Pop Quiz: What’s the difference between Broth and Stock?

Every great soup starts with a stock, or a broth. While colloquially we might use the terms stock and broth interchangeability, there’s a technical difference between the two. Stock is made using bones. Broth is usually not.

The bones add a rich and strong flavor to soups. The “meat only” in broth makes for a blander result.

If you’re buying a prepared broth or stock, read the labels carefully. The distinction in many cases does not exist.  Because broth has less flavor, it may have more additives like MSG and flavor concentrates. But stock can have these as well.

You should seek a low sodium option, as you can always add more salt at home.

Bonus: Chicken Stock Recipe 

DIY chicken stock is easier than you think. Here’s a simple recipe that will yield about 12 cups of stock.

  • 1 whole chicken (rinsed, patted dry, and then separated)
  • 1 cup roughly chopped onion (no need to peel)
  • 1 cup chopped carrot
  • 1/2 cup chopped celery
  • 1 pinch dried thyme
  • 1 bay leaf (optional)
  • 10 peppercorns (optional)
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 14 cups of water (3 1/2 quarts)

Combine all ingredients in stock pot and add water. Bring to a boil on high heat. Remove scum floating on top. Cook on low heat until the chicken is done (about 40 minutes). Strain into a large bowl and press on vegetables to get out as much stock. Refrigerate overnight so that you can remove the fat which will harden at the surface of the liquid.

Notes:
1. If you’re making stock for future use, there’s still stuff to do with the leftover chicken meat. You can make chicken salad, stir fry or sandwiches.
2. Freeze excess stock in ice cube trays, small plastic containers or glass jars and add to rice dishes, stir fry or pasta sauce.
Enjoy!

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  • AB

    Don’t rinse the chicken. It just spreads bacteria all over your kitchen.
    http://barfblog.foodsafety.ksu.edu/blog/151364/11/11/10/less-vomit-more-cheer-top-5-ways-barf-free-thanksgiving

    • Corey

      Absolutely do not rinse the chicken, AB has it right. I wish this blog could focus on actual food safety every once in awhile. 

    • Corey

      Absolutely do not rinse the chicken, AB has it right. I wish this blog could focus on actual food safety every once in awhile. 

      • Corey

        Also, be sure to cool down the stock as quickly as possible if you’re making it at home, one great method is to have several partially filled water bottles frozen and ready to put into the stock after you’re done straining. Then transfer to a few shallow pans to put in the fridge to let it cool down quicker. If you put the whole big pot of stock in the fridge hot you’ll end up with warm stock and a warm refrigerator, putting everything in your fridge in the danger zone (40-140F).

        • Gerome

          No, the termperature in the refrigerator will not rise. The refrigerator’s compressor will run longer to maintain temperature. Your advice is good as far as cooling the stock in smaller batches to get the temp lowered faster, but unless you have a broken refrigerator, or are using a wee little dorm-style refrigerator, there is no need to go to heroics to cool your food.

          http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/refrigeration_&_food_safety/index.asp#4

          Rinsing the bird? Sure, a problem if you go crazy with the sprayer and splash stuff all over everything in sight. But some common sense, please. I will continue to put my little bird in the bottom of a clean sink, rinse it, pat it dry and transfer it straight to my roasting pan or pot. And should there be a drip from sink to pan, I have my hazmat suit at the ready ;]

          Oh, and “AB”, thanks for the link to the “barf blog”, that advice about not passing a kid with a leaky diaper around the table? That’s one I did not know.

          (I’m happy this blog features common sense most of the time, myself.)

          • Corey

            Why risk with rinsing? It has no benefit and only carries potential risks? And the temperature will rise in the refrigerator because refrigerators are designed to keep food cold, not cool food down – with a large batch of stock all at once (just putting the big pot in) there would be a lot of latent heat due to the high specific heat of the water, though if you split it up into smaller containers you’ll probably be okay.

          • Peter Aguilar

            Man up. My grandmas from El Salvador, and didn’t have a fridge for years. My mom is too, and same story. Food heating up a little wont kill no one unless that human has a crazily weak immune system: heck, babies would be dying all the time with all the things they stick in their mouth. And you know what is ironic? Once my mom and grandma moved to the USA, their health started declining and getting worse. My grandma, whose over 80 and has no ailments and cooked with lard, started getting problems after living here for awhile. The only reason she’s probably faring better than my mom is because she sticks to her traditional diet. So instead of getting all fussy and hissy about rinsing a darn chicken, or the fridge heating up a couple of degrees, how about we start looking more into what they feed the chicken and whats in our ‘food’. Maybe then we’ll make some more progress.

