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How to Make Great Vegetable Broth

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It's easy, healthy, and delicious.

Homemade vegetable broth is easy to make and so much healthier and more flavorful than anything that you can buy in a supermarket. It's versatile, with uses that go far beyond making vegetable soup. Best of all, making homemade vegetable stock is as easy as throwing some vegetables and water in a pot.

Keep reading for detailed instructions for making your own homemade, vegetarian vegetable broth.

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Vegetable broth recipe

Are you looking for a recipe for homemade vegetable broth? Well, here it is: Throw a bunch of vegetables (scraps, skins, whatever) in a big pot with some water, salt, and pepper, and let it simmer for a while. Then strain it.

You just made homemade vegetable broth.

It is so simple, useful, and economical that there really is no excuse for using a canned broth that tastes like little more than salt water, which is essentially what it is. Homemade vegetable stock can be used in soups, sauces, and lots of other dishes you may not have thought of. If you're dieting or just trying to eat better, you can use vegetable broth to add fat-free flavor and nutrition to almost any savory dish.

Keep reading for details on how to make it, what to do with it, and why you should bother.

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No, really, what is the recipe for vegetable broth?

Still not sure? Here it is, step by step.

  1. Use a very large pot, preferably a stockpot.
  2. Put in just about any vegetables at all. You don't need to chop them unless they won't fit in the pot. In most cases, you don't even have to peel them, because the skins are loaded with flavor and vitamins, and texture will not be an issue when the finished product is strained. Refer to this list for more information on which vegetables to use.
  3. Take some garlic cloves, smack them with the side of a large knife to break them up a bit, and throw them in the pot, peel and all.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and any fresh or dried herbs you choose. I usually use a bunch of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley.
  5. Pour in one gallon of water.
  6. Heat to boiling, then lower the heat and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the broth to cool a little.
  8. Pour or ladle through a fine strainer, and you're done!

This makes enough broth for two pots of soup, but you can freeze it in smaller portions for other uses as described in this list.

fresh carrots

fresh carrots

Choose your veggies

You really can use any vegetables at all to make a great vegetable stock. I never make one without onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms, but beyond that you can change it up to suit your needs and use up whatever you have on hand. Homemade vegetable broth is a great way to salvage any fresh vegetables in your refrigerator or pantry that are past their prime, and you also may want to vary your choices based on what you plan to do with a particular batch of broth.

  • Onions - Any kind, skins included. If they look dirty, remove the outermost layer of skin or wipe with a damp paper towel. Halve or quarter larger onions.
  • Celery - Include the leafy green tops. Cut the stalks just enough to fit them in the pot.
  • Carrots - No need to peel them. Just scrub them and throw them in, or use the ready-to-eat kind and dump in the whole bag.
  • Mushrooms - These are really good for making a richer, darker broth. I always use at least white button mushrooms in my vegetable broth, and I use portobellos when I want a darker broth, like for French onion soup.
  • Bell peppers
  • Parsnips
  • Spinach
  • Leeks - Be sure to cut them up and clean them, because they usually have a lot of dirt between the layers.
  • Tomato - A particularly good addition if you'll be using the broth for something like minestrone soup.
  • Fennel bulb - Halved or quartered, with greens.
  • Turnips - Cut in large pieces.
  • Zucchini
  • Just about any vegetable scraps - Potato peel, broccoli and cauliflower stems, green bean ends.

For extra flavor, try adding fresh herbs or wine.

Equipment Needed

You probably have everything you need for this veggie broth recipe with the possible exception of a stockpot and strainer. There is really no way around the strainer, but you could make broth in smaller batches if your pot is not large enough for lots of vegetables and a gallon of water.

Image: aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Image: aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It's not just for soup...

There are lots of uses for vegetable stock besides making soup. Here are a few.

  • Add some vegetable broth to a roux for a flavorful white sauce.
  • Cook rice with broth instead of water for added flavor, and you can cut back on high-calorie gravy or butter.
  • Add broth to mashed potatoes in place of some or all of the milk for a diet-friendly alternative with extra nutritional value.
  • Freeze broth in an ice cube tray and grab a cube or two for thinning sauces.
  • Sauté mushrooms in a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil. Stir a few tablespoons of flour into some broth and boil it for a minute with the mushrooms for a quick mushroom sauce for pasta or grilled meat.
canned vegetable broth

canned vegetable broth

Why not just use a can of broth from the grocery store?

I've been known to use canned broth, but it just doesn't compare in flavor to homemade. Canned broth is loaded with sodium, and it tastes like it. Homemade vegetable broth has all of the vitamins and flavor of the vegetables you put into it and nothing else. Making your own broth also makes good use of scraps and unused fresh vegetables that would otherwise end up in the garbage. You can make a huge batch of broth in less than two hours and freeze it, and you'll have it on hand whenever you want to throw together a quick soup or healthy side dish.

