They’re all meaty liquids, so shouldn’t these terms be interchangeable? What are the differences between broth, stock, and consommé?
The Short Answer:
Yes, Broth, Stock, and Consommé are different from one another in small ways.
The Long Answer:
Have you ever been preparing a meal that calls for chicken stock but all you have is chicken broth? I’ve been here and I’ve said to myself, “Oh, come on what’s the difference?”
Turns out there are some pretty substantial differences in preparation that make broth, stock, and consommé different enough from one another that they are not interchangeable ingredients. All three of these are liquid gently cooked with added meat, vegetables, and other ingredients.
Broth is the most common ingredient used when making light soup. It is the liquid left behind after any kind of vegetable, meat, or seafood has been cooked in water. Chicken broth and beef broth are the two most common variations of this household staple. Bouillon is a form of condensed, powdered broth that is packed into cube form.
Stock has a far more intense taste than broth. That’s because it is cooked very slowly in order to take in as much flavor as possible from aromatics, meat, and fish bones. Many soups, stews, and sauces use stock as the main ingredient, and it is rarely served by itself.
Consommé is a mostly clear liquid that is made from clarifying homemade stock, typically with egg whites. The cloudy particles within the stock attach to the egg whites and rise up to the top where they can then be safely skimmed off. We get the word consommé from the French. Translated, it means “finished” or “consumed.” Consommé is often used to make a more complete soup than one would get from a broth or stock. It is fairly typical to see consommé served by itself, usually at the beginning of a meal.
Do you prefer broth, consommé, or stock in your soup? Which have you had the most luck cooking with? Sound off in the comment section below and let us know!