How to Make Vegetable Soup Stock from Scratch

You will love this homemade vegetable soup stock. It’s super easy to make and very flavourful. It’s highly satisfying to turn vegetables and odds and ends from the fridge and freezer into something so delicious. If you’ve never made vegetable stock before – you’re about to uncover something magical!

finished veggie soup stock in jars
Homemade Vegetable Soup Stock ready to use or freeze.

Also Read: What You Need to Know When Making Soup, How to Make Stock from Cooked Chicken, How to Make Stock from Raw Chicken

6 Benefits of Homemade Vegetable Soup Stock

  • choose ingredients you love and avoid excess salt, sugar and preservatives
  • use up vegetables and reduce waste
  • get a sense of accomplishment with very little effort
  • save money and beat rising food prices
  • enjoy nutrient rich stock full of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, anti-inflammatories and phytochemicals
  • dazzle your family with amazing aroma and flavour
veggie stock ingredients in pot
Vegetables, veggie scraps, tomato sauce, miso paste (optional), herbs and spices ready to make stock.

What CAN and CAN’T I add to Vegetable Stock?

What to Add to Vegetable Soup Stock

Here are some examples of common ingredients to build flavour. You don’t need to add them all at one time, use the ones you have on hand and make each pot slightly different. These are just some ideas.

  • Vegetables: carrots, onions, leeks, celery, mushrooms, bell peppers, tomatoes, green peas, green beans, zucchini
  • Vegetable scraps: onion skins, carrot peelings, trimmings of any of the above vegetables
  • Tomato products (optional): leftover tomato paste, tomato sauce, salsa, canned tomatoes, etc.
  • Cooked vegetable leftovers: peas, beans, carrots
  • Herbs: dried or fresh parsley, thyme, bay leaf, sage
  • Spices: black peppercorns, coriander seeds, allspice berries, mustard seeds, turmeric
  • Flavour Makers: Parmesan rind, miso paste, seaweed, dried mushrooms, nutritional yeast
list of what to add to stock

What NOT to Add to Vegetable Soup Stock

It’s not that you should never add these ingredients to your veggie broth, it’s more like think carefully about adding these ingredients because they can greatly influence the flavour, colour or clarity of your soup stock. Always consider how you will use your stock and if the impact of these ingredients will be beneficial or not.

  • potatoes, avocado, sweet potatoes, squash – high starch veggies will make stock cloudy
  • vegetables from the Brassica family – cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, kale can make stock taste bitter
  • beets, asparagus, parsnips, garlic, lemon, arugula, swiss chard and fennel can overpower other flavours
  • herbs like rosemary, lovage, tarragon are great in small amounts but can be overpowering

Pro Tip: Save your veggie scraps and peelings in a freezer container until you have enough to fill a Dutch Oven or big soup pot to make stock.

veggie soup stock ingredients
A bag of frozen scraps including onion skins, carrots, celery and just a few Swiss chard stems.

How Can I Make My Vegetable Stock More Flavourful?

In my soup making workshops, one of the most common complaints about homemade stock is that it’s not flavourful enough. The tips below will definitely help. But understand, our homemade stocks will never be as concentrated as store bought stocks, nor will they have as much salt, sugar, MSG and other preservatives. And that’s a good thing!

  • Start with a good ratio of water. Use just enough water to cover stock ingredients by 1 inch. Too much water = lack of flavour.
  • Roast your veggies in the oven before adding to the pot. You’ll build flavour from those caramelized veggies.
  • Sauté the onions, celery and garlic in the stock pot and deglaze the pan.
  • Add more high umami flavoured food like mushrooms (fresh or dried), Parmesan rind, soy sauce, seaweed, miso paste, nutritional yeast etc. You don’t need to add them all – choose one or two that you have on hand.
  • Add a little acid (lemon slices, lemon juice, lime juice, vinegar, wine, pickle brine, etc.) to perk up the flavours.
  • Let it simmer (not boil) longer without the lid to evaporate liquid and concentrate flavour.
  • Add a little tomato sauce or paste. This will colour your stock and add a nice depth of flavour. I use whatever tomato product I have leftover in the fridge – tomato paste, pasta sauce, pizza sauce, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, etc. You don’t need to add a lot to improve the flavour.
  • Add more spices and seasoning to adjust the flavour to your liking.

Pro Tip: Don’t worry about peeling your veggies, even your garlic and onions. Just wash everything well and add the skins to the pot – it’s all edible and it all adds great flavour.

soup stock flavour making ingredients
You don’t have to add them all, but Parmesan rinds, mushrooms, miso paste, nutritional yeast and a little vinegar are all great flavour boosters.

How Long Will My Soup Stock Last?

  • Keep your stock in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
  • Freeze your stock in commonly used amounts (eg. 1 or 2 cups) for up to 6 months. It will be safe to consume even longer than that, but will start to lose some flavor.
  • Safely can your soup stock in a pressure canner as recommended by the National Center for Home Food Preservation.
pouring veggie soup broth into jars
If using glass jars to freeze soup stock, be sure to leave plenty of head room to allow for expansion.

Can I Make Vegetable Stock without Tomato Products?

Yes! You can and it’s a great strategy if you want a more clear vegetable stock.

Vegetable stock will change colour and clarity depending on the ingredients you choose and what you do with them. If you roast or sauté your veggies, expect a darker brown colour and deeper flavours. If you use tomato products, expect more fine pulp in your strained soup and some tomato flavour (great for vegetables soups). Onion skins will add a brown colour but one that is relatively clear. Experiment and see what you enjoy best!

vegetable stock no tomato
Here’s a vegetable stock without tomato and no roasted veggies. It’s lighter and a little more clear.

