Best Substitutes for Beef Broth (2024)

Used to make soups, stews, and sauces, beef broth is a staple kitchen ingredient. The rich broth adds a pleasant savory flavor to your dishes, creating a new layer of taste that enhances the flavor of the other ingredients.

But what do you do if you are right in the middle of making dinner before you realize you are all out. Order takeout? There is no need to scrap your dinner plans if you cannot use beef broth. You have many suitable options that make a good substitute for the savory broth.

Beef Broth 101

Beef broth is the flavorful liquid left behind after simmering cuts of beef with a mix of vegetables and herbs for two or more hours. It is used as a base for soups and stews, as well as a flavoring for stuffings and sauces. Beef broth also makes a good liquid base when making grains like rice, barley, and millet.

Interestingly, beef broth and beef stock are not the same. Beef stock, also known as bone broth, is made by simmering beef bones with onions, celery, and carrots—known as mirepoix—for 2 to 6 hours.

When cooking bones to make beef stock, some of the collagen and marrow from the bones seeps into the liquid. Typically, beef stock has no added seasonings but creates a more intense flavor than beef broth.

Bone broth has become popular recently and due to a number of potential health benefits. Many of the claims surrounding bone broth have to do with the properties found in bone broth. For instance, some research indicates that the glucosamine and chondroitin found in bone broth can help decrease joint pain and lessen the symptoms of osteoarthritis.

Meanwhile, collagen, which is also found in bone broth, is a structural protein your body uses to make bones, ligaments, and skin. However, some research indicates that eating foods with collagen may not have much of an effect on your body’s own ability to make collagen. Bone broth also may not be a good source of the amino acids that your body uses to create collagen. More research is needed to determine the benefits of bone broth.

Beef Broth Nutrition Facts

Beef broth is low in calories but high in sodium. Nutrition information for 1 cup (240 grams) of beef broth comes from the USDA.

  • Calories: 17
  • Fat: 0.5g
  • Sodium: 893mg
  • Carbohydrates: 0.09g
  • Fiber: 0
  • Sugar: 0
  • Protein: 2.7g

To lower your risk of developing high blood pressure, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends you limit sodium intake to no more than 2,300 milligrams a day. One cup of beef broth provides nearly 40% of the daily limit. The same serving of a lower sodium version of beef broth has 540 milligrams.

When using ready-made broth, be mindful of the sodium content in the item. You can dilute it with water or make adjustments to your recipe to try and limit the sodium, such as omitting the added salt (or cutting the amount in half).

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Why Use a Substitute

There are many reasons why you might be searching for a beef broth substitute. Maybe you are all out and you are right in the middle of dinner. Or, maybe you cannot find any beef broth at your local grocery store.

You may also be searching for a beef broth substitute if you have an allergy to meat. Though not a common food allergy, more and more people are developing meat allergies, according to the American College of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology.

Like any other food allergy, if you’re allergic to beef, you need to avoid any foods that contain it, including beef broth. You may also be searching for a substitute for beef broth if you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, or a low-sodium diet.

Best Beef Broth Substitutes

No matter the reason, you have many options if you need a substitute for beef broth in a recipe. From chicken broth to liquid aminos, you have many options for replacing the savory ingredient. Here are some potential alternatives.

Chicken Broth

Like beef broth, chicken broth is a kitchen staple and makes a good substitute if you are all out of the meaty broth. This savory, salty liquid has a milder flavor than beef broth but is a good one-to-one replacement. Chicken broth also has a similar nutrition profile to beef broth, low in calories and high in sodium.

Best Substitutes for Beef Broth

Vegetable Broth

If you follow a vegetarian diet or simply want to eat less meat, vegetable broth also makes a good substitute for beef broth.However, vegetable broth may not provide the same savory flavor as beef or chicken broth. Adding other savory ingredients to your recipes, such as tamari sauce or soy sauce, may help round out the flavor profile without the meat.


Beer is a common ingredient in stews, soups, and sauces. It has a savory, rich, nutty flavor that adds depth and color to these dishes and makes a good one-to-one substitute for beef broth.Though the alcohol evaporates during the cooking process, nonalcoholic beer also works as a beef broth substitute. Beer is higher in calories and carbs, but lower in sodium than beef broth.

Calories in Popular Beers

Liquid Aminos

Made by concentrating the amino acids in soy, liquid aminos is a vegan savory liquid that makes a good substitute for beef broth. It has a taste and texture similar to soy sauce.When using as a replacement for beef broth, mix 1/2 the amount of liquid aminos with water or another broth. For example, in place of 1 cup of beef broth, mix 1/2 cup of liquid aminos with 1/2 cup of water.

