Make your very own homemade bouillon cubes following this simple recipe. Made with the leftovers of your homemade stock or broth, these healthy bouillon cubes are budget-friendly and add an incredible layer of flavor to soups, casseroles, stir fry, gravies, even sides like mashed potatoes! Goodbye, store-bought yucky squares!
Making homemade bouillon cubes is possible!
Homemade bouillon cubes are simple to make, especially if you’re already used to making homemade broth or stock. Such a relief not to have to buy those who-knows-what’s-in-there store bought bouillon cubes anymore.
I don’t know about you, but I always felt a little icky when I made a recipe calling for bouillon cubes. It was a “mystery ingredient” to me – I didn’t feel good about what was in it, but I didn’t think it was possible to make myself.
Even though I felt iffy about using store-bought bouillon cubes, there were so many recipes I loved that needed them and I didn’t want to give those recipes up.
Thankfully, my husband (a.k.a. the Soup King) figured out a simple and delicious process for making our own. First, the run-down on why you want to make a store-bought bouillon cube substitute in the first place.
What are bouillon cubes made out of? Are bouillon cubes healthy?
Do you know what’s in those store-bought cubes? Sure, they taste great, but sadly they have some seriously yucky ingredients. Here are the ingredients from a popular brand chicken bouillon cube:
Salt, monosodium glutamate, hydrogenated cottonseed oil, chicken fat, hydrolyzed soy/corn protein, dehydrated mechanically separated cooked chicken, dehydrated chicken meat, dehydrated chicken broth, autolyzed yeast extract, dehydrated onions & parsley, lactose, water, colour, spices & spice extract, disodium guanylate, disodium inosinate, citric acid, tartaric acid, hydrogenated soybean oil and sulphites.(source)
There are several questionable ingredients listed here, but the most alarming one to me is that monosodium glutamate (MSG) is the #2 ingredient!
That means a huge percentage of these cubes is made up of MSG, which is a known excitotoxin (it overstimulates the nervous system and causes an inflammatory response). In sensitive people, it causes symptoms like muscle tightness, headaches, fatigue, flushing and more. But even if you’re not sensitive, it can cause issues down the line:
With time, these repetitive inflammatory responses cause our nerves to start producing more and more nerve cells that are sensitive to this kind of stimulation. The more overly-sensitive nerve cells we have, the stronger our immediate response to MSG will be.Food Renegade, MSG is Dangerous – the Science is In
I don’t know about you, but I’d rather eat ingredients I can pronounce that are actually good for my body.
Homemade Bouillon Cube Ingredients
In contrast to store-bought cubes, these homemade bouillon cubes are healthy as can be! Not only are they free from toxic ingredients, they are filled with nourishing ones.
The only ingredients are veggies, garlic, salt, and bits of chicken meat. Puree it all with an immersion blender, freeze into cubes, and you’re done!
How to Make Bouillon Cubes From Scratch
Here’s the step-by-step process for making your own bouillon cubes! You are essentially making a large batch of chicken stock with veggies, and instead of discarding the solids, using them instead.
Step 1: Make Homemade Stock
First, make homemade chicken or beef stock as usual. Add your whole chicken (or just the bones and veggies), cover with water and simmer.
Homemade stock ingredients:
- 1 whole chicken (or a chicken carcass/beef bones)
- 2-3 onions (wash them, don’t peel the dry outer layer off – it adds flavor and color)
- 3 stalks celery
- 5 large carrots
- 4-6 bulbs of garlic (The whole bulb, not just the clove. This is what gives the amazing flavor.)
- Turmeric (1 Tbsp powdered or 1 knuckle fresh & grated)
- Salt (a tablespoon or so, to draw the marrow out of the bones)
- 1 Tbsp apple cider vinegar (also helps draw nutrients out of bones).
Simmer the broth. Cover the ingredients with pure filtered water and allow to come to a boil. Skim the foam off the top and reduce heat to a simmer. If you are using a whole chicken, remove it after one hour and allow to cool before removing the meat and adding the bones back to the pot.
