How Do I Choose the Best Substitute for Vegetable Stock?

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  • Written By: Lee Johnson
  • Edited By: John Allen
  • Last Modified Date: 21 February 2020
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Choose the best substitute for vegetable stock by thinking about alternative stocks that can be used in your recipe, making your own vegetable stock, or using soy sauce and water or just water on its own. Most stocks can be used interchangeably, which means that many recipes originally designed for use with vegetable stock will work with chicken or beef stock. Stock is just water that has absorbed flavor from meat or vegetables, and it can be made easily with common ingredients.

Most chefs use another type of stock as a substitute for vegetable stock. Chicken, beef, or lamb stock can be used in place of vegetable stock in most recipes. The specific type of stock to use can be decided by the chef based on the recipe it is being used in. Chefs should consider the flavors of other ingredients in the dish and determine which stock is most suited to them. For example, a risotto recipe which uses vegetable stock can taste just as good if beef, chicken, or lamb stock is used.


Stocks can be made easily at home, because they are essentially flavored water. Chefs can use a homemade vegetable stock instead of vegetable stock cubes and water or vice-versa. Making vegetable stock requires a selection of vegetables such as onions, carrots, celery, and parsnips and a large pan. The vegetables are placed in boiling water and left to simmer for around two hours. Shallow-frying the ingredients prior to adding water can help unleash more flavor.

A mixture of soy sauce and water can make a suitable substitute for vegetable stock. This is done by adding one tablespoon of soy sauce to each cup of water used. The resulting mixture doesn’t have the same flavor as vegetable stock, but it is a broth that can be used in its place; the cooking process should infuse more flavors into the liquid anyway. It can help to cook the dish for a little longer than usual if you are using this basic substitute for vegetable stock.

Water is not an ideal substitute for vegetable stock, but it can be used if no other options are available. Chefs should add water in place of the stock and allow the ingredients to cook in it for a long period of time. The flavors of the ingredients in the dish will infuse into the water in the same way ingredients in homemade stock do. Again, chefs should increase the cooking time to allow more flavor to seep into the water.


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Post 3

@fBoyle-- Ideally, vegetable stock should be made at home with fresh vegetables. But I know that we don't always have the time and patience for this.

When I run out of vegetable stock, I substitute with onions, dried vegetables and spices and herbs.

I chop and sautee onions in olive oil until golden brown with a teaspoon of turmeric powder and a pinch of sugar. I then add some fresh or dried herbs like parsley or basil. I add cracked black pepper and sometimes I add some garlic powder. I add some dried mushrooms and peppers. I add water and salt to this lovely mixture and let it simmer for twenty minutes. The result is a quick and tasty stock.

Post 2

@fBoyle-- Yea, you can definitely do that. I use beef and chicken bouillon in place of vegetable broth all the time. It's not going to taste exactly the same because bouillon has less flavor and more salt than broth, but it's still better than using only water.

My friend once said that she uses vegetable soup when she runs out of vegetable stock but I have no idea how that turns out.

Post 1

Can I substitute bouillon cubes for vegetable stock?

I need to start cooking and I don't have time to make or buy vegetable stock right now. I do have chicken flavored bouillon cubes at home though.

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