Cooking with chicken bouillon can infuse your meals with unparalleled flavors that are often difficult to recreate with other ingredients. It’s a versatile item that you can find in liquid, paste, or cube form, making it very convenient to use. So, it’s no surprise that it’s a favorite among both home and professional cooks.
Unfortunately, not everyone has access to good quality chicken bouillon, so finding a suitable substitution is often a necessary endeavor. And you’ll be happy to know that there are several alternatives that bring the same flavorful burst to your dishes as chicken bouillon. Check out our list of 7 delicious chicken bouillon substitutes.
1. Chicken Stock
If you want a more nutrient-dense alternative to chicken bouillon, chicken stock is an excellent choice. It’s easy to make at home and is packed with flavor, vitamins, minerals, and protein. Chicken stock can help enhance the flavor of a variety of foods, including sauces, casseroles, soups, and stews, depending on the recipe.
To use chicken stock as a bouillon substitute, simply cook free-range or organic chicken in water and spices for about an hour. It will yield a delicious liquid that can be used to season practically any dish. Depending on the recipe, you may also want to add vegetables, garlic, onions, ginger, and other flavorings. When your stock is ready, use it just like you would use chicken bouillon!
2. Vegetable Stock
Vegetable stock is one of the best ways to enhance the flavors of your favorite dishes while having a healthier alternative to chicken bouillon. It delivers the same flavor profile but with fewer calories and more vitamins and minerals. The uses for vegetable stock are likewise very diverse. It may be used to flavor slow-cooker meals as well as soups, stews, sauces, casseroles, and pot pies.
To make your own vegetable stock at home, start by sautéing some diced onion, carrots, and celery in a pot over medium heat until softened. Add some herbs such as rosemary and thyme along with garlic and mushrooms if desired, then add water and simmer for an hour or two. Once cooked, strain the liquid through a fine mesh sieve and store it in an airtight container until ready to use.
3. Miso Paste
Miso is a great option for a well-balanced diet since it is rich in protein, probiotics, and a range of essential nutrients. Additionally, it gives even the simplest foods an incredible depth of flavor. So, by substituting miso paste for chicken bouillon, you not only enhance the flavor of your favorite recipes, but also reap the nutritious benefits of miso.
Miso paste can be used to marinate meats, season soups, sauces, and broths, and flavor vegetables before roasting. It complements both sweet and savory flavors and may be made into a paste by combining it with a small amount of oil for even distribution.
4. Soy Sauce
Soy sauce is another excellent substitute for chicken bouillon as it can pack a lot of flavors and offers high nutritional value. It is low in calories, containing just 3 calories per teaspoon, and is rich in vitamins and minerals, including iron, zinc, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium, and manganese. Soy sauce adds a burst of umami flavor to dishes.
Use a teaspoon of soy sauce with one cup of water in recipes that call for chicken bouillon. For a dramatic flavor boost, try adding light soy sauce while cooking veggies or stir-fries. And for a rich and savory flavor, use dark soy sauce for marinating meat or making sauces. Soy sauce may also be used to preserve pickled vegetables and add flavor to sauces and salads.
5. White Wine
When it comes to nutritional content, white wine is an excellent substitute for chicken bouillon. Not only is it low in fat and sugar, but it’s also a good source of calcium, iron, and zinc, providing a similar nutritional value as chicken bouillon.
Many recipes can benefit from the flavor-enhancing effects of white wine. Adding a dash of white wine to sautéed veggies can enhance the sweetness of peppers and onions. You can also add some wine to a risotto if you’d like it to have a bit more flavor or use it for cooking chicken. If you want to go one step further, simmer some herbs and spices in white wine until it thickens into a tasty glaze.
6. Beef Broth
If you want a similar flavor as chicken bouillon from a protein source, beef broth can be a perfect replacement. It has a high concentration of amino acids, minerals, and vitamins, which can help build protein and boost the immune system. It’s also low in sugar, salt, and fat, making it an excellent choice for health-conscious cooks.
Beef broth is a flexible ingredient that can be used in a variety of meals. You can have it on its own as an invigorating drink or use it to add complexity and depth to stews, soups, gravies, and sauces. For an easy entrée, combine beef broth with pre-cooked noodles or potatoes and vegetables for a flavorful one-pot meal. If you’re worried about the sodium content, you can purchase low-sodium versions at most grocery stores.
7. Fish Sauce
The flavor of fish sauce is robust, salty, umami, and slightly sweet. As a result, it’s great for flavoring food. Fish sauce is commonly used to enrich the flavor of Asian-inspired meals, including stir-fries, noodle dishes, and curries. It may be used as a salt-free substitute in soup stocks, marinades, and sauces, or it can be used straight in soups, stews, and casseroles.
When substituting fish sauce for chicken bouillon, start with modest quantities and add more as required. For example, instead of the suggested amount of bouillon, start with half a teaspoon of fish sauce per quart of water while preparing soup stock. Taste and then add more until you achieve the right flavor.