Homemade Bouillon Recipe

You can absolutely make homemade bouillon. Use it in all sorts of soups, stews, and noodle bowls. It's so much better than any canned broth I've tasted.

Homemade Bouillon

You can absolutely make homemade bouillon. And I know you can thanks to Pam Corbin. Pam wrote the lovely River Cottage Preserves Handbook.* In the very back of this exquisite little book, long past the rhubarb relish, and well beyond the piccalilli and winter fruit compote, she proposes a simple idea: make your own bouillon. I'm not sure why this never occurred to me, but until I reached page 207, it hadn't. She outlines a list of ingredients that are pureed into a concentrated paste of vegetables and herbs, preserved with salt. I've been cooking with a version of it all week, and it is infinitely better than any canned vegetable stock I've tasted. And the best part about it? You can build on the general idea and tweak it based on what is in season and my own personal preferences - which is what I did.
Homemade Bouillon

What is Bouillon?

Technically, a bouillon cube is a dehydrated cube or powder used to create an instant vegetable stock. Pam calls her version "souper mix"....but you use it in a way similar to bouillon cubes. It is used to make quick, flavorful broth. For example, when cooking soups, risottos, curries, whatever really. Homemade Bouillon

A Few Tips

The main thing? Keep in mind bouillon is quite salty and very concentrated. I mention in the recipe I've been using 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of water/liquid to start. You can adjust from there based on what you're making and personal preference. And as far as variations go, this first batch was made primarily with ingredients from my refrigerator, but I'm really excited to try other versions using different herbs and ratios of the base ingredients. In fact, if you have any suggestions or ideas give a shout in the comments - I'd love to hear them!

More Bouillon Variations

A number of your variations caught my attention, so I thought I'd highlight a couple here. Love these!

  • Karen "tried a variation with local ingredients: carrot, long onion (like a leek), daikon radish, japanese wild parsley, salt, and 7 pepper blend. added a bit of soy sauce for more salt and flavor, too. then i used it to make red lentil soup. WOW! the soup never tasted so good!!!"
  • Dominican Foodie liked the texture of the version she made noting, "I made a couple of changes to your recipe. I doubled the ingredients (except salt and tomatoes) Added extra garlic and white onions, juiced the first half (set aside), tossed the second half in olive oil and roasted for two hours, then tossed everything into a large deep pot, added bay leaves and simmered until liquid was reduced by half. Took out bay leaves, stuck an immersion blender in the pot and smoothed everything out into a paste. Perfection!"

*The U.S. edition of the River Cottage Preserves Handbook is now available.

There is a whole directory of great soup recipes where you can put your bouillon to use!

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Homemade Bouillon

4.35 from 20 votes

This recipe requires a food processor. I have a 8-cup / 2 liter / 2 quart model, and needed every cubic inch of it. I found the best approach if you are tight for space in your food processor is to add a few of the ingredients, then pulse a few times. The ingredients collapse and free up more space for the next few ingredients. If you don't find yourself using much bouillon, I will suggest making a half batch of this. And for those of you wanting to do a version with no salt, freeze the pureed vegetables in small amounts - say, ice cube trays, just after pureeing them. Introduce salt in whatever amount you like later in the cooking process.

Ingredients
  • 5 ounces / 150 g leeks, sliced and well-washed
  • 7 ounces / 200g fennel bulb, chopped
  • 7 ounces / 200g carrot, well scrubbed and chopped
  • 3.5 ounces / 100 g celery
  • 3.5 ounces / 100g celery root (celeriac), peeled and chopped
  • 1 ounce / 30g sun-dried tomatoes
  • 3.5 ounces / 100g shallots, peeled
  • 3 medium garlic cloves
  • 9 ounces / 250g fine grain sea salt
  • 1.5 ounces / 40 g flat-leaf parsley, loosely chopped
  • 2 ounces / 60g cilantro (coriander), loosely chopped
Instructions
  1. Place the first four ingredients in your food processor and pulse about twenty times. Add the next four ingredients, and pulse again. Add the salt, pulse some more. Then add the parsley and cilantro. You may need to scoop some of the chopped vegetables on top of the herbs, so they get chopped. Mine tended to want to stay on top of everything else, initially escaping the blades.
  2. You should end up with a moist, loose paste of sorts. Keep 1/4th of it in a jar in the refrigerator for easy access in the coming days, and freeze the remaining 3/4 for use in the next month. Because of all the salt it barely solidifies making it easy to spoon directly from the freezer into the pot before boiling.
  3. Start by using 1 teaspoon of bouillon per 1 cup (250 ml), and adjust from there based on your personal preference.
Notes

Makes roughly 3 1/2 cups.

Inspired by The River Cottage Preserves Handbook by Pam Corbin. The U.S. edition of the River Cottage Preserves Handbook will be available this summer.

Serves
200
Prep Time
30 mins
Total Time
30 mins
 
If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

Wow is it really 9 oz salt?! I used 6 and I can’t use it. I made the rustic cabbage soup and my entire body puckered! Maybe I used too much (3 tablespoons)?

Shayna99

    Hi Shayna - it's definitely the strong stuff! So yeah, next time start gradually and keep adding to your liking. you might prefer the homemade bouillon powder better, you can adjust the salt level to your liking go from there in powder form.

    Heidi Swanson

I do frequently make my own stock (as we call bouillon in the UK), but it had never occurred to me to make my own stock powder. I must try this - I have all the requisite ingredients except nutritional yeast, and that is not hard to come by! I use coconut powder quite often, as, with just the two of us at home, a tin makes too much, and I have no idea how to keep half a tin (will it freeze?). A spoonful of coconut milk powder added to a curry does take things to the next level, though.

Annabel Smyth

What a great idea! I have to eat only freshly prepared foods, unless they are immediately popped in the freezer. I'll be making some soon. I may blanch the vegetables before chopping, to allow for longer term storage.

Liz Hart

Hello! I know you have a bouillon powder, but is it possible to dehydrate, or possibly freeze dry (?), this and grind it in a spice mill to make it a powder? Thanks so much!

Amy

Hello! Coming back to this recipe after years of making it, just to thank you and to report my experience. I make this every summer, a double batch, after reveling in the farmers' market and finding all the lovely ingredients. I do as you suggested - put it in jars (I use the tall, straight-sided, 24 oz kind) and keep in in the freezer - it is better than any broth, anytime. It takes about 30 mins, once a year - DO IT! :))) Thanks, Heidi!

Erin

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