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Substitute for Chicken Broth

It’s more challenging to find a recipe that doesn’t use chicken broth than one that does. It’s a common ingredient in anything from soups to rice and even some biscuit recipes. What do you substitute for chicken broth when you realize that you’ve run out?

white bowl with chicken broth, herbs and sliced vegetables on the cutting board

What is chicken broth?

Chicken broth is a tasty base for many dishes. It can be purchased as a prepared liquid at the store quite easily. Instead of using water and adding additional herbs to it, the chicken broth adds lots of flavors and provides a good amount of taste that can be built on. It’s a great way to spice up a multitude of recipes. It also provides necessary fatty acids and protein when eaten.

Best Substitute For Chicken Broth

1. Chicken Base

Chicken base is a concentration of whole chicken, vegetables, milk, sugar, and herbs/spices. It has a much stronger flavor than chicken broth when used in cooking. It can be used both to flavor soups and as a rub for meat. This chicken broth concentrate can be found in powder, cube, or paste form at the store. It’s an excellent chicken broth substitute in a pinch. It is created by dehydrating the liquid made from combining the above ingredients, separating it from the fat, and pressing it through a cheesecloth.

To use chicken base in soups, combine ½ teaspoon with eight ounces of water. Multiply this amount by the necessary recipe portion in a 1:1 ratio.

Cooking Tip:

If you plan to use a chicken base as a rub, you don’t need to dilute it with water. Use it on the meat of choice, but start with a smaller amount since it has a strong flavor.

2. Chicken Bouillon

In some ways, chicken bouillon is similar to the chicken base. It comes in the same format – powder, cube, or paste and can be used similarly. The taste is much more subtle for chicken bouillon than for chicken base. Here’s another big difference, there is no dairy in chicken bouillon. It is a dehydrated version of stock or broth. Bouillon can be used in soups, stews, or sauces.

Use 1 teaspoon or 1 cube per 1 cup of hot water. Once dissolved, you can use the same amount as the recipe requires.

Cooking Tip:

Double-check the amount of broth needed for your recipe. If you only need a small amount, you can cut the bouillon cube or use less powder mixed with less water. Make sure to keep it in the same ratio.

3. Beef Broth

Beef broth and chicken broth are created in a similar manner, making it a great chicken stock substitute. What varies is the ingredients used to make each. Beef broth uses beef and a different array of spices to make the final product. You’ll also find the taste of beef broth to be stronger than chicken broth. Because of this, it does not work as well with more delicate recipes. Try beef broth in recipes that have stronger punches of flavor, like jambalaya. This broth is an excellent source of potassium and niacin.

You can use beef broth in a 1:1 ratio in recipes.

Cooking Tip:

To get beef broth closer in flavor to chicken broth, add some additional water before using it in a recipe. This will create a more subtle taste in dishes.

4. Water + Salted Butter

If you’re really in a pinch, you can use water and salted butter as a broth substitute. Often, chicken broth is used to add a small amount of fat and salt to dishes. The butter also aids in adding richness to the dish and a small amount of flavor. This does not work well for recipes where the chicken broth is the star. Consider using this combination as a replacement for small quantities of chicken broth, like deglazing a pan.

Use 1 tablespoon of butter for each cup of water. Then, you can use this combination in a 1:1 ratio.

Cooking Tip:

You can use water and butter as a homemade broth by adding herbs, spices, and vegetables. Simmer for a few hours, and you’ll have made your own broth/vegetable stock. In this case, you can use it for soups and replace significant amounts of chicken broth.

5. Vegetable Stock

Using vegetable stock or vegetable broth instead of chicken stock is another chicken broth alternative. While the flavor for vegetable stock (and color) is much lighter, it can be a great addition to soups. This is also an excellent option for those who want to make a vegetarian dish instead. It can be used for any soup, chowder, rice, beans, and casseroles.

Use vegetable stock in a 1:1 ratio for any recipe that uses chicken stock.

Cooking Tip:

You may want to add some extra seasoning to spice up the vegetable stock. On the plus side, it will not overwhelm dishes like beef stock.

6. Chickpea Liquid

If you’ve never used chickpea liquid, now you can try it while substituting chicken broth. It is also known as aquafaba and is the liquid leftover in the can once you take the chickpeas out. You’ll want to drain the liquid into a separate cup or container, so no beans are included. Chickpea liquid helps provide a rich flavor, as you would find in chicken broth. It does have a slight bean taste, so this replacement is recommended for bean lovers and vegans/vegetarians. This is an excellent substitute for soups of any kind since it is so flavorful. It’s a great source of b vitamins, iron, and healthy fats.

Use aquafaba in a 1:1 ratio once it has been diluted with water (see notes below).

Cooking Tip:

Aquafaba is quite thick straight out of the can. Make sure to combine it with water to create a more similar consistency to chicken broth. You’ll want to mix it with an equal amount of water.

7. Coconut Milk

You can substitute chicken broth with coconut milk for recipes like curries and sauces. Most Asian or Indian-inspired dishes would work well with this replacement. It has a sweeter, coconutty taste so take this into account when using it for dishes. Coconut milk is created by blending coconut flesh with water in a 50/50 ratio. It’s easy to make at home if you can’t find it at the store. Purchase a coconut, scrape the inside meat out, and blend it with the same amount of water. It also has quite a good number of nutrients. You can swap one can of coconut milk instead of one can of chicken broth.

You’ll need to mix in some water to achieve the desired consistency as coconut milk is thicker. Alter the thickness depending on which type of food you’re creating.

Cooking Tip:

Coconut milk separates easily inside the can. Ensure you stir it well before using it in a recipe.

Frequently Asked Questions

How to make chicken broth without chicken?

If you still want to create chicken broth without having chicken, use chicken bouillon cubes, powder, or paste as chicken broth substitutes. This will allow you to make a flavorful meal without having chicken on hand.

Can I use Beef broth instead of chicken broth?

In most cases, yes, you can substitute beef broth for chicken broth. The beef broth will create a richer flavor and will provide a darker color than chicken broth. It works well for soups, stews, and gravies.

Can I substitute milk for chicken broth?

For some recipes, yes. However, you’ll want to add additional seasoning since you won’t have the flavor from the broth. This works for creamy recipes like gravies or recipes that require more liquid-like soup/chowder.

Is chicken broth the same as chicken stock?

While they are similar, the ingredients used to make each vary. Stock is made from cooking chicken bones, vegetables, and seasonings together, while the broth is created by simmering chicken meat, vegetables, and herbs. Stock is created intentionally to culminate collagen from bones.


Opt for chicken base or bouillon before choosing the other options if possible. It will give you the closest flavor to chicken broth, and you can use it in most dishes easily. With an abundance of options for chicken broth replacements, it’s easy to find something that will work in your recipe when you run out. Take a look at the above list for the best chicken broth alternatives, and you’ll be prepared for any cooking situation.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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