How to Make Vegetable Stock and 8 Ways to Use It

December 10, 2014

It's not unsual to buy a bunch of celery only to need two stalks of it. And let's not even get started on the seemingly endless amount of stems one accumulates while making kale salad. What's a person to do with all of these scraps? 

Vegetable stock is a simple way to add layers of depth to your food while using up the leftovers that would otherwise be, well, scrapped. It's also incredibly easy to make: Throw a bunch of ends, stems, and leaves into a large pot of salted water, bring it to a boil, and let time do the rest of the work. You can add cheese rinds, wine, soy sauce, herbs, and any other flavorings you desire -- consider it a blank canvas. When the stock is finished, store it in the fridge or freezer -- that way, when the mood strikes, you're always prepared to make one of the warming soups, stews, and risottos below (and remember that you can almost always substitute in vegetable broth when a recipe calls for chicken or beef).

Goodbye waste, hello dinner. 

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How to Make Vegetable Stock Without a Recipe by Marian Bull


Brothy, Garlicky Beans by Merrill Stubbs


Winter Squash Soup with (Less) Red Chile and Mint by Nicholas Day


Savory Wild Mushroom Soup by mariaraynal


Thyme-Scented Fennel and Leek Soup by AntoniaJames


Celeriac and Potato Soup with Mushroom, Walnut, and Celery Leaf by Maja Lukic- Veggies & Gin


Oven Butternut Squash Risotto by Jacky



Butternut Squash, Brussels Sprout, and Bread Stuffing with Apples by Gena Hamshaw


Roasted Carrot Soup by Reeve  

More: Here are 5 other ideas for using vegetable stock to make weeknight dinners

What's your favorite use for vegetable stock? Tell us what it is (and how to prepare it) in the comments!

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  • Scribbles
  • Laura415
  • heatheranne
Kate Snider

Written by: Kate Snider


Scribbles July 21, 2016
I'm a huge fan of saving my vegetable trimmings for stock. I put them in a ziplock in the freezer and when the gallon bag is full of trimmings I make stock. Like heathranne, below, I freeze in 2 or 4 cup containers usually. The last batch I reduced and put it in ice cube trays, popped them out and into a freezer bag so now I can pop a cube with a cup of water into just about anything. There is nothing 'yuck' about this vegetable stock.
Laura415 December 29, 2014
I don't want to yuck anyone's yum but I've never been a fan of the kitchen sink vegetable stock. I make my vegetable stock as deliberately as I make my meat stocks, with fresh vegetables and a few secret ingredients. I never add brassicas or other sulphur smelling vegetables like Kale, broccoli or cauliflower. My two favorite additions for umami flavor are a big piece of Konbu dried seaweed and a separate infusion of Nettles (dried or fresh) in water. The nettle infusion tastes surprisingly like beef broth when you add salt. I always add a few dried mushrooms in as well.
heatheranne December 11, 2014
Love it. I've always got vegetable stock in the freezer. I freeze it in 4 cup containers to make soup and then freeze some in ice cube trays for when I need just a bit to braise vegetables or make a sauce. I save the chicken stock for broth based meat soups when I really want that chickeny flavour. I know people have said that you shouldn't use scraps to make stock (I guess because it won't taste as good), but I've tried it both ways and I don't think there is much of a difference. To me it makes more sense to keep the scraps, especially if you are making blended soups and adding herbs and spices.