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The Single Difference Between Chicken Stock and Broth

If you're looking to make some homemade soup and you're at the grocery store perusing the shelves for ingredients, you may find yourself wondering what the difference is between chicken stock and chicken broth. You know that both are a good base for stew, soup, and sauces, but what sets them apart? Between chicken stock vs broth, there are as many distinctions as there are similarities.

Chicken stock is made from simmering chicken bones with aromatics and seasonings such as black pepper,. This process is a lengthy one and takes 6-8 hours, although some prefer to do it for up to 24 hours. Stock is the perfect thing to make after roasting a chicken, providing a way to use your leftovers. 

Chicken broth, on the other hand, is made from simmering uncooked meat with veggies and herbs rather than using bones. It can be ready in a short amount of time and only needs to simmer for about 30 minutes. Any variety of herbs and veggies can be used, but flavorful ones like onions, leeks and garlic are often chosen. 

Top view of chicken soup - broth on wooden table with vegetable

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The biggest difference between these two soup bases is how they're made, which affects their flavor and uses. Since chicken stock involves bones, it has a heartier flavor and thicker texture than broth. Broth is the lighter, thinner option that's more commonly used as a base for soups.

Because stock is made with bones, it's rich with gelatin, which comes from breaking down connective tissues and cartilage. Gelatin is full of health benefits like aiding with intestinal health, strengthening bones and joints, and lowering blood sugar.

Although chicken broth doesn't contain gelatin, it also has a number of health benefits. Chicken broth is an excellent source of vitamins and minerals and helps with managing cardiovascular disease, preventing high cholesterol and repairing damaged muscles.

How to Use Chicken Stock vs. Broth

Saucepan with bouillon with a ladle on a wooden table. Bone broth

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Since chicken stock is thicker and more flavorful than broth, it's best used in recipes that contain other strongly-flavored ingredients so that it doesn't overpower the dish. Stock is often added to sauces, gravy, stews and braising liquid. Broth is the more versatile option and can be sipped on its own, since it has a mild flavor. Chicken broth is often used in cream sauces, casseroles, soups, stir fry dishes and stuffing. 

Despite the differences between chicken stock and broth, the two can be used interchangeably in most recipes. Either option will be a comforting and delicious way to use up chicken and fill your fridge with nutritious, versatile ingredients.

This post was originally published on September 25, 2021.

READ MORE: 5 Ways to Elevate Store-Bought Chicken Broth