What Is Stock in Cooking?

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  • Post last modified:September 19, 2022
  • Reading time:25 mins read

Wondering how your favorite chef makes your beloved soup dish creamy and rich? They likely use stock in cooking. In this post, we will talk about stock in cooking, uses of stock, and basic stock ingredients. 

We’ll also explain how you can use it to enhance your dishes. When done correctly, stock can help increase the sales of your restaurant or cafe

So if you’ve been asking what is stock in cooking, you came to the right place. 

What Is Stock in Cooking?

Stock in cooking is essential for your kitchen needs. This unique ingredient can add more life to your meals. Commonly used as a base for soup, stew, and sauces, cooks worldwide use stock to enhance their dishes. 

Moreover, this delicious liquid comes from simmering either meat, poultry, fish, or vegetables. The uses of stock also go beyond simply putting them on soup. Uses of stock also include enhancing sauces and stew.

Making stock can turn your simple dinners into a five-star experience. You also don’t have to go to culinary school to include this in your recipes. The ingredients can be easily sourced from your local markets. 

Uses of Stock

what is stock in cooking

Curious about the uses of stock? Here are the uses of stock in cooking: 

Stock thickens sauce, stew, or soup.

Stock in cooking can increase the viscosity of the sauce, stew, or soup. The collagen from the bones can provide the stew with a gelatinous texture. It gives off that velvety taste to satiate your cravings.

Stock adds more flavor to the dish.

One of the uses of stock is improving a dish by making it tastier. Mixing ingredients in stock can kick up stews and soups with more spice. This results in a party on your tongue. 

Stock can be used as the base for sauce and stew. 

Among the best uses of stock is being the base. Depending on the sauce and stew, the stock is an excellent base option.

It’s a better choice than simply using water as the sole base. If you make white sauces or clear stews, use white stock. On the other hand, brown stock works well if you make brown sauces or red stews. 

Basic Stock Ingredients

basic stock ingredients

Here are the basic stock ingredients: 


The best type of bones to use in making stock comes from young animals. Young bones tend to have cartilage, meaning they will be gelatinous. With that, the stock will have more thickness. 

Mirepoix and Sachet D’Epices

Mixing in mirepoix, vegetables, spices, and herbs adds more flavor to the stock. 

When making white stock, it should be added at the start when making brown stock. However, you must add mirepoix at the end.

You should also use dominant vegetables like tomatoes. Common seasonings used include parsley, thyme, and bay leaf. 


Water is the base for the stock. It is the most commonly used liquid to make stock in cooking. This absorbs the flavor. 

What’s the Difference Between Stock and Broth?

Seasoning isn’t a usual ingredient, but that depends on the type of stock. 

Stock may sound similar to broth, but each has distinct features. For instance, the cooking stock comes from an animal’s bones.

An important thing to remember when making the stock? The collagen from the bone’s connective tissue must come out.

The collagen from the bones makes the stock more viscous. These are some of the stock’s characteristics that distinguish it from the broth.

We have broth which people cook with meat. Some people add seasoning, too. Broth can also be a meal in the form of soup. On the other hand, stock in cooking is an ingredient for the main dish.

The only time stock and broth are similar is when making vegetable stock and vegetable broth. These two are essentially the same, as the vegetable stock doesn’t have collagen-induced viscosity. Vegetable stocks also require seasoning for flavoring. 

5 Different Types of Stock and How to Use Them

uses of stock

Here are the most common types of stock in cooking: 

1. Veal Stock 

As the name implies, veal stock comes from veal or young calves. The flavors are milder than the beef variety. Cooks also use this to make sauces for ducks and ribs.

2. Beef Stock

Beef stock can add richness and thickness to a sauce or a soup. It contains high nutritional content as well. When making beef stock, using beef knuckles, joints, and feet ensures the richness of the flavor.

3. Vegetable Stock

As its name implies, this stock comes from vegetables, not bones. As such, it lacks the gelatinous texture common in other forms of stocks. 

Cooks usually use it as a base for vegetable soups. They can also use it in making risotto. 

4. Chicken stock

Experts use chicken stock as a base for pasta sauce.

To make this, you should thoroughly clean chicken bones. Cooks should take out the bloody tidbits like the liver or the heart. When reduced, it could make for an excellent soup delicacy. 

5. Fish stock  

To liven up a seafood dish, use fish stock. Be selective, as not all types of fish have the qualities to make good stock. 

We highly recommend using fish bones of salmon and red snapper. 

Why Make Stock Instead of Buying It

Our food tastes can be highly subjective. What can work for others may not have the same effect on us. When we make our own stock, we get to add or reduce ingredients as we please. With that, the taste can be more suited to our taste buds. 

When you make stock at home, you know what ingredients you add. You also control the amount you put in. Furthermore, the store-bought stock usually has a lot of added preservatives. 

More likely, the ingredients used may come from fresh produce.  As such, homemade stock becomes a healthier option. 