Personally, I find it rewarding to transform a pile of vegetables I wouldn't otherwise eat into a delicious, fresh soup, and you just can't get that from a can at the grocery store.

Share your tips and favorites here!

nonya222 on November 25, 2013:

I love to make personal portions of soup and this sounds like a great stock to start with, thanks.

anonymous on August 12, 2013:

What can you do with the strained out veggies from the broth?

anonymous on August 12, 2013:

@anonymous: Thanks for the great tip! :)

anonymous on April 09, 2013:

I freeze my broth in ice cube trays and then put them in a ziplock. That way when I have a recipe that only calls for a small amount, I don't have to thaw the entire container.

petertraoassi2 on March 12, 2013:

Yumbo! I love me a good broth.

NejaLovely on March 07, 2013:

Give me some veggie! =)

OrganicMom247 on March 04, 2013:

Great lens. It's always best to make your own broth rather than get a canned one.

Paladins on March 01, 2013:

Good job on this lens. I especially liked the tip about saving vegetable scraps to the freezer as it is a nice way to save some money on the veggies that you have already paid for.

Christine and Peter Broster from Tywyn Wales UK on February 28, 2013:

It is always so handy to have a good vegetable broth at hand for use in so many recipes.

ChefWilliam on February 28, 2013:

Whenever I have a few vegetable scraps, I put them in a zip lock back and put them in the freezer. When I need a vegetable stock, I just add all the little bags along with a few carrots, onions and garlic and I'm good to go. nice lens

darciefrench lm on February 27, 2013:

Love this lens - we're big into vegetable soup, I can taste this delicious broth now

greytdogz on February 27, 2013:

Great info. I do this all the time for homemade soups but never thought of make broth for other uses too. Thanks.

Tim Bader from Surrey, UK on February 27, 2013:

Yum! My wife makes a very good version of this and we even had some this weekend.

SteveKaye on February 26, 2013:

Wonderful ideas. I'm glad I found this lens. Thank you for publishing it.

Rose Jones on February 26, 2013:

A great stock is essential, thanks for nudging us to do this. Pinned to my vegetarian board and blessed.

DebW07 on February 25, 2013:

I'm looking forward to making this broth, thanks!

ohheyjude on February 25, 2013:

thought I will try to make it myself.

Alessandro Zamboni from Italy on February 25, 2013:

Great lens, this broth must be excellent!

Susan Holland from Southwest Missouri on February 24, 2013:

I LOVE this idea. I can salsa, so this sounds wonderful. Not chopping the vegetables up sounds so nice and easy. Thanks for these great ideas. I am trying this. :-)

maryseena on February 23, 2013:

A wholesome broth recipe. Thank you for sharing it.

Allison Whitehead on February 21, 2013:

Excellent lens with some useful info. Blessed :)

makorip lm on February 21, 2013:

You're right, any homemade soup excels and with your great recipes they are all winners.

Linda Jo Martin from Post Falls, Idaho, USA on February 21, 2013:

Great ideas... I need to make more vegetable broth. Unfortunately I'll have to leave the onions and garlic out because they cause problems with my skin. I miss them!! But fresh veggies are always good.

anonymous on February 21, 2013:

Your vegetable broth recipe sounds delicious! yummy i like it!!

SEOgeek1 on February 21, 2013:

might be testy recipe

Weremuffin on February 19, 2013:

The rice idea is brilliant! Thanks for this vegetable broth lens.

Karen from U.S. on February 19, 2013:

I love this idea! We compost our vegetable scraps and old vegetables, but it would be much better to be able to use them for something like vegetable broth.

JadaFuego on February 19, 2013:

as much as I cook on a regular basis.. making a vegetable broth is a great idea!! I never thought of that!

Leila from Belgium on February 19, 2013:

Hmmmm yummy!!!

miaponzo on February 18, 2013:

Your vegetable broth recipe sounds delicious! Blessed!

Rosetta Slone from Under a coconut tree on February 17, 2013:

I make a batch of broth every couple of weeks and freeze it (we go through a lot in risottos, soups and more). I make it overnight in the slow cooker so there's no need to keep an eye on it.

petelovestoread on February 17, 2013:

Great lens! I encourage all of my cooks to save their scraps for veggie broth. We use it in soups, sauces, and even chili.

Tom on February 17, 2013:

Homemade broth is definitely the way to go. Nice lens!

