A huge variety of different recipes feature beef broth as a staple ingredient. It offers dishes with a distinct array of savory flavors, which are often integral to the composition of a recipe.
Because of this, it can be a difficult ingredient to replicate.
However, some people find that they need to swap it out, whether they’re a vegetarian, vegan, or just don’t have the item at hand.
Thankfully, if you find yourself running into this problem, then you should know that there are lots of other substitutes that you can use that work just as well.
In this article, we’re going to take you through 10 different ingredients that can be used as terrific substitutes for beef broth (Also check out Beef Consommé Or Beef Broth – Is There A Difference?).
We’ve made sure to include a wide variety of different ingredients so hopefully, you will have one of these in your pantry.
7 Best Substitutes For Beef Broth
1. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is a great choice if you want to swap out beef broth for something else. It has a distinctly different flavor and has been used as a condiment for countless years.
If you’ve never tried Worcestershire sauce before, then you should know that it has tangy notes and is created with a blend of vinegar, molasses, spices, and anchovies.
Because of this impressive blend of flavors, Worcestershire sauce is a great choice for those who want something complex and robust in their recipes.
To use it as a beef broth substitute, simply mix it with water in a 1:1 ratio.
For example, if a recipe is telling you to add a cup of beef brother, use 1 cup of water, with 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce. Make sure you don’t add too much Worcestershire sauce, as this can be overpowering and ruin your recipe.
2. Mushroom Broth
Mushroom broth is a vegan and vegetarian-friendly alternative to beef broth that adds a unique, earthy flavor that can taste similar to beef.
In fact, mushrooms are frequently used as a substitute for beef in a whole range of vegetarian recipes.
You can create mushroom broth by combining mushrooms, onions, garlic, and herbs in water.
To use mushroom broth as a substitute for beef broth, then you should replace the beef broth with an equal amount of mushroom broth.
Mushroom broth works especially well in vegan and vegetarian recipes, as it adds a layer of depth to the flavor, without needing to use any animal products.
3. Chicken Broth
Another great alternative to beef broth is chicken broth. This is a similar kind of ingredient, only it has a much lighter flavor and color profile.
Although it’s a less rich ingredient than beef broth, it will still provide your dishes with a sense of depth that is extremely noticeable in stews, curries, sauces, and soups.
One of the big advantages of using chicken broth is that all you will have to do is swap out 1 cup of beef broth (or however much the recipe you’re looking at suggests) for 1 cup of chicken broth.
We do recommend you practice some caution with this, however, as chicken broth is not suitable for all dishes, especially those that rely heavily on beef flavoring.
4. Beef Bouillon Cubes
So let’s say you don’t have any beef broth at hand, but still want that exact flavor. Take a look in your pantry, perhaps you have some beef bouillon cubes.
These are a concentrated form of beef broth that can be kept for long periods of time, and used as a substitute as and when you need them.
They’re created by dehydrating beef broth into a concentrated, cube form.
Bouillon cubes are a heavier form of beef broth to add to your dishes, so make sure you fully dissolve one into a cup of water and double-check the mixture is not too thick before adding it into your dishes.
The salt content of bouillon cubes can be fairly high, so make sure you’re comfortable with this before using them, and consider adding less salt to your dish in reaction to this.
5. Miso Paste
Miso paste is a popular Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans (Also check out The Best Vegan Miso Soup).
Because of this, it is often used in east-asian cuisine as well as many vegetarian and vegan dishes. It can be used in the place of beef broth for many different dishes.
You’re going to need to mix miso paste (usually around 1 tablespoon) with a cup of water and ensure it is properly combined before adding it into the dish you’re cooking.
Miso paste is especially great if you’re cooking Asian-inspired dishes, and is a perfect choice for ramen.
6. Chicken Bouillon Cubes
We mentioned beef bouillon cubes before, but what about chicken? Like beef cubes, these are a concentrated form of chicken broth that you can use for a richer flavor.
Make sure you only use an appropriate amount, and ensure that the cube has been completely dissolved before adding it to your recipe.
A good rule of thumb when cooking with Bouillon cubes is to use less rather than more, as too many cubes can be very overpowering and change the composition of your dishes.
7. Soy Sauce
Another classic Asian condiment that can be added to many dishes is soy sauce. This is created by fermenting soybeans, and then mixing them with wheat and salt.
The result is a distinctly salty sauce that is often used in cooking, and as a table sauce for a variety of different dishes. It’s also sometimes used as a marinade.
To add soy sauce into a dish as a substitute for beef broth, you’ll want to mix a single tablespoon of it with a cup of hot water.
Keep in mind that soy sauce is quite thin, so you may need to add more if you’re not getting the depth of flavor that you desire.
This is an especially great ingredient if you’re cooking Asian-inspired dishes, and can replace beef broth without much of an issue.
8. Bone Broth
Bone broth is a lesser-used ingredient but can be a great source of nutrients and can be used to create unique flavors.
Bone broth is made from simmering bones, usually beef, chicken, or pork, combining them with vegetables and herbs for an extended period of time.
Although bone broth might take a while to make, it will give you a deep, rich flavor that is perfect for soups and stews.
If you want to replace beef broth with bone broth, all you need to do is swap out one cup for the other.
Bone broth is actually one of the main ways ramen soup is made, so this can be a great time to learn to cook authentic Japanese ramen.
9. Tomato Paste
Next up on our list is a more situational substitute. Tomato paste can be used when all else fails, and if you don’t mind adding a little bit of tomato flavor to your dish.
While this won’t work with everything, tomato paste gives a sweet, tangy flavor that instantly adds a sense of richness to many dishes.
To use tomato paste as a beef broth substitute, you should mix it with water and add more as needed. Tomato paste works best as a substitute for Italian dishes like spaghetti bolognese.
10. Vegetable Broth
To end our list of substitutes, here is an ingredient that has been a savior for many vegetarians and vegans across the world.
Vegetable broth is a flavorful and versatile substitute that is created by combining vegetables, herbs, and spices with water.
This can then be added to a variety of dishes as a great substitute for beef or chicken broth.
It is most commonly used by vegans and vegetarians as a way of getting around recipes that require broth as a base.
You can simply substitute beef broth for vegetable broth in whatever quantities the recipe you’re using specifies, however you should know that vegetable broth can taste underwhelming compared to other kinds of broth.
This will depend on the quality of the broth you’re using, as well as the herbs and spices that contribute to its overall flavor.
So that was our list of 10 different substitutes. While beef broth is a popular ingredient in many recipes, there are plenty of substitutes you can use that will work just as well.
With all of these, you will need to consider how you can use them most effectively in the dish you are creating.
For example, tomato paste isn’t going to be the best choice for ramen noodles, but it might work well in a chili dish.
Whether you’re looking for a vegan-friendly option or a lower-sodium alternative to beef broth, you should know that there are always options for you.
Make sure to experiment with different substitutes to find the ones that work best for you.
We hope that this guide has taught you everything you wanted to know and that you’re now more confident about the best substitutes for beef broth.
Frequently Asked Questions
Although water can be used as a substitute for many recipes, keep in mind that your dish will lose much of its flavor, and it won’t provide the same rich texture.
This is a good combination that can go a long way to simulating the flavor of beef broth. Just keep in mind that there will be high sodium content here, so make sure you start small and add more Worcestershire sauce to taste.
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