Stock and broth: Aren’t they just the same thing? And are they interchangeable in recipes, especially around Thanksgiving? Good questions. The answer is yes and yes, but no. Let us explain.

Stock and broth are very similar animals: water simmered with meat and/or bones, and usually some vegetables and aromatic herbs, then strained. (Though in the case of vegetable broth, meat is not used.) They’re both utilized as a base for soups, sauces, and gravies. And, truth be told, some chefs use the words interchangeably. However, there are some generally accepted differences between stock and broth.

“Stock is predominantly [made with] bones and some trim,” says Greg Fatigati, associate dean for curriculum and instruction for culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America.

Broth, on the other hand, is usually made with pieces of actual meat, so it’s richer.


“Broth tastes more like a finished product that can be served on its own,” says Nils Norén, VP of culinary arts for the French Culinary Institute.

You can fortify stock with more meat to make broth.

For practical purposes, if you’re making a recipe that calls for stock, you can use broth, and vice versa. If you’re not making your own stock or broth, you can find canned or boxed broth at most grocery stores. (Stock is not widely available.) You can use this for any recipe that calls for stock, too, but try to buy the low-sodium version, because store-bought broth can be very salty.

Try some of our recipes that use either broth or stock.

1. Quick Chicken Pho


Rip off some chicken from a rotisserie bird, heat up some noodles, and add the vegetables. Then, enjoy all those lovely flavors of ginger, basil, jalapeño, cilantro, Sriracha, and lime. Get our Quick Chicken Pho recipe.

2. White Chicken Chili


This is a real Southwestern comfort food. Smashing some of the cannellini beans thickens the broth, and a squeeze of lime juice at the end balances the richness and heat with a bright kick. Get our White Chicken Chili recipe.

3. French Dip Sandwich


Ooh, some roast beef and an a jus created with meaty bones and beef broth is just the thing. Add some crunchy-crusted French bread and you’re set. Get our French Dip Sandwich recipe.

4. Chicken Tortilla Soup


All sorts of spices plus some vegetables go into the soup besides chicken and tortillas. Here’s a way to make Tex-Mex into a fall meal. Get our Chicken Tortilla Soup recipe.

5. Easy Mushroom Farro Risotto


The nutty flavor and delicate chew of this ancient grain, farro, make this risotto a hearty and rustic dish. And with wild mushrooms, you’ll taste heaps of umami. Get our Easy Mushroom Farro Risotto recipe.

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