When you’re making your favorite beef soup or beef stew and you run out of broth, don’t panic! There are plenty of alternatives that will still give your dish the delicious beef flavor you love. Here are the top six beef broth substitutes including chicken broth, vegetable broth, beer, liquid aminos, bouillon cubes, and mushroom broth.

Bowl of beef broth with veggies on table.

Overview of Beef Broth

What it tastes like

The key to making a delicious soup or stew is in the seasoning. And when it comes to beef broth, the key ingredient is time. The longer the broth simmers, the more time it has to develop a rich, robust flavor.

Beef broth is know for having a lot of flavor, that’s why it’s often used as the base of other recipes.

What’s in it

When simmering beef bones in water, the result is a flavorful and nutrient-rich broth.

The key ingredients in beef broth are bones, water, vinegar, and a bit of salt. The bones provide flavor and minerals, while the water helps to extract these nutrients from the bones. The vinegar helps to break down the collagen in the bones, resulting in a richer broth.

In addition to these key ingredients, many people also add vegetables, herbs, and spices to their beef broth. This results in a versatile broth that can be used in a variety of recipes.

How it’s made

First, beef bones are roasted in the oven to help give the broth a richer flavor. Next, the roasted bones are placed in a large pot or slow cooker, along with any vegetables or aromatics that will be used.

Then, water is added to the pot, and the mixture is simmered for several hours.

Once the broth is finished simmering, it is strained to remove any solid pieces. Finally, the broth is typically cooled and then refrigerated or frozen for later use.

Try making your own beef broth if you want to save money and reduce food waste.

Beef broth with beef bones and meat.

How it’s used

Beef broth or beef stock can be used to add flavor and depth to stews, soups, and sauces, or it can be used as a base for beef dishes such as beef stroganoff or shepherd’s pie. It can also be used as a braising liquid for vegetables or meats.

In addition, beef broth can be frozen and used later for a quick and easy meal. Simply defrost the broth and add your favorite vegetables, meats, or noodles.

Beef broth is a delicious and nourishing way to make any dish more flavorful and nutritious.

Beef Broth Substitutes

When you’re in a pinch and need a beef broth substitute, there are several options available. Depending on what you’re making, you may need to adjust the seasoning of your dish to account for the different flavor of the substitute.

Here are some of the best beef broth substitutes.

1. Chicken Broth

Bowl of chicken broth with veggies on table.
Chicken broth.

To substitute chicken broth for beet broth, simmer the chicken broth on the stovetop until it is reduced by half. This gives it a deeper flavor that is more similar to beef broth.

I also recommend adding a few drops of Worcestershire sauce or soy sauce to give the broth more depth of flavor.

When using chicken broth as a substitute for beef broth, it is best to use it in dishes that are not heavily reliant on the beef flavor, such as soup or stew. With a little bit of adjustment, chicken broth can be used in most recipes that call for beef broth.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use one cup of reduced chicken broth or chicken stock.

2. Vegetable Broth

Bowl of vegetable broth with veggies on table.
Vegetable broth.

Vegetable broth is a great substitute for beef broth, especially if you want a vegan or vegetarian option.

It’s made from simmering vegetables in water and it’s easy to make at home or buy at the store.

When substituting in recipes, use an equal amount of vegetable broth for beef broth. If you’re hoping to add more flavor, consider adding a bouillon cube or additional seasonings like salt, pepper, and herbs.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use one cup of broth.

3. Beer

Beer bottle in case with glass of beer.

Believe it or not, beer can be used as a substitute for beef broth. The hops in beer add a similar bitterness to that of beef broth, while the malt gives the broth a richness and body.

When substituting beer for beef broth, it’s best to use a dark beer, such as a stout or porter. These styles will have more pronounced flavor profiles that will complement, rather than compete with, the other ingredients in your dish.

When using beer in place of beef broth, be sure to cook it down until the liquid is reduced by half. This will concentrate the flavors and prevent the dish from becoming too watered down.

Please note that most beers are not gluten-free, so take that into consideration if you are on a gluten-free diet.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use one cup of reduced beer.

4. Liquid Aminos

liquid aminos in bowl with spoon.

Liquid aminos are another great alternative to traditional beef broth.

While beef broth can sometimes be too intense in flavor, liquid aminos provide a milder taste that will still allow the beef flavor to shine through. In addition, liquid aminos a real so lower in sodium than beef broth, making it a healthier option for those watching their salt intake.

To substitute liquid aminos for beef broth, simply add it to the pot when you would normally add beef broth. With this simple substitution, you can still enjoy all the flavor of beef broth without all the sodium.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use 1/2 cup of liquid aminos + 1/2 cup of water.

5. Bouillon Cubes

Stack of chicken bouillon cubes for broth.
Bouillon cubes.

Bouillon cubes are a great substitute for beef broth. Simply dissolve one cube in a cup of water. Keep in mind that bouillon cubes are quite salty, so you’ll likely need to adjust the amount of salt added to your recipe.

Look for beef bouillon cubes at your local grocery store.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, dissolve one bouillon cube in one cup of water.

6. Mushroom Broth

Bowl of mushroom broth with mushrooms and herbs.
Mushroom broth.

Mushroom broth is a great way to add depth of flavor to soups, stews, and sauces, and can be used as a beef broth substitute

It is easy to make at home, but it can also be bought in stores. Simply simmer mushrooms and aromatics in water for 30 minutes, then strain the mixture.

To substitute one cup of beef broth, use one cup of prepared or homemade mushroom broth.

Bonus Substitutes

If you don’t have any of the above substitutes for beef broth, you can also try to re-create the flavor using dried herbs. Bay leaves are a great option for simmering in your soup or stew to help add flavor.

You can also try options like fish stock, red wine, white wine, miso paste, steak sauce, a splash or soy sauce, or non-alcoholic beer.

Substitute Pros and Cons

Here’s a simple chart summarizing the pros and cons of each of the beef broth alternatives discussed above.

Chicken BrothSimmering reduces it for a deeper flavor, can be enhanced with Worcestershire or soy sauce.Not ideal for beef-centric dishes due to different flavor profiles.
Vegetable BrothVegan and vegetarian-friendly, easy to make or buy, can be enhanced with bouillon or herbs.May lack the richness of beef broth without additional seasonings.
BeerAdds bitterness and richness similar to beef broth, dark beers like stout or porter recommended.Not gluten-free, requires reduction to concentrate flavor which may not suit all dishes.
Liquid AminosMilder and lower in sodium than beef broth.Lacks the full-bodied flavor of beef broth, requires mixing with water to substitute properly.
Bouillon CubesConvenient and easy to use.Can be very salty, requiring adjustments in seasoning.
Mushroom BrothAdds a rich, umami flavor similar to beef broth, easy to make or buy.Flavor might not align perfectly with all beef broth applications.


There are many substitutes for beef broth, including chicken broth, vegetable broth, beer, liquid aminos, bouillon cubes, and mushroom broth. Each of these options will provide a different flavor profile to your dish, so choose the one that best fits your needs. With a little bit of experimentation, you’re sure to find the perfect beef broth substitute for your next meal.

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About the Author: Carrie Forrest has a master’s degree in public health with a specialty in nutrition. She is a top wellness and food blogger with over 5 million annual visitors to her site. Carrie has an incredible story of recovery from chronic illness and is passionate about helping other women transform their health. Send Carrie a message through her contact form.