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How to Make Great Vegetable Broth

Updated on February 4, 2014

It's easy, healthy, and delicious.

Homemade vegetable broth is easy to make and so much healthier and more flavorful than anything that you can buy in a supermarket. It's versatile, with uses that go far beyond making vegetable soup. Best of all, making homemade vegetable stock is as easy as throwing some vegetables and water in a pot.

Keep reading for detailed instructions for making your own homemade, vegetarian vegetable broth.

Vegetable broth recipe

Are you looking for a recipe for homemade vegetable broth? Well, here it is: Throw a bunch of vegetables (scraps, skins, whatever) in a big pot with some water, salt, and pepper, and let it simmer for a while. Then strain it.

You just made homemade vegetable broth.

It is so simple, useful, and economical that there really is no excuse for using a canned broth that tastes like little more than salt water, which is essentially what it is. Homemade vegetable stock can be used in soups, sauces, and lots of other dishes you may not have thought of. If you're dieting or just trying to eat better, you can use vegetable broth to add fat-free flavor and nutrition to almost any savory dish.

Keep reading for details on how to make it, what to do with it, and why you should bother.

No, really, what is the recipe for vegetable broth?

Still not sure? Here it is, step by step.

  1. Use a very large pot, preferably a stockpot.
  2. Put in just about any vegetables at all. You don't need to chop them unless they won't fit in the pot. In most cases, you don't even have to peel them, because the skins are loaded with flavor and vitamins, and texture will not be an issue when the finished product is strained. Refer to this list for more information on which vegetables to use.
  3. Take some garlic cloves, smack them with the side of a large knife to break them up a bit, and throw them in the pot, peel and all.
  4. Add salt, pepper, and any fresh or dried herbs you choose. I usually use a bunch of fresh Italian flat-leaf parsley.
  5. Pour in one gallon of water.
  6. Heat to boiling, then lower the heat and simmer for about an hour, stirring occasionally.
  7. Remove the pot from the heat and allow the broth to cool a little.
  8. Pour or ladle through a fine strainer, and you're done!
This makes enough broth for two pots of soup, but you can freeze it in smaller portions for other uses as described in this list.

fresh carrots
fresh carrots

Choose your veggies

You really can use any vegetables at all to make a great vegetable stock. I never make one without onions, celery, carrots, and mushrooms, but beyond that you can change it up to suit your needs and use up whatever you have on hand. Homemade vegetable broth is a great way to salvage any fresh vegetables in your refrigerator or pantry that are past their prime, and you also may want to vary your choices based on what you plan to do with a particular batch of broth.

  • Onions - Any kind, skins included. If they look dirty, remove the outermost layer of skin or wipe with a damp paper towel. Halve or quarter larger onions.
  • Celery - Include the leafy green tops. Cut the stalks just enough to fit them in the pot.
  • Carrots - No need to peel them. Just scrub them and throw them in, or use the ready-to-eat kind and dump in the whole bag.
  • Mushrooms - These are really good for making a richer, darker broth. I always use at least white button mushrooms in my vegetable broth, and I use portobellos when I want a darker broth, like for French onion soup.
  • Bell peppers
  • Parsnips
  • Spinach
  • Leeks - Be sure to cut them up and clean them, because they usually have a lot of dirt between the layers.
  • Tomato - A particularly good addition if you'll be using the broth for something like minestrone soup.
  • Fennel bulb - Halved or quartered, with greens.
  • Turnips - Cut in large pieces.
  • Zucchini
  • Just about any vegetable scraps - Potato peel, broccoli and cauliflower stems, green bean ends.
For extra flavor, try adding fresh herbs or wine.

Save Your Scraps!

Many readers have made the excellent suggestion to keep all your vegetable scraps in a Ziploc bag in the freezer. Whenever you have some trimmings while cooking, add them to the bag. When the bag is full, throw them in a pot with some fresh vegetables and make up a batch of vegetable broth!

Equipment Needed

You probably have everything you need for this veggie broth recipe with the possible exception of a stockpot and strainer. There is really no way around the strainer, but you could make broth in smaller batches if your pot is not large enough for lots of vegetables and a gallon of water.

Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 16-Quart Covered Stockpot
Farberware Classic Stainless Steel 16-Quart Covered Stockpot

Obviously, a stockpot is ideal for making stock. You can spend a lot less or a lot more than the cost of this pot depending on your budget. Generally, a more expensive pot will have a tight-fitting lid and a heavier bottom, which provides more even heat and less tendency to burn.

