The Best Beef Bouillon

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The temperatures have finally dipped into the ‘crisp’ zone and that means two things. One, I’m thriving. And two, it’s time to make all the soups. I’m shortlisting beef stroganoff, slow cooker chili, and pot roast. Crafting those delicious fall favorites requires the best beef bouillon for a robust flavor foundation.

Beef bouillon comes in cubes, powders, gels, and more. There’s low-salt, no-salt, super-salty (just kidding) and a dozen other variations. All the options can quickly become overwhelming – but don’t worry, I’m here to help!

I’ve personally tried out a bunch of beef bouillons to find the best options for all your bouillon needs. So you can save time, grab what you need, and get cooking. Let’s get into it!

What Is The Best Beef Bouillon

The best beef bouillon for your kitchen will definitely depend on your personal taste and what’s important to you; here are my top choices to get you started:

BouillonTypePrice Per Cup of BouillonSodium Free OptionGluten Free
Knorr GranulatedGranulated$0.03AvailableNo
WylersCubes$0.09NoNo
Better Than BouillonPaste$0.22Reduced SodiumYes
Knorr Zero SaltGranulated$0.07YesNo
Herb-OxGranulated$0.20YesYes

*Please note prices may vary. These numbers are based on current prices at the time of writing.

The Best Beef Bouillon Powder

Wyler’s Powdered Beef is a popular powdered bouillon option and for good reason. Wyler’s is a well-known brand who’s been in the bouillon game since the 1930s. When you think of bouillon, a Wyler’s cube is likely what comes to mind, however they make more than just those shiny cubes. With its widespread availability and reputation for good taste, this bouillon is the OG way to infuse your meals with rich beef flavors.

Pros:

  • Convenience: This bouillon powder super convenient. It dissolves quickly in hot liquids, effortlessly infusing your recipes with flavor.
  • Extended Shelf Life: Powdered bouillon boasts an extended shelf life, making it a practical and space-efficient addition to your pantry.

Cons:

  • Nutritional Trade-Off: While convenient, powdered bouillon can’t compete with the nutritional richness of homemade beef stock.
  • Heavy-Handed Warning: Handling powder means you might accidentally add too much, especially if you’re seasoning with your heart (and we all know how that can go).

Personal Review:

Powdered beef bouillon has been my go-to option for boosting the flavor of everything from adding extra flavor to a stir fry to the backbone of hearty soups. A simple shake of the container, and out sprinkles the beefy magic. Wyler’s brand is widely available and consistently delivers quality. Plus, it’s easy to find in most stores and is consistently high quality. 

Close up of a jar of Wyler's Beef Bouillon Powder sitting on a neutral granite countertop.

Rating: 7/10 for mid flavor but great convenience and dependability.

The Best Beef Bouillon Cubes

Knorr Bouillon Beef Flavored Cubes are a kitchen staple for many, providing that quintessential beefy kick to countless recipes. If you don’t mind unwrapping a few cubes when cooking, these are a solid option.

Pros:

  • Reliability: Knorr’s cubes bring a hearty and consistent beef flavor.
  • Convenience: Convenience is where these cubes shine. They’re compact, shelf-stable, and practically eternal, guaranteeing you always have a flavor enhancer on standby.
  • Portioned: The cubes’ pre-measured nature means you’re in control, preventing unintentional over-seasoning mishaps.

Cons:

  • Additives: It’s worth noting that Knorr Beef Bouillon Cubes do contain some additives, including artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives. For those into a more natural and additive-free diet, this might be a drawback.
  • Mid Flavor: While these cubes are dependable, they do lack some of the flavor found in other options. 

Personal Review:

Knorr Beef Bouillon Cubes have held a spot in my kitchen for years. While today they are not my first choice, I would not hesitate to buy and use them for any dish. In fact, I didn’t have to look further than my pantry for a few cubes for this post. The convenience factor is a game-changer – I’m always just a cube away from culinary brilliance.

A package of Knorr beef flavor bouillon sits on a neutral gray countertop surrounded by three silver wrapped cubes.

Rating: 8/10 for flavor and convenience at an affordable price.

The Best Beef Bouillon Gel / Paste

Better Than Bouillon Premium Roasted Beef Base is, as my momma says, delicious and nutritious. And not to spoil the grand reveal, but this bouillon has a phenomenal flavor that the other options just can’t compete with.

