Luscious Beef Consommé – A Culinary Masterpiece To Try

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Quick Question: Beef Consommé Or Beef Broth – Is There A Difference?

There is a difference between beef consommé and beef broth, but both foods are rich liquids made from simmered meat. However, beef consommé is a step along from beef broth. Beef consommé is made from clarified stock that has been simmered for a long time.

Coking liquids form the base of many of our favorite dishes. From warming soups to comforting stews to complex curries, cooking liquids can add depth and oomph to your dinner. But how do you differentiate between the two?

Beef Consomme

Beef stock and broth are made using a slow simmering process that infuses water with flavor. Beef consommé is a little different. From the French word “complete,” consommé is made by carefully reducing stock to a thick texture.

While beef broth and beef consommé are similar, it’s not quite as simple as replacing one with the other. In this guide, we’ll explore beef consommé, how to make it, and how it compares to beef broth.

What Is Beef Consommé?

Consommé is a food with a history almost as rich as its texture. Some forms of clarified broth recognized as consommé have existed since the Middle Ages.

These have been made from all kinds of animals. Even sweet consommés exist as a very early precursor to jello!

Nowadays, you’re most likely to see beef consommé on the menu at high-class restaurants. Consommé might seem simple, but making it correctly is a long, labor-intensive process.

However, you can also find cans and cartons of beef consommé for sale. So, what is beef consommé? Essentially, beef consommé is a rich soup.

It’s made by simmering ground beef in some form of stock (often beef or veal) with egg whites and vegetables. 

As the mixture simmers, the ground beef and egg white will bind together and float to the top of the broth. This is known as the raft. Some chefs use the eggshell as well to form a stronger raft!

Underneath this, the liquid will simmer away, becoming thick and luscious. 

After a lengthy simmer, it’s time to purify your consommé. The liquid is strained and then strained again. To remove the fat, some chefs even drag parchment paper along the surface of the consommé.

Now it’s time to serve your consommé! It’s frequently served steaming hot, as it solidifies as it cools.

History Of Beef Consommé  

Beef Consommé originates from France to the medieval era, epitomizing culinary refinement. This broth emerged from the need to preserve meat without refrigeration. 

As culinary techniques evolved, chefs in the royal courts sought purity in presentation and taste, leading to the meticulous clarification process. 

By the 19th century, it had cemented its status in haute cuisine, adorning menus of Europe’s elite. Its enduring appeal lies in its fusion of ancient tradition with culinary artistry.

Interesting Facts About The Beef Consommé  

  • Clarification Marvel: The unique clarity of Beef Consommé is achieved using a “raft” of egg whites and ground meat, which traps impurities.
  • Royal Favorite: It graced European royal menus and was often considered a testament to a chef’s skill in the kitchen.
  • Versatile Base: Beyond serving as a standalone soup, it’s a flavorful base for sauces, risotto, and other dishes.
  • Extended Shelf Life: Historically, the process of making Consommé helped in preserving meat without refrigeration.
  • World’s Fair Feature: The 1900 Paris Exposition showcased Beef Consommé in innovative dishes, introducing it to international audiences.
  • Vitamin-rich: Despite its transparent appearance, it’s packed with nutrients, particularly B vitamins, extracted from the meat and bones during simmering.

What Makes The Beef Consommé Special? 

  • Unparalleled Clarity: Achieved through meticulous clarification, its transparency is a hallmark of culinary precision.
  • Depth of Flavor: A perfect balance of robust beef essence and subtle aromatic herbs captivates the palate.
  • Historical Significance: It is rooted in medieval French cuisine and is a testament to evolving culinary traditions.
  • Chef’s Skill Indicator: Mastering the Consommé often separates seasoned chefs from novices.
  • Versatility: Beyond a standalone soup, it enhances many dishes, from sauces to stews.
  • Nutritional Value: Despite its clear look, it’s nutrient-rich, offering a concentrated source of proteins and vitamins.
  • Elegance: Its refined presentation makes it a staple in fine dining and gourmet experiences.
Beef Consomme

Ingredients List

Ground beef (preferably premium sirloin, shank, or shoulder)½ pound
Crushed black peppercorns1 tablespoon
Large egg whites4
Celery stalks4
Cold beef or veal stock6 cups
Fresh thyme1 sprig
SaltTo taste

Ingredient Tips 

  • Meat Choice: For a richer flavor, opt for grass-fed beef cuts.
  • Peppercorns: Freshly crushed peppercorns release more aroma than pre-ground pepper.
  • Egg Whites: To optimize the clarification process, ensure they are free from yolk traces.
  • Tomatoes: Choose ripe, firm tomatoes for a touch of natural acidity.
  • Celery Freshness: Check for crispness by snapping a stalk; it shouldn’t be bendy.
  • Stock Quality: Homemade stocks typically yield deeper flavors than store-bought ones.
  • Thyme: Fresh thyme sprigs provide a more pronounced aroma than dried thyme.
  • Salting: Add salt gradually; adding more later than rectifying an overly salty broth is easier.

