for ages. They’re typically used while braising meats and can be added to gravies, too.
Wine adds acidity, depth, and floral or fruit notes to a dish. Beer adds a slightly bitter, mildly fruity kind of taste.
You may need to mix the beer or wine in equal parts with water before you add them to your dish.
1 Tbsp. Beef Stock = 1 Tbsp. Wine or Beer.
#7. Soy Sauce & Steak Sauce
Soy sauce and steak sauce are widely available condiments that can enhance your recipe in the same way beef broth does.
Soy sauce has a savory umami flavor while steak sauce has a tangy flavor and tastes closer to Worcestershire sauce. The best way to use soy sauce or steak sauce would be to mix them in equal parts with a vegetable or mushroom broth before using them in your recipe.
Make sure you purchase the light kind when buying soy sauce to substitute for beef broth. Dark soy sauce is very strong and used more to give coloring than flavor. Soy sauce would make a great alternative to beef broth in exotic cuisines, whereas steak sauce would work better for European cuisines.
1 Tbsp. Beef = 1 Tbsp. Soy Sauce or Steak Sauce (Mixed in equal parts with water).
Last and least, we have water. If you can’t find anything to add, just water will do too.
You lose all the extra flavors of the broth but you can compensate for that with better seasoning, a splash of lime or lemon, and some tasty vegetables.
There are an endless number of ways to make water more interesting, so feel free to use your imagination.
1 Tbsp. Beef Broth = 1 Tbsp. Water.