Dirty Little Secret

Promise to not tell anyone? I have a little secret. Here goes. [Deep breath.] Sometimes I don’t have homemade chicken stock readily available. Gasp! [Wait, there’s more.] Sometimes I don’t even have canned or boxed stock in my pantry. The horror! I know, I know. …

Dirty Little Secret

Promise to not tell anyone? I have a little secret.

Here goes. [Deep breath.]

Sometimes I don’t have homemade chicken stock readily available.


[Wait, there’s more.]

Sometimes I don’t even have canned or boxed stock in my pantry.

The horror!

I know, I know.  Ludicrous.  Hey, I never said I was Martha.  Believe me, when it comes to using stock, homemade is always my first choice. Then boxed or canned. I actually like how Swanson’s tastes.

But there’s something else.  It’s my little secret weapon.

I always, ALWAYS make sure I have this in my refrigerator:

I love Better than Bouillon. It’s the next best thing to homemade chicken stock. Add one teaspoon of this concentrated chicken base (made from real chicken, nothing fake) to one cup of water, and you’ve got a great broth, full of flavor.

I vaguely remember Nigella Lawson using this in her cooking, and if it works for Nigella, then it works for me.

Seriously though, I consider this a pantry staple.  I keep the chicken and beef bases on hand,  just in case I need it.  I frequently need stock for recipes, and I often find that I don’t always need a whole can or box.  I also like that I can control the flavor by the changing the proportion of base to water.  Sometimes I’ll use just a teeny bit to boost flavor.  It lasts for a long time in the fridge, and the ingredients are wholesome.  It really is better than those cubes of crumbly bouillon that are often full of MSG.  Blech.

It comes in handy when I’m making my Arroz Caldo and I don’t have time to make my own chicken stock or forgot to buy some at the store.

Do you have this lurking in your refrigerator, too?  It’s okay if you do, it’s an excellent (in my opinion) product.  I’d love to know.


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  1. CarolineAdobo

    sssshhhh, you’re not supposed to tell anyone!! :)
    Seriously, isn’t this the best! I discovered this a few years back and haven’t gone back to bouillon or packaged liquid broth since. My fridge is always stocked with beef & chicken ones. I even bought a lobster base once a long time ago but haven’t seen them in stores since. I love that they now offer organic ones.

    • Liren

      I know! But hey, it really is the best. I find myself using them all the time, in so many different dishes. I’ve never tried the lobster base, wow, I need to go see if my store carries it. Luckily, I have a gourmet grocer very close by that carries such a wide selection of these bases!

  2. April in CT

    This stuff is priceless! I always have the veggie, chicken and beef on hand. The veggie gets used the most and makes rice a little tastier instead of being cooked in plain water. I prefer the organic since the ‘regular’ has a few dirty words in it like partially hydrogenated oil. I’d also like to mention how wonderful the customer service at the company is. I had a jar of beef base get mold in it so I e-mailed the company. They assured me such a thing shouldn’t happen, wanted the lot number from the lid so they could look into and sent me a replacement jar in the mail. The man I dealt with was extremely nice! Sorry to drone on about it, but I really love how handy this stuff is. :o)

    • Liren

      Drone on, I’m in love with this stuff too :) I can’t wait to try the veggie base – and I totally agree with you about the Organic version. I’ve phased out all my conventional bottles. It’s great to know that the customer service is so kind and responsive!

  3. SharleneT

    I ADORE this, too! Have the chicken, beef, and ham jars on hand, at all times. No question, home made stock is the best, but this is a secret only a pro chef would know.

    Pssst! (Just between you and me…) You can always make it ahead and keep a pint or quart jar ready in the fridge. People asking questions should be seriously helping out in the kitchen…

    Thanks for sharing.

    • kitchenworthy

      Yay, another Better than Bouillon fan! I want to try their vegetable and fish bases, too!

      • LeeLee

        Another thought is to freeze homemade stock in ice cube trays, then keep the stock-cubes in the freezer in a ziplock bag or freezable plastic container (one that won’t crack from the cold). I just drop a cube or two in when I need just that little bit. I will definitely try this stuff next time I make risotto though… thanks for the thought!

      • kitchenworthy

        I like to freeze stock, too! The last time I had time to stock up on stock was last Thanksgiving; I made quarts and quarts of stock, then froze them in different quantities (cups, half cups, quarts). The ice cube tray is a great way to store tiny quantities!

    • kitchenworthy

      You can find it at most grocery stores. I know they definitely have it at Whole Foods and other fine grocers. Also, I could be wrong, but at some point, Trader Joe’s had it (not sure if this is still the case). And if you can’t find it locally, you can always order it online :)

  4. Dee

    I use this, also, though these days I have been buying Trader Joe’s organic chicken stock by the quart. I do love the convenience of this product though, and the flavor is unbeatable!

    • kitchenworthy

      Yes, I like the Trader Joe’s stock, too. Have you noticed that there is a definite flavor difference between the TJ’s organic and conventional varieties?

  5. Liren

    It’s definitely a great short cut! If you see it at the market, I recommend you try it…you can usually find it on the shelf near the soup stocks and bouillon cubes!

  6. Liz Smith

    I love a good short cut, and I swear I’ll take yoursecret to the grave :-)

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