What’s the Difference Between Broth and Stock?

Broth and stock are both indispensable ingredients in the kitchen. Though they’re often used interchangeably, knowing what distinguishes the two and when to use them can make all the difference in your cooking.

Broth vs. Stock Ingredients

Broth can be made from any combination of meat and vegetables while stock is made primarily from bones and cartilage. Both liquids can be flavored with additional herbs, aromatics, and seasonings.

Broth vs. Stock Texture

Stock is typically thicker than broth because the bones and cartilage release collagen into the liquid over time, giving it more viscosity. This is why stock gels when refrigerated. While the addition of bones, cartilage, or meat with a lot of connective tissue can yield similar results in broth, the quality of the broth isn’t measured by its collagen content the way that stock is.

Image Credit: Hans Braxmeier from Pixabay 

How Broth and Stock Are Made?

Making stock requires long simmering times to break down and extract the collagen. Stock made from smaller bones such as that of fish, chicken, or pork takes 2-8 hours to make while beef or lamb bone stock can take as long as 18 hours to complete. Broths, meanwhile, only need to be cooked until the flavors infuse into the liquid. This could take up to an hour for vegetable broth or 2-5 hours for meat broth.

Bone Broth vs. Stock

The terminology can be confusing, but bone broth and stock are actually the same thing. The word bone broth was popularized as a term for stock among recipe blogs and quickly caught on.

Broth vs. Stock Uses

Broth and stock are often used interchangeably, but yield different results. Because of its viscosity, stock is better for adding body to soups and stews. Use it to make rich and silky wonton soup or beef stew. Broth, meanwhile, is best for adding flavor. We’ve used it to enhance a simple risotto and double down on the meatiness of chicken marsala. Of course, you can also use both for even better results. Try using a base of chicken broth and stock for an unforgettably flavorful and hearty chicken noodle soup.

Feature Image: RitaE from Pixabay 

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