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bouillon cubes on wooden table, top view

We’ve all been there: browsing broths and stocks in the grocery aisle, wondering about those curious cubes and inexpensive soup bases called bouillon.

These tempting shortcuts promise a quick and easy fix to add a depth of flavor to sauces, soups, stews, and gravies. But they likely leave you with more questions, like:

What is chicken bouillon? What’s the difference between bouillon vs. broth? And, more importantly, is bouillon healthy?

We all know the importance of nourishing our bodies with real, whole foods. However, bouillon — a clever bone broth doppelganger — isn’t the hero your kitchen needs.

So, let’s clear the murky confusion and explore why bone broth reigns supreme in more ways than one.

WHAT IS BOUILLON?

Bouillon (pronounced bool-yaan) is the French word for “broth.” 

This concentrated flavoring product is made by dehydrating stock or broth into a powder. Once rehydrated with water, bouillon dissolves and becomes a liquid that can be used in any recipe calling for seasoned broth or stock.

So, can you substitute bouillon for stock? Technically, yes. But it’s worth noting:

THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN BOUILLON VS. STOCK VS. BROTH

Here’s a quick rundown:

STOCK: THE BASIC BUILDING BLOCK 

Stock is primarily made from animal bones, vegetables, and herbs. It’s minimally seasoned with salt and pepper and simmered briefly, resulting in the lightest, subtlest flavor profile.

BROTH: A MORE FLAVORFUL VERSION WITH A MEATY PRESENCE

Broth has a moderate flavor because it typically contains meat, vegetables, and herbs. It’s more seasoned and also simmered longer (between one to four hours).

BOUILLON: THE INSTANT FIX

Bouillon was invented in Europe during the early 1900s to replace homemade broth for consumers seeking an inexpensive, premade, shelf-stable option.[*

This “instant” dehydrated broth comes in two primary forms:

  • BOUILLON CUBES. The most common type of bouillon, the dehydrated stock is pressed into small, hard cubes. One cube + one cup of hot water usually makes one cup of broth.
  • GRANULATED BOUILLON OR BOUILLON POWDER. Instead of being shaped into a cube, bouillon powder allows you to measure out the exact amount you need and adjust the strength of your broth flavor.

Both types of bouillon will last up to two years when stored properly.[*]

💡 Fun fact: Knorr sells 600 bouillon cubes per second globally![*]

BONE BROTH: A TIME-HONORED WELLNESS ELIXIR

Bone broth has nourished our ancestors for millennia. It’s made by simmering animal bones and vegetables or herbs in water for a very long time (12-48 hours).

This extended simmering extracts a high amount of collagen and other health-boosting nutrients from the bones, resulting in a thicker, richer broth. 

As the most flavorful option, bone broth can be enjoyed on its own or used in your favorite recipes.

SO, WHAT DOES BOUILLON TASTE LIKE?

Like the difference between beef vs. chicken bone broth, each type of bouillon (beef, chicken, vegetable, etc.) lends itself to a different flavored base. Beef is usually stronger, chicken more mild, and vegetable the lightest in terms of flavor.

While they all impart a salty, umami savoriness, this concentrated flavor can taste a bit artificial and lack the complexity and nuance of a well-made broth.

Why? Because bouillon can be made with either real meat or a process called acid hydrolysis, which extracts “meaty” flavors from wheat.[*]

Bouillon packaging doesn't always state which production method was used, and ingredients like “beef flavor” or “chicken flavor” don't guarantee that real meat was part of the process. 

Since bone broth is made with a much more limited, whole-food ingredient list and simmers for quite a while, it develops a deep, layered flavor profile most people prefer.

🤔 What does bone broth taste like? Discover the answer and how to make bone broth taste better here.


So, is beef bouillon the same as beef broth or bone broth when it comes to your health?

HERE’S WHAT MAKES BONE BROTH HEALTHIER THAN BOUILLON

Bone broth knocks bouillon out of the park because:

BONE BROTH ALIGNS WITH A CLEAN EATING PHILOSOPHY

The best bone broth contains natural, whole-food ingredients our ancestors have trusted for generations. Grass-fed beef, chicken, salt, apple cider vinegar, vegetables, spices — these all support a clean diet free of artificial ingredients.

Pick up most bouillon or beef bouillon substitutes, and you’ll see less-than-stellar ingredients for your health. These ingredients bulk, extend shelf life, and enhance flavor, such as:

  • Palm oil and hydrogenated palm oil
  • Monosodium glutamate (MSG)
  • Sugar and corn syrup solids
  • Wheat gluten
  • Hydrolyzed corn protein
  • Hydrolyzed soy protein
  • Soy lecithin
  • Anti-caking agents
  • Artificial flavors
  • Artificial colors (yellow 5, yellow 6, red 40, etc.)
  • Bioengineered food ingredients (i.e., GMO foods)

This laundry list of suspect ingredients is standard practice, and it explains why it’s so difficult to find non-GMO, soy-free, sugar-free, Whole30, gluten-free bouillon.

