Stock, Broth, Bone Broth – what is the difference?

Bone broth, broth and stock are similar but do have some fundamental differences, mainly to do with cooking times and temperature. 

The purpose of stock is to add flavour to food whereas the main use of bone broth is to aid gut health, which in turn helps with other health issues.


Stock is made with water, the bones of fish, poultry, game, beef, lamb or just vegetables. If bones are being used there will typically be a small amount of meat left on the bones. The stock is simmered for 3 or 4 hours, producing a lovely liquid which can be used to enhance the flavour of soups, gravies etc. 


Broth is really another word for soup, but broths tend to be made with meat for example Scotch broth, which is made with lamb. Broths are simmered for a relatively short time.

Bone broth 

Not surprisingly bone broth is made with bones. The bones can be roasted first, which enhances the colour and deepens the flavour but is not critical.  The bones are usually clean of meat but there may be a small amount adhering to the bones. A good bone broth should be simmered gently, on a low heat, for a period of days. It is the slow and long cooking time that extracts gelatine from the collagen-rich joints but also releases the minerals from the bones. At the end of the cooking period the bones should look like porcelain; they should be clean, very white, light and some may crumble when touched.