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Savory Tweaks: 5 BEST Fish Stock Substitutes

Are you looking for a fish stock substitute, but don’t know what to choose? You’re in the right place.

With the ever-growing concern over fish sustainability, it’s essential to find sustainable alternatives.

Here’s a look at the five best fish stock substitutes so you can make flavorful meals without compromising your values.

What is Fish Stock?

Fish stock is a flavorful liquid made by simmering fish bones and scraps along with aromatics like onion and celery in water.

It’s commonly used as a base for soups and stews and is a great way to add umami flavor to dishes.

The silky texture and intense, concentrated fish flavor of fish stock is unmistakable.

The most common type of fish stock is made with whitefish like cod, haddock or pollack, but other types, such as salmon or cobia can also be used.

Typically, it’s made by simmering the bones and scraps of the fish for at least two hours to draw out the maximum amount of flavor from the bones.

The result is an incredibly rich and powerful broth.

Tips on Making Fish Stock

Fish stock is an ingredient used in many recipes that calls for a flavorful liquid base.

It is made from fishbones, skin, and shells that have been cooked in water for a long time.

This process extracts the flavors and aromas of the fish, resulting in a flavorful liquid with hints of salty, sweet, and umami.

Fish stock can be used as an ingredient in soups, stews, sauces, or to add flavor to recipes.

Although you can purchase store-bought fish stock easily enough at most grocery stores, it’s also possible to make your own at home with bones and scraps from your favorite seafood dishes.

Here are some tips on how to make your own fish stock:

  • Start with cold water. Fill up a large pot or dutch oven with enough cold water to cover all the elements completely when making the stock.
  • Add vegetables such as onions, celery stalks, peppercorns, bay leaves and carrots for flavor balance. Cook them first before adding the fish pieces so they release their flavor into the mix without becoming too mushy later on.
  • Place the fish parts into the pot making sure each one is fully covered by water then simmer everything for about 30 minutes or until you’ve extracted all of their flavors into your liquid base known as “fish stock.” Skim away any foam that collects at the surface during this process too; this will help keep your stock clear rather than cloudy with particles floating around it. Depending on how strongly flavored you want it to be you can simmer it down more slowly over a longer period of time too by using low heat which will intensify its flavor even further – if desired.
  • Strain off any solids (bones etc) once finished cooking and discard before storing your freshly made homemade version of this delicious ingredient. You’ll find many recipes call for fishstock when making seafood dishes – so keep some handy ‘on hand’ so that next time you’re ready cook up something from ‘under de sea’.
  • Once cooled down; store in airtight containers in your refrigerator or freezer until needed – taking care not to have filled them up too far as otherwise pressure could build during freezing leading possible breakage or other potential wastage issues. It’s best not to freeze multiple batches together too as otherwise flavors may bleed over eachother causing unwanted results when using various stocks side by side in other dishes further down the line.

5 Best Fish Stock Substitutes to Consider

If you want to create a flavorful fish-based dish but don’t have access to fresh fish, or if you’re short on time and need something quick, there are several excellent substitutes for fish stock.

Fish stock is an important ingredient in many seafood dishes and it can help you create delicious meals with ease.

Here are five of the best alternatives to consider when making fish stock.

1 – Seafood Stock

Preparing seafood stock is a simple yet delicious way to bring out fishy flavors in soups, stews, and sauces.

To make a seafood stock, start by simmering a variety of bones from white fish like cod and haddock for thirty minutes in cold water with vegetables like leeks, carrots, and celery.

Once the vegetables are tender and the bones have been cooked through, strain the mixture and add shrimps or pieces of squid for an added boost of flavor.

Cook these items for another 15 minutes before removing them from the heat.

The result will be a flavorful broth that can be used as the base of any seafood-based dish.

2 – Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is the second-best substitute for fish stock, made by boiling chicken bones, onions, carrots and celery in water.

It will give recipes similar body and flavor as fish stock but with a slight chicken flavor.

It is best used in soups and sauces where the subtle flavor of chicken will not overpower the dish.

Be sure to strain it afterwards for a better consistency if you are using it as a replacement for fish stock.

3 – Clam Juice

Clam juice is a popular substitute for fish stock in a pinch and offers many of the same flavors, making it an ideal option if you happen to have some in your pantry.

You will want to dilute it with half water, half clam juice before using it in your recipe as it can be quite strong.

Once mixed with water, this substitute also makes a great base for soups and sauces.

When using clam juice instead of fish stock, be sure to add some other seasonings like fresh herbs or aromatics like celery and garlic for more flavor – otherwise your final dish may have a slightly salty taste.

4 – Miso Soup

Miso soup, popular in Japan and other parts of Asia, is made from dashi stock (a broth typically made from shaved bonito flakes and kelp) combined with miso paste.

While it doesn’t provide the same flavor of fish as a fish stock, it is still considered a great alternative.

To make your own miso soup at home, combine 4 1/2 c water with 1/2 c miso paste (find the right type for your recipe).

Simmer for about 15 minutes or until heated through.

For more depth of flavor, add additional ingredients such as shiitake mushrooms, green onions or tofu.

You can also top it off with a few drops of soy sauce or mirin to give it some extra sweetness.

Miso soup is low in calories and fat and highly nutritious – making it one of the best choices if you’re looking for a healthy substitute for fish stock.

5 – Vegetable Broth

Vegetable broth is an excellent substitute for fish stock, and it has the added benefit of being an animal-friendly option.

It’s also easy to make or buy, as it’s readily available in most grocery stores.

The flavor of vegetable broth can vary depending on the ingredients that are used, but it will generally have a savory taste with a hint of sweetness from the vegetables.

Be sure to check the ingredients list to make sure that no shrimp or fish products have been added.

Vegetable broth is a great choice when making meals that have a large variety of vegetables as it helps create a balance of flavors and will bring out more of the natural taste of the vegetables.

Additionally, vegetable broth can be used in any recipe that calls for fish stock as it won’t change the overall flavor too much, but might lighten some recipes depending on what vegetables are included in your broth mix.


In an ideal world, you’d always have a bottle of fish stock in your pantry, ready to be used for recipes such as soups, stews, sauces and risotto.

However, there are many excellent alternatives to fish stock that can provide similar flavors.

If there isn’t any fish stock available, these substitutes provide a great way to add more depth of flavor without sacrificing your meal’s quality.

With a bit of experimentation and creativity you may find some even better replacements depending on what kind of dish you are attempting to create.

5 Best Fish Stock Substitutes to Consider

5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Course Substitutes


  • 1 – Seafood Stock
  • 2 – Chicken Stock
  • 3 – Clam Juice
  • 4 – Miso Soup
  • 5 – Vegetable Broth


  • Choose your preferred substitute from the list of options.
  • Organize all of your ingredients.
  • Use the proper substitute to cook your recipes.
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