From homemade chicken noodle soup to delicious skillet meals, chicken stock, chicken bouillon, and chicken base are all essential to producing that homemade taste, with less time and effort. However, many cooks are confused as to the differences and similarities between these three essential ingredients. So let me do my best to unconfuse you.
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Chicken stock is primarily made from whole chickens, veggies (like carrots, onions, and celery), and seasonings such as kosher salt, fresh ground black pepper, and tons of fresh garlic. Chicken stock is the foundation for so many recipes: soups, stews, sauces, and even casseroles.
Although you can certainly purchase a good-quality chicken stock from the grocery store, making it in your own kitchen is much more cost-effective and produces a stock with a deeper, richer flavor than the canned varieties.
- When I make chicken stock at home, I place all of my chicken pieces in a large pot with some veggies like carrots, celery, and onions. I add enough water to cover the chicken completely. Then I simmer this for a few hours – I never try to boil the mixture.
Basically, a bouillon cube is chicken, beef, or vegetable stock that has been dehydrated and shaped into a small cube. It is used to flavor soups and stews by dissolving the cubes in boiling the liquid. However, bouillon cubes can be extremely salty, so if you want less salt select low-sodium varieties.
Chicken Soup Base
Chicken Base (Also Known as Chicken Soup Base).
Having a deep and rich taste, the chicken base is just a highly concentrated stock used for soups, stews, sauces, and casseroles. You can find the chicken base (sometimes labeled chicken soup base) in powder or cube form in your grocery store. It is typically sold right next to the chicken bouillon cubes.
One of the most popular brands is called Better Than Boullion. Or, you can make your own and all you have to do is take some out of your freezer whenever you need it. The chicken base takes a lot more time to make than chicken stock, but the rich results more than makeup for the longer cooking time.
- To Make a Chicken Base – Begin with the basic ingredients used in making a stock (whole chicken, onions, celery, carrots, garlic, water, salt, and pepper). Let everything simmer for a few hours until the liquid is much reduced and the veggies have dissolved into the rich sauce. You may want to strain before freezing or using.
Why Chicken Base is better to use Than Chicken Stock
Because the chicken base is simmered much longer than stock, the flavors meld more and become much richer. There is even a difference in color. Chicken base is usually darker, much like a beef broth, while stock is pale and has a thinner consistency. Chicken base is best used when making sauces, skillet dinners, or stews. And, because the chicken base has so much more flavor, and is a bit thicker than stock, its versatility far outdoes its thinner cousin.
- Though subtle, the differences between chicken base, bouillon, and stock really show how each can be used in different recipes, and even how chicken base is better to use than its thinner relative, chicken stock. Also, making your own base, stock or bouillon is more cost-effective and flavorful than store-bought varieties.
A Few Ways to Use Your Homemade Chicken Base
(Note: if the copykat recipe says chicken stock or bouillon, swapping it out for chicken base will give you a tastier dish. I’ve been switching to chicken base more and more.)
- Chicken Gravy – Learn how to make it.
- Chicken and Dumplings
- Meaty soups like Cheeseburger soup
- Vegetable soups like Baked Potato Soup
- Hearty Stews such as Vegetable Beef Stew
- Chicken Casseroles
Homemade Chicken Base
- 2 pounds chicken bones you can use backs, wings, and other leftover trimmings
- 1 onion quartered
- 2 celery stalks
- 2 carrots peeled, and quartered
- 1 bunch parsley if desired
- Place the chicken into a large stockpot. Place the vegetables on top of the chicken.
- Cover with water.
- Gently heat the stock, do not allow the stock to boil.
- Cook for about 3 hours on low.
- Strain the stock, and return the liquid to the pot. Reduce the liquid in half.
- Use the remaining liquid as base.
- a clove of garlic
I truly appreciate this recipe. I have been trying so hard to find a Chicken Base I can use for soups that do not contain MSG or high levels of sodium. This is absolutely wonderful. I appreciate being able to control what goes into my food more.
David R Campbell
I’ve enjoyed many of your recipes. Thank you. However your pages are difficult to read because they include too many misplaced icons for me to click on whatever, things I don’t use; like pinterest, facebook, etc., that appear on the left-most side of the screen and block out text as I’m scrolling vertically to read your text. Those same ‘icons’ appear also at the bottom of the page. Really annoying and difficult to ignore. I wish I could include a screen shot of this page so you could see what I’m trying to explain.
I appreciate your comments, I know the site will be undergoing a revision in June, I will address your comments then.
I’m on the site now and I agree it’s hard to read w the icons that still remain
I am terribly sorry you do not like the extra icons. I will keep this in mind for the future.
I had always thought that chicken bouillon cubes were simply dehydrated chicken stock that had been shaped into cubes, as you describe here. However, recently I noticed that all three brands of chicken bouillon cubes that we happen to have in the house are actually labelled “Chicken Flavor Bouillon.” I was pretty dismayed, thinking that perhaps the flavor in them isn’t actually from chicken after all. I decided to research it a bit, and that’s how I came across your article/ post. So now I”m wondering, what are your sources for the information in the article? I’m just curious, because you don’t specifically say. Is it based on your background and/ or cooking training, or is it based on an online or print source that I might be able to also read?
Sure, so this knowledge was my own. I have 30+ years of cooking experience, and 25+ years of recipe development. I have also written two cookbooks, co-authored an ebook. I have had culinary training at a culinary school as well.
Thank you for the information of the difference between the three. You made mention of helping us in the kitchen with almost everything but I was wondering if you could also come help with doing the dishes? Lol. ?
I am with you on this! I hate doing dishes!
This was so helpful. Thank you!
I have a question, I have tried, unsuccessfully, to make chicken stock with just boiling the bones. I shred and freeze th3 chicken for other recipes. My question is when maki,g your own chicken base, is the chicken still good to use and freeze and do you continue to boil bone and vegetables to make the stock or base ??
First, the chicken is fine for another use. Next, continuing to boil the bones isn’t going to make it any better. I will save my stock from cooking and wind up adding a soup base to it because it requires much more flavor. They just don’t grow chickens the way they used to; they are feed differently; therefore lighter meat and less flavor. #redibasecooking
So I am late to answer this, but when I make stock at home. I use the bones, skin, and I prefer wings, or necks to make stock with. I place in a large pot all of my chicken pieces, some veggies like carrots, celery, and onion. I add enough water to cover the chicken completely. Then a simmer this for a few hours. I never try to boil this mixture.
If you want to condense this, you would remove all of the solids, and then boil out some of the water. You can reduce this “stock” by half, and then you will have a very flavorful stock.
Some people consider chicken base as a chicken stock that has been reduced over a couple of hours until the vegetables in the stock completely melt into the liquid.
Would you mind if I used your chicken stock image and linked back to this page as part of a post I’m doing on crock pots? Thanks! Alicia Kazsuk, VibrantHomeschooling.com
You can use it if I get credit.
Wouldn’t linking back to your page by its very definition be giving you credit?
I believe so.
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Differences between chicken stock, chicken bouillon, and chicken soup base
I click on print recipe and there is none.
I totally agree. Very very useful information. I always wondered about the differences between the 3, but unfortunately it was not so easy to find, anywhere on the internet, a straightforward explanation as is given here. I was very happy to see this.
Thanks to Stephanie for creating this beautiful site and an great idea of 一in her own words一 helping readers to recreate their favourite restaurant recipes, so that they can prepare these dishes at home!!
Good luck to you always, Stephanie! ????
Thank you very much 😉
There is no recipe here, this was only an explanation.
Thank you!! This info was super helpful and clearly explained the differences.