Vegetable bouillon, with its magical ingredient essence, is a staple in many kitchens due to its ability to add savory flavor to dishes instantly. But what do you do when you run out or are scouting for the best substitutes that match your dietary and personal preferences? Let’s embark on a flavorful journey to explore the best vegetable bouillon substitutes that will sprinkle extra flavor into your culinary marvels. 

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What is vegetable bouillon?

Vegetable bouillon is a concentrated vegetable flavoring. Common ingredients include onion powder, garlic powder, and other spices. It can take on different forms, such as cubes, powders, or pastes. Dissolving it in a cup of hot water creates an instant vegetable broth, making it easy to inject flavor without simmering vegetables for a long time.

Is vegetable bouillon the same as veggie stock?

While these terms are often used interchangeably, there’s a distinction. Vegetable bouillon, especially the popular vegetable bouillon powder, is a concentrated source of flavors, often with a high sodium content. In contrast, like homemade vegetable stock, veggie stock is a liquid from simmering veggies and herbs, like bay leaves, in water.

The List: 17 Best Vegetable Bouillon Substitutes

Navigating the culinary world means being prepared to adapt and innovate. Whether you’re a seasoned chef or a kitchen newbie, there are times when you’re midway through a recipe and realize you’re out of a key ingredient, like vegetable bouillon. But fear not! The beauty of cooking lies in the myriad of flavors and ingredients at our disposal. To aid in your culinary ventures, we’ve curated a definitive list of the 15 best vegetable bouillon substitutes, ensuring that your dishes retain maximum flavor, even when the original ingredient is amiss.

Veggie stock and cubes with yellow flowers.
  1. Vegetable Stock Cubes: These dehydrated stock blocks burst with flavor. When combined with a cup of water, they’re a great substitute for the real deal.
  2. Homemade Bouillon Cubes: Homemade Bouillon Cubes are condensed flavor blocks crafted from a blend of vegetables, herbs, and seasonings, then formed and dried for preservation. Making these cubes at home allows for a personal touch, ensuring a wholesome, chemical-free base for soups and stews.
  3. Bouillon Powder: Similar to stock cubes, this fine powder is a flavor enhancer and easily dissolves in water, resulting in a concentrated vegetable flavor. It’s ideal for recipes where you want to control the intensity of flavor without adding extra liquid.
  4. Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Powder: Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Powder is a magical ingredient that serves as a robust flavor enhancer for various dishes. Made by blending dehydrated vegetables, herbs, and seasonings in a food processor until a fine powder forms, this concoction is a healthier and customizable alternative to store-bought versions.
Glass jar of vegetable stock cubes.
  1. Vegetable Bouillon Paste: A concentrated blend, perfect as a vegetarian or vegan substitute. Because of its consistency, it can easily blend into sauces, gravies, and soups.
  2. Vegetable Broth (store-bought): A ready-made liquid broth that provides a vegetable flavor base for dishes. It’s convenient and great for when you’re short on time.
  3. Homemade Veggie Broth: Made by simmering fresh vegetables and herbs, this broth offers a more wholesome and customizable flavor compared to store-bought versions.
  4. Herb Infusion: Fresh or dried herbs simmered in water produce a light and aromatic broth. This method emphasizes the subtle flavors of herbs, making it perfect for delicate dishes.
  5. Miso Paste: A fermented soybean paste common in Japanese cuisine. Miso offers a deep, umami-rich flavor and can elevate the taste profile of various dishes.
A jar of honey on a table next to yellow flowers.
  1. Marmite: A unique British yeast extract spread with a strong, savory taste. In small amounts, it can enhance the depth of flavor in soups and stews.
  2. Soy Sauce: A staple in Asian cooking, soy sauce imparts a salty and umami flavor. It’s versatile and can be used in a wide range of dishes. (Start with a tablespoon of soy sauce and build from there.)
  3. Liquid Aminos: Made from soybeans, liquid aminos offer a gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. They provide a similar umami flavor profile with the added benefit of amino acids.
  4. Nutritional Yeast: With its cheesy and nutty taste, nutritional yeast can add depth and richness, especially in vegan and vegetarian dishes.
Glass bottle of vegetable broth and jar of bouillon paste.
  1. Mushroom Broth: A broth made from simmered mushrooms, it offers an earthy and robust flavor. It’s especially suitable for dishes that benefit from a deep, savory undertone.
  2. Powdered Mushrooms: Dehydrated and ground mushrooms provide a concentrated earthy flavor. They can be sprinkled into dishes directly or rehydrated to make a broth.
  3. Seaweed: Seaweed, when simmered, releases a briny and oceanic flavor. It’s excellent for adding a touch of the sea to dishes without overpowering them.
  4. Tomato Paste: This main ingredient brings a deep, tangy kick. Mix it with olive oil or dry white wine for an extra flavor layer. It’s particularly useful in dishes that pair well with the rich essence of tomatoes.

With these alternatives at your fingertips, your culinary creations will always be rich and flavorful, regardless of the challenges that arise.

Two glass bottle of veggie stock.


What can I use instead of better than bouillon vegetable base?

A cup of broth, homemade bouillon powder, or broth cubes is a good idea. Depending on your taste, a little bit of onion or garlic powder could also add that extra zest.

Can you use vegetable stock instead of bouillon?

Yes, you can use vegetable stock instead of bouillon. However, remember that bouillon is a more concentrated form of flavor than stock. If a recipe calls for dissolving a bouillon cube in water, you can replace it with vegetable stock. Depending on the concentration of your stock, you may need to reduce other liquids in your recipe or use a bit more stock to achieve the desired flavor intensity.

Is there such a thing as vegetable bouillon?

Absolutely! Vegetable bouillon is a popular flavoring agent in cooking. It’s a concentrated vegetable flavor that comes in various forms, including cubes, powders, and pastes. When dissolved in water, it creates a quick and flavorful vegetable broth. It’s especially handy for those who want to add depth to their dishes without making stock from scratch. Many brands offer vegetable bouillon, and it’s commonly found in grocery stores alongside chicken and beef bouillon.

What is the product Better Than Bouillon?

Better Than Bouillon is a brand offering concentrated paste as a flavor booster. A teaspoon of Better Than Bouillon in hot water does the trick. It’s also a better option for many due to its easy-dissolving nature.

It’s versatile and can be used in various dishes, from soups and stews to gravies and marinades. Typically, a teaspoon of “Better Than Bouillon” dissolved in 8 ounces of boiling water will create a flavorful broth. However, you can adjust the amount based on your taste preference.

A bottle of honey and flowers on a black background.

Final Words

The best substitute largely depends on your culinary needs and flavor preferences. Whether you opt for miso paste’s umami depth or the earthy richness of mushroom broth, you’ll be enhancing your dishes in no time. Always remember to adjust your seasoning, especially when using substitutes with high salt content.

More Ingredient Substitutions

Are you working on another recipe and in need of another substitution? Here are the best substitutions for basil, the best alternatives to oregano, and the best turmeric alternatives.

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  1. I love the addition of nutritional yeast.