Bouillon is another name for the concentrated broth that people use in cooking as an ingredient or drink for the sake of the nutritional value it holds.
Importance of Beef Bouillon
Beef broth is a food item that has been a part of almost every cuisine since the dawn of time.
The nutritious value in the broth not only helps in keeping a digestive system clean but also gives strength to the kidneys (1,2). Using broth, especially beef bone broth, is essential in your diet.
However, beef bouillon or broth is not just in the recipe to add more nutrition but also helps with the food’s texture and taste.
Bouillon is a thicker version that is ideally made at home and stored, but there is at least a single beef bouillon substitute in your store nearby. If you don’t have beef bouillon in your pantry do not worry.
Many alternatives can be a great addition to the recipe instead of beef bouillon.
Here we have a list of substitutes you can have if there is a shortage of beef bouillon in your kitchen or the nearest store.
How Is Beef Bouillon or Broth Made?
The beef broth is usually made out of bones, fat, or an ox or beef skin.
Sometimes people buy the meat just to make broth out of it, while many people use the leftover beef or its bones in a pot and add some vinegar, vegetables such as celery, onion, carrots, and all herbs that you love.
This is the typical way of making beef broth at home; the consistency is liquid and can be stored as stock in the freezer.
Similarly, bouillon is the French word for broth; it is prepared using the same ingredients. To add more flavor, additional vegetables such as turnip and garlic are added to the boiling mix.
After boiling it for more than two hours, strain out the vegetables and the beef and bones. Let the broth cook for more time till its liquid reduces to more than half of the initial water in the pot.
There are approximately 17 calories in each cup of beef bouillon, so it is an excellent choice to keep yourself warm in cold winters (3).
Beef bouillon is mostly used for sauce preparation and paired with steaks, used as the medium for soup, and there are even other innovative rice dishes in which beef bouillon is added to enhance the taste.
However, preparing it is a task that isn’t easy; it requires time, patience, and main ingredients such as bones, beef, and all sorts of vegetables to give it a unique aroma and flavor.
It is challenging to make bouillon from scratch after a tough day or when people have a time limit for cooking.
Beef Bouillon Substitutes and How To Use Them?
Here are some best substitutes to use in cooking that taste almost the same as the perfectly brewed beef bouillon.
Beef Bouillon Cubes
The beef bouillon is available in many forms at your nearest store or your favorite online grocery site.
One of the most substituted forms of beef broth is the dried beef bouillon cubes that are supposed to be mixed in warm water and then added to the stew or the soup or used as the braising sauce.
The cubes are dried and compressed form of beef bouillon or sometimes even dehydrated chicken stock as well. You can use these easily and make a broth-like substance in less than ten minutes.
The next alternative on the list is chicken broth.
People who have sworn off red meat due to high uric acid or cholesterol can use chicken broth as a substitute for cooking soup or stew. The chicken is a safer option and takes much less time to prepare.
You only need onion, some garlic cloves, ginger, herbs, and chicken pieces with bones. Another option for chicken is using the wings only, which is more accessible.
All vegans and vegetarians who love the texture and flavor of bouillon can add mushroom broth instead of beef bouillon. The flavor comes from cooking the assorted fresh and dried mushrooms that make the magic occur in only 15 to 20 minutes.
Add some carrots, celery, and the touch of fresh herbs to further boost the aroma of the broth. You can add soy sauce and a bit of spice in one on one ratio to get the perfect consistency and taste of beef bouillon.
Simple Vegetable Broth
If you have no time to shop for the right mushrooms or chicken, then use whatever vegetables are left in your refrigerator. The ingredients needed to make a steaming pot of vegetable broth are carrots, celery, turnip, garlic, some stalks, fresh herbs, and kosher salt.
Add a quarter cup of the mixture of cornflour and water to the simmering broth, and a little thickened version of a totally vegan broth will be made. Pair it with any main course, or add some noodles and tofu to enjoy a bowl of comfort ramen, a specialty of Asian cuisine now famous worldwide.
Substituting red wine for broth is a costly yet exquisite option if you love having a leisureful dinner with your friends or someone special. The wine sets the mood, and in cooking, it sets the flavors and brings out the distinct flavor of each ingredient which pairs up with the wine in the pot.
There are two options in wine as well; you can use alcoholic wine, and then there is another option of using non-alcoholic cooking wine, which you can use in cooking if there are kids or pregnant ladies in the house to devour your dishes.
Miso or Tomato Paste
Another organic and vegetarian option that again has made it to the list is the miso paste or the tomato paste/base.
The miso paste is made from fermented ingredients such as soybeans and barley. At the same time, tomato paste is only dried tomato puree, and other preservatives are added to keep it fresh and usable.
A tablespoon of both or either is an excellent substitute for the beef bouillon.
The beef base is similar to beef bouillon cubes; these are also available in processed items in a mart. Yet, it is more in the paste form and has a cream consistency and texture than the cubes.
It also doesn’t need water as a solvent; you can add it directly to the hot pot of stew.
Soy or Worcestershire Sauce
Soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce are also good alternatives for beef broth; although they don’t have the same nutrients, they are a replacement to add aroma and taste to the dish.
In summary, there are many amazing substitutes available for beef bouillon, such as chicken, mushroom, and vegetable broths that are easier and economical to make at home.
Then, some processed choices can be found at any store on the sauce aisle, such as bouillon cubes or roasted beef base; these are in different consistency from the dried versions of the broth.
Not only these, but you can use items such as Worcestershire sauce, miso paste, and red wine in the cooking to add flavor to the dish.
We can say that these are some amazing substitutes to bring out a similar taste and texture to the dish; however, there is no denying that some nutritional values are only available in home-cooked beef bouillon can relieve muscle pain or give you energy in severe cold winters.
Most doctors find it the best comfort food for patients recovering after significant surgeries.
Below are some of the frequently asked questions related to beef bouillon substitutes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I use water as an alternative if I do not have vegetables or meat at home?
Add some butter to the water and then heat them together; you will get a textured mixture in which you can add sauces and cornflour mix to thicken the mixture. Then use this to braise the meat.
What is the cheapest way to cook a broth?
The beef or chicken broth may be expensive for some people; a more economical option is going for mushroom broth or vegetable broth. Another alternative to this is miso paste, which is the fermented mixture of barley, rice, and soybeans.
What are the vegan or vegetarian substitutes for beef bouillon?
Vegetable and mushroom broths are both beef bouillon substitutes. Then there is wine, miso paste, soy sauce, and many other readily available items mentioned here as the beef bouillon substitute.
For how long can you preserve any broth?
If you keep any broth in the refrigerator, it will be edible for about a week only; however, if you freeze it in an ice cube tray or a jar, it is still usable after five months.
In case you leave it on the kitchen counter, it will go bad within a day in summer, and in cold winters, it will survive on the counter for a day at max.