Chicken Broth Substitute: How to Save Your Recipes When You Have No Broth

Many savory recipes and even some packaged meals call for the addition of chicken broth. But what if you’re all out of the canned or boxed variety? Great news: You can still make the food you’re craving, because there’s more than one substitute for chicken broth. This guide provides tons of alternatives, including some surprising substitutions you probably have in your pantry right now.

White Wine

Did you know that you can use wine as a chicken stock substitute? It’s true: For every cup of chicken broth, simply use ½ cup of your favorite white wine mixed with ½ cup of water, ¼ teaspoon of salt, and if you like, ¼ teaspoon of olive oil or another cooking oil for a touch of added richness. You’ll be surprised at the lovely, complex flavor this adds to your meal, and you’ll barely notice the lack of chicken broth if your recipe includes chicken, turkey, or another form of poultry.  

If you have a few different types of white wine on hand and you’d like to make a delicious broth substitute, it’s best to opt for a dry variety over a sweet variety. At the same time, anything will do in a pinch!

Be sure to simmer your recipe to cook off most of the alcohol.


Beverages come to the rescue again with this handy broth substitute. When substituting chicken broth with beer, you’ll want to use ½ cup of beer mixed with ½ cup of water, plus ¼ teaspoon of salt and an optional ¼ teaspoon of olive oil or another cooking oil to add more richness to the dish. The finished flavor will greatly depend on the variety of beer you use! If you want to keep the dish tasting light, use a lighter beer or ale. If you’re intrigued by the idea of adding plenty of depth and intrigue to your dish, try a robust variety like Guinness. As with wine, dry beers impart lighter tastes while sweet or very hoppy beers can change the flavor profile significantly. Be sure to simmer your recipe so that most of the alcohol evaporates.


Curious about how to make chicken broth with bouillon powder? Double check your powder’s package instructions, but in most cases, the recipe for a cup of chicken broth is 1 teaspoon of chicken bouillon powder plus 1 cup of water. If you have bouillon cubes to substitute for chicken broth, you’ll want to add one cube per cup of water. It’s worth noting here that most bouillon brands aren’t as complex tasting as actual chicken broth. You can easily add more interest to your recipe by adding a little more seasoning. Try onion powder, garlic powder, basil, tarragon, dill, sage, or a poultry seasoning blend depending on the taste profile you’re hoping to achieve. Gourmet Garden offers a fantastic herb pairing guide that you’ll find very helpful when deciding which flavors will best complement your dish.

Speaking of bouillon cubes, just about any chicken, “not chick’n” or vegetable bouillon variety can easily serve as a replacement for chicken broth. In most cases, you get one cup of broth per cube, but some brands offer larger cubes that make multiple servings. Let package directions be your guide and you’ll find it’s very simple to add wonderful flavor to your recipes.

DIY Bouillon Powder

If you have a well-stocked pantry but you’re all out of bouillon, you can easily make a powdered chicken broth substitute. This also happens to be a suitable chicken broth replacement for vegans and vegetarians, and it’s perfect for adding a touch of rich, savory flavor to everything from basic veggies to mashed potatoes to sauces and beyond.

Basic Chicken Bouillon Substitute Recipe

1 cup nutritional yeast

3 tablespoons salt

2 tablespoons each:


garlic powder

onion powder






1 tablespoon each:  

celery seed


black or white pepper



Don’t worry if you’re missing one or two of the herbs. In fact, you can replace all of them with ¾ to 1 cup of poultry seasoning or another favorite spice blend. If the spice blend you’re using contains salt, then you’ll want to omit the salt from this homemade chicken bouillon recipe.

1. Combine all ingredients in the blender or food processer, then process on high to create a fine powder.

2. Use 1 tablespoon of this powder chicken broth per 1 cup of hot water to make 1 cup of homemade chickenless broth.

Store your substitute chicken broth (or should I say unchicken broth) in an airtight container between uses.

Bases: Better Than Bouillon & More

If you happen to have a base such as Better than Bouillon on hand, you can use it as a chicken broth replacement, even if it’s a flavor other than chicken. While a beef or pork flavored base probably won’t work very well, vegetable base, roasted garlic base, no-chicken vegetarian base, and chicken base are all perfectly acceptable substitutes for chicken broth. These are among my favorite replacements since each jar makes more than 30 servings of broth but take up very little space in the refrigerator.


If you’re in a pinch, you can easily use water as a substitute for chicken broth – or any other type of broth, for that matter. Try to add a bit of onion, garlic, bay leaves, and other complementary herbs to your recipe to enhance the flavor, and consider adding up to a tablespoon of butter, olive oil, or another cooking oil to the pot for every cup of water you use. This will add quite a bit of richness. If you want a deeper golden color, add a little bit of turmeric if you happen to have it on hand. Just ½ teaspoon is enough to add a nice touch of yellow to a pot of soup without changing the flavor.

With a little bit of creativity and a few simple ingredients that you probably have on hand, you can easily replace chicken broth in any recipe. Have fun with the process and be sure to taste test so that you can add a little more herb or salt flavor if you feel like it’s necessary. Once you’ve discovered how delicious chicken broth replacements can be, you might never go back to the boxed or canned variety!