vegetable broth from scraps

Homemade Vegetable Broth From Scraps

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If you are looking for the best way to use up all those leftover vegetable scraps after cooking, here is a super easy homemade vegetable broth recipe for you!

All you need to do in this recipe is cook vegetable scraps in water. You will get the best homemade broth for making your favourite soups, stews or risotto even more tasty.

Keep reading to find out which vegetable scraps will give you the best-tasting broth, along with many other tips for cooking, using and storing your veggie broth.

The best vegetables to use for making broth

Almost all veggie scraps are welcome for making broth, but some are just a go-to because they will give your broth the best taste. My favourites are:

  • Carrots, celery, parsley and parsnip – all of these vegetables belong to the same plant family, Apiaceae, and all of them give a fantastic aroma to soups and broths, no matter if you use roots, leaves, peels or other scraps.
  • Onion and garlic – you can use bottoms, tops and skins, so everything you would usually throw away will be great to enrich your veggie broth. Avoid using too many skins because they can give some bitterness to the flavour.
  • Mushroom stems – the stems of some mushroom species, such as shiitake or oyster mushrooms, will sometimes be hard and chewy. Maybe you won’t use them to make a dish, but you don’t have to toss them either; they will be an excellent addition to a vegetable broth, making it even more tasty.
  • Tomato and red sweet pepper scraps are also a great choice for vegetable broth. Their sweet taste will add up to the overall flavour and make it even richer.
vegetable scraps for broth
I usually have a bag in my freezer in which I store all the vegetable scraps until I collect enough to make a broth.

Vegetable scraps to use in moderation

I like to use all kinds of vegetable scraps for making veggie broth. Since I get my vegetables from local farmers, they are always fresh, seasonal and mostly organically grown. For that reason, they will give an excellent flavour to my broth.

However, I am aware that not everyone can always buy super fresh and local. Sometimes, vegetables from a supermarket can have a bit of a strong or bitter flavour, which makes it better to use them in moderation.

Also, sometimes you want to achieve a certain flavour or look, so I will mention all the vegetables that I consider better if used in smaller quantities (at least a bit less than the carrot, parsley and all the rest that I listed above).

  • Cruciferous vegetables such as kale, brussels sprouts, kohlrabi, broccoli and cabbage can have a strong, sometimes bitter flavour that can make your broth taste too intense if you use too much. This is less applicable if you are using young, local produce.
  • Zucchini or cucumber scraps can also give a bitter flavour when cooked, especially when they are not super fresh or locally grown. Again, if you choose young, fresh, local vegetables, they are safe to use and won’t ruin your broth.
  • Starchy tuberous or root vegetables such as sweet potatoes or turnips can sometimes cloud the broth. This doesn’t affect the taste or feel, so it will matter only if you need a super clear broth for your soup. Using only a smaller amount of potato peels or turnip scraps won’t cloud it too much, so I wouldn’t worry about it.
  • Red cabbage and beetroots – even if you have the sweetest and tastiest red cabbage and beets and don’t mind having a lot of their strong flavour in your broth, keep in mind that they will also colour the broth. If that doesn’t bother you, then go for it!
  • Apples – I like to save apple scraps and use them for making broths. Their taste is neutral enough to be a nice addition to savoury dishes if used in moderation. Just make sure you don’t use too much, so as not to have the fruity notes take over the taste of the broth.
  • Asparagus are also great if used in moderation. Too much asparagus scraps can make the broth a bit bitter (especially if you use wild ones), but adding a little bit is completely fine.

This doesn’t mean that you should avoid the vegetable scraps that I just listed. They will still give a great flavour to your broth.

But, if you want to achieve the best possible taste, I would recommend at least half of all the scraps be from carrots, parsley, onions and other vegetables from the first group.

