What’s the Difference Between Stock and Broth?

What’s the Difference Between Stock and Broth?

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Stock and broth are liquids that both come in similar containers at the grocery store and tend to be used in many of the same recipes. Maybe you’d prefer to make your broth or stock homemade, but know very little about what sets each of them apart. In case you missed this post The Best Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup Recipe Ever

Difference Between Stock and Broth

So, what is the difference between stock and broth? Is one healthier than the other, and what about cooking times? Go ahead and fasten your seatbelt, because I’m about to give you a quick crash course to help you distinguish between the two.  What’s the difference between stock and broth?

What is Broth?

What’s the Difference Between Stock and Broth?

Broth, often called bouillon, is a liquid that has been cooked along with the meat in it, where it takes just around 2 hours to complete. Some people will simmer the meat with the bone still intact, but it’s not something that is required. 

  • Broth tends to have flavorful seasonings in it, where stock usually does not. You’ll also find ingredients such as mirepoix, which is a mixture of celery, carrots, and onions, as well as certain aromatics and herbs that are added to broth, based on preference. The broth tastes so good that you can enjoy it by sipping it on its own.  
  • In the past, broth was always considered to have some type of meat in it, but that’s no longer the case. That’s because vegetable broth has taken off in recent years for those who are vegetarians. The most common types of broth are chicken, beef, or vegetable, but any type of animal can be used to make it.
  • Broth has been used for many years as a remedy to help fight the common cold and other flu-like symptoms, arguably more effective than a bowl of chicken noodle soup. Many have found that drinking broth helps to loosen the mucus in their nasal cavity when they have a stuffy nose.    
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Related: Bone Broth Is it Really Good For You

What is Stock?

What’s the Difference Between Stock and Broth?

Often referred to as “bone broth,” stock is prepared slightly differently than broth, where it is simmered with animal bones, along with whatever animal scraps are leftover. Stock is made to be used as a neutral base in recipes and not necessarily to add a lot of flavor. It also takes much longer to cook than broth, anywhere between 2 and 8 hours. Stock always contains bones but does not necessarily have to include meat. Stock, just like broth, is cooked with mirepoix and other aromatics.

I quote Wikipedia: “A mirepoix is a flavor base made from cooked, diced vegetables, usually with butter, oil, or other fat, for a long time on a low heat without coloring or browning, as further cooking, often with the addition of tomato purée, creates a darkened brown mixture called pincage.” 

Many people like to roast the bones ahead of time because it adds a richer color to the stock, but it’s not required. Stock tends to be thicker than broth because of the collagen and bone marrow that is released from the bone when they’re being boiled. As I mentioned earlier, stock is typically left unseasoned while broth isn’t. 

Is One Healthier Than the Other?

This question is a bit more difficult to answer because there are both good and bad about each of them. With stock, you can expect more carbs, fat, and protein, but it also has more vitamins and minerals. Broth, on the other hand, has half the calories of what you would find in stock. So if you’re watching your calorie intake, broth will be the way to go. 

But don’t count stock out too quickly, because it’s a good source of riboflavin, thiamine, niacin, potassium, folate, phosphorus, selenium, copper, and a few other nutrients. Some even say that it’s a superfood. The collagen, bone marrow, and amino acids in stock also play an important role in our digestive tract, joint health, and may help to improve your sleep.

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The more vegetables and herbs that you add to your stock or broth will also determine how many vitamins and minerals you are benefiting from. Herbs such as oregano, parsley, and thyme, all have anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties that you should keep in mind. By adding garlic or onions to them, there will be additional anti-inflammatory, anti-bacterial, and immunity-boosting health benefits as well.      

What Broth is Used For?

Broth is more commonly used when you are making gravies, soups, sauces, and other recipes. It brings a powerful punch of flavor and keeps your dishes nice and moist. You can even add moisture back into your leftover casseroles by pouring broth on it.  

What is Stock is Used For?

