Bone broth has skyrocketed to popularity in many wellness circles. For those new to drinking the liquid gold, that first taste can come as quite a shock. Most tend to assume that bone broth tastes like soup stock, and when they find that it doesn’t, they either give up on the idea or gag it down.
While bone broth is an acquired taste for some, I have good news: you can learn to like it, even if you don’t right away. Our mouths and brains can be taught to like new flavors, textures, and foods, but sometimes we give up on something before we’ve had the chance to reprogram our taste buds.
What Does Bone Broth Taste Like?
Here’s the nitty gritty guide on what bone broth actually tastes like. If you’ve never had a sip, then remove the notion that it tastes like chicken noodle soup broth or beef soup broth. It does not. There are two key differences between how soup broth and bone broth taste:
- Soup stock is often very flavorful and in many cases, salty. Bone broth is often more bland and does not taste salty.
- Soup stock is a thin liquid; bone broth has an oily texture and feels thicker in the mouth.
These two differences are often what make bone broth jarring to the first-time drinker. I’ve heard people say the bland taste was what they couldn’t get past, while others were unpleasantly surprised how oily it felt in their mouth. Truthfully, the first thought I had when I first tried bone broth back in the day was, “It felt like I was drinking melted coconut oil, with a very watered down soup taste.”
Not very appealing! However, I did learn to like it, and it really wasn’t that hard! I’ll show you how.
How to Make Bone Broth Taste Good
So maybe you’re like me and your first taste of bone broth was not exactly pleasant. Do you give up on the fastest growing wellness trend and ignore the gut healing benefits and the anti-inflammatory superpowers that it brings? Of course not!
Here’s the secret for working bone broth into your diet while teaching your taste buds that it’s not a bad thing. Part of learning to like bone broth involves educating your brain that it is not, in fact, soup. The association of soup and broth brings with it the expectation that when you see it, it will in fact taste like soup when it hits your mouth. It will not and the brain needs a little help in sidestepping this.
First, add flavors that you are familiar with. You can start by combining bone broth with soup stock. It sounds counterproductive, but trust me, this is a good place to start. You can combine with beef or chicken soup stock. Then add an extra dash of salt or pepper, or whatever flavors your mouth truly loves, and sip away.
Eventually, you can reduce the amount of soup broth and increase the amount of bone broth. After doing this for awhile, you can leave out the soup broth altogether and keep adding that extra bit of salt and pepper. This should eventually lead to decreasing the amount until you realize that you’re good with just the plain bone broth.
The process is a bit like learning to like black coffee after getting used to coffee with cream and sugar. (If you hate black coffee, don’t give up here—it’s just an analogy. I believe it is easier to acquire the taste of bone broth than it is for black coffee if you’re not already a black coffee lover.)
If adding flavors you’re familiar with doesn’t work, try mixing it into something else. This can mean adding bone broth to a soup or stew you’ve made, making sure to use bone broth for at least 50 percent of the liquid so that you’re starting to work that taste in. Add it to mashed potatoes or other mashed vegetables instead of chicken stock (it actually makes them creamier because there is more oil in the bone broth!).
(Check out our guide to cooking with bone broth here)
If adding and mixing seems like too much work, then all you have to do is start small. Take one sip daily of bone broth for a week. That’s it. After the first week, take two sips daily. By the third week, aim to drink ½ cup. After those 21 days, your brain will have learned a new habit—that bone broth is its own unique food, and that it’s really quite good.
How to Make Bone Broth Taste Better When You Don’t Love It
Okay so maybe you try everything I suggested above, and you still just do not like it. Fear not, there are still ways that you can enjoy this wellness superfood without having to actually taste it.
- Keep doing the soup/broth routine. The first suggestion above is to combine half soup broth with half bone broth and to jazz it up with other favorite spices. Much like people sip on echinacea tea when they’re under the weather, you can view this soup/broth concoction as your daily immune supplement. At the very least, plan to drink this mixture any time you are under the weather. With the cold or the flu, your taste buds will be altered, and you’ll probably have no trouble getting it down. Bland foods become much more appealing. (Please note: bone broth’s blandness is not a negative statement—it is simply one of its characteristics. While it’s not as rich in flavor as soup broth, it is oily and more bland due to the high concentration of nutrients it contains, like collagen, bone-strengthening minerals, and amino acids that can help to improve digestion.)
- Add it to your daily smoothie. What? Bone broth in a smoothie? Again, this is where the more bland flavor profile works in your favor. If you’re pairing it with greens and fruits, you will not even know it’s in there, and you will easily be able to get 4 to 8 ounces down daily.
- Have soup every week. Soup is, of course, a fabulous one-dish meal that can be utilized at all times of the year, and with numerous different ingredients. If you just can’t wrap your brain around drinking plain bone broth, then make bone broth soup every week and eat it for two or three meals. You can change up the kind of soup, but a basic beef bone broth is going to be camouflaged well in almost any kind of soup. The same goes for chicken or turkey bone broth.
Aimee McNew is a certified nutritionist who specializes in women’s health, infertility, and autoimmunity. Her first book, The Everything Guide to Hashimoto’s, releases Oct 2016.