How to Make Vegetable Broth (With Kitchen Scraps!)

By Kiersten | Last Updated: March 8, 2017

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.
Go to Basic Vegetable Broth recipe

This post was originally published on January 8, 2013.

Basic Vegetable Broth

Prep Time:

10 minutes

Cook Time:

45 minutes

Total Time:

55 minutes


about 6 cups of broth


  • 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)
Print recipe


  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.)

About Kiersten

Kiersten is the founder and editor of Oh My Veggies.

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What are you referring to specifically when you reference Frozen vegetable scraps (2-3 cups is a good amount) what type of frozen vegetable?

Keep a bag in your freezer with vegetable scraps from any time you’re cooking — mushroom stems, onion greens, jalapeno ends, celery ends, whatever. Keep adding to it with other vegetable scraps. When your gallon Ziploc bag is full, you have a bag of scraps to add to your stock/broth.

Thank you for this! I love being able to use my scraps and have home made stock/broth 🙂

One question – I don’t have a fine enough strainer (yet), so I’ve been using cheese cloth, but it take a lot of muscle to squeeze all the broth through and it ends up getting very messy. Do you (or any readers) have a suggestion of how to ‘press’ out the broth?

If you use the strainer, do you get enough broth by just letting gravity strain it through? I am just trying to waste as little as possible.

Thanks again.

I think a cheese cloth is a great solution! Instead of squeezing it like you’re doing, I’d probably use it to line a colander. With the strainer, I use a wooden spoon to press all the veggie remains against the mesh to extract all the liquid I can get out. You can do the exact same thing with a cheese cloth-lined colander. 🙂

I use a rice washer/strainer and press with the back of a spoon.

And in regards to the broth though, the actual difference between broth and stock has nothing to do with seasonings. There is no such thing as a vegetable stock because stock uses the bones of say, chicken, whereas broth is the water that the meat and/or vegetables were cooked in. There are very seasoned broths and stocks alike, as well as very plain broths and stocks.

Hi, I generally use what we call a Chux cloth. Used for cleaning purposes and I have found them quite useful. If possible I try and purchase plain white but its near impossible now to get these.

I bought a nut milk bag from Amazon and love it, I just pour the stock in, let it drain and squeeze to get out the last drop. When I make a full stock pot, I do put it through a regular strainer first to get out the really big pieces, though.

Question: my veggie stock smells great, (still bubbling so haven’t tasted it), but it’s dark…almost like beef broth. Any ideas why?

Hey Jessica! That’s such a good idea! I have a couple of nut milk bags stashed away – I’m going to try that next time. 🙂 As for the color, it does tend to get a bit darker than store-bought broth, and the color really depends on what veggie scraps you use. I usually throw a few kale stems in mine, and it ends up being pretty dark.

You said carrots are a must. But my son can’t have carrots. Is there another root veggie that I could use instead of carrots?

Hi! Thanks for the “recipe”. I’m really looking forward to start doing my own broth! I would just like to know how much time does it keep.

For how many days can we store the prepared broth in refrigerator? Can I prepared the broth in weekend’s and drink it over week days? Thank you Kiersten

Hi there, the broth should keep in the fridge about 3-4 days—-although you can freeze it in small portions and keep thawing new ones in the fridge as you need them!

I have used this recipe a few times now to make broth 🙂 I am always in the habit of storing frozen vegetable scraps, an idea which I originally got from a Buzzfeed article, although I didn’t know that cruciferous vegetables were a no until I read your article. I eat it as a soup as-is, although I tend to simmer it for an extra hour-ish to make it flavourful enough on its own. I also find that some of the solids work great in the soup – I tend to fish out the pieces of carrot, celery and onion first and set them aside before smushing it all through a strainer, and then I add them back in. Potato peelings are also surprisingly nice – after a couple of hours’ simmering they’re just like soft potato flakes!

A few people have mentioned adding crucifers to their stock – I’ve always heard that it’s a no-no because the sulfur in them creates an off-taste, but maybe I’ll give it a try and report back. 🙂

This is my second time making this. I used it last time to make sweet potato stew. it was wonderful. This time I am making this to freeze and have on hand for future recipes. Thanks so much for this recipe quick and easy. I doubled it this time.

Thank you for sharing the recipe.
1) Can you give the quantity of each item if you want to make only one cup of broth
2) Also what can be used if you are allergic to onions (or other member of the onion family) and celery, and carrots as these seem to form the base ingredient?

I have been looking for a good veggie broth to drink warm. Is it okay to do that with this recipe? It helps my stomach a lot when I drink warm broth. I was looking for some to buy, but they all have so much sodium!! Thank you for this recipe, I will try it when I get enough veggies!

Anyway, the other day I was given a ton of asparagus and brussels sprouts. So I prepped the asparagus, separating the tough ends of the stalk from the spears. I blanched those first, for freezing and to be used later for cream of asparagus soup. Next I did the beautiful spears. The brussels sprouts were a bit past their prime but once I took the time to clean them up, they were fine. These I poached in batches after the asparagus having decided they were way more pungent. So I didn’t want to discard all that “veggie” water. I’m going to reduce it and keep it for later when I will add aromatics to it. Definitely did not want to waste it. I love the flavor of cabbage. So why do something different? Instead of cooking vegs in a meat stock, why not poach some chicken in cabbage stock, or pork (that would be a no-brainer!), or a corned beef? Now, if I can only make room in my already packed-to-the-max fridge….Seriously, I need to have a clean-out-the-fridge party! Lol!

I’ve made veggie stock this way for 50 years – so good, and so good for you. Another tip to share — freeze the broth in ice-cube trays, then store the frozen cubes in a zip-top bag or other container in the freezer. Makes it easy to get just the amount you want/need.

Hi! I’m very excited to try this. I just want to double check, it’s okay to use the SKINS of onions? What about garlic skin? I didn’t imagine they would have enough flavor to contribute..

Thanks for sharing so many great recipes!

Yes, you can use the skins! 🙂 Garlic too – although usually when I use garlic in mine, it’s from garlic I’ve minced in my garlic press, so there’s still a bit of “meat” attached to the skin.

I haven’t tried tomatoes, but I think they might make the broth a bit too acidic, unless you’re planning on using it for a tomato soup recipe.

I have made vegetable stock twice now from leftovers which are predominantly carrot, celery and onion tops and bottoms but which have also included scraps from fennel, leeks, potatoes and beets. Each time it has come out very bitter such that I just want to throw it down the drain. Is there some part of the vegetable, i.e. the skin of the onion, which is particularly bitter and should not be included? Right now I feel as if I am just wasting time.

Hi Galye! Sorry it hasn’t been working out for you. I’d try leaving out the celery tops – I’ve hear that these can add some bitterness.

So excited to use my veggie stock for risotto! So much extra flavor, As for the leftover cooked veggies I plan to add them to the compost pile! They will have already broken down a bit and will compost much faster!

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