Chicken Stock vs Broth: The Differences, Uses, Pros And Cons
Broths and stocks all share the same foundation: bones, meat scraps and vegetables simmering in a pot of water. What makes them different is variations in the prep, timing and specific ingredients used.
Want to know the difference between chicken stock and broth? Read this entire article and you'll be able to use both in any dish in your kitchen.
First a quick disclaimer, my company makes and sells a delicious chicken bone broth for sipping and cooking. Bluebird Provisions bone broth is a much higher quality than any broth or stock you'll ever use. Try some today to see for yourself.
On to the article!
Which is better chicken stock or broth?
Chicken stock is better than broth because it is more concentrated and has a greater depth of flavor for cooking. Chicken stock is also more versatile and can be used in different recipes.
Stock, made from chicken bones and other ingredients, is used to make sauces and soups.
Broth, which is just water with chicken bones and other ingredients, can be used to make gravy or as a base for soup.
There are many different types of stock and broth available in supermarkets, health food stores, and online.
Broth can be made from any type of bird or meat, but chicken stock is specifically made from fresh chicken.
What is chicken stock?
Chicken stock is a concentrated broth that is made from simmering chicken bones and meat with vegetables. The resulting liquid is then strained and used as a base for soups, sauces and other dishes.
It has a richer chicken flavor then chicken broth and contains less fat. Making chicken stock requires hours of simmering, but it is quicker than making a chicken broth recipe.
Chicken stock is a broth made from cooked chicken bones and other parts.
What is chicken broth?
Chicken broth is a savory liquid that is made from chicken bones and other animal parts. It is a popular base for soups, sauces and other dishes.
Broth mainly uses meat and vegetables as the key ingredients. These ingredients are all placed into a large pot and simmered for 1-2 hours. Chicken broth has many uses including soups, sauces, gravy, sautés and you can even cook your grains like rice in it.
The beauty of chicken broth is that you can pull the meat out of the pot when you are done and eat it!
How to use chicken stock
You can use chicken broth or stock in the same way you but with slightly different results.
Stock usually has more flavor than broth, but we'll get into the nitty gritty details below.
- Seasonal stock provides depth of flavor in recipes like Thanksgiving stuffing . You can also use stock for gravy.
- Another way to use it is to simply drink it in a mug. Weird right? Not really, but I will say that bone broth is far superior to stock if you want to sip it. Here is a guide to making stock or bone broth taste better.
- As a quick side note: vegetable broth can be use in place of chicken stock for vegans and vegetarians. However, it will not contain the same nutritional benefits.
At a glance: How to spot the difference between stock and broth
You can spot the difference between stock and broth by looking at the ingredients used. Chicken broth is made with primarily chicken meat and some bones. It differs from stock in that it is made with chicken meat instead of bones.
Chicken broth can be used to prepare other dishes, while stock is always used as a cooking ingredient.
How to use chicken broth
Use chicken broth for cooking and as a base for soups, stews, gravy and other dishes. The best use for broth is the replace water for broth while cooking grains like rice, quinoa and pasta.
Broth has a savory flavor and can be substituted for stock in many recipes. Many people sip broth on its own in the winter months due to it's deliciously nourishing taste. There is some nutrition benefit to drinking it, provided that you know where it is coming from and its not full of preservatives.
Vegetable broth can be substituted for chicken broth in many recipes, but it may lack the flavor and nutrition benefits of animal-based broths.
How do you make chicken stock?
Chicken stock can be made from either fresh or frozen chicken and whatever vegetable scraps you have on hand.
In order to make chicken stock, you will need:
- Chicken carcass or bones (necks, backs, wings, feet)
- Garlic cloves
- Peppercorns (or 1 teaspoon ground black pepper)
- Bay leaves (optional)
- Parsley (flat leaf)
My favorite chicken stock recipe
Fill a large pot halfway with water and place the chicken carcass and onion in it. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce the heat to low and simmer for 3 hours or until the chicken is cooked through.
Remove the chicken carcass and discard any bones before straining the stock through a fine sieve. Discard the onion, celery, garlic cloves and bay leaves if used.
Use stock immediately or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days or frozen for up to one year.
Very important tip: never add salt to the stock as it might be too concentrated after simmering. You can always add it later
Whats the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth?
The difference between chicken stock and chicken broth lies in the types of bones used, cook time, ingredient lists, concentration level and nutrition facts.
Broth is made from meat, vegetables and aromatics while stock is made from bones with little meat on them.
Stock needs additional enhancement (usually with other ingredients) before it can be eaten, while broth is ready to eat.
Broths are a good choice if you're making a quick soup, but reduced stock is better for long-cooking soups.
Broths become flavorful with reduction, but they lack the body of reduced stock.
Important caveat, broths and stocks that you find in grocery stores can be saltier with highly processed ingredients compared to homemade versions. Always check your nutrition labels and ingredient list before buying anything in the store.
