This post contains affiliate links. If you use the links below, I may earn a small commission. Thank you for supporting this blog!
Making homemade vegetable broth has been a game changer in terms of elevating my cooking game and saving $20 every month. I first started making homemade vegetable broth when we moved to Nashville about five months ago (wow, has time flown). I was trying to save as much money as possible and one of the simplest ways to do that I read was to make your own broth/stock at home. Since I do cook a lot at home, I go through broth quite quickly and always seem to have an abundance of food scraps. Those two things combined made the jump to homage vegetable broth a no-brainer. Today, I’m sharing my no-fuss recipe for this pantry staple.
I feel like making your own broth can seem intimidating. It’s meant to be the flavorful base to a wide variety of dishes, so what if it comes out bland? In a few paragraphs, I’ll share how to ensure your broth is flavorful, but first we need to start with the basis of the broth: vegetable scraps. I take a gallon-sized resealable bag and fill it with food scraps. Once I start filling the bag, I write the date on the front of the bag -vegetables can stay good in the freezer for 2-3 months. I continue to add scraps to the bag until it’s full and then I proceed with the rest of this incredibly simple process.
Anytime I go grocery shopping, I prep my fresh produce right away and put those scraps (carrot ends, the celery bulb, onion skin, etc.) in the bag right away. If you notice that some of your produce is nearing the end of it’s life, toss it in a freezer bag for broth – a great way to still get a use out of it before tossing it.
(More on the blog: Recipe: Homemade Vegetable Soup)
Here are some examples of veggie scraps to save: carrot shavings, celery leaves, onion skins, garlic skin, the tops of bell peppers (no seeds), herb stems.
Alright, so you’ve got your big freezer bag filled with vegetable scraps, now what? Take a big ole stock pot (I use this one from Cuisinart – thanks mom for the set!) and put it on medium heat. Put about a tablespoon of olive oil in the bottom of the pot and let it get nice and hot. Once the oil heats up, dump all of your veggies into the pot and let them sauté and defrost. Sautéing the vegetables before covering them in water intensifies their flavor which leads to a more flavorful broth.
(More on the blog: Recipe: Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins)
Once the vegetables have been properly heated and have softened a little bit, add water to the pot. Add enough water to completely cover all of the vegetables and then cover the pot. Let it cook on medium heat until it comes to a boil. Once it boils, give it a good stir and then turn the heat down to low.
The longer you let your broth simmer, the tastier and more flavorful it will be. I let my broth simmer for at least two hours, but have let it go as long as five hours in the past.
Can you do this process in the crockpot? I wouldn’t recommend it. I tried it once – I let the broth cook in the crockpot on high for 8 hours and it still tasted like barely seasoned water. When making broth, I say opt for the stove.
(More on the blog: Recipe: Eggs Benedict in a Hurry)
Also, feel free to add fresh, whole herbs like parsley, dill, rosemary, oregano or thyme. Generally, stay away from dried herbs. Dried herbs are much harder to strain out because of their size. Also, wait to season the broth with salt or pepper until you are ready to use it in a recipe. If you add salt or pepper as it’s still becoming broth, the saltiness and pepperiness will intensify as the broth sits and cools.
Once your broth is done cooking, pour it through a fine-mesh strainer into a plastic or glass bowl. We got our strainer at Target in a set of two – the one pictured above is the larger of the two sizes. We also love this set of five plastic bowls; we use them for everything.
Let your broth completely cool before you put it in the fridge or do anything with it. If I’m not planning to use homemade vegetable broth within a few days of making it, I pour it into another gallon-sized plastic bag, squeeze all of the air out, write the date on the front and put it back in the freezer. Broth can stay good in the freezer for a couple of months or in the fridge for about two weeks.
Gallon-sized bag filled with vegetable/herb scraps
6 – 10 cups of water
1 tbsp olive oil
- Heat the olive oil in a large pot on medium heat.
- Add the vegetable scraps to hot oil and sauté until vegetables are heated through and slightly soft.
- Cover vegetables with water so that all vegetables are covered with water.
- Cover the pot and bring the vegetables to a boil.
- Turn the heat down to low and simmer for at least one hour.
- Remove the pot from heat and strain into a large bowl through a fine-mesh strainer.
- Allow the broth to completely cool before storing in a container or immediate use or a plastic bag to be stored in the freezer.
What is something that you make from scratch?