Beef consommé makes an elegant start to a formal dinner party, but it’s also a useful ingredient if you’re making a stew, soup, or casserole. You might painstakingly make your own or open a convenient can. But, sometimes, a recipe calls for beef consommé, and you don’t have any. What are the best substitutes for beef consommé?
Substitutes for beef consommé are beef stock (fresh or dehydrated), broth, and bone broth, all similar in consistency and flavor. Also, use chicken consommé or stock. Vegetarian substitutes are mushroom, onion, or vegetable stock, wine, beer, soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce, Marmite, or miso paste.
It’s challenging to replace beef consommé as a standalone dish, but there are beef alternatives if you use the consommé as an ingredient in a meaty dish. There are also vegetarian substitutes for beef consommé if you are looking for a rich, savory element to add to a dish.
- Best Substitutes For Beef Consommé
- Meat-Based Substitutes For Beef Consommé
- Vegetarian Substitutes For Beef Consommé
- So, What Are The Best Substitutes For Beef Consommé?
Best Substitutes For Beef Consommé
Beef consommé, whether tinned or homemade, is an intensely flavorful soup that can stand on its own as a meal. You can use many substitutes to replace this ingredient, whether you are making a meaty or vegetarian dish. Before investigating the replacements, let’s look at what beef consommé is and how it is made.
What Is Beef Consommé?
A consommé, whether beef, chicken, or vegetable, is a clarified or clear stock.
Beef consommé is made by cooking down beef and vegetables to produce a rich stock. To clarify or purify the stock, you add egg whites, which float to the top as an “egg raft,” removing the fats and sediments as the mixture simmers. Once the egg layer goes brown and bubbly, you strain the thickened soup through cheesecloth, leaving a clear, intensely flavored liquid free from grease.
This delicious soup is richer and clearer than cloudy beef stock and has far more flavor than an ordinary broth.
Consommé makes a light meal on its own or a delicious appetizer. However, it has many other uses, such as making aspic or savory jelly, as a base for casseroles, soups, and stews, as a flavoring agent for Asian dishes, and as a vehicle for dumplings.
Meat-Based Substitutes For Beef Consommé
The best substitutes for beef consommé are other beef bases, as they have a similar consistency and flavor.
- Best for: Deglazing, soups, stews, casseroles, chili, gravy, sauce
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 cup beef beef stock
Beef stock is a mild, unseasoned liquid intended as a base for other dishes, including beef consommé. Stock is made by roasting beef or veal bones for about half an hour. The bones are then placed in a stockpot with roughly chopped onions, carrot, celery, parsley, thyme, and water and simmered for up to eight hours. The stock is then strained before use.
Bones are an essential ingredient of a stock because of the collagen that the connective tissues and bones release, giving the stock its gelatinous quality. A good stock will solidify when refrigerated, rather like jello.
Because it has not been cooked as long and reduced as long as consommé has, beef stock is not as concentrated and intensely flavored.
However, beef stock is an excellent substitute if you make a dish that will simmer for a while. Its flavor will intensify and enrich other flavors in the food and have the same effect as beef consommé. Stock is also an excellent choice to deglaze a pan, as a base for gravy or a binding agent.
- Best for: Appetizers, soups, stews, casseroles, dumplings
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 cup beef broth
Although often used interchangeably with beef stock or bouillon, beef broth is seasoned and edible and will not turn to jelly when chilled.
Broth is a liquid made only from simmering meat (not bones) and vegetables (usually onions, celery, carrots, and leeks) for about an hour, skimming the foam from the top. You then strain the liquid to use.
If you want a substitute for consommé as a starter for a meal, beef broth makes a fresh and satisfying soup — and it doesn’t take as long to make. It also makes a tasty soup for serving dumplings.
To use beef broth as an ingredient in another dish, be aware that its flavor is not as potent as consommé, so you may want to cook the dish longer to reduce and intensify the taste.
- Best for: Soups, stews, casseroles, sauces, gravies
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 cup bone broth
Bone broth is a hybrid version of beef stock and beef broth made when you cook the roasted bones, vegetables, and meat, like stock, but for 24 rather than eight hours. The resulting strained liquid is usually seasoned and forms a standalone soup.
Like consommé, bone broth has an intense flavor, rich and earthy. You can substitute bone broth as a highly nutritious soup course instead of consommé and use it as an umami base for soups, sauces, and gravies.
Bouillon Cubes Or Granules
- Best for: Soups, stews, casseroles, gravy, pasta sauces
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 bouillon cube + 1 cup water.
Bouillon cubes or granules are dehydrated beef stock and are the quickest and most convenient way to add beef flavor to any dish – you probably have some in your pantry, as they last for months.
To reconstitute bouillon cubes or granules, mix the amount required on the packaging with boiling water. You can then use this mixture to substitute for beef stock or consommé in dishes that need a beef base.
If all you need is a punch of flavor, add the dried cube or granules directly to the dish — this works well for pasta sauces.
Be cautious when using bouillon or stock cubes, as some brands are high in salt and may overwhelm your dish. Taste the mixture first before adding it as an ingredient.
- Best for: Gravies, sauces, dips
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 cup jus (pan drippings + stock)
Au jus, jus, or beef juice is another substitute for consommé if you need a flavorful liquid to make a sauce or gravy.
