The Best Vegetable Broth You Can Buy at the Grocery Store (Or Online)

We tasted 12 boxes, jars, and pouches of vegetable broth to find the best tasting, most well-rounded option for cooking and sipping.

Photo of vegetable broth arranged on a marble countertop.
Photo by Joseph De Leo

There was a time when we couldn't recommend the best vegetable broth to buy at a grocery store. They were all bad: bitter, tinny, insipid, or sweet. It was better, back then, to steep some dried mushrooms in water¡ªor even to just use the water in whatever dish you were simmering. Not so anymore. Perhaps thanks to the bone broth craze, broth companies have proliferated, and we're lucky that now there are a number of truly delicious vegetarian and vegan broths available. Whether you're vegan, vegetarian, looking for a way to consume less meat, or cooking for a non-meat eating friend, we've got stock options for you.

We sampled 12 broths in a blind tasting to find the best options for cooking and sipping. Our favorite was Brodo Seaweed-Mushroom Broth. But no two of the broths were alike: some tasted primarily of vegetables (some oniony, some carroty, some tomatoey) while others were clearly striving to be a meat broth substitute, leaning heavily on the umami. Some were light and delicate while others were bold, with roasted flavors. And yes, price varies widely, so we included a few of our favorites below. For our methodology and a list of all the broths we tasted, scroll to the bottom. First up, the winners:

Our Favorite Vegetable Broth: Brodo

This broth is the perfect marriage of a rich French-style roasted vegetable broth and a Japanese-style dashi, with umami-packed seaweed (but obviously none of the bonito¡ªaka dried fish¡ªthat's present in most dashi). Brodo's vegetarian option balances the bright, clear taste of vegetables (including organic onions, carrots, celery, and tomatoes) and deeply savory notes from mushrooms and seaweed. Chickpeas are another clever addition to this broth, likely giving it the satisfying body and texture not present in most of the other contenders. Just as in our beef broth tasting (where Brodo's version also took home top prize), this is the broth that many of our tasters agreed they'd be just as happy sipping straight as they would using it in soups, stews, curries, and more.

This recipe for brothy beans with mushrooms and farro starts with a 90-minute homemade veg stock situation. Buy Brodo and skip ahead.

Photo by Alex Lau

The Best Vegetable Broth to Use for Meat Stock Substitutions: Zoup

Want a vegetarian stock that'll taste just as good in your Thanksgiving stuffing as your favorite chicken or turkey broth? Or maybe you want chicken soup but, you know, without the chicken? Go for Zoup. We promise it's vegan, even though it doesn't really have discernible vegetable flavor. The secret here is yeast extract which gives this broth a big punch of savory flavor that many tasters called "meaty." Another taster likened it to "a broth made with Funyuns. Yum." NOTE: We preferred Zoup's regular vegetable broth. Their organic option, while perfectly fine, has a completely different flavor profile which we found to be too carrot-forward¡ªit might work well in a butternut squash soup, though.

The Best Vegetable Broth You Can Find Almost Anywhere: Kitchen Basics

Kitchen Basics, the broth brand owned by spice giant McCormick, is an outlier in this field. While most contenders were light in color (and in flavor), this broth has a dark, roasty flavor profile and color, and a sweetness reminiscent more of beef broth than chicken or vegetable broth. That's not to say it tastes like beef. Instead, it offers a prominent tomato flavor, along with a mushroom backbone and substantial herbs like bay and thyme. We'd have no problem tossing this broth into a last minute winter vegetable soup, or keeping a box on hand to cook grains for a build-a-bowl situation.

What We Were Looking For

We set out to find a great tasting all-purpose vegetarian and vegan broth. We tasted only broths with a sodium level below 500mg per cup¡ªwe think any higher than that is too salty for cooking, especially if you plan to reduce it for a sauce or gravy. Note that this ruled out even the lower-sodium offerings of some brands.

The best vegetable broth had to have balanced flavor and more body than the average glass of water. Many of the broths we sampled tasted of raw carrot peel, onion skin, and bitter, acrid herbs. Some were no better than tap water. Some were worse than tap water. The best broth had to be so good that we'd consider using it instead of simply adding a splash of wine, a shot of soy sauce, or a spoonful of miso to whatever we're cooking, along with enough of that always-available-and-bonus-free tap water in our recipes instead.

How We Tested

Because salt accentuates flavors, and we wanted to put all these broths on an even playing field, we calculated the amount of salt each broth would need in order to bring it up to an equal sodium level. Then we warmed each broth just to boiling, adding the appropriate amount of salt. Otherwise no changes were made before tasting commenced.

Samples were tasted blind by a panel of Epicurious editors and staff and no distinction was made between organic and non-organic products during tasting.

The Other Broths We Tasted

  • Trader Joe's Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • Whole Foods 365 Everyday Value Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth
  • Imagine Organic Low-Sodium Vegetable Stock
  • Imagine Organic Low-Sodium Vegetarian No-Chicken Broth
  • Trader Joe's Organic Hearty Vegetable Broth
  • Osso Good Co Organic Veggie Broth
  • Trader Joe's Organic Vegetable Stock
  • Pacific Organic Low-Sodium Vegetable Broth

All products featured on Epicurious are independently selected by our editors. If you buy something through our retail links, we may earn a small affiliate commission.