Chicken stock concentrate is an excellent flavoring ingredient that can add a lot of umami flavors to any recipe. But what can you use as a substitute for it when you don’t have any at home?
What are the best chicken stock concentrate substitutes? The best chicken stock concentrate substitutes are bone stock, homemade chicken stock, vegetable stock, a simple broth with added MSG, beer, miso paste, Japanese dashi, and much more!
Read below to learn more about chicken stock concentrate, how it’s made, and how it’s used, as well as some delicious and easy substitutes!
What Is Chicken Stock Concentrate?
In simple terms, chicken stock concentrate is the reduced liquid that is left when you boil a whole chicken (with bones) along with spices, vegetables, and salt.
Chicken stock concentrate is an indispensable ingredient that can help unlock umami flavorings and add a whole new dimension of mouth-watering flavors to your recipes.
Historically, chicken stock has been available in multiple forms in old, new, and even ancient cookbooks. Perhaps the most common version of chicken stock is in the form of chicken soup!
The basis of chicken soup is just boiled chicken broth with spices, herbs, and veggies – this delicious bowl of broth can be enjoyed on its own or mixed with other ingredients for an intense chicken flavor.
Types Of Chicken Stock
Before we get into the concentrate, let’s first take a look at the variants of chicken stock. Chicken stock is made using a simple method, but it can be condensed and prepared in different ways.
Basic chicken stock can be made from just a few bone-in chicken cuts, onions, garlic, whole spices, salt, and other flavorings, but you can adjust the water content according to your needs.
Diluted Chicken Stock
To make diluted chicken stock, all the ingredients need to be cooked for at least 3-4 hours.
This allows the water to tenderize the chicken, render fat, and absorb all the oils, nutrients, and flavors from the ingredients.
Once the “essence” of the ingredients has been absorbed by the water, the chicken can be taken out and used separately if so desired. The flavorings (whole spices, herbs, and vegetables) are usually discarded.
The discarded leftovers are of no use because they don’t contain much flavor and their highly tenderized texture will not be suitable for further use in the stock or any other recipe.
Now, this diluted form of chicken stock is what most people are familiar with. It’s watered down, but still provides a good amount of chicken flavor!
This watery stock can be used to make loads of recipes like sauces, soups, gravies, and more. You can even boil rice in it for a flavorful finish! However, there are also several disadvantages to this type of stock.
Storing a large batch of diluted chicken stock can prove to be more difficult and inconvenient than reduced stock.
Additionally, while the watered-down stock does have flavor, it won’t be able to provide the intense chicken flavor that is usually found in restaurant-level dishes.
This is why most people prefer to use a concentrated chicken stock!
Concentrated Chicken Stock
This chicken stock is made almost identically to the diluted version, except that it is processed further by evaporating excess water.
In other words, the diluted stock is reduced for 1-2 hours (depending on serving size) until you are left with just a few cups of highly concentrated stock.
You can also reduce the stock until you are only left with a gelatinous mixture. This jelly-like reduction is a mixture of chicken fat, broth, veggies, and other ingredients.
Concentrated chicken stock can be used to flavor several recipes, and the best part is that it is incredibly easy to store and may even have a longer shelf life than regular stock due to its low moisture content.
Another advantage of this concentrated version is that you don’t need to use a lot of it!
Just 1-2 tablespoons can be more than enough to flavor your recipes – and if the stock already contains a lot of salt, then you might not even need to use additional seasonings either!
Powdered Chicken Stock
Powdered chicken stock is the most concentrated form of stock available commercially. This version of concentrated chicken stock usually requires industrial-grade processes.
Although the stock is made using the same methods that we have discussed above, manufacturers use additional ingredients to increase the intensity of the stock.
This highly concentrated and dehydrated stock is great for seasoning foods like cooked rice, fried chicken, fritters, etc.
It is also very convenient since all you need to do is sprinkle some of it over food to add a delicious chicken flavor!
Why Substitute Chicken Stock Concentrate?
One of the main and obvious reasons to substitute chicken stock is that it is not vegan!
Fortunately, there are plenty of vegan chicken stock alternatives that you can use to get more or less the same intense flavor – without actual chicken.
These substitutes come extremely close to the real deal and, with a few additional seasonings, you can get almost the same flavor as concentrated chicken stock!
Another reason to substitute chicken stock concentrate is that it can be quite cumbersome to prepare at home, especially when you are in a time crunch.
The stock requires you to keep your kitchen engaged for at least half a day and you can only make use of it after it has been fully reduced.
But, on the contrary, if you have the time, making a customized batch of chicken broth at home can be an excellent substitute for chicken stock concentrate too!
Best Chicken Stock Concentrate Substitutes
Here are some of the best vegan and non-vegan chicken stock concentrate substitutes that you can either make at home or buy from a nearby store!
1. Vegetable Stock
Vegetable stock is the best all-vegan substitute for chicken stock concentrate.
It is made purely from a mixture of select vegetables that provide umami flavors.
We recommend mixing carrots, cabbage, celery stem, garlic, ginger, mushrooms, and more to get more or less the same flavor as chicken stock!
You can also pair this stock with a range of flavorful spices like coriander seeds, black peppercorns, star anise, cloves, cinnamon, and more.
Remember, the more concentrated this stock is, the better it will taste – and the best part is that it doesn’t take as long to cook as chicken stock!
2. Japanese Dashi
Dashi is a variety of broths prepared in Japanese cuisine.
Even though dashi can be prepared using dried bonito flakes, dried sardines, dried shrimp, and other flavorful seafood ingredients, it can come incredibly close to chicken stock – in some cases, it might even be the better choice!
