The 7 Best Substitutes For Bone Broth

What can I use instead of bone broth? The best substitute for bone broth is meat stock. You can also use beef broth, chicken broth, Better Than Bouillon base, bouillon granules or cubes, vegetable stock, or gelatin powder.

Bone broth is a savory jelly substance made by boiling bones to extract nutrients. Beef, chicken, turkey, or pork bones are simmered for up to 48 hours to extract nutrients. Apple cider vinegar is usually added to accelerate the process. The liquid is strained, and the gelatinous broth can be used as a health supplement on its own or as a flavorful, rich stock in other recipes.

The Best Bone Broth Substitutes

Meat Stock

Stocks are available in beef, pork, turkey, chicken, and even fish varieties. All stock is made by boiling bones with very little meat left on to extract the goodness from the cartilage and bones.

Unlike thin broths, which are made from meaty sections, meat stock is made from meaty bones. Bone broth is always made from bones, so it is technically a stock rather than a true broth which has a thinner consistency.

Meat stocks are considered interchangeable with bone broth. Use the most suitable meat stock that will suit your dish when substituting stock for bone broth.

Stock like chicken or beef base is available in jars and needs to be reconstituted with water.

Use the same ratio of meat stock as bone broth in recipes. Just be aware that some stocks also include herbs or other ingredients that may overpower flavors in your recipe.

Beef Broth

Beef broth is a thin liquid made by simmering meat. Sometimes vegetables, herbs, or a few bones are included, but the end result is a light, flavorful broth.

Beef broth can be purchased in cans and are available in the soup aisle of most grocery stores,

Although beef broth doesn’t have the same amount of gelatin as bone broth, it works well as a substitute for bone broth.

In terms of flavor, the effect will be almost exactly the same. The only difference is the consistency of bone broth is jelly-like at room temperature.

Use beef broth in the same ratio that you would use bone broth. Add a scoop of gelatin powder to the beef broth if you need the high-gelatin content in your recipe.

Chicken Broth

Like most broths, chicken broth is made by simmering chicken, often with other ingredients like herbs or vegetables, to create a tasty thin, savory liquid.

It is a light golden color and can be eaten as a soup on its own or added to recipes like gravies or casseroles.

Unlike chicken stock which is made by simmering chicken bones for a lengthy period, chicken broth is made from pieces of chicken or an entire bird.

The cooking period is much shorter than when making bone broth stock from only the bones.  

Chicken broth is a thin, nutritious liquid with a mild, comforting taste. It adds a touch of homeliness to dishes and can be used as a stand-in for chicken bone broth.

The only difference is that it won’t have a gelatinous texture, which can be obtained by adding gelatin powder to the dish.

Bone broth is generally a little thicker with a more robust flavor, but chicken broth is an excellent substitute in most recipes. It is available in cans in the soup aisle of most grocery stores.

Better Than Bouillon Base

Try a paste alternative if you don’t have time to spend hours simmering bones to create a special recipe that requires bone broth.

Better Than Bouillon is an organic, widely available concentrated base made from meat or cooked vegetables.

Once opened, the paste must be refrigerated, but it can be mixed at the strength required to most closely mimic bone broth in recipes. There is also a vegetable option available.

Mix Better Than Bouillon Base paste to taste, but be aware that it does contain quite a lot of salt. Low-sodium versions are available.   

Vegetable Broth

Vegetarians and vegans can use vegetable stock as an excellent, tasty alternative to bone broth in recipes.

A simple, clear broth can also be made by simmering and then straining various veggies, like mushrooms, celery, carrots, and onions.

The vegetable broth will differ in taste from bone broth which retains its meaty overtones, but the result can be equally hearty and satisfying.

Creating vegetable broth is also an excellent way to use assorted scraps of vegetables left in the fridge.

Non-vegans can add some gelatin if they require a thicker consistency to make it more closely match bone broth. A meat-free thickening agent like Agar-Agar, derived from seaweed, can also be used.

Bouillon Granules Or Cubes

Most kitchens have a supply of convenient flavor cubes that come in several meat and vegetable varieties.

Dissolve them in water to instantly create a translucent liquid broth that can be used as a savory base for gravies or soups.

While bouillon won’t be able to fill the gap of bone broth completely, it is a handy substitute when you need a quick taste stand-in for bone broth.

Although bouillon is made from the source named on the packaging, it isn’t a good option for those using bone broth for health reasons. Bouillon usually includes salt, flavorings, and colorants.

When used as a base in savory dishes, bouillon is a convenient taste replacement for bone broth. Mix as directed on the packaging and use in equal amounts to bone broth.

Gelatin Powder

Gelatin powder is a flavorless protein-rich substance made from collagen in the connective tissues of cattle and pigs. It is a common ingredient in everything from desserts to gummy candies like jelly babies.

One of the top benefits of bone broth is the concentrated collagen-rich substance produced by the prolonged simmering process.

Anyone seeking the health benefits of bone broth but doesn’t like the taste can use good quality powdered gelatin. 

Unlike bone broth, gelatin powder is tasteless and colorless, so it is a good stand-in when bone broth texture is required, but it will need to be flavored.

Any stock can be used to add taste in conjunction with gelatin powder to recreate bone broth to use in recipes.