How to Make Vegetable Stock from Food Scraps (1/26/2023)

Feb 10, 2023 Annie Cao

Did you know the average person wastes over 200 pounds of food a year? Some of that waste comes from the food scraps we throw away when preparing food. But what if there was a way to use those scraps to make a warm, nutritious stock that you can add to soups and other cozy dishes?


vegetable scraps displayed on baking tray
image via Savory Lotus

What Can I Use For Veggie Stock?

Some examples of food scraps you can use to make a vegetable stock are:

  • the ends and skins of onions
  • celery stalks
  • carrot tops
  • mushroom stems
  • potato skins
  • leftover herbs (thyme, parsley, basil, oregano, bay leaves, dill, cilantro)
  • tomato ends or bruised tomatoes
  • corn cobs
  • ends and tops of beets or parsnips
  • bell pepper tops
  • Ends of zucchini, squash, fennel, chards, lettuce, eggplants, or green beans

Basically, any veggie scraps that you would normally throw away during food prep can be used for your stock!


Are There Any Foods I Should Avoid?

Some foods you might want to avoid in your vegetable stock are:

  • broccoli and cauliflower stems
  • peppers
  • citrus peels

These can make your stock bitter, so it’s better not to use them in your stock (though you can still add broccoli or cauliflower if that’s your personal preference).


vegetable scraps inside storage bag and examples of herbs
image via Little Broken

How to Store Food Scraps for Your Stock

Unless you’re cooking food for a large group every day, it might take a while to have enough food scraps to make your broth. As you collect your veggie scraps, store them in a large freezer bag, reusable silicone storage bag, or a freezer-safe container.


image via Crowded Kitchen

How to Make Vegetable Stock

1. Take the veggie scraps out of the freezer and dump them into a pot.

2. Fill ¾ of the pot with water (or until the scraps start to float).

3. Bring the water to a boil and then simmer for about 30 minutes.

4. Strain the stock until you’re left with the broth.

You can also add in some fresh veggies and herbs! Some popular choices are onion, garlic, and herbs of your choice. You’ll also want to add salt and pepper to taste.

This homemade stock is good in the fridge for about 4 days. If you freeze it, it should last up to 3 months.

Tips for making a more flavorful broth: 

1. Roast your veggies in the oven first before putting them in a pot with water. Seasoning the vegetables with salt, pepper and other herbs will add more depth and flavor than only seasoning the water. The longer you roast, the more flavors you'll develop. 

2. Add ingredients with umami flavors such as kombu or mushrooms (e.g. dried shiitakes).

3. If you aren't vegetarian or vegan, try combining this with leftover bones from any meat to make a vegetable and bone broth. *This will take longer but will result in rich flavors. 


person holding handful of dirt made from composted food scraps
image via Eater

Other Things You Can Do With Food Scraps

If you don’t feel like making veggie stock with your food scraps, you can also compost them. Composting has a lot of great benefits for soil and water quality, and your plants will be healthier! If you don’t have a yard or plants, you can drop off your food scraps at a local compost site.


Have you ever made vegetable stock from food scraps? Let us know in the comments below and share our article to let more people know about this great tip!

image via My Food Story

Comments on this post (3)

  • Nancy

    Apr 10, 2023

    I made my first pot of veggie broth today, it had broccoli and cauliflower, and it turned out really tasty, a little bitter, but useable. I didn’t think of keeping my potato or tomato scraps! I will definitely keep this list close for future reference!

  • Angela

    Mar 20, 2023

    Yes, I have mad vegetable stock with leftover peelings, etc but admit at times I get lazy and don’t keep them so your article is good reminder. I do also keep a worm bin and a lot of my veggie scraps go to them. With the cooler weather right now, they aren’t going through the scraps quickly enough though so I have to remember to start freezing those for stock.

  • Anna

    Mar 20, 2023

    I’ve just started making veggie broth. This week I made corned beef and cabbage so had lots of scraps. Add a few Bay leaves. After cooking I strain them then use a potato masher to really get all the flavor out.
    I freeze in ziploc bags for future use.
    Sip a mug of it. Very good for you!

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