The Best Chicken Bouillon

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It’s almost soup season! (That’s what I keep telling myself as I’m all but melting in the late summer angst of the Midwest.) A good soup needs the best chicken bouillon, and that’s going to lead you down the stock and bouillon aisle. There you’ll be met with chicken stock in cartons, cubes, powders, and gels. It can quickly become overwhelming.

Thankfully, I’ve personally tried and tested over a dozen different chicken bouillon options and narrowed down the best bouillons for you. So whether you’re making a chicken chowder in your Dutch oven or planning a slow cooker chicken tortilla soup, I’ve got you covered.

Best Chicken Bouillon

The best chicken bouillon for your recipe will depend on your personal priorities and preferences.

BouillonTypePrice Per Cup of BouillonSodium Free OptionGluten Free
Knorr GranulatedGranulated$0.25AvailableNo
WylersCubes$0.44NoNo
Better Than BouillonPaste$0.23Reduced SodiumYes
Knorr Zero SaltGranulated$0.17YesNo
Herb-OxGranulated$0.23YesYes
*Please note prices may vary. These numbers are based on current prices.

What is Chicken Bouillon?

Chicken bouillon is a pantry staple used as a broth and stock substitute or to add flavor and depth to soups, sauces, pasta, and other dishes. It is essentially dehydrated concentrated chicken stock with added seasonings and such.

Chicken bouillon typically contains salt, dehydrated chicken meat or extract, flavor enhancers (sometimes MSG), vegetable extracts, and various spices like parsley and turmeric.

It’s important to note that some bouillon products can be high in sodium, if that’s a concern for you, consider opting for low-sodium or sodium-free versions. 

My earliest experience with chicken bouillon was the little Wyler’s jar of shiny gold foil-wrapped cubes, which my five-year-old self was sure meant candy. 

You can imagine the shock and disappointment of unwrapping that shiny foil and, without hesitation, popping an entire cube into my mouth and being met with the flavor of *CHICKEN* rather than the sweet sugary goodness I was anticipating.

It is locked in as a core memory, and is likely where my trust issues originate. 

Anyhoo, today chicken bouillon comes in powders, pastes, and gels – along with those classic cubes, and each type has its own pros and cons. Let’s get into it (yuh).

The Best Chicken Bouillon Powder

Knorr Granulated Chicken Bouillon is the leading powdered bouillon option, and for good reason. Knorr is a well-known option for elevating flavors in a variety of dishes. With its widespread availability and reputation for good taste, this bouillon is a convenient way to infuse your meals with rich flavors.

Pros:

  • It’s extremely convenient and dissolves quickly in hot liquids, making it easy to add a boost of flavor to any recipe.
  • Powder has a longer shelf life and is space-efficient, making it a practical choice for storage.
  • It’s also available in a 7.9 lb tub that’s nearly as big as my head. 
  • Powder allows for accurate portion control, preventing over-seasoning.
  • A small amount of powder can go a long way, it’s a good value for the flavor it adds.

Cons:

  • Some powders may contain artificial additives, flavors, and colors, which might not align with certain dietary preferences.
  • Like other bouillons, it might lack the nutritional benefits of homemade chicken stock.
  • Some powders might contain monosodium glutamate (MSG), which can cause sensitivities or allergies in some individuals.
  • The use of powder means you could accidentally over-season a dish, especially if you are measuring with your heart, (ask me how I know).

Personal Review:

Powdered chicken bouillon has been my preferred choice for adding a little razzle-dazzle to a rice dish or leveling up the flavor in a soup for years. I can give the container a little shake and chicken powder sprinkles out just like any other spice. This brand is easy to find in most stores and is consistently high quality. 

A product images of Knorr chicken bouillon on a backlit neutral background.

Rating: 9/10 for flavor, convenience, and the fact that I can buy it in a giant tub.

The Best Chicken Bouillon Cubes

This is it, the infamous cube that made me who I am today. Wyler’s Instant Bouillon Chicken Flavored Cubes were my first introduction to chicken bouillon, the small jar of cubes goes a long way and won’t take up much room in a pantry. Wyler’s has a great flavor but does contain additives and MSG which may be deal breakers for some people. 

Pros:

  • Convenience: Bouillon cubes are incredibly convenient. They’re compact and have a long shelf life, making them readily available for quick flavoring.
  • Storage: Bouillon cubes take up less space compared to liquid stock, making them easier to store.
  • Portion Control: The cubes are pre-measured, which helps maintain consistent flavor and prevents over-seasoning.

