What can I use instead of bouillon cubes? The best substitutes for bouillon cubes are stock powder, au jus mix, fresh stock, consommé, and broth. Use brown gravy mix, Worcestershire sauce, or Marmite as a flavoring substitute.
Bouillon cubes consist of dehydrated chicken, beef, or vegetable consommé, including stock, herbs, seasoning, and vegetables. Adding a bouillon cube quickly boosts a dish’s savory flavor. Rehydrated bouillon conveniently functions as a stock, sauce, stew, or soup base. Use good-quality bouillon cubes to avoid an unappetizing saltiness.
Here are the eight best substitutes for bouillon cubes.
The Best Bouillon Cubes Substitutes
The most convenient substitute for bouillon cubes is stock granules, cubes, or powder.
Dehydrated chicken, beef, fish, or vegetable stock is a powdered seasoning you can use instead of taking hours to simmer meat and vegetables to create stock. Stock forms the base of many other dishes, such as soup or stews.
The high-quality stock powder is rich in meat or vegetable extract, while cheaper varieties are artificially flavored and heavily salted.
Add the stock powder directly to a dish or rehydrate it as a bouillon replacement in gravy, soup, pasta sauce, or a casserole.
Use stock powder in equal quantities to bouillon cubes. Be careful using stock powder. This ingredient has a one-dimensional flavor, less developed than bouillon cubes.
Add onion, garlic powder, herbs, and seasoning to create a more complex flavor profile.
Au Jus Mix
Au jus mix can be a convenient substitute for bouillon cubes.
Au jus (French for with juice) refers to that tasty dipping sauce served with meaty sandwiches. You can make it by deglazing the drippings from a roast pan with broth, then straining and serving.
However, an easier way to make au jus is to rehydrate an instant au jus mix. This product contains beef stock, onion, garlic, and other seasonings.
Use rehydrated au jus instead of bouillon cubes when making gravy, sauces, or dips. It also makes a delicious base for meat dishes like bolognese and cottage pie.
Make up similar quantities of au jus as bouillon and use it the same way. However, au jus mix does contain a thickener (which bouillon does not), so keep an eye on the consistency.
Another delicious alternative to a bouillon cube is fresh stock.
Stock is a mild, lightly seasoned liquid used as an ingredient in other recipes. Stock enhances and enriches the dish, developing flavor as it cooks.
To make stock, cook beef, veal, chicken, or fish bones for 30 minutes. Add chopped onions, carrots, celery, fresh herbs, and water. Simmer the stock for up to eight hours and strain through cheesecloth before use.
Stock requires bones as an ingredient because the collagen released gives the stock an unctuous quality – well-made stock is gelatinous and sets when cool. (Vegetable stock, of course, does not contain collagen.)
You can buy fresh stock and liquid stock at most supermarkets.
Use fresh stock instead of a rehydrated bouillon cube to deglaze pans, make sauces and gravy, or as a liquid for soups, casseroles, and chili.
Replace rehydrated bouillon with equal volumes of fresh stock.
Mushroom stock is an excellent vegan substitute for bouillon cubes.
To make mushroom stock, simmer shitake or portobello mushrooms in water for about an hour. Strain the liquid. You will have an intensely fragrant, concentrated mushroom stock.
Use mushroom stock instead of rehydrated bouillon cubes as a consommé, a base for dumplings or noodle soup, or to make a hearty sauce or stew.
Replace bouillon with mushroom stock 1:1. However, the mushroom flavor of the stock is intense and noticeable, which may not suit every palate.
Consommé is an ideal substitute for bouillon cubes.
Many ordinary cooks do not distinguish between consommé and stock; however, consommé refers to clarified or clear stock, often eaten as a soup.
To make consommé, cook chicken, beef, vegetables, or a combination of the three in stock. However, you will use no bones, skin, or fat.
To purify the consommé, add egg whites to the mixture. The egg whites remove fats and other sediments while the liquid simmers.
You can then remove the egg foam by straining it through cheesecloth. You will be left with an intensely flavored, transparent liquid.
Use consommé as an appetizer, dipping sauce, or a rich-tasting ingredient for aspic, noodles, or dumpling soup, instead of rehydrated bouillon cubes.
Bouillon cubes are dehydrated consommé so you can use this liquid in the same way and the exact quantities.
The broth is a handy alternative to bouillon cubes.
The broth is similar to stock and consommé but cooks for a shorter time. The liquid has a fresh, wholesome flavor, with more depth than a stock and more fat than a consommé.
To make broth, cook down boneless and skinless chicken, fish, or meat with seasoning, chopped onions, celery, carrots, and leeks for an hour. Skim the foam from the top as the broth cooks. Strain the liquid before using.
However, you can purchase ready-made broth at many grocery stores, usually in the refrigerated section.
Eat broth as a simple, nourishing soup with dumplings, or use it instead of rehydrated bouillon cubes in soup, casseroles, and stews.
Broth can replace bouillon cubes in similar quantities, but note that broth may not have the intensity of flavor and clarity of liquid as bouillon or consommé.
Brown Gravy Mix
Brown gravy mix is a helpful substitute for bouillon cubes.
That store-cupboard favorite, brown gravy mix, is a dehydrated gravy powder, which you rehydrate for an instant savory sauce.
This thick, hearty gravy can be drizzled or poured over meat, veggies, potatoes, and rice.
Gravy mix is not a perfect replacement for bouillon cubes, as it does not have the same consistency or flavor profile. It is not suitable as a soup base.
However, if you need to pep up a savory sauce, thicken a pie filling, or brown a ragout, use a couple of teaspoons of gravy mix instead of a bouillon cube.
Although hard to pronounce, Worcestershire sauce is a flavorsome replacement for bouillon cubes.
The English love this famous sauce, using it as a multipurpose condiment that adds zest to eggs, pies, stew, or fries.
The deep umami flavor of Worcestershire sauce comes from its unusual ingredients, which include anchovies, vinegar, fermented molasses, seasoning, and spices.
Although this black, tangy sauce can’t make up the liquid in a soup like a rehydrated bouillon cube, it can add an intense punch of flavor.
Use Worcestershire sauce instead of a dry bouillon cube to season BBQ sauces, gravies, stews, and casseroles.
You will need only 1 tablespoon of Worcestershire sauce to add the same amount of flavor as 1 cup of rehydrated bouillon.
Marmite Or Vegemite
Another English alternative to bouillon cubes is Marmite.
Marmite (or Vegemite in Australia) is a black, sticky yeast extract used primarily as a spread for toast. It has a strong umami taste and is extremely rich in vitamin B.
Adding Marmite to savory dishes gives a flavor kick – it’s excellent in gravy, sauces, and stews. Take care, as Marmite is potent and can easily overwhelm other flavors.
If you need liquid, replace 1 cup of rehydrated bouillon with 1 teaspoon of Marmite dissolved in a cup of boiling water. For flavor only, put 1 teaspoon of Marmite directly in the dish.