Stock or water? When water will do vs when to stock up

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Stock or water? When water will do vs when to stock up

Don’t waste your precious stock on cooking things that won’t really benefit from it. Here’s when to save and when to splurge.


Don’t waste your stash on cooking pasta. Rather season the water generously with salt.

Try: Spanish pasta-paella.


Beans release a lot of starch while cooking and form a “liquor” of their own. Unless you’re puréeing them into a soup, use water for cooking.

Try: Smoky baby marrows with garlicky cannellini beans on toast


Cook grains such as rice and barley in stock as they’ll absorb all that delicious goodness – and so will you.

Try: Honey, soya and mustard chicken with warm samp-and-quinoa salad.


You can get away with using water if you season and sear the meat properly. Stock will definitely add flavour, but it’s not strictly necessary. Add a glug of wine or beer for extra oomph.

Try: Beer-braised lamb shank and rosemary veloute.


If you’re making a puréed soup, use water as you’ll be blitzing all your veggies into it anyway. Just remember to season it well. If you’re making a non-puréed soup, go with the stock. Add veggies, sausage or meatballs and you’re good to go.

Try: Tomato soup with toasted cheesy melt.


If you’re making a sauce using the “brown bits” from your pan, use stock. It’ll add body and colour to the few ingredients you’ve got to work with – salt, pepper, a deglazing agent (e.g. wine) and butter. Water will make it, well, watery.

Try: Beef fillet with café au lait sauce.

Discover more recipes using stock here.

TASTE Article by: TASTE

The TASTE team is a happy bunch of keen cooks and writers, always on the look out for the next food trend or the next piece of cake.

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