Cons:

  • Additives: This brand does contain artificial flavors, colors, and preservatives, which might not align with personal preferences.
  • MSG: This brand also contains monosodium glutamate (MSG), which can trigger sensitivity or allergies in some individuals.
  • Limited Control: Using cubes means less control over the specific ingredients and flavors compared to making homemade stock.

Personal Review:

While Wyler’s was my go-to bouillon for years, I’ve since moved on to powdered versions simply because I don’t like unwrapping the cubes. If you prefer the built-in portioning and don’t mind unwrapping a few cubes while making a meal this is a great option. It lasts a long time, isn’t a space-hog, and has a solid flavor. 

Rating: 8/10 for flavor and convenience 0/10 for looking like a sweet treat to an unsupervised child (just kidding).

The Best Chicken Bouillon Gel / Paste

Better Than Bouillon Premium Roasted Chicken Base is both delicious and nutritious. This bouillon is made with roasted chicken as the first ingredient, making its flavor profile robust and more intense than other options.

Pros:

  • The base provides a robust flavor that is unmatched by other bouillon types.
  • The jarred base has a longer shelf life compared to liquid chicken broth and won’t take up much room in the pantry or fridge.
  • Using only what’s needed reduces excess packaging and food waste.
  • They also carry a low sodium option with 50% less sodium

Cons:

  • The base may contain additives, preservatives, artificial flavors, and MSG, which might not align with your dietary preferences.
  • BTB can be more expensive upfront compared to cubes or powder.

Personal Review:

I just recently tried Better Than Bouillon (for this article!) and I have fallen in love! This is the closest flavor to a genuine chicken broth out of all the bouillons I’ve tried and using the product is simple and easy. I like that I can keep a jar in my refrigerator to add a smidge of flavor to dinners. Or scoop a few spoonfuls into a pot of boiling water for instant chicken broth. 

A product image of Better Than Bouillon Roasted Chicken Base. The jar sits on a neutral granite countertop.

Rating: 9.5/10 only because the uncooked gel texture is weird to my sensory issue self.

The Best Sodium Free Chicken Bouillon

Knorr Zero Salt Powder Bouillon is a well-known brand that has newly released a zero salt version of their popular granulated bouillons. The packaging promises no artificial flavors or preservatives. 

Pros:

  • Strong flavor, even with no salt.
  • Just like other granulated bouillons, the powder works well in many recipes.
  • Knorr products are readily accessible in many grocery stores, making it easy to find.

Cons:

Personal Review:

I tried Knorr Zero Salt bouillon for the first time while researching products for this piece and I truly enjoyed it. I love flavorful food and was a little concerned about how much impact this bouillon could offer without salt – but I was pleasantly surprised.

The granules dissolved quickly in both boiling water and in the chicken pot pie base I made. Overall, this is a great option for those watching their sodium.

Rating: 9/10 No complaints, but not my absolute favorite option.

A close up product image of Knorr Zero Salt chicken bouillon powder. The jar is in front of a neutral background.

The Best Gluten Free Chicken Bouillon

Herb-Ox Granulated Sodium-Free Chicken Bouillon checks all my boxes for the best gluten-free option. Herb-Ox is a popular choice for people looking for a flavorful gluten-free option. With its reputation for quality, this bouillon promises to add depth to your dishes while accommodating dietary preferences, and I think it delivers.

Pros:

  • This bouillon is Gluten-Free, MSG-Free, and Fat-Free.
  • The bouillon packets dissolve quickly in hot water, requiring minimal supervision.
  • The individually wrapped bouillon packets are easy to store and use, preventing clumping or early spoilage.
  • Herb-Ox bouillon is advertised as free from artificial preservatives

Cons:

  • Ingredients: While Herb-Ox aims to offer natural ingredients, it’s important to review the specific ingredient list to ensure it aligns with your dietary preferences.

Personal Review:

Having tried Herb-Ox chicken bouillon, I think it is a kitchen staple for anyone avoiding sodium or gluten. It is easy to use, and the bouillon dissolved effortlessly in hot water. 

While I’m not a gluten-free girly, I appreciated the gluten-free option, as it allowed me to create dishes that gluten-sensitive friends can enjoy. Overall, Herb-Ox proves to be a reliable go-to for enhancing the taste of various recipes while offering gluten-free convenience.