BONE BROTH CONTAINS COLLAGEN

Bone broth packs the highest source of dietary collagen. Collagen is the most abundant protein in your body, but our stores of it dwindle as we age.[*

Getting more collagen from a whole foods diet actually ignites your body’s internal collagen production factory. You can make and have more collagen to keep your joints, skin, gut health, and the lining of your digestive tract in optimal shape.[*]

💪 Bone Broth vs. Collagen Peptides: Which Is Better for You?

BONE BROTH ALSO CONTAINS GELATIN

Properly made bone broth forms a jelly-like substance called gelatin when cooled. Gelatin makes collagen easier for your body to use. It may also:[*][*][*]

  • Support healthy digestion
  • Soothe and repair your gut lining to prevent or treat leaky gut syndrome
  • Relieve gastrointestinal symptoms from IBS, IBD, SIBO, ulcerative colitis, food intolerances, and more
  • Act as a prebiotic to enhance the growth of good bacteria and encourage a healthy gut microbiome

💛 Could your gut use a reset? A bone broth cleanse may be the perfect holistic solution!

BONE BROTH DELIVERS ESSENTIAL AMINO ACIDS

Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Bone broth contains nearly 20 amino acids, and more than half of them are essential amino acids we must get from our diets.[*] These support muscle growth, repair, optimal digestion, and other critical tasks.[*]

BONE BROTH SUPPORTS JOINT HEALTH

The older we get, the less glucosamine, chondroitin, and hyaluronic acid (GAGs) we have.[*] This translates to stiffer joints and mobility trouble.

Good news? Bone broth can give you a leg up in the GAGs department to help you:[*][*][*][*]

  • Decrease joint pain and stiffness
  • Make more synovial fluid (the lube that keeps your joints from creaking or locking up)
  • Improve flexibility and mobility
  • Support overall joint health

GAGs aren’t the only superhero for your joint health. The collagen in bone broth can also help your joints jump for joy.

In one study, supplementing with just 5 grams of collagen significantly reduced knee pain, joint pain during walking and at rest, joint stiffness, and movement restriction.[*] PS: Our bone broth offers 10 grams of collagen protein per serving!

A different study revealed that chicken bone broth increased bone mineral density and bone volume/tissue volume to slow osteoporosis progression.[*]

🐶 Want to support your fur bestie’s joint health and mobility too? Check out the science behind bone broth for dogs next.

Bouillon can’t hold a candle to the nutritional powerhouse that is bone broth. But that doesn’t mean you need to spend hours in the kitchen making your own. You don’t even need to keep bulky boxes or heavy jars of bone broth on hand.

INSTANT BONE BROTH: THE BEST OF BOTH WORLDS ✨

Our Instant Bone Broth “rip sticks” combine the convenience of bouillon with the health benefits of bone broth!

Simple goodness, no compromises. Our grass-fed beef bone broth and chicken bone broth are simmered to perfection using only the highest-quality non-GMO ingredients, classic stock-making techniques, and a crazy attention to detail. 

To make our Instant Bone Broth, we just dehydrate and hydrolyze that golden elixir into a powder. Rip open a perfectly-portioned individual stick, mix quickly and easily with hot water, and voila!

You can use our Instant Bone Broth like you’d use bouillon (without any of the junk you don’t want!). From extra seasoning to meal bases, our Beef, Chicken, Ramen, Lemon Ginger, and Thai Coconut flavors will elevate all your culinary creations!

💙 Spice up your tacos, wings, meatballs, sides, and more crave-worthy recipes with bone broth!

ANOTHER PERK? IT’S A SIPPABLE CRAVING CRUSHER!

When you start to experience the health benefits of drinking bone broth every day, it will soon become a cherished wellness routine. But stashing bone broth in your gym bag or at your desk? Not super easy.

Our portable, travel-ready Instant Bone Broths solve this dilemma!

Whole30, gluten-free, and keto-friendly, each “rip stick” packs 10 grams of collagen protein to keep you energized and satiated throughout the day.

Mix one up when you’re feeling peckish for a tasty, low-carb super snack that conquers afternoon or late-night cravings with every sip!

WHAT’S ACTUALLY BETTER THAN BOUILLON? BONE BROTH! 🙌

Bouillon was invented to slash the expense and time it takes to craft well-made bone broth. However, its processing and questionable ingredients may do so at the cost of your own health.

So ditch the bouillon and take your holistic nutrition to the next level with our Instant Bone Broth. Experience this time-honored wellness recipe as it was meant to be — nourishing, restorative, delicious, and now, super convenient!

Our mission at Bare Bones is to meet you where you are and nourish you with real, whole-food-based nutrients in the form that best fits your lifestyle. 🔑 Unlock the ancestral power of bone broth and start sipping your way to a healthier, glowing you!