          • Gerome

            Study physics. When you use smaller containers and cool faster, that would mean that you’d heat the ‘fridge MORE not less. Fortunately, your refrigerator can also handle that challenge. Goodness Corey, this is a non-issue.

            Peter — right on. I’m advocating being careless, but all this is just silly.

        • Gerome

          No, the termperature in the refrigerator will not rise. The refrigerator’s compressor will run longer to maintain temperature. Your advice is good as far as cooling the stock in smaller batches to get the temp lowered faster, but unless you have a broken refrigerator, or are using a wee little dorm-style refrigerator, there is no need to go to heroics to cool your food.

          http://www.fsis.usda.gov/factsheets/refrigeration_&_food_safety/index.asp#4

          Rinsing the bird? Sure, a problem if you go crazy with the sprayer and splash stuff all over everything in sight. But some common sense, please. I will continue to put my little bird in the bottom of a clean sink, rinse it, pat it dry and transfer it straight to my roasting pan or pot. And should there be a drip from sink to pan, I have my hazmat suit at the ready ;]

          Oh, and “AB”, thanks for the link to the “barf blog”, that advice about not passing a kid with a leaky diaper around the table? That’s one I did not know.

          (I’m happy this blog features common sense most of the time, myself.)

  • Tcarrithers

    So whats the difference between veggie broth and veggie stock.  And what is vegetarian chicken broth mad of?

  • Tcarrithers

    So whats the difference between veggie broth and veggie stock.  And what is vegetarian chicken broth mad of?

    • Corey

      Technically there is no such thing as a vegetable *stock* because stock, by definition requires bones (which vegetables don’t have), so there it’s just a labeling issue, usually however the brand labels the product. Vegetarian chicken broth is likely just a vegetable-type broth with veggie-ok chicken flavor added.

      • http://bakerymanis.wordpress.com/ andrea devon

        it’s true: vegetarian ‘no chicken’ broth and ‘no beef’ broth are made with vegetables and flavorings to make it reminiscent of animal-based stock. I’ve also used dried mushrooms for a richer ‘meatier’ flavor. Veggie stock is super easy, very economical, and of course, none of those worries about germies! 

  • http://www.facebook.com/paula.jakobs Paula Jakobs

    Another variation on making stock is to first roast a chicken and eat as much of the meat as your family wants. Save any remaining big chunks of meat (like the breast) for sandwiches, and then take the remaining carcass including bones and meat and all and put that in a pot with water and add the veggies mentioned above. 

    That way, you’ve already enjoyed a lot of the meat in a roasted form which is often tastier than just cooked.

  • Louimax de Montréal

    Tip of the day: In a freezer bag, just put all your meat, bones, veggies leftovers, and also the unused veggie parts like asparagus bottoms, brocoli leaves, onion and garlic peels, celery leaves, lettuce hearts, potato peels, etc… When the bag is full, just put all frozen leftovers in a pot, add water, boil it for an hour and voilà!

  • Terrie

    I teach 5th graders how to cook affordable meals
    from scratch and they always start with a roasted whole chicken the first week,
    followed by stock making during week two and topped by making their own soup
    from their stock at week 3.  They are so vested in the process that they
    don’t hesitate to eat it, even though it’s filled with veggies.

    If you add a bit of
    acid (1/2 cup of vinegar or wine) to your stock, you will draw out the calcium
    and marrow and your bone broth will be tastier and much more nutritious.

    We cook our stock
    until the bones begin to fall apart.  Just thought you might enjoy the tip
    from an old soup maker!

    Keep up the good work.

    Terrie Irish

    http://www.kids-cook.org

     

  • Susiedee

    My favorite way to make stock is similar to Paula’s, but I just use the “garbage” from when I prepare vegetables instead of using the veggies themselves. Roast the chicken, roast some carrots and onions to go with it, and use the carrot peelings and onion ends/skin in the stock. It tastes just as good, and you can save your veggies for actually eating them. 

    Americans throw away a lot of food every year; why not use all the food you buy, and use the savings to buy better food?