What Is The Difference Between Chicken Broth And Chicken Stock

What Is The Difference Between Chicken Broth And Chicken Stock?

When you’re making soups, sauces, and stews, as well as other preparations that involve liquids (like cooking rice or legumes), it’s always a good idea to start with something more flavorful than plain water. Your usual options are either broth or stock.

And since chicken stock and chicken broth are mildly flavoured and light enough in colour that they will work in all kinds of dishes without overpowering, they’re common choices. We have a wide range of best chicken bone broth at Bone Broth

But what is the difference between chicken stock and chicken broth, and when should you use one or the other? Let’s start by looking at the difference between stock and broth generally, and then look at the particulars as it relates to chicken.


What is the Difference Between Stock and Broth?

For the sake of clarity, I think that home cook should understand the distinction when one is made. The broth is made when vegetables and/or meats are simmered gently in water to extract all the flavours.

Stock is made when vegetables and meaty bones are simmered gently in water to extract all the flavours. Simply put, if the mixture was not made with bones, it is not a stock

If you go with this definition, then there is no such thing as vegetable stock. It can only be called vegetable broth since there are no bones – at least not in my veggie stock, but I still call it now and again.

Chicken stock tends to be made more from bony parts, whereas chicken broth is made more out of meat. Chicken stock tends to have a fuller mouthfeel and richer flavour, due to the gelatin released by long-simmering bones.

Canned low-sodium chicken broth is the busy home-cook’s best friend. If you’ve got an extra few minutes, enhance its flavour by adding any combination of the following and simmering for as long as you can: carrots, onions, leeks, celery, fennel, parsley, bay leaf, black peppercorns, or garlic. That’ll help the flavour tremendously.

Enriching store-bought broth still won’t give you the full stock experience, but unless you’re making something like chicken noodle soup, where you really do want the stocky mouthfeel, it’s a great timesaver.

Stock is a flavorful liquid made by simmering bones, along with aromatic vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions, plus seasonings and spices like black pepper and fresh herbs. 

The stock has played a pivotal role in cooking for many years, and in classic French cuisine, it is the base upon which almost all sauces are built. From braises and stir-fries to basting liquids and gravies, the stock is your go-to ingredient when you want to build layers of flavour in a recipe that features meat. Its meat-focused, lightly seasoned flavour profile and rich taste allow you to control the seasonings in a dish, as well as help enhance the natural juices of the chicken, beef and pork. Stock is the best base on which to build a robust-tasting pan sauce or gravy: after searing steaks or chops in a skillet, remove them from the pan and add a splash of stock. Simmer to reduce slightly to thicken, then pour over the meat before serving.

The main ingredient is bones, and the goal of simmering them is to extract the collagen, which is a protein in connective tissues and cartilage, and break them down into gelatin.

Gelatin is a key characteristic of good stock, and you’ll know it by the fact that it will jell when you cool it. A gelatin-rich stock will add richness and body to sauces and soups that are made from it.

Restaurant chefs often make stock to use in sauces. For beef stock, chefs start by coating veal or beef bones with tomato paste, roasting until richly browned, then simmering slowly in water with vegetables and seasonings. Chicken stock is made with roasted chicken bones—no tomato paste—and vegetables slowly simmered in water. Cooking times vary depending on the type of stock: the beef stock is often simmered for at least eight hours (sometimes overnight), while chicken stock takes about half that time. It’s the bones that give the stock its distinct flavour characteristics, and the collagen extracted from them during simmering gives the stock a slightly gelatinous texture which creates body and depth.

The key here is that stock is generally an ingredient in some other dish, as opposed to something that is served on its own. This is why the seasonings named above do not include salt. Salt is not typically added to a stock, but rather, it’s added to whatever the final dish is.

Broth, on the other hand, is a flavourful liquid prepared by simmering meat and vegetables, but no bones. (The term “bone broth” might lead to some confusion here, but bone broth is just a fancy name for stock.)

