Best Substitutes For Chicken Broth

best substitutes for chicken broth

Chicken broth is a flavorful and essential ingredient in many recipes, but there may be times when you find yourself without it in your pantry or wanting to explore alternative options. Whether you’re a vegetarian looking for plant-based options or simply want to switch things up in the kitchen, there are plenty of substitutes for chicken broth that can provide depth and richness to your dishes.

In this article, we will explore the different types of substitutes for chicken broth, discuss how to choose the right option for your needs, provide tips on cooking with substitutes, and even share some delicious recipes to help you incorporate these alternatives into your cooking routine.

Key Takeaways

  • Chicken broth is a versatile ingredient that adds depth and flavor to various dishes.
  • There are several types of substitutes for chicken broth, including vegetable broth, mushroom broth, and homemade broth alternatives.
  • Choosing the right substitute depends on the recipe and your dietary preferences.
  • You can use substitutes for chicken broth in savory recipes, such as soups, stews, sauces, and risottos.
  • Store-bought substitutes have varying shelf lives, while homemade alternatives should be used immediately or frozen for future use.

Why You Need A Substitute For Chicken Broth

There are several reasons why you might need a substitute for chicken broth. Some of the common scenarios include:

  1. Vegetarian or vegan diet: If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet and avoid animal products, chicken broth is not an option. Hence, you need plant-based alternatives to maintain the flavor and depth in your recipes.

  2. Allergies or dietary restrictions: Some individuals may have allergies to chicken or poultry products, or they may have dietary restrictions that prohibit the consumption of chicken broth.

  3. Variety in flavor: Sometimes, you might want to experiment with different flavors and textures in your dishes, and using different broth substitutes can add a unique twist to your recipes.

Types Of Substitutes For Chicken Broth

Simmering pot of chicken broth

  1. Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth is the most common and widely available substitute for chicken broth. It is made by simmering a variety of vegetables, such as carrots, celery, onions, and herbs, with water. Vegetable broth provides a similar savory flavor and can be used in a wide range of recipes.

  2. Mushroom broth: Mushroom broth is an excellent alternative for those looking for a meaty and umami-rich flavor. It is made by simmering mushrooms, such as shiitake or porcini, in water. The resulting broth is earthy and adds depth to soups, sauces, and risottos.

  3. Homemade broth alternatives: If you prefer homemade options, you can create flavorful broths using ingredients like miso paste, seaweed, or dried shiitake mushrooms. These alternatives offer unique flavors and can be tailored to suit your taste preferences.

Best Substitutes For Chicken Broth

Simmering pot of chicken broth

  1. Vegetable broth: Vegetable broth is a versatile substitute for chicken broth and can be used in a variety of recipes. It offers a savory flavor and works well in soups, stews, sauces, and more. You can either make your own vegetable broth by simmering vegetables and herbs in water, or you can purchase ready-to-use vegetable broth from grocery stores. Look for low-sodium options if you prefer to control the salt content in your dishes.

  2. Mushroom broth: Mushroom broth is an excellent substitute for chicken broth, especially for those looking for a meaty and umami-rich flavor. The earthy undertones of mushrooms add depth and richness to dishes. You can make mushroom broth by simmering mushrooms, such as shiitake or porcini, in water. Alternatively, you can find pre-made mushroom broth in stores. Experiment with different types of mushrooms to discover your preferred flavor profile.

  3. Miso broth: Miso paste is a traditional Japanese ingredient made from fermented soybeans. It has a rich and savory flavor that can mimic the depth of chicken broth. To make miso broth, dissolve miso paste in hot water and adjust the quantity based on your preferred intensity. This broth is perfect for Asian-inspired dishes and can also be used as a base for soups and sauces.

  4. Seaweed broth: Seaweed broth, commonly known as dashi in Japanese cuisine, is a staple in many dishes. It is made by steeping kombu (a type of dried seaweed) in hot water. The resulting broth has a subtle umami flavor that pairs well with various ingredients. Seaweed broth is commonly used in Japanese soups, sauces, and noodle dishes.

  5. Homemade vegetable broth: If you have time and ingredients on hand, making your own vegetable broth can be a rewarding experience. You can customize the flavors by adding your favorite vegetables, herbs, and spices. Simmer the ingredients in water for an extended period to extract maximum flavor. Strain the broth and use it in recipes that call for chicken broth.

Choosing The Right Substitute For Chicken Broth

Simmering pot of chicken broth hearty

When choosing a substitute for chicken broth, consider the following factors:

  1. Flavor profile: The flavor profile of the substitute should complement the other ingredients in your recipe. For example, mushroom broth adds an earthy and umami-rich flavor, while miso paste provides a salty and savory taste. Consider the overall balance of flavors in your dish and choose a substitute that enhances the desired taste.

  2. Dietary preferences: If you follow a vegetarian or vegan diet, opt for plant-based substitutes like vegetable broth, mushroom broth, miso paste, or seaweed broth. These alternatives will align with your dietary restrictions and provide similar flavors.

  3. Recipe compatibility: Think about how the substitute will work in your specific recipe. Certain substitutes may be better suited for specific dishes. For example, miso broth works well in Asian-inspired recipes, while vegetable broth is versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes.

  4. Availability: Consider the availability of the substitute in your area. While vegetable broth is readily available in most grocery stores, other options like mushroom broth or seaweed broth may require a visit to specialty stores or online shopping. Plan ahead and make sure you have the substitute on hand before starting your recipe.

Cooking With Substitutes For Chicken Broth

chicken broth

When using substitutes for chicken broth in your recipes, keep the following tips in mind:

  1. Adjust the quantity: Depending on the substitute you choose, you may need to adjust the quantity to achieve the desired flavor. Start by substituting in equal parts and taste along the way. You can always add more if needed.

