Difference Between Broth, Consommé And Soup

Difference Between Broth, Consommé, And Soup

Although these three liquids can comfort us on the coldest winter days, each one has its own nuances and differences in terms of consistency, flavor, method of preparation, and culinary uses.

Although a priori we may confuse these three terms since all three refer to liquid preparations, each of them is clearly distinguished from the others. We will see that whether it is vegetable, meat or fish, there are differences between broth, consommé, and soup that also make each of them suitable for different culinary preparations. To clarify the concepts, we will begin with a brief definition of each of them and then comment on the main differentiating elements of these preparations: the ingredients, their preparation, their flavor, texture, and consistency, and their culinary uses.

What is a broth

A broth is the liquid resulting from cooking both animal and vegetable foods in water. Regardless of whether it can be taken alone, the broth can be used as a base to prepare consommés, soups, creams, rice, sauces… Therefore, the broths must have a mild flavor that does not mask the final result of the dish, in case that it is going to be used as a base element.

In a period of about two hours of cooking over low heat, we will have the broth ready, either to drink it only as a tonic, or to prepare traditional recipes such as chicken soup, fish soup, or a tasty soup. bouillabaisse.

What is a consommé

Consommé is simply a concentrated broth (usually meat). However, a tasty fish or seafood consommé can be prepared in the same way. Originated in France and highly appreciated by our Gallic neighbors, consommé soon crossed borders to be consumed equally throughout the peninsular territory, although there are no shortage of versions that claim the opposite.

To have a good consommé ready, we will have to take into account that when applying the clarification technique (which allows obtaining a transparent broth free of impurities), its cooking period will be a little longer than that of the broth, lengthening the preparation. complete up to a full day due to the necessary 12-hour rest.

What is a soup

The soup, for its part, is made up of a base broth accompanied by many other solid ingredients that have been previously cooked in it, whether of animal or vegetable origin. You can also add pasta or rice to enrich it.

As for the soup, in addition to being served as a first or main course, it can be served both hot and cold. In fact, being the most versatile of the three options, it can even be prepared with various fruits, dairy products, vegetable drinks, and even sweet ingredients.

How broth and consommé differ from soup

The main characteristic that differentiates broth from soup and consommé lies in its ingredients. Bearing in mind that the three preparations start from the same base, the broth, the key difference between the broth and the soup consommé is that unlike the first two, the soup also has integrated solid elements that enrich the preparation, making it more complete. and forceful.


We can prepare a base broth using vegetables such as carrots, onions, parsnips, and celery, in addition to the most common flavorings such as black peppercorns, bay leaf, parsley or thyme. Of course, salt should never be added to a broth, since when reduced it could become excessively salty. In the same way, the ingredients that should not be part of a broth are those that provide very characteristic flavors such as garlic, ginger or citrus flavors.

On the other hand, to cook a consommé we will need, in addition to fresh ingredients such as carrots, leeks or onions, different animal elements, whether meat or seafood products, depending on whether we are going to cook a chicken, meat, or fish consommé. To this, we can add other foods such as tomato, which will give a more powerful flavor to our consommé, as well as aromatic herbs such as bay leaf or parsley. Unlike broth, consommé can contain salt to taste since it is a dish in itself.

To make a comforting and somewhat stronger soup than the previous options, it is important that we keep in mind that unlike broth and consommé, the soup also contains solid elements such as vegetables, tubers, small pieces of shredded meat, and even a little bit of pasta or rice to make it more complete.

Preparation method

To make a simple broth, just put all the ingredients in a good-sized saucepan, cover with water, and cook over medium heat for a couple of hours. Generally, as the broth cooks, the most normal thing is that a layer of foam is created on the surface, so it is important to remove that foam with the help of a slotted spoon so that we remove these impurities from the surface of the broth. After the cooking time has passed, we can strain the broth if we want a more refined result.

As for preparing the consommé, first of all we will have to brown the meats and bones in the pot with a splash of very hot olive oil so that the meats are well-toasted on all sides. Once browned and to make the consommé more flavorful, an infallible trick is to add a teaspoon of tomato concentrate and stir well. It will then be time to add the vegetables, as well as the aromatic herbs, and salt to taste. Cover with water and cook over medium heat for approximately two hours, removing impurities from the surface.

After having removed the excess fat, we will let the broth rest for 12 hours in the refrigerator so that the remaining fat solidifies on the surface and we can remove it very easily. If we want a cleaner result, it will be enough to pass the broth through a fine strainer and then filter it through a fine cloth. Finally, to obtain the consommé, the ideal would be to carry out the clarification process, which although not mandatory, will give us a better result. This culinary technique consists of adding a couple of beaten egg whites to the broth while simmering it again for 30 minutes. After some time, we will leave the broth to rest for a couple of hours to once again remove impurities from the surface.

To prepare the soup, it will be enough to follow the same process as in the case of the broth, with the only difference that we will take advantage of all the solid ingredients used to prepare it, in addition to being able to add other elements almost at the end of cooking such as legumes, pasta or rice if we want to make it more complete.


Although the three preparations are liquid-based, of the three the broth is the lightest of all, and since it also lacks salt and olive oil among its ingredients, it will have a much milder flavor than consommé or soup.

As for consommé, it differs from broth and soup for its richer and more flavorful taste as the base broth has been concentrated and clarified. In addition to this more accentuated flavor, we must highlight that due to the gelatin produced by cooking the meat bones, this concentrated broth has more body than a base broth.

If we refer to the soup, there is a key difference in terms of consistency, since in addition to the liquid of the broth, we will find solid cooked elements such as vegetables, meats, and vegetables, which will complement it.

Purpose and uses

In addition to serving as food in itself, simple broth can be used to enhance the flavor of different preparations such as rice, stews, soups, sauces or creams. That is why it is essential that if we are going to prepare broth to incorporate it into other preparations, we do not add any salt when preparing it. In the same way, both the vegetables and the meats used to make the broth can be used to prepare other recipes such as filling for empanadas, and croquettes…

If it is a consommé, it is consumed as a dish at the beginning of meals, usually served in a large bowl or deep plate. Although it is usually served only flavored with a splash of sherry wine, it can also be accompanied by croutons and egg yolk.

As for the soup, although it is made up of a liquid element and some solid ingredients, everything is served together in a deep dish, that is, the broth along with vegetables, meats, tubers, pasta or rice. In addition, many soups can be enriched with hard-boiled eggs, ham cubes, and croutons. Depending on the ingredients with which we prepare and serve the soup, we could consume it as a first course or as a main course.

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