Fish stock is one of the most flavorful broths made of fish bones, heads, and other trimmings. It is used in cooking for a number of reasons: to add a fishy flavor to the dish or to make it more nutritious. You can use it in gumbo, seafood bisque and étouffée.
If you don’t have homemade fish stock you can still get it from stores in a canned version. In case, it’s neither available, you may consider the substitutes listed below.
The best fish stock substitutes are canned fish stock, powdered fish stock, fish stock cubes, fish broth, diluted fish sauce, prawn, clam or shrimp stock, bottled clam juice, chicken or beef broth, vegetable broth, fish-free dashi broth, wakame seaweed stock and takumi stock powder.
14 Fish Stock alternatives To Try
1. Canned Fish Stock
The most popular idea of replacing fish stock with a similar alternative is using canned fish stock. Take a look at your pantry: maybe you have one there and it can serve as a substitute providing the same taste and flavor.
2. Powdered Fish Stock
Another store-bought substitute for fish stock is the powdered fish stock. It is made of fish protein concentrate and contains some level of fat or oil.
You can mix 1 teaspoon of fish stock powder with 1 cup of boiling water. If some little bits don’t dissolve, don’t worry about it. Use this mixture instead of fish stock in your meals.
3. Fish Stock Cubes
There are also fish stock cubes that you can find in stores. These are basically made of real ingredients which are mixed with matching seasonings and turned into solid cubes. They are meant to add a fishy flavor to dishes and make a perfect match with soups and stews.
4. Fish Broth
You may think that fish broth and fish stock are the same thing but they are actually different. While fish stock is made of offcuts and bones of fish, fish broth is the liquid of the cooked meat of fish. Fish broth comes with a thicker texture and stronger flavor and is much more nutritious than fish stock.
Although the taste is similar, some people prefer fish stock over fish broth, and if you are one of them then, here is a good solution for you. Just sieve it and separate the liquid from the meat pieces. This way you’ll get a liquid substitute very similar to fish stock.
5. Diluted Fish Sauce
Diluted fish sauce is one of the most popular substitutes for fish stock. It holds all the necessary flavors of fish and is as useful as fish stock.
Of course it comes with a denser texture and you may need to dilute it in some water and then use instead of fish stock, otherwise you’ll end up with too strong flavor and taste.
Add 1-2 tablespoons of diluted fish sauce as a condiment to your dishes and it will bring the desired fish flavor.
6. Prawn, Clam or Shrimp Stock
In case you don’t have any fish-based substitute for fish stock, you can still use a number of other alternatives such as prawn, clam or shrimp stock.
Prawn, clam and shrimp are other seafood with similar taste and flavor to fish. They are as nutritious and useful as fish itself.
Since all you need is the liquid with similar flavors of fish stock, this can serve just the same way as fish stock.
7. Bottled Clam Juice
Clam juice is a byproduct of steaming whole clams and it has a mild oceany taste. You can find it in bottles from grocery stores. The usage of clam juice is versatile; it is used in seafood dishes, sauces, meat sauces, soups, and even as a topping for foods.
Thanks to its subtle flavor it allows you to add other matching condiments to enhance the flavor of the dish. 2 cups of clam juice can be used to replace 1 cup of fish stock.
8. Chicken or Beef Broth
In spite of the fact that chicken and beef broths have a totally different taste, they can serve as fish stock replacers in dishes where you need a meat-based and nutritious liquid. When using one of these substitutes make sure you mix it with some water as well as check the saltiness.
9. Miso Soup
Miso soup is one of the most popular japanese dishes. It is generally made of dashi broth, miso paste, tofu, seaweed and various vegetables.
There are many varieties of vegan-friendly miso sous but some others come with fish fish-based ingredients, which makes it a good alternative to fish stock. You can use it in soups, stews along with noodles or vegetables.
10. Seafood Broth
If you want to get a closer taste to fish stock then maybe seafood broth is one of the best options to consider. Usually seafood broth is made of any sort of crab, crawfish, shrimp, lobsters or fish. If you don’t have fish then combine the rest of the seafood you have in hand and use it instead of fish stok for many dishes.
Vegan Fish Stock Substitutes
11. Vegetable Broth
The easiest vegan substitute for fish stock is vegetable stock. Although it doesn’t have that strong seafood flavor and taste, it will still help you make your dish with distinct flavors.
On the other hand, vegetable broth is a good alternative for those who are fish-flavor intolerant. So, if you have fish stock in your ingredients list but you don’t want to use it, opt for vegetable broth instead.
12. Fish-Free Dashi Broth
If you have dashi broth made without bonito flakes, you can consider it as another awesome substitute for fish stock in vegan recipes. This broth will come for help whenever you avoid using fish stock or any meat-based broth in your meals.
You can even make it at home if you have kombu and dried shiitake mushrooms in hand. These are the main ingredients of vegan dashi that taste like a well-balanced combination of the earth and the sea.
13. Wakame Seaweed Stock
As for wakame, it’s a sea vegetable with a similar taste to kelp and kombu. Its stock is a good vegan option for those who want to have the seafood flavor in their dish without using fish or its stock. You can find wakame seaweed in Japanese or other Asian stores.
14. Takumi Stock Powder
Made of mushrooms and kelp, Takumi stock powder is another vegan-friendly fish stock alternative. It has a subtle and mild flavor which means you can match it with a number of seasonings and other flavors to reach the best taste.
Takumi stock powder is an easy substitute and you can find it in many Asian stores and not only. It will provide a seafood flavor to your dishes.
FAQs on Fish Stock
Is fish stock good for dogs?
If your dog eats fermented fish stock then you surely give it a useful food because fish stock restores your pet’s tooth enamel as well as improves digestive system especially among pets that suffer from kidney diseases. It can be used to substitute low-protein diets in many cases.
Is fish stock as nutritious as meat stock?
Many vegans prefer fish stock over meat stock as it is the broth of bones of fish and in some cases doesn’t require the death of animals. In fact, it is more nutritious than meat stock.
Does fish stock contain shellfish?
Yes, several types of preserved seafood such as fish stock and seafood flavoring (crab or clam extract) may contain shellfish.
Is fish stock an allergen?
Let’s start with the fact that being allergic to something is individual. But when it comes to fish and its stock, some may have allergies from fish gelatin which is made of fish skin and bones.
So, you need to consult with your doctor before using fish stock or fish oil supplements.
We are happy there are so many alternatives to fish stock not only for carnivores but also for vegans so that each can get the necessary nutrients found in fish stock.
This superfood is one of the most popular foods in Asian cuisine and not only. It has become popular in the US and Europe and many use it in soups, stews and other classic dishes instead of plain water.