You can turn the kitchen emergency of lacking chicken bouillon into an opportunity to improve your recipe. Substituting for chicken bouillon will slightly change the overall taste of your dish, but this could actually improve the flavor. While convenient, bouillon granules or cubes have less flavor than stock or broth, according to the online food magazine The Nibble. Replacing chicken bouillon in an emergency could result in the discovery of a favorite new approach to your old standby recipe.
A single chicken bouillon cube or 1 tsp. of bouillon powder is reconstituted with 1 cup of hot water. Instead of using this in your recipe, use 1 cup of chicken broth or stock. The more flavorful broth contains added herbs and spices, but stock is almost always indicated as a recipe ingredient. If the recipe does not require you to reconstitute the chicken bouillon granules, use 1 cup of chicken stock for each 1 cube or 1 tsp. of granules and decrease the other liquids in the recipe by 1 cup.
Vegetable bouillon is a better option for those who eschew meat and meat-products. It is not as flavorful as chicken bouillon. To compensate, opt for roasted vegetable bouillon, and use the same amount of vegetable as chicken bouillon. Roasted vegetable broth can also be used to stand in for chicken bouillon following the same proportions of broth to bouillon.
Dry White Wine
Dry white wine will give the recipe a lighter, less salty flavor than using bouillon. Replace 1 tsp. of bouillon granules or 1 cube with 1/2 cup of white wine and decrease other liquids in the recipe by 1/2 cup. Sherry or vermouth can also be used in the same proportion. Don’t use wine in dishes if you’re serving anyone who is sensitive to alcohol.
Soy sauce has a rich, deep flavor from the fermentation of soybeans. Though it does not taste exactly like chicken bouillon, the saltiness of the soy sauce matches the salty taste of chicken bouillon granules. For each 1 tsp. of granules or 1 cube of bouillon, use 1 tbsp. of soy sauce. Taste the recipe before adding any additional salt or salted products to the dish. The sodium in the soy sauce might be enough.
References and ResourcesGourmet Sleuth: Chicken Bouillon Granules
The Nibble; Types of Chicken Soup; Karen Hochman; February 2011
"The Food Substitutions Bible"; David Joachim; 2005
University of Georgia Cooperative Extension; Ingredient Substitutions; Gail Hanula; November 2002