Can I Make this in a Slow Cooker or Instant Pot?

Yes! You can make it in either and here’s how:

Slow Cooker or Crockpot (8 hours)

  • Simply toss everything in a slow cooker, turn to low and cook for 8 hours (4 hours on high). Recipe fits a a 6 quart cooker.

Instant Pot (1hr 25 min)

  • Add all ingredients to pressure cooker.
  • Select high pressure and set timer for 30 minutes. Allow 25 minutes for pressure to build.
  • Release pressure using the natural-release method, about 30 minutes. Unlock and remove the lid.

Homemade Vegetable Soup Stock Recipe

Here’s how we make soup stock with vegetables, scraps and a few vital flavour makers.

finished veggie soup stock in jars
Print Recipe
5 from 4 votes

How to Make Vegetable Soup Stock

Homemade vegetable soup stock filled with flavor and nutrients from various vegetables, scraps and herbs. For great flavour add at least one of the optional ingredients listed (miso paste, tomato products or Parmesan rind). For more helpful tips and answers to common questions check the full article.
Prep : 10 mins
Cook : 40 mins
Total Time: 50 mins
Servings: 6 cups
Author: Getty Stewart

Ingredients

  • 2 onions or leeks roughly chopped
  • 3 celery ribs & leaves roughly chopped
  • 3 carrots roughly chopped
  • 4-6 mushrooms roughly chopped
  • vegetable peelings & ends if available*
  • vegetables hiding in the back of the fridge if available***
  • 1/2 cup tomato sauce salsa/paste/juice (if available)**
  • 2-3 sprigs fresh thyme 1 tsp dried
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley leaves & stems
  • 1 Tbsp vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp miso paste*
  • 5 black peppercorns
  • 8-10 cups water
  • 1 Parmesan rind optional

Instructions

  • Stir together coarsely chopped vegetables, vegetable peelings, fridge veggies, tomato sauce, herbs, vinegar, miso paste and spices in large soup pot. Add Parmesan rind if using.
  • Cover with 8-10 cups cold water so that everything is covered by no more than one inch of water.
  • Cover and bring to boil. Reduce heat to simmer and set lid askew or remove entirely to allow more liquid to evaporate and get a more concentrated stock. Simmer for 40 minutes.
  • Taste at various stages (careful it will be really hot!) to see how it is progressing.
  • Remove from heat and let cool for 30 minutes at least before straining through a mesh strainer. For even finer soup, pour through cheesecloth.
  • Either use right away or cool and store in a refrigerator.
  • Keep in fridge for 4 days. Freeze in convenient portion sizes for 6-12 months.
  • Makes 6-8 cups of stock depending on lid on or off, amount of water to start, type of veggies and how long it simmers.

Notes

Miso Paste- adds great umami flavour to this stock, if you can’t find any use extra mushrooms, Parmesan rind, seaweed or nutritional yeast (3 Tbsp). 
*Potato or sweet potato peels will make stock cloudy.
**Tomato products will change the overall flavor of your stock, but add nice body.
***Limit strong tasting vegetables so they don’t overpower the flavor of your stock (beets, broccoli, fennel, asparagus, rutabaga, parsnips, cabbage, cauliflower etc.)
Starchy veggies like potatoes, sweet potatoes, winter squash will make your stock cloudy.
****Make this in a crock pot. Simply toss everything in a crock-pot, turn to low and cook for 8 hours (4-5 hours on high).
Nutrient content will vary based on ingredients used.
Tried this recipe?Mention @GetGettyS or tag #GetGettyS

Nutrition Facts (per serving)

Calories: 41kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 1g | Sodium: 421mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 2g | Iron: 1mg
Course: Soup
Cuisine: American
Keyword: soup stock, vegetable soup stock, vegetarian

What Can I do With Cooked Vegetables from Soup Stock

Those veggies have served you well! Don’t feel bad about adding them to your compost.

However, if you have a dehydrator, try making vegetable soup stock powder. I puree the veggies I’ve strained out and put them in the dehydrator. Pureeing them makes them smaller and more even in size for quicker, more effective dehydrating. I dry the mash at 135°F for 6-8 hours until it’s a brittle leather or bark. I pulverize the finished vegetable bark and then add it when cooking soups, stews, casseroles or assembling backcountry meals.

Note: This powder is not the same as bouillon powder. It is much milder since a lot of the flavour of the veggies was released into the stock. But, if you like using every last bit of your veggies – this does the trick and adds some flavour.

leftover vegetable mash on dehydrator trays
Puree strained vegetables, dehydrate and make vegetable powder as a seasoning for soups, stews, casseroles, etc.

More Soup Stocks

What You Need to Know When Making Homemade Soups

Making Soup with Roasted Tomato Garlic & Herbs

Ham Bone Stock

Chicken Broth from Raw Pieces

Chicken Stock from Cooked Chicken Pieces

Let me know if you make this soup stock, what veggies and what flavour makers you used. Reach me in the comments below or via Instagram at #getgettys or Facebook @GettyStewart.HomeEconomist. And be sure to rate the recipe!

Sign up to get articles by Getty delivered to your inbox. You’ll get recipes, practical tips and great food information like this. Getty is a Professional Home Economist,  speaker and writer putting good food on tables and agendas.  She is the author of Manitoba’s best-selling Prairie Fruit Cookbook, Founder of Fruit Share, a mom and veggie gardener.

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