Broth, also known as bouillon (French pronunciation: [bu.jɔ̃]), is a savory liquid made of water in which meat, fish or vegetables have been simmered for a short period of time. It can be eaten alone, but it is most commonly used to prepare other dishes, such as soups, gravies, and sauces.
Commercially prepared liquid broths are available, typically chicken, beef, fish, and vegetable varieties. Dehydrated broth in the form of bouillon cubes were commercialized beginning in the early 20th century.
Broths have been used as a nutrition source for the sick in Great Britain since at least the early 1700s, such as for dysentery patients.
See also: Stock (food)
Many cooks and food writers use the terms broth and stock interchangeably. In 1974, James Beard wrote that stock, broth, and bouillon "are all the same thing".
While many draw a distinction between stock and broth, the details of the distinction often differ. One possibility is that stocks are made primarily from animal bones, as opposed to meat, and therefore contain more gelatin, giving them a thicker texture. Another distinction that is sometimes made is that stock is cooked longer than broth and therefore has a more intense flavor. A third possible distinction is that stock is left unseasoned for use in other recipes, while broth is salted and otherwise seasoned and can be eaten alone.
In Scotland, “Scotch Broth” and the United Kingdom, "broth" can refer to the liquid in a soup which includes solid pieces of meat, fish, or vegetables, whereas "stock" would refer to the purely liquid base. Traditionally, according to this definition, broth contained some form of meat or fish; however, nowadays it is acceptable to refer to a strictly vegetable soup as a broth.
I use the terms 'broth' and 'stock' interchangeably, as do many people, although technically there is a very small difference—not important to the home cook....Some English-speaking writers make a distinction between broth and bouillon, but bouillon is simply the French word for broth.
broth: a term which usually means the liquid in which meat has been cooked or a simple soup based thereon. It is a close equivalent to the French bouillon and the Italian brodo....It could be said that broth occupies an intermediate position between stock and soup. A broth...can be eaten as is, whereas a stock...would normally be consumed only as an ingredient in something more complex.
I don't really want to get into the muddy details of nomenclature between broth and stock...I use the words pretty much interchangeably, though I lean towards 'stock' if I mean something pretty rich that I'm gonna cook with and 'broth' if I mean something my noodles or peas are already floating in.
Stock and broth are more or less the same thing, a mixture of any combination of meats (including poultry or seafood), bones, vegetables or herbs simmered in a large quantity of water, then strained.
The other morning my old friend Helen McCully called me at an early hour and said, 'Now that you're revising your fish book, for heaven's sake, define the difference between a stock, a broth and a bouillon. No book does.' The reason no book does is that they are all the same thing. A stock, which is also a broth or a bouillon, is basically some meat, game, poultry, or fish simmered in water with bones, seasonings, and vegetables.
[S]tock is predominantly [made with] bones and some trim,” says Greg Fatigati, associate dean for curriculum and instruction for culinary arts at the Culinary Institute of America.