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How to Make Easy and Cheap Homemade Veggie Broth: a Step-by-Step Tutorial

Did you know that making your own veggie broth can be easy? Today I’ll show you how to make your own veggie broth from ingredients you have at home now. Once you try this easy method, you’ll always have healthy, low-fat plant-based vegetable broth on hand.

How to make homemade veggie broth from vegetable scraps | easy veggie broth | easy vegetable broth

I’ve got a confession. Until recently, whenever a recipe I was making called for vegetable broth or water, I almost always used water because I just didn’t have any homemade veggie broth around the house. Did the flavor of my dishes suffer? Probably, but I didn’t know since I’ve never made those dishes with broth before.

Why didn’t I have any broth? Two reasons:

1. I did’t want to buy any containers with mysterious liquid (often high in sodium) from the store, nor was I interested in commercial veggie bouillon cubes for the same reason. Being on a plant-based diet is more than just not eating animal foods, it’s about consuming WHOLE foods with no added junk.

2. Out of money-saving reasons, I didn’t want to boil a bunch of perfectly good vegetables until they are completely broken down, and then throw them away.

And then it hit me: I could save up vegetable scraps for a few days, and then cook them to get perfectly fine homemade veggie broth!

How to make veggie broth at home

Let’s face it: whether we call ourselves vegan or plant-based (or both), we probably use lots of vegetables in cooking. A lot of that stuff gets peeled, trimmed, juiced (all that pulp!), and all of that bulk is then thrown out.

Good job if you’re composting, but if you’re not, you could save your pennies and have perfectly good, low-sodium broth that’s easy to make and versatile!

Easy and cheap homemade veggie broth tutorial
Setting up the pot (steps 2 and 3 below)

How To Make Your Own Vegetable Broth

So this is what I’ve been doing:

1. For up to a week, I save all of the vegetable scraps that I know could be good for a veggie broth (see below), using a large Ziploc bag to store them in the fridge.

2. Once I’ve collected enough scraps (the bag gets 1/2 to 2/3 full), I put them into a large soup pot filled up halfway with cold water. My pot holds 8 quarts/7.6 liters, so I’m using about 4 quarts of water.

3. I add a few extra ingredients that will enhance the flavors (see below) as well as a few extra veggies that are plentiful in my kitchen at that moment.

4. Once the pot is set up, I cover it and turn the heat on medium. It’s important not to boil the broth on high as the vegetables will break down quicker without building up the nice flavor.

5. The pot is now left to do its thing: it will need some time to start boiling, and then another 60-90 min of simmering until it’s done. I use this time to do other things around the house, read a book, etc.

6. If you’re planning to add salt, do so 5-10 min before the time is up.

Homemade veggie broth after cooking

7. After 60-90 minutes, take the pot off the heat and let cool before filtering. This is what my broth from above picture looked like once it was done cooking:

8. When the pot is cool enough to handle, it’s time to filter the broth. I simply use another big pot and slowly pour the liquid into it, holding the veggies back.

You can also line a colander with cheesecloth, set it inside another big pot, and strain the contents of the broth pot through it – this is a preferable filtering way if you’ve used vegetable pulp from juicing.

collage to use

Here’s a picture of my filtered broth (right) separated from the cooked vegetables (left):

9. That’s it – your broth is now ready to be used in any recipes that call for veggie broth!

You can keep it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, or freeze it in single use portions. The amount of broth I’ve been getting through cooking it this way has been used up within a week in my kitchen without making it to the freezer.

That’s why I’m now constantly putting aside veggie scraps as I go, starting the day I make another batch of this broth.

All-natural ingredients, low- to no-sodium, no preservatives, versatile, and no extra stuff to buy – what’s not to love about this broth?! Naturally, I’ve been on a roll using it in lots of recipes, from my Instant Pot vegan minestrone soup to the crowd-favorite vegan mushroom barley soup. Plus, I can use it instead of water or oil when sauteeing vegetables.

This broth will come out a little different every time you make it because you’ll never have the same exact veggie scraps. Regardless of varying ingredients, you’ll still always have a versatile broth that can be used in just about any recipe that calls for vegetable broth.

Don’t worry if it seems kind of tasteless when you first try it, especially if you didn’t add any salt: it’s meant to be that way because all of the ingredients you’ll be cooking in it later will add plenty of taste to the final dish.

Use it instead of water in recipes, or in 2:1 proportion of broth to water.

Vegetables That Work Best in Homemade Veggie Broth:

1. Root vegetables and their scraps – carrots, parsnips, onions (including green onions), garlic, etc. If using a whole onion, it can be left unpeeled as the peel adds a nice color to the broth. Cut the onion bulb in half or in quarters before adding to the pot.

2. Celery – a big flavor enhancer for almost any soups. If you don’t have celery pieces in your veggie scraps, add a stalk to the broth (provided you have it) to make the flavor more complex.

3. Herbs, especially parsley or cilantro stalks. Also good: a sprig of fresh rosemary, thyme, marjoram (or a pinch of dried). A herb called lovage can be used instead of celery.

4. 1-2 Bay leaves; black peppercorns; 2-inch strip of kombu – a Japanese sea vegetable that adds more nutrition to broths and soups and enhances their flavor. Never heard of kombu? I talked about it in this post.

5. Pieces of most firm, green vegetables work well: broccoli stalks, imperfect cabbage leaves, kale stems, etc. Make sure the scraps have no signs of going bad before adding them to the pot!

