How to Make Vegetable Stock

Learn how to make vegetable stock! Perfect for using in soups, sauces, risottos, and more, this homemade broth is super flavorful and easy to make.

How to make vegetable stock

The other day, I was making vegetable stock with veggie odds and ends I’d accumulated throughout the week. As I stood in the kitchen, savoring the delicious aroma wafting from my stock pot, I realized that I had yet to share my method for how to make vegetable broth on the blog. I have over 80(!!) soup recipes on here, and another soup season is right around the corner. Suffice it to say, this vegetable stock recipe is long overdue.

I’m so excited to share it today because I believe that vegetable stock is something that everyone can and should make at home. It’s unbelievably easy and cheap, and it tastes SO much better than any broth you’d find at the store. Don’t worry – I’ll never blame you for reaching for store bought broth when that’s the most convenient option (I still use it sometimes too!). But whenever you do make your own, the extra time and effort will always be worth it.

Leeks, onions, bay leaves, celery, carrots, garlic, parsley, and thyme

Vegetable Stock Recipe Ingredients

I have two methods for how to make vegetable broth. The first starts with fresh, aromatic veggies. I use

  • onions,
  • garlic,
  • carrots,
  • celery,
  • and herbs like thyme and parsley.

Then, to give the broth even more depth of flavor, I add salt, whole peppercorns, leek tops, and bay leaves.

Vegetable scraps on a cutting board with knife

In the second method, I use vegetable scraps instead of the vegetables themselves. This method keeps these veggie odds and ends from going to waste, and it yields a super tasty broth. As it turns out, the parts of vegetables that we normally toss are actually packed with flavor.

All sorts of scraps can contribute to a flavorful stock. Here are a few that work especially well:

  • leek tops,
  • fennel fronds,
  • carrot tops,
  • herb stems,
  • corn cobs,
  • mushroom stems,
  • scallion roots or tops,
  • onion skins and ends,
  • and garlic skins and ends.

Steer clear of veggie scraps from cruciferous vegetables like broccoli, cabbage, or cauliflower, as they can make your stock bitter.

Tip: Keep a freezer bag or container of veggie scraps in your freezer and add to it whenever you cook. When you have about 6 cups of frozen scraps, it’s time to make veggie stock!

How to make vegetable broth - chopped veggies in a large pot with water

How to Make Vegetable Broth

Whether you’re using whole vegetables or vegetable scraps, making homemade vegetable broth is incredibly easy.

  • First, wash the vegetables well. You don’t want to simmer any dirt or sand in your stock!
  • Next, chop them. The shape isn’t important – you just need to break them down enough so that they fit neatly in your pot.
  • Then, simmer. Add the vegetables to a large pot with the salt, bay leaves, and peppercorns. Add 10-12 cups of water and simmer, covered, for 1 hour.
  • Finally, strain the stock through a fine mesh strainer to remove the vegetables and peppercorns.

That’s it!

Find the complete recipe with measurements below.

3 jars of vegetable stock

Storing and Using Homemade Vegetable Stock

Allow the stock to cool to room temperature. Then, store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days, or freeze it for several months. (Psst! When you have a stash of homemade vegetable stock in your freezer, it’s just as convenient as the store bought kind!)

Use the homemade stock as you would any veggie broth – in recipes for stuffing, gravy, pasta sauce, and risotto, and, of course, soup. Find my favorite soup recipes below.

Vegetable stock recipe

Favorite Soup Recipes

Once you make this vegetable broth recipe, try using it in one of these soups:

Vegetable Stock

rate this recipe:
4.94 from 16 votes
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 1 hr
Serves 8
Once you learn how to make vegetable broth, you'll never get the store-bought kind again! It's easy, cheap, and super flavorful, perfect for making soups, sauces, and more.

Ingredients

  • 2 medium onions, halved
  • 4 medium carrots, chopped
  • 1 to 2 medium celery stalks, chopped
  • Leek or fennel tops, chopped
  • 1 garlic bulb, halved
  • Handful of fresh parsley
  • 1 small bunch fresh thyme
  • 3 bay leaves
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns
  • 10 to 12 cups filtered water

Instructions

  • Place the onions, carrots, celery, leek tops, garlic, parsley, thyme, bay leaves, salt, pepper and water in a large pot and bring to a boil over high heat (If 12 cups of water won’t fit in your pot, you can use 10). Reduce the heat and simmer gently, covered, for 1 hour.
  • Strain and discard the vegetables. Season to taste and use in your favorite soup recipes.

Notes

Note: I often like to use all vegetable scraps to make my stock (leek tops, fennel tops, carrot tops, scallion tops, herb scraps, and herb stems). 6 loose-packed cups of roughly chopped veg scraps can be used in place of the vegetables listed in the recipe above.

19 comments

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Rate this recipe (after making it)




  1. Bill S.
    06.30.2022

    How long do scraps stay usable while frozen? I don’t cook enough to generate enough in a week like you did. I have only 1 to 1.5 cups after 3 months. (I really do need to cook more and with fresh veggies.)

