homemade vegetable bouillon

Homemade Vegetable Bouillon | In Jennie's Kitchen

You’ve been patient, and for that I thank you. Now, hopefully you’ve all tried or bookmarked my recipe for manicotti. Jennifer over at Last Night’s Dinner gave them a thumbs up, so go check out what else is on her must-eat list after you’re done visiting me here. A couple of weeks ago, I came across a recipe for homemade bouillon over at 101 Cookbooks. It was brilliant, and Heidi says even she hadn’t thought of making it until reading about it in the River Cottage Cookbook.

This turned into an “a ha!” moment for me. If you love cooking from scratch as much as I do, or simply do it because you want to feed your family healthy, unprocessed food, there is no cure-all. Most of the basics on store shelves are just a ghost of what they pretend to be. And you know what, it makes sense. Those products must be processed to become shelf-stable.

That’s where the brilliance of homemade bouillon comes into play. You don’t have to worry about freezer or fridge space to keep a ton of vegetable stock on hand. All you need is room to store the one quart of bouillon this recipe makes and you’ll have 48 quarts of homemade vegetable stock at your beck and call. Depending on which brand you normally buy, that’ll shave over $150 off your grocery bill in the long run. It’ll also leave you with a tastier base for soups, risottos, and even veggie burgers (I used it to cook lentils for “burgers”). It’s also comforting to sip for a light lunch along with a salad or sandwich.


As Heidi explains, this technique is basically preserving chopped up vegetables with salt—a lot of salt (we’ll talk more about that in a bit). I took her cue on some of the ingredients—the sun-dried tomatoes really rounded out the flavor. While I love fennel and cilantro, I left them out because they are pretty strong and I wanted a more subtle bouillon that would result in a more universal stock, though I suspect hers would be perfect in Mexican and Asian dishes. I also decided to add some cremini mushrooms, a.k.a. baby bellas, to give it an earthy undertone. I promise it’s not too overpowering.


So there you have it. The second, well really first, baby step in building a creamy tomato soup. Oh, just make me one promise. It’s not a big one, and you’ll thank me for it. Let this bouillon sit minimum a few days before you use it so the flavors can develop. Like my husband whose turning 50 in a few short days, it’s one of those things that just gets better with age. And don’t forget to add skillet parmesan croutons to your menu line-up. Next time we meet, I’ll be bringing a recipe to get us all through the next six weeks of winter (damn you Mr. Groundhog).



This recipe is now part of my new site, Simmering. It can be found here.

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  • Jennifer

    LizaJane—you are absolutely correct, and reduce the salt if you plan on freezing the bouillon right away. Just keep in mind it will need seasoning when you dilute it or add to another dish.

  • Sandy

    This is so much better than waiting forever to fill the pitiful little bag of veggie scraps in our freezer. I’ve just followed your directions and placed my fully filled quart jar in the fridge. However, now I’m wondering how long it will be at it’s best. Any idea? Thanks for the fab idea.

  • paseo

    I made this a week ago ago (like you leaving out the fennel & cilantro) and have used it several times already. I suspect it is going to be one of those things I don’t know how I did without. Very versatile (I even used it in a corned beef) and it really adds a great dimension. Thanks for posting. Made the manicotti night before last and we all loved it.

  • Susan

    I love this idea but I’m deathly allergic to mushrooms. Is there a good substitute for them that would still ahve a lot of flavor? Thank you!

  • Salma

    Hi Jenni, couple of things: Any preference for type of salt? Guessing kosher, but just checking. Also, as for the tomatoes– I have some dry ones that require rehydrating. Will those work? I can imagine that the ones in oil may have more flavor, but these are an ancient couple of bags from trader joe’s, and I can’t think of a better way to put them to good use. Trying this tonight. I’m a huge stock fan, with a freezer full of chicken carcasses. this is so much more interesting…

  • Sheila Lankford

    Hi Jennifer, just wondering if there would be a way to reduce the sodium in this. I have been using Better than Bouillion reduced sodium bases and would like to try my hand at making my own. Maybe if it was stored in the fridge? I also noticed that yeast extract was one of the main ingredients in the reduced-sodium version of BTB, do you happen to know if that helps keep it stable? Any thoughts you might have on this would be great!

  • Sheila Lankford

    Hi! Just found this recipe and am looking forward to trying it. However, is there a way to make this with less salt? Maybe by keeping it in the fridge? I have been using Better than Bouillion’s reduced sodium bases but would like to try my hand at homemade. Any thoughts? Thanks –

  • Jennifer Perillo

    You would have to freeze it if you reduced the salt, as the salt acts as the curing agent. I can’t vouch for how long it will last in the freezer, and would recommend portioning it out if you choose to do that, since it will be hard to take the amount as needed from a frozen block.