Use Beef Broth As A Substitute For MSG In A Pinch

Pot and ladle of homemade beef broth
Pot and ladle of homemade beef broth - Julia Ahanova/Shutterstock

Monosodium glutamate, better known as MSG, is a secret ingredient that enhances the flavor of foods and offers a dose of umami. It's most often associated with Chinese and Japanese cuisines, but MSG can provide additional savory and umami flavors to any food it's introduced to like tomato sauce. MSG might not be a staple ingredient in your household, however, so if you find a recipe that calls for it or your food simply needs a boost of flavor, substitute MSG with beef broth instead.

There are foods that MSG is naturally found in, like mushrooms, but its biggest benefit is its umami factor. Beef broth, especially homemade, also offers varying levels of umami, which is why it's an acceptable ingredient swap. You might want to reconsider store-bought beef broth, because it won't have the same layers of flavor derived from actual meat that this ingredient swap relies on. However, homemade beef broth can take a while to make so store-bought is fine if it's the only option, but you might want to spruce it up with a dash of soy sauce or aromatics.

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How To Substitute MSG With Beef Broth

Pouring broth into pot of meat and vegetables
Pouring broth into pot of meat and vegetables - Angelika Heine/Shutterstock

When it comes to the substitution, keep in mind that MSG is like salt while beef broth is obviously a liquid. A little MSG goes a long way, because ½ a teaspoon can improve 1 pound of meat like beef. Obviously beef broth might not contain as much concentrated flavor as pure MSG, so start with a splash and add more to taste. Be mindful about the consistency of the dish since you're working with a liquid. Alternatively, use beef broth powder or cubes to make it easier if you don't have homemade beef broth in the kitchen. Just make sure any store-bought alternatives don't already contain MSG.

MSG is the secret ingredient in some traditional holiday dishes including made-from-scratch gravy and mashed potatoes, both of which would benefit from beef broth too. Other dishes that you can try this ingredient swap with include salad dressings, vinaigrettes, marinades, and even rice. You can really upgrade any recipe with a splash of beef broth in the same way that MSG typically functions in recipes. And if you don't have quality beef broth on hand, other umami-intense ingredients like soy sauce, fish sauce, and even anchovies will work in most recipes.

Read the original article on Tasting Table.