Substitutes for beef bouillon

noodle and beef image by Charles Jacques from

Beef bouillon is dried and granulated beef stock. These granules can be packaged, used when needed and kept unrefrigerated for long periods of time. Beef bouillon flavours any number of dishes.

However, most beef bouillon has a very high sodium content which makes it a non-starter for those who need to watch salt intake. Beef bouillon provides a sauce consistency and other ingredients can be substituted when a recipe calls for beef bouillon.


If the salt content of regular beef bouillon keeps you from using it as a flavouring for meat, pasta and other dishes you're preparing, but you still want a beef flavour, substitute with beef broth. Broth comes in cans, in packets or you can use the juice of beef you've already prepared with added water for consistency, to spice up the recipe. Just as with regular beef bouillon, just add water required for your particular recipe, consistency or taste.


If you are tired of beef bouillon, you can switch to chicken bouillon as a substitute. Chicken bouillon still uses the granules, but the stock is derived from chickens rather than beef. It provides a different flavour enhancement. While beef bouillon goes well with side dishes for a beef-derived main dish such as hamburger or steak, chicken bouillon flavoured side-dishes go well with chicken, turkey and other fowl.


If you do not have beef bouillon in the cupboard, yet the recipe calls for bouillon, check your supply of soups with a beef base. Soup can be used as a substitute for beef bouillon in many recipes. Different beef enhanced soups may also add flavours not present in the regular beef bouillon. On top of providing a change of pace from using beef bouillon, many soups have a lower sodium content. Consider a variety of soups with beef as an ingredient when looking for a substitute for beef bouillon.

Soy Sauce, Beer and More

Even when the taste and the sodium content aren't an issue, you still may wish to change up your usual recipes calling for beef bouillon with a different flavour now and again. Use soy sauce, if you don't have a problem with sodium. Barbecue sauce comes in any number of flavours--from smoked, onion, to garlic--and can be used as a substitute for some recipes that call for beef bouillon. Another flavour substitute is beer. The alcohol content cooks off and is not an issue. While you can find a variety of substitutes for beef bouillon, always consider what you seek to accomplish with your finished dish. This gives you direction for what substitutes that will work best if you wish to forgo using beef bouillon in a recipe or you find yourself with an empty bouillon container after you've started to cook.