What Is A Good Substitute For Beef consommé?

  • If you’re serving a consommé course, the best substitute for beef is mushroom consommé. This has the same color and texture as beef consommé, with that same lush umami taste. You can buy mushroom consommé in stores or make it yourself at home.
  • Beef stock is a decent alternative to beef consommé. It has a similar rich flavor but lacks the silky mouthfeel of consommé. Beef broth is lighter again, so cook it until it reduces to a heavier texture.
  • It’s hard to substitute beef consommé for broth or stock as a meal alone. But if you want to replace consommé as an ingredient in soups or stews, we recommend beef stock over beef broth.

Can You Vary The Recipe With Other Ingredients? 

  • Keto & Paleo: Opt for a bone broth base rich in collagen and beneficial fats. Eliminate any starchy vegetables, and consider adding more protein-rich ingredients like diced meat.
  • Gluten-Free: The traditional Beef Consommé recipe is naturally gluten-free. However, ensure that gluten-containing agents haven’t thickened the stock or broth.
  • Whole30: Use homemade bone broth to ensure no additives or sugars. Prioritize organic vegetables and high-quality meat.
  • Vegetarian: Replace beef with robust mushrooms like shiitake or portobello. Use vegetable stock as the base.
  • Vegan: Along with mushrooms, incorporate seaweed like kombu to add depth. Again, opt for a rich vegetable stock and add tamari for an umami boost.
Beef Consomme

Recipe Directions

  • Whisk egg whites, peppercorns, and optionally, eggshells to foam.
  • Pulse beef, tomatoes, and celery in a food processor.
  • Combine all ingredients in a pot; stir to a rolling boil.
  • Wait for the raft to form, then simmer on low for 45 minutes without stirring.
  • Strain through a cheesecloth twice.
  • Drag parchment to remove fat.
  • Serve hot.

Variations, Add-Ons, And Toppings 


  • Asian Twist: Infuse with ginger, lemongrass, and star anise.
  • Southwestern Kick: Add roasted green chilies and cumin.


  • Protein: Shredded chicken, tofu cubes, or seafood like shrimp or crab.
  • Vegetables: Thinly sliced mushrooms, julienned carrots, or baby spinach.
  • Grains: Add small pasta shapes, rice, or quinoa for a heartier dish.


  • Herbs: Freshly chopped parsley, cilantro, or chervil.
  • Crunch: Toasted sesame seeds, croutons, or crispy fried onions.
  • Zest: A squeeze of lemon or lime juice to elevate freshness.
  • Heat: Drizzle with chili oil or sprinkle red pepper flakes for a spicy touch.
  • Garnish: A dollop of sour cream or a sprinkle of grated parmesan for added richness.

Scaling The Recipe

  • Ingredient Proportions: Always maintain the ratio between the main components. For instance, if you’re doubling the beef amount, you should also double the vegetables, egg whites, and stock.
  • Pot Size: Ensure your pot is proportional to the recipe scale. Overcrowding can hinder the formation of a proper raft.
  • Cooking Time: While the boiling process remains consistent, simmering might need adjustment. A larger volume may require more time to extract flavors fully.
  • Taste Test: Especially when scaling up, always taste for seasoning adjustments.
  • Storage: If scaled up significantly, be prepared with adequate storage containers or ensure it’s consumed promptly.
  • Consistency: Keep an eye on the clarity; the goal is always a transparent broth. Scaling down may achieve this quicker while scaling up might demand more vigilance.

What Is Used For Garnishing? 

  • Fresh Herbs: Parsley, cilantro, dill, and chervil add color and a new flavor.
  • Citrus Zest: Lemon or lime zest offers bright, aromatic accents.
  • Edible Flowers: Violets, pansies, or nasturtiums can elevate a dish’s visual appeal.
  • Sliced Vegetables: Thin radish slices or julienned bell peppers add crunch and color.
  • Spices: A sprinkle of paprika or sumac can add vibrancy and a hint of flavor.
  • Seeds & Nuts: Toasted sesame seeds or crushed pistachios offer texture and a nutty aroma.
  • Drizzles: A dash of flavored oils or reductions can create a visually appealing finish.

