Need a Chicken Broth Substitute? We’ve Got Easy Fixes.

Updated: May 18, 2023

Need a chicken broth substitute for a favorite recipe? We've got solutions for you if you find that your pantry is bare.

You know the feeling: You’re midway through prepping a quick dinner and you glance at the recipe only to find you’ve forgotten to stock up on chicken broth. Whether the recipe calls for a few tablespoons or a quart, it’s inconvenient to have to run to the store or think of a new meal plan halfway through cooking. But you don’t have to! A chicken broth substitute is easy to create at home. We’ll show you your options.

When you have the wrong flavor of broth

What if you’re making a quick soup and find that you’re out of chicken broth? Don’t worry. For many recipes, you can easily swap out one broth for another. It’s just a simple one-to-one ratio for making these trades.

If you’re out of chicken broth for a hearty chicken noodle soup recipe, vegetable broth, in particular, is an easy substitute. Do be mindful of your substitutions, though. Vegetable broth is an easy trade-in any recipe, however, something like seafood broth may not be compatible with all flavors.

When you don’t have any broth

If you don’t have any broth at the ready, you have a few options.

Make your own broth

If you’ve got the time, a homemade vegetable broth or chicken broth is a real treat. Plus, by making this broth from scratch you can really control the flavor and sodium. To make sure that you’re ready to make your own broth at any time, keep food scraps—think onion skins, carrot peels, celery greens and chicken carcasses—in the freezer. You can use these to make a quick broth of your own. Next, find out the difference between bouillon versus broth.

Substitute broth with bullion

Of course, making your own broth at a moment’s notice isn’t always an option. In this case, it’s really handy to keep bullion cubes in your pantry. These can be dissolved to create a makeshift broth anytime. Also, consider a chicken base like Better Than Bullion. This concentrated broth base can be whisked into water to make a broth or just added by the spoonful to add extra flavor to a meal. For just a few dollars, a jar of either of these is a worthwhile investment—and they’ll prevent any last-minute grocery runs in the future.

When the recipe only calls for a small amount of broth

Often times recipes call for a small amount of broth to deglaze a pan. Deglazing is when you use a liquid to lift all those flavorful bits off the bottom of your pan. If you’re out of broth in this instance, you don’t need to worry at all. You can deglaze a pan with wine or even a bit of water.

When using water as a chicken broth substitute, be sure to add a little extra seasoning to your food to compensate for the lack of additional flavor.

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