Pro Tip: To prevent overpowering flavors, start by adding a small amount of substitute broth and gradually increase it if necessary. This will help you find the perfect balance without overwhelming the dish.

  1. Seasoning: Pay attention to the salt content of both the substitute and your recipe. Some store-bought substitutes can be high in sodium, so be cautious when adding additional salt to your dish. Taste as you go and adjust the seasoning accordingly.

  2. Experiment with flavors: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different substitutes and flavor combinations. Each substitute brings its own unique taste to the dish, and by combining them creatively, you can create new and exciting flavor profiles in your recipes.

Recipes Using Substitutes For Chicken Broth

Here are a few recipes where you can incorporate substitutes for chicken broth:

  1. Vegetable Soup

    • Ingredients:

      • 4 cups vegetable broth
      • 1 onion, diced
      • 2 carrots, sliced
      • 2 celery stalks, sliced
      • 1 zucchini, diced
      • 1 can diced tomatoes
      • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
      • Salt and pepper to taste
    • Instructions:

      1. In a large pot, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat.
      2. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and zucchini, and sauté until the vegetables are tender.
      3. Pour in the vegetable broth, diced tomatoes, dried thyme, salt, and pepper.
      4. Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce the heat and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes.
      5. Adjust the seasoning if needed and serve hot.
  2. Miso Ramen

    • Ingredients:

      • 4 cups mushroom broth
      • 2 tablespoons miso paste
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1-inch piece ginger, grated
      • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
      • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
      • 2 servings of ramen noodles
      • Toppings: sliced green onions, bean sprouts, nori, soft-boiled egg
    • Instructions:

      1. In a pot, heat the mushroom broth over medium heat.
      2. In a small bowl, whisk together the miso paste, minced garlic, grated ginger, soy sauce, and sesame oil until well combined.
      3. Add the miso mixture to the mushroom broth and bring it to a gentle simmer.
      4. Cook the ramen noodles according to the package instructions and drain.
      5. Divide the noodles into bowls and pour the miso broth over them.
      6. Top with sliced green onions, bean sprouts, nori, and a soft-boiled egg.
  3. Roasted Mushroom Risotto

    • Ingredients:

      • 4 cups mushroom broth
      • 2 tablespoons olive oil
      • 1 onion, finely diced
      • 2 cloves garlic, minced
      • 1 ½ cups Arborio rice
      • 1 cup white wine
      • 8 ounces mixed mushrooms, sliced (such as shiitake, cremini, and oyster)
      • Salt and pepper to taste
      • Fresh parsley, chopped
    • Instructions:

      1. In a saucepan, heat the mushroom broth over low heat and keep it warm.
      2. In a large skillet, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and sauté until translucent.
      3. Add the Arborio rice and stir until well coated with the oil.
      4. Pour in the white wine and cook until the liquid has been absorbed.
      5. Begin adding the warm mushroom broth to the skillet, one ladleful at a time, stirring constantly. Allow the liquid to absorb before adding more.
      6. In a separate skillet, sauté the mixed mushrooms until they are browned and tender. Season with salt and pepper.
      7. Once the risotto is creamy and al dente, stir in the sautéed mushrooms.
      8. Adjust the seasoning if needed, and garnish with fresh parsley before serving.

Storage And Shelf Life Of Substitutes

Store-bought substitutes for chicken broth typically come with an expiration date, and it is essential to check the package for storage and shelf life guidelines. Once opened, most commercial broths can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5-7 days.

Homemade broth substitutes for chicken broth should be used immediately or frozen for future use. If freezing, transfer the broth into airtight containers or freezer bags, leaving some headspace for expansion. Keep in mind that homemade broths may have a slightly shorter shelf life compared to store-bought options.


Substitutes for chicken broth allow you to explore different flavors and cater to various dietary preferences. Whether you’re a vegetarian or vegan, have allergies, or simply want to change things up in the kitchen, alternatives like vegetable broth, mushroom broth, miso paste, and seaweed broth can help enhance the taste and depth of your recipes. Experiment with different substitutes and incorporate them into recipes like soups, stews, sauces, and risottos to create delicious meals that everyone can enjoy.


What Are Some Good Substitutes For Chicken Broth If I Am A Vegetarian Or Vegan?

Some excellent alternatives to chicken broth for vegetarians and vegans include vegetable broth, mushroom broth, miso broth, and kombu broth.

Can I Substitute Beef Broth For Chicken Broth In Recipes?

Yes, beef broth can be used as a substitute for chicken broth in most recipes. However, the resulting flavor and color may be slightly different, so adjust the other seasonings accordingly.

What Can I Use Instead Of Chicken Broth In Recipes If I Have A Poultry Allergy?

For those with a poultry allergy, vegetable broth, beef broth, mushroom broth, and fish stock are all viable alternatives to chicken broth.

How Do I Substitute Water For Chicken Broth In A Recipe?

If you are substituting water for chicken broth, be prepared for a less flavorful result. To compensate, add additional seasonings and spices to enhance the taste. Also, try using half chicken broth and half water for a compromise.

What Is The Best Substitute For Chicken Broth In Soups And Stews?

For soups and stews, vegetable broth and beef broth are excellent substitutes for chicken broth. Mushroom broth also adds a rich umami flavor that is similar to chicken broth.

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  • About the Author Jenny

    I'm Jenny, a housewife with an unwavering passion for food. My culinary journey began with my grandmother's kitchen, and it's now a full-fledged food blog. I've turned my love for cooking into a creative outlet, sharing recipes and stories with a global community of fellow food enthusiasts. It's proof that being a housewife can also mean pursuing your passions and savoring life's delectable moments.