Homemade beef bone broth with natural collagen. Bouillon in a glass mug and raw beef bone. Selective focus
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9 Best Beef Stock Concentrate Substitutes

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Beef stock concentrate has been a recent revelation in terms of beef-flavored seasonings — with its rich and intense flavor, it can transform many dishes into something absolutely mouthwatering!

And while we’ve all been using store-bought beef stock for years, this concentrated form is much handier to store on our pantry shelves. 

But what if you have a recipe that calls for beef stock concentrate and you can’t get hold of any? The best substitutes are flavorings and seasonings that bring a similar meaty richness to your dish. This includes sauces such as Worcestershire sauce or, for a vegan option, Kitchen Bouquet. Beef bouillon and beef broth can be used to create a similar beefy flavor profile to beef stock concentrate.

Trying out a recipe that calls for beef stock concentrate, but your cupboard shelves are bare? Don’t panic, these substitutes will make sure your dish still tastes delicious!

Let’s take a look at the best substitutes for beef stock concentrate and how to use them.

What Is Beef Stock Concentrate?

While once upon a time beef stock was made at home with the leftovers of a roast dinner, nowadays we have a myriad of beef flavorings at our disposal.

Walk through any grocery store and you’ll be amazed by all the different flavorings and seasonings available!

However, the choices can be somewhat confusing — how is beef stock concentrate different from all the others?

To better understand how to substitute beef stock concentrate, let’s take a look at how it is made.

Standard beef stock is a liquid made by simmering beef bones, meat, vegetables, and water. This creates a liquid that is thin, cloudy, and light brown, with a subtle beef flavor.

A true stock has very little seasoning, as the focus is on the flavor of the basic ingredients. The key to a good beef stock is the inclusion of bones, which adds a velvety mouthfeel to the stock as the collagen turns into gelatin.

This is the same process that makes a tough piece of beef brisket melt in the mouth when it is slowly cooked for several hours!

To make beef stock concentrate, good quality beef stock is simmered for at least two hours, until it is reduced by at least half. The excess water will evaporate, concentrating the flavors in the remaining liquid.

This creates a rich, syrup-like paste that is dark brown in color. It will have an intense beef flavor, but, like beef stock, very little seasoning.

If you can’t find beef stock concentrate on the grocery store shelves, look for beef base or beef concentrate instead, as they are the same product.

What Is Beef Stock Concentrate Used For?

Beef stock concentrate is normally used when you want the intense taste of beef without an excessive amount of liquid.

This makes it a great choice for foods such as pasta, casseroles, and stuffing, bringing a beefy richness to the dish.

Beef stock concentrate can also be used as a fuller-flavored beef stock in soups and stews, or mixed with other ingredients to create flavorful marinades and dipping sauces.

You can also dilute it with water to make standard beef stock, so it’s pretty handy to keep in your pantry!

Best Beef Stock Concentrate Substitutes

So now that we’ve got your taste buds tantalized about beef stock concentrate, we need to turn our thoughts to what you can use as a substitute for this incredibly intense beef flavoring.

There are plenty of options available, including some vegan alternatives, so don’t be disheartened if you can’t lay your hands on beef stock concentrate!

Without further ado, here are the best substitutes for beef stock concentrate.

1. Beef Bouillon

Beef bouillon has fallen out of fashion in recent years, but once upon a time, no kitchen would have been complete without a jar of bouillon!

To understand what beef bouillon is and why it makes a good substitute for beef stock concentrate, we need to quickly explain the difference between a stock and a broth.

Stock is normally made from the bones of the meat, whereas broth is made using leftover meat. Both include vegetables, but stock contains far less seasoning than broth.

Beef bouillon is a concentrated form of broth normally sold as a paste, powder, granules, or cubes that are dissolved in hot water. 

This means it can be used in the same way as a beef stock concentrate to give an intense beefy flavor.

By adding just a small amount of liquid, you will create a deep brown, syrupy paste that can be used to flavor sauces, marinades, and gravies.

However, remember that beef bouillon is highly seasoned, so you may not need to add any extra salt to your recipe.

Use half the amount of beef bouillon in place of beef stock concentrate to start with, and check the seasoning levels before adding any more.

2. Beef Stock

If you’ve got a recipe that contains a lot of liquid, such as a soup, hot pot, or slow cooker casserole, then ordinary beef stock can be used instead of its concentrated form.

