Person squeezing lime into a stock pot over the stove

STOCK VS. BROTH: WHAT’S THE DIFFERENCE?

The terms “stock” and “broth” are frequently swapped in recipes, food blogs, and even grocery store aisles. However, understanding the difference between stock and broth can help you elevate your dishes. Explore this guide to grasp the distinctions, find out when to use stock vs. broth and learn how to enhance your culinary creations with these essential liquid bases.

WHAT IS STOCK?

Stock is a mineral-rich liquid crafted from simmering animal bones, vegetables and aromatic spices for a long period of time. Covered with water and a splash of vinegar, then left to simmer on the stovetop, animal bones release collagen into the stock that creates a thick and nutritious base ideal for use in soups, stews and sauces. 

Brown stock is made using roasted bones that create a rich and hearty flavor, while white stock is created using raw or blanched bones for a lighter flavor profile and color.

WHAT IS BROTH?

Broth is a delicate liquid created by simmering fleshy meat or vegetables in water, resulting in a base with a thin consistency and subtle flavor. You can make broth with a wide variety of whole ingredients, but most broths are made by simmering meat with vegetables like carrots and onions alongside herbs like parsley and thyme.

With its thin consistency and mild flavor, broth can lay the foundation for anything from spicy chicken and kale soup with basil cream to South African bobotie-spiced risotto.

WHAT ARE THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN STOCK AND BROTH?

The difference between stock and broth can be subtle, and recipes often use the terms interchangeably. However, there are key differences to keep in mind as you create. Stock, crafted from bones, tends to be thicker, needs a longer simmering time to meld flavors and packs more nutrients from the bones.

Broth, made from fleshy meat, is usually quicker to create and has a simpler flavor and thinner consistency. You may also find that broth (particularly store-bought versions) contain high levels of sodium.

CHICKEN STOCK VS. CHICKEN BROTH

Chicken broth and stock are often created using similar ingredients with one major exception: bones vs. meat. Chicken stock is made using the neck bones, back bones and sometimes feet of a chicken, while broth is crafted by boiling raw chicken meat. The collagen-rich bones used in stock create a thicker liquid base that’s higher in vitamins and minerals than chicken broth.

The main ingredient aside, chicken broth and stock have a pretty similar ingredient lineup. Both animal products are typically boiled with vegetables like carrots, onions or celery, as well as herbs and aromatics like peppercorn, bayleaf or parsley stems. Unlike chicken stock, chicken broth recipes usually call for salt.

BEEF STOCK VS. BEEF BROTH

Beef stock is typically made using the knuckles, joints, shank, feet, short ribs or marrow bones that accompany meats, while beef broth is made by boiling the meat itself. Both beef stock and broth are infused with the flavors of vegetables like onions, carrots and celery stalks. 

Beef stock is generally thicker than broth—thanks to the collagen released from boiling animal bones—and often has a richer flavor than broth.

VEGETABLE BROTH VS. VEGETABLE STOCK

Vegetable broth and vegetable stock may go by different names, but they’re ultimately interchangeable terms for the same culinary staple. Both vegetable broth and stock are made by boiling vegetables, herbs and aromatics to form a liquid base.

BONE BROTH VS. BONE STOCK

In culinary circles, bone broth tends to fall under the umbrella of stocks, and the terms are used interchangeably. Whether a bone broth is made from the bones of meat, poultry or fish, simmering animal bones lies at the heart of making stock.

Person pouring broth with a ladle into a pan above the cooktop Person pouring broth with a ladle into pan above the cooktop

CAN YOU SUBSTITUTE BROTH FOR STOCK?

In many recipes, you can swap broth for stock, and vice versa. Just be mindful that broth usually packs more sodium, so adjust the salt content of your recipe accordingly. Remember, broth is also generally thinner, so it might subtly affect your dish’s texture when substituting for stock.

SHOULD YOU USE STOCK OR BROTH FOR SOUP?

