17 Best Substitutes For Beef Broth

Every home chef knows there are a few basic building blocks in cooking, and one of those is beef broth. Whether you use pre-packaged beef broth or homemade beef broth, you have the beginnings of a great soup or stew. But beef broth isn't only for soups. It can be reduced and used to thicken sauces and make gravies, and you can replace water with beef broth when making rice, quinoa, or other grains. It's also the perfect savory liquid for braising meats and deglazing the pan to get all the extra caramelized bits.

Beef broth's popularity crosses cuisines. It is a key player in international dishes like Vietnamese pho, French onion soup, Japanese ramen, and Italian meatball soup. This versatile base brings recipes to life, making it an excellent addition to your pantry. But what happens when you are halfway through a recipe only to realize you are out of this kitchen staple and a quick trip to the store is not an option?

Well, luckily, there are several ways you can still make a great dish using a substitute for beef broth, including vegetarian and vegan options. So whether you need to replace beef broth because you ran out or because of dietary restrictions, these beef broth substitutes can swoop in and save the recipe.

Beef stock

Beef stock is the best substitute for beef broth and will be the closest match in terms of flavor. Beef stock is similar to beef broth, but the key difference between broth and stock is that stock is made by boiling bones, aromatics, and sometimes vegetables for several hours. And broth is made from boiling meat (beef in this case), aromatics, and vegetables. Thanks to the collagen-rich bones, beef stock is thicker and has a gelatinous consistency when cooled, while beef broth is thinner and less concentrated.

The best way to use beef stock as a substitute for beef broth is to dilute it with water, since the stock is stronger than broth. According to Healthline, the two can be used somewhat interchangeably depending on the recipe; the rule of thumb is that stock is heavier and broth is lighter, so if you need one cup of beef broth, replace it with a half cup of beef stock and a half cup of water.

Beef consommé

Not surprisingly, beef consommé is another excellent substitute for beef broth in recipes. Consommé is not as common as broths and stocks but is essentially made from a boiled-down stock. You can make consommé with beef, chicken, or fish, and this clear soup is commonly served in restaurants before the main course.

Beef consommé is much thicker and darker than stock and broth with a more intense flavor. The intensity of beef consommé is a result of longer simmer time and the addition of egg whites which bind with the meat as it boils and breaks apart. The egg white works its magic to collect the impurities and bring them to the top to be skimmed off by an eagle-eyed home chef. And if that sounds like too much work, canned beef consommé is readily available. Whether you use homemade or store-bought beef consommé to substitute for beef broth, you will need to add water to thin it out and mute some of the intense flavors to make it a suitable substitute.

Chicken broth

While your kitchen may not always be stocked with beef broth, you probably have the more commonly used chicken broth on hand for those chicken noodle soup-worthy nights. And lucky for you, chicken broth is an excellent substitute for beef broth. Of course, the flavor is a bit milder and less intense, but it is still a suitable replacement for when you find yourself without any beef broth on hand. The best way to substitute chicken broth for beef broth is by using a one-to-one ratio. The flavor will still have the meaty saltiness, but of course, the color will be lighter.

You can use homemade chicken broth or store-bought broth to replace beef broth. And you will be happy to know that chicken broth is filled with vitamins, fatty acids, and protein with only 12 calories per serving, making it a healthy choice (via WebMD).

Vegetable broth

If you are looking for a vegetarian replacement for beef broth, vegetable broth is an excellent option. Vegetable broth is made by boiling down vegetables like potatoes, carrots, onions, celery, and herbs. It won't have the same meaty depth of flavor as beef broth, but it will still work. The best way to use it as a beef broth substitute is to add more aromatics like garlic, bay leaves, and parsley which can help boost flavor. It also works as a one-to-one substitute.

Vegetable broth is inexpensive and easy to make. If you are a frugal home chef or just simply don't like extra waste, you can save your vegetable scraps for homemade vegetable broth. Save things like the ends of carrots, potato skins, and onion layers in an airtight freezer bag, and when it's full, simply boil them all in water. You can have homemade vegetable broth in no time. Freeze the vegetable broth in ice cube trays and add them to a freezer bag once the cubes are frozen. Then, the next time you need some vegetable broth, take out a few cubes for your recipe.

Mushroom broth

If you are looking for a vegetarian substitute with a more nutty umami flavor, try using mushroom broth as a replacement for beef broth. Mushroom broth is made with earthy mushrooms, onions, and herbs boiled down to extract the savory flavor. If you are making mushroom broth at home, you can keep it simple and stick to white button mushrooms, or you can get creative and use shitake mushrooms or a combination of wild mushrooms to intensify the rich umami taste and make a more suitable vegetarian beef broth substitute.