Homemade Vegetable Broth From Scraps

Other vegetable scraps

Feel free to add any other vegetable leftovers that you like, and that I didn’t mention here. Here are some more veggies that I occasionally use for broth:

  • Corn cobs are sweet, tasty and fantastic for flavouring the broth!
  • Green bean scraps will also work great.
  • You can use young pea pods or fava bean pods too.
  • Any other vegetable leftovers that have a mild and pleasant flavour will be perfect.

Making the vegetable scrap broth

To make the broth, put all the vegetable scraps (frozen and/or fresh) into a large pot and cover them with water. There should be enough water for the scraps to float, but not much more than that because we want to get a rich flavour from those veggies.

Bring it to a boil and continue simmering in a closed pot for up to an hour. Remove from the heat and strain it. Both a fine sieve and a kitchen cloth can work for this. I sometimes combine a coarse sieve and a cloth to strain it.

vegetable broth from scraps
This time, I didn’t have that many small vegetable pieces, so I strained it through a coarser sieve.
vegetable broth from scraps
I pressed it with a metal bowl to squeeze out as much liquid as possible from the vegetable scraps.

Transfer the broth into glass jars, close them and let them cool down before storing the broth in the fridge. Or simply use the broth immediately to make some delicious meal!

vegetable broth from scraps

Other tips for making the best vegetable broth

  • I like to keep a zip-lock bag for vegetable scraps in my freezer. After cooking a meal, I just add the leftovers from that day to the bag and put them back in the freezer with the rest of the scraps. I repeat that until I fill up the bag. When the bag is full of veggie scraps, I use them to make a larger amount of vegetable broth.
  • Vegetable scrap broth will turn out the tastiest if it is made from seasonal, locally grown ingredients. The shorter the way from farm to table, the more precious taste and healthy stuff you will get.
  • Try to use organically grown vegetables to avoid adding toxic chemicals to your soup.
  • If you are using sweet ingredients such as apples, sweet corn cobs or sweet potatoes, keep in mind that your broth might have a shorter shelf life because the sugars will start to get fermented after a few days in the fridge.
vegetable broth from scraps

Ideas for using vegetable broth

This delicious broth made from vegetable scraps can be used instead of water in any soups, stews, risotto or sauces that you like. It will give your dish extra flavour and make it super delicious. Here are some of my favourites:

Storing the vegetable broth

Homemade vegetable broth can be stored in a closed container in a fridge for about three days. In case you would like to save it for some other occasion, you can also freeze it. 

I like to use silicone cupcake moulds for freezing the broth. When it is frozen, I remove it from the moulds and transfer it into reusable zip-lock bags. That way I can use as little as I need in cooking.

Frozen vegetable broth can be kept in the freezer for up to three months.

The Best Vegetable Broth Recipe

vegetable broth from scraps

Learn how to make the best vegetable broth from kitchen scraps with this simple homemade broth recipe.

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


  • Vegetable scraps*
  • Water**


  1. Add the frozen and/or fresh vegetable scraps to a pot.
  2. Add enough water to cover the scraps and keep them floating (no need to add too much water because we want to have a rich and flavourful broth).
  3. Cover the pot and bring to a boil over medium heat.
  4. Reduce the heat to low and keep the broth simmering in a covered pot for 45-60 minutes. If it starts boiling over, you can partially open the lid.
  5. Remove from the heat and strain the broth through a fine sieve or a kitchen cloth.
  6. You can use the broth immediately or transfer the broth to glass jars, close and let it cool down.
  7. Store the broth in the refrigerator for about three days, or freeze for up to three months and defrost as needed.
  8. Use your delicious homemade broth for soups, stews, sauces, risotto or any other dishes that you love!


*I like to use mainly carrots, celery, parsley, onions, garlic and some pepper and tomato. Any other vegetable scraps that you have are welcome but optional. See the article for more details.

**Use the amount of water that will cover all the scraps, plus a bit more to keep them floating. It is not necessary to be absolutely precise here, the main idea is to have enough water to keep the scraps floating, but not too much so as not to get a diluted taste.

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