Beef Stock Diluted With Water Is The Easiest Substitute For Broth

Whether you forgot to pick up a carton of broth or miscalculated how much of the savory liquid was needed in a recipe, don't panic. There's a simple substitution that can save you from taking another trip to the market or having to whip up a fresh batch of broth from scratch: Dilute that bit of beef stock sitting idly on your pantry shelf or in your freezer drawer.

Of the many possible substitutes, beef stock tends to be the closest match when it comes to replacing broth. Boasting an equal degree of rich meatiness, both liquids are made with a similar collection of ingredients. As a result, they share many of the same flavors, making them a suitable swap for one another. That said, they do vary in intensity and texture, which is why a more decadent beef stock needs to be thinned with a neutral liquid like water, before it can take the place of mellower broth.

Although swapping out one beef product for another makes the most gustatory sense, that isn't to say that the umami-forward stock couldn't also replace another savory broth when crafting sauces, gravies, and stews. Beef stock might even impart deeper complexity to a mild broth made with poultry, seafood, or vegetables. However, based on the recipe at hand, making the switch isn't always possible, which is why it's worth thinking about a few factors before working in any diluted beef stock.

What to remember when trading stock for broth

Stock and broth are not the same thing, no matter how alike they seem. While stock is made by simmering collagen-dense bones and vegetables in water for hours, broth is the result of briefly simmering meat with vegetables and seasonings. Additionally, stock is a darker, thicker, and more robust-tasting liquid that's meant to build flavor, in contrast to a thinner, milder broth that's ready to enjoy as is. It's these reasons that often prevent even a beef-based stock and a beef-based broth from being interchangeable.

Unless the amount required is minimal (a spoonful or splash), beef stock and broth of any sort usually can't be replaced in equal parts. The solution is also not as simple as using less beef stock in lieu of broth, due to their textural differences. Instead, stock must be significantly diluted to avoid compromising taste and texture. As a result, each cup of broth should be replaced with ½ cup of beef stock and ½ cup of water. Just be prepared to add more salt into a recipe as stock lacks the same seasoning as broth.

Despite that the swap might take some getting used to, beef stock makes the easiest replacement for a savory broth. It's rich and robust, so don't give this substitution a second thought the next time you're in a pinch!