Save the cooked veggies. Continue to simmer for around 8 hours. Strain, but don’t throw away the veggies. We are going to use them, along with chicken meat, in the next step.
Strain, season, & store. Strain the broth, salt to taste, and pour into mason jars. Set aside one cup of stock to use in making bouillon cubes later. Once cool, freeze the jars for later use in soups, stews, and sauces.
Extra tip: I keep a zip lock bag in the freezer for vegetable scraps when I’m cooking. I’ve used cabbage, broccoli, onions, carrots, even apple scraps. I also add bones and skins from rotisserie chickens, beef, etc. to the bag as I cook throughout the week. Keeping all your scraps reduces waste and makes your end product even better. Once the bag is full, you can add it to the stock.
Step 2: Make the Bouillon Cubes
Save the veggies. After your stock is finished simmering, remove the garlic bulbs, setting them aside to cool. They should still be intact. While you strain the broth, pick out the veggies and add them to a container: carrots, onions, celery, garlic bulbs, plus any loose pieces of chicken.
Now take your cooled garlic bulbs (the KEY to the taste of your boullion cubes) and remove the skin. To do this, squeeze the individual cloves and the garlic will ooze out like butter.
Reserve bits of meat or organ meats too. You can use the liver, kidneys, etc for your cubes. Organ meats are very healthy and add a depth of flavor, bouillon cubes are a great way to re-purpose them. You can make the bouillon cubes with or without muscle/organ meats.
Reserve fat. If you have some leftover fat from your chicken broth that has solidified at the top, (such as schmaltz which is chicken fat), you can add some of this to the bouillon cubes also.
Add all ingredients to a bowl or mason jar. It should be full of yummy goodness with the veggies, chicken bits, and fat. Add salt and a cup of broth. Now blend it up with your immersion blender.
Pour the mixture into your ice cube trays and freeze. Once frozen, place the cubes in a freezer bag and you are done!
To use in your recipes, use one homemade bouillon cube in place of one store bought cube. The homemade cubes are of course larger than store bought cubes, but the flavor is more mild so you can use more. Enjoy your recipes to the fullest, knowing they are made with the freshest and most nutritious ingredients!
Homemade Bouillon Cubes from Stock Leftovers
Homemade boullion cubes made with veggies, garlic, bits of meat, and broth add the perfect flavor to all your favorite recipes! These taste so much better than store-bought, with no artificial ingredients like MSG.
- 1 whole chicken with giblets
- 5 carrots
- 4 stalks celerey
- 2 onions, halved
- 4-6 bulbs garlic
- 1 teaspoon turmeric powder
- 1 Tablespoon apple cider vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon salt (for the stock pot)
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Filtered water, to fill stock pot
- 2 teaspoons salt (for bouillon cubes)
- 1/2 teaspoon sage (for bouillon cubes, optional)
- 1 Tablespoon schmaltz (chicken fat) reserved from broth
- Add the whole chicken including giblets, plus the onions, celery, carrots, garlic, turmeric, apple cider vinegar and one Tablespoon salt and 1 tsp. black pepper to a large stock pot. Cover fully with fresh filtered water.
- Simmer several hours. If using a whole chicken, remove the meat at this point and reserve for later. Save 1/2 cup of the meat for the cubes. Continue simmering broth all day (up to 8 hours), if desired.
- Strain broth and remove bones, reserving all the soft veggies in a large bowl or jar. Add 1/2 cup chicken meat, plus any organ meats such as the chicken giblets to the bowl (if available). Reserve 1 cup of broth for later use.
- Carefully squeeze individual garlic cloves out of the peel and into the bowl. Add ground sage and salt, adjusting if needed. Bouillon should be quite salty to taste (we are using this to add flavor to all our recipes). I have listed 2 teaspoons, but use your personal preference here.
- Add 1 cup of chicken broth and 1 Tablespoon schmaltz to your container of veggies and meat bits. Using an immersion blender, puree everything until smooth.
