I love to serve beef consommé to my dinner guests when I do something fancy. It’s a great appetizer, but it also works well as a base for soups, gravies, stews, sauces, and casseroles.
But what’s a cook to do when you don’t have the key ingredients needed to make a delicious beef consommé? What are the best beef consommé substitutes?
The best beef consommé substitutes are beef broth, vegetable stock (with soy sauce for a richer flavor), mushroom consommé, chicken broth or comsommé with liquid aminos, and au jus.
Here’s an in-depth guide to what you can use in your recipe if you can’t make beef consommé.
What Is Beef Consommé?
Beef consommé is a highly concentrated, velvety liquid that’s clear and made from water, beef bones, mirepoix vegetables, and egg whites.
To make beef consommé, you need to slowly simmer veal or beef bones with mirepoix veggies (usually carrots, celery, and onion) and seasoning.
Add egg whites to create a floating raft to trap impurities. Ground beef is sometimes added to further enhance the flavor and “catch” impurities.
The egg whites draw out the fat content to make the liquid clear. The liquid is strained to remove any impurities so only the concentrated, amber-colored beef consommé remains.
The consommé is a thick, clear “soup” that’s rich in depth and flavor, and that’s why it can be enjoyed on its own or used as a base or flavor enhancer in soups, side dishes, stews, casseroles, gravies, and sauces.
Beef consommé is a French term that means “perfect” or “complete,” and it’s usually the first course (an appetizer or soup) served in upscale restaurants.
Did you know? Beef consommé is a dish that dates back to medieval Europe. The wealthy typically enjoyed and served beef consommé because they could afford the ingredients.
5 Best Beef Consommé Substitutes
Here are the best beef consommé substitutes:
1. Beef Broth
Beef broth is a great substitute if you don’t have the ingredients or time to make beef consommé from scratch. The broth isn’t as flavor-rich, but it’ll do in a pinch.
Make beef broth by simmering beef shanks or ribs, onions, celery, carrots, thyme, and rosemary in a pot of water for roughly 60 minutes. Then strain the broth and use the liquid in your soup, casserole, stew, sauce, or gravy.
Alternatively, use ready-made beef broth that you buy in a container or can.
2. Vegetable Stock
You may have veggie stock in your pantry, and this is a good vegan or vegetarian-friendly alternative to beef consommé. It won’t add that rich beefy flavor or the dark color to your dish but it can add liquid consistency and some flavor.
Either make your own vegetable stock with the vegetables of your choice or buy veggie stock powder or cubes and dissolve it in water.
To get a more beef consommé-y flavor, mix soy sauce or tamari with the vegetable stock.
In general, add one teaspoon of soy sauce or tamari for every cup of veggie stock.
3. Mushroom Consommé
Another option that’s vegetarian-friendly is to make mushroom consommé or buy a mushroom bouillon cube or powder. This beef consommé alternative has a deep umami flavor.
Make mushroom consommé by:
- Beating three egg whites.
- Simmer water, garlic, dried mushrooms, salt, and pepper for an hour.
- Add the foamy egg whites and bring the mixture to a simmer.
- Strain the mushroom consommé through a cheesecloth and use it in your recipe.
4. Liquid Aminos and Chicken Broth
Liquid aminos have a deep umami flavor since it’s made from fermented coconut or soybeans. This makes it an ideal beef consommé substitute, especially when you add it to your recipe with chicken broth or consommé.
For every cup of chicken consommé or broth, add two teaspoons of liquid aminos.
If you can’t find liquid aminos at your local grocer, you can use soy sauce instead.
5. Au Jus
Au jus (“oh zhoo”) is a French foodie term that means “with juice.” It’s the juice that’s released when you cook meat.
To make au jus, which is a thin gravy:
- Melt four tablespoons of beef drippings or butter.
- Sprinkle two tablespoons of flour in the pot and whisk to form a paste.
- Vigorously stir in ¼ cup of red wine or beef broth into the mixture and cook for two minutes.
- Slowly pour a cup of beef broth and whisk to combine.
- Then add the other cup of beef broth and one tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce.
- Cook for five minutes until the sauce is thickened.
- Season with salt and pepper, and add the au jus to your beef consommé recipe.
Is Bouillon and Consommé the Same Thing?
Bouillon and beef consommé are not the same thing. Beef consommé is a purified beef-flavored liquid, while bouillon is made from a dehydrated base, which can be beef, lamb, chicken, or vegetables.
You need to dissolve the bouillon cube or powder in water or a soup base, sauce, curry, or stew to flavor the dish and create a thicker consistency.
Is Beef Consommé and Beef Broth the Same Thing?
Beef broth and beef consommé aren’t the same. They differ in terms of taste, appearance, and how they are prepared.
While beef consommé and beef broth are used in many recipes, here are the main differences:
|Beef Broth||Beef Consommé|
|Appearance||Light brown, cloudy liquid||Purified version of beef broth; velvety, concentrated, clear amber liquid|
|Preparation||A purified version of beef broth; velvety, concentrated, clear amber liquid||Egg whites are added to beef bones, water, veggies, and herbs and spices to purify the stock to make consommé|
|Used For||Only used as a base for soups, stews, sauces, gravies, and casseroles||As an appetizer or soup, or used as a base for soups, casseroles, stews, and gravies|
My Last Foodie Thoughts
Beef consommé adds a rich beefy flavor and velvety texture to a dish. But when you don’t have time to purify beef broth or don’t have the right ingredients on hand, you can easily substitute the beef consommé with:
- Beef broth
- Vegetable stock (and soy sauce)
- Mushroom consommé
- Chicken broth or consommé with liquid aminos
- Au jus