This pantry staple has come a long way.

By Kelly Vaughan
December 05, 2019

With the holidays right around the corner, we’re always in search of new ways to make our mains and sides more flavorful and more delicious without a whole lot of extra work. For holiday staples like roast beef, turkey, gravy, and stock, one of the easiest ways to create even more of an earthy, savory flavor is with bouillon cubes. Whenever you make a big batch of chicken or beef stock, add in a bouillon cube for bonus flavor. Then use the stock as the base for pan gravy or to moisten breadcrumbs for cornbread stuffing. To understand exactly what bouillon cubes are, what they’re made with, and how home cooks can maximize their usage, we turned to Kunal Kohli, co-founder and COO of BOU, a producer of artificial-free, non-GMO bouillon cubes.

Bouillon cubes are typically made from dehydrated vegetables, meat stock, fat, MSG, salt, and seasonings, Kohli says. Historically, bouillon cubes have contained unhealthy additives and artificial ingredients, as well as being high in sodium. However, new innovative products like BOU offer the same flavor and convenience as traditional bouillon cubes but just happen to be gluten-free, lower in sodium, and free from added flavors and MSG.

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Of course, bouillon cubes can be used beyond holiday hosting. “Bouillon cubes have the power to get kids to eat their greens, re-energize leftovers, and even make the most hapless cook impress their guests. They are extremely versatile and can be used as a flavor agent in practically any savory dish. They also eliminate the need for many different ingredients and spices that you would typically use to add flavor,” says Kohli.

How to Cook with Bouillon Cubes

Whether you’re making homemade chicken stock or using store-bought stock for gravy, potatoes, and other holiday sides, popping in one bouillon cube is an easy way to add tremendous flavor. The most common flavor of bouillon cubes is chicken, but BOU offers a variety of other flavors including beef, roasted garlic, and vegetable.

In addition to boosting flavors in stock and gravy, bouillon cubes can be used in other everyday recipes. “Cubes can add a burst of flavor to dishes like paella, matzo ball soup, and ginger sesame chicken,” says Kohli. He also recommends adding a cube when boiling grains, marinating your turkey, or sautéing vegetables. Since bouillon cubes usually contain added sodium, home cooks may need to decrease the amount of salt used in a recipe (but always taste before serving and adjust the salt as needed throughout the cooking process!).

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