Learning how to make vegetable stock at home sounds daunting. Yet I’m here to tell you that it’s easy and eco-friendly! You can use what you already have on hand to make it, and it turns out slightly different every time. Let’s talk about what vegetable stock is, as well as solve the question of vegetable stock vs broth (is there one?).

3 mason jars of homemade vegetable stock and 1 mason jar of vegetable scraps.

When I first made my very own, it opened my eyes to the world of food waste and how different vegetables work together. I quickly realized just a few extra steps turned my kitchen scraps into a nourishing base for ramen and soup. This is definitely a fun recipe to make!

Table of Contents
  1. Tips for Making Vegetable Stock
  2. How to Store Homemade Broth
  3. What is Vegetable Stock?
  4. Vegetable Stock vs Broth
  5. Vegetable Stock FAQs
  6. Recipes Using Stock or Broth
  7. How to Make Vegetable Stock Recipe

Tips for Making Vegetable Stock

This recipe might be a little hard to follow for those that like precise measurements. Why? Well, it’s all about what kind and how many scraps you have on hand! Here are tips for success success:

glass bowl of vegetable scraps surrounded by chopped vegetables.
  • Use what you have on hand. No need to buy vegetables just for this stock since the goal is to use what you’d toss into the compost or trash.
  • Use a variety! The best stock has a variety of flavors contributing to the final product. If you don’t want yours to be onion-heavy, then make sure you eat some celery and arugula that week too.
  • Avoid adding cruciferous veggies. Ingredients like broccoli, cabbage and kale can make a bitter broth, so avoid them. Feel free to make a delicious soup out of this stock and toss some kale in right before serving!
  • Add in some anti-inflammatory ingredients. Feel free to toss in some fresh ginger or fresh turmeric and up to a tablespoon of apple cider vinegar. A little goes a long way.
  • Spice it up! Don’t forget to add in a few herbs and spices to nicely flavor your stock.

How to Store Homemade Broth

ceramic stock pot full of vegetable scraps, water and spices.

Now that you know the recipe, where do you put all that golden goodness? I store mine in quart-size, wide-mouth mason jars. They are the perfect size for four cups of broth (so use three jars to make a 12-cup batch like the below recipe). They also fit nicely in my freezer.

steps on how to make vegetable stock by straining cooked vegetable scraps into a glass bowl, then using a liquid measuring cup to pour stock into a glass mason jar.

Be sure to leave space in the jars for expansion. No one needs exploding vegetable stock or broth in their freezer!

Make sure your stock has cooled off completely before storing it in the freezer. I like to put mine in the fridge overnight just to be sure, then move it to the freezer the next day. Yet if you plan to use this within five days, keep it in the fridge.

What is Vegetable Stock?

Whether you call it stock or broth, this recipe is literally seasoned water with veggie scraps. No need for a precisely measured plan, or even the same vegetables every time you make it. Just put your vegetable scraps in a freezer-safe bag and keep adding to it until the bag is full.

a glass measuring cup pouring vegetable stock into a glass mason jar.

Then, simmer those lovely scraps in water with some spices for at least two hours. I like making my own so that I control the sodium and flavor.

No weird additives here, just delicious odds and ends that make the broth of your dreams. Your soups and savory dishes will thank you for using this homemade stock in them!

Vegetable Stock vs Broth

Honestly, when you talk about stock vs broth, you’re really talking about meat-based liquids. Meat broth is made from meat and vegetables while meat stock is made with bones.

Vegetable broth and stock are used interchangeably, so feel free to swap whatever you have on hand in a recipe! It’s really up to your taste buds if there is a certain veggie broth brand you like better, as well as a glance at the sodium content (since it can be high in some store-bought broths).

This is easy to control when making your own.

2 glass containers of homemade broth one with a lid and one without, and a 3rd glass container of veggie scraps.

Vegetable Stock FAQs

What should you not put into vegetable stock?

My least favorite vegetables to use in homemade stock are cruciferous foods like kale, broccoli, turnips, which are potent in the wrong way. I also avoid putting squash and green beans because they don’t add any great flavor. Stock is all about the flavor. After all, it’s the base of many soups, rice dishes and so much more.

What vegetables are best for the stock?

Flavorful stocks typically include celery and onions, yet you don’t need these to make a basic stock. Use what you have on hand then season to taste!

Is it cheaper to make your own vegetable stock?

Yes! You’re using the vegetables you already have on hand and spices that you likely already have as well. You can adjust to your taste preferences. All it takes is a bit of your time.