    Also, I believe I read on another site that the author pureed the boiled veggies/scraps when done and squeezed additional liquid out through cheesecloth or paper towels or something. What are your thoughts on that?

    Thank you very much for the recipes and all advice you have given or will give.

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      07.02.2022

      Hi Bill, I keep scraps in the freezer for I’d say 2-3 months. They won’t go bad in the freezer, just may taste freezer burned after awhile. I love to make broth with leek tops – 1 bunch of leeks yields a lot of tops. I haven’t tried the blender trick that you mention. Hope that helps!

  2. Randy Spicocchi
    05.20.2022

    4 stars
    What would you NOT consider for a good vegetable broth? I added broccoli but don’t know if that will work or not… too late now!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      05.23.2022

      Hmmm, broccoli and cruciferous vegetables might be a little funky but I haven’t tried!

  3. Andrea
    04.15.2022

    Thank you for the instruction! I have heard of saving veggie scraps to make stock but was skeptical. I took your advice of freezing the scraps of leeks, carrots and tops, parsnips, mushroom stems, etc., all of which would have gone directly into the compost. I did add a whole onion, some garlic cloves and fresh parsley and thyme. Oh my goodness! It is the most delicious broth. Good enough on its own. I used it in a simpler version of your quinoa risotto. So good. I’m now a scrap stock believer!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      04.16.2022

      Hi Andrea, oh I’m so happy to hear that your scrap stock was delicious!

  4. Victoria West
    03.06.2022

    Thank you for this recipe idea! With so much food waste worldwide, this is just what I needed to make sure I’m doing my part to be efficient with my family meals! Some may not want or be able to take this idea and run. However, for me, I love to feel like I’m honoring the food we bring into our homes and the ways we use them efficiently and wholesomely! I appreciate all the tips and tricks you share!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      03.07.2022

      Hi Victoria, I hope you enjoy your homemade scrap broths!

  5. Gina
    10.06.2021

    Thank you for this amazing guide <3 Love the broth so much!
    Do you also have some nice ideas on what to do with the discarded veggies beside throwing them away or giving them to the hens? Thanks a lot!

    • Dalila
      06.20.2022

      5 stars
      Put them in your compost pile as usual

    • Desiree
      06.21.2022

      I purée them in my Vitamix and stir them into rice for healthy and delicious homemade dog food.

  6. Abby W
    10.01.2021

    5 stars
    I’ve always wanted to make my own veggie broth, and this was super easy and came out great! I did a combo of frozen ends and some fresh leeks/scallions – I basically just threw in whatever was in the fridge/freezer. Didn’t have fresh garlic so added a bit of garlic powder, but had fresh thyme and parsley. Was in a meeting so let it simmer for 2 hours. Really rich in color, good flavor. Measured it into 2 cup servings and put it all in the freezer – look forward to making soup with it soon!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      10.06.2021

      I’m so glad you loved the broth!

  7. Diane
    09.26.2021

    I’m a bit hesitant to try this because in the past my attempts to make veggie stock from both scraps and fresh has been, well, pretty meh. The stock is thin and tastes like water with an onion dipped in. How do you really get a lot of depth of flavor? Fresh herbs? More simmer time? Thanks!

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.26.2021

      Hi Diane, I’m not sure how your previous attempts differ from my recipe below, but I’d give my recipe a try. It sounds like you could add more herbs and definitely more seasonings (sea salt and lots of fresh peppercorns) than you have in the past? It’s not supposed to be thick, it’s still meant to be added to a soup recipe.

      • Shelley
        09.01.2022

        Diane, additionally you can reduce the broth by simmering with no lid for an hour or 2, depending on how strong you want the broth to become.

  8. Katie O'Dell
    09.22.2021

    This is so helpful! The thing that’s scared me off from making my own veggie stock is the scraps being dirty. The pieces I don’t eat are usually the icky parts! Even fully scrubbed, I worry about what might be left behind. And for stuff like onion peels–it’s what’s touches stuff in the grocery store but you can’t really clean. Since it’s all being boiled, is it really just the solid waste we need to be worried about?

    • Jeanine Donofrio
      09.22.2021

      Hi Katie, the scraps I use most often are leek tops, scallion tops, fennel tops, carrot tops… they’re not hard to clean in a big bowl of water with some veggie wash. The onions – I just wash them well before I peel the skins off.

  9. Johanna Zalneraitis
    09.22.2021

    5 stars
    I once read the original way to make Pasta Primavera was to boil the Veggie Scraps with the pasta to give the pasta more flavor.

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Photograph of Jeanine Donofrio and Jack Mathews in their kitchen

Hello, we're Jeanine and Jack.

We love to eat, travel, cook, and eat some more! We create & photograph vegetarian recipes from our home in Chicago, while our shiba pups eat the kale stems that fall on the kitchen floor.