Bouillon cube

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Bouillon Cubes
Various bouillon cubes.
Place of originEither England or France
Main ingredientsDehydrated broth or stock, dehydrated vegetables, fat, MSG, salt, seasonings
The granulated form

A bouillon cube /ˈbjɒn/ (Canada and US) or stock cube (Australia, Ireland, New Zealand, South Africa and UK) or broth cube (Philippines) is dehydrated bouillon (French for broth) or stock formed into a small cube about 13 mm (12 in) wide. It is typically made from dehydrated vegetables, meat stock, a small portion of fat, MSG, salt, and seasonings, shaped into a small cube. Vegetarian and vegan types are also made. Bouillon is also available in granular, powdered, or liquid form.


Dehydrated meat stock, in the form of tablets, was known in the 17th century to English food writer Anne Blencowe, who died in 1718,[1] and elsewhere as early as 1735.[2] Various French cooks in the early 19th century (Lefesse, Massué, and Martin) tried to patent bouillon cubes and tablets, but were turned down for lack of originality.[3] Nicolas Appert also proposed such dehydrated bouillon in 1831.

In the mid-19th century, German chemist Justus von Liebig developed meat extract, but it was more expensive than bouillon cubes.

The invention of the bouillon cube is also attributed to Auguste Escoffier, one of the most accomplished French chefs of his time, who also pioneered many other advances in food preservation, such as the canning of tomatoes and vegetables. [4]

Industrially produced bouillon cubes were commercialized by Maggi in 1908, by Oxo in 1910, and by Knorr in 1912. By 1913, at least 10 brands were available, with salt contents of 59–72%.[5]


The general ingredients for a stock cube are: salt, hydrogenated fat, monosodium glutamate, flavor enhancers, and flavors.[6]

Production process[edit]

Contrary to popular belief,[dubious ] stock cubes are not made by “drying out stock”, but by mixing already dry ingredients into a paste. The ingredients are usually mixed in a container (batch mixing), left to mature, and then shaped into the cube form. Alternatively, they can be mixed directly into an extruder.[7]

In China[edit]

A granulated chicken bouillon selection in a supermarket in Haikou, Hainan, China. Note how most are designed to resemble the Knorr brand.

A common cooking ingredient in China is granulated chicken bouillon. It is very similar to Aromat and is generally sold in packages that appear like the Knorr brand, using a yellow with green color scheme on the packaging.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Joan Thirsk, ‘Blencowe , Anne, Lady Blencowe (1656–1718)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, Oct 2005; online edn, Jan 2007 accessed 17 Nov 2016
  2. ^ Vincent La Chapelle, Le cuisinier moderne, as cited in Davis
  3. ^ Jennifer Davis, Defining Culinary Authority: The Transformation of Cooking in France, 1650-1830, Louisiana State University Press, 2013, p. 154f
  4. ^ Auguste Escoffier: Founder of Modern Cuisine; online
  5. ^ Cook, F. C. (1913). "Bouillon Cubes". Journal of Industrial & Engineering Chemistry. 5 (12): 989. doi:10.1021/ie50060a009.
  6. ^
  7. ^