 
Polder KTH-1009-75 Round Colander with Comfort Grip Handles, 9" Diameter, 1.75-Quart Capacity, Stainless Steel
Polder KTH-1009-75 Round Colander with Comfort Grip Handles, 9" Diameter, 1.75-Quart Capacity, Stainless Steel

In a pinch, you can use a colander to strain the broth, but a strainer with a fine mesh will make for clearer broth.

 
Tovolo 14-inch Blue Silicone Solid Spoon
Tovolo 14-inch Blue Silicone Solid Spoon

Any spoon that is long enough to reach into a large stockpot will do, and I usually use a long wooden spoon. This blue silicone spoon also comes in red.

 
Furi Rachael Ray Gusto-Grip Basics Line 7-Inch Cook's Knife
Furi Rachael Ray Gusto-Grip Basics Line 7-Inch Cook's Knife

Use a large, sharp knife for safer cutting when prepping the vegetables.

 
Pyrex 6022369 Storage 14-Piece Round Set, Clear with Blue Lids
Pyrex 6022369 Storage 14-Piece Round Set, Clear with Blue Lids

Depending on how you plan to use the finished broth, you will need some storage containers in various sizes. Make sure the containers are freezer-safe if you will not be using all the broth within a couple days.

 
Image: aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Image: aopsan / FreeDigitalPhotos.net

It's not just for soup...

There are lots of uses for vegetable stock besides making soup. Here are a few.

  • Add some vegetable broth to a roux for a flavorful white sauce.
  • Cook rice with broth instead of water for added flavor, and you can cut back on high-calorie gravy or butter.
  • Add broth to mashed potatoes in place of some or all of the milk for a diet-friendly alternative with extra nutritional value.
  • Freeze broth in an ice cube tray and grab a cube or two for thinning sauces.
  • Sauté mushrooms in a few tablespoons of butter or olive oil. Stir a few tablespoons of flour into some broth and boil it for a minute with the mushrooms for a quick mushroom sauce for pasta or grilled meat.

canned vegetable broth
canned vegetable broth

Why not just use a can of broth from the grocery store?

I've been known to use canned broth, but it just doesn't compare in flavor to homemade. Canned broth is loaded with sodium, and it tastes like it. Homemade vegetable broth has all of the vitamins and flavor of the vegetables you put into it and nothing else. Making your own broth also makes good use of scraps and unused fresh vegetables that would otherwise end up in the garbage. You can make a huge batch of broth in less than two hours and freeze it, and you'll have it on hand whenever you want to throw together a quick soup or healthy side dish.

Personally, I find it rewarding to transform a pile of vegetables I wouldn't otherwise eat into a delicious, fresh soup, and you just can't get that from a can at the grocery store.

Share your tips and favorites here!

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    • profile image

      nonya222 3 years ago

      I love to make personal portions of soup and this sounds like a great stock to start with, thanks.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      What can you do with the strained out veggies from the broth?

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      @anonymous: Thanks for the great tip! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      I freeze my broth in ice cube trays and then put them in a ziplock. That way when I have a recipe that only calls for a small amount, I don't have to thaw the entire container.

    • petertraoassi2 profile image

      petertraoassi2 4 years ago

      Yumbo! I love me a good broth.

    • NejaLovely profile image

      NejaLovely 4 years ago

      Give me some veggie! =)

    • OrganicMom247 profile image

      OrganicMom247 4 years ago

      Great lens. It's always best to make your own broth rather than get a canned one.

    • Paladins profile image

      Paladins 4 years ago

      Good job on this lens. I especially liked the tip about saving vegetable scraps to the freezer as it is a nice way to save some money on the veggies that you have already paid for.

    • Holly22 profile image

      Christine and Peter Broster 4 years ago from Tywyn Wales UK

      It is always so handy to have a good vegetable broth at hand for use in so many recipes.

    • profile image

      ChefWilliam 4 years ago

      Whenever I have a few vegetable scraps, I put them in a zip lock back and put them in the freezer. When I need a vegetable stock, I just add all the little bags along with a few carrots, onions and garlic and I'm good to go. nice lens

    • darciefrench lm profile image

      darciefrench lm 4 years ago

      Love this lens - we're big into vegetable soup, I can taste this delicious broth now

    • profile image

      greytdogz 4 years ago

      Great info. I do this all the time for homemade soups but never thought of make broth for other uses too. Thanks.