6. Veggie broth comes out the best if it has celery, carrots, parsley stalks, bay leaves, and peppercorns.

Check out this extensive list of vegetables to include or exclude in veggie broth or stock.

What Should Be Left Out of Homemade Veggie Broth:

1. Scraps of any starchy vegetables, especially potatoes. Potatoes tend to make the broth a little cloudy, so if you’re aiming for a clear broth, don’t add them.

2. Beets: they add red color to anything and everything. If you don’t mind a red broth that will also color everything you cook in it, fine. Otherwise, no beets.

3. Any soft, watery vegetables like cucumbers, summer squash, tomatoes, etc. Cucumbers are best in a salad, whereas the other two work well as soup ingredients, but not as great flavor enhancers for a versatile vegetable broth.

4. Lettuce – it just has no place in a broth. Leave it for salads and sandwiches.

5. Once again: if some of your veggie scraps are showing signs of going bad, do not cook them! Now that you know the secret to always having a nutritious, versatile vegetable broth on hand, no recipe should leave you unprepared! Any soup will get an extra flavor boost if you use this veggie broth instead of water.

Yield: 4 quarts

Easy Homemade Veggie Broth

How to make homemade veggie broth easy and cheap

An easy and quick way to make your own veggie broth from scratch using vegetable scraps. Easy, healthy, cheap, oil-free, low sodium (if made without salt), gluten free, soy free.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes


  • 6 cups assorted veggie scraps* - carrots, parsnips, onions, celery, broccoli, cabbage leaves, kale stems, etc.
  • Parsley or cilantro stalks (optional)
  • 2 bay leaves (optional)
  • 1 tsp black peppercorns (optional)
  • 2-inch strip of dried kombu seaweed (optional)
  • Salt, to taste (optional)
  • 4-5 quarts of water


    1. For up to a week before making veggie broth, save vegetable scraps in a large Ziploc bag. Store the bag in the fridge.
    2. Once the bag gets 1/2 to 2/3 full, put the veggie scraps into a large 8 to 10-quart soup pot filled up halfway with cold water. Add any (or all) additional ingredients to boost the flavor.
    3. Cover the pot, bring the water to a boil, and simmer on medium-low for 60 and up to 90 minutes.
    4. If adding salt: add it 5-10 minutes before the broth is done.
    5. Take the pot off the heat, let cool completely, and strain to remove cooked veggie scraps. (I simply use another big pot and slowly pour the liquid into it, holding the veggies back. Alternatively, use a mesh strainer.) Discard or compost the veggie scraps.
    6. Refrigerate strained veggie broth in an airtight container, and use within 5-7 days.


* See the post above for a list of vegetables that work well in this recipe, PLUS a list of vegetables I don't recommend using here.

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Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:

1 cup

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 36Total Fat: 0gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 4gSugar: 3gProtein: 2g

Please note that the provided nutritional information data is approximate.

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How to make homemade vegetable broth from veggie scraps

Now you know an easy method for making your own veggie broth from scratch!

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author avatar
Alina Zavatsky - Vegan Runner Eats
Alina first made a switch to a vegan diet in 2013 to optimize her athletic performance as a marathon runner. Eventually she embraced veganism as a way to be kinder to fellow living beings and the environment. Alina hopes that this blog helps its readers on their path to becoming vegan and making this world a better place.


Thursday 27th of August 2015

thank you for sharing, I enjoy very much each one of them, I love cooking vegan and vegetarian food, and I have been sharing all I know with friends giving classes on Mondays evening for 8 weeks every six month or twice a year.


Monday 31st of August 2015

Awesome, Eneida, keep it up!


Thursday 14th of May 2015

I've been making broth this way for years. When I make soup, I use potato or bean cooking water instead of plain water, otherwise you're right, it gets kinda cloudy. But even then, it won't taste bad, and with bean or potato water, it thickens the final dish a little bit (if that's your goal!). The only difference is I tend to shy away from the cabbage family for broth making. Mine always turns out bitter or else very strongly cabbage-y flavored. Fine for cabbage dishes, but not so much for other stuff!


Thursday 14th of May 2015

That's a good point, Dmitri. I usually don't have a lot of cabbage scraps, so maybe that's why I haven't noticed a cabbage-y flavor of my broth. Thanks for the tip for using potato and bean cooking water!


Saturday 14th of February 2015

I hope it's ok to share my tip: There are only 2 of us and we can't accumulate enough even in a week. So instead, I do what Alina says with the ziplock bag, but I store it in the freezer. I keep adding to the bag and when I have it close to 2/3 full, I pop it into my crock pot with almost a gallon of water and 2 bay leaves. I set it 10 hours at low and let it go overnight. I wake up to a house that smells amazing. Today I froze four 2-cup containers and four 1-cup containers, along with filling one ice cube tray for sauteing. THEN we compost the remains of the veggies. ;)


Saturday 14th of February 2015

That's a great idea, Susan, to keep the bag of scraps in the freezer! I should start doingvthe same!


Sunday 8th of June 2014

Have you used kale or collard stems? I typically have a lot of them and wonder if they would work in a broth.


Sunday 8th of June 2014

Yes! Lew, kale and collard stems are perfect for this broth, I use them all the time.


Saturday 9th of November 2013

Though beet broth does look a darker brown than yours for sure.

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