Chicken base is a staple in my house. I use it to flavor rice, pasta, and so many other dishes. But sometimes I run out or don’t have any on hand. That’s when these 12 chicken base substitutes come in handy!
The good news is, no matter what you’re cooking, there’s a chicken base substitute that will work. From bouillon cubes to store-bought broths, these substitutes will give your dish the flavor it needs.
So don’t let a lack of chicken base stop you from making your favorite recipe. You may just find that some of these substitutes are already in your pantry for a quick and easy replacement.
RELATED: Get a FREE trial of Amazon Prime to get access to free grocery deliveries!
What Is Chicken Base?
In the kitchen, there are certain ingredients that can really add an extra boost of flavor to any dish.
One such ingredient is chicken base.
But what exactly is chicken base?
Essentially, chicken base is a concentrated form of chicken that is used as a flavoring agent in various dishes. It is made by cooking down chicken bones, chicken meat, and vegetables. After that, everything is pureed into a thick paste known as chicken base paste.
Chicken base is a great way to add flavors to stews, braises, and sauces.
However, chicken base is not to be confused with chicken stock or chicken broth, which are liquid forms of chicken flavoring while the chicken base is more of a solid paste.
Why Use Chicken Base?
The main benefit of using chicken base is it allows people to add rich and concentrated chicken flavor without added liquid.
And since it can last for months in its shelf-stable form, it’s a great ingredient for adding depth to homemade dishes.
However, we know that chicken base may not be as much of a staple as other ingredients in your pantry, so keep reading because we’re sharing the best chicken base substitutes.
What Are the Best Chicken Base Substitutes?
Sure you can make your own chicken base, but for those of you in a rush, here are some of our favorite chicken base substitutes to use in a pinch!
Chicken bouillon is a great chicken base substitute because it is another concentrated form of chicken flavor that is similar to chicken base.
Essentially, chicken bouillon is a dehydrated chicken stock. It can come in either a powder form or pressed into a small bouillon cube form. In fact, I knew of chicken bouillon cubes long before I knew of chicken base paste!
Chicken bouillons is my top chicken base substitute for stews and sauces.
To substitute chicken base for chicken bouillon, use a small cube of bouillon for every teaspoon of chicken base to retain the rich flavor of your dish.
What’s the Difference Between Chicken Base and Chicken Bouillon?
Chicken base is concentrated chicken stock made into a paste. Chicken Bouillon is dehydrated chicken stock made into powder or pressed powder cubes.
Chicken broth is a great chicken base substitute for soups. Like chicken bouillon, chicken broth will lend a nice chicken flavor to your dish. But since chicken broth is liquid, it is an especially good substitute as a chicken soup base.
Chicken broth is made by roasting or boiling the chicken meat, sometimes with vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions. It can also be seasoned with salt, pepper, garlic, bay leaves, and other seasonings depending on what you like in your chicken broth.
You can make your own broth or buy it from your local grocery store.
To substitute chicken base with chicken broth, keep in mind that 1 cup of chicken broth equals 1/2 teaspoon of chicken base + 1 cup of water.
Just like chicken broth, chicken stock is another great substitute for chicken base, especially for soups like chicken noodle soup.
For those of you wondering, here’s the difference between chicken broth and chicken stock: chicken stock is typically made from chicken bones and water, while chicken broth uses water and the meat of the chicken as its main ingredient.
In cooking, however, chicken broth and chicken stock are often interchangeable. Chicken stock is an easy way to substitute chicken base in soupy recipes.
You can easily buy it in a grocery store or make your own (I love making my own chicken stock whenever I buy whole chicken – just cook the meat for dishes and use the bones to make stock).
To substitute chicken base with chicken stock, keep in mind that 1 cup of chicken stock equals 1/2 teaspoon of chicken base + 1 cup of water.
Chicken salt seasoning is a great chicken base substitute for dishes that don’t need a ton of extra liquid.
My favorite is the JADA spices chicken salt and you can add this seasoning to add chicken flavor to your dish.
Plus, chicken salt is shelf-stable and can be found in convenient online retailers like Amazon.
Vegetable base is a concentrated form of vegetables that is used as a seasoning or flavoring in food.
It is made by cooking vegetables down to a thick paste and can be used in place of chicken base.
Vegetable base is a good substitute for chicken base because it has the same consistency, though it will not feature that extra flavor of the chicken.