Pros:

  • The base has a rich flavor that is unmatched by other bouillon types.
  • The jarred base boasts an extended shelf life when kept refrigerated.
  • Mixing only the amount required minimizes excess packaging and reduces food waste.

Cons:

  • It’s worth noting that this option can come with a higher initial cost when compared to cubes or powders.

Personal Review:

Among all the bouillons I’ve tried, this one comes closest to the authentic flavor of a true beef broth. I also love how easy it is to use, I don’t have to deal with foil or packets or any other packaging, just a jar stashed in my fridge, ready to impart a hint of flavor to my recipes. It’s as easy as scooping a few spoonfulls into a pot of boiling water to conjure up instant beef broth.

An unopened jar of Better than Bouillon Roasted Beef Base sits on a gray granite countertop with a neutral background.

Rating: 9.75/10 only because I think the gel is kind of weird when I overthink about it.

The Best Sodium Free Beef Bouillon

Knorr Zero Salt Powder Bouillon Natural Beef Flavor is a newer option in the bouillon world for those watching their sodium. It’s available in a granular/powder, making it easy to sprinkle some flavor into your favorite recipes.

Pros:

  • This bouillon boasts 0 salt and no artificial flavors or preservatives.
  • It’s packaged in a 100% post-consumer recycled jar, which I think is nice.
  • While this is a new product, I have seen it in several grocery stores and it’s available online. 

Cons:

Personal Review:

I just tried Knorr Zero Salt bouillon while researching for this post and I honestly enjoyed it. I had concerns that without salt, this bouillon would fall short on flavor but I was pleasantly surprised.  I’ve already recommended it to my parents who are watching their sodium.

Knorr zero salt beef bouillon jar sitting on a neutral background.

Rating: 8.5/10 for zero salt but full flavor and sustainable packaging efforts.

The Best Gluten Free Beef Bouillon

Herb-Ox Granulated Sodium-Free Beef Bouillon aligns with the needs of gluten-free girlies while not sacrificing flavor. Whether you’re in search of a sodium-free or gluten-free option, Herb-Ox has earned its reputation for quality. It consistently delivers that extra layer of flavor to your dishes while catering to specific dietary preferences.

Pros:

  • This bouillon boasts a gluten-free, MSG-free, and fat-free status.
  • The packets dissolved quickly, meaning I didn’t have to babysit the broth.
  • The individually wrapped bouillon packets are convenient, and I actually prefer them over the little foil cubes
  • Herb-Ox bouillons are advertised as free from artificial preservatives.

Cons:

  • Availability: Depending on your location, Herb-Ox products may not be as widely available as some other bouillon brands, which could be a downside if you prefer a product that’s easily accessible in your area. I recommend just ordering online and having it shipped right to your kitchen.

Personal Review:

After giving the Herb-Ox beef bouillon a go, I will say that I would definitely buy it again. The easy-to-use packets and punchy flavor were a hit for me. While I may not personally have gluten sensitivities, I found the gluten-free option to be a thoughtful touch. It opens up the options to dishes that my gluten-sensitive friends can savor. 

Herb-ox beef bouillon packaging sitting on a neutral background.

Rating: 8/10 for a flavorful sodium-and-gluten-free option.

What Is The Best Tasting Beef Bouillon?

The best-tasting beef bouillon is going to vary person-by-person, but I’ll give you my personal opinion (on just about anything, I have many hills that I am happy to die on at any time). 

Before testing beef bouillons for this post I thought they were basically all the same. However, the clouds have parted and the bouillon gods have shined the Better Than Bouillon light on me and I will never look back. Better Than Bouillon has a flavor that is unmatched by the other options, and it’s just as convenient. 

For me personally, it’s a clear winner. 

I would tell anyone to try out a few options that seem appealing to them to see what works best for them personally. You may have limited fridge space and need a shelf-sable option, or you might just like the flavor profile of another option. I do think that you couldn’t go wrong starting with the brands listed here, they were clear winners over similar competitors. I plan to use up all the winning bouillons listed here (while a few others were an immediate no).

What Is Beef Bouillon? What Is In Beef Bouillon? 

Beef bouillon is essentially concentrated stock or broth. It’s made from simmering beef, vegetables, and seasonings. It’s most often used to make a quick broth or add flavor to soups, sauces, and such. It’s a pantry staple in many kitchens around the world – including my own.

The History of Bouillon

The history of beef bouillon is intertwined with the ancient practice of making meat-based broths, which dates back to civilizations like the Egyptians and Greeks. In medieval Europe, the refinement of meat stocks, including beef-based ones, became common.