ChefWilliam on February 16, 2013:

Any time I can make a homemade broth before buying that canned stuff I will do it. I agree with Allie, place all your peeling scraps in a zip lock bag and pop them into the freezer until you are ready to make broth.

jolou on February 16, 2013:

Canned soups also have other additives like taste enhancers and probably MSG too. Plus as you say home made tastes so much better, and it's easy to do.

anonymous on February 16, 2013:

Great lens

Soldiersister8184 on February 16, 2013:

Awesome. :) Point in favor, here, this sounds kid-friendly. Always looking for ways to get my boys involved in the kitchen! Thank you.

anonymous on February 16, 2013:

Great lens!

aquarian_insight on February 16, 2013:

This is seriously a great way to use up those poor veggies languishing at the bottom of the fridge. Home made vegetable stock is perfect for risotto and really kicks up the flavour a few notches! Brilliant lens!

Makster01 on February 15, 2013:

I love vegetable broth! Thanks for the great tips.

daveyjoe57 on February 15, 2013:

Oddly I'm drinking a veggie broth as I read this...Must be fate...I fast at least one day a week in which I usually have a few cups of veggie broth. Great lens!

Aster56 on January 05, 2013:

Love vegetable broth.

imagelist lm on December 23, 2012:

Great lens with valuable info...

samuel2013 on November 07, 2012:

anything with garlic, onions, celery, and peppers

aduden on October 19, 2012:

@anonymous: I don't freeze it. I actually can it in quart jars, I do not have that much freezer space and don't really want to but another one. :) I have in the past froze some in gsallon frezzer bags and lay them flat to freeze, takes up less space that way.

anonymous on October 19, 2012:

I have been doing this for years. Another good tip is to freeze what fresh veggies you can't get to in time. I save all my vegetable scraps and freeze them just for this use. It really does have amazing flavor!

anonymous on October 12, 2012:

. Sounds so yummy and tasty I love fresh homemade vegetable broth no more can broth for me !!!

anonymous on October 12, 2012:

. Sounds so yummy and tasty I love fresh homemade vegetable broth no more can broth for me !!!

anonymous on October 09, 2012:

I always thought that the "store-bought" broth was a "rip-off". Can anyone imagine paying .99 for a 10 oz can of sodium-loaded veggie broth? Yet, I see it in grocery carts all the time. "Ignorance is a horrible disease" ... and expensive, too!! I have a Vita-Mix (a world-class kitchen appliance) that I use each and every day. I am going to "experiment" with the veggie "base" and puree it and then bring it to a boil ... I'll "report back"!! ;-)

wirrun on October 09, 2012:

Yummy! Must try this out - thanks :)

anonymous on October 05, 2012:

I am looking forward to trying this, I was just thinking this week, "I either need to find a way to compost at my town home or I need to make broth". Ask and It is Given :-)

anonymous on October 03, 2012:

thanks for sharing

texan203 lm on October 01, 2012:

Sounds so delicious and simple to make. Thanks for the information.

anonymous on October 01, 2012:

Very informative lens. To reduce weight it is recommended that you drink a fresh vegetable broth before your main meal to help in reducing calories and increase fibre

gardendoll426 on October 01, 2012:

Great lens! And perfect soup weather is upon us, I can't wait to try this!

casquid on October 01, 2012:

Mouthwatering!

prairiescape on October 01, 2012:

Sounds great. I make borscht (beet soup all the time) and I usually add vegetable stock (from a carton). But this recipe makes me think that I could probably just add water and the flavor would be just as good, as I already use lots of vegetables and some salt.

June Nash on October 01, 2012:

This is something that I want to start doing. I like the idea of freezing the extra broth. After I make the broth, I may not have an immediate need to use it, but would like to have it available for when I want it.

masunyoananda on September 29, 2012:

Very interesting and very easy too. Thanks for sharing...Blessed...:)

sunlightseer on September 29, 2012:

Homemade broth has so much more flavor and is much more nutritious. Thanks for sharing how simple it is. Great job.

kiratalley on September 26, 2012:

This is the perfect recipe for when my sister comes over, she's vegetarian so she doesn't like me using chicken stock for my cooking.

Stephen J Parkin from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada on September 26, 2012:

This just goes to show how you can really cook just about anything. Some of our best food has been when we thought we had nothing to eat. Going around the fridge and putting together stuff that works can lead to many interesting, and tasty meals

moonlitta on September 26, 2012:

Oh the homemade broth:)....

moonlitta on September 26, 2012:

Oh the homemade broth:)....

anonymous on September 26, 2012:

@anonymous: I just made 3 gallons of broth. I will freeze it in 16 oz. plastic square containers, the same I use foot my soups. I have over 150 soups in my freezer, now I need some broth to make pasta fagioli.

lewisgirl on September 24, 2012:

Love your ideas here!

anonymous on September 21, 2012:

Well worth the effort! Well Worth it! Easy & very simple! I use nothing other than what I've made! I measure out 2-4c & put it in a freezer safe sealable bag, squeeze the air out & pop the bags into the freezer! :-)