To substitute chicken base with vegetable base, you can use a 1:1 ratio.
Vegetable Stock & Vegetable Broth
Vegetable stock and vegetable broths make for vegan-friendly substitutes for chicken base in soupy recipes.
Vegetable stock is made by roasting or boiling vegetables like carrots, celery, and onions and sold in cartons in liquid form.
It can also be seasoned with salt, pepper, onion powder garlic, bay leaves, and other seasonings depending on the brand of vegetable stock you buy (or make!).
This is an especially popular option for people looking to cook without using chicken.
To substitute chicken base with vegetable stock or broth, keep in mind that 1 cup of vegetable stock or broth equals 1/2 teaspoon of chicken base + 1 cup of water.
Similar to chicken base, beef base is a concentrated flavoring made from beef that is used to make soups and sauces.
As far as consistency goes, beef base ties with vegetable base as the best substitute for chicken base. However, it will have different flavor profiles as it’s made from beef instead of chicken and works best for dishes that are not dependent on the chicken flavor.
You can typically substitute chicken base with beef base on a 1:1 ratio.
If you’re not strict on highlighting the chicken flavor, you can even use beef stock or beef broth as chicken base substitutes in soupy recipes.
The thing to remember with beef stock or beef broth is it does come as liquids often sold in cartons, so you may find it works best for soups. You can also make your own stock and broth.
To substitute chicken base with beef stock or broth, keep in mind that 1 cup of beef stock or broth equals 1/2 teaspoon of chicken base + 1 cup of water.
Aquafaba is the liquid that is in a can of chickpeas.
Surprisingly, it makes for a great chicken base substitute for vegetarians or those who are looking to make an otherwise chicken-flavored dish without using chicken.
Aquafaba is used as a binding agent in many recipes, so it will help to thicken your dish as well.
To use aquafaba as a chicken base substitute, you will want to reduce it so that it is concentrated.
This can be done by seasoning it with salt and simmering it on the stove until it has reduced by half. Once it has been reduced, you can use it like you would chicken base.
Omit the Chicken Base
Technically, you can omit the chicken base altogether for recipes like stews, sauces, other non-soupy recipes where you don’t need the flavor profile of the chicken.
This substitution works best for dishes that are already well-seasoned apart from the chicken base called for in the recipe.
As a rule of thumb, try the other chicken base substitutes first before omitting them completely.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are some common questions about chicken base and its substitutes:
Is Chicken Broth the Same as Chicken Base?
While both are made from chicken, chicken broth is a liquid while chicken base is a paste.
Chicken broth tends to have a lighter taste while the concentrated flavors of the chicken base make it best for adding richer flavor to dishes.
While liquid chicken stock and chicken broth are best for soups, chicken base is best for stews, casseroles, and sauces where you don’t want to add too much liquid.
Is Chicken Broth Base the Same as Chicken Bouillon Cubes?
No, chicken broth base and chicken bouillon cubes are two different things that you can buy at your local supermarket.
Chicken base is a concentrated form of chicken broth that is reduced down to a paste. You simply add the desired amount of water to chicken base to get the consistency that you want.
Chicken bouillon is chicken broth that is dehydrated so that it is a powder left.
You can simply add water to reconstitute it to chicken broth, or add the powder directly to your dish to add great flavor without extra liquid.
Looking for Easy Chicken Recipes to Make?
- Qdoba Grilled Chicken Copycat Recipe
- Applebee’s Cedar Grilled Lemon Chicken Copycat Recipe
- Copycat Applebee’s Bourbon Street Chicken and Shrimp
- Extra Crispy Chicken Cutlet Recipe (Easy & Delicious)
- Cheesecake Factory Chicken Carbonara Recipe
- Easy Raising Cane’s Chicken Fingers & Sauce Copycat Recipe
- Extra Crispy Air Fryer Karaage (Japanese Fried Chicken)
- Restaurant-Style Dragon Chicken (Easy & Delicious)
- Instant Pot Chicken Wild Rice Soup (GF, DF)
- Easy Chicken Pad Thai with Crushed Peanuts
- Instant Pot Mongolian Chicken
- Easy Chicken Curry (GF, DF)
- Authentic Chicken Pulao Recipe
- Best Rub for Smoked Chicken Thighs (Storebought + Homemade)
- 5 Best Bone Broths To Buy (+ Homemade Bone Broth Recipe)