For many dishes, chicken stock concentrate is an ingredient that would save you from using too many ingredients or risking yourself to a flavorless meal. It is an efficient flavoring that is easy to use and works great for many recipes. However, you don’t really have to always use this for all your meals.
There are chicken stock concentrate substitutes that work just as good for the same dishes you’re making.
Don’t get too stuck in one option, consider the following chicken stock concentrate substitutes
1. Chicken Stock or Chicken Broth
If you have the time, try making your own chicken stock or chicken broth. Either of the two makes for an excellent alternative to chicken stock concentrate.
Both stock or broth can be used for a variety of dishes including stews, braises, soups, and more. For heartier dishes, it’s best to use stock as it enhances the flavor and texture while the cooked food simmers. If you’re making simple recipes like chicken noodle soup, it is better to use broth for it.
While you can buy chicken broth or stock in the market, it would be even better to make homemade ones. This way, you can influence the outcome of the recipe according to your palate. Your recipe will also come out with a fresher, heartier flavor plus it’s a lot healthier.
2. Bone broth
Chicken stock is also a type of bone broth but for this option, we mean to say all sorts of bone broth. Made from boiling animal bones with their connective tissue plus meat bits, this food is often used as a base for many recipes or consumed on its own.
Beef is a popular choice for bone broth but a lot can be made into broth including pork, lamb, veal, and chicken.
You can use bone broth to make soups, stews, risotto, casseroles, and more. If your recipe calls for a few cups of water, you can swap it with bone broth to make your dish more flavorful.
3. Vegetable Stock
Vegetable stock is made by simmering vegetables in water or wine. It usually includes a combination of garlic, onion, leek, celery, carrot, and mushrooms. Some would add in more herbs and spices like bay leaves and thyme for tastier, more aromatic results.
This ingredient is pretty much used the same way as stocks made from meat. You can add it to enhance the flavor of soups, sauces, stews, and casseroles.
Vegetable stock is the go-to option for those who are following a vegan or vegetarian lifestyle. Like most vegan dishes, this doesn’t replicate the meaty taste or aroma from actual meat. Regardless, it still amps up the flavor and makes for a healthier dish.
Dashi is a Japanese stock rich in umami. It is a straightforward easy-to-make broth that is famously interpreted as the heart of Japanese cuisine. You can buy dashi in Asian markets but you can also make your own by simmering kelp and dried bonito flakes in water.
This substitute to chicken stock concentrate is not as flavorful but it does boost the umami of your dish. While it is usually used in Japanese cuisine as a base for miso soup, noodle broth soups, ramen and the like, you can also use it for seafood stews, casseroles, and sauces.
There are a variety of dashi with some having been made with fishes or meats. Make sure you get a version that would complement your dish best.
5. Gravy Granules
Gravy granules are packed with flavor like chicken stock concentrate. As such, use this sparingly for your recipe as it may overpower the flavor of other ingredients.
These granules will not only bring more flavor to your dish but it can also add more texture. It can serve as a thickening agent as it is originally for making gravy which has a higher viscosity than broth and water.
There are plenty of gravy granules to choose from and some have chicken flavor which makes for a closer substitute to chicken stock concentrate. You can use this product for the same things like stews, soups, casseroles, and savory dishes.
6. Bouillon Cubes
Sometimes called stock cubes or broth cubes, bouillon cubes are the dehydrated form of common stocks made from either pork, beef, or chicken. These small blocks of flavoring are super easy and quick to use so many would use this over regular stock.
Bouillon cubes are typically made with meat stock, poultry, herbs, spices, dehydrated veggies, salt, and food additives. It quickly dissolves when added in hot water or in your cooking. Despite its excellent use and results, many cooks are avoiding this due to its MSG and salt content.
If you’re in a pinch or you’re using this cube just once in a while, there won’t be a problem. You can use this to soups, stews, sauces, and other hearty dishes.
7. Salt and Spices
The most straightforward flavoring that you’d most likely have in your kitchen is salt plus some spices. Cost-effective, easy-to-acquire, raw and flavorful, adding a blend of salt and spices to your dish would easily improve its flavor.
There are so many kinds of recipes where you can add in your choice of spices and salt. This includes soups, stews, roasts, braises, sauces, and a whole lot more.
While this is an efficient flavoring, it will definitely lack the hearty taste you can get from meat broths or stock concentrate. Also, this option cannot serve as a base ingredient for your meal besides simply adding more taste. With this in mind, make sure your other ingredients would define the taste of your dish.
While salt and spices can help in improving taste, butter is your ingredient for added viscosity or thickness to your recipe. Using butter will bring a slight fatty flavor to your dish which most meat broths and chicken stock concentrate provides.
You can melt butter with water and simply add it to your dish. It will easily become a delicious sauce that adds a thin texture and smoothness that can make your soups and stews more savory.
If you’re someone who often runs out of kitchen ingredients but never out of beer, then this option is for you.
Beer does not add texture like what stocks do nor does it add umami to your recipe. Instead, beer can add depth to the flavor of your meal. It is also a surprisingly versatile secret ingredient that can make many recipes more interesting.
You can use beer in roasting, broiling, baking, basting, etc. It does not add a lot of flavor but instead brings out the rich taste of other ingredients like meat and veggies. Try it out in your next cooking but make sure you use about half a cup at first then add more as you go.
Wine functions pretty much like beer and can also make for a doable alternative for chicken stock concentrate. The compounds in wine, including alcohol, can help improve the flavor of your recipes.
The function of wine in cooking is to accent the flavor of the food and amplify the aroma. It does not work as a base for the dish or overly influence the outcome. It’s used in a lot of things including pasta, braises, sautéed dishes, and more.
Most commonly used in sauces, stews, and sometimes with dessert, wine can bring more zing to your dish. It can add hints of fruity taste and warmth that can make food more mouthwatering.
Which is better to use, chicken stock or chicken broth?
Both are made from chicken meat and bones, sometimes with seasonings and vegetables, but stock usually uses more bones while regular broth uses more meat.
Stock is said to have less sodium and tends to have a richer flavor and fuller mouthfeel thanks to the gelatin released from simmering bones. It is often used as a base for many recipes. Meanwhile, broth is often the main food itself and tends to be lighter in taste.
Which is better between the two depends on the recipe. In whichever case, both are good alternatives to chicken stock concentrate.
What is chicken stock concentrate anyway?
Chicken stock concentrate is a gelatinous, flavor-packed liquid that you get from chicken stock or broth. It’s the most reduced form of broth or concentrated stock that is almost paste-like. As it is closer to being solid than liquid like broth or stock, it holds a lot of the flavor from chicken.
This natural gelatin is a common ingredient in many cuisines as it adds flavor much like salt does. It is used for soups, stews, pastas, casseroles, vegetables, sauces, gravies, and more.
Where can you buy chicken stock concentrate?
You can get this product in supermarkets or grocery stores. It usually comes as a gelatin-like product packaged in a jar.
While this stock concentrate is a really delicious addition for many recipes, it’s possible that you prefer a more straightforward flavoring or easier to store and use ones. You may also be following a vegan diet or want a low sodium, healthier option. Whatever the case may be, explore the chicken stock concentrate substitutes above to get the best results for your dish according to your preferences.