Can I Make Beef Consommé In A Slow Cooker Or Instant Pot? 

Slow Cooker

This method emphasizes flavor infusion. 

  • Combine all ingredients as directed and set the slow cooker on low for a longer simmer, about 4-6 hours. 
  • Given the slow cooker’s design, the raft’s formation will be less pronounced, but the slow simmer will help clarify the broth over time.

Instant Pot

  • Use the “Sauté” function to bring the mixture to a boil and form the raft. 
  • Once formed, seal the Instant Pot and set it to the “Low” pressure cook setting for about 45 minutes. 
  • This method significantly reduces the cooking time while maintaining a clear broth.

Can I Use Store Bought Broth, Or Should I Make My Own? 

Both store-bought and homemade broths can be used for Beef Consommé, but there are distinct considerations for each:

Store-Bought Broth

  • Convenience: Ideal for those pressed for time.
  • Consistency: Commercial broths generally have a consistent flavor.
  • Quality & Additives: Opt for high-quality, organic broths free from additives, MSG, and excessive sodium.

Homemade Broth

  • Flavor: Homemade allows you to tailor flavors, yielding a richer, more authentic taste.
  • Control: You decide the ingredients, ensuring no unwanted additives or preservatives.
  • Economic: Utilize leftover bones and vegetable scraps, making it cost-effective.

Can I Use Different Types Of Meat/Fish/Pasta/Vegetables For The Soup? 

  • Meat: Chicken, pork, or lamb can be substituted, offering unique flavor profiles for the consommé.
  • Fish: Delicate fish-like soles or stronger ones like salmon can lead to a lighter, seafood-infused broth.
  • Pasta: Small pasta shapes like orzo, pastina, or ditalini can be added after the consommé is strained, providing texture and heartiness.
  • Vegetables: While tomatoes and celery are traditional, others like leeks, fennel, or mushrooms can be integrated for depth and aroma.
Beef Consomme

Success Tips – Tips And Tricks For Making The Consommé

Prepping Tips

  • Uniform Cuts: Chop vegetables uniformly for even cooking.
  • Aromatics: Sauté onions, garlic, or celery at the start to release their flavors.
  • Stock Quality: Homemade is ideal, but opt for low-sodium versions if using store-bought.

Cooking Time Tips

  • Layering: Add ingredients in stages, starting with those that take the longest to cook.
  • Simmer, Don’t Boil: A gentle simmer helps meld flavors without overcooking ingredients.
  • Taste as You Go: Adjust seasonings progressively to achieve the desired flavor.
  • Finishing Touches: Add fresh herbs or acidic elements (like lemon juice) at the end to brighten flavors.
  • Rest & Serve: Letting the soup rest a few minutes before serving can enhance its taste.
Beef Consomme

Nutritional Values  

Beef Consommé packs more than just flavor; it offers a healthful experience, too. Rich in protein and low in fat, it provides essential nutrients like Vitamin A and minerals. It is ideal for those seeking a hearty yet health-conscious option.

What Are The Total Calories In The Soup? 

A typical Beef Consommé, made with lean meat, a clear broth, and a handful of vegetables, is relatively low in calories.

Beef, the primary source of calories, contributes most of the energy, followed by the stock and vegetables. The egg whites used for clarification add minimal calories. 

A general estimate for a cup of homemade Beef Consommé might range from 30 to 60 calories. Still, you’d need to consult specific nutritional data for each ingredient and measure the final yield for an accurate count.

Dietary Restrictions Of The Beef Consommé  

  • Vegetarian/Vegan: Contains animal products, specifically beef and sometimes bone-derived stock.
  • Religious: Certain religious practices prohibit beef or require it to be prepared in specific ways, e.g., kosher or halal.
  • Gluten: While naturally gluten-free, some store-bought stocks might contain gluten additives.
  • Allergies: Some people are allergic to certain ingredients like celery or tomatoes.
  • Low-Sodium: Depending on the stock used, the consommé might be high in salt.
  • Keto/Paleo: Generally compatible, though strict adherents may prefer homemade, additive-free stock.
  • High-Protein/Low-Fat Diets: Well-suited due to their protein content and minimal fat (especially when skimmed properly).