A close up product image of Herb ox Chicken bouillon. The green box sits on a black and white countertop with one bouillon packet leaning up against the right side.

Rating: 9/10 for sodium-and-gluten-free but not flavor-free options!

What Is The Best Tasting Chicken Bouillon?

The best-tasting chicken bouillon is subjective and will vary based on individual preferences. 

From testing out the bouillons for this article, and judging on taste alone, my personal winner would be the Better Than Bouillon brand. The richness of the flavor is just on a whole different level than the other options. 

It’s important to remember that taste is personal, and what might be the best-tasting option for me might not be the same for you. I encourage you to try out a few brands to see what works best for you. 

A jar or better than bouillon with a doodle of a pink crown above it.

Tips for Buying Chicken Bouillon

Consider use: Think about what you will mostly use the bouillon for. Do you want to add a bit of chicken vibes to sauteed veggies or rice dishes or do you want to make broth conveniently? 

Check ingredients: Check that the bouillon is made with ingredients that align with your preferences and dietary needs. 

Read reviews: Done! Reading reviews like this one and even bulk reviews on shopping sites can give you a better understanding of the specific product.  

Compare pricing: Girlies on a budget know that buying in bulk can often save substantial money. And bouillon is a perfect item to stock up on. 

The best chicken bouillon options sit on a neutral kitchen countertop. The brands include Better Than Bouillon, Knorr, Wyler's, and Herb Ox.

What Is The Difference Between Chicken Stock And Chicken Bouillon?

Chicken stock and chicken bouillon are two similar flavor-enhancing ingredients used in cooking, but they have distinctive differences.

Chicken stock is a liquid created by simmering chicken bones, meat, vegetables, and spices in water for hours. The slow and prolonged cooking extracts flavors, nutrients, and gelatin from the ingredients, creating a deep and savory taste along with nutritional benefits. Because of its intensive and long cooking process, homemade chicken stock is not a convenient option. 

Chicken bouillon, on the other hand, is a concentrated flavoring agent made from chicken stock that has been processed into a condensed form. Bouillon is a convenient option for adding flavor to recipes when time is limited. However, because of its concentrated nature, bouillon might lack the complexity and depth of homemade chicken stock.

A can of Swanson chicken broth sits beside a jar of better than bouillon chicken base in front of a white fan tiled backsplash. with gray grout.

Is Chicken Bouillon The Same As Chicken Broth? 

No, chicken bouillon and chicken broth are not the same, although they are similar and both are used to add flavor to dishes. 

As I mentioned earlier, chicken bouillon is a concentrated flavoring that requires dilution to create a broth, offering intense chicken flavor but potentially lacking depth. Chicken broth is a liquid made from simmering chicken and vegetables, providing a milder taste and serving as a versatile cooking liquid.

Is Chicken Stock Or Bouillon Better?

Whether chicken stock or bouillon is better depends mostly on your specific needs and preferences in the kitchen:

The chicken stock offers a robust and authentic flavor obtained through the slow simmering of bones, meat, and vegetables. It boasts nutritional benefits and allows for customization, enabling you to tailor the taste to your liking. However, creating chicken stock from scratch demands effort and time, as it involves moderate prep work and hours of simmering.

On the other hand, chicken bouillon is all about convenience. It dissolves quickly in hot water, granting instant flavor to your dishes. Bouillon has a longer shelf life compared to homemade stock and takes up much less space

The downside to bouillon products is that they can be high in sodium and may include additives or preservatives. The flavor might also lack the natural nuances found in homemade stock.

Chicken stock shines when deep flavor and nutritional value matter, while bouillon is a time-saving solution for swift flavoring.

A product image of a jar of Wylers Chicken Bouillon Cubes sitting on a wood cutting board with three golf foil wrapped cubes sitting in the foreground.

Which Is Better: Bouillon Cubes Or Powder?

The choice between bouillon cubes and powder again depends on your preferences. Both options have their own advantages and considerations.

Bouillon Cubes are pre-measured, which helps ensure consistent flavor, avoid over-seasoning, and appropriate portioning when making broth. However, this also makes adding just a pinch of flavor to a dish impossible if you want less than a cube’s worth of flavor. 

Bouillon powder can be easily mixed into dishes, offering a versatile way to add flavor. The loose granules need to be measured carefully (either with measuring spoons or your heart) to prevent overdoing it. 