How do you make chicken broth?
To make chicken broth, you need to clean and chop vegetables add cooked chicken parts and enough water to cover the solids with 2-3 more inches of water in your pot. It is then boiled for 1-2 hours before being strained.
Homemade chicken broth is more flavorful and less processed than store-bought versions.
Delicious chicken broth soup recipe
Chicken broth can be made easily at home. Here are the steps to make it.
- Cut up chicken into small pieces (you can use any parts of chicken: wings, whole chicken, chicken thighs, etc)
- In a large pot, sauté the chicken, onions, carrots and celery in oil until browned on all sides.
- Add enough water to cover the solids plus 2-3 inches extra in your pot.
- Bring to a boil.
- Add in optional flavorings ingredients like garlic, bay leaves, parsley and more.
- Cook for about 60 minutes or until the broth is thickened and flavors have melded together.
- Strain the solids out before serving.
The broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 5 days and the freezer for up to 12 months. Be sure to store in an airtight container to preserve freshness.
When to use stock vs broth
You can use stock vs broth interchangeably. Stock will have more flavor and a stronger chicken taste than broth. It is also thicker and will require less water to use in recipes.
If you are using it for soup, or want the flavor of stock without as much thickness, you can use broth.
At the end of the day, they are both types of liquid used to add flavor recipes. Don't sweat the small details and find a quality one to use.
Chicken broth v chicken stock
Use chicken broth to:
- May gravy
- Make a delicious soup
- Cook your rice or grains in
- Deglaze your pan when cooking vegetables
- Make tasty stuffing
- For braises
Use chicken stock as an ingredient for:
- A thick and rich soup
- A stew or gravy
- Sautéing vegetables
- Steaming vegetables for a stir fry
- Cooking your porridge in for a savory taste
- Drinking on it's own
Can I use stock instead of broth for soup?
You can use stock instead of broth for soup, it may even taste better with stock. You can use both in the same way. You can use either for gravy but always opt for a broth or a stock over plain water as water lacks the depth of flavor and adds no nutritional benefit to your gravy or stuffing dish.
Using a stock within a meal containing meat will benefit its flavor profile of meatiness. It will also provide the nutritional benefits stock has to offer as a result of the collagen created through bone boiling for the stock.
But if you really want nutrition, then checkout these bone broth benefits.
For vegetarians, there is no difference between vegetarian stock or broth. The vegetarian gravy makes no difference whether you use stock or a broth, as neither vegetarian stock nor vegetarian broth would contain meat bones.
Options to store your broth or stock
The best tips to store your broth or stock is to ensure you use an airtight container, freeze or refrigerate your liquid immediately for food safety and ensure you hot fill your contains to preserve shelf life and freshness.
Using a hot fill technique, you can extend the shelf life to 7 days in the fridge and 2 years in the freezer. It is also a good idea to refrigerate your liquid overnight, then you can easily remove the solidified fat cap that forms on-top of your drink.
It's a good idea to always make broth or stock in large quantities and store in the freezer.
After any holiday I will save any bones or carcasses in the freezer along with vegetable scraps. Once I have enough bones, I will make a large batch of chicken stock.
What about Bouillon, Bone Broth and Concentrate?
Bouillon, bone broth and concentrate are all types of broths that you can use in your kitchen in any dish. But some of these should be avoided while others can be used.
Bouillon is nasty, preservative laden powder that used to be made from animal parts, but now uses synthetic compounds to simulate meat flavor.
Bone broth is simply traditional stock that has been cooked for a longer time and may include an acidic component like vinegar to break down connective tissue, although it is not necessary.
Concentrates or consommé are very similar to or, in some cases, the same as stock or broth.
Bouillon is a type of stock that is dehydrated into a dissolvable powder. They are dehydrated and shaped into small blocks that must then be rehydrated before use.
Bouillon often contains no animals parts, bones, stock or broth as ingredients. Why? Because these brand have found cheaper chemical laden ingredients to use instead that mimic the flavor of meat.
These ingredients are yeast extracts and natural flavors. These should be avoided as they have many nasty ingredients in them. Next time your are in the soup aisle, check the ingredient list of bouillon cubes and you'll be amazed how bad it is.
Look for a high quality stock, broth or bone broth powder instead to flavor your dishes.
Does bouillon make broth or stock?
Bouillon makes broth, but there is a catch. Since most commercial bouillons are simply processed garbage, you are not getting a traditional stock or broth by using it. You need to be careful with any commercial products like these are brands are using new preservatives that taste like meat but have none in it.
Bone broth is a traditional food made from meaty bones and connective tissue that are cooked down in water for 16-24 hours. As a result, bone broth is far more concentrated, flavorful and nutritious than any other cooking liquid.
