What are the differences and which is healthier?

One of the great mysteries when cooking certain dishes may be whether to choose broth or broth. They are often talked about and used in place of others, although there are significant differences in preparation and nutritional profiles.

Both add flavor to recipes, although broth can be used as a soup, while broth is traditionally used as a base. Every cook has likely used one or the other in a pinch, and this article clears up the confusion and provides ways to use both. Also, because cooking from scratch can be overwhelming for the novice chef, there are many good store-bought versions we recommend at the end of this article.

Keep in mind that soups, broths, and broths are notorious for being loaded with sodium, so check labels before you buy them and look for varieties that are labeled “low sodium” or “salt free,” as it can add easily pop out if needed.

What is the action?

Stock can serve as the base for many dishes, and while stock generally contains fewer ingredients than stock, store-bought varieties can be more expensive due to being more labor-intensive to produce.

The broth is typically made with bones instead of meat, and herbs are often used to boost the flavor profile and add a dose of antioxidants. Broth is thicker than broth due to the viscosity of the collagen, it also contains more calories, fat, protein, vitamins and minerals than you will find in broth.

bone broth made from chicken

Madeleine_Steinbach//fake images

In recent years, broth has gained popularity as a drinking beverage, commonly known as bone broth, due to the rise of the Paleo, Whole30, and keto diets. The name “bone broth” creates a lot of confusion because it is actually a broth and not a broth. Bone broth is associated with many unsubstantiated health benefits, although a recent study showed that it may be beneficial for people with gastrointestinal disorders, such as ulcerative colitis, due to its anti-inflammatory properties.

In addition to drinking, broth is commonly used to make sauces, soups, and stews, and can add a vitamin and mineral boost when used to prepare grains.

  • 86 calories
  • 8g of carbohydrates
  • 6g of protein
  • 3g of total fat
  • 0g of fiber
  • 3.7g sugar
  • 5.4% DV of Potassium
  • 2% DV magnesium
  • 5.2% DV phosphorus

What is broth?

The broth is usually a clear soup, and is routinely made by simmering chicken and/or beef and vegetables to create a flavorful, lighter-bodied liquid. There are also variations of fish and shellfish. Carrots, celery, onion, garlic, and herbs are typically used to make broth in addition to animal meat, although many other vegetables can be used as well.

meat broth with parsley in a bowl closeup horizontal top view

ALL//fake images

Most recipes call for chicken and beef, and it cooks for much less time than stock because meat tends to cook too quickly if simmered too long. It can be consumed as is, and while many people drink broth as well, it doesn’t contain as much collagen, vitamins, minerals, and anti-inflammatory benefits as those found in stock. That said, it can be used in many of the same ways as broth, and is often found as a main ingredient in soup and stir-fry recipes.

  • 15 calories
  • 1g of carbohydrates
  • 6g of protein
  • 0.5 g total fat
  • 0g of fiber
  • 0g sugar
  • 1% DV of potassium
  • <1% DV magnesium
  • <1% DV phosphorus


The main difference between broth and broth is that broth is made from animal bones and herbs by simmering over low heat for many hours, resulting in a gel-like consistency that contains collagen from the bones. The broth often tastes richer and more substantial due to the higher fat content of the collagen and the longer cooking method. The bones used to make the broth are often roasted to add more depth of flavor, especially beef bones.

Stock, on the other hand, is made from simmering meat, vegetables, and herbs, and can be cooked for much less time, within thirty minutes if necessary.

Also, as more people adopt vegan and plant-based diets, vegetable broth and vegetable broth have grown in popularity, although there is less of a difference between these two because they are not made with bones and collagen is not produced.

Which is healthier?

Generally, store-bought broth contains more vitamins and minerals per cup than store-bought broth. It contains more than twice the electrolytes and is a good source of potassium. It is higher in protein, carbohydrates, fat, and calories and contains 86 calories per cup versus 15 calories found in broth.

Which one is best for you really depends on your individual goals and needs. If you’re an athlete and lose a lot of sweat while exercising, stocks may be a better option for you due to the higher electrolyte content. If you’re working toward a weight loss goal, broth may be a better fit for your lifestyle due to fewer calories.

A few things to remember with both options, adding herbs, garlic, and onions can help boost antioxidant levels, and again, both can be high in sodium.