Jus is made from the pan drippings from roast meat or the liquid from cooked meat. You can buy it in cartons from the store or make it very quickly at home. Once the excess fat has been poured off, you add stock, broth, soy sauce, garlic, or other seasonings to the pan and bring it to a boil, scraping the pan to include all the cooked bits of meat stuck to the pan.
You can use jus as a gravy, making meat soft, juicy, and flavorful, or as an ingredient instead of consommé as a basis for other sauces.
- Best for: Appetizers, soups, white sauces, pasta sauces
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 cup chicken consommé
Chicken consommé is made in the same way as beef consommé (except with chicken). Although it has a different flavor profile, it can be an excellent substitute as it is also intensely tasty and concentrated.
Serve chicken consommé as a starter or light meal instead of its beefy cousin. If you need a savory base for a sauce or gravy — but not necessarily a beef flavor — you can also use chicken consommé. The color of your dish may be lighter than if you’ve used beef, but the consistency will remain the same.
Vegetarian Substitutes For Beef Consommé
If you are making a dish that requires a savory base rather than a meat-based one, or following a vegetarian lifestyle, there are several vegetarian substitutes for beef consommé that are equally rich and tasty.
However, no vegetarian substitute will contain the gelatinous and unctuous collagen that beef consommé or stock provides, so the consistency will always be thinner.
- Best for: Appetizers, sauces
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 cup mushroom consommé
Mushroom consommé, whether made from shitake or portobello mushrooms, makes an excellent beef consommé substitute because of its hearty umami flavor that enriches any dish.
Essentially a concentrated mushroom flavored vegetable stock, mushroom consommé is cooked for about an hour before being strained for use.
Serve as a soup course, or use as a base ingredient in sauces. The mushroom flavor will be evident, so you will need to decide if you can use it as a base for a soup, stew, or casserole.
- Best for: Stews, soups, casseroles, gravies, sauces
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 cup vegetable stock
A common and accessible replacement for beef consommé is vegetable stock, whether made from scratch, a bouillon cube, or granules.
Vegetable stock has neither the same consistency nor flavor profile as beef consommé but will serve as a savory basis or flavoring agent for soups, stews, casseroles, and sauces.
Marmite or Vegemite
- Best for: Stews, soups, casseroles, gravies, sauces
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 teaspoon Marmite + 1 cup water
A yeast extract usually spread thinly on toast, Marmite is a British staple with a lusciously rich, almost beefy flavor. Vegemite is the Australian version.
You can replace beef consommé in liquid form by dissolving a teaspoon of Marmite in boiling water. Be careful not to use too much Marmite, as it has a potent flavor that can overwhelm a dish easily.
For color, add a teaspoon of Marmite directly to your dish.
- Best for: Asian dishes, curries
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 teaspoon miso paste + 1 cup water
Although it is made from fermented soybeans, miso will not impart a beany flavor to your food — it is the original umami flavor that adds depths and richness to any meal, Asian or not.
You can dilute miso paste in a cup of water if you need a liquid substitute for beef consommé, or add it directly to your dish, a tablespoon at a time. Miso does not dissolve like bouillon or Marmite, so add it as soon as mixed. Taste carefully as miso has a strong flavor.
- Best for: Stews, gravies, sauces, chili
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1/2 cup wine or beer + ½ cup water
Wine or beer make suitable beef consommé substitutes if you are looking for a flavorful liquid for a stew or gravy. The flavor profile and consistency are pretty different, but alcohol adds tone and depth to a recipe.
Alcohol is much stronger than beef consommé and can overpower a dish, so you will need to substitute half a cup of wine or beer and half a cup of water. Also, cook off the alcohol thoroughly so that the flavor is integrated.
- Best for: Asian dishes, soups, dumplings
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 tablespoon soy sauce
Soy sauce is a good substitute when you want to use beef consommé to add flavor and richness to a dish rather than liquid.
Soy sauce has a very intense flavor, so you will need to use much less of it to achieve a strong-tasting addition. To make up liquid, use vegetable stock or water — although you should choose another substitute if you need fluid.
Note that soy sauce has a distinctive flavor, so its most appropriate for Asian-style dishes, unless you generally enjoy the taste.
- Best for: Stews, soups, casseroles, gravies, sauces
- Substitute ratio: 1 cup beef consommé = 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Like soy sauce, Worcestershire sauce has a rich, savory taste that can enhance the flavor of stews, soups, casseroles, and gravies. However, Worcestershire sauce has 80% less salt than soy sauce and a less pronounced flavor, so you can use it in more dishes.
Because Worcestershire sauce is so strong, use only a tablespoon instead of beef consommé and make up any liquid with stock or water. (Rather use another substitute if you’re looking for fluid.)
To imitate the flavor of beef consommé more closely, add pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and parsley to season your dish.
So, What Are The Best Substitutes For Beef Consommé?
Whether you are serving beef consommé as a starter to a meal or using it as an ingredient in a soup or stew, there are several handy substitutes. Beef stock and broth work perfectly, while vegetarian substitutes like mushroom consommé or vegetable stock are ideal. Choose the replacement that best matches the flavor profile and consistency you are want.