Today we take a look at the 10 best chicken broth substitutes. In this list, I’ve included a variety of options that are easy to find, budget-friendly, and that will work in different scenarios. This way, you are almost guaranteed to find a substitute that works for you.
How To Choose The Best Chicken Broth Substitute
There are SO many alternatives for chicken broth that it may become a little difficult to choose one that works for you.
So, here are some factors you can consider to make that choice a lot easier.
What can you find?
This is the biggest consideration. There is no point in you even considering buying fresh chicken stock when you are in Antarctica! It’s just not going to happen. However, you are much more likely to find stock or broth cubes and granules.
The same goes for when you are in a tight spot. If you cannot go buy more broth or stock (even if it is available), you have to look at what you have in your pantry.
What Are The Costs?
Consider what you are making. If it is a simple soup, you don’t want to spend a fortune on freshly made imported chicken stock. You can either make your own at virtually no cost at all or choose a cheap alternative. These may be lower in quality, but for some dishes it’s forgivable.
If you are making a delicious chicken dish where broth plays a vital role (like chicken ramen), then don’t try to cut costs. Quality is key in that scenario.
How Will The Substitutes For Chicken Broth Effect The Original Flavor?
And finally, the most important factor is flavor. If white wine will make the dish too bitter, then it’s not worth using. You’d be better off using salted water.
Don’t use an alternative just because you have to. It has to make sense, and it has to work well. And take a risk every now and then. Some of the alternatives on today’s list may seem strange and as if they could never work, but they may just surprise you!
10 Best Substitutes For Chicken Broth
Without further or do, let’s take a look at what can I use instead of chicken broth.
1. Chicken Stock
If you are looking for what to substitute for chicken broth, the ultimate alternative is chicken stock. But what’s the difference?
While many people may not realize it, but stock and broth are not the same things. They are however interchangeable for the most part.
Chicken broth is a flavoring liquid made from actual pieces of meat and vegetables. Stock, on the other hand, is made from bones and vegetables. Needless to say, a broth is a lot heartier, richer, and meatier. However, an untrained pallet will barely notice the difference.
There are many forms of chicken stock you can buy today. Many supermarkets and butcheries sell fresh chicken stock, but you can also find stock cubes or concentrate.
Personally, I recommend using fresh stock or liquid stock. They have the best flavor and are the least processed. And, if you cannot find either of these options, you can always make your own stock (and even broth) at home. Keep in mind that it is a very time-consuming process but well worth the effort.
2.Chicken Bouillon Cubes
This option is extremely high on today’s list of substitutes for chicken broth because of two reasons: The first is that it is incredibly easy to find, and the second is that it’s cheap.
While this is a heavily processed product and often extremely high in sodium, it’s a flavor-packed option when you’re in a pinch. And you will always be able to find it!
To replace 1 cup of chicken broth, dissolve one bouillon cube in 1 cup of boiling water.
If it is at all possible, try getting a low-sodium version. It’s just better for your health in the long run.
3. Chicken Broth Concentrate
This is similar to chicken stock concentrate but made with broth instead.
So, if it’s actual broth, why isn’t it higher on the list? Well, for the simple reason that it’s hard to find in some parts of the world.
If you can buy some in-store or online, I recommend them over bouillon cubes or chicken stock.
The concentrate is a concentrated liquid made from the broth. Essentially, it’s reduced broth that is now a runny, syrupy liquid. You do need to dilute it in some water, but different brands have different ratios, so check the package for instructions.
Once you’ve made the liquid, you can substitute it in a 1:1 ratio.
4.Chicken Bouillon Granules
These granules are very similar to the cubes and just as easy to find. If you can’t find one, the other will be available.
The biggest downside to having this product in your pantry is that it sometimes absorbs moisture and clumps. But this is easily preventable if you just store it properly.
As a substitute for stock, you can rehydrate the granules using one teaspoon for every 1 cup of hot water. This 1 cup of liquid can replace 1 cup of chicken broth.
5. Vegetable Stock
Okay, so moving on to our first non-chicken substitute for chicken broth. Vegetable stock is your best alternative for chicken. That’s because it has a savory flavor but doesn’t replicate any specific flavor of the meat. If you were to use fish stock, it would give the dish a fishy flavor. The same goes for pork, lamb, or beef broth and stock.
There are many different kinds of vegetable stock available to buy. And they all come in the same forms as chicken stock does. You can find it fresh, in a concentrated packet, in cubes, and granules.
I love using mixed vegetable stock or mushroom stock. The mushroom stock gives a much more savory, umami flavor.
When using vegetable stock as a broth substitute, you can still use a one-to-one swap.
6. Beef Stock
This is the only other type of stock I would use instead of chicken broth (other than vegetable stock, of course). Fish, lamb, or pork stock changes the flavor too much and takes away from the “chicken” flavor.
Beef stock, on the other hand, is pretty neutral in that regard. It will add a very umami, noticeable meaty flavor. However, it won’t overwhelm the actual chicken in the dish. Instead, it will simply enhance those flavors.
Beef stock works best as a substitute for chicken broth in heavier dishes like stews or soups. In light chicken dishes, like chicken risotto, I would use one of the above-mentioned options.
Again, you can replace the two in equal parts.
7. White Wine
From here onwards the substitutes get a little creative. I’m not going to list beef broth, stock, cubes, and granules separately every time. The same goes for vegetable stock.
So, the following alternatives are last-minute substitutes that can work. But it would be better if you could use the previous options instead.
Nevertheless, the first is white wine. Now, this sub for chicken stock or broth will only work in specific dishes. They include something like risotto, my famous Chicken Marsala recipe, and some stews.
Wine won’t pair nicely with heavy or spicy flavors, so try staying away from those dishes.
If you do choose a white wine, get a dry white wine. It doesn’t change the flavor of your dish as much as sweet white wines will.
8. Salted Water
If you have nothing to work with, you can always make a simple mixture of salt and water. I also love using salted butter and water to add some creaminess to the dish as well.
You can dilute 1/2 teaspoon of salt in 1 cup of hot water. Give the mixture a taste and increase the salt if you want to.
But remember, you can always adjust the seasoning of the dish after everything has been cooked. Don’t over-season this substitute for chicken broth
9. Chicken Ramen Seasoning
This is something I used to do back in the day when I couldn’t find any form of stock or if it was too expensive.
The flavor packets may include other flavors (like spicy ones) so just make sure you know what you are using before adding it to the dish. But you may be pleasantly surprised with some of the creations you can make!
Again, mix the packet with a cup of hot water. You need to do this because broth adds moisture to your recipes, so you cannot take that away and just use the flavor packet. It’s the same reason you dissolve stock cubes and rehydrate granules.
I love dashi! Even though it’s not something I am super familiar with making and even using, it’s a wonderful seasoning liquid that is popular in Asian cuisine.
This rich umami liquid is made from seafood. But don’t worry, it’s more savory than fishy.
It is extremely potent and will likely have to be diluted with some water. Once you are happy with the flavor, you can replace 1 cup of chicken broth with 1 cup of dashi.
Even though this is a very strange alternative to chicken broth, it works because both of these options are very meaty and rich.
You can find dashi at Asian markets and grocery stores. You can even make your own at home.