Kitchn Love Letters

One Jar of This Cult-Favorite Ingredient Is the Equivalent of 38 Cans of Broth

published May 7, 2020
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Credit: Joe Lingeman

Those who are in the know might describe the contents of the above photo as “liquid gold.” For the uninitiated, however, that gloopy-looking paste is Better Than Bouillon, a concentrated flavor base that, when diluted with water, adds broth-y goodness to just about any dish. By no means a new ingredient, this umami-packed flavor enhancer is the product of Southeastern Mills, a fourth-generation family company that dates back to 1941. For years, jars of Better Than Bouillon have been stowed in the fridges of home cooks seeking to add a little more “oomph” to their recipes. And it’s only increasing in popularity now.

Credit: Joe Lingeman

Devotees will tell you the name rings true — the stuff results in a far more complex broth than one made with regular ol’ bouillon cubes, which can yield nothing more than saline solution. (Don’t be fooled, though — these jars have their fair share of sodium in them as well.) To use, dilute a small spoonful of the jar’s contents with water to make specific amounts of stock. To make a recipe that calls for, say, 4 cups of stock, simply mix 4 teaspoons of paste with 4 cups of water.

Buy: Better Than Bouillon, $5.59 at Swanson

While we’ve waxed poetic about this stuff before (we’ve even gone as far as to call it magical!), we couldn’t help but think that there’s no better time than the present to get your hands on a jar, for cost- and space-saving reasons alone. The benefit is listed right on the packaging: One 8-ounce jar is the equivalent of 38 (8-ounce) cans of broth. Do a little more math and you’ll figure that’s the same as 9.5 cartons. As pantry goods like boxes and cans of broth have become harder to find since panic-purchasing set in weeks ago, why not simply get one jar of BTB — and free up your shelves for other essentials?

Kaitlin Garske, Kitchn’s senior social media manager and a Better Than Bouillon diehard, swears by it. “I ALWAYS have Better Than Bullion on hand. It’s so nice to not have to remember to pick up cartons of stock, not to mention the fact that this little jar takes up way less space than cartons. It’s convenient, cheaper than cartons or cans of broth, and makes for one less thing to have to carry home from the grocery store,” she says. And she’s not alone in her devotion.

To say that this ingredient is beloved in the Instant Pot Community Facebook group is a vast understatement. This fanbase of almost 275,000 “Pot Heads,” have dubbed it the “Better Than Bouillon Bandwagon” for a reason. When I reached out to the group for their thoughts on these flavor-packed jars, my inquiry racked up more than 300 comments touting its merits.

IP users love it for far more than its solid flavor-boosting properties: “It’s really handy that it does not take up a bunch of space in my fridge or cabinets like canned or boxed broths would,” says Serene Matheson. And Janaria Martin agrees: “Before, I spent a ton on boxed broths. Now I don’t have to and this jar takes up a lot less space.”

A jar of Better Than Bouillon also will get you a whole lot more mileage than a carton or can of broth, which, from a food waste perspective, is pretty great. “If you buy traditional broth in a carton, you usually have to use it within 5 to 7 days of opening the package. With BTB, there is a lot less waste, because you use it as you need it,” said Keicia Singleton.

We’d say we’re officially on the Better Than Bouillon Bandwagon. What about you?