5 Chicken Broth Substitutes When You Can't Run to the Store

It's happened to all of us: You get halfway through dinner prep and realize you're missing a key ingredient. If your recipe calls for chicken broth or chicken stock and you don't have any, you might think you're out of luck. Making your own broth is easy, but homemade chicken broth takes a lot of time. If you don't have time to run to the grocery store, it's okay. You can still get the rich flavor you need to make a tasty meal with one of these chicken broth substitutes.

Bouillon cubes


Chicken bouillon is a good chicken broth substitute. The cubes are shelf-stable, so you can throw a little box or jar in your cabinet and it'll be there for emergencies. To use the bouillon, dissolve a cube or one teaspoon of bouillon granules in one cup of boiling water and stir until the bouillon dissolves. You can scale as needed, making two cups of broth with two cups of water and two cubes, and so on. There are low sodium bouillon cubes, so if you're watching your sodium intake, look for one of those brands.

White wine

You can an equal amount of white wine or vermouth as a chicken broth substitute. Use a dry wine instead of a sweet wine, otherwise, you may overpower other flavors in your dish.

Vegetable broth

If you have a thing of vegetable broth on hand, you can substitute that for chicken broth. If you don't, you can make your own far more quickly than you can make homemade chicken broth. Take whatever veggies or veggie scraps you have on hand - mushrooms, celery, carrot and onion are all good - and add in bay leaves, oregano, thyme or other herbs then simmer everything in water for 20 to 30 minutes.

Beef broth

To be clear, you don't want to substitute beef broth for chicken broth in every dish. Using beef broth will change the color of your dish, definitely, and will also change the flavor profile. So don't use beef broth as a chicken broth substitute if you're making something like chicken and dumplings, but it's probably fine in most hearty soups and stews.


In a pinch, you can substitute one cup of water for one cup of broth if the main purpose of the chicken broth is liquid, such as for braises. Because chicken stock is basically water with flavoring, add a tablespoon of melted butter or olive oil and increase your seasoning. Adding a little bit of acid by way of lemon juice or vinegar is good, too. To bring a bit of the umami flavor to the liquid, you can add a little bit of soy sauce for that salty taste.

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