The broth takes on a slightly broader role in the kitchen than stock, enhancing the flavour of everything from soup to side dishes. While the technique for making broth is similar to that of making stock, there are enough differences in the flavour to make it better suited to certain recipes than others.

The broth is different from stock because it’s made by mainly simmering meat and bones (sometimes roasted, sometimes not) with herbs and mirepoix (a mix of onions, carrots and celery) for less time. It’s a bit more subtle-tasting and has more of a finished seasoning level, so it’s ready to eat as is. Besides being a wonderful base for soups, its balanced seasoning profile makes it great for adding flavour to side dishes like mashed potatoes, stuffing, rice, pasta and vegetables—use broth as the cooking liquid instead of water and see how delicious your favourite side dishes become. We also sometimes sip warm broth when we’re feeling a little under the weather or need to take the chill off with a steamy drink.

Indeed, the term vegetable stock is a misnomer, since vegetables don’t have bones. Anything called vegetable stock is just vegetable broth.

Again, the distinction is more than just about a name. The key difference is that a stock will be rich with gelatin, whereas a broth will not. And because there’s no collagen to extract, the simmering broth takes far less time than stock—usually no more than 30 minutes.


Stock Is Thicker and Takes Longer to Make

Unlike broth, the stock is based on bones rather than meat.

It is made by boiling bones or cartilage in water for many hours, which allows the bone marrow and collagen to be released.

This gives the stock a thicker, more gelatinous consistency than broth.

Because it’s made with bones and cartilage, not meat, the stock is cooked for much longer than broth, typically for at least 6–8 hours. This allows the stock time to thicken and become more concentrated as the collagen is released.

You can make stock with many types of bones, including chicken, beef, pork and even fish.

Traditionally, the stock is meant to be used as a neutral base for recipes. It’s intended to add mouthfeel but not an overwhelming flavour (1).

Before you use bones to make stock, clean them of all meat. If you want to make a neutral stock, do not add other seasonings or aromatic ingredients.

However, if you want more flavour, add meat, vegetables and herbs. Traditional additions include onions, carrots, parsley, thyme and bones with meat left on.

This results in a liquid that is just as flavourful as a broth but with an added thickness.

Whether you choose a plain stock made from just bones, or a flavourful stock made with meat and vegetables depends on how you will use it.


Broth Is Lighter and More flavorful

The broth is traditionally made by simmering meat in water, often with vegetables and herbs. This flavoured liquid is then used for a variety of culinary purposes.

In the past, the term “broth” was only used to refer to meat-based liquids. Today, however, vegetable broth has become very common.

The most common flavours of broth are chicken, beef and vegetable, though nearly any type of meat can be used.

Bone broth has also become extremely popular in the past few years and is made by simmering bones, vegetables and herbs in water for up to 24 hours.

Though it is frequently called a broth, bone broth is technically stock because it requires the addition of bones. Check out our Melbourne chicken bone broth here. 

In order to avoid confusion, the rest of this article will refer to bone broth as stock.

Because of the rich flavour of broth that comes from meat, vegetables and herbs, you can drink broth plain. People often do this to remedy a cold or the flu.

In fact, drinking warm, steaming broth is an effective way to loosen up mucus when you have a stuffy nose. It is even more effective in the form of chicken soup (2Trusted Source).

The broth is cooked for a relatively short amount of time since the meat will become tough if you cook it for too long. Therefore, if you’re making broth, remove the meat as soon as it is fully cooked, after no longer than an hour.

The meat can then be used for another recipe, or chopped and added back to the finished broth to create a chicken soup, for example.

The broth is thinner than stock and more flavourful than water. Therefore, it is most commonly used as a base for soups or as a cooking liquid.


How Chicken Stock Is Made

Chicken stock is prepared by simmering chicken bones, along with aromatics and seasonings. Typically the bones are first blanched, then transferred to a fresh pot of cold water which is gradually heated to a simmer. 

While there will almost always be at least some meat still on the bones, the main ingredient is the bones. You can make chicken stock by simmering a whole chicken carcass leftover from roasting a chicken. While you’ll obtain more gelatin from a carcass that hasn’t been cooked once already, chickens are so rich in collagen that even simmering a cooked carcass will yield plenty of gelatin.

