Vegetable Broth from Kitchen Scraps

Homemade Vegetable Broth from Kitchen Scraps

Making vegetable broth at home is easy to make in the slow cooker and costs almost nothing if you use vegetable scraps from previous meals. 

If you make any recipes with vegetable broth, then you’ll notice that it can get expensive to keep buying it, not to mention the cans that are then wasted. Plus, there are a few questionable ingredients that I would rather not have if possible:

Swanson Vegetable Broth Ingredients: Vegetable Broth (Water And The Concentrated Juices Of Carrot, Celery, Tomato, Celeriac, Onion, Cabbage), Contains Less Than 2% Of: Salt, Cane Sugar, Carrot Juice, Yeast Extract, Vegetables (Carrots, Onions, Celery), Natural Flavoring, Potato Flour, Dehydrated Carrots.

Why is there sugar in everything we eat? And if this is vegetable broth, shouldn’t the vegetables be all the “natural flavoring” that we need?

A few months ago, I decided to set out on making my own vegetable broth at home. Any time we cut up vegetables, I would save the scraps and put them in a ziptop bag in the freezer. This included the root sides of onions, garlic peels, pepper stems, carrot peels, celery tops, etc. The amount of each will change the flavor slightly, but you want a variety of vegetables. I would suggest not using potato peels or similar because they will make the broth very starchy.

This is a perfect way to use up the scraps from the kitchen, especially if you don’t have a compost bin. Just continue to add to the bag in the freezer until the bag is mostly full. Some weeks I added a lot to it, others I didn’t cook as much. It took me about 5 months to have enough scraps for a batch of broth.

In addition to vegetable scraps, you can also throw in the scraps or leftovers of some herbs, too. I wouldn’t use anything strong, like mint, but you can easily throw in any parsley, oregano, basil, and other similar herbs.

The vegetable broth takes about a day to make, so you want to make sure you do this at least a day before you want to use it in a recipe. But don’t worry, the slow cooker does all the work for you, so you aren’t cooking for an entire day.

Usually, about a pound of vegetables makes four cups of vegetable broth. When I was ready to make my first batch, I weighed the bag and had about 1 1/2 pounds, so I made 6 cups of broth. Once it was done, I used what I needed for a recipe the next night and froze the rest since we were leaving on vacation. Just make sure you give more headroom than you think you need because I came home to a broken glass container, but luckily only the smallest amount leaked so I was able to salvage most of it.

Step by Step

Preparing the broth couldn’t be any easier. Grab your bag of frozen vegetable scraps, use a kitchen scale to weigh them so you know how much water to use, and dump the vegetables in the slow cooker.

Measure out the water according to the weight of vegetables. Two pounds of vegetables need about four cups of water. Last, add in any seasoning you want, such as a bit of peppercorn, parsley, basil, or bay leaves.

Cover the slow cooker and let it cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours and LEAVE IT ALONE. Don’t open the lid or you will let out all of the heat. Don’t stir it because that means you opened the lid, and it will make the water cloudy as the vegetables break down. Once it has steeped for the right amount of time, open the lid and let it cool just a bit.

Use a fine mesh strainer over a bowl to separate the broth from the vegetables, then a funnel to pour into a storage container. At this point, the vegetables can only be used for compost or thrown in the trash. If you compost them, make sure to add a lot of “browns” with them, since they have been soaking in water. These will add a lot of moisture to your compost, more than vegetables usually do, so that needs to be offset.

Your homemade vegetable broth can be stored in the refrigerator for up to about 5 days, or it can go in the freezer for a few months.

Again, just make sure you leave enough room and remember to move it to the refrigerator to thaw the day before you need to use it.

Recipe

Vegetable Broth from Kitchen Scraps

Vegetable Broth from Kitchen Scraps

Making vegetable broth at home is easy to make in the slow cooker and costs almost nothing if you use vegetable scraps from previous meals. 
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 8 hours 10 minutes
Course: Homemade Staple
Cuisine: American
Keyword: broth, vegetable
Servings: 4 cups
5 from 13 votes

Ingredients

  • 2 lbs vegetable scraps
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 tsp peppercorn (whole)
  • 1 tsp parsley
  • 1 tsp basil

