Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Concentrate ♥ Recipe

Ditch the cubes and cartons for DIY! Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Concentrate ♥ AVeggieVenture.com, just vegetables, herbs and salt in a frozen concentrate that makes 42 quarts of fresh vegetable stock. Great for Meal Prep. Vegan. Weight Watchers Friendly.
How to make bouillon concentrate from scratch using fresh vegetables, a few herbs, lots of salt and a food processor. No cooking required! The concentrate keeps in the freezer to scoop out a teaspoon or two at a time over the next few months. Then just add water for a fresh, lively stock that makes a huge difference. And if you have foodie friends? Homemade Vegetable Boullion Concentrate makes a great savory food gift.

Fresh & Seasonal. Kitchen DIY. A Staple for a Homemade Pantry. Great for Meal Prep. Weight Watchers Friendly. Not just vegan, Vegan Done Real. Naturally Gluten Free. Whole30 Friendly.

Let's Ditch Those Cubes and Cans!

Back in 2006, Jim Lahey's no-knead bread zoomed from blog to blog and oven to oven. Will the same happen again, with a DIY bouillon concentrate, the basis for the stock / broth we use for so many dishes, from soups to stews to ...

Thanks to the always-innovative Heidi Swanson of 101 Cookbooks, I predict – and dream! – that all of us will dump those dusty cubes of bouillon straight-away into the rubbish. Because now we have something even better, bouillon made at home, fresh, convenient, frugal. Let's make this recipe for homemade bouillon the "recipe that flew across the world" in 2010! Let's ditch those cubes and cans!

WORD DANCERS Yes, the word is spelled bouillON, not bullion or boolion or my own fumble-fingered spelling, bouillion. The word is pronounced [bool-yon] or [bool-yuhn] or in the native French, [boo-wee-on].

Why Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Concentrate Is Better Than Any Cube or Can

All of us who love kitchen DIY, who are just as likely to make "ingredients" as meals, we're going to love this frozen vegetable bouillon concentrate.

  • TASTE Imagine the very best vegetable stock you can imagine, fresh, lively, delicious.
  • CONVENIENCE Make it once, then it keeps in the freezer. Use it a teaspoon or a tablespoon at a time.
  • ADAPTABILITY It's impossible not to imagine variations of this stock, with hints of Thai or Mexican or Italian flavors, say.
  • COST When we buy bouillon, we're paying premium dollars for what's essentially water (if we buy in cans) and salt (both cans and cubes plus pastes). When I wrote the series of posts about How to Save Money on Groceries, I admonished, Don't buy water and don't buy salt. Here's one more way to avoid those expenses.

Plus! Turn the Vegetable Scraps Into Vegetable Stock

I adapt Heidi's recipe in two ways, first by figuring out how many leeks, carrots and other vegetables are needed to make the Homemade Vegetable Bouillon Concentrate – and then by using the trimmings and the leftovers vegetables to make a quick vegetable stock. So absolutely nothing goes to waste!


This stuff is fabulous and soon all of us will have Heidi to thank. Please note, Heidi credits the recipe to Pam Corbin, author of River Cottage Handbook No.2: Preserves, who tucked this kitchen-transforming recipe into a last chapter along with other odds and ends that fit nowhere else. I'm off to check my own cookbook collection. What goodies are in those "other" chapters?!

More About Heidi Swanson

Heidi's a long- long-time blogger. She's also the author of Super Natural Cooking: Five Delicious Ways to Incorporate Whole and Natural Foods into Your Cooking and Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen. Please note, these are affiliate links.


"... very handy to have and I love that it's all fresh ingredients." ~ BellePlaine
"Love love LOVE this stuff." ~ Anonymous
"And 2 years later - we just finished the batch I made in 2010 ... off to the farmer's market tomorrow" ~ lindav


See Heidi's inspiring recipe for Homemade Bouillon
Hands-on time: 35 minutes
Time to table: 35 minutes
Makes about 3-1/2 cups frozen bouillon concentrate
to make the equivalent of 42 quarts of liquid stock / broth

5 ounces (150 grams) leeks, white and light-green parts only (from 3 leeks, how to clean leeks)
7 ounces (200 grams) fennel bulb, chopped (from about 1 - 2 bulbs of fennel weighing about 3/4 pound)
7 ounces (200 grams) carrot, chopped (from about 4 large carrots)
3.5 ounces (100 grams) celery, chopped (from about 2 large ribs of celery)
3.5 ounces (100 grams) celery root (also called celeriac, from about one large bulb weighing about 8 ounces)
1 ounce (30 grams) sun-dried tomatoes
3.5 ounces (100 grams) shallot, peeled (from about 2 large shallots weighing 5 to 6 ounces)
3 medium garlic cloves
9 ounces (250 grams) kosher salt (about 1 cup)
1.5 ounces (40 grams) parsley (1 big bunch)
2 ounces (60 grams) cilantro (1/2 big bunch

In a food processor, process all the ingredients, pulsing until a small, rough chop forms. Depending on the size of your food processor, you might need to process two or three vegetables at a time, even individually. No problem, just process each one and transfer to a mixing bowl and stir together. Once all the vegetables are processed once and stirred together, return to the food processor, in batches if needed, and process until a thick wet paste forms but individual bits of vegetables remain distinct. Transfer to very clean storage containers and freeze. Because of the salt, the frozen bouillon will be very easy to scoop out a spoonful at a time.