Health Benefits Of The Beef Consommé 

  • Protein Source: Beef provides essential amino acids that support muscle growth and repair.
  • Collagen: Homemade stock, especially from bones, is rich in collagen, which benefits skin, hair, and joint health.
  • Minerals: The broth contains vital minerals like zinc, iron, and selenium, crucial for immune function and metabolism.
  • Low-Calorie: Typically low in calories, it can be a warm, satisfying addition to calorie-controlled diets.
  • Hydration: Its liquid base aids in hydration.
  • Vitamins: Ingredients like tomatoes and celery contribute to vitamins A and C.
  • Digestive Aid: Warm broth can soothe the digestive tract.

Nutrition Table 

How Can I Make Beef Consommé Lower In Sodium? 

  • Homemade Stock: Opt for homemade beef or vegetable stock without added salt. This gives you total control over sodium levels.
  • Seasoning: Use salt sparingly or replace it with no-sodium alternatives like potassium chloride. Fresh herbs and spices can enhance flavor without adding sodium.
  • Fresh Ingredients: Utilize fresh vegetables rather than canned, as canned products often contain added salt.
  • Taste As You Go: Add a small amount of salt and taste regularly to adjust the seasoning.
  • Low-Sodium Store Options: If using store-bought stock, look for brands labeled “low-sodium” or “unsalted.”
  • Rinse Meats: Some prepackaged meats have sodium solutions; rinsing can remove some surface salt.

How Can I Make Beef Consommé Lower In Sugar? 

  • Natural Stock: Use homemade stock without added sugar, flavor enhancers, or sweeteners commonly found in commercial stocks.
  • No Sweet Vegetables: Avoid using naturally sweet vegetables like carrots or sweet onions.
  • Spices Over Sweetness: Boost flavors with herbs and spices like thyme, rosemary, and peppercorns rather than sweet condiments or sauces.
  • Check Labels: For store-bought stock, scrutinize labels for hidden sugars or syrups.
  • Quality Meat: Higher-quality meat requires less seasoning, reducing the need for sugar-based flavor enhancers.
Beef Consomme

How To Serve The Beef Consommé At Its Best? 

  • Temperature: Serve immediately after straining and skimming to enjoy its flavors fully. Keep it piping hot without letting it boil again to maintain clarity.
  • Fine China or Glassware: Serve in a clear glass or china bowl to showcase its transparent quality.
  • Garnish: A sprig of fresh thyme or a sprinkle of finely chopped chives can add a touch of color and flavor.
  • Accompaniments: Keep it simple. A slice of rustic bread, grissini, or even a side of thinly sliced lemon can complement the consommé without overwhelming it.
  • Portion: Stick to smaller servings as a starter to whet the appetite, leaving room for the main course.

Perfect Side Dishes To Complement Beef Consommé 

  • Crusty Bread: A slice of warm, crusty bread or a baguette can soak the broth wonderfully.
  • Cheese Platter: A selection of mild cheeses can balance the rich, meaty flavors of the consommé.
  • Fresh Salad: A simple, light salad with a vinaigrette dressing offers a refreshing contrast.
  • Grissini: These Italian breadsticks add a crunchy texture without overwhelming the delicate broth.
  • Stuffed Mushrooms: A small serving of stuffed mushrooms can add earthiness, making for a well-rounded meal.
  • White Wine: A crisp white wine like Sauvignon Blanc can cleanse the palate and enhance flavors.
Beef Consomme

How Long Can We Store The Soup? 

The shelf life of Beef Consommé depends on storage conditions. If refrigerated promptly after cooling, it can last up to 3-4 days in an airtight container. You can freeze the consommé for extended storage for 2-3 months. 

Before freezing, consider portioning the liquid into smaller containers or even ice cube trays for easy future use. Thaw in the refrigerator and reheat gently to restore quality; avoid boiling to maintain clarity. 

Always perform a sniff and taste test before consuming stored consommé to ensure it has not spoiled.

Can I Make The Soup In Advance? 

Beef Consommé is a great candidate for advanced preparation. Making it a day or two before you intend to serve it can enhance its flavors, giving the ingredients time to meld.

After cooking, allow it to cool to room temperature before refrigerating it in an airtight container. 

When you’re ready to serve, gently reheat it on the stove, not boiling it, as that could cloud the broth. This makes it a convenient choice for dinners or events.

What Can We Do With Leftovers? 

