5 Broth Substitutes to Use In a Pinch

Who knew mushrooms could save the day?

During the coronavirus crisis many of us are cooking more than ever with less ingredient availability than ever. (To that point, we've got you covered—check out quick-fix suppers from the pantry.)

One common ingredient conundrum we've encountered? How to substitute for broth in a recipe. While broth is a common ingredient in many recipes from soups to sauces, there's actually a variety of substitutes you can utilize as needed. Below, the best of the bunch and when and how to use them.

Broth being ladled from saucepan
RUSS ROHDE / Getty Images

1. Boullion cubes

Per our sister publication, Better Homes & Gardens, you can use one bouillon cube or one teaspoon instant bouillon granules in one cup of water as a swap for every one cup of chicken broth for which a recipe calls.

2. Beer, wine, or vermouth

Need chicken or vegetable broth? Try using the same amount of dry white wine or vermouth, as The Kitchn suggests. For beef broth, they recommend using beer or red wine, in a cup for cup ratio.

3. Water

This simple swap should suffice in most recipes that call for broth. To give H2O more depth, you may want to compensate by adding more spices like salt, pepper and bay leaves to your recipe and a tablespoon or two of olive oil to mimic the richness of broth. If you've just cooked up a pot of beans and have the savory bean liquid, even better.

4. Mushrooms

In culinary school, we added fresh or dried mushrooms into just about every soup, sauce, and gravy we made. At home, you can do the same by adding a handful of fresh mushrooms (or for more potent flavor, dried 'shrooms) with some water for a savory, umami base. Adjust as needed by adding more water or wine and salt as needed.

5. Lemon or lime juice

Though this will alter the flavor profile of a dish, you may have luck swapping broth for citrus juice when cooking. "Freshly squeezed or from a bottle, the perkiness of citrus juice plays well with savory meals. Simply replace the broth with citrus juice and water in a 1 to 2 ratio," explains a post from "Sodium Girl" on Food52. Another option? A splash of vinegar and water, which provides a dish with both liquid and a hit of acid.

As you can see, if you don't have any broth available, your next meal can still easily be saved. What's your go-to substitute for broth?

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