To use, mix 1 teaspoon Homemade Vegetable Bouillon with 1 cup water.

TO MAKE VEGETABLE STOCK from the SCRAPS Before starting, get out a large pot or a Dutch oven to collect leftover vegetables to make a fresh vegetable stock and collect them while trimming the vegetables. Do NOT use the rough edges, root ends, etc, that get trimmed off, discard or compost these but everything else is fair game, including any leftover vegetable pieces plus the green leaves of the leeks and the shallot skins. Add a bay leaf, a few peppercorns and water to cover. Bring to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes. Strain and the stock within two or three days, it also freezes well.

This recipe does rely on both a food processor and a scale. If you don't yet have a scale, this is kitchen scale I've used for years and years. That said, I suspect that this recipe is quite forgiving. The trick will be to keep the proportion of salt and vegetables roughly the same.
Wash all the vegetables very, very well so there's no contamination that gets into the Homemade Vegetable Bouillon
Buy more vegetables than you think are needed, to allow for trimming and also for imperfections in the vegetables. Because of the long storage time, even in the freezer, you really do want to use pretty much perfect vegetables.
Sun-dried tomatoes are hard-to-find and expensive in St. Louis. So a trick I use is to pick up just a handful from the olive bar. They're expensive by the pound but I only need a few and so nothing goes to waste. Update: Trader Joe's carries great sun-dried tomatoes!
Make sure you have enough salt on hand. This uses a lot of salt, check your pantry!
Celeriac is hard to find, too, also expensive. Feel free to substitute more of the inexpensive regular celery.
Choose flat-leafed Italian parsley or curly parsley? Until recently, I'd have opted for Italian parsley for more flavor. But I read somewhere that curly parsley has more flavor especially when it's a little less fresh. For my first batch of bouillon, I used curly parsley. If you have enough, opt for mostly leaves, leaving the somewhat tougher stems for the stockpot.
The leaves and stems of the cilantro are both tender and can be used.

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A Veggie Venture is home of "veggie evangelist" Alanna Kellogg and the famous asparagus-to-zucchini Alphabet of Vegetables.


  1. I'm sold! I am making this next week for sure, I do spend so much on those "better than bouillon" pastes and this is sure to be "better than better than bouillon" :D

    For sun-dried tomatoes, Trader Joe's carries a decent oil-packed version...

  2. How long can this stay in the freezer?

  3. Wow, you didn't waste any time making this. I am intrigued by it too, such a great idea.

  4. Any tips for those of us on a low salt/no salt diet? I supose just the veggies and herbs make a gret base.

  5. Could you give us an idea of the volume of veggies (# of cups)once they have been processed? I am thinking that other veggies could be used if we kept the ratio to salt the same. Specifically, I am thinking that spinach and kale would add a great deal of nutrition. I would eliminate celeriac and fennel as they are less readily available (read "cheap") and not needed for taste IMHO.

  6. Nupur ~ Thanks for the sun-dried tomato tip.

    Mrs Spock ~ My thinking is maybe six months? Maybe three? I would watch how it smells, once the freshness is lost, it might still be safe but wouldn't add the flavor punch.

    Kalyn ~ I saw the recipe, made a grocery list, went to Whole Foods, made it. That quick!

    Mary ~ The salt is the preservative in this mixture. Without the salt, it might keep for a week or so, or longer in the freezer, but it would freeze hard so you'd want to make cubes and then freeze. It's also salt that is the 'flavor' we're after. Are you skipping all commercial foods? If so, you may be getting so low on salt consumption that using a bouillon like this might work for you.

    GJVision ~ The loose chopped vegetables (processed just once) were about eight cups. Flavor-wise, I agree on the celeriac but fennel is one of my 'secret' tips for beautiful vegetable stocks. It's worth seeking out, IMHO. ;0

  7. What a neat idea - and how handy to be able to keep it in the freezer and spoon out however much you want. I must confess that whenever I'm reading through a recipe and get to where it calls for bouillon, I stop right there, as I never buy those (often nasty) little cubes. Nice to know there's a flavorful, all natural solution. Leave it to those clever River Cottage folks!

    P.S. I, too, like the oil-packed sun-dried tomatoes from Trader Joe's - only about three dollars for a jar. And I recently picked up a fairly good-sized little vacuum sealed packet of 'dry' sun-dried tomatoes at Whole Foods for, I think, under two dollars. It was over with the canned tomatoes and sauces.

