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

  • Yum this looks great. Thanks for the link to the River Cottage preserves book- I cheated and have requested it from our the local library. We are in the midst of preserve season here in NZ and am on the hunt for some new recipes.

    Jane
  • When I have surplus garden veggies or come home with a load of mushrooms from the farmer's market, I chop them up, dehydrate them, run them through the coffee grinder, stick them in a canning jar and store in the freezer. I just add a tablespoon or so to a pot of soup and add salt to taste. I've used green beans, potatoes, zucchini, onions, herbs, mushrooms- you name it. This can also help thicken a soup (risotto) or whatever recipe you put it in. It could also be a good way to add more veggies, secretly, to a kid's meal (mac & cheese). This also stores for a long period w/o going off.

    Laura
  • Thank you so much for posting this. When reading the list of ingredients of soup cubes my stomach rumbles at all of the unnatural ingredients. The organic ones I have tried don't seem to have the flavor the "normal" ones do and since flavor enhancers are not the healthiest things on earth, I would like to avoid them when possible. Since reading your blog and cooking from it my family has become much healthier. My kids no longer want boxed breakfast cereals, they would much rather eat the scones or freshly baked bread. It means more discipline on my part, but it pays off. The kids (4 and 5) cook with and learn the principals of healthy eating. Thank you.

    Martha
  • Oh Heidi -- this looks delicious! We unfortunately have WAY too much bouillion that we bought in bulk atm, but will definately keep this in mind for next time! Also, had to forward this recipe to about 6 people. Minimum. :-P Tegan

    Tegan
  • I've always liked making my own stocks and back when we ate mostly meat, I liked making my own boullion. This lovely sounding fresh alternative will be a wonderful addition for us now that we are eating primarily vegetarian. I always save vegetable peels in the freezer just for broths. Now I have a fresh alternitive. What a time saver. Altho I must admit to having waaay over 101 cookbooks. I will be adding the River Cottage Preserves Handbook right away.

    Deborah
  • Sounds good; will be making it soon. What is sodium reading? I know it says 9 oz. of salt but what does that come out to? Can you cut down on the amount of salt used?

    Kedi
  • Funny thing is, I make my own breads, jams, stocks, etc. So why have I never considered making my own bouillon? In the words of Shakespeare, that just ain't right. I'll have to correct the situation by trying this recipe. Not to mention, I'm also tempted to check out the book. Thank you Heidi.

    Marysol
  • This sounds wonderful! If you save some for in the fridge how long do you suppose it lasts?

    Lauren
  • Wow! Thank you for this wonderful idea. It seems so easy as well! Thank you for posting this!

    Morgan
  • What a great idea. And infinitely better than trying to find a ready made product. thank you

    marilynn
  • Heidi, this is amazing - I live in the UK and pore over everything we've got here and never come across it...my veggie box is screaming out for this! Thank you so much, Tuula

    Tuula
  • Aaaah, such a good idea Heidi! I've been making my own vegetable stock more often recently and appreciate the taste benefits but we only have a small freezer and can't have as much stock to hand as I'd like to. Another tip to try from Pam's wonderful book is the decadent but delicious chestnut jam. Delicious on good bread, swirled through natural yogurt or warm over ice-cream.

    Sophie
  • OH COOL! and I have everything except the celery root; off to market I go! :)

    vegamite
  • Thank you Heidi, this sounds great. Since I don't really like celery, and also in my country you can't buy celery root (celeriac), what can I use instead?? I'm gonna make this as soon as I can find the ingredients. Thank you very much!!!!

    Luzmarina
  • Fantastic! Can't wait to make it. I used to buy a paste bouillon from a German company and I can't find it anymore. I think I will try adding nutritional yeast as well. I love the depth of flavour that it adds.

    Jules
  • This is great. Reminds me of a more concentrated SOFRITO Latino. For those who want to try this with a "Puerto Rican accent" consider changing the short leaf coriander to long leaf coriander or "Chinese parsley". Garlic. Add lots of garlic.

    Cheetah Silver
  • Incredible! Such a simple idea...50 years into my life and I never sought out a recipe for homemade boullion! Thank you for always shining light onto my world... I would like to know if I could omit or drastically reduce the salt (I have high blood pressure), or would this affect the preservation? Thanks for your help!

    Kathie Swanson
  • Wow, I actually have almost every single ingredient for this on hand, and will be fine subbing what I don't. Love this idea!

    Stacy
  • Thank you Heidi and I thank your friend for the bullion. I would add some oregano, cumin and garlic to the mix. But that is just me. thanks again for a lovely site and for the friendships you have made around the world who are willing to share with all of us too. God bless.

    Beverlyjane
  • Hi sweetie, I am 60 yrs. old, and in my country we make this concoction all the time, we call it "sofrito" and is kept in a jar by the stove, here in America I make a big batch on Mondays, put it in freezer bags, and I use my "sofrito" for 6 months. Is great Love Teshie

    Teshie Cianca-Hampton
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