Dashi can be prepared at home using traditional Japanese ingredients, which will give you full control over its flavor — perhaps the most appealing thing about this substitute is that it can also be vegan, especially when it is made with cold-brewed kombu!
3. Beef Bone Broth
Beef bone broth is an easy substitute for concentrated chicken stock.
It’s made by simmering beef bones in water (along with spices and vegetables) until you get a highly concentrated and arguably tastier broth.
Beef broth is known to produce a “heavier” and fattier broth because it usually also combines bone marrow. This is why bone broth is perfect for recipes that require an intense meaty flavor and a heartier texture.
Tip: Use bone broth in moderation when substituting for chicken flavors. The meaty flavors can be overwhelming, especially if you use the stock in sauces or soups!
4. Clear MSG Broth
A simple vegetable broth made using MSG crystals is perhaps one of the most versatile and widely used flavoring bases.
All you need to prepare it is high-quality MSG salt, an assortment of vegetables, and water!
Some people don’t prefer to use MSG because of its alleged effects, but the truth is that many restaurants use this flavoring agent to enhance the flavor of their dishes — MSG is commonly found in many packaged foods as well.
While repeatedly using too much of it may attribute to some negative effects, like dry mouth and a headache, occasionally using some of it can help you get the most out of the flavor of your recipes.
5. Bouillon Cubes
Bouillon cubes are a highly convenient substitute for concentrated chicken stock.
Just one cube can be enough to season any main course — you can even make a concentrated form of stock by dissolving a bouillon cube in 150-200 ml of hot water!
These cubes can be used to season sauces, soups, and marinade. For a flavorful kick, try dicing the cube (or shredding it) and adding it on top of your favorite recipes for an even more pronounced chicken flavor!
Bouillon cubes are available in vegan and non-vegan varieties and since they are highly concentrated and dry, they also have a long shelf life.
6. Homemade Chicken Stock
Homemade chicken stock is an excellent alternative to chicken stock concentrate because you can make a healthy and highly customized version of it at home using fresh ingredients.
Commercially available concentrated chicken stock can contain preservatives, anti-caking agents, and other additives that improve the appearance and shelf life of the stock. However, these ingredients can also be harmful!
If you want a stock that is healthy, flavorful, and versatile, then you should look into homemade stock recipes.
7. Miso Paste
Miso paste is made with fermented soybeans, salt, and koji. It is a well-known, flavorful ingredient that is widely used in Japanese cuisine.
It adds an intense umami flavor that can mimic the qualities of chicken stock.
Miso paste is also usually vegan, so you can make use of it in a wide range of recipes!
For the best experience, we recommend getting high-quality commercial miso paste that is made from natural ingredients.
8. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is an excellent condiment that can add complex flavors.
Authentic soy sauce is made from fermented soybeans and is an incredibly powerful flavoring agent that can add a hint of color and a lot of umami flavors to any dish.
Soy sauce works great with soups, salads, sauces, and rice dishes. You can also use it in stir-fries and it can substitute chicken stock concentrate in several recipes.
We recommend going with high-quality soy sauce for the best flavor. There are many copy-cat and synthetic soy sauce products in the market that are flavored using chemicals.
Avoid artificially flavored soy sauce brands when using the condiment as a substitute for chicken stock concentrate for the best flavor.
9. Gravy Granules
Using gravy granules is a quick and easy way to add flavor to your dishes without using chicken stock.
This condiment already contains all the necessary ingredients that go into a chicken stock, so you should get more or less the same flavor!
Perhaps the best thing about using granules is that you can adjust the quantity of water when dissolving the granules to change the viscosity of the liquid.
A thicker gravy will require less water and more granules and will make for a highly concentrated flavoring stock that can be used in several different ways!
Beer might feel like an unusual choice for substituting chicken stock concentrate, but it can add quite a lot of depth to your recipes!
A typical high-quality beer contains salt, sugar, and hints of fermented cereal and hops. When mixed with savory ingredients, beer can add complex flavor that can come close to tasting like stock.
Beer is commonly used in batters, sauces, marinades, and gravies. You can also reduce beer and use it as a concentrated flavoring agent in multiple recipes for the same effect as chicken stock!
11. Worcestershire Sauce
Worcestershire sauce is an excellent substitute for chicken stock concentrate because it contains a lot of umami flavorings.
Traditional Worcestershire sauce is made from fish sauce or anchovies, which gives this condiment the ability to enhance the flavor of any dish it is added to.
You can use Worcestershire sauce in the same way as a chicken stock concentrate and you can even find several vegan Worcestershire sauce options too!
Chicken stock concentrate is a flavorful and useful ingredient, but it can also be substituted with other equally flavorful and even vegan options!
Now that you know the right substitutes for chicken stock concentrate, here are some related questions.
Can you combine beef stock and chicken stock?
Yes. Although chicken and beef stock aren’t usually used together (unless it’s intentional), you can mix both of them when you are low on chicken stock.
Both broths provide a slightly different flavor, but using them in combination will not make a huge impact on the overall flavor of your dish.
Does chicken stock concentrate contain salt?
Maybe. This depends on the type of concentrate.
Homemade and commercial concentrated stocks usually contain a lot of salt. This means that you will have to be extra careful when adding additional salt to your recipes.
Check the back of the packaging for more detailed information on the sodium content of the stock at hand.
Can you substitute chicken stock concentrate with butter?
If you intend to use chicken stock concentrate for its fatty flavor, then yes, you could add butter to your recipe for a “heavier” texture.
Melted butter works great in soups, sauces, and other water-based foods because it adds a film of richness just over the surface of the food.
You can also dilute it with water and infuse ginger and garlic for an even more flavorful broth!