  8. Like everyone else, I am pleasantly surprised by this recipe. Who knew you could make bouillon?

  9. When I get a hold of a food processor I just might have to try this! I was also thinking of using an ice cube tray to portion out and freeze maybe 2 tbsp portions then store them in a baggie. That way I could just pop one out and throw it in the boiling water when needed. That might be another solution to the no salt option.

  10. Oh... WOW!!!!!!!! You must be reading my mind! I am obsessed with the Better than Bouillon vegetable base-- I go through a jar a month I bet since I've been making so many soups. The other day I noticed how much sodium was in there and started looking around for recipes to tell me how to make it. I am so on my way to Whole Foods to get some and to pick up some ice cube trays! THANKS!!!!

  11. Yes, this is a great idea and it was Heidi of 101 cookbooks who posted it but you fail to give credit where credit is due. The recipe comes from Pam Corbin's River Cottage Preserves Handbook. To not mention that (Heidi did mention in the first line of her post) is not fair to the true author of this recipe, even if Heidi says she built on the recipe. Everyone who tries it will make is slightly differently but that doesn't mean they should get credit for it. If it gets sent around the world, it is not Heidi who should get the credit for it but Pam Corbin!

  12. Hi Signe ~ Tis the power of blogging that will send this recipe around the world. If you had read the post through, you would notice that I give Pam Corbin credit, even though she has nothing to do with my knowing about this recipe, that gratitude goes to Heidi. Is it possible that Pam, too, received inspiration from some other source? It is. But we rarely learn that, do we, when recipes are published in print?

  13. This sounds like such a neat idea!

  14. Alana, I apologize. I didn't see the last paragraph in your post where you gave credit to Pam when I read through the post yesterday. As for authors of cookbooks giving credit for a recipe when writing a book, it's a question of integrity, just as it is with blogging. Often there is no direct connection to the source to give credit to. But in this case I had just read Heidi's post and the way you wrote that thanks to the innovative Heidi we would all soon be using homemade bouillon at the beginning of your post, I felt that you were giving Heidi credit for inventing this recipe. Sorry that I misunderstood.

  15. Thanks Alana! I made this and it's very handy to have and I love that it's all fresh ingredients. I would probably halve the recipe next time unless I am giving it away to someone else because it makes a lot! Also, thank you for including weights of the ingredients. That is extremely helpful. And I agree with you that the fennel adds a great dimension to it.

  16. Definitely tempting! I've been using organic Marigold vegetable bouillon powder myself, but this sounds way to good for not trying it later this summer!

  17. Hi Alana
    Was wondering if you have any nutritional information for the bouillon? :)

  18. Hi Anonymous ~ At the small quantity used, it hardly counts. A teaspoon has only 2 calories. Go ahead, live a little, use a whole tablespoon. ;-)

  19. AnonymousMay 28, 2010

    Thanks so much for the recipe and detailed instructions!

    I had the same question as Anonymous, though not about calories... about sodium. So I did some rough math:
    250 g of salt is 98.25 g sodium. Over 168 servings (assuming 3 1/2 cups yield), that ends up being 584 mg sodium per cup of broth.

    By comparison, Better than Bouillon regular vegetable base has 680 (organic is 700) and their low sodium has 500.

    I hope that helps! I will definitely be trying this. :)

  20. Quick question for you Alanna! You said, "I adapted Heidi's recipe ... by figuring out how many leeks, carrots and other vegetables are needed to make [it]"

    Okay could you clue us in? Or am I just blind and not seeing it? Can you tell us how many leeks, carrots and other vegetables are needed?

    Thanks in advance!

  21. Love love LOVE this stuff. I gave some to my aunt who is a food snob and she was very impressed. I love to make roasted beets with it by peeling and chopping them then tossing them with a little olive oil, some water and a splash of red wine vinegar and adding a tablespoon or two of this to them. I also make my green beans with them, instead of using a ton of those little cubes.

  22. And 2 years later - we just finished the batch I made in 2010 (for my own Alanna) - so happy to find this recipe again - off to the farmer's market tomorrow

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  30. Just what I needed. Regarding how to say it, in fact, not boo-yon but much closer to boo-wee-on. The letters "oui" are pronounced wee (yes? mais oui). The final "on" is stopped before the N becomes audible, in the French way.

  31. I'd be happier without the salt, but I guess one could use Lo-Salt which is high potassium/low sodium. I am tempted to slice the ingredients up, without the salt, and dry it all in my dehydrator so it can be powdered in the coffee mill. I reckon that would last a very long while. Has anyone here done that?


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Thank you for taking a moment to write! I read each and every comment, for each and every recipe, whether a current recipe or a long-ago favorite. If you have a specific question, it's nearly always answered quick-quick. ~ Alanna