5 On Your Side

Stock vs. broth: Chefs should know the difference

Posted May 28, 2019 5:15 p.m. EDT
Updated May 28, 2019 8:59 p.m. EDT

— Grocery store shelves are lined with broth and stock of all kinds, including organic, low-sodium and bone broths.

Many chefs substitute one for the other without hesitation, but according to Consumer Reports, there are some differences.

Stock and broth are both made with a combination of meat and bones, and both can add flavor to all kinds of dishes, including casseroles, rice, vegetables and mashed potatoes.

Broth has a higher proportion of meat, giving it a lighter body and meatier flavor, while stock is generally made with a higher proportion of bones and tends to have more body, experts say.

"Because stock is used as a base in recipes that call for extra seasoning, store-bought stock tends to have less sodium than broth," said Amy Keating, a nutritionist with Consumer Reports.

A third option, bone broth, generally provides more protein than stock or regular broth.

"Many people believe that bone broth has special health benefits," Keating said. "But there's little research to back that up."

Experts recommend deciding which flavor you like best while opting for as little sodium as possible. Labels that read "low sodium" typically have less salt than those that read "reduced sodium."

Consumer Reports warns that sodium in canned broth can be very high. It found products with close to 900 milligrams per cup, so check the labels closely.