Instructions

  • Add all ingredients to a slow cooker
  • Cover and cook on low for 7-8 hours or high for 4-5 hours and DO NOT open the lid until cooking time is done
  • Turn off the heat and remove the lid to let the broth cool
  • Use a fine mesh sieve to separate the broth from the vegetable scraps and discard scraps
  • Use broth immediately or store in airtight glass jars in the refrigerator for up to 5 days or freezer for up to 3 months
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Nutrition Facts
Vegetable Broth from Kitchen Scraps
Amount Per Serving (1 cup)
Calories 147 Calories from Fat 9
% Daily Value*
Fat 1g2%
Sodium 119mg5%
Potassium 495mg14%
Carbohydrates 31g10%
Fiber 9g36%
Protein 7g14%
Vitamin A 11515IU230%
Vitamin C 23.6mg29%
Calcium 69mg7%
Iron 2.3mg13%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Vegetable Broth from Kitchen Scraps

60 thoughts on “Homemade Vegetable Broth from Kitchen Scraps”

  1. This Vegetable Broth made in kitchen scarp looks healthy. Honestly I don’t have an idea about Vegetable Broth before HAHAHAHA! thanks for give an essential knowledge for cooking.

  2. That is amazing broth with incredible recipe and sweet fresh vegetable! I will use this recipe in the next time I cook somethings in the kitchen! Thanks for sharing!

  3. What a great idea Stephanie! Right now I save/freeze all the liquid from cooking veggies as a base for soups that start with water, because the veggie liquid gives the soup more flavor – but I never thought of making a proper vegetable broth from scraps! And the fact that the crock pot does all the work is genius!

  4. I would never have thought to make my own. I think this would be so nice purely because you could control the salt in the broth and change up the flavoring based on what you like!

    1. This is exactly why I make it myself. I like to control what’s in there. And it will have a flavor you probably like since the veggies will be ones you use often and have scraps of.

  5. This does sound like a great way to deal with all of your veggie scraps when you are in the kitchen. I have done something like this once before, and then made a delicious sauce from it. I will have to try this out.

    1. Veggie scraps are great for sauces, too! I’ve only made homemade sauce a couple of times, but I want to continue to work on that recipe. I know the broth works well, we’ve made it many times.

  6. MELANIE EDJOURIAN

    This sounds like a great idea. I love that you can freeze the scraps until you have enough collected and then do it. It’s so much healthier and I’m sure tastier too!!!

  7. Looks like my chickens will be deprived of their scraps so that I can try this flavorful recipe! I’m all for eliminating the garbage ingredients in the store bought varieties.

    1. I don’t have chickens, but I wonder if you could still give them the scraps after you make the broth? They are just watered down instead of crunchy. If so, then the scraps can work double-duty for you!

  8. This is great idea. Our compost bin is always overflowing and we always wonder how we can reduce what we’re throwing away. We’ll definitely save our vegetable scraps from now on!!

    1. Once you make the broth, the veggies can still go in the compost bin, but they are watered down so don’t take up as much space I’ve noticed. And if you make your own broth, you don’t have packaging to throw away!

  9. This is such a great way to use up peelings and scraps! We do food prep on Sundays every week and there are always so many peels from carrots, onions and celery that end up getting tossed. Next week I’m going to try this out and make some homemade broth. YUM!

    1. Since you don’t use it often, this actually works well since you can keep the scraps in the freezer until you are ready to make some broth. You can also freeze the broth after you make it, too.

  10. This is awesome! It looks like you have recycled parts of vegetables that usually remain unused. Sounds like zero waste kitchen 🙂 And I like this question: “Why is there sugar in everything we eat?”. Good question and yes, I absolutely agree that we all should probably start consuming less processed sugar and shift towards more natural alternatives.

    1. Gosh, the sugar and salt contents are so crazy in processed foods. We like to try to have the most minimal kitchen we can, and this helps give those scraps one more use before they go in the compost bins.

  11. Isn’t it so much better to make it yourself! I’ve never made broth but you make it look easy! I am going to check out your other recipes now.

    1. I haven’t tried a meat broth yet, but veggie broth is so easy! I have a few meals that are more involved, but we try for easy recipes at our house, so I hope you find others you want to try.

  12. This is such a great way to use vegetable scraps! I love cooking with vegetable broth. It adds so much flavor to dishes.

  13. I have heard that a broth like this one is great to heal the gut. I need to remember to keep my chicken scraps and do something like this. It looks super healthy and perfect for winter.

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