    • Tim Bader profile image

      Tim Bader 4 years ago from Surrey, UK

      Yum! My wife makes a very good version of this and we even had some this weekend.

    • profile image

      SteveKaye 4 years ago

      Wonderful ideas. I'm glad I found this lens. Thank you for publishing it.

    • Gypzeerose profile image

      Rose Jones 4 years ago

      A great stock is essential, thanks for nudging us to do this. Pinned to my vegetarian board and blessed.

    • profile image

      DebW07 4 years ago

      I'm looking forward to making this broth, thanks!

    • profile image

      ohheyjude 4 years ago

      thought I will try to make it myself.

    • Alessandro Zambon profile image

      Alessandro Zamboni 4 years ago from Italy

      Great lens, this broth must be excellent!

    • susanholland10 profile image

      Susan Holland 4 years ago from Southwest Missouri

      I LOVE this idea. I can salsa, so this sounds wonderful. Not chopping the vegetables up sounds so nice and easy. Thanks for these great ideas. I am trying this. :-)

    • maryseena profile image

      maryseena 4 years ago

      A wholesome broth recipe. Thank you for sharing it.

    • Allison Whitehead profile image

      Allison Whitehead 4 years ago

      Excellent lens with some useful info. Blessed :)

    • makorip lm profile image

      makorip lm 4 years ago

      You're right, any homemade soup excels and with your great recipes they are all winners.

    • Linda BookLady profile image

      Linda Jo Martin 4 years ago from Post Falls, Idaho, USA

      Great ideas... I need to make more vegetable broth. Unfortunately I'll have to leave the onions and garlic out because they cause problems with my skin. I miss them!! But fresh veggies are always good.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Your vegetable broth recipe sounds delicious! yummy i like it!!

    • profile image

      SEOgeek1 4 years ago

      might be testy recipe

    • Weremuffin profile image

      Weremuffin 4 years ago

      The rice idea is brilliant! Thanks for this vegetable broth lens.

    • KarenHC profile image

      Karen 4 years ago from U.S.

      I love this idea! We compost our vegetable scraps and old vegetables, but it would be much better to be able to use them for something like vegetable broth.

    • profile image

      JadaFuego 4 years ago

      as much as I cook on a regular basis.. making a vegetable broth is a great idea!! I never thought of that!

    • leilasi profile image

      Leila 4 years ago from Belgium

      Hmmmm yummy!!!

    • profile image

      miaponzo 4 years ago

      Your vegetable broth recipe sounds delicious! Blessed!

    • Rosetta Slone profile image

      Rosetta Slone 4 years ago from Under a coconut tree

      I make a batch of broth every couple of weeks and freeze it (we go through a lot in risottos, soups and more). I make it overnight in the slow cooker so there's no need to keep an eye on it.

    • petelovestoread profile image

      petelovestoread 4 years ago

      Great lens! I encourage all of my cooks to save their scraps for veggie broth. We use it in soups, sauces, and even chili.

    • graphite75 profile image

      Tom 4 years ago

      Homemade broth is definitely the way to go. Nice lens!

    • profile image

      ChefWilliam 4 years ago

      Any time I can make a homemade broth before buying that canned stuff I will do it. I agree with Allie, place all your peeling scraps in a zip lock bag and pop them into the freezer until you are ready to make broth.

    • jolou profile image

      jolou 4 years ago

      Canned soups also have other additives like taste enhancers and probably MSG too. Plus as you say home made tastes so much better, and it's easy to do.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens

    • profile image

      Soldiersister8184 4 years ago

      Awesome. :) Point in favor, here, this sounds kid-friendly. Always looking for ways to get my boys involved in the kitchen! Thank you.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Great lens!

    • profile image

      aquarian_insight 4 years ago

      This is seriously a great way to use up those poor veggies languishing at the bottom of the fridge. Home made vegetable stock is perfect for risotto and really kicks up the flavour a few notches! Brilliant lens!

    • Makster01 profile image

      Makster01 4 years ago

      I love vegetable broth! Thanks for the great tips.

    • daveyjoe57 profile image

      daveyjoe57 4 years ago

      Oddly I'm drinking a veggie broth as I read this...Must be fate...I fast at least one day a week in which I usually have a few cups of veggie broth. Great lens!

