When you’re cooking, a great way to build flavor in a dish is to use stocks, broths, or consommes instead of water. Different recipes are going to work better with one or the other of these options depending on the final result you’re looking for.
If you have a recipe that calls for a beef consomme you might wonder whether you’re able to substitute it with something else.
Luckily there are lots of simple and delicious alternatives you can try to replicate the rich flavor of a beef consomme.
So what are the best substitutes for beef consomme? You can try using beef broth, beef stock, mushroom broth, beef bouillon, a combination of vegetable broth and soy sauce, a combination of chicken broth and liquid aminos, or an au jus.
Keep reading to discover the best substitutes and how to use them.
What’s The Difference Between Beef Broth, Beef Stock, And Beef Consomme?
Before we look at the best substitutions for beef consomme, it’s important to understand the difference between beef broth, beef stock, and beef consomme.
The main differences between them come down to the ingredients and the cooking process, though all are relatively similar.
Beef stock is a rich, flavorful concoction made from slowly simmering beef bones in water over a long time.
If you want to enhance the flavor, you can roast the bones before you simmer them and add some vegetables such as onions, garlic, and carrots.
To make a simple beef stock follow these directions:
- Preheat your oven to 375°F.
- Place your beef bones in a single layer on a baking sheet. Sprinkle with salt.
- Place in the oven for 10-15 minutes, then flip the bones over and roast another 10-15 minutes or until they are nicely browned.
- Remove the bones from the oven and place in a large saucepan with 1 roughly chopped onion, 1 bulb of garlic, separated into cloves, and 1 roughly chopped carrot.
- Cover the bones with 2-3 inches of water and add 1 teaspoon of sea salt and 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar.
- Turn to high heat, cover the saucepan with the lid, and bring to a boil.
- Once boiled, reduce the heat to simmer and let them cook for 6-12 hours.
- Remove the pot from the heat and let it cool for a while before pouring the stock through a strainer. Discard the bones and vegetables.
- Store in the fridge for 1 week or the freezer for up to 6 months.
Beef broth is slightly different from stock because it is generally milder in flavor since it is made from meat instead of bones.
Broth is generally a little thinner and may not have quite as rich a flavor. You can still add vegetables to the mix, but it won’t be as thick or rich as a stock.
To make a simple beef broth follow these directions:
- Take 1 pound of stew meat and beef trimmings and add it to a stockpot.
- Roughly chop 2 carrots, 2 onions, and separate 1 bulb of garlic. Leave the skins on for extra flavor. Add the veggies to the pot.
- Fill the pot with water so that it covers the meat and vegetables by 3-4 inches.
- Add 1 tablespoon of sea salt and a splash of balsamic vinegar.
- Over high heat, bring the broth to a boil with the stockpot lid on.
- Once boiled, turn the heat to low and simmer for 2-3 hours.
- Remove the stockpot from the stovetop and let the broth cool for 15 minutes before straining out the meat and vegetables. Discard the scraps.
- Pour the broth into containers and keep in the fridge for 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Finally, a beef consomme can be made by clarifying either a beef stock or a beef broth by using a mixture of ground beef, egg whites, eggshells, and vegetables.
This mixture is called a raft and it works by adhering to the fats and impurities in the stock or broth.
To make a consomme you pulse together the ground beef and vegetables and add them to the whisked (so it gets airy and foamy) egg white mixture. This mixture then gets added to a stockpot full of broth or stock and turned to simmer.
Eventually, this raft floats to the top of the saucepan, drawing with it any impurities so that the final product is clear, rich, and flavorful.
While it may seem like a lot of work, the final product is so rich in flavor that this dish has been popular since the Middle Ages!
You can enjoy a beef consomme on its own or use it in recipes to impart a deep layer of flavor to your final dish. Now that you know the differences between the basics, you can look at how to replace consomme in your kitchen.
The 7 Best Substitutes For Beef Consomme
Below we’ve picked out the best beef consomme substitutes. These substitutes can all be used when you find yourself in a pinch and you don’t have any consomme on hand.
1. Beef Broth
As you’ve already seen above, beef broth is a light liquid made from simmering meat and vegetables in water.
I like to add a bit of salt to mine when I make it at home to enhance the flavors. If you are looking for a quick and easy substitute, then beef broth makes a great choice.
It isn’t usually high in fat, since you’re using meats instead of bones to make it and the flavor profile is similar to a consomme.
If you want to take the flavor as close and possible and you have some time on your hands, you can even turn your broth into a consomme.
Whether or not you clarify your beef broth, it is going to work very well in most recipes that call for a consomme.
The only real place it wouldn’t be the exact same is if you were serving a plain bowl of consomme, but otherwise, it will make a perfect choice.
2. Beef Stock
Another excellent substitution is beef stock. While stock is often thicker, richer, and contains more fat than a consomme, it is still a perfect option for delivering that beef flavor to your dishes.
