Quick and Simple Broth Substitutes

Homemade Broth
Homemade Broth. © Erin Huffstetler
  • Prep Time
    5 min
  • Cook Time
    0 min
  • Total Time
    5 min
  • Yield
    1 cup broth

Broth is used in everything from soups to casseroles. And while it's easy and inexpensive to make your own beef broth, chicken broth or vegetable broth at home, that's not much help when you discover you've run out and need to get dinner on the table stat! For those moments, turn to these simple substitutes.


  • another type of broth, bouillon, soy sauce or white wine


How to Substitute One Broth for Another

If your recipe calls for chicken broth, and all you have is beef broth or vegetable broth, go ahead and use it. You may notice subtle changes in the color or flavor of the finished dish, but it'll still taste great, and get dinner on the table on time.

How to Substitute Broth with Bouillon

If you don't have broth of any kind on hand, you can also use bouillon cubes or granules to make a broth substitute.

Just combine one cube or one teaspoon of granules with one cup of boiling water to create the equivalent of one cup of broth. Once the bouillon dissolves, you'll have a good stand in. Need more than a cup? Just scale the recipe up to make as much as you need.

Note: Because boullion tends to be saltier than broth, you may want to omit, or scale back, the salt called for in your recipe.

More Broth Substitutes

If you don't have the ingredients to make either of these substitutes, you still have a few options. These substitutes won't have the same flavor as the broth that they're replacing,  but they'll work in a pinch. Before you give any of these a shot, consider how they'll fit with your recipe. They may be suitable for some recipes and not others.

Chicken Broth

  • Combine one cup water with one Tablespoon olive oil or melted butter
  • Use one cup of white wine

Beef Broth

  • Combine one cup water with one Tablespoon soy sauce

    Final Tips About Broth Substitutes

    When deciding which substitute will work best in your recipe, it's important to remember what defines a broth or soup stock. Broth is a rich, flavorful liquid that is made by simmering poultry, meat or vegetables in water with seasonings.

    When using a substitute, remember that the seasonings are a key element.

    For instance, if you use the soy sauce substitute for beef broth, consider adding parsley, garlic, bay leaves or other seasonings to create a more convincing replacement.

    As you experiment with seasonings, be sure to add a little at a time. Then, do a quick taste test before you make any additional adjustments. 

    Of course, if you go too far or find that your substitute just doesn't taste the way you want it to, you can always start over. Most of these ingredients are cheap.

    More Ingredient Substitutes

    Before you get back to making dinner, take a second to pin or bookmark my complete collection of ingredient substitutes. It's guaranteed to get you out of a few kitchen fixes.