Recipes Using Stock or Broth

Rock your new, homemade stock in any recipe that calls for vegetable broth/stock to bump up the flavor. You’ll never want to buy stock from the store again after you experience the joy of cooking with this homemade version. Here’s how I like to use mine:

I’d love to hear how your stock turns out. Please rate + review this recipe once you’ve made it. Your feedback is so helpful.

how to make vegetable stock
5 from 2 votes

How to Make Vegetable Stock

Grab your kitchen scraps and get ready to make some epic vegetable stock. My stock changes every time I make it since it depends on what scraps I've been storing and the season, and I love it!
Prep: 2 hrs
Cook: 10 mins
Total: 2 hrs 10 mins
Author: Jen Hansard
Course: Soup
Cuisine: Healing
Serves: 12 cups

Equipment

  • 6-quart pot
  • fine-mesh strainer
  • freezer-safe glass jars

Ingredients  

  • onion scraps tops, bottoms, and skins
  • celery scraps tops and bottoms
  • carrot scraps tops and skins
  • garlic cloves tops, bottoms, and skins
  • tomatoes tops and bottoms
  • potato tops, bottoms, and skins
  • mushroom stems
  • herbs parsley, rosemary, thyme
  • 1 tsp whole black peppercorns
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 tsp salt optional
  • 12 cups water or as needed

Instructions 

  • Add all ingredients to a 6-quart pot. Cover with water by 2 inches, leaving an inch or two below the top of the pot so it doesn’t boil over. Cover, bring to a boil at high heat, and then reduce to a rolling simmer for 2+ hours.
  • Strain the stock through a fine-mesh strainer and discard scraps.
  • Use broth immediately, or refrigerate for up to 5 days. You can also freeze the broth for up to 5 months in freezer-safe containers.

Notes

  • To make this in a crockpot, add all ingredients to the crockpot. Cover with water by 2 inches then cover and set to low for 8-10 hours. Follow steps 2-3 above.
  • The nutritional info is based on my sample recipe; yours will vary depending on the types of vegetables you use.
  • I just make a batch of stock whenever I get a full-gallon bag of veggies. No need to thaw them in advance!
  • Don’t be afraid to use onion shells, garlic skins, really ALL the scraps you have. 
  • Feel free to boost your broth with fresh turmeric, fresh ginger, or a tbsp of apple cider vinegar. 
  • I listed the vegetable scraps I typically have on hand yet the sky’s the limit (almost) with what you can add to your own batch. 

Nutrition

Calories: 54kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 2g, Fat: 0.3g, Saturated Fat: 0.05g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.03g, Sodium: 237mg, Potassium: 342mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 2378IU, Vitamin C: 17mg, Calcium: 54mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe? Show me!Mention @SimpleGreenSmoothies or tag #SimpleGreenSmoothies!

About the Author

Jen Hansard

I went from exhausted mama to running across the Grand Canyon, riding & hiking to the top of the tallest waterfall in North America with my kids. How? I fell in love with the smoothies and plant-based meals you can find on my blog.

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Comments

  1. It was mentioned above about cleaning the vegetables. Do you wash the skins of the onions and garlic if you are going to use them?

    1. Hey Ann – That’s a great question, because normally there would totally be no reason to suggest cleaning the skins that we’d just be discarding. However, this definitely changes things. I would totally suggest putting all the scraps in a strainer and rinsing them off before cooking with them. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    For years I’ve just tossed my vegetable scraps into the compost bin but we don’t have a garden space right now, so I’ve started collecting those scraps for stock! Love this easy recipe.

  3. Thank you for having this recipe available for us. I will be trying this soon since there is so much broth used in recipes for soups and I want a clean and salt free one made a home. I will post my results soon!

  4. sometimes there is dirt (soil) that doesn’t wash off easily on the carrots, potato peels, or onion bottoms; would you still use those?

    1. Hi Irina, I would! They do make vegetable wash which is a gentle detergent sold in many grocery stores in the produce section. I usually use a vegetable scrubber, or even a fresh dish brush to get any extra residue off. Sometimes I feel a little wild though and just embrace it, though. 😉

  5. This is copied and pasted. You might want to check the sentence is incomplete—
    “What should you not put into vegetable stock?
    While you really can put almost any vegetable in your homemade stock, cruciferous foods like kale, broccoli, turnips, etc., squash and green beans.”

    1. Thanks for the heads up. I just went in and modified it to say what I really meant. Hope you give this veggie stock recipe a shot.

  6. 5 stars
    I love this idea! I’ve been making chicken and turkey stock for a while now, but didn’t know how easy it was to make vegetable stock too.