This versatile ingredient is one that you don't want to run out of! Turn to a chicken broth substitute that you likely have in your pantry or fridge for those rare times that you're out. You can also make your own using our super simple recipe!

chicken broth in a jar, from Shelf Cooking

Chicken broth is one of those pantry staples that you should always have in stock. It's used in a variety of recipes, like soups, casseroles and rice. You never want to run out of it because it's so versatile in the kitchen. Inevitably, there will come a time in your cooking life that you use the last of it, go to reach for another box or can and realize that you're completely out… Dun, dun, dunnnn!

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Before freaking out too much and making a quick trip to the store, use a chicken broth substitute and keep on keepin' on. Better yet, learn how to make chicken broth and never worry about running out again! We're bringing you the easiest recipe that you can make overnight in your slow cooker and freeze for future use. So let's get to it, shelf cookers!


We see this question a lot… A recipe calls for stock and you've only got broth. Can you use it? What's the difference between stock and broth, anyways? It's really quite a simple, not near as complicated or complex as you would've thought!

Stock is made from simmering a mixture of bones, vegetables and seasonings together for a long period of time. Since it's made from bones, the texture will be slightly thicker than broth, but will still have a very robust flavor. Broth is made from simmering a mixture of meats, vegetables and seasonings together and is a little bit lighter in flavor than stock.

While there is a difference between stock and broth, you can use them interchangeably in recipes! There may be some professional chefs who would say otherwise, but we won't tell if you won't. 😉


You just learned that you can use chicken stock as a chicken broth substitute. Now, let's go over a few of the other store-bought items you can use in a pinch. If you have beef or vegetable broth, feel free to use whatever you've got. It will probably change the flavor of the dish a little bit depending on how much you use, but it will still taste great!

Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base is probably our favorite go-to bouillon item to use as a chicken broth substitute. You add 1 teaspoon to 8 ounces (1 cup) of boiling water. It's so flavorful, once you start using it, you may never go back to using the canned type! You can also use chicken bouillon cubes and chicken bouillon granules by adding them to boiling water and turning them into a broth before continuing on with your recipe.

If you have absolutely none of that in your pantry or fridge and you don't feel like making your own, we do have one last thing for you to try before running to the store! Mix a cup of water with a tablespoon of melted butter or olive oil. You may need to add a few extra seasonings to your recipe to give it a little extra somethin' somethin', such as onion powder, bay leaves, and garlic.

OR you can make some homemade chicken broth with our easy peasy recipe and never worry about running out again!


chicken broth ingredients on a counter, from Shelf Cooking

It couldn't be any simpler to make your own chicken broth. All it takes is some raw chicken or leftover chicken bones, a few veggies and you'll be on your way to making your very own homemade chicken broth in no time.

Pro Tip: If you use whole cuts of chicken, don't throw the meat out once you're done! It's great to use in a soup or casserole.


Now, let's go over the easiest recipe on how to make chicken broth overnight… It's such a breeze, you'll be wondering why you've never made some before!

chicken broth in a jar, from Shelf Cooking

Homemade Chicken Broth

Use this super easy recipe to make homemade chicken broth overnight in your slow cooker. It makes enough to freeze and use for multiple meals! You can use leftover bones or whole cuts of chicken, whatever you've got that you can use.
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 10 hrs
Total Time 10 hrs 10 mins
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 2 quarts


  • Leftover bones or whole cuts of chicken
  • 2 carrots, chopped
  • 2 stalks celery, chopped
  • 2 parsnips, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 large onion, cut into wedges
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • Water (enough to cover all ingredients)


  • Add all ingredients to a lined slow cooker.
  • Cover with water by 2 inches (leave a minimum of 2 inches from the top of the cooker) and set to low.
  • Cook for 10 to 12 hours overnight. You may have to reset your slow cooker at some point if it has a timer!
  • Strain the broth through a fine-mesh strainer, then store in jars in the fridge.
  • After 8+ hours, skim the fat from the surface before freezing.
Keyword Chicken Broth, Homemade Stock

Chicken broth cooking while you sleep? Yes, please!


Once you make it, you can store it tightly covered in the refrigerator for 4-5 days, in the freezer for 6-9 months, or pressure can it for a year. Once it's cooled, we suggest freezing it in various ways so no matter what you need it for, you can easily grab some out of your freezer! Use an ice cube tray for those times you need a few tablespoons.

Other common portions to freeze are in half cup, one cup and two cups. You can freeze them in freezer bags (removing all the air first!) or in a jar. Larger quantities are normal for soups, so you could also freeze some in 6 to 8-cup servings.

And now you're a chicken broth substitute CHAMP! Have you ever made your own before? Let us know in the comments!

Image with text that reads "chicken broth substitute" from Shelf Cooking

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Happy brothing!