Ultimately, both bouillon cubes and powder can be good options depending on your needs.

A wood cutting board features four gold foil Wyler's bouillon cubes and three herb ox bouillon packets side by side.

What Is The Healthier Option For Chicken Bouillon?

The best substitute for bouillon cubes or powders is definitely chicken broth. If you don’t have time to simmer a pot for hours, reach for store-bought cartons of cans. Look for options with few ingredients and lower sodium options for the most health benefits. 

If you’re looking for the healthiest chicken bouillon I would recommend Knorr Selects Granulated Chicken Flavor Bouillon which promises it’s made without added MSG, artificial flavors, artificial colors or artificial preservatives. In my personal experience, it can be difficult to find sometimes. 

How To Make Chicken Broth With Bouillon

Making chicken broth with bouillon is simple and easy! First, check your recipe for how much broth is called for. Then check the bouillon packaging for the cubes or powder-to-water measurements. 

  1. Boil Water: In a pot, bring the water to a boil. The amount of water you use will determine the total amount of broth you’ll have.
  2. Add Bouillon: Once the water is steadily boiling, add your bouillon cubes or the recommended amount of bouillon powder based on the package instructions. The ratio will vary depending on the brand and type of bouillon you’re using. 
  3. Stir and Dissolve: Stir the bouillon cubes or powder into the boiling water until they are fully dissolved. 
  4. Simmer: Reduce the heat to a simmer. Let the broth simmer for about 5 minutes.
  5. Use: Your broth is now ready to be used in any recipe that calls for chicken broth.

Remember that bouillon products can vary in saltiness, so it’s a good practice to start with a smaller amount and add more if needed after tasting.

A small stainless steel pot half full of simmering chicken bouillon sits on the black grates of a gas stove.

How Much Chicken Bouillon Per Cup Of Water?

Typically, when working with chicken bouillon, it’s recommended to use around one cube or approximately 1 teaspoon for each cup of water. Keep in mind that the salt and seasoning levels can vary based on the bouillon brand. Checking the bouillon packaging and following instructions is important. 

A display of the various types of chicken bouillon options, including packets, powdered, gel base, and cubes wrapped in gold foil are arranged artistically on a black and white granite countertop.

Is Chicken Bouillon Gluten Free?

Not all chicken bouillon is gluten-free. The gluten-free status depends on the brand and type you’re looking at. Some are gluten-free, while others might contain gluten or be made in places that handle gluten ingredients.

Many companies now provide allergy and gluten info on their packaging. If you’re unsure about a particular chicken bouillon, you can reach out to the company’s customer service or visit their website to find out more about gluten content in their products.

Various chicken bouillon options are positioned together on a pantry shelf.

Is Knorr Chicken Bouillon Real Chicken?

Knorr chicken bouillon typically contains chicken flavor derived from a combination of real chicken, chicken fat, and natural flavors from other poultry and seasonings. However, the exact formulation can vary depending on the specific product and variant you’re looking at. 

Many bouillon products, including those by Knorr, use a combination of chicken meat, chicken stock, and other ingredients to create a concentrated chicken flavor that can be easily dissolved in hot water or added to dishes.

It’s important to note that while these bouillon products contain chicken-derived elements, they are usually processed and concentrated to provide flavor, and they might not have the same nutritional profile or qualities as homemade chicken stock.

Additionally, some bouillon products, like Knorr, may include artificial flavors, preservatives, or other additives to enhance the taste and shelf life.

A jar of Knorr Zero Salt Chicken is tipped over on a wooden cutting board, spilling out bouillon granules.

How to Store Bouillon

You would have to try to let your bouillon expire. Dry granules and cubes can be tucked away in your pantry or a kitchen cabinet perpetually. They are best used within a year and you likely will use it up before it expires. 

Once opened, bases like Better than Bouillon must be refrigerated, but should be safe to use for up to a year. 

Two jars of Better Than Bouillon sit on a glass refrigerator shelf. The left jar is Roasted Chicken Base and the right jar is Roasted Beef Base.

The Best Chicken Bouillon

In the end, the best chicken bouillon will come down to what you personally value in the product. With a wide variety of options available, from cubes to powders and flavorful gels; there’s a chicken bouillon for every kitchen. 

Whether you prioritize flavor, portion control, or specific dietary requirements, the key is to explore different brands yourself to find the perfect combination of taste and convenience.

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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