I’ve personally taste-tested a variety of beef consommé substitutes to find the best one for every cooking occasion.
Whether you’re on the hunt for the closest flavor match, in need of a last-minute pantry substitute, or seeking an alternative tailored to your specific dietary requirements, rest assured that I’ve got you covered.
Looking for a lighter alternative to beef consommé? Try making chicken or mushroom consommé instead. Or if you’re in need of an instant substitute, you can’t go wrong with classic beef stock or beef bouillon. In a pinch, a mix of water and soy sauce can work.
Ready? Let’s jump right in.
I made beef noodle soup to try out all the different beef consommé substitutes.
Beef consommé is clarified beef stock, making it clear and intensely flavored. It’s frequently enjoyed as a soup, but its concentrated flavor also makes it an excellent base for other saucy dishes.
Finding good substitutes was a challenge because of how unique beef consommé is. But I did find some that will work in specific situations
Here’s what I tested and the verdicts:
|Chicken Consommé||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Mushroom Consommé||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||10/10|
|Beef Stock/Broth||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Canned Consommé||Replace in a 1:1 ratio||9/10|
|Bouillon Cubes||Replace with water and equivalent bouillon according to instructions||8/10|
|Water + Soy Sauce||Replace with a mixture of water and soy sauce (1 cup water + 1 tbsp soy sauce)||8/10|
Common uses for beef consommé and the best substitutes
Here are some popular ways to use beef consommé and the best substitutes for those situations:
- As an appetizer: Try using chicken consommé for a lighter flavor or mushroom consommé if you’re on a meat-free diet.
- As a base for stews and other soups: Try using beef stock, canned consommé, or bouillon cubes. A mixture of water + soy sauce also works, but you’ll need to use more herbs and spices in your recipe for extra flavor.
- As a base for sauces and gravies: Try using beef stock/broth, canned consommé, or bouillon cubes.
Chicken consommé is an excellent alternative to beef consommé.
It’s made in the same way as beef consommé – clarifying chicken broth with egg whites to create a clear, flavorful liquid.
The only downside? It won’t be as rich as beef consommé, and it has a lighter, more golden color.
The flavor difference wasn’t too noticeable in my beef noodle soup because there were lots of other rich ingredients.
But if your dish relies on the beef consommé for flavor, it’ll be more obvious.
How to substitute: Replace beef consommé in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with chicken consommé.
If you’re looking for a vegetarian alternative, look no further than mushroom consommé.
It uses mushrooms and vegetable broth as its base and goes through the same clarifying process as the traditional consommé.
This results in a clear, deep-flavored broth that highlights the earthiness of mushrooms, providing an umami kick that’s hard to beat.
You can also try this tomato consommé from Simply Recipes if you want something simpler.
How to substitute: Replace beef consommé in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with mushroom consommé.
At the core of every good beef consommé is a high-quality beef stock or broth, so it’s no surprise that it makes a decent substitute!
You’ll get the same meaty flavor but far less intense, and you don’t get the same thick mouthfeel a consommé has.
I don’t think anyone will be impressed if you served them a bowl of straight beef broth as a starter, but it’s a perfectly good substitute to use in soups and stews.
You can also use other broths like chicken or bone, but they have an even lighter taste, so you might need to amp up the other seasonings in your dish.
How to substitute: Replace beef consommé in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with beef stock or broth
Canned consommé is another quick and easy option if you’re in a rush.
It wont have the perfect clarity of a homemade beef consommé, but it’s a ready-to-go substitute that you can serve as a standalone soup.
Or you can use it as a base for sauces and gravies.
Campbell’s is arguably the most common brand you’ll see, but I prefer Baxter’s canned consommé.
It has added aged sherry, which gave my beef noodle soup more depth and complexity.
How to substitute: Replace beef consommé in your recipe in a 1:1 ratio with canned consommé.
Bouillon cubes are a lifesaver in a pinch.
They can’t replace consommé as a soup, but they’re a perfect instant solution for bringing a beefy, savory punch to your dishes.
And if you want an even more concentrated flavor, try using a beef base like Better Than Bouillon.
Just watch out for the salt content of this sub – it can be surprisingly high!
How to substitute: Replace beef consommé in your recipe with water and the equivalent in bouillon cubes, according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
Water + soy sauce
Here’s an intriguing vegan option: water and soy sauce!
It might seem a little unconventional, but this combination is useful for substituting beef consommé in recipes.
Soy sauce is rich in salty, umami notes that can do wonders in enhancing the other flavors in your dish.
And to give it even more complexity, try adding a bit of marmite (or vegemite) and nutritional yeast to the mix.
Pro-tip: If you’re gluten-sensitive, you can use liquid aminos instead of soy sauce.
How to substitute: Replace beef consommé in your recipe with a mixture of water and soy sauce (1 cup water + 1 tbsp soy sauce).
Other substitutes to consider
The suggestions above are my top picks for beef consommé substitutes, but they’re not the only options!
Here are some other things you can try:
- Demi-glace – this thick, rich sauce is essentially really reduced stock. Thin it out with some water and you’ll have a really tasty liquid you can use in place of beef consommé.
- Bovril – this is a salty meat extract with a rich, beefy flavor and lots of umami. You can dilute this with water to make ‘beef tea’ which is a like a less posh version of beef consommé.
Substitutes to avoid
I came across these suggestions during my research so I included them in my research – but after using them in my beef soup test, I don’t recommend them as a substitute for beef consommé!
- Browning sauce – this deepened the color of my beef noodle soup but didn’t add much in the way of meaty flavor. It was mainly just sweet! I also have a great guide to browning sauce substitutes.
- Au jus – this tasted okay, but I think it’s better suited as an accompaniment for your entrees instead of a soup or an ingredient in a dish.
- Fish stock – this is made the same way as beef stock, but its flavor was waaaay too delicate to work in a dish as robust of beef soup. Same for dashi.
9 Best Beef Consommé Substitutes +3 To Avoid
- 1 cup chicken consommé
- 1 cup mushroom consommé
- 1 cup beef stock/broth
- 1 cup canned consommé
- 1 cup diluted bouillon
- 1 cup water + soy sauce
- 1 cup red wine/beer
- Cook your meal according to the recipe.
- Add your chosen beef consomme substitute at the appropriate cooking time.
- Mix until thoroughly combined and continue with the recipe