Bouillon, stock cubes, and bone broth

  • Consume: Bouillon is often confused with broth, but it’s actually regular broth that’s been cleared up. To achieve clarity, the broth is simmered with egg white and eggshells, then strained. It is completely clear with no cloudiness and the fat has been removed.
  • Broth: Bouillon (bouillon in French) is made from dehydrated bouillon and is usually sold in the form of cubes, powder, or paste. Stock dissolves in water and is often used in place of broth or broth. It can be high in sodium, so look for low-sodium versions if you shop.
  • bone broth: As discussed above, bone broth is a strained broth and is popular as a sipping beverage, especially with Paleo and keto diets. Many recipes and commercial versions add apple or lemon cider vinegar to help break down collagen.
chicken broth recipe

mike garden



  • 1 small chicken (2½ to 3 lbs.) (*note that this recipe calls for the whole chicken with meat and bones)
  • 1 large onion (8 oz), quartered (leaving the skin on is fine)
  • 2 medium carrots (4 oz), trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 2 celery stalks (4 oz), trimmed and coarsely chopped
  • 8 sprigs of parsley
  • 4 sprigs of thyme
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 6 peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf


  1. Place the chicken in a large pot (it should be tall and narrow rather than short and wide) and cover with cold water (about 8 cups).
  2. Be sure to use a pot that is a few inches taller than the chicken. This allows the water to flow around the ingredients and extract the most flavor. It will also make it easier to remove anything that rises to the surface.
  3. Gently bring the water to a simmer. While simmering, skim and discard anything that rises to the top. Cook over low heat for 30 minutes.
  4. Add the onion, carrots, and celery and continue to cook on low heat for another 1 1/2 hours.
  5. Prepare the bouquet garni (also known as a cheesecloth-wrapped herb bundle): Arrange the parsley, thyme, garlic, peppercorns, and bay leaf on top of a folded piece of cheesecloth. Wrap and tie with twine.
  6. Using this in your broth is like adding a tea bag – it will help infuse the flavor of the herbs into the broth, while still being easy to remove.
  7. Add the bouquet garni to the pot and simmer until the chicken is super-tender and the broth is very flavorful, 30 to 45 minutes (adding the herb packet too soon can cause the flavors to cook out completely or contaminate). become opaque).
  8. Transfer the chicken and vegetables to a large bowl and season the broth with salt. Shred the meat, discarding the skin and bones, and reserve to serve with soup or use for another recipe.
  9. Cover a colander with rinsed cheesecloth (place over another pot or measuring cup) and pour the broth into it. This will catch any extra bits left in the broth.
  10. Transfer broth to jars or containers and refrigerate up to 5 days or freeze up to 3 months.


  • 4 pounds of chicken pieces or bones
  • 2 carrots
  • 2 medium onions
  • 2 stalks of celery
  • 1 washed leek (optional)
  • A bouquet garni, consisting of 1 bay leaf, 1/4 teaspoon fennel seed, 1 teaspoon thyme, 6 parsley sprigs, 6 peppercorns, and 3 whole garlic cloves, wrapp


  1. Place the bones (and chicken, if you’re using one) in a large pot of water to cover them well. Bring to a simmer, skimming as necessary to keep the broth free of scum.
  2. Add the vegetables and simmer very gently, uncovered, for about 3 hours, stirring periodically. (Remove chicken when cooked and tender.) Add water if necessary to keep ingredients covered; do not allow broth to boil. Strain the broth through a strainer into a bowl.
  3. When the broth has cooled, leave it uncovered in the refrigerator for several hours until the fat hardens; to scrape. Use within two days or freeze.

brand recommendations

If you’re short on time or if homemade broth or stock isn’t for you, we’ve rounded up some of our favorite store-bought items:

Beef Bone Broth Soup
Kettle & Fire Beef Bone Broth Soup
Organic Chicken Broth
Pacific Foods Organic Chicken Broth
Unsalted Vegetable Broth
Cooking Basics Unsalted Vegetable Broth
Home Style Bone Broth
Dr. Kellyann Homestyle Bone Broth

The bottom line: Stock and broth can elevate and enhance many recipes. The broth is traditionally made with bones and herbs, contains collagen produced from the ingredients, and has a longer cooking time. In terms of flavor, the broth is the winner. The broth is made mostly of meat, vegetables, and herbs and takes less time to cook. Broth is often the base of chicken soup. Broth and vegetable broth are popular plant-based options, but they don’t include protein or collagen because they don’t include bones or meat. Due to the similarities between broth and broth, in a pinch, one can be used instead of the other.

Headshot of Amy Fischer MS, RD, CDN

contributing writer

Amy (she/her) is a Registered Dietitian in the Good Housekeeping Institute’s Nutrition Lab, covering nutrition and health related content and product testing. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism from Ohio’s Miami University and a master’s degree in clinical nutrition from NYU. Before Good Housekeeping, worked at one of the largest teaching hospitals in New York City as a heart transplant dietitian. She has authored numerous chapters in clinical nutrition textbooks and has also worked in public relations and marketing for food startups.