Homemade Bouillon

Homemade Bouillon Recipe

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!

Homemade Bouillon

4 from 2 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

  • Fantastic! I'm off to the farmers market to get the ingredients right now. Thanks for all the great food ideas, Heidi.

    Barbara
  • Really like the recipe - I make homemade broth all the time, but is this possible to do for those on low salt diets? Perhaps freezing it in cubes and then just defrosting as needed in liquid for soup or stew, etc.??

    windystar
  • Sara, no, you don't have to add the salt, you can leave it out and then use Misty's idea of putting it in ice cube trays to pop out as needed!

    Kelly
  • I keep sharing your blog with friends, and they're only complaint is that I didn't share it sooner. :) You're an inspiration.

    Satpreet Kahlon
  • I just made some stock yesterday with the full on pot o' boiled veggies and tossed pints of them in the freezer. This would be so much easier! Can't wait to try it next time I need stock. Thanks for sharing, Heidi!

    jill
  • This, Heidi, is a wonderful idea. I have yet to find a brand of bouillion in Canada that I like - always too salty, too flat, too fake so I will make this and use it with gusto! It will make whipping up supper after a long work day exciting and much faster. I think I'll try a version leaning to Indian flavors as well...

    Claire Schultz
  • I am making this tomorrow. At first, I thought it kind of defeated the point of bouillion to make your own bouillion, but now that I see the recipe, I am amazed.

    Elizabeth
  • Great post. Sometimes the simplest things can be a paradigm shift. Upon first read I immediately thought about my sofrito. Never conceptually thought about it as bouillon, but do see it so now. The mixture of green peppers, garlic, cilantro, onions, chiles, spices, etc. make up the essence of several Latin American dishes. You've inspired me to do a post on it. I also do the cube thing in the freezer especially for soups, beans, rice and sauces. Thanks!

    Andrea (Fork Fingers Chopsticks)
  • When you mentioned the freezer I first envisioned freezing cubes of this for later use, but how great is it that it doesn't freeze solid? I'll definitely have to look into this. Thanks for the recipe!

    Misty
  • Wow, I never thought of this, or thought I could make it for some reason! Thanks for sharing; this recipe looks great!

    Simply Life
  • I use the same method for making sofriot (minus the salt) and freeze in 1/2 cup batches. I never thought of doing this for stock. I'm excited to make this, it will open up a lot of freezer & fridge space that storage of 8 pints of broth takes up!

    Metta
  • This sounds lovely & easy, but I have one question. If you're freezing it, does it need all the salt for preservation? I like to salt food as needed, keeping the flavoring & the salting separate...any thoughts?

    Sara
  • THIS IS AWESOME. I can't wait to try it and I will probably purchase the book.

    Molly
  • The commercial equivalent of this, like Better Than Buillion, has what they call "autolyzed yeast extract" in their veggie paste too. Basically, that's Vegemite, which is pure salt and umami. I'd be interested if anyone tried something similar to this with Vegemite as the base.

    Harlan
  • I am going to make a quarter (half?) recipe of this in my itty bitty 3 cup processor ASAP!

    Magdalena
  • Wow, this sounds great! And ain't it nice knowing exactly what's in it? I'm gonna have to get her book, too.

    KIm
  • oh nice! i've been frustrated with my lack of freezer storage space for homemade stock. this could be a perfect substitute. thanks!

    ann
  • This is so simple and brilliant!! I will give this a try today!. I use to do a similar thing with parsley. Chopp parsley on a food processor, then add a little water and then put in on the freezer on cubes. I use those for months, on almost everything. Btw, i will add basil to your idea. Best regards from Argentina!

    Alcira
  • Homemade stock paste is very popular in Austria, my family has made this for ages (without tomatoes).

    Carola
  • I've made a few of your recipes, generally liking them very much. This idea is just genious as it seems I can't find any boullion over here in Norway that I like really and hardly ever have time to cook good old fashioned stock... Thanks

    Åshild
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