Ramona from Arkansas on September 08, 2012:

Very informative. I make soups all the time but, this never crossed my mind to do! this is a great idea for cleaning out your refrigerator. just grab all the vegetables that are left over and throw in a pot for later uses as you described. Excellent Lens! To bad I'm not a Squid Angel. I would throw you some Angel dust all over this lens. LOL.....

anonymous on August 27, 2012:

excellent article, vegetable are great , absolutely great for our helth...

anonymous on August 25, 2012:

@anonymous: I use mason jars to freeze the stock into serving sizes. They stack nicely in the fridge and are reusable. I just measure out a serving amount and freeze :)

anonymous on August 23, 2012:

You make it sound so easy, there's no excuse not to try it. Well done!

anonymous on August 02, 2012:

this was so much fun and very easy. I will never buy store broth again. Does anyone have any ideas to freeze this in easy to use, measured ways?

anonymous on May 04, 2012:

g

KateHonebrink on April 15, 2012:

Love your vegetable broth directions. I've recently started making all my own chicken broth and it is so far superior to that purchased from the grocery store! I am going to make it a point to make a vegetable broth, just to say I did it! Thanks for a super lens!

anonymous on March 22, 2012:

For a less waste version, save up your vegetable peels, unused parts of your veggies, etc. in the freezer until you have enough to fill half of your stock pot. Throw water over it and season, and follow the same cooking!

anonymous on February 28, 2012:

i use mine as a mix with v-8 and make a hot drink in the morning instead of the usuall breakfast fare

anonymous on February 27, 2012:

I loved this idea. I was able to add anything I wanted and it turned out great.

pyngthyngs on January 27, 2012:

I am definitely going to add this to our kitchen file.

JessyGene on January 27, 2012:

nice lens

parwatisingari lm on January 26, 2012:

This is one of favorites too. I throw in some onions too.

Edutopia on January 26, 2012:

Broths and sauces are almost always very uncomplicated and easy to make and taste worlds apart from their store bought counterparts. A shame that more people don't take the time to make their own. A few hours on a Saturday or Sunday can give you enough to last the whole week!

lyttlehalfpint from Canada on January 25, 2012:

Great lens, I can't wait to try some of these lens.

miaponzo on January 25, 2012:

Simple but yummy recipe! Thanks! Blessed!

hughgrissettsr lm on January 24, 2012:

very tasty lens!

gardenermom on January 23, 2012:

A well-written and useful lens! Thanks!

anonymous on January 22, 2012:

Great idea! I am a vegetarian and always have a hard time finding good vegetable broth! Thanks for the inspiration!

anonymous on January 19, 2012:

@anonymous: That is an awesome idea Laura! I'll be looking for a large container for my freezer tonight!

anonymous on January 18, 2012:

what do you do with all the vegetables after you've strained it

Greenwickpress on January 15, 2012:

Sounds like making meat broth, but with less cooking time. Nice.

anonymous on December 22, 2011:

Made my first batch of vegetable broth today, inspired by your recipe. It's delicious! Thank you! I look forward to trying your French Onion Soup recipe. :)

Adriana from New Market on December 22, 2011:

I always make my own: much tastier and healthier1

anonymous on December 19, 2011:

I keep a large dish in the freezer. Every time I peel carrots/potatoes/onions/seed a green pepper/etc I save the parts I'm not cooking and throw them in the dish. Once it's full I have lots of ingredients on hand to make a nice big batch of vegetable broth to freeze :) I use to think people who did this were crazy when they could just open a can, but once I realized just how much salt and sugar were used in the foods at the grocery store, I started making my own everything - juice, condiments, you name it! A little extra work but my taste buds sure know the difference now!

Blackspaniel1 on December 17, 2011:

Nice lens

River_Rose on December 14, 2011:

Thanks....great recipes !

daphnedangerlov1 on November 25, 2011:

I love making my own broth. Soup is so much better with homemade! Usually I do it in the crockpot though, and I always use a green pepper along with whatever veggies are in the crisper!

benzwm021 lm on November 08, 2011:

From one vegetarian to another, thanks for this info! I love soup and it should be an easy vegertarian meal, but so many are made with chicken or beef broth. It's so infuriating, Check out by animal-friendly lens at https://hubpages.com/animals/be-truly-cruelty-free and let me know what you think!

JoyfulReviewer on November 08, 2011:

This is something I definitely plan to make. Thanks for a nicely informative lens!

anonymous on October 30, 2011:

this is something simple that can also be made from things right out of the garden. Very healthy and delicious

HuntAndFishGuides on October 28, 2011:

Making vegetable broth this way is 100 times healthier than the canned kind. Great lens.

Sara Krentz from USA on October 23, 2011:

I don't know why I never thought to make my own before, but I will definitely try this - low sodium and no BPAs.