The difference between stock and broth

bone broth chicken broth and vegetable broth in pots

Wondering whether there’s a difference between stock and broth? Not sure whether you can substitute one for the other? You’re in the right place… 

The difference between stock and broth: the ‘in a nutshell’ version 

There is stock, there is broth, and then there is bone broth. In a simplified way, stock is made with cooked bones, whereas broth is made with meat. Stock is usually simmered for longer times than broth. However, bone broth is made with bones and is slow cooked for several hours. So, technically, bone broth is a stock, although it can take up to 18 hours to prepare. We’re guessing whoever named it decided that ‘bone stock’ just didn’t trip off the tongue. 

The difference between stock and broth: the ‘grab a cup of tea and relax’ version 

The words ‘stock’ and ‘broth’ are often used interchangeably, but there are some differences. Let’s take a closer look at each one. 

Homemade stock 

To make stock, cooked bones are simmered in water for one to several hours. You can use chicken, pork, beef or fish bones. It’s fine to leave some meat attached on the bones, and you might want to add extra ingredients towards the end of the process, like vegetables, herbs and spices, to enrich the flavour.  

Once the stock has simmered, the bones and other solid ingredients are removed. You’re then left with a nutrient-rich liquid that can be used to make gravy, soups and sauces. Because it’s full of gelatine from the bones, stock can be quite thick. It sometimes solidifies slightly when it cools and takes on the texture of a not-quite-set jelly.  

Homemade broth 

Broth is made by simmering meat in water for 45 minutes to an hour. Bones, vegetables and herbs are sometimes added, but not always. If the broth is strained, you end up with a flavoursome liquid, which is thinner and lighter than stock, but doesn’t have as many nutrients. Sometimes, the meat and vegetables are left in to create a warming soup. 

Homemade bone broth 

Confusingly, bone broth is closer to a stock than a broth, as it’s made with animal bones and simmered for several hours. A good bone broth can take anything between 14-18 hours to prepare. Enough water is used so that it doesn’t go too jelly-like and can still be drunk on its own. We slowly cook our bone broths for more than 16 hours, adding organic vegetable, herbs and spices to achieve the tastiest of flavours.  

Bone broth is packed with collagen, protein, vitamins and minerals. Besides being an excellent warming drink, it adds extra flavour to all types of dishes, from pies to risottos. You’ll find lots of bone broth recipes here 

Stock vs broth: your questions answered 

Can I substitute broth for stock? 

In most cases, you can use stock instead of broth, and vice versa. However, it will depend on the quality of the stock you use. Most stocks available in the market use ingredients that are not recognisable and include additives, extras and E numbers. So, our suggestion would be to either look very closely at the ingredients or make your own stock using natural ingredients. Alternatively, if you don’t have 18+ hours to spare, you can reap the full nutritional benefits and get the most flavour by using a good quality bone broth like the ones in our range. Unlike most store-bought bone broths, we use organic bones, which we slowly simmered. Our broths have a more liquid consistency than some stocks, and bags of flavour. We basically give you the best parts of both stock and broth.  

Is chicken stock the same as chicken broth? 

Chicken stock is made with bones, while chicken broth often just uses meat. However, Boosh Organic Chicken Bone Broth is made by slowly simmering organic, free-range chicken bones for 16 hours. We add vegetables and herbs towards the end of the process to enhance the flavour. And we never add any artificial colours, flavourings, preservatives, or sugar. It’s the perfect comfort food when you’re feeling a bit under the weather, or you just need a little pick-me-up. 

Which is better, broth or stock? 

That really depends on what you’re using it for. Broth is great for a warming hot drink, while stock adds extra flavour and nutrients to dishes. If you want the best flavour and the highest concentration of nutrients, you’ll want to choose bone broth. By slowly simmering bones with vegetables, herbs and spices, you end up with a delicious liquid stock that boosts a range of dishes, including risottos, pies, stews and even smoothies. Yes, the extra hours of simmering make a huge difference, to both the levels of taste, as well as the bone broths’ richness in protein, collagen and amino acids.  

Is chicken stock or broth better for gravy? 

Chicken Bone Broth is ideal for making gravy. Ours is made with organic, free-range chicken bones, along with organic onions, carrots, mushrooms, celery, leeks, salt, parsley, black pepper, sage, bay leaves, thyme, tarragon and just a smidgeon of chilli. We even double filter our water to make this ultimately nourishing bone broth.   

Is chicken stock or broth better for soup? 

You can use either chicken stock or broth for soup, but if you want maximum flavour and nutrition, we recommended Boosh Foods Organic Chicken Bone Broth. Do you like your soup to have a bit of a kick? Try Boosh Foods Chili and Lemongrass Organic Chicken Bone Broth that is packed with flavours and goodness. It’s the perfect base for a Thai Green Chicken Curry or a Coconut Prawn Laksa 

Is beef broth the same as beef stock? 

Beef stock is made with bones, while beef broth is often made with just the meat. However, Boosh Organic Beef Bone Broth is made by gently simmering organic beef bones for over 16 hours. The result is a flavour-packed liquid that’s rich in collagen, protein and other nutrients. It’s perfect for gravy, pies, Bolognese sauce, stews and other dishes. You can also warm it up and enjoy it as a nourishing hot drink or it can be the basis for the tastiest Bloody Mary cocktail. So, if you’re considering beef stock vs beef broth, go for a bone broth.  

Is bouillon the same as stock? 

Wondering “What’s the difference between stock and bouillon?” Basically, it’s the same as the difference between stock and broth. In other words, bouillon is just another word for broth. Which is another word for stock. Confused? Let’s stick to the plan – either use very good quality bone broth or make your own. Although it requires a lot of time and care, many will say that a good bone broth can improve your gut health, protect your joints and bones, and even keep your skin in good condition.   

How do you make the best stock? 

Making bone broth at home can be a great way to make the most of your leftovers if you have plenty of time on your hands. But, for something so simple, it can be tricky to get just right. A good stock needs to slow cook for several hours. This allows the collagen and marrow to break down into the water, so you get a really intense flavour and as big a hit of nutrients as possible.  

If you’re making bone broth, you’ll want to add a dash of apple cider vinegar, as it helps to break down the collagen.  

Vegetables and herbs are great for bringing extra flavour and nutrients to your stock. They certainly don’t need cooking for 16 hours though, so you’ll want to add them to the pot much later in the process.   

You can find a step-by-step bone broth recipe here 

Don’t fancy being chained to the kitchen for 16 hours? Boosh Bone Broths give you all the benefits of a home-cooked bone broth, with a lot less effort on your part. And because they have a long shelf life, you can keep a few jars in the cupboard ready for when you need them.  

Shop for organic bone broths