You can use an equal amount of mushroom broth to beef broth to keep your recipe on track. A simple squeeze of lemon or splash of white wine can add a little acid to boost your mushroom broth and make it a worthy beef broth replacement.

Liquid Aminos

Liquid aminos are a condiment commonly used as a gluten-free option to soy sauce. A simple splash of liquid aminos adds a savory saltiness to any dish. While soy sauce and liquid aminos are similar — both are made from soybeans, for example — liquid aminos have less salt, making them an excellent addition to your table if you are watching your sodium intake.

The best way to use liquid aminos as a substitute for beef broth is to dilute the dark brown liquid with water. Mixing about half a cup of liquid aminos and half a cup of water can replace a full cup of beef broth in most recipes. This is a great way to substitute beef broth with a vegan and paleo-friendly savory liquid. While liquid aminos are widely available in most supermarkets, they are more expensive than other beef broth substitutes, so they might not be the best option if you are on a budget.

Beef bouillon cubes

Amber-colored cubes of beef bouillon are an excellent substitute for beef broth. These portable little cubes have a long history of flavoring soups and stews. Beef bouillon cubes are a dried, concentrated beef stock flavored with herbs and salt which create the same flavor as beef broth when added to water.

These savory cubes have a long shelf life and make an excellent addition to your pantry staples. The best way to use beef bouillon cubes to replace beef broth is to follow package instructions, which generally call for adding one cube to one cup of boiled water and letting it dissolve. When it has completely dissolved, it is ready to use. It really doesn't get easier than that.

Keep in mind the downside to using beef bouillon cubes is the fact that they have a high salt content, with 1200 milligrams of sodium per cube (via My Fitness Pal). So if you are watching your salt intake, opt for low-sodium beef bouillon cubes.

Soy sauce

Surprisingly, soy sauce is a good replacement for beef broth. Similar to liquid aminos, soy sauce needs to be diluted before adding it to your recipe. Mix about a tablespoon of soy sauce into a cup of water to replace one cup of beef broth.

So the ratio is easy, but the difficult part in subbing soy sauce for beef broth is deciding which type of soy sauce. There are several different kinds of soy sauce, and they are all possible options, but the best to use in place of beef broth would be a darker soy sauce to get a richer umami flavor. You should avoid sweet soy sauce since it will contrast with the savory replacement. And if sodium is on your mind, opt for low-sodium soy sauce to keep the saltiness to a manageable level.

Red wine

Red wine always pairs well with beef. A perfectly cooked steak only gets better when paired with a full-bodied red wine, and beef stew gets its balanced flavor thanks to the red wine in its base. So it tracks that red wine would make a good beef broth substitute.

It's not exact, but the best way to use red wine to replace beef broth is by mixing roughly half a cup of red wine with about half a cup of water for each cup of beef broth. The key here is to simmer it down to let it thicken and to cook the alcohol out, so you are just left with the rich taste.

If you are using beef broth to deglaze a pan, then red wine can step in here too. After roasting your cut of meat, pour in red wine to capture the carmelized bits to make a superb sauce. According to the Los Angeles Times, if the sauce has too much bite or is too tart, a bit of butter or a sprinkle of sugar can keep the flavor in check.

Worcestershire sauce

The dark sauce that's difficult to pronounce is a versatile pantry staple originally from India but made popular in England (via Huff Post). It is a favorite in marinades and barbeque sauces; it brings a tried and true Bloody Mary to life and takes a shrimp cocktail up a notch. This unique multi-purpose sauce wears many hats with its tangy taste that is somehow sweet, salty, and savory all at the same time, which makes it an excellent substitute for beef broth.

Worcestershire sauce should be diluted in water because the intense flavor can overpower the recipe. Keep in mind that Worcestershire sauce may only work in some recipes as a beef broth replacement. Similar to soy sauce and liquid aminos, the ideal way to dilute is roughly one tablespoon of sauce to one cup of water.


Dashi, a staple of Japanese cuisine, has a rich umami flavor that is the base for many Japanese soups. This savory stock has a long history and is made with a combination of kelp, shitake mushrooms, dried fish, and dried fish flakes (via Umami Information Center). There are several types of dashi, and the combination of ingredients differs in each. You can buy the ingredients separately to make dashi at home or find pre-made dashi seasoning packets in most international supermarkets.

Since dashi is a stock, it can be used to replace beef broth in soups and stews. It has a slightly more briny flavor than beef broth, but the savory umami qualities will blend nicely when using it as a replacement. However, according to SPICEography, dashi has such a unique flavor that it's difficult to replace dashi with other ingredients. So while you can replace the beef broth with dashi, you shouldn't replace dashi with beef broth.