    • Aster56 profile image

      Aster56 4 years ago

      Love vegetable broth.

    • imagelist lm profile image

      imagelist lm 4 years ago

      Great lens with valuable info...

    • profile image

      samuel2013 5 years ago

      anything with garlic, onions, celery, and peppers

    • profile image

      aduden 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I don't freeze it. I actually can it in quart jars, I do not have that much freezer space and don't really want to but another one. :) I have in the past froze some in gsallon frezzer bags and lay them flat to freeze, takes up less space that way.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I have been doing this for years. Another good tip is to freeze what fresh veggies you can't get to in time. I save all my vegetable scraps and freeze them just for this use. It really does have amazing flavor!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      . Sounds so yummy and tasty I love fresh homemade vegetable broth no more can broth for me !!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      . Sounds so yummy and tasty I love fresh homemade vegetable broth no more can broth for me !!!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I always thought that the "store-bought" broth was a "rip-off". Can anyone imagine paying .99 for a 10 oz can of sodium-loaded veggie broth? Yet, I see it in grocery carts all the time. "Ignorance is a horrible disease" ... and expensive, too!! I have a Vita-Mix (a world-class kitchen appliance) that I use each and every day. I am going to "experiment" with the veggie "base" and puree it and then bring it to a boil ... I'll "report back"!! ;-)

    • profile image

      wirrun 5 years ago

      Yummy! Must try this out - thanks :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I am looking forward to trying this, I was just thinking this week, "I either need to find a way to compost at my town home or I need to make broth". Ask and It is Given :-)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      thanks for sharing

    • texan203 lm profile image

      texan203 lm 5 years ago

      Sounds so delicious and simple to make. Thanks for the information.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Very informative lens. To reduce weight it is recommended that you drink a fresh vegetable broth before your main meal to help in reducing calories and increase fibre

    • gardendoll426 profile image

      gardendoll426 5 years ago

      Great lens! And perfect soup weather is upon us, I can't wait to try this!

    • casquid profile image

      casquid 5 years ago

      Mouthwatering!

    • prairiescape profile image

      prairiescape 5 years ago

      Sounds great. I make borscht (beet soup all the time) and I usually add vegetable stock (from a carton). But this recipe makes me think that I could probably just add water and the flavor would be just as good, as I already use lots of vegetables and some salt.

    • JuneNash profile image

      June Nash 5 years ago

      This is something that I want to start doing. I like the idea of freezing the extra broth. After I make the broth, I may not have an immediate need to use it, but would like to have it available for when I want it.

    • profile image

      masunyoananda 5 years ago

      Very interesting and very easy too. Thanks for sharing...Blessed...:)

    • sunlightseer profile image

      sunlightseer 5 years ago

      Homemade broth has so much more flavor and is much more nutritious. Thanks for sharing how simple it is. Great job.

    • kiratalley profile image

      kiratalley 5 years ago

      This is the perfect recipe for when my sister comes over, she's vegetarian so she doesn't like me using chicken stock for my cooking.

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 5 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      This just goes to show how you can really cook just about anything. Some of our best food has been when we thought we had nothing to eat. Going around the fridge and putting together stuff that works can lead to many interesting, and tasty meals

    • profile image

      moonlitta 5 years ago

      Oh the homemade broth:)....

    • profile image

      moonlitta 5 years ago

      Oh the homemade broth:)....

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I just made 3 gallons of broth. I will freeze it in 16 oz. plastic square containers, the same I use foot my soups. I have over 150 soups in my freezer, now I need some broth to make pasta fagioli.

    • lewisgirl profile image

      lewisgirl 5 years ago

      Love your ideas here!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Well worth the effort! Well Worth it! Easy & very simple! I use nothing other than what I've made! I measure out 2-4c & put it in a freezer safe sealable bag, squeeze the air out & pop the bags into the freezer! :-)

    • ramonabeckbritman profile image

      Ramona 5 years ago from Arkansas

      Very informative. I make soups all the time but, this never crossed my mind to do! this is a great idea for cleaning out your refrigerator. just grab all the vegetables that are left over and throw in a pot for later uses as you described. Excellent Lens! To bad I'm not a Squid Angel. I would throw you some Angel dust all over this lens. LOL.....

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      excellent article, vegetable are great , absolutely great for our helth...

