Bouillon, etc

I whipped up a quick gravy for my turkey sandwich lunch today, with 1 tbsp butter, 2 tsp Wondra flour to make a roux, then 1 cup of water with 1.5 tsp Better Than Bouillon, fines herbes, and black pepper. It worked out very well.

I’m wondering what others use for bouillon. Canned? Knorr cubes? Japanese concentrates for ramen broth? Or, do you shun it completely in favor of homemade stocks?

I seem to recall a minor uproar when a Thomas Keller-level chef admitted to using Knorr cubes.

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I used to use Herb-Ox (and still have some), but after discovering BTB, it would explain why I still have the Herb-Ox in the pantry.

I’ll sometimes make fresh stocks (especially seafood), but for chicken and beef, BTB is pretty darned good.

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For chicken, I always have a few quarts of homemade in the freezer, but will occasionally amp up the flavor with some Better Than Bouillon. The beef version is pretty good, too, but I really prefer the Knorr Concentrated Stock. Hard to find, but I can get it at Win Depot, a resturant supply store.


DH really appreciates a “gravy” with schnitzle, deli-sourced roast chicken, etc. I have used Veal fond gels (hard to source), chicken gels with excellent results, In a crush, I have used Knorr powders. Better, I’ve found, is to reduce canned broth (in absence of homemade), then thicken with water or milk + flour slurry. Fresh ground pepper, and salt to taste. Quite good.

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Sometimes I will add bouillon powder to my batter for fried fish or onion rings (to add a bit of umami).

Will sprinkle some on nuts before roasting them in addition to brown sugar (the combo of sweet-salty is perfect)

Use in caramelized onions (mushroom flavor, not chicken)


I almost exclusively use BTB and have most of the brand’s flavors at home: chicken, beef, veg, roasted garlic, mushroom, lobster. I have yet to use the lobster base, but the roasted garlic & the shroom one combined make a killer base for a non-meat hot pot. There’s an onion base, too, but since I never think of making French onion soup at home I’m not sure how I would use it.


I have BTB in chicken, beef, vegetable, lobster, and mushroom. They work great for a lot of applications. I also like to make my own chicken stock and shrimp stock, when I have time. I have also purchased ready made demi glace from D’Artagnan and More Than Gourmet (also reduced brown stock from this brand). Those are fantastic, but spendy. However, there are times you want that kind of base for your cooking and lack time to do it yourself. I can live with this as a shortcut.


I’d think it would be a challenge to find anything pre-made that’s better or easier that Better Than Bullion. I always have both beef and chicken on hand , but have begun experimenting with other flavors.


For many years I heard people on CH and then HO rave about BTB. So I finally tried the chicken BTB. I was expecting a rich chickeny taste. Instead what I got was basically a chicken cube bouillon flavor. To me it’s Not much better than bouillon.

So I guess I’ll have to be the dissenting opinion on chicken BTB. Maybe the beef or seafood versions are better. And I don’t think that disagreeing about a food product is yucking someone’s yum.

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A variety.

Knorr chicken bouillon powder mostly for asian applications esp where msg would be helpful, but also as a flavor boost in other things.

Indian maggi cubes for a vegetarian flavor boost.

Oxo cubes of various “unusual” (in the US) varieties (lamb, seafood).

Bovril stock concentrate in the squeeze bottle when I can bring in back from Canada (ie when I’m checking a bag, which is rare).

Dashi powder for seafoody things.

I like BTB mushroom for vegetarian applications or when I want meaty flavor without meat (eg for vegetarian french onion soup). I have the roasted chicken version but haven’t had reason to open it yet (see chicken powder above).

I have been eyeing mushroom powder at asian grocery stores for a while now, interested to know if anyone here uses it regularly and for what.


I’ve used TJ’s mushroom powder, although I can’t recall how. I do recall I was glad to have it, perhaps because husband doesn’t like the texture of mushrooms, but I can still have the flavor when called for.

At turkey time I make quarts of turkey stock with roasted turkey legs and thighs.

I use most of it in a one week gravy binge.

I freeze shrimp shellls, and crab shells, etc during Dungeness crab season, and make seafood stock, but just once a year. I use it in gumbo and jambalaya.

I have a seafood base from Penzey’s, but haven’t used it much.

I make and freeze reduced chicken stock in ice cube trays when I accumulate enough raw skin, bones, and trimmings. I use it often for chicken stock, until it’s gone.

I’ve used several Better Than Gourmet products,

…but I didn’t find it better enough to deal with having to order online, or store teeny bits of leftovers.

No label on the individual cups.

I use BTB chicken often ( sometimes with gelatin, sometimes with Wondra!) , when the stock is not the principle ingredient, and beef occasionally. So easy to use, seems to keep forever.

Anyone tried the new ones; adobo, sofrito, etc?


I keep some Better than Bullion and a pack of either Knorr or Maggi cubes for when I need a small amount of broth for a recipe. Easier to store and less wasteful than opening a box of broth/stock that I may not use all of.
I make homemade when I can, and that’s great for soup where it’s a big component of the dish.

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Homemade stock (chicken, beef, pork, and corn); jarred Better Than Bouillon OR Penzeys low-salt soup bases; mushroom/porcini bouillon cubes when I want a concentration for a mushroom sauce. It’s whatever I’ve had time for, the latter two being the easiest/quickest. Homemade requires defrosting and is often not at a depth of flavor that the bouillon or cube bases give.

I have a lot of homemade, but it’s in quart bags frozen. I guess my breakpoint is about 2 cups. If I need 2 cups or more, I’ll thaw one of those (and probably salt & drink remainder).

If I only need a cup or cup and a half, I’m fine using bouillon instead. I have BTB on hand most of the time, but prefer Minors by a bit, maybe only because of long time prior use. So if I stop in somewhere having Minors, I’ll usually grab a tub of beef, chicken, and veggie. Someone here a few months back pointed out that I could get Minors for about the same price on Amazon but I haven’t done that yet.

I do have some of the chicken Knorr rectangles. I got them when my son and I were trying to replicate some goat stew we’d had in a Haitian place in South Florida. He’s a bit of a nerd (wonder where he gets that??) and wanted it as real as possible, and all the recipes we found said to use Knorr, so we did. Not that it would have made any difference in that dish.

There was also a fairly recent thread here on making/using stock that may have some discussion of interest. [Edit - I see that OP/Ernie already knows that other thread but I’ll leave it up in case future readers do not.]

Red wine/onion gravy for bangers & mash!


Homemade all the way, frozen in an assortment of flavors , mostly vegetable, and in various portions.

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I was looking into Japanese soup bases for ramen. The local Japanese products store (Tokyo Fish in Berkeley) has a few, and this one caught my eye because of the ingredients list. I haven’t found one that I like yet.

(All this in about a tablespoon of concentrate)

I like and use BTB a lot, but all versions are too salty for me–I have to be careful not to salt anything else in building a dish. Even then, it can end up plenty salty.

Speaking of BTB, I really liked their clam base for chowders. Sadly, it’s been d/c’d, and the lobster base, while excellent, imparts an oragnge color and just doesn’t taste the same in clam chowder.

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They have several reduced sodium offerings… is that what you are using?

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Yes, that’s what I meant by “all versions”.

I think prepared bouillon could benefit from some method of shelf and reefer preservation other than salt. Irradiation, maybe.