If you have the inclination, you can turn your stock into a consomme by using a raft, but this isn’t necessary for most recipes.
You can always skim a bit of the fat off the top if you don’t want as much in your final product, but the rich flavor is going to be a perfect choice for most dishes.
3. Mushroom Consomme or Broth
Using a mushroom broth or consomme is perfect if you’re looking for a plant-based alternative or just already have it on hand.
Mushrooms have a very similar umami profile as beef, so broths or consommes made from them are perfect substitutions.
Most mushroom broths and consommes are made of a blend of super flavorful porcini mushrooms and white mushrooms.
I like to use dried mushrooms if I’m making it from scratch since their flavor is super concentrated and produces an excellent final result.
Don’t be afraid to get creative and try other blends for different flavor profiles. I like to use shiitakes, creminis, porcinis, button mushrooms, and portabellos. You can also add herbs, spices, and other vegetables to pump up the flavor.
Since vegetables don’t have fat in them, mushroom broth is very similar to beef consomme and can be used virtually interchangeably in most recipes.
4. Beef Bouillon Cubes, Powders, Or Pastes
These flavor bombs are another option to turn to if you need to substitute your beef consomme in a pinch.
Essentially bouillon is super concentrated beef stock or broth with other herbs and spices and some seasoning. They are a great pantry staple and can add a lot of rich beef flavor to your dishes.
You will want to rehydrate your bouillon before you use it in your recipe. A good rule of thumb to follow is to use 1 cube or 1 teaspoon of the powder or paste plus 1 cup of water to replace every cup of beef consomme.
This combination will add a deep umami flavor to your dish. And as a bonus, most of them last for ages in the pantry or fridge so you can always have some on hand.
5. Vegetable Broth + Soy Sauce
Another plant-based substitution to try is a combination of vegetable broth and soy sauce. One of the best parts of a beef consomme is its salty, umami flavor which you don’t always get with a vegetable broth.
They tend to be a little milder in flavor, so it needs a little jazzing up.
A great way to do this is to combine your vegetable broth with some soy sauce or tamari. This seasoning has a rich depth of flavor that when combined with the vegetable broth closely mimics the richness in a beef consomme.
Remember, the flavor won’t be exact, but it will be close enough to layer in a richness to the final dish that you wouldn’t get if you just used soy sauce or vegetable broth on their own.
An easy combination to try is 1 cup of vegetable broth plus 1 teaspoon of soy sauce for every cup of beef consomme in your recipe.
If you like it a little saltier you can always add an extra 1-2 teaspoons of soy sauce after you taste it.
Below you will read a bit about something called liquid aminos. You can also substitute your soy sauce with liquid aminos when flavoring your vegetable broth.
I tend to use them virtually interchangeably in the kitchen since they are both umami bombs made from soy.
Just remember that liquid aminos may be a bit milder than soy sauce, so you might want to double the amount that you use.
6. Chicken Broth or Consomme + Liquid Aminos
Chicken broth is super easy to find and has a really lovely flavor, though it is quite a bit lighter than a beef consomme.
That’s why it’s a great idea to combine your chicken broth with some liquid aminos to enhance the richness and add the umami that is characteristic of beef consomme.
Chicken broth will be a bit more flavorful than a vegetable broth and you can use it on its own to replace a beef consomme. But if you want to get closer to that richness, adding in some liquid aminos is a perfect way to do so.
Liquid aminos are a little milder and sweeter than regular soy sauce, but still have a lot of salt and umami.
To make your substitution you will want to combine 1 cup of chicken stock plus 2 teaspoons of liquid aminos per 1 cup of beef consomme.
You can also add soy sauce to your chicken broth or consomme instead of liquid aminos. You will want to use 1 teaspoon of soy sauce per 1 cup of chicken broth or consomme since the flavor is more intense than the liquid aminos.
7. Au Jus
A final option to replace beef consomme is something called an au jus. You may be familiar with this ingredient if you’ve ever had a French dip sandwich.
It is a rich and meaty sauce that comes from the cooking process when making a meat dish.
That means all that meaty flavor is concentrated in an au jus. Since it is a rich brown sauce that often comes from beef dishes, it is a great substitute for beef consomme.
It is going to have that rich depth of flavor and umami hit that you are looking for in a good substitution.
It often has Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and other delicious seasonings added to it so that it packs a huge punch of flavor in a very small serving.
If you’re using it as a substitution you might want to use about 3/4 cup of au jus plus 1/4 cup of water per 1 cup of consomme.
As you can see there are lots of great choices to use if you’re looking to substitute your beef consomme in a recipe. You can try everything from a beef stock or broth to a bouillon or an au jus.
If you have a vegetable or chicken broth on hand, you can replicate the flavor by adding soy sauce or liquid aminos to it for a hit of umami. And finally, mushroom broth or consomme is a great plant-based choice that is packed with rich flavor.
What’s your favorite beef consomme substitution? Let us know below!
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