Broth Concentrates Are the New, Better Bouillon Cubes

published Jan 9, 2015
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(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

A few years ago I snagged some samples of beef broth concentrate at a food trade show, then saw that they had even more flavors like turkey and pho broth last year. I promptly forgot I had them until recently, then decided to give these little liquid packets a try. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with the results and now make sure they’re stocked in my pantry at all times!

What is broth concentrate?

Broth concentrate is basically stock or broth that’s super-reduced until it’s a small amount of really intense flavor. It’s probably not that different from when I used to reduce my own homemade stock, freeze it and then reconstituted with water when needed. Many companies like Trader Joe’s and Swanson now sell these little packets in addition to the traditional cans and boxes of broth.

To use the concentrate, simply mix a packet into a cup of hot water and it’s ready to be used just like any regular broth or stock.

(Image credit: Christine Gallary)

What does broth concentrate taste like?

While nothing beats the flavor of homemade broth, these packets usually contain chicken or beef stock as the first ingredient (unlike bouillon cubes, which usually list salt as the first ingredient), and usually contain some fat and sugar in addition to salt.

To me, the diluted broth concentrate has a slightly sweeter flavor than the canned or boxed stuff but still has a nice meaty flavor that has worked well in my soups, stews, and braises.

Why buy broth concentrate?

Here are some reasons why you should try broth concentrate:

  1. Convenience. Sometimes it can be a bit annoying to have part of a can or box of broth leftover, unless you buy those 1-cup boxes of broth which can be harder to find. These packets are great when you only need small amounts of broth.
  2. Versatility. Left undiluted, broth concentrate is a bit like a demi-glace (rich meat sauce). Added straight to a sauce, it can contribute a lot of easy, intense flavor.
  3. Small footprint. These packets take up next-to-no room in my pantry, and there aren’t any more cans and boxes to rinse and recycle!

I’ve been happy to see companies now come out with low-sodium versions of the broth concentrate, which are the only ones I buy now. While I won’t stop making my own stock anytime soon, these flavor packets are a great, convenient substitute and I’ve kicked bouillon cubes to the curb.