What is a Suitable Chicken Broth Substitute?

Every time I think about comfort food, chicken broth always comes to mind. I always stock chicken broth in my refrigerator just so that I have some on hand when the cravings kick in. Chicken broth is a staple in many American homes.

Other than being flavorful and wholesome, chicken broth is also known for its healing ability. Over the years, it has been used to treat respiratory congestion and heal the common cold.

Chicken broth can be consumed on its own, or it can be used to make several amazing dishes. It is quite filling and definitely an answer to hunger pangs.

You can also use chicken broth as a base when making gravies, sauces, soups, stews, braises, and risottos. If you want something more filling, you can add chicken broth to your vegetables, grains, and cereals as well.

Chicken broth has a way of enhancing the flavor of any dish that it is added to.  I particularly like adding it to chicken dumplings and chicken noodles. The flavor is for lack of a better word, amazing.

I don’t know about you but I tend to run out of chicken broth very quickly. Therefore, I once in a while substitute it with something else. Other times I just want a quick fix and I don’t have any chicken broth ready.

Luckily, there are several things you can use as substitutes for chicken broth. They include; vegetable broth, water, bouillon cubes, herbs, white/ red wine, dashi, and beef broth.

Also, Check out: How Long Does Chicken Broth Last?

Chicken Broth Substitutes

Without wasting any time, let’s discuss the details of these substitutes and how to properly use them.

  1. Vegetable broth

Vegetable broth is the most common substitute, especially for vegetarians. Vegetable broth substitutes chicken broth perfectly.

You can use it as a foundation for several dishes. Vegetable broth is very easy to whip up. Simply use your favorite vegetables and add seasoning to you your preference.

I suggest using vegetables that have a strong flavor. I like using carrots, celery, turnips, onions, and parsley. You can also add a few flavorful herbs like bay leaves, thyme, and basil.

Preparing vegetable broth is as easy as placing the ingredients in a pot, add water, and let the veggies simmer for approximately 30 minutes. When you remove the veggies from heat, drain the vegetable broth and use it as the chicken broth substitute.

How to tell if chicken is done. Click to Learn.

  1. Water

Yes, you can use water as a substitute for chicken broth. However, you should note that water does not have any flavor.

Therefore, when you use it as a substitute for chicken broth, you will have to add extra ingredients to boost the flavor. Chicken broth usually has a lot of salt, so you will also need to add a bit of extra salt.

Whenever I use water as a chicken broth substitute, I add a little bit of miso paste or soy sauce to boost the flavor.

  1. Bouillon cubes

Bouillon cubes or granules can be used to make a good substitute for chicken. Bouillon is a French word that means broth. To create a chicken broth substitute, simply place 1 bouillon cube into a cup of boiling water and mix until the cube dissolves completely.

If you have the granules, just use one teaspoon. This combination is equivalent to one cup of chicken broth. If you need to make more, just use the same ratio.

When using bouillon cubes as a chicken broth substitute, keep in mind that it is saltier compared to chicken broth. Therefore, you may have to reduce the amount of salt that you normally use in your dish. If you don’t, your dish will turn out to be too salty.

I know that some people just sprinkle the granules directly into the dish. However, it is not advisable. Water plays a major role in turning the bouillon into the broth.

  1. Herbs

If you are looking to add a rich flavor to your dish, you should definitely try using herbs instead of chicken broth. Your dish may even turn out better compared to when you use chicken broth.

You have the option of using either fresh or dried herbs. Dried herbs usually have a more concentrated flavor compared to fresh herbs. To make the substitute, simply add your favorite herbs to warm water and let them steep for ten minutes.

Be careful not to leave them for more than ten minutes because they tend to become bitter when you let them steep for longer.

I like using robust herbs like basil, thyme, oregano, and tarragon. My favorite thing about this substitute is that it is super nutritious.

If you decide to use fresh herbs instead of dried ones, you may have to use three times the amount of dried herbs you would have used.

  1. Dashi

Dashi is a staple in most kitchens. It is popular for its umami flavor. It also has a rich savory taste that is a favorite of many. Dashi is made from a combination of konbu seaweed and fermented fish peelings.

Most people use dashi to give dishes a strong seafood flavor. If you love seafood, then you should definitely use dashi as a substitute for seaweed.

Dashi is readily available. You can buy it in any supermarket or grocery store.

There are three major varieties of dashi available in the market. There is the one in liquid form, powdered form, and also the granular version.


All these varieties have the same effect. However, I prefer using the powdered version

To use it as a chicken broth substitute, mix one teaspoon with one cup of water then add it to your dish.

The dashi will enhance the flavor of your dish. Add ¼ a teaspoon of powdered dashi to a cup of water if you only want to use it as a harmonizer.

Dashi is very salty compared to chicken broth. Therefore, you should use it sparingly. If you use too much, the dashi will overpower your dish.

  1. White/ red wine

Yes, wine is also a great substitute for chicken broth. It adds flavor to your dish and heightens your gustatory experience. I am a lover of wine, so if I don’t have any chicken broth, the wine is my go-to quick fix.

You can use either white or red wine depending on your preference.

Wine usually has an overpowering and distinct flavor, so it may alter the taste of your dish. To tame the strong flavor of wine, you can an equal amount of water to the dish.

For instance, if you added one cup of white wine, add one cup of water. This way, the wine will still add flavor to your dish without overpowering it. Alternatively, you can add vegetable broth instead of water.

  1. Beef broth.

Beef broth and chicken broth are similar in a lot of ways. Therefore, you can always substitute one for the other.  Beef broth and chicken broth have a slightly different flavor. Therefore, the beef broth may slightly alter the flavor of your dish.

Beef broth also has different colors compared to chicken broth. Therefore, when you use it in place of chicken broth, the color of your dish may change slightly.

All in all, beef broth will add an amazing flavor to your dish. In case you do not have any of the other substitutes in hand, it will work just fine.

  1. Bean or chickpea liquid

Bean or chickpea liquid is also a good alternative when you do not have any chicken broth in hand.

Make use of that liquid you drain out of your chickpeas when you make hummus or tacos. The liquid has a rich flavor and makes for a good chicken broth substitute.

To use bean or chickpea liquid as a substitute for chicken broth, you first have to dilute the liquid with water in equal amounts. Please note that bean and chickpea liquid contains a lot of starch on its own.

Therefore, it is important that you dilute it with water in a ratio of 1:1.  You can use this substitute in any recipe that requires you to use chicken broth.

Other alternatives


There are other alternatives that you can use in case you do not have any of the above-named substitutes.

For instance, you can combine water with melted butter. This combination elevates the flavor of your dish. You can also combine water with olive oil and use the mixture as a substitute for chicken broth.

I’m pretty sure that you have both butter and olive oil in stock which is a plus. I’m all for using what you have on hand to make delicious dishes.

Can You Eat Chicken Left Out Overnight? Click to find out.



Chicken broth is arguably one of the best comfort foods. It complements numerous dishes and also tastes good on its own.

The rich and flavorful substitutes that we have discussed above can come in handy when you run out of chicken broth.

Vegetable broth, bouillon cubes, herbs, and water are my go-to substitutes. The flavor they add to dishes is usually the exact flavor that I am going for. Beef broth works well if you do not mind the slight change in color and flavor.

Also, Check out: The Best Mascarpone Substitute

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