Can You Substitute Beef Broth For Chicken Broth?

Can You Substitute Beef Broth For Chicken Broth?
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Can You Substitute Beef Broth For Chicken Broth?

So, your recipe is calling for chicken broth and you are wondering if it is okay to substitute beef broth. Read on to see why it may not be a good idea and what else you can use.

What Is Broth?

First, we need to look at exactly what broth (or stock as some people call it) is. We won’t get into the technical differences between broth and stock here but will consider them the same.

Broth is a flavorful liquid that cooks make by gently simmering meat like beef or poultry in water. Bones can be used and vegetables such as carrots, onions, and celery are often added.

Herbs such as garlic, thyme, rosemary, and bay leaves can also be used to intensify the taste. Most broths are seasoned with salt and pepper.

Once everything has been cooked slowly together for a long time to extract all the flavor, the liquid is strained (broth/stock) and the solids are discarded.

Few people today have time to go through this procedure, hence the existence of canned broths or stock cubes.

Uses of Broth

Broth is indispensable in the kitchen and many recipes will call for it. Here are a few common uses.

  • Broth is drunk as a thin soup, especially when you aren’t feeling well
  • It is a liquid base for soups and stews
  • Sauces
  • For stirring through the rice when making risotto
  • For cooking grains such as rice or couscous or legumes such as dried beans to give them extra flavor
  • As a liquid base for gravies

Can You Substitute Beef Broth For Chicken Broth?

Homemade chicken broth in white bowl
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Some broths make better substitutes than others such as vegetable broth. That is because they have a milder flavor and will not clash with the main ingredient. For instance, you can use vegetable broth in either a chicken or beef dish.

However, what could you do if you are in a hurry and your recipe calls for chicken broth in a chicken or vegetable dish but all you have is beef broth?

While beef broth is made in the same way as chicken broth, the darker meat results in a stronger flavor and more intense color. This can work in some strongly flavored chicken dishes, such as coq au vin.

However, it may overpower milder, lighter chicken dishes like chicken in cream sauces such as chicken a la king. Therefore, there is no yes or no answer to the question; it depends on the dish.

How To Substitute Beef Broth For Chicken Broth

If you have ascertained that your chicken dish can stand up to the stronger taste of beef broth, make sure the broth is more diluted than usual.

Simply dilute it 1:1 with water or milk. Apart from that, continue with the recipe in the same way you normally would.

making chicken broth pouring water
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Other Substitutes For Chicken Broth

Perhaps you have decided that your chicken dish is too light in color and flavor to use beef broth. Here are some alternatives:

  • Chicken bouillon cubes. These are usually reconstituted with a cupful of boiling water per cube. Be careful to reduce or omit the salt in your recipe as the cubes are often very salty.
  • Packet or can of chicken soup. This will contain the correct flavors for your dish but will be thicker than chicken broth. Thin them out with water or milk, depending on your recipe.
  • Plain water or milk flavored with salt, pepper, dried onions, and herbs to match your recipe. Add a teaspoonful of butter for extra richness if you like.
  • Vegetable stock is a great substitute for chicken broth in most recipes. It is especially good if you want to make your recipe vegan. It has a milder taste but marries well with anything chicken based.
  • Aquafaba. This is the liquid found in canned chickpeas or beans. It is flavorful but can be quite salty so taste it before adding.
  • Ramen seasonings. Remember that packet of two-minute ramen noodles lurking in the back of your kitchen cupboard? Well, inside there is a flavor sachet that you can mix with a cupful of boiling water and use as a chicken broth substitute.

To Conclude

While substituting beef broth for chicken broth can work for strongly flavored dishes, it is not recommended for mild, pale, creamy ones. We hope that one of the other ideas we have provided will inspire you.

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