Can I Use Au Jus Instead of Beef Broth? A Guide to Substitution

As a home cook, I’m constantly faced with the dilemma of being out of a certain ingredient right when a recipe calls for it. One common scenario – realizing I don’t have any beef broth just as I’m prepping a stew or pot roast. When this happens, I have to get creative with substitutions. A common swap I’ve tried is using au jus instead of beef broth. But does it really work?

In this article, I’ll explore whether au jus can stand in for beef broth, the key differences between the two liquids, how to use au jus as a substitute, and tips for the best results. After reading, you’ll be a pro at replacing beef broth with au jus!

Can Au Jus Be Used Like Beef Broth?

First, let’s examine whether au jus can truly be substituted for beef broth in cooking The short answer is – sometimes! Au jus and beef broth do share some similarities that make swapping possible

  • Both are made from beef as the main ingredient
  • They have a savory, meaty, umami-rich flavor
  • Can be used to enhance the taste of beef dishes

However, there are also some important differences to consider:

  • Au jus is thinner while beef broth has more body
  • Beef broth is meant for cooking while au jus is a sauce
  • Au jus has a more concentrated beef flavor

Why Au Jus and Beef Broth Aren’t Interchangeable

To understand the nuances of substitution better. let’s take a deeper look at why au jus and beef broth are not completely interchangeable

Ingredients and Preparation

  • Beef broth is made by simmering beef bones, vegetables and seasonings in water for hours

  • Au jus consists of the natural juices released from cooking meat, seasoned simply with salt and pepper

Intended Uses

  • Beef broth is primarily used as a cooking liquid for braises, soups, stews, and more

  • Au jus is meant as a finishing sauce or dipping liquid to enhance flavor

Flavor Intensity

  • Beef broth has a rich, meaty flavor but it’s not overpowering

  • Au jus packs a more concentrated and intense beefy taste

Consistency and Texture

  • Beef broth has a thicker, rick broth-like consistency

  • Au jus is thinner with a delicate mouthfeel

Due to these differences, you’ll use each liquid a bit differently in the kitchen and their flavors are not exactly the same. But with a few tweaks, au jus can work in a pinch!

When Can Au Jus Substitute for Beef Broth?

Based on their distinct qualities, in what scenarios can au jus stand in for beef broth successfully? Here are some examples:

  • Adding small amounts of flavor to pan sauces or gravies
  • Moistening and boosting flavor in casseroles or savory pies
  • Using as a base for mushroom or onion soups
  • Cooking grains like rice, farro or barley
  • Making a quick sauce for steak by reducing with wine
  • Adding to stir-fries and other quick-cooked beef dishes

For long-simmered dishes like stews that require a lot of liquid, stick with regular beef broth instead of au jus.

Tips for Successfully Using Au Jus as a Substitute

If you decide to use au jus in place of beef broth, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start with small amounts of au jus like 1⁄4 cup and add more to taste

  • Dilute with water or wine if the au jus flavor is too intense

  • Reduce other salty ingredients in the recipe to account for the au jus

  • Simmer to cook off some of the rawness of au jus flavor if needed

  • Swirl in a pat of butter to add further richness and body

  • If too thin, thicken the au jus with a cornstarch slurry before using

With some simple adjustments like these, you can make au jus work wonderfully in place of regular beef broth!

Making Homemade Au Jus for Cooking

Don’t have store-bought au jus on hand? You can easily make your own to use in cooking. Try this simple recipe:


  • Pan drippings from cooked beef

  • 1 cup beef broth

  • 1⁄4 cup red wine

  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme

  • 1 bay leaf

  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Add beef drippings to a small saucepan. Cook over medium heat to render fat and brown fond.

  2. Pour in beef broth and wine, stirring to deglaze browned bits from pan.

  3. Add Worcestershire, thyme, bay leaf and season with salt and pepper.

  4. Simmer 10-15 minutes until reduced slightly.

  5. Remove bay leaf before using.

This homemade au jus captures rich, concentrated beefiness perfect for using in place of subtle broth. Adjust ingredients to your taste.

Final Tips for Cooking with Au Jus

Whether you use store-bought or homemade au jus, keep these tips in mind:

  • For a smoother sauce, strain out solids like herbs and veggies

  • Splash in additional beef stock if the au jus lacks depth

  • Sauteeing mushrooms can add extra rich, savory flavor

  • Whisk in cold butter chunks to make a luscious finishing sauce

  • Adding umami-rich ingredients like tomato paste amplifies the meatiness

  • Try using half au jus and half broth for balance in some recipes

With the guidelines in this article, you can confidently use au jus in place of beef broth in your cooking. Next time you’re out of broth, just grab the au jus and start cooking!

Can I use beef broth instead of au jus?


Is au jus a substitute for beef broth?

Beef broth is made by simmering beef bones, mirepoix (typically onion, carrots, and celery), hearty herbs, and spices in water, to extract flavor into the liquid. Au jus is basically beefed up beef broth. Amplify the savory flavor of beef broth by simmering it with drippings from roast beef (double beef flavor).

What can you use in place of beef broth?

Like beef broth, chicken broth is a kitchen staple and makes a good substitute if you are all out of the meaty broth. This savory, salty liquid has a milder flavor than beef broth but is a good one-to-one replacement. Chicken broth also has a similar nutrition profile to beef broth, low in calories and high in sodium.

Is beef bouillon the same as au jus?

Beef Bullion You can use beef bouillons as is as a replacement for au jus, but you can also make your own au jus gravy mix from it. Family Dinners has a great recipe to make your own mix to keep on hand at home.

Can I use beef consommé instead of beef broth?

THE BOTTOM LINE: Canned consommé is different from canned broth in that consommé typically contains gelatin and is saltier. You can use them interchangeably in most recipes if you correct the seasoning for the salty consommé.

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