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: I use mason jars to freeze the stock into serving sizes. They stack nicely in the fridge and are reusable. I just measure out a serving amount and freeze :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      You make it sound so easy, there's no excuse not to try it. Well done!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      this was so much fun and very easy. I will never buy store broth again. Does anyone have any ideas to freeze this in easy to use, measured ways?

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      g

    • KateHonebrink profile image

      KateHonebrink 5 years ago

      Love your vegetable broth directions. I've recently started making all my own chicken broth and it is so far superior to that purchased from the grocery store! I am going to make it a point to make a vegetable broth, just to say I did it! Thanks for a super lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      For a less waste version, save up your vegetable peels, unused parts of your veggies, etc. in the freezer until you have enough to fill half of your stock pot. Throw water over it and season, and follow the same cooking!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      i use mine as a mix with v-8 and make a hot drink in the morning instead of the usuall breakfast fare

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I loved this idea. I was able to add anything I wanted and it turned out great.

    • pyngthyngs profile image

      pyngthyngs 5 years ago

      I am definitely going to add this to our kitchen file.

    • JessyGene profile image

      JessyGene 5 years ago

      nice lens

    • parwatisingari lm profile image

      parwatisingari lm 5 years ago

      This is one of favorites too. I throw in some onions too.

    • profile image

      Edutopia 5 years ago

      Broths and sauces are almost always very uncomplicated and easy to make and taste worlds apart from their store bought counterparts. A shame that more people don't take the time to make their own. A few hours on a Saturday or Sunday can give you enough to last the whole week!

    • lyttlehalfpint profile image

      lyttlehalfpint 5 years ago from Canada

      Great lens, I can't wait to try some of these lens.

    • profile image

      miaponzo 5 years ago

      Simple but yummy recipe! Thanks! Blessed!

    • hughgrissettsr lm profile image

      hughgrissettsr lm 5 years ago

      very tasty lens!

    • gardenermom profile image

      gardenermom 5 years ago

      A well-written and useful lens! Thanks!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Great idea! I am a vegetarian and always have a hard time finding good vegetable broth! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      @anonymous: That is an awesome idea Laura! I'll be looking for a large container for my freezer tonight!

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      what do you do with all the vegetables after you've strained it

    • Greenwickpress profile image

      Greenwickpress 5 years ago

      Sounds like making meat broth, but with less cooking time. Nice.

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      Made my first batch of vegetable broth today, inspired by your recipe. It's delicious! Thank you! I look forward to trying your French Onion Soup recipe. :)

    • Adriana Daniela profile image

      Adriana 5 years ago from New Market

      I always make my own: much tastier and healthier1

    • profile image

      anonymous 5 years ago

      I keep a large dish in the freezer. Every time I peel carrots/potatoes/onions/seed a green pepper/etc I save the parts I'm not cooking and throw them in the dish. Once it's full I have lots of ingredients on hand to make a nice big batch of vegetable broth to freeze :) I use to think people who did this were crazy when they could just open a can, but once I realized just how much salt and sugar were used in the foods at the grocery store, I started making my own everything - juice, condiments, you name it! A little extra work but my taste buds sure know the difference now!

    • Blackspaniel1 profile image

      Blackspaniel1 5 years ago

      Nice lens

    • profile image

      River_Rose 5 years ago

      Thanks....great recipes !

    • daphnedangerlov1 profile image

      daphnedangerlov1 6 years ago

      I love making my own broth. Soup is so much better with homemade! Usually I do it in the crockpot though, and I always use a green pepper along with whatever veggies are in the crisper!

    • benzwm021 lm profile image

      benzwm021 lm 6 years ago

      From one vegetarian to another, thanks for this info! I love soup and it should be an easy vegertarian meal, but so many are made with chicken or beef broth. It's so infuriating, Check out by animal-friendly lens at https://hubpages.com/animals/be-truly-cruelty-free and let me know what you think!

    • JoyfulReviewer profile image

      JoyfulReviewer 6 years ago

      This is something I definitely plan to make. Thanks for a nicely informative lens!

    • profile image

      anonymous 6 years ago

      this is something simple that can also be made from things right out of the garden. Very healthy and delicious

    • profile image

      HuntAndFishGuides 6 years ago

      Making vegetable broth this way is 100 times healthier than the canned kind. Great lens.

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 6 years ago from USA

      I don't know why I never thought to make my own before, but I will definitely try this - low sodium and no BPAs.