However, the modern convenience of beef bouillon cubes and granules only emerged in the late 19th century, pioneered by companies like Julius Maggi. This innovation made it easier for people to prepare flavorful broths at home. Commercialization followed, with various brands contributing to the widespread use of beef bouillon in diverse recipes. 

Today, beef bouillon remains a kitchen staple, offering a quick and convenient way to infuse dishes with rich beef flavor, reflecting its enduring role in culinary traditions worldwide.

Bouillon Cubes, Powders, Bases, and Concentrates

Bouillon comes in a many options, each offering a concentrated blend of stock and seasonings – and its own pros and cons. 

The most recognizable form is the bouillon cube, known for its compactness, affordability, and long shelf life. Many cubes are hard as a rock, while others come in soft, almost dough-like forms, with a general rule of one cube to one cup of water for one cup of stock.

Bouillon powders come in a granular powdered form, similar to most spices in your cabinet. They offer similar flavors to cubes and are even quicker to dissolve, making them convenient for recipes. You’ll find bouillon powders in jars or packets.

The thick, gritty pastes of bouillon bases offer a less processed taste. These bases are typically sold in tubs or jars and require refrigeration once opened. They provide greater depth of flavor as they aren’t totally dehydrated and control over the strength of the stock.

Finally, bouillon concentrates are smooth and somewhat gelatinous, offering intense flavors. They are often used when a robust and concentrated stock is needed, but they tend to be pricier and can be found in specialized stores. 

A variety of beef bouillons sit on a gray countertop.

What Is The Best Bouillon Brand?

While these brands are the top contenders in my opinion, the best bouillon brand for you will depend on your personal taste, and if you have any dietary considerations. What rocks my world could be totally mid for you. I strongly recommend trying out a few different brands (start with my favorites listed here) to find the one that is a perfect fit for you.

Where To Buy Bouillon In The Grocery Store

Look for the canned and boxed soups aisle and you’ll see them on a shelf nearby. Your store may only have a few options or a whole section with a range in price and quality of bouillon products. Don’t reach just for the cheapest option. Some bouillons are not much more than salt and food coloring, while others are made with love from high-quality ingredients.

How to Store Bouillon

You will probably use up your bouillon before it goes bad. Dry bouillon is best used within a year, but they really don’t go bad if kept in a cool dry place (like a pantry shelf or cabinet). Wet pastes and bases like Better than Bouillon, need to be refrigerated once opened. These products will also keep for about a year if refrigerated. The color may darken slightly over time, but it should still be totally okay to use.

Two jars of better than bouillon sit on a refrigerator shelf.

When to Cook with Bouillon

Bouillon works best as a supporting player in recipes where the sock is not the highlight of the meal. It’s great in recipes like beef stews and pot roasts or to use as a flavor additive (like a spice) in dishes where you want a more punchy robust flavor. 

Do Bouillon Cubes Have MSG?

Some do, while others don’t. Those wanting to avoid MSG can simply check the ingredients label and opt for products that do not list “monosodium glutamate.” It’s worth noting that MSG has gotten a more favorable reputation in recent years. But personal preferences vary, and there’s no harm in avoiding it.

Several packages of beef bouillon sit on a white pantry shelf.

Tips for Finding the Best Packaged Beef Bouillon

Read Reviews: Go ahead and check this one off your list! (Or add it and check it off, no one will know.) Reading reviews and recommendations can lead you to hidden gems and help you avoid disappointments.

Check the Label: Seek out a bouillon created with high-quality ingredients, like real beef and vegetables as first ingredients. Avoid options that sneak in a bunch of artificial stuff, as these can affect both the quality and taste.

Watch the Sodium: Bouillon can be quite salty, which may not work for those with a low-sodium diet. Look for bouillon offerings with a lower sodium profile, or opt for a no-sodium option if it’s available.

Experiment with Brands: Flavor is a personal journey, try out different brands and flavors, and you might just stumble upon the bouillon that becomes your kitchen’s secret weapon.

Stock Up: If you find a packaged beef bouillon that you love and trust, consider buying in bulk or larger quantities when it’s on sale. If you tend to use a lot of bouillon, this can save you money in the long run –  as long as you use it up before it expires.

Is Beef Bouillon The Same As Beef Stock Cubes?

Beef bouillon and beef stock cubes are essentially the same thing. They are often used interchangeably in cooking, and the main difference may be in the terminology used in different regions or by different brands.