Note that commercial products labelled “chicken stock” don’t usually jell, which means that even if some bones are used in their preparation, they are essentially chicken broth.


How Chicken Broth Is Made

Chicken broth is a flavorful liquid made by simmering chicken meat along with aromatics and seasonings. One consideration with making chicken broth is the fact that the cook must balance the desire to extract flavour from the chicken with the fact that extended simmering causes the chicken itself to become tough and grainy. 

This effect might not be important if the meat is going to be strained out, although this is an extravagant use of chicken meat. If the meat is to be left in the broth, simmering it gently and for a short time is best.


Is There a Difference in How They’re Used?

You may have noticed that many of the uses for stock are also listed as uses for broth.

The two are very often used interchangeably, and it’s fine if you substitute broth for stock in most recipes, and vice versa.

Yet, if you have a choice between the two, use broth when a dish is largely based on the flavour of the liquid, such as in a broth-based soup.

On the other hand, you can use stock when the dish gets plenty of flavour from other ingredients, such as in a stew flavoured with the drippings of a roast.

Whether to use chicken broth or chicken stock depends on what recipe you’re preparing. If you’re making a simple soup like chicken noodle soup and the liquid is going to be consumed as is, then you can use chicken broth. Looking for chicken bone broth ? Look no further! Bone Broth has you covered.

If you’re performing additional steps to your liquid, like thickening it because you’re using it as the starting point for making a velouté sauce, then you’ll want the extra body that comes from the gelatin, and thus chicken stock is the way to go.


Can you Substitute Broth and Stock?

Yes, broth and stock are interchangeable in most recipes. Because stock is made from the bones and cartilage, it contains more collagen which results in a slightly richer texture than broth.

If you need to substitute broth for the stock, keep in mind that if your broth is store-bought, it may be salted which can affect the way your dish turns out.

It is not uncommon for people to use chicken stock and broth to substitute for beef. If you need to do this, your soup or dish will have a slightly different flavour.


Is One Healthier Than the Other?

When it comes to health, stock and broth each have their pros and cons.

Broth contains about half the calories per cup (237 ml) that stock does. One cup of chicken broth provides 38 calories, while one cup of stock contains 86 calories.

Stock contains slightly more carbs, fat and protein than broth, though it’s also significantly higher in vitamins and minerals.

The broth is lower in calories, and it may be the preferred option for those who are trying to limit their calorie intake.

Nevertheless, stock contains more nutrients, as well as collagen, marrow, amino acids and minerals. These may protect the digestive tract, improve sleep and support joint health.

Unfortunately, there have not been any studies to date examining the potential benefits of stock, also known as bone broth.

Additionally, adding vegetables and herbs to either stock or broth can increase the vitamin and mineral content and release beneficial aromatic plant compounds.

Parsley, oregano and thyme, for example, are all sources of antioxidants that are commonly used in stock and broth. And certain cooking methods, including simmering, actually increase their antioxidant capacity. Bone Broth has a wide range of best chicken bone broth in Melbourne

These herbs and many others that are commonly used in broths or stocks also exhibit some anti-diabetic and anti-inflammatory properties.

Onions and garlic also have their unique benefits, including antibacterial, anti-inflammatory and immune-boosting properties.

The terms “broth” and “stock” are often used interchangeably. Though their ingredients are largely the same, there is a difference between them.

Stock is made from bones, while the broth is made mostly from meat or vegetables. Using bones in stock creates a thicker liquid, while broth tends to be thinner and more flavourful.

Though broth and stock do have small differences, many people use them for the same purposes.

The terms “broth” and “stock” are often used interchangeably. Though their ingredients are largely the same, there is a difference between them.

Stock is made from bones, while the broth is made mostly from meat or vegetables. Using bones in stock creates a thicker liquid, while broth tends to be thinner and more flavourful.

Though broth and stock do have small differences, many people use them for the same purposes.

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