Stock is used to make gravies, sauces, soups, stews, braises, and many other recipes. It can also be added to your legumes and several different types of grains. As you can see, broth and stock are used for many of the same recipes, so they can both be substituted for one another based on your preferences. 

Final Word

When I’m looking to add distinctive flavoring to a dish that I may be cooking at the time, I’ll often go with beef or chicken broth. But if I’m making sure my family is getting all their vitamins and minerals, I’ll lean towards stock instead.

Which of these do you find yourself using most often, and what recipes do you add them to most often? Please keep prepping, we must. May God bless this world, Linda

Copyright Images: Beef Broth Deposit photos_26772269_s-2019, Chicken Broth or Soup Deposit photos_73418511_s-2019, Bone Broth AdobeStock_234081914 by Alp Aksoy

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  1. I have a question on cooking times. I have read that in order to get the full benefit from making bone broth (stock) that it needs to cook (simmer) for at least 24 hours in order to extract the full benefit of the bones/marrow. I have made bone broth in a large crock pot and left it cooking for a full 24 hours because of that information. If I only need to cook it for up to 8 hours that would be wonderful!!

    1. HI Leanne, I can’t answer that. LOL! I’m not a dietician. I have seen so many people using their pressure cookers to get the broth or stock in less time than 8 hours, so who knows. I say whatever YOU feel is right, do it. Linda

      1. So, Linda ~ I don’t make broth or stock often because I am single and rarely purchase meats on the bone! But, when I was married with a child, I could take a turkey or chicken and make so many meals out of it!! 1) freshly roasted; 2) sandwiches; 3) ala king or turkey/chicken & noodles, dumplings or pot pie; 4) noodle soup by cooking the carcass down for broth. Of course, with a turkey I actually ended up with meat frozen for later as well but with a chicken, 4-6 meals from one chicken.

        I think, also that with the way the world (our world) is now, we need to be aware of ALL the ways to get the most out of the meat we buy.

        Vegetable broth is a great way to use up those odds/ends of veggies that we normally don’t think of as edible! I am thinking the dry skin from onions, the skins from garlic, peels from carrots and other vegetables. My daughter saves all of those things in a container in the freezer and when it is full, she makes vegetable broth with added garlic, turmeric, and other herbs and spices.

  2. Great lesson! I love homemade organic broths for pressure cooking veggies, rice, or quinoa, instead of adding water. Sam’s Club carries a decent organic chicken broth that has no nasty artificial additives or colorants, so I keep plenty of that around. Bone broth is harder to come by and more expensive where I live, so I may start making my own. We eat more bison than beef these days, and bison broth makes great soup.

    1. Hi Terry, I have heard bison is awesome!! I think the more we can make our own broth or stock the better. I buy some organic vegetable and chicken broth from Costco. It’s nice to have some in the pantry for quick meals. Life is so good when we make soup! Linda

  3. I make my own dog food, usually rice/oatmeal with fresh or dehydrated carrots, peas, green beans, spinach, etc. I cook these in bone broth & then add chicken or turkey or beef. Boy, I sound so organized & competent: it’s not true! But I really do make the dog food. Lol

    1. Hi Linda, I make my own dog food as well. I never thought about adding oatmeal! You sound organized to me! I love it! I think anything we make ourselves is awesome! LOL! Life is good and I bet your dog (s) love the homemade food! I know mine do!! Linda

  4. Not sure what to call this, but I put either a beef soup bone or a rotisserie chicken into the crockpot, add seasonings, garlic, onions, carrots, celery and cook until the bones dissolve. It makes a a very rich & flavorful stock. Day 1, I take the big pieces of meat to make open face sandwiches. Day 2 I take the rest of meat out and serve over noodles or rice. I strain out any bone from the liquid left in the crockpot. The remaining liquid is stored to flavor rice, make gravy or spice up the dog food. Love this during fall & winter or when everyone is battling colds or flu.

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