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Homemade Beef Broth

Of course, you can always make your own beef broth if you have any leftover meat trimmings. Making your own broth keeps you in control of the ingredients, including the sodium content, and reduces food waste. Keep your homemade beef broth in the refrigerator and use it within 2 to 3 days. Or, freeze it and use it within 2 to 3 months.

A Word From Verywell

When it comes to choosing a substitute for beef broth, you have a number of alternatives. From other broths to liquid aminos and beer, the options are endless. You may need to experiment with herbs and seasonings to get the flavor profile you are going for, but in most cases the substitutions are easy ones to make.

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Best Substitutes for Beef Broth (2024)


What can I use if I don't have beef broth? ›

Like beef broth, chicken broth is a kitchen staple and makes a good substitute if you are all out of the meaty broth. This savory, salty liquid has a milder flavor than beef broth but is a good one-to-one replacement. Chicken broth also has a similar nutrition profile to beef broth, low in calories and high in sodium.

Can water be substituted for beef broth? ›

Using water in place of beef broth will not add flavor to your dish and may dilute the flavors of the other ingredients. If you must use water, you can add some olive oil along with a bay leaf or two, spices, parsley sprigs, herbs, or yellow onion to add some flavor.

What is a substitute for beef broth in shepherd's pie? ›

You can swap the beef broth for chicken broth if you prefer. For an Irish shepherd's pie, swap the beef broth for Guinness. Worcestershire Sauce. Adds wonderful umami flavor.

What is a substitute for beef broth in stir fry? ›

Depending on what you are using the beef broth for you can substitute a well made vegetable broth or chicken broth. Of course, it will change the flavor profile a bit but it is a much better solution to using cubes or powders which are sodium bombs.

Can I use Worcestershire sauce instead of beef broth? ›

Worcestershire Sauce

To substitute, I would mix one tablespoon to a cup of water or, if you have it, vegetable, mushroom, or chicken broth. You can then substitute this mix on a 1:1 ratio with beef broth.

Is beef broth necessary? ›

Both beef and chicken broth are packed with essential nutrients. Beef broth is known for its high protein content, which is essential for muscle growth and repair. It also contains significant amounts of collagen, a protein that supports healthy skin, hair, and joints.

Can you make shepherd's pie without beef broth? ›

To make a vegetarian shepherd's pie, just omit the meat and double the amount of mushrooms. (It could also be delicious to stir in a cup of cooked farro as well.) And of course, use veggie stock instead of beef stock, and vegan Worcestershire sauce (if you don't eat anchovies).

Can you use apple juice instead of beef broth? ›

You can also try apple juice, provided that the flavor of the juice will complement the other flavors of the dish as well. As a last resort, simply use water; however, before serving, check the seasoning, as you may need to add salt and pepper to make up for the loss of seasoning in the broth.

What is a healthy alternative to beef stock cubes? ›

What can you use as a substitute for beef stock? Chicken stock, veal stock, pork stock, vegetable stock, mushroom stock, or water (but, blech!)

What can I sub for broth? ›

Chicken Broth Substitute: Salted Butter + Water

If you don't have broth on hand and want a little more flavor than just plain water, try subbing in 1 cup of water plus 1 tablespoon of butter for every cup of chicken broth in your recipe. The butter will help create a richer flavor than just water alone.

What can I use instead of beef broth in crockpot? ›

Water + Soy Sauce – Combine 1 cup water with 1 tbsp soy sauce, and voila! You have “beef broth.” You can mix in some parsley, garlic, or bay leaves to make it more convincing.

What is a substitute for beef broth in onion soup? ›

If you don't have homemade beef stock, the recipe's suggested homemade or store-bought chicken stock substitutions are better than most store-bought beef stock. Asian fish sauce, cider vinegar, and sherry add depth and complexity to the broth.

Is it OK to use water instead of broth? ›

The simple answer is yes, it's usually okay to substitute vegetable stock with water. In most recipes that call for vegetable stock, its main advantage over water is that it provides flavor, which is especially important if you're making vegetarian or vegan food that's missing the richness from meat.

What can I use if I don't have enough broth for soup? ›

Replace broth with water and 1/4 to 1/2 cup of wine. White will brighten this Passatelli in Brodo (add citrus juice, too) and Broccoli, Lemon, and Parmesan Soup soup. Red wine, on the other hand, adds a deep, earthy flavor. You'll find it in a lot of ragu recipes!

How do I substitute stock for broth? ›

Stock and Broth Substitutes

In most cases, stock and broth are interchangeable. If you're in the soup aisle and can't remember whether the recipe called for stock or broth, either will do for making soup, gravy, or a flavorful pot of rice or grains. Keep in mind that stock is unseasoned, and broth is seasoned.


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