- Fill ice cube trays with the bouillon puree and freeze. Once frozen, cubes can be stored in a ziplock bag in the freezer. Use one homemade cube to replace one store bought cube in any recipe.
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Serving Size:1 grams
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 70Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 22mgSodium: 52mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 1gSugar: 1gProtein: 7g
Mervova Vladka says
This is excellent idea, I always struggle to have a homemade bouillon at hand and this is genial solution. I just wonder why I didn’t come up with this before?
Hope you enjoy, Mervova! They are yummy!
Quick question how do I make chicken stock powder? Kathryn.
These cubes aren’t powdery, but semisolid and then frozen. I’ve never made powdered bouillon before, but here’s a neat tutorial: https://www.musthikemusteat.com/recipe/homemade-bouillon-powder/
Shannon Leader says
Thank you for the mention, Mary! Your bouillon cubes sound delicious and I love the idea of turmeric!
You are welcome Shannon! Enjoy!
This is the recipe everyone should make for sack of your health; besides the wonderful flavor towards to any of dishes you are creating for yourself, your family, your friends. Just make it and enjoy your meals.
Thank you Jackie, glad you enjoyed it!
How much water do I need to start the stock?
Enough to fill a large pot nearly to the top. I would say around 2 quarts
What a wonderful idea! My husband and I are changing to a plant-based diet and wondered if you had a recipe for veggie bouillon cubes? I know fresh is best in soups and stews but sometimes a bit of bouillon can intensify the flavor of a casserole or other dish.
Keep those delicious recipes coming!
You could definitely make these veggie bouillon cubes instead! Just omit the chicken and make veggie broth, then blend up the veggies and freeze.
I’ve heard that MSG is actually safe to consume, and that it’s shunned by the public due to old racism towards Chinese restaurants back in the day started by a few doctors who claimed to be ill just to harm Chinese owned businesses. This is why many Chinese foods are labelled “No MSG” when they’re sold.
Since MSG is a man-made processed product, I try to steer clear of it as I don’t think it can be beneficial to our health.
Well I personally know that when I eat MSG, I get a horrible headache and can barely keep my head up. It lasts for about 15-30 minutes. It is awful.
IYABODE OMOTOLA-OMOTOSO says
Janet Johnson says
It makes me nuts when people say they are going to make a recipe or that it is in the oven/in the pot and don’t wait until they’ve tried it to leave a comment! Well I haven’t made these, so I’m one of those people now! I was just hunting for a mince and tatties recipe and found yours and can’t wait to make it! I’m USA born, but my father was of Scottish descent, and I am so proud of my heritage.
Someone on my “The Land Called Scotland” group just posted a photo of theirs and I’ve heard about it many times. Your recipe looks just made for me! I’ll probably add a little celery, but carrots and onions (with a little celery) is my favorite vegetable mix, and who doesn’t love tatties! Anyway I refuse to use bouillon cubes due to the terrible ingredients, and I am so excited by this recipe – especially now that it is soup weather here in Georgia.
I try really hard to use mostly real ingredients. I’m going to go explore more on your blog right now! I’ll try to remember to come back and rate these two recipes when I’ve cooked them. Thank you!
Thank you for your awesome comment! I love love love Scottish culture. I hope you enjoy the recipe. And so glad to have you here on the blog!
I was looking for a way to make homemade replacements for dry ranch and Azur gray packets. Also I needed a beef bullion cube , and that’s when I came across you !!! I also needed it to be gluten free for my two Celiac grandchildren. Making Mississippi pot roast and don’t want all the added ingredients 🤐. TY 🥰
That’s awesome Christine! Glad you found this page and hope you enjoy it.
Martha B. says
These are such a wonderful idea and I can’t wait to try them out. I am hoping to get some clarification though. In the post recipe it mentions 1 Tbsp. turmeric and 5 Tbsp. salt, but in the printable recipe it mentions 1 tsp. turmeric and salt to taste. Which one is correct or would you recommend? Thank you!
Thank you, I will work on updating the post. I would do 1 tsp turmeric and salt to taste. Maybe start with 2 tsp and go from there.
