Can I Use Beef Gravy Instead of Beef Stock? A Complete Substitution Guide

As a home cook, I often find myself out of certain ingredients right when a recipe calls for them One common scenario is realizing I’m out of beef stock just as I’m prepping a beef stew or pot roast At times like these, I have to get creative with substitutions. A common swap I’ve tried is using beef gravy instead of beef stock. But does it really work?

In this article, I’ll explore whether beef gravy can stand in for beef stock, the key differences between the two ingredients, how to use gravy as a substitute, and tips for the best results. Keep reading to become a beef gravy and stock substitution expert!

Can You Use Beef Gravy Like Beef Stock?

To start, let’s examine whether beef gravy can truly replace beef stock in recipes. The short answer is – sometimes! Beef gravy and beef stock have some similarities that make substitution possible.

Both are

  • Made from beef broth as the key ingredient
  • Savory and umami-rich with deep beefy flavor
  • Used to enhance the flavor of beef dishes

However there are also some key differences that impact how they function in recipes

  • Beef stock is thinner while gravy has more body and thickness
  • Stock is used for flavoring while gravy also acts as a sauce
  • Gravy has extra ingredients like flour, butter, and heavy cream

Why Beef Stock and Gravy Are Not Interchangeable

To understand substitution better, let’s dive deeper into why beef gravy and stock are not completely interchangeable ingredients:

Intended Uses

  • Beef stock is primarily used as a flavorful cooking liquid. It’s great for soups, stews, braises, and more.

  • Beef gravy is meant as a finishing sauce or condiment to add flavor. It goes on top of dishes, not cook in them.


  • Beef stock is simply beef bones, vegetables, and seasonings simmered in water.

  • Gravy has extra ingredients like flour, butter, milk or cream, and often wine or brandy.


  • Beef stock is thin, with the consistency of water.

  • Gravy is a thick sauce thanks to starch from flour and fat from butter or oil.

Collagen Content

  • Simmering beef bones releases collagen, giving stock body and richness.

  • Gravy lacks this collagen content and thickens only from starch and fat.

As you can see, the differences mean you can’t just swap them equally. But with the right adjustments, beef gravy can work in some recipes calling for beef stock.

When Can Beef Gravy Substitute for Beef Stock?

Based on their differing properties, in what scenarios can you successfully use beef gravy in place of beef stock?

Beef gravy works best as a stock substitute when:

  • You only need a small amount of liquid flavoring
  • The recipe involves a sauce or gravy as the end product
  • You don’t mind a slightly thicker consistency
  • You want a more intensely beefy, savory flavor

Some examples recipes where beef gravy could work instead of stock include:

  • Pan sauces for steak, chops, or roasts
  • Gravy to go over mashed potatoes or biscuits
  • Cooking rice, quinoa, or other grains
  • Deglazing a pan for a sauce base
  • Moistening a casserole or pot pie filling
  • Flavoring meatloaf or meatballs

For larger amounts of cooking liquid called for in soups, stews, and braises, stick with traditional beef stock.

Tips for Successfully Using Beef Gravy Instead of Stock

If you decide to use beef gravy in place of stock, keep these tips in mind:

  • Start with a small amount like 1⁄4 cup gravy and add more as needed. Too much may overpower the dish.

  • Thin with water, wine, or additional broth if the gravy consistency is too thick.

  • Reduce any extra flour or starch in the full recipe to account for thickening agents already in the gravy.

  • Boost flavor with extra beef base or bullion if the gravy seems too mild.

  • Finish with a pat of butter or splash of cream to enrich the gravy if needed.

  • Simmer for a few minutes to meld flavors and let starch thicken further if too thin.

Follow these guidelines and you can make beef gravy work when you’re out of regular beef stock!

Making the Best Beef Gravy for Substitution

If you don’t have store-bought beef gravy on hand, you can easily whip up a homemade version to use instead of stock.

Here is a simple recipe:


  • 3 tablespoons butter
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • Salt and pepper


  1. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk in flour until smooth. Cook 2 minutes.

  2. Gradually whisk in beef broth. Bring to a simmer.

  3. Add Worcestershire sauce and garlic powder. Simmer 5 minutes until thickened.

  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

This easy gravy has deep savory beef flavor from broth and Worcestershire sauce. The butter and flour provide thickness without being overly gloppy. It’s perfect for using in place of stock.

Final Tips for Cooking With Beef Gravy

Whether you use store-bought or homemade beef gravy, keep these final tips in mind:

  • Look for low-sodium beef broth to limit excessive saltiness

  • Beef drippings or fond from cooking meat can add great flavor

  • Sauteeing mushrooms boosts umami richness

  • A splash of red wine matches beautifully with beef flavor

  • Go low-carb by using arrowroot or xanthan gum instead of flour

  • Customize gravy with ingredients like onions, garlic, herbs, and spices

With the guidelines in this article, you can feel confident using beef gravy instead of stock in your cooking. Get ready to make delicious dishes even when the stock runs out. Beef gravy to the rescue!

Beef Broth Brown Gravy


Can you substitute beef stock with gravy?

NO! One might use stock in making gravy, but you can also use broth, or juices from the process of coking meat, but stock and gravy are not the same thing. Stock is a liquid that is prepared by simmering bones, meat, and/or vegetables in water. The goal is to extract flavors, aroma, and nutrients from the ingredients.

What can I use instead of beef stock?

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 gravy the same as beef stock?

Beef gravy ingredients generally include cornstarch or flour, butter, and beef stock as a base. If you need to make beef gravy without beef broth, you can also make it using bouillon cubes instead. After preparing the gravy base, seasonings often include onion and garlic powder, salt, and black pepper.

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