Making homemade stock can also be economical and environmental. You don’t need to spend extra money to buy stock. 

Kitchen scraps like leftover bones and vegetables can finally have great use. You no longer need to throw them away to waste. 

How to Make Stock

how to make stock

To make stock at home, you need to consider a few things. 

First, you must ensure that you have enough bones or vegetables left. This will determine what kind of stock you’ll be making. Generally, the amount of water equals the solid ingredients. 

The process may take a long time for meat stock, so you should cook them in large batches.

Time needed: 1 hour.

How to Make Stock at Home

  1. Prepare the vegetables.

    Avoid using leafy greens that may add color to the stock. Then, slice the vegetables into thick pieces. Make sure the pieces are the same size.

  2. Put the animal bones or the chicken carcass in a pot.

    Pour cold water. Heat to a simmer. If you see any coagulation on the side, remove them. This coagulation comes from protein and fat. The stock taste may be affected if they don’t get removed. Pour cold water again if necessary.

  3. Put the sliced vegetables into the pot as well as the garnish.

    Let it simmer to a slight boil. Control the heat, so it doesn’t boil too intensely. Skim and cover it by pouring cold water. For 3-4 hours, keep cooking it uncovered.

  4. Strain the liquid and place it in a pot.

    Boil it, so the flavor intensifies. You can also store the stock afterward.

  5. You should do something for meat stock before putting it into the stockpot.

    You need to roast the meat or beef bones and vegetables. Doing so will let out the richness of the dark flavor. 

  6. Set your oven to 400 to 450 degrees F.

    Heat the meat/beef bones and vegetables for 45 minutes. 

Tips for Making Stock at Home

stock in cooking

Want to enjoy the flavor of homemade stock? Here are some tips for making it at home: 

1. Choose the ingredients wisely.

See what ingredients you have ready at your home. This is crucial in deciding what you can use easily instead of buying at a store. 

If you have bones, make sure to cut them in a way that more surface area gets exposed. Roasting the bones also releases more flavor for your stock in cooking.

2. Do not let your stock boil too much.

Please take note of this step. 

Simmering is your best option here. So, let the stock boil gently, not strongly. Otherwise, you will get a cloudy stock.

3. Skim constantly. 

If you skim the fat off your stock, the flavor will be lighter. You can also save the skimmed fat for later cooking uses. Keep warm water at the side to clean off your ladle. 

4. The choice of cookware affects the stock cooking process.

Use a cooking pot that can accommodate the type of stock cooking you want to make. You need larger pots for stocks that require longer cooking time. For example, making meat stock would require you to use a pot that could contain large batches. You need larger pots for stocks that require longer cooking time. 

These basic tips and facts can prepare you for your kitchen adventures. Stock isn’t just for fun but for your cooking lifestyle. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the 4 types of stocks in cooking?

The 4 types of stock in cooking are poultry, meat, fish, and vegetable. 

What is stock used for?

Stock is used as a neutral base for recipes. It adds a mouthfeel but not an overwhelming flavor to dishes. But before you use bones to make stock, you must clean out all meat. If you want to create a neutral stock, do not add other aromatics or seasonings.

What is the main ingredients in stock?

The main ingredients in stock include a primary flavoring ingredient, aromatics, liquid, and mirepoix. The primary flavoring ingredient includes trimmings and bones of meat and fish for meat and fish stocks. On the other hand, it contains vegetables for vegetable stock. Cooks simmer them in water to make stock. 

Why is cooking stock important?

Cooking stock is important because they contain concentrated flavor. The stock also adds richness and smoothness. It also enhances any dish. 
Stock or bouillon in French describes the plain, pure broth obtained from simmering vegetables or meat in water. Cooks use it instead of plain water when cooking certain dishes and making sauces and soups. 

What is the difference between stock and sauce?

The difference between stock and sauce is the ingredients. 
Sauces usually come from pan drippings, typically meat fat with added stock. Cooks also thicken them using cornstarch or flour. On the other hand, stock comes from simmering raw ingredients (e.g. vegetables and meat bones). The stock then becomes the bases for soups and sauces. 

What is the difference between stock and soup?

The difference between stock and soup is their purpose. 
A stock serves as a base for other things, including soups and sauces. On the other hand, traditional soup describes the liquid in which meat has been cooked. It contains the same ingredients as stock but seasoned.

What is a stock soup?

A stock soup is a flavorful liquid used to prepare sauces, soups, and stews. You can make stock soup by gently simmering ingredients like meat and vegetables in water. Moreover, stock soups are based on meat, fish, poultry, or seafood. Cooks then mix it with mirepoix, seasoning, herbs, and spices.


So now that you know what is stock in cooking, you better get your pots and other kitchen tools and equipment ready. Now is the time to get busy in your dirty kitchen!

We hope it’s not literally dirty, though, because you must always sanitize your kitchen tools and equipment

Cleanliness aside, we’re looking forward to your stock success! Happy cooking!


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