This simple recipe for Instant Pot vegetable broth is the best way to make the most flavorful vegetable broth in an Instant Pot.
In my dream world, I'm the type of person who always has glass jars of homemade vegetable and chicken broth in her freezer. In this dream world, I'm also baking loaves of whole wheat and sourdough bread and making homemade yogurt and my children are wearing lovely organic linen instead of Target stretch pants.
As my kids have gotten older and life has become slightly less overwhelming, some of these dreams are occasionally coming true. There aren't any linen dresses or loaves of homemade bread in my house, and my freezer is way too small for glass jars. But I do have two Ziploc bags filled with homemade vegetable broth in my freezer, which shouldn't feel like such a major accomplishment, but it does.
I've read all the same broth recipes that you've read, telling you to save bits of old vegetables and throw them in a big pot of water and voila! you'll have richly flavorful, nutritious vegetable broth. But every time I made vegetable broth this way, it was watery and flavorless and underwhelming. It didn't seem worth the effort.
For many of my vegetarian soup recipes, especially those made in an Instant Pot, plain water can be added instead of vegetable broth. The soup still turns out well, although I couldn't shake the nagging feeling that my soup would taste even better if it was made with flavorful homemade broth.
So I set out to crack the code and make vegetable broth that was worth the effort. This is the recipe I've settled on, which delivers a truly flavorful vegetable broth and honestly, it doesn't take much effort.
Flavorful Vegetable Broth
After making many batches of vegetable broth, I discovered a few things that boost the flavor:
- Roasting the vegetables beforehand
- Adding mushrooms for meaty, umami flavor
- A little bit of tomato paste
- A parmesan rind if you have one
- And lastly, using an Instant Pot.
An Instant Pot isn't absolutely necessary, but pressure cookers seem to extract more flavor in a shorter amount of time than simply simmering vegetables in a pot does. However, I've included instructions for cooking this broth on the stovetop and in a slow cooker, if those are your preferred methods.
It's true that vegetable broth is a smart way to use up wilting vegetables in your kitchen. You can add more than just mushrooms, onions and carrots - the more vegetables, the merrier. If you're extremely virtuous, you can gather vegetable scraps in a freezer bag throughout the month to make vegetable stock. Honestly, this method has never worked for me. I usually end up buying vegetables specifically to make broth.
A batch of vegetable broth is also a great incentive for making a big pot of soup. If you can get your family to buy into the idea of soup for dinner, it can be part of your weekly meal plan throughout the winter. I love that soup usually provides leftovers. You can freeze some to eat the following week or warm up a nice bowl of soup for lunch the next day.
Easy Meal Prep
- Let vegetable broth cool completely before pouring into sealable plastic bags or freezer-proof glass jars to freeze. In both cases, allow a little extra space for the liquid to expand as it freezes. To cool the broth, I put the pot, without a lid, into the refrigerator to chill. A faster method is setting the soup pot in a sink or large bowl filled with ice water. In both cases, mixing the broth helps it cool faster.
- I like using Ziploc bags because my freezer is small - I lay broth and soup down flat in the freezer so I can stack several bags on top of each other.
- Defrost broth by putting it in the refrigerator overnight. Or, run cool water over the bag of frozen broth until the liquid begins to break up.
- To make very quick soup from this broth, simply add cooked pasta or a cooked grain and a can of drained white beans. Add handfuls of baby spinach or frozen peas. If you want meat, add sausage or leftover shredded chicken.
The Difference Between Stock and Broth
Broth is seasoned with salt. Stock is not seasoned. That's about it!