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What is the difference between stock and broth

So what is the difference between stock and broth? The truth is there really is no true difference today seeing that they are used interchangeably.

One person will call it “stock” while the other will call it “broth”. People tend to use them interchangeably.

What we are going to do is break down the differences and then you can decide what you want to call it.

So let’s clear the air and find out the true mystery that makes something a stock or a broth.

chicken broth in a bowl

Differences between stock and broth

I would say with the research done over the interweb the main difference between the two is that stock is made primarily without meat and vegetables and broth is made with meat on the bones with vegetables.


Broth is more of a flavorful liquid with the vegetable and seasoning that is used when it is made. Some would say that you could enjoy a broth on its own without anything added, kind of like a soup.

it is always a good idea to make sure that chicken broth has not gone bad.


Stock is more of a base liquid that is the beginning of creating a sauce or a soup. Think of it more as a foundation to flavor rather than the complete source. They tend not to be salted so you build the flavor later in your dish.


  • Chicken stock – This one is my favorite and most likely has the lightest flavor. I feel it is also the easiest to make seeing that we Americans eat so much chicken. It is also very universal to use in all kinds of different dishes.
  • Beef stock – I believe that this by far has the meatiest flavor. It is the base for some of the best stews and gravies.
  • Vegetable stock – This is a little different than its cousins, chicken, and beef, seeing that you will not be getting any of the collagen and gelatin that you get in a broth or stock from bones. You do get the benefits of all the great nutrients and minerals found in the vegetables though.
  • Bone stock – This is made just from the bones. They typically have barely any meat left on them. It has been trendy as of late, to have bone broth in which people will purchase and drink just like you would coffee or tea.


The biggest use is for soups, stews, and bases for sauces. All good soups and stews start with a good stock or broth. I prefer the broth seeing that it already has some great flavor out of the gate. Now if you are creating a soup that is going a simmer for a very long time then a stock might be a better route.

All of the great French sauces typically have a stock added. This is one of the building blocks as you create flavor in all types of sauces.

What is broth?

According to Wikipedia “broth” is a savory liquid made in water in which bones, meat, or vegetables have been simmered.

Bone Broth is used in all kinds of cooking and I feel it has made a comeback in the United States. There are restaurants that sell bone broth that you sip just like soup and it is becoming very trendy. People are raving about the health benefits of it.

History of broth and stock

The word “broth” goes back to the Germans and was derived from the old English word bru which means to prepare by boiling. The practice of creating broth goes way back!

Hippocrates back around 460 BC was talking about how bone broth was good for the gut. He was known as the founder of medicine and was very well regarded in his time.

Chinese culture

Broth is very popular in all kinds of dishes. The Chinese create what they call a master stock. This is a stock that is repeatedly used to poach and braise meats.

It is also the base of so many soups like miso or wonton and also the base for the famous “hot pot” that so many people enjoy.

Italian culture

Italians have a main broth that they call Brodo. This is a beef or vegetable stock which is a base for all kinds of soups, sauces, and stews. Broth or Brodo is very commonly called meat broth. A very common broth use by Italians would be Brodo Di Pollo “chicken Broth”

French culture

Again just like the Chinese and the Italian cultures broths and stocks are a huge part of cooking. They are used for bases of sauces, soups and to add a kick of flavor for all kinds of dishes.

Now when it comes to the “French Mother Sauces” you could not make a Veloute or an Espagnole without a stock!

Homemade vs store bought

putting chicken bones in pot to make chicken broth
making homemade chicken broth

Now, this goes without saying that homemade is the way to go. There is nothing like making a broth or stock and having it simmer on your stove all day. It is also a great way to use all the parts of the chicken or beef that you are cooking.

Another benefit of homemade is that you are not adding any preservatives. I feel strongly about cooking without preservatives and you can do this with creating your own.

Be careful when you buy store-bought, there is a good chance you are not getting something that is even comparable to creating your own. A lot of them have added “flavor” which is not a natural ingredient.

Home MadeStore-Bought
ProsYou made it and you know the source of the ingredients
It has not been processed
No preservatives added
Use up all your vegetables and animal scraps
Tastes way better!
ConsTime-consumingPreservatives added
You do not know the source of the ingredients
Not as many health benefits
IngredientsFresh with no preservativesThey can be troubling not knowing the source.
Also, the added “flavor” and preservative can counter-react the health benefits.
CostsTypically no added costs when you’re using ingredients from what you already have.You get what you pay for, make sure to read the ingredients well!


When it comes to broth vs stock they have a lot of similarities but I find that I use broth more often. One thing for sure is that there are all kinds of health benefits!

I would also stay away from the store-bought stuff and make your own. You will be shocked at how easy, tasty, and flavorful the stock will taste for you!

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