Skip to Content

What is chicken base seasoning?

Chicken base seasoning is a highly concentrated paste or liquid made from chicken meat, bones, and or vegetables that is used to enhance the flavor of dishes, soups, gravies, and sauces. Some key things to know about chicken base seasoning include:

Types of Chicken Base

There are two main types of chicken base – paste and liquid:

  • Chicken base paste – This is a thick, concentrated paste usually made from cooked chicken meat, bones, vegetables, and seasoning. It often contains chicken fat and gelatin from bones. The paste is shelf-stable and dissolves easily in liquids.
  • Liquid chicken base – Also known as chicken broth base or chicken bouillon base. This is a concentrated liquid made from chicken stock that has been cooked down to reduce water content. It has a gelatinous, viscous texture. Liquid bases often contain chicken fat, yeast extract, and hydrolized vegetable protein.

Both paste and liquid chicken bases are meant to be diluted before use. They have an intense chicken flavor and are salty, so only a small amount is needed to add flavor to dishes.

Ingredients in Chicken Base

While ingredients vary between brands, chicken base typically contains some or all of the following:

  • Cooked chicken meat – This provides savory chicken flavor.
  • Chicken bones and cartilage – Provide gelatin, body, and richness.
  • Chicken fat or oil – Adds moistness and carries chicken flavor.
  • Vegetables like carrots, onion, celery – Add sweetness and depth.
  • Herbs and spices – Common seasonings include parsley, garlic, black pepper.
  • Yeast extract or hydrolized vegetable protein – Used in liquid bases to mimic meaty, savory flavor.
  • Salt – For seasoning and preservation.
  • Natural flavorings – Includes flavors extracted from foods like vegetables, meat, seafood.
  • Preservatives – Help extend shelf life. Common preservatives are potassium sorbate and sodium benzoate.

Higher quality chicken bases focus on chicken meat while lower quality ones use more fillers and flavor replacements. Reading the ingredients list can determine the quality of a chicken base product.

How Chicken Base is Made

There are a few main steps to making chicken base:

  1. Simmer the chicken – Chicken meat, bones, and vegetables are simmered together for several hours to extract flavor, gelatin, and fat.
  2. Strain and separate – The solids are strained out from the cooking liquid. The strained liquid is chicken broth.
  3. Reduce the broth – The broth is boiled rapidly to evaporate water content, making a rich, concentrated chicken stock.
  4. Blend in fat and thickeners – Chicken fat, starch or gums may be blended in to give the base a thick, paste-like texture.
  5. Add seasonings and preservatives – Salt, spices, yeast extract, and preservatives are added for flavor and shelf stability.
  6. Pasteurize – The base is pasteurized by heating to a high temperature to kill bacteria before packaging.

The entire process results in a flavorful chicken base that can be easily diluted into all kinds of recipes.

Benefits of Chicken Base

Chicken base offers several advantages over fresh chicken stock:

  • Convenience – Chicken base lasts for over a year and is ready to use. Fresh stock only lasts a week.
  • Saves time – Making stock from scratch takes hours of simmering. Base can provide instant chicken flavor.
  • Space saving – Base takes up minimal storage space compared to cartons of fresh stock.
  • Versatility – Base can be used to add flavor in many dishes beyond soup and sauces.
  • Intense flavor – The cooked down chicken flavor is much more intense than fresh chicken broth.
  • Easy transport – Base is portable in jars or tubes for easy use while camping or traveling.

For these reasons, many cooks keep chicken base on hand as a flavor boosting shortcut.

How to Use Chicken Base

Chicken base is easy to incorporate into recipes:

  • Soups and stews – Whisk a teaspoon to a tablespoon into simmering liquids.
  • Sauces and gravies – Whisk into pan drippings to make quick gravy. Mix into cream or cheese sauces.
  • Casseroles and rice – Stir chicken base into cooking liquid to infuse rice or casseroles.
  • Vegetables – Whisk a little into vegetable cooking water for added flavor.
  • Meat dishes – Mix with breadcrumbs or batters to coat chicken, fish, etc before cooking.
  • Salad dressings – Whisk a teaspoon into vinaigrette or creamy dressings.

Start with 1 teaspoon per 1 cup of liquid. Adjust to taste, as broth bases are very concentrated.

Substituting Chicken Broth for Chicken Base

To substitute chicken broth for chicken base:

  • 1 teaspoon chicken base = 1 cup chicken broth
  • 1 tablespoon chicken base = 1 cup chicken broth

So for every teaspoon or tablespoon of base called for, use 1 cup of regular chicken broth instead. The flavor won’t be quite as intense, but it will still work.

To substitute chicken base for chicken broth:

  • 1 cup chicken broth = 1 teaspoon chicken base
  • 1 cup chicken broth = 1 tablespoon chicken base

Use small amounts of base to replace larger amounts of broth. You may need to reduce other seasoning or salt in the recipe since base is very concentrated.

Shelf Life and Storage

Unopened chicken base paste or liquid will last 1 to 2 years past the printed expiration date if stored properly.

Once opened, it’s best to use chicken bases within:

  • Paste base – 3 to 4 months
  • Liquid base – 6 months

For maximum freshness and shelf life:

  • Refrigerate after opening.
  • Keep tube or jar lids tightly sealed.
  • Use clean utensils each time to avoid contamination.
  • Do not return unused portions back into the original container.

Discard if you notice any mold, off odors, or sour taste after opening.

Popular Brands

Some top chicken base brands include:

Brand Details
Better Than Bouillon Paste and liquid bases made with chicken, vegetables, and seasonings. No MSG added.
Knorr Paste, liquid, and granular chicken bases. MSG-free options available.
Rituals All-natural chicken base in a tube. Made with chicken meat and bones only.
Massel Paste and liquid chicken bases. Includes an organic, non-GMO option.
Savory Choice Chicken bouillon base sold in liquid, cubes, and dissolvable granules.

Shop for chicken base in the soup, broth, or sauce aisles at most major grocery stores. Restaurant supply stores also carry chicken bases in bulk.

Food Safety

Chicken bases made by reputable brands are generally safe. However, here are some good food safety practices when using chicken base:

  • Wash hands before and after handling.
  • Use clean utensils each time.
  • Store opened chicken base in the refrigerator.
  • Discard bases if mold appears or you notice an off smell or flavor.
  • Bring sauces, soups, etc. containing chicken base to a full boil when reheating.

Avoid giving chicken base to those with chicken allergies, as it contains chicken proteins. Those with MSG sensitivity may also want to choose MSG-free options.

Homemade Chicken Base

It’s easy to make homemade chicken base:


  • Chicken bones/carcass and meat scraps
  • Vegetables like carrot, celery, onion (optional)
  • Fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, bay leaf (optional)
  • Whole black peppercorns (optional)
  • Salt


  1. Simmer bones, meat, vegetables, and seasonings in water for 2-4 hours.
  2. Strain out the solids, reserving cooking liquid.
  3. Return liquid to pot and simmer rapidly until reduced by half or more.
  4. Add salt to taste.
  5. Cool completely then refrigerate or freeze.

The result is a concentrated homemade chicken base. Use within 4-5 days or freeze for longer storage.


Chicken base is a versatile, flavor-boosting ingredient made by simmering chicken components into a highly concentrated, savory paste or liquid. Look for chicken base near broth and soup at grocery stores or make it yourself. Use small amounts to add instant chicken flavor to all kinds of recipes. Refrigerate after opening and use within 3-6 months for best quality. With its long shelf life and portability, chicken base is a handy staple for quick, delicious meals.