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How to Make Vegetable Broth (With Kitchen Scraps!)

How To Make Vegetable Broth

How To Make Vegetable Broth with Kitchen Scraps
Making vegetable broth is one of those things that’s really easy to do, but I bet most of us don’t do it. Or, at least, don’t do it often. I use vegetable broth in a lot of my recipes, but I’ll be honest, I often use store-bought broth. But I shouldn’t because making your own vegetable broth is so, so easy. And you know what else? It tastes so much better too.

Unlike meat-based broths, there’s no skimming off fat or any of that ickiness. You don’t need to keep the pot on the stove for hours either. But it does require a little bit of advance planning. It also requires these three things:

Onions + Celery + CarrotsOnions (or a member of the onion family–leeks or shallots work too), celery, and carrots. That’s your starting point, but from there, you can tailor your broth to what you’re going to be using it for. Add sprigs of thyme and parsley to make a cooking liquid for rice and other grains. If you’re going to be using the broth as a base for an Asian-inspired soup (like this Thai Red Curry Soup), try adding fresh ginger and lemongrass.

Bag of Vegetable Scraps
Now, back to that thing I said about advance planning! You can buy whatever you want for your broth, chop it all up, and put it in your stockpot, but I’m cheap and it kills my soul a little to think about throwing away all those perfectly good veggies. It’s bad enough I have to throw away the onions, celery, and carrots! So instead of buying what I need, I collect scraps in a freezer bag and when I have a few cups worth, I use them to make broth. Here’s what I used in this particular batch:

Frozen Scraps for Vegetable Broth
But really, you can use so many different things. You do want to stay away from cruciferous veggies–no cabbage, no broccoli, no cauliflower, and for the love of all things holy, no brussels sprouts–because they can leave bitter flavors in your broth. Make sure everything you use is clean too–you don’t want to make dirt soup! And remember, there’s a difference between things you don’t want to eat vs. things you shouldn’t eat. Clean carrot peel is fine in a broth or stock; a moldy carrot is not.

Vegetable Broth Made with Kitchen Scraps
Oh, and speaking of stock! Have you ever wondered the difference between vegetable broth and stock? Broth is seasoned, while stock is not. So this recipe can be used for both vegetable broth or stock. To make stock, skip adding salt and pepper at the end.

Print

Basic Vegetable Broth

Vegetable Broth Recipe

Don’t throw away those vegetable scraps! Use them to make your own delicious vegetable broth instead. It’s easy and it’s so much cheaper than buying broth at the grocery store.

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 45 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: about 6 cups of broth 1x
Scale

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 large onions, chopped
  • 3 ribs celery, chopped
  • 3 carrots, chopped
  • 8 cups water
  • Frozen vegetable scraps (2-3 cups is a good amount)
  • 2 bay leaves
  • A few sprigs of parsley and thyme
  • Salt and pepper to taste (omit these if you’re making stock)

Instructions

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large Dutch oven or stockpot over medium heat. Add the garlic, onions, celery, and carrots. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes, stirring often. Add the water, frozen vegetable scraps, bay leaves, parsley, and thyme. Reduce heat to low and simmer, partially covered, for 45 minutes. Pour the broth through a fine mesh strainer into a large heat-proof bowl or pot; discard solids. One the broth has cooled, transfer it to airtight plastic containers or freezer bags and store it in the freezer. (I usually freeze it in 2-cup portions so I don’t have to thaw all the broth every time I use it.)

This post was originally published on January 8, 2013.

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222 Comments

  • Reply
    Derek
    March 31, 2019 at 5:11 am

    Delicious and easy

  • Reply
    Mariya
    April 6, 2019 at 12:14 am

    This is really a great recipe. I will make this at the next chance i get.

  • Reply
    Nataly
    April 6, 2019 at 2:13 am

    That recipe looks so yummy! I’ll have to try that one. Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply
    Joshua Howard
    July 24, 2019 at 10:46 am

    Thank you for sharing the recipe! I have a question. Can I make it without olive oil?

  • Reply
    Elaine
    September 21, 2019 at 1:18 pm

    I made the broth this morning . then I found this post and guess what I put eight cups of kale in it I pretty sure I should throw it out and start over ! Any advice

  • Reply
    Gbob
    February 27, 2020 at 7:50 pm

    WTF!?! — FROZEN vegetable scraps? You can’t use fresh vegetable scraps? They have to be frozen first? And no fresh vegetables of any sort? And no dried herbs?

  • Reply
    Thelma
    April 5, 2020 at 4:31 am

    Hi do you get flavor or color from onion skins? ive never thought of using them in stock.
    Thanks

  • Reply
    CYNTHIA D WESSON
    August 18, 2020 at 2:33 pm

    In making the homemade food for my 2 dachshunds, I am left with a huge amount (close to 24 oz of broth) from green beans, carrots, green peas & chopped broccoli. While I do want to freeze some broth, I am wondering if I could can it as well. Have you ever canned your broth? Any suggestions will be greatly appreciated, thank you…Cynthia W.

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