Above view of four silver foiled beef bouillon cubes sit arranged nest to three splayed packets of Her ox bouillon on a wood table.

How Much Is 1 Beef Bouillon Cube?

One cube is typically used to make one cup (8 ounces) of beef broth or stock. It is also typically equal to 1 tablespoon of powdered bouillon. Always check your packaging to confirm the correct ratio just in case a brand want’s to get creative.

Is Beef Bouillon Made From Real Beef?

Yes, beef bouillon is typically made from real beef. It is produced by simmering a combination of beef bones, meat, vegetables, and seasonings to extract the rich flavors. The resulting liquid (stock or broth) is concentrated and dehydrated to create bouillon.

While the exact ingredients vary among different brands, the primary source of the beefy flavor in beef bouillon is real beef.

How To Make Beef Broth With Bouillon Cubes

You can easily substitute beef bouillon cubes for beef broth.

  1. Boil one cup of water in a saucepan 
  2. Toss a bouillon cube in the boiling water. 
  3. Reduce the heat to a simmer 
  4. Stir until the bouillon cube is completely dissolved. 

Your bouillon-based beef broth is now ready to be used in your recipe just like regular beef broth.

A stainless steel pot of simmering beef broth sits on a black gas stovetop.

How Many Beef Bouillon Cubes Equal 1 Cup?

Normally, one bouillon cube is used to make one cup (8 ounces) of broth or stock when dissolved in hot water. One cube equals one cup. However, the exact concentration can vary slightly depending on the brand and product. Always double check the instructions when trying out a new type or brand. 

Which Is Better: Beef Broth Or Beef Bouillon?

The choice between beef broth and beef bouillon really hinges on your culinary needs and time constraints. Beef broth offers homemade quality and is perfect for dishes where a nuanced beef flavor is the star of the dish. While beef bouillon is a convenient, flavor-packed option for speedy cooking and intense beefy goodness. Here’s a more detailed breakdown to help you decide:

Beef Broth: Homemade beef broth is a culinary gem known for its rich, homemade flavor. Crafted by simmering beef bones, meat, vegetables, and seasonings, it offers a depth of taste that’s hard to replicate. It’s an excellent choice when time and ingredients allow for this from-scratch approach. 

Homemade beef broth also boasts a higher nutrient content and gives you precise control over the ingredients, allowing you to adjust the salt content to your preference. 

Beef Bouillon: This is the epitome of convenience in a cube or spoonful of flavor in the kitchen. It’s the go-to choice when time is limited or you need to infuse dishes with beef flavor easily. Bouillon products have a long shelf life, making them a pantry staple for many home cooks. 

What sets bouillon apart is its intensity. It can deliver a concentrated and robust beef flavor, making it ideal for recipes where a strong beef taste is desired. Whether you’re whipping up a quick stir-fry or enhancing the savory profile of a sauce, bouillon provides an efficient solution.

A carton of Beef Broth and jar of Beef Bouillon sit together on a wood cutting board in front of a white tile backsplash.

Beef Bouillon Health and Nutrition

When it comes to the health and nutrition of beef bouillon, the specifics can vary among manufacturers. Generally speaking, beef bouillon cubes tend to have a high sodium content, a characteristic shared with many concentrated flavor products. However, in the grand scheme of things, unless you are on a sodium-restricted diet, it’s nothing to stress over. 

Also considering that bouillon is typically dissolved in substantial amounts of water when preparing broths or soups, the sodium concentration is diluted over several servings.

Is Beef Bouillon Gluten-Free?

Not all beef bouillon is inherently gluten-free. Some brands offer gluten-free versions, while others may include gluten-containing ingredients or be produced in facilities that handle gluten. Some packaging will have gluten info front and center like Herb-Ox, while others are more ambiguous. 

The Best Beef Bouillon

In the end, finding the best beef bouillon is a bit like speed dating. It’s all about trying different options and finding what personally clicks with you. With so many options out there, from the classic cubes to convenient powders and flavor-packed gels, there’s a beef bouillon fit for every kitchen style.

About Author

TiaGoodnight

Hey! I'm Tia, and I started this site to bring you the best information on all things kitchen so you can enjoy and elevate your everyday life.

I love trying new techniques and tools, living for the thrill of pulling off a new skill. On weekends you'll find me at the local farmer's markets or hosting friends and family for an evening of yard or card games and delicious food.

If you're looking for honest, real-world advice on all things kitchen and cooking, you're in the right place!

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