Martha B. says
Thank you !
I’ve always wanted a substitute for boullion cubes and this sounds great. I will definitely pin and try this recipe. Thanks for sharing😊
Sounds like you make this regularly so I’d love to know what you’ve settled on for your salt & tumeric measurements. I see that there’s a difference bw the post and the recipe. I know you suggested in another comment to start with 1 tsp tumeric & 2 tsp salt but that seems so different than 1 Tbsp of tumeric & 5(!) Tbsp of salt.
Okay, thanks. I’ve updated the recipe with the right amount. The 5 Tbsp of salt was in reference to the huge stock pot of broth we make first, before blending up the bouillon cubes. Although, that does seem a bit excessive so I revised it.
Thank you for the recipe. I was searching on how to make homemade broth and stumbled across your site. I plan to make it this weekend. It looks easy to make. I plan to read your other ideas too. Have a blessed day. ❤️
Alexandra Betty says
Thank You for the recipe. I searched for chicken bouillon cubes recipe and you appeared on the top. Made it, following your instructions and it’s super delicious. I wish I could share the image here as well!
Aw yay! I’m so glad.
Can use the same basic recipe but use beef bones for beef bullion cubes?
Or do you have a different recipe?
Yes, you can use the same process for beef bouillon cubes!
Excellent Idea. When I make stock, the chickens get the onions, and the dog gets all the other scraps. She will be disappointed next time when I keep them for bouillon! But I’m thinking maybe I will can them in my smallest canning jars. Free up freezer space and make them shelf stable. I will need to figure out how to can it safely though.
Stan Quick says
I make my own bouillon powders and was thinking about how to make cubes. You solved my problem. Due to different tastes and diets, I salt the final product to taste. My kitchen lab is always open so thank you for this.
Hi! Thank you soooo much for to this recipe! I eat a ketogenic diet and went to four stores looking for sugar free bullion cubes and couldn’t find ONE brand. I was very excited finding this recipe and I’m making it today.
I love the idea of making homemade bouillon cubes! On step 2, when do I remove the chicken? Is it after the broth has simmered for several hours and then remove the chicken and simmer for 8 more hours? I just want to be clear on the instructions. I don’t want to mess it up. Thank you so much for this recipe.
Yes, remove the chicken after it has simmered for a couple of hours as it will be fully cooked. Then you can continue to simmer the bones for a richer broth. Hope you enjoy!
Carol L says
Hello. Just found your website and this recipe. I, Too, have not bought bouillon cubes from the store due to their ‘toxic’ ingredients. I am trying to find a good recipe for both the cubes and the powder. This looks like a great one for the cubes, even though it requires freezing …(trying to lessen the freezer load so things won’t get ruined next power outage!)
A couple of comments and a question:
Have you ever tried freeze-drying this to make it shelf stable? I know, Freeze-dryers are EXPENSIVE! But, as mentioned I’m trying to find ways to not use the freezer for all of my long term storage. I will be canning lots of meat, but thought that if I freeze dried some, I could then powder it and add to my herbs/spices and make bouillon cubes or powder. I am on the verge of buying a freeze dryer.
My next comment is for the ingredients: are you aware that for turmeric to become viable for the body to use it, it must be paired with both pepper and a fat (the fat is covered in the recipe). So you REALLY need to add pepper to the ingredients in order for the turmeric to make a difference health wise.
And finally: regarding the comment about MSG: I don’t know about the comment regarding it’s bad rep., but some people are HIGHLY sensitive to it and it can make consuming it extremely painful with bad headaches etc.. I avoid all commercial MSG, and try to eat as cleanly as possible.
THANK you for this great recipe. I will be trying it next time I make my Bone Broth (ps: the ACV is not really optional if you want the bones to extract their goodness). And please use a raw unfiltered one with the “mother” as it has all of the good qualities still in it whereas pasteurized ones are pretty much ‘dead’.
** I left this comment several days ago…hope it gets posted this time.
Great thoughts Carol! Thanks for sharing!