Vegetable Broth vs. Stock: Differences and Which One is better

Vegetable broth and vegetable stock is almost the same thing. However, the difference is more noticeable in their flavor and use. Vegetable broth is fully seasoned as it is meant to either be consumed on its own or added in soups. Vegetable stock on the other hand is more of an ingredient for other dishes like sauces, broths, and soups and therefore uses minimal to no seasoning.  

Difference between vegetable broth and stock

It may not be easy to differentiate between vegetable stock and broth, and only culinary experts get the difference since it’s all in the preparation process.

Although they both use the same ingredients (vegetables), the cooking procedure and their use is what bring in the difference.

The difference may not be so noticeable with just a glance but the table below can help you understand the thin line between vegetable broth and vegetable stock.  

It does not require seasoning.It requires seasoning. 
 Vegetables are used whole. No trimming nor peeling is required.Vegetables are peeled and well-trimmed before cooking 
Used as an ingredient for dishes like broths sauces and soupsCan either be consumed on its own or used as a base for soups

Preparation process of vegetable stock and broth

The preparation process for both vegetable broth and stock is almost similar only that in the broth you will need to trim the vegetables and season.

How to make vegetable broth

  1. Clean vegetables under running water
  2. Peel and chop neatly
  3. Put oil in a large pot and heat over medium-low
  4. Add onions, carrots, celery, and garlic and saute for 5 minutes
  5. Add the remaining vegetables (bay leaves, rosemary, parsley, and thyme) and water
  6. Cook over medium-high for 30 minutes to 1hour for the vegetables to release the flavors
  7. Add salt to taste. You can add chili or black paper if you like your broth spicy
  8. Allow it to cool for 15-20 minutes before straining
  9. Serve. In case of any leftovers, allow it to cool completely before storing it in the fridge or freezer depending on how long you intend to store it.

How to make vegetable stock

  1. Rinse the vegetables (carrots, celery, onions, leeks, and mushroom) under running water
  2. Put them in a large pot. You can use the vegetables whole or roughly slice them
  3. Add water depending on how concentrated you at your stock to be. Too much water will give you mild stock while little water will give you concentrated stock.
  4. Bring them to a boil then simmer for 30 minutes to 1 hour
  5. Strain
  6. Allow it to cool completely before storing in the fridge or freezer

When preparing both vegetable broth and stock, it’s important to use equal portions for each vegetable to get a well-balanced flavor.


 Can I substitute vegetable stock for chicken stock?

Chicken and vegetable stocks are mostly used because they both give a distinct taste. Chicken stock is derived from simmering chicken and vegetables. Vegetable stock is from vegetables only.

Here are some essential building blocks of a good vegetable stock that can be used in place of chicken stock.

  1. Mirepoix is made of aromatic vegetables the base consisting of onions, celery, and carrots. Vegetables such as ginger, garlic, fennel, shallots, peppers, leeks, and parsnips can be added to increase the flavor and richness. Aromatics are essential in vegetarian substitutes for chicken stock
  2. Herbs add a great taste to any stock. Common herbs that go into stock are thyme, rosemary, basil, bay leaves, dill, and parsley. When preparing the stock, it is advisable to tie the herbs into a bundle known as bouquet garni so that it makes it easy to remove them out later in the cooking process. You are free to choose the type of herbs you want to use in preparing your stock
  3. Mushroom stock is a great and flavorful vegetarian substitute for chicken stock. White button, porcini, crimini, or shitake mushrooms can be used in preparing the mushroom stock. You can start by browning the mushrooms in a skillet with salt and oil on medium-high heat. Deglaze the pan using water or wine to get all the browned flavor into your stock  
  4. Kombu is a traditional Japanese stock consisting of dried kelp. When making Kombu, be careful not to add much aromatic vegetables and herbs that can overpower the taste.

The flavor from these substitutes is way better than store-bought stock. You can prepare vegetable stock in bulk and freeze it so that you can always have it ready whenever you need it. Preparing a good vegetarian stock will help you to substitute for chicken stock easily.    

Which is better: vegetable broth or stock?      

You can use both vegetable broth and stock to thin out sauces, make risotto, or as the main broth for quick soups. The question of which is better than the other depends on what you want.

If you want something that you can just pop from the freezer, defrost and consume then vegetable broth will work best for you since it’s already seasoned. Vegetable stock will also work best for you since it has no spices and seasoning which can tamper with the original flavor that you intend for your dish.

So, both vegetable broth and stock will work best for you depending on what you want.

Recipes using vegetable Stock and Broth

Here are some recipes that call for either vegetable stock or broth:

  1. White Chicken Chili is South-western comfort made up of tender chicken, kidney beans, and either vegetable stock or chicken broth.
  2. Chicken tortilla soup uses both stock and broth in place of water. Add in your spices and vegetables to go well with some chicken on the side.
  3. Vegan Mushroom gravy is an easy recipe to make consisting of mushroom, onions, thyme, soy sauce, and vegetable broth
  4. Easy chicken noodle soup can be prepared using leftover chicken and vegetable stock

see also: Beef Broth vs Beef Consomme: Differences, Substitutes + Benefits

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