Beef stock will give you all the same flavors, but you just need to remember to adjust the liquid levels accordingly.

There are two ways in which you can use beef stock to replace beef concentrate, and the option you choose will depend on your recipe.

  1. If your recipe asks you to add both beef concentrate and water, use an equal quantity of beef stock to replace the amount of water in the recipe, which will give you a similar beefy flavor.
  2. For recipes that do not have a high water content, you can reduce your beef stock to make it more concentrated. This can be very time-consuming, as you need to simmer the stock gently for around two hours until the excess water evaporates.

3. Vegetable Stock

One endless source of frustration when trying to adapt vegetarian or vegan recipes is finding a suitable alternative to meat-based stocks!

But if you’re cooking up a meat-free dish, then using vegetable stock is a great way to add flavor instead of using beef stock concentrate.

For the maximum earthy, beef-like flavor, choose a vegetable stock that contains mushrooms. This will have a richer, stronger flavor, perfect for adding meatiness to vegetarian or vegan dishes.

Vegetable stock is not as concentrated as beef concentrate, so you may tweak the recipe slightly to account for this.

If you’re using stock cubes, simply add less liquid to make it more intense. For premade liquid stock, you will need to reduce the amount of other liquid ingredients in your dish accordingly.

4. Kitchen Bouquet

Although Kitchen Bouquet is made entirely of vegetables and spices, the flavor that most people associate with this punchy seasoning is beef!

Another great option for vegan or vegetarian dishes, Kitchen Bouquet is an intense flavoring used to add richness to food.

In terms of flavor, Kitchen Bouquet also has a slight undertone of burnt food, which is very reminiscent of those gorgeous crispy bits you get on the outside of a joint of roast beef.

When using Kitchen Bouquet as a substitute for beef stock concentrate, bear in mind that it is highly seasoned with salt and spices.

Remember to adjust the amount of seasoning in your recipe accordingly, otherwise, your dinner could turn out inedible!

5. Beef Broth

We have yet another beefy flavoring to throw into the mix — beef broth!

Beef broth is the liquid form of beef bouillon, made by simmering meat and vegetables. Broths are often used as a base for soups, as they tend to be perfectly seasoned to taste.

Bear in mind that broth is less concentrated than beef stock concentrate, so you will need to use more to get the same intensity of flavor. You may need to reduce any additional liquids your recipe calls for accordingly.

Beef broth tends to be well seasoned, so don’t overdo it otherwise your dinner could be far too salty!

6. Gravy Master

Here we have another magical secret ingredient for vegans and vegetarians — Gravy Master!

This is an intense flavoring made from a blend of vegetables in a base of caramel, vinegar, salt, and sugar. It is a browning and seasoning sauce and can be used to make any dish that calls for beef stock concentrate.

The key thing to bear in mind with Gravy Master is that it is highly seasoned and also thickens any other liquid ingredients. Start with half the amount compared to beef stock concentrate, and add more to taste.

7. Worcestershire Sauce

Made from a unique combination of molasses, garlic, onion, and spices, along with anchovies, Worcestershire sauce is a rich and pungent sauce that makes a great substitute for beef stock concentrate.

It has a rich and intense flavor, but is less salty than many of the other substitutes on our list.

Worcestershire sauce doesn’t have quite the same flavor as beef concentrate, but it will lift and enhance savory dishes with its intense flavor.

8. Red Wine

Cooking beef in red wine is a well-known culinary trick, as the rich flavors of wine lift and enhance beef juices to create a rich and flavorsome sauce.

If you are braising or stewing meat, red wine can be swapped for beef stock concentrate with great results.

When meat is cooked slowly, the alcohol in red wine evaporates as the dish simmers. You will be left with a delicious flavor that blends perfectly with the beef juices.

The other advantage of using red wine is that it will not increase the levels of saltiness in your dish.

9. Beef Consommé

Beef consommé is a high-quality beef flavoring that is normally only available in gourmet deli stores.

Like beef concentrate, consommé is made using beef stock, but it is then clarified using egg whites to create a beautifully clear, beef-flavored liquid.

Consommé can be used as a substitute for beef stock concentrate when you want the flavor of beef without the brown coloring.

Although consommé is not as intensely flavored as beef concentrate, it does have the advantage of not being highly seasoned.

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