Miso paste

Miso paste is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly option for beef broth. Fermented miso paste is made from a combination of grains, beans, and a mold called koji, which is responsible for the fermentation process (via Washington Post). The beans or grains are mashed with koji and salt and fermented for several months and sometimes years. There are many different types of miso and they range in color and flavor intensity from a sweet mild white to a deep savory yellow to a much stronger pungent red or dark brown.

Miso is most commonly used in miso soup, but this versatile ingredient can play many roles, including as a substitute for beef broth. The best miso to substitute for beef broth is yellow or red miso due to its richer robust flavor. Compared to some of the other vegetarian options, like vegetable broth, miso paste has a deeper flavor with the tanginess that fermentation provides.

Tomato paste

Another paste that you probably already have sitting in your kitchen cupboard is tomato paste. This bright red pantry staple works as a substitute for beef broth when diluted with water. Try using around a tablespoon of tomato paste mixed in one cup of warm water as a replacement for one cup of beef broth.

While this may seem like an odd choice, tomato paste has a deep, concentrated flavor that adds similar richness to a dish as beef broth does, making it a good substitute, especially in soups and stews. However, tomato paste can also be a little too sweet, so it really depends on how you want the final recipe to turn out. A quick trick to cut the sweetness is to add a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar so the acidic component can balance out the sweet element. Tomato paste is different from tomato sauce, so be careful to avoid accidentally reaching for the latter.


Just like you can cook with wine, beer is on the cooking menu, too. You can use beer as a beef broth substitute because it's flavorful and adds a twist. You can substitute one cup of beer for one cup of beef broth in soups, stew, and even when braising (via The New York Times). To match the dark umami flavor of beef broth, you should choose a darker beer like a porter or stout; using a lager or pilsner will do in a pinch, but it won't have the heft that better matches beef broth like a dark beer.

 The only downside to using beer is some beers have a bitter aftertaste that can compete with the other flavors in the dish. The best way to cut that unpleasant bitterness is with the addition of a sweet element like honey or a pinch of sugar. If you are sensitive to beer, consider a different beef broth alternative, because while most of the alcohol will cook off, not all of it will.

Beef demi-glace

The French have given the world many gifts, including flaky croissants, decadent cheeses, and amazing sauces like a demi-glace. If you are new to French cooking, a demi-glace sauce is a rich brown sauce made from beef or veal stock and red wine or Espagnole sauce (via The New York Times). It can stand on its own as a sauce or be used as a starting point for other sauces. Because the meaty flavor is concentrated, it is much more intense than beef broth, but if diluted can make an excellent beef broth substitute. It's difficult to gauge the amount of water because it depends on the recipe and personal taste, but you can start with a tablespoon of demi-glace in a cup of warm water and adjust to taste.

While a demi-glace isn't particularly difficult to make, it is a time-consuming, delicate sauce, and even celebrity chefs like Ina Garten prefer to skip homemade demi-glace. Luckily, demi-glace is available in most grocery stores, which makes it much more accessible to home chefs.

Chicken bouillon cubes

So you're out of beef broth, but chances are good you have some chicken bouillon cubes in your panty. These inexpensive little yellow cubes are a home chef's secret ingredient in many recipes. They impart a salty umami taste; you can toss one in water when making rice or pasta sauce, and use it as a flavor boost for chicken soup.

Chicken bouillon cubes are an excellent choice for a beef broth replacement. Of course, chicken bouillon cubes have their own distinct flavor, but it is similar enough to beef broth that most won't be able to taste the difference.

With bouillon cubes, sodium is always a concern since these concentrated cubes are packed with it. So you need to resist the temptation to add more — you might think you are doubling the flavor when the only thing you are doubling is the sodium. Opt for one cube diluted in one cup of warm water for each cup of beef broth you are replacing. If you're watching your salt intake, choose a low-sodium chicken bouillon cube and adjust the salt to taste while cooking.

Marmite in water

Whether you love it or hate it, Marmite is a solid replacement for beef broth. If you haven't spent time on the other side of the pond and aren't familiar with Marmite, it is a spreadable concoction made from brewer's yeast and spices commonly spread on toast and crackers. British expats consider Marmite a pantry staple, and for good reason. It has a deep umami flavor, and this spreadable paste can be added to soups, stews, and casseroles for an extra kick.

The best way to use marmite as a beef broth substitute is to dilute about a tablespoon of Marmite in one cup of warm water for every cup of beef broth you are replacing. You will be surprised at the unique savory flavor it adds. Similar to some of the other beef broth substitutes, Marmite is high in sodium, so you may want to adjust the salt in the recipe to accommodate it.