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Stock vs Broth : Unveiling the Differences and Uses in Cooking and Health Benefits

Let’s resolve the confusion between Stock and Broth today!

Stocks and broths are liquids, which are full of flavor and are often used as a base for soups and sauces or can be eaten as they are. Both of these terms are commonly used interchangeably; however, there are some important differences between these two flavor packed liquids.

In this article, we will demystify the differences between stocks and broths and explain how each is made and used.

Broth is More Flavorful and Lighter Than Stock

The traditional way to make broth is simmering meat in water along with some herbs and vegetables. After which the flavor gets totally seeped into the liquid, which is then used for different dishes.

Previously, the term “broth” was used for liquids, which were only meat-based. However, today vegetable broth has become quite popular.  Some of the common flavors of broth are beef, chicken, and vegetable and any form of meat can be used in making the broth.

Bone broth is also extremely popular and this is made by simmering bones, herbs and vegetables in water for around 24 hours! Though the name is broth for bone broth; however, it is technically a stock, as it needs the addition of bones.

Note: We will be referring to bone broth as stock in this article to prevent any confusion.

The broth can be consumed as is, as it contains so much flavor, which comes from vegetables, meat and herbs and this is commonly consumed in case of flu or common cold.

Consumption of steaming warm broth is beneficial in thinning the mucus when suffering from a congested nose.(1) Having chicken in the broth makes it even more effective.

Broth is cooked for a comparatively shorter period of time as the meat becomes hard to chew if cooked for long. This is why it is advisable to remove the meat as soon as it is completely cooked for a maximum of 1 hour. This meat need not go to waste and can be used for different recipes or it can also be added back into the finished broth to make chicken soup.

Broth is thinner than stock and has more flavor and this is why it is used as a base as a cooking liquid in soups.

Some of the common dishes in which broth is used are: Risotto, cream sauces, casseroles, dumplings, soups, gravies, stuffing, sautéed or stir-fried dishes and cooked grains and legumes.

Stock Takes More Time to Make and Is Thicker In Consistency

Stock is based on bones instead of meat like in broth. Stock is prepared by boiling cartilage or bones in water for several hours, which allows the collagen and bone marrow to be released. This is what gives the stock a gelatinous and thicker consistency when compared to broth.

As the stock is prepared using cartilage and bones instead of meat, it is cooked for longer duration than broth, about 6 to 8 hours. This gives it time to get thicker and concentrated as the collagen gets released in it. Different types of bones can be used for making stock, such as beef, chicken, fish and pork.

Stock is actually meant to be used as a bland base in different recipes and is used for the purpose of giving some consistency and body to the dish, rather than flavor. Clean the meat first before using the bones for preparing the stock and as the stock being made is neutral in nature, so no need to put any aromatic ingredients or seasonings of any type.

However, if flavor is needed, then you can add vegetables, meat and herbs. Other conventional items to include are onions, thyme, parsley, carrots and bones with some meat on it. This will result in a liquid, which is equal to broth in flavor, but has more thickness when it comes to consistency.

The type of stock you need depends on what you are going to use it for. Some of the common dishes in which the stock is used are: gravy, sauces, braising liquid, soups or stews and cooked legumes and grains.

What is Difference When It Comes to Using Stock and Broth?

The uses for both of them are almost the same and they are used often interchangeably. It is okay to substitute stock for broth in many recipes and vice versa. However, if you had to choose between the two, broth should be used when the dish is primarily largely based on the flavor, such as a broth-based soup.

Stock should be used when the dish gets its flavor from other ingredients, for example stew flavored with roast drippings.

Which Is Healthier, Stock or Broth?

Both have their pros and cons when it comes to health. A cup of broth has about half the calories when compared to stock of the same quantity. A single cup of chicken broth contains 38 calories,(2) whereas one cup of stock has 86 calories.(3)

Stock has more fat, carbs and protein than broth, and it is also significantly higher in minerals and vitamins. As broth contains fewer calories, it is a viable option for individuals who are trying to control their calorie consumption.

However, stock is rich in nutrients, as well as marrow, collagen, minerals and amino acids when compared to broth and is beneficial in protecting the digestive tract, improving quality of sleep and supporting joint health.(7, 8, 9)

Unfortunately, there aren’t any studies done till now which show the potential benefits of bone broth or stock. Additionally, the use of herbs and vegetables to either broth or stock helps in making it richer in mineral and vitamin content and also releases beneficial aromatic compounds.

Some of the examples are thyme, oregano and parsley, which are sources of antioxidants and are often used in preparing broth and stock. Cooking methods, such as simmering also helps in increasing the amount of antioxidants present.

These herbs as well as others which are commonly used in stocks and broths also have some anti-inflammatory and anti-diabetic properties.(4)

Garlic and Onions have unique benefits, such as anti-inflammatory, antibacterial and immune-boosting properties.(5, 6)

What about Consommé, Bouillon and Bone Broth?

Other than broth and stock, some of the related items which are worth noting are:

Consommé: This is a stock which is refined and concentrated by simmering the stock using egg whites, vegetables and meat. After which any impurities are then removed from the surface.

Bouillon: This is a French word for broth and is often used instead of broth, especially when it comes to bouillon cubes. Bouillon cubes are nothing but broth which has been dehydrated and shaped into small cubes. These can be mixed with water for rehydration before using it.

Bone Broth: This is fast becoming one of the superfoods and like mentioned previously, bone broth is nothing but a new term for a conventional traditional food which is stock.

The difference between bone broth and stock is that the former is cooked for longer duration and can also have an acidic component, such as vinegar to help in breaking the connective tissue.

Other than these differences, bone broth and stock are essentially one and the same.


The terms “stock” and “broth” are commonly used interchangeably even though the ingredients which they have are also very much similar, there is a difference between both.

Bones are used for making stock; whereas, broth is primarily made using vegetables or meat. The use of bones in stock leads to formation of thicker consistency of the liquid, whereas broth tends to be more flavorful and thinner/loose.

Though there are small differences between broth and stock, both of them are used for the same reasons.


Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:September 16, 2023

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