And what about bone broth?

Stock — whether it's made from beef, chicken, pork, or seafood — is the very foundation of so many classic recipes, from velvety sauces to comforting soups. But how is it different from broth? And what about bone broth? The trendy hot beverage that fans say is something of a cure-all. Let's break down the essential differences between stock and broth.

What Is Stock?

102659579 plain stock photo by meredith publishing
Chicken stock. Photo by Meredith Publishing

The most basic stock is made from bones, water, and mirepoix (a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery) that are slowly simmered over a long period of time. The extended cooking time gently draws flavor and coaxes collagen from bones. The collagen is what gives the stock its jiggly texture when chilled.

Of course, there are many variations on the basic stock. There's no wrong answer when it comes to seasoning stock, but if it's going to be used in a recipe, keep it simple. Seasoned cooks know that including too much can affect the taste of the final recipe, making it too salty or too herbaceous.

102679805 chicken stock photo by meredith

What Is Vegetarian Stock?

Meatless variations of stock follow the same principle, cooking ingredients slowly over a long period of time to extract maximum flavor. Richer variations of vegetarian stock call for roasted or caramelized veggies, tomato paste, and smoked salts. Like the meat-based versions, it's important not to over-season stock that will be used in other recipes.

What Is Bone Broth?

Despite its name, bone broth is essentially stock that is simmered for a longer time. This results in a thicker, more collagen-rich broth that's often sipped on its own. And, while bone broth bars will likely never replace the ubiquitous coffeehouse, serving cups of bone broth has gained ground in recent years.

Stock Vs. Broth: What's the Difference?

Marge's Bone Broth
Photo by Allrecipes Magazine

The difference between stock and broth is in the bones. Stock is always cooked with bones, but not necessarily with meat. Broth on the other hand is technically any liquid that has meat cooked in it, which may or may not contain bones. The final result is a much thinner liquid than stock that doesn't gel when chilled. And unlike stock, broth is often taken a step further with the addition of herbs and spices, and other ingredients.

Finally, don't confuse stock or broth with bouillon cubes or granules. Those are highly concentrated versions of a broth that's used as a shortcut.

Check out our collection of Broth and Stock Recipes.

Here's More on Stock/Broth

By Leslie Kelly and Melanie Fincher