Bone broth is beneficial for your skin, nails, hair, gut and digestion, among many other things.
Concentrates are the same as consommé. Consommé is a French term that refers to a rich, clear broth or stock made by slow simmering meat and/or bones with vegetables in water. Consommé is usually served as an appetizer or light meal in a cup or bowl.
A concentrate was traditionally made by simmering the ingredients for several hours and skimming off any fat that rises to the surface. The broth is then strained through fine mesh sieve before serving.
Concentrates you find in stores nowadays are similar to bouillon. Garbage ingredients that cut corners and do not have any real meat or bones.
Can I use chicken stock instead of broth?
You can use chicken stock or broth in the same way but will get slightly different results. You can use either for gravy but always opt for a broth or a stock over plain water as water lacks the depth of flavor and adds no nutritional benefit to your stuffing dish.
While many people interchange the names, there are some significant differences between stock and broth.
Technically, you can make soups and gravies using either stock or broth. However, most professional chefs make sauces and soups using stock and they use broth to make gravy.
Closing Thoughts on broth versus stock
The two are often used interchangeably. The point of this article is that broth versus stock does not matter in the grand scheme. It is more important that you have a high quality liquid to cook with that is sourced correctly and made from real bones and meat.
You would be best to avoid any commercial or store bought versions unless it is bone broth. The absolute best bone broth for cooking is made by Bluebird Provisions. Try some today and you'll transform any soup, gravy, stuffing or sauce into a rich and flavorful dish. You can find it on Amazon as well.
Should I use stock or broth for gravy?
If you're making a chicken dish, use broth for your gravy. However, if you're making beef or turkey dishes, use stock. At the end of the day, you can use both for gravy, but it depends on the dish you are making.
Can you drink chicken stock cubes?
Chicken stock cubes are designed to be dilutive and high in salt and are not good for drinking. They are not a nutritious match to fresh versions that have unprocessed ingredients. You would be best to avoid any cubes as they are sodium bombs.
What has more flavor stock or broth?
Stock has more flavor than broth because it is cooked longer and becomes more concentrated the longer it cooks. That being said, there are scenarios when a broth will have more flavor due to the ingredients used.
For example, salt is an essential ingredient that will increase the flavor. Sea salt and Himalayan salt work well in both of these liquids.
Garlic is another ingredient that will give you more flavor if you add it. Simply throw in a few cloves for a deliciously rich soup base.
Finally, rosemary and bay leaves can change the flavor profile. Rosemary has a more robust flavor than bay leaves. Rosemary can be used in dishes like soups and sauces, infusing them with its fragrant aroma.
Bay leaves are good for adding a subtle spiciness to dishes, but Rosemary is better for providing protein options for non-meat eaters.
Is chicken stock a clear broth?
Chicken stock is not a clear broth. The two have many key differences in terms of ingredients, sourcing, cook time and quality. They can be used interchangeably to make various recipes, and both can be clear. You are best to research a brand before buying either of the two.
Is it healthy to drink chicken stock?
It is healthy to drink chicken stock, provided that you made it yourself and are not using a store-bought version. If you want to drink a commercial product, be sure to check the label and ingredient list for nasty additives and sodium.
Can I substitute broth for stock?
You can absolutely substitute broth for stock in any recipe and it will get your there 90% of the way. You can also sub in bone broth to any recipe for extra protein, nutrients and a flavor boost. Make sure you do your research before using any of these ingredients as many store-bought versions are full of salt.
You’re welcome Debra. That is so awesome about your grandma!
Thank you for the WEALTH of information. Bouillon is too salty and there is nothing healthy in that product however more then to many people use in many of their dishes.
They should take it off the market!!
Sad too say many people are being fed poison and do not even realize it because the consumer has trusted these brands throughout the years.
My grandmother always made homemade chicken soup and ONLY used a FOWL CHICKEN with only fresh vegetables and yes she cooked her soup for hours many hours. My grandmother only cooked homemade meals with only fresh chicken and meats and this is the only way my sister and myself cook as we know no other way but to cook absolutely everything FRESH…. EVERYTHING! It’s no wonder many people are unhealthy and have so many illnesses. My Granny lived a simple life very simple and ate all fresh and homemade food and lived well into her 90’s! EUROPE EUROPE EUROPE! Amen 🙏🏻
Thanks for the feedback Karl. This helps me out a lot. I’ll make an image / infogaphic that summarizes the key differences side by side and add it to the article.
I like the fact you wanted to make a valid comparison. You format was off … realistically it is easier for consumer to compare a side by side comparison. You can put the explanations below. The format you have is just not cognitively an easy process of comparing. Literally you would have to go back and forth and you lose a lot of folks that way. But a side by side is easy to see. You started off that way then you deviate from the format which just makes it boring to read and harder to capture what your trying to actually put forth. So disappointed in your write up.