The Difference Between Chicken Broth and Chicken Stock


Search for a recipe for soup, sauce, or some other meat-based dish, and you will most likely bump into stock or broth in the ingredient list. We all know broth or stock is – the flavorful and savory liquid made with meat, bones, and veggies.

It seems that they are used interchangeably, but does chicken stock and chicken broth represent the same thing?

The Lighter Chicken Broth

Meat broth

Meat broth is made by simmering together meat, flavorful vegetables, and aromatic herbs in water. Compared to stock, broth is much lighter since it is made of meat scraps.

Due to this fact, meat broth in general or chicken broth specifically is perfect when consumed on its own and is, in fact, recommended as a powerful weapon for fighting a cold.

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How to cook broth?

To cook broth, you don’t need much time. A healthy and very delicious broth can be prepared in a short amount of time thanks to the fact that meat doesn’t usually take long to be cooked.

After the meat has been cooked, it is removed from the water and can later be used for another recipe or even diced or shredded and added back to the broth to be consumed as a soup or a stew.

Chicken broth is a great base for many recipes because it is thin, but unlike water, it will pack the dish with amazing taste and flavors. Although it is primarily based for soups, broth is also great for cooking rice, gravies, sauces, beans, casseroles… well, pretty much anything.

But broth doesn’t necessarily need to be made with meat. There are plenty of vegetarian varieties of broth that you can make by simmering veggies with herbs and spices in water. Vegetarian broth is also a delicious and flavorful base for many dishes.

The Thicker Chicken Stock

What is the difference between chicken broth and chicken stock?

The main difference between broth and stock is in how they are made. While broth is prepared with meat, stock is made when cooking the bones of the animal along with veggies, herbs, and spices.

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The difference between chicken broth and chicken stock.

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How to make chicken stock?

Stock takes longer to prepare since bones need more time to infuse the water with their yummy taste and flavors. Stock is made by boiling the bones (or the cartilage) for many hours, usually 6-8 hours.

The long cooking process allows the bones to release the collagen and give the water a thick consistency that is much more gelatinous than that of a broth.

Stock can be made with pretty much anything, be it a beef, pork, lamb, a bird like chicken or turkey, and even fish. Because stock is made with bones only, you need to make sure that the bones are clean of the meat before adding them to the water.

The thick stock adds an umami flavor that is earthy and delicious and can be an excellent base for many dishes that go beyond soups and stews.

Stock can also be used for sauces, gravies, beans, etc.

What About Bone Broth?

Okay, if broth is made with meat and stock is made by simmering the bones, then what on earth is bone broth? How can a broth be made with bones? If this is what has been causing you confusion and making you believe that broth is the kind that uses bones, you were wrong.

Bone broth is a hybrid of stock and meat broth

Bone broth – as misleading as it sounds – is actually a stock. Ok, you must be thinking, then why isn’t just called bone stock? Because bone broth is not entirely stock. If broth and stock has a child it would be called bone broth. Yes, think of bone broth as a hybrid of stock and meat broth.

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How to cook bone broth.  Image Source:

Why? Because, although the usual preparation for bone broth requires roasted bones, the bones don’t necessarily have to be cleaned of meat. Unlike stock, bone broth can be made with meat that has some meat attached to them.

How to cook bone broth?

Bone broth is cooked for a really long period of time, about 24 hours, which is yet another thing that makes it different from stock.

While making stock the goal is to release the bones’ gelatin and make the liquid thicker, here, the goal is to release all of the nutritious compounds packed inside the bones.

Bone broth can also be used as a base for many recipes, and it is also extremely nutritious consumed on its own.

When to Use Chicken Stock and When to Use Chicken Broth?

You may have noticed chicken soup recipes that call for chicken stock, but also some that call for chicken broth. That can be confusing. Which one is better to use? And why you should choose one over the other?

Thinner or Thicker Base

To be honest, there isn’t really a rule. They both work great as bases so it all comes down to what you are looking for in the dish. Do you want a thinner or a thicker base? If thinner, choose the broth, if you need a thicker consistency, pour some broth into the dish.

However, it is a better choice to use broth for those meals that are mostly based on the liquid’s flavor, such as soups.

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Chicken broth for makeing soups. Image Source: 

Choose stock when the flavor of the dish is based on other ingredients, like for instance, the meat or veggies in a stew.

Looking for tips and tricks on how to perfectly make stocks and broths? Check out this video:

Is Chicken Broth or Chicken Stock Healthier?

Now that you know what the difference is and when to use stock and broth, you may wonder what the healthier option is.

The Calories

When it comes to your health, both broth and stock have their advantages and disadvantages. A cup of chicken broth has about 38 calories, while a cup of chicken stock contains approximately 86 calories.

And that’s quite understandable considering the fact that stock contains more fat and carbs due to the gelatin of the bones.

Keep in Mind

So, if you are looking to lose weight, then perhaps adding broth to your dishes may be a better option. However, although it may be higher in calories, keep in mind that stock is far more nutritious and packed with essential nutrients.

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Bottom line

Be as it may, both chicken broth and chicken stock will enrich your dish and give it an irresistible flavor that you cannot otherwise get from plain water and spices. The trick is to simmer them for the right amount of time, and a satisfying meal is guaranteed.

Now I’m guessing you may wonder if I have any other food tips? The answer is yes, I do 🙂 Check out my latest tips of how to thaw a turkey properly and how many calories you will get in a in a peanut butter and jelly sandwich?


About Author

Hi, I’m Jennie who loves cooking and fascinated by healthy lifestyle. I set up this website to share with you all I know about cooking and making our kitchen a better place :)

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