  • Rice Cooker: Use it as the liquid base for cooking rice or grains for an added flavor boost.
  • Sauces & Gravies: Use as a rich base for homemade sauces, gravies, or stews.
  • Poaching Liquid: Ideal for poaching fish, chicken, or vegetables.
  • Stir-Fries: Add it to stir-fries for deeper, richer flavors.
  • Miso Soup: Mix with miso paste for an exciting fusion dish.
  • Pasta Cooking: Use as cooking water for pasta to infuse extra flavor.
  • Steaming Liquid: Place it in the pan while steaming vegetables or dumplings.
  • Smoothies: Freeze in ice cube trays and add a cube or two to vegetable smoothies for nutrients and taste.
Beef Consomme

Special Tools/Equipment Needed

  • Large Stockpot: A heavy-duty stockpot ensures even heat distribution, making it easier to manage the cooking process.
  • Food Processor: Helpful for chopping meat and vegetables uniformly.
  • Fine-Mesh Sieve: The initial straining process must remove large particles.
  • Cheesecloth: For a second straining, a cheesecloth helps capture smaller impurities, giving you a crystal-clear broth.
  • Whisk: To mix the egg whites and peppercorns effectively.
  • Thermometer: Useful for monitoring the temperature, especially if you’re new to making consommé.

Frequently Asked Questions 

What Is The Difference Between Beef Consommé And Beef Broth?

Beef Consommé is a clarified version of beef broth, achieved through a specialized process involving egg whites and ground meat that filters out impurities. The result is a crystal-clear, more concentrated liquid with a richer flavor depth than regular beef broth.

Is Beef Consommé Better Than Beef Broth?

Beef consommé has a deeper flavor and a better texture than beef broth. It can be eaten independently but adds rich intensity to soups and stews.

However, the milder flavoring of beef broth is often better for complex dishes with lots of seasoning.

Can I Drink Beef Consommé?

Yes, the most popular way to enjoy beef consommé is on its own!

How To Serve Beef Consommé?

Beef consommé is typically served hot and eaten as an appetizer or soup. consommé has a rich flavor and a silky texture, so it’s best enjoyed on its own. Serve it very hot so it can’t solidify.

How Do You Use Beef Consommé?

Beef consommé is typically enjoyed as a soup course during an elaborate meal. However, you can also use beef consommé as a base for soups and stews (Also check out How To Make The Pioneer Woman’s Brunswick Stew Recipe). It can also be used to make a rich gravy.

Luscious Beef Consommé - A Culinary Masterpiece To Try

Luscious Beef Consommé – A Culinary Masterpiece To Try

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Recipe by Hanna Barnes Course: Broths


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Beef Consommé elevates simple beef broth into a culinary masterpiece. Through meticulous clarification, it achieves crystal clarity and robust flavor. Perfect as a standalone dish or versatile base, it adds gourmet flair to any meal.


  • ½ Pound ½ Ground Beef (Preferably Premium Sirloin, Shank, Or shoulder)

  • 1 Tablespoon 1 Crushed Black Peppercorns

  • 4 4 Large Egg Whites

  • 3 3 Tomatoes

  • 4 4 Celery stalks

  • 6 Cups 6 Cold beef or Veal Stock

  • 1 Sprig 1 Fresh Thyme

  • Salt (To Taste)

Step-By-Step Directions

  • Whisk the egg whites and peppercorns until you have a foam. If you want to use the eggshells, whisk them with this mixture.
  • Using a food processor, loosely pulse the beef, tomatoes, and celery together.
  • Mix the beef and egg in a large pot with the stock, thyme, and salt. Adjust the salt levels depending on how salty your stock is! 
  • Turn the heat to high and bring the mixture to a rolling boil. You need to stir constantly during this phase.
  • As you stir, the raft will begin to rise to the top. Once the raft has formed, create a small hole to one side. Check if everything has risen. If some solids are still at the bottom, keep the heat high until everything has risen.
  • Reduce the heat to low and leave to simmer for 45 minutes. Do not stir! Stirring will make it cloudy.
  • When you’re happy with the consommé, remove it from the heat. Line a fine mesh sieve with cheesecloth, strain the liquid, and separate it from the solids. Then, strain again using a double cheesecloth. You want any impurities and solids gone!
  • Take fine parchment paper and drag it along the surface of the consommé to remove the fat. 
  • Serve hot.

Recipe Video


  • Always use cold stock to start; it helps in effective clarification.
  • Ensure constant stirring during the initial boiling phase to prevent sticking.
  • Consider roasting the meat and vegetables before adding them to the pot for enhanced flavor.
  • If the consommé turns out cloudy, a second round of clarification may be necessary.

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