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July 28, 2010

How to transform store-bought broth into great soup stock

How to make a great soup stock from store-bought broth. 

When you want to make your own soup stock, but don't have chicken carcasses or fish heads or beef marrow bones in your refrigerator, give store-bought broth from the pantry a homemade, long-simmered taste -- in an hour or less. The "enhanced" stock, made on the stove top or in a slow cooker, will keep in the refrigerator for a couple of days, or in the freezer for several months. And nobody will know that you didn't start from scratch. Really, it's amazing what a few fresh herbs and vegetables can do.

How to transform store-bought broth into great soup stock

This recipe, adapted from Soup's On!, makes 4 cups of stock.


10 oz chicken broth, beef broth, clam juice or vegetable broth
3 stalks celery, with leaves, thinly sliced
2 carrots, thinly sliced
1 onion (or leek), thinly sliced
1/2 fennel bulb, thinly sliced
10 sprigs flat-leaf parsley
1 dried bay leaf
2-3 sprigs fresh thyme
3-4 cremini mushrooms (for beef or vegetable broth variations only)


Stove top: Put all of the ingredients in a medium stockpot. Add 1 quart of cold water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the flavors have melded, about 25 minutes.

Slow cooker: Put all of the ingredients, plus 1 quart of cold water, in a small (3-4 quart) slow cooker. Set on HIGH and cook for 1 hour, or until the flavors have melded.

Both methods: Strain the stock through a sieve or colander set over a large bowl. Discard the solids and let the liquid cool to room temperature. Use right away, or transfer to an airtight container for storage in the refrigerator or freezer.

Print recipe only.


Posted by: Meeta | July 29, 2010 at 03:04 AM

yes! this is the best way to go when in a rush! lydia great tip.

Posted by: CJ McD | July 29, 2010 at 09:52 AM

That's what I do to doctor up store bought broth too! Only, I cut the vegetables into 1 inch chunks instead of slicing thinly. Saves a little labor and the fresh flavor is still extracted with the hour long simmer time. I usually toss a clove of garlic and some peppercorns in too.

Glad you posted this. It's a great tip/trick!

Posted by: Karina | July 29, 2010 at 08:56 PM

Clever. I love tips like this. Great stuff, Lydia.

Posted by: Lydia | July 30, 2010 at 08:28 AM

Meeta, I agree! You can really fix up the store-bought broth.

CJ, garlic is a good addition, especially for the vegetable broth. You can also make it more Asian by adding fresh ginger root.

Karina, thanks so much. I love taking a bit of help from the market sometimes.

Posted by: Serena @ Seriously Soupy | August 14, 2010 at 03:47 PM

wow, these are great tips. I can't wait to try them!

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  • I'm Lydia Walshin, a longtime food writer who lives and cooks in a real log house. If I could, I'd eat Chinese noodles, grapes, ice cream and soup every day.
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