There’s a difference, no bones about it.
In a pinch, they seem interchangeable. If a recipe calls for stock, you can usually use broth. If a recipe calls for broth, you can usually use stock. Not to mention, there’s really no difference between stock and broth when it comes to how they look. If you’re missing both, you can grab some bouillon and hot water, and you have a serviceable substitute.
But what, exactly, is the difference between broth and stock? Before you enter into a super trendy cuisine discussion about the latest bone broth fad, you should educate yourself on what differentiates one from the other.
What is broth?
That’s still the biggest difference between stock and broth when it comes to chicken. When it comes to vegetables, Fine Cooking claims that there is no difference between vegetable stock and vegetable broth, because vegetables don’t have bones.
What is stock?
Traditionally, stock was made using the bones of an animal like a chicken. Chefs would simmer the bones with something called “mirepoix,” which is a mixture of onions, carrots, and celery.
It ultimately comes down to ingredients; chicken broth would be made with the actual meat of the bird, while chicken stock would be made from the bones and the trim of the animal.
(If you’re looking for a way to get use out of those extra cans of chicken broth, try out one of these recipes for some dynamite homemade soup.)
So, just for the record, bone broth is not a broth at all. Bone broth is much more similar to stock than to broth, which is thoroughly confusing.
What’s the difference between stock and broth?
Taste-wise, broth tends to be a bit more rich, while stock will have a fuller, more pillowy mouthfeel. Stock also takes longer to make than broth, since it takes quite a while to release all the gelatin and collagen present in the bones used while releasing all the flavor out of meat is a bit quicker of a process.