Most soup recipes work well with broth or stock, but you may notice slight differences in flavor profile and consistency. When choosing between stock vs. broth, keep in mind that stock’s concentrated flavor and higher viscosity may be better suited to soups with more body, like chowders, bisques, stews or gumbo. Broth’s lighter flavor profile and thinner texture can work well for creating consommés, bouillabaisses, pho or clear soups like chicken noodle soup.

STOCK AND BROTH SOUP RECIPES

Stocks and broths are the building blocks of nearly any soup you can dream up. Explore the soup recipes below to ignite your next burst of creativity in the kitchen.

Closeup of creamy cauliflower soup with garnishes

1. CREAMY CAULIFLOWER SOUP

Use a KitchenAid® hand blender to create this velvety blend of cauliflower, onions, garlic and the broth of your choice. A hint of nutmeg and lemon zest add warmth and a citrusy kick.

Closeup of vegetarian three bean chili garnished with avocado cubes

2. VEGETARIAN THREE BEAN CHILI

Savor this hearty mix of black beans, kidney beans and lentils simmered in vegetable broth for a protein-packed meal. Aromatic spices like coriander, chili powder, paprika and cumin add dimension while toppings like jalapeno, cilantro and green onions amp up the flavor.

Closeup of Jjamppong with shrimp and noodles

3. JJAMPPONG (SPICY SEAFOOD NOODLE SOUP)

Incorporate a Korean dish into this week’s dinner menu with this seafood noodle soup. Made with a flavorful chicken broth, Jjamppong combines gochugaru (red chili flakes) and gochujang (fermented chili paste) with fresh squid, mussels and shrimp for a fiery blend of flavors. You can even use a KitchenAid® stand mixer fitted with the KitchenAid® Pasta Roller Attachment (sold separately) to make the noodles in this recipe from scratch.

Mugs with pureed ginger carrot soup

4. GINGER CARROT SOUP

This comforting and nutritious combination includes fresh carrots, green apples, avocados and spices blended with vegetable broth for a smooth and satisfying soup. You can combine prepared ingredients in a KitchenAid® blender for quick and simple meal prep.

Asian zoodle soup with spiralized zucchini next to chop sticks

5. ASIAN ZOODLE SOUP

Chicken broth is infused with ginger, garlic and soy sauce for a light and flavorful base in this soup. Use a KitchenAid® stand mixer with the KitchenAid® 7 Blade Spiralizer Plus with Peel, Core and Slice Attachment (sold separately) to create spiralized zucchini noodles for a nutritious and gluten-free pasta alternative.

Several bowls of pork and ginger meatball pho garnished with greens

6. PORK AND GINGER MEATBALL PHO

This traditional Vietnamese cuisine is infused with spices like star anise and cinnamon, and filled with tender pork and ginger meatballs. Get creative with complementary garnishes when you top it with anything from bean sprouts and jalapenos to mint and basil leaves.

Yellow bowl with spicy peanut sweet potato soup

7. SPICY PEANUT SWEET POTATO SOUP

Use a KitchenAid® hand blender to whip up this blend of roasted sweet potatoes, creamy peanut butter, and aromatic spices like chili powder and cumin. The soup boasts a satisfying kick of heat balanced by the natural sweetness of the potatoes. Top it with crushed peanuts and fresh cilantro.

Two soup bowls filled with corn chowder next to a plate with garnishes

8. CORN CHOWDER

Combine sweet corn kernels with vegetable broth, cashews and lemon juice in this flavorful dish. The chowder is enhanced with aromatic herbs and spices like fresh thyme and pairs perfectly with crispy bacon or crusty bread.

SHOP KITCHENAID® BLENDERS FOR MAKING SOUP

EXPLORE KITCHENAID® COOKTOPS

Simmer, boil, sear or stir-fry with confidence when you create on a KitchenAid® cooktop. Select models include the Even-Heat Ultra Power Element with Simmer Setting that maintains a constant supply of power to help you develop your next stock or broth recipe. With gas, electric and induction cooktops to choose from, you’re sure to find the right fit for the way you make.  

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