Out of Broth? Here’s What to Use Instead.

updated Apr 30, 2020
We independently select these products—if you buy from one of our links, we may earn a commission. All prices were accurate at the time of publishing.
Measuring cup with chicken broth on a wooden cutting board
Credit: Joe Lingeman

Rich and flavorful, broth makes soups and pan sauces more robust, seasons steamed or sautéed vegetables for weeknight dinners, makes casseroles creamier and stuffings moist and delicious. We’re big fans of keeping homemade broth and stock in the freezer as well as keeping a few shelf-stable cartons in the pantry for all kinds of cooking — from quick weeknight dinners to luxurious weekend braises.

Even the most prepared cooks run out of broth from time to time, though, usually only realizing it after cooking is already underway. If you keep an otherwise well-stocked kitchen, there are a handful of other pantry staples that can step in when you run out of broth. Here’s how to substitute other pantry staples for broth in cooking.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

How to Substitute Bouillon for Broth

Affordable and shelf-stable, bouillon in its many forms is the ultimate substitute for homemade or cartoned broth. The cubes and granules keep practically forever in the pantry. Because it is concentrated, bouillon is higher in sodium than homemade or store bought broth so adjust your recipes salt accordingly, tasting and seasoning as you go.

Here’s the basic math for substituting bouillon for broth: For every cup of broth use 1 bouillon cube or 1 teaspoon bouillon plus 1 cup boiling water to dissolve the bouillon, and then cool slightly before using.

Credit: Joe Lingeman/Kitchn

How to Substitute Other Cooking Liquids for Broth

Don’t fret if bouillon isn’t in your pantry and you need it for cooking; Wine , vermouth, and beer can also be used for as a substitute for broth in cooking.

When a recipe calls for chicken or vegetable broth, use an equivalent amount of dry white wine or vermouth. You can swap the broth for water in small amounts as long as you adjust the seasoning accordingly and adding a little more salt and a squeeze of lemon or a splash of vinegar as needed. Beef broth is easily substituted with beer or red wine, cup for cup.

Swaps and Substitutions

Even the most well-stocked kitchens run out of pantry staples from time to time. Whether you’re trying to limit your grocery shopping or you need to make a last-minute ingredient swap, we’ve got you covered. This series will walk you through the best substitutions and replacements for common cooking and baking ingredients.