Do Bouillon Cubes Go Bad? – Full Analysis

by Charlie

Do bouillon cubes go bad? Yes, bouillon cubes can go bad. They do not go bad in the same sense as other foods do but they can spoil. Bouillon cubes can last for at least 1-2 years past expiration date, sometimes longer but the older they are, the more the flavor will deteriorate. 

One thing to note is that they are shelf-stable, which means that they can be stored at room temperature safely and are considered non-perishable.

How to Tell if Bouillon Cubes are Bad?

Bouillon cubes do not really go “bad” but it is more likely that they spoil. If they are exposed to air and water, they can become hard to dissolve, the flavor may become unpleasant-tasting, and darken in color. When they are not exposed to moisture, they are not affected by different microorganisms and bacteria that can cause the bouillon cubes to spoil.

Because of the spices, herbs, and dried meat in bouillon cubes, they can attract insects and other pests. Always check to see if there are any on your bouillon cubes before using them because if there are, they are contaminated and need to be thrown away. 

This is why you need to make sure that they are stored in a tightly sealed container and not left in a lidless container on the pantry shelf. Organic and low-sodium bouillon cubes are more prone to pests because of a lack of salt and preservatives.

Other signs include:

  • Changes in color or mold so if you see any white specks, throw them away.
  • If it does not smell right 
  • The taste is off and to check the taste, prepare a half cup of broth by using a half cup of boiling water and a fourth of the bouillon cube. If it tastes strange, it is spoiled so throw them away.

How Long Do Bouillon Cubes Last? Shelf Life [Chart]

Type of Bouillon CubesPantry
regular – opened or unopenedUp to 2 years past expiration date
HomemadeUp to 6 months

For those bouillon cubes that are low-salt or organic, they do not have the ingredients or preservatives that give such a long shelf life to regular bouillon cubes so their shelf life is generally shorter. The actual shelf life will vary between the manufacturers.

How Long Does Freshly Made Bouillon Last?

Unfortunately, it does not last very long. Freshly made bouillon that is made without any preservatives will only last about five days in the refrigerator. That doesn’t seem like a lot of time, especially since bouillon is supposed to be an easy ingredient that reconstitutes into full flavor chicken soup whenever you need it. 

But if you please keep the bouillon gelatin in the refrigerator or if you happen to add a preservative to the mixture, it will last for up to six months. On the other hand, factory made bouillon cubes can last up to two years if they are unopened and untampered with.

How to Store Bouillon Cubes

To get the optimal shelf life, you need to make sure that you are storing it properly. The most important thing to remember when storing them is to make sure that you keep them dry. They should be stored in a dry, cool place out of direct sunlight. If you can repackage the bouillon cubes you can help to extend their storage life.

It is advisable that if you have a food sealer to take the cubes and vacuum seal them or use Mylar bags. These types of bags offer greater protection against moisture. If you use a part of a bouillon cube, make sure that you wrap it in aluminum foil and put it back in the container or in an airtight bag to keep it safe from moisture and pests.

What Does the Packaged Date Mean for Bouillon Cubes? 

This is generally the date that it was packed, the expiration date, or the date it should be used by for the best flavor. It is also stating that after this date, the bouillon cubes should not be used. 

The truth is, they can be used long after the package date. After this date, the flavor may change or fade but they can usually still be used unless they have the tell-tale signs they are bad.

What are Bouillon Cubes?

Bouillon cubes are dehydrated stock or broth that is formed into a cube about a half-inch wide. They are usually made from meat stock, dehydrated vegetables, MSG, salt and other seasonings, and a small amount of fat. There are also vegan and vegetarian types. In addition to cubes, bouillon also comes in liquid, granular, or powdered form.

They are used for making broth for gravies, soups, and sauces. They are also used to add flavor to different dishes. Bouillon cubes are one of the most powerful and flavorful ingredients and they are used in every type of food that calls for chicken broth or stock. One of the biggest issues with stock or broth is how little flavor it has. But volume, no matter if it is pork, chicken, or these, is always filled with flavor and packed with more nutrients than stock or broth.

You can find them in flavors like beef, turkey, chicken, vegetable, or fish.

Can You Make Freshly Made Bouillon?

Yes, but it will not be a perfect bouillon cube. It will be more like a jello or a thick sauce. Although it sounds like a very time-consuming process, if you have the dedication and the patience, you can create homemade bouillon cubes or gelatin that is made just to your liking. It is relatively simple but It will just take a lot of time. 

The first thing you must do is select the type of broth you want to make. Do you want to make chicken, fish, pork, or beef? You can also make lamb or buffalo if you have the ingredients. Once you decide on the type of stock you want to create, please the meat, along with its bones, inside a pot and cover the meat with water. 

Make sure it is completely submerged, and there is no part of the meat or bone sticking out. Allow it to come to a boil and then skim off any excess fat that blows to the top. Once you skim off the fat, lower the heat to a small simmer and allow the meat to cook for several hours

A gallon of cooked bones and meat will be reduced down to just one cup. If you want to, you can keep producing it until it turns thick and gelatinous.

Conclusion

  • Moisture, like condensation, and humidity can cause bouillon cubes to become crumbly and sticky.
  • One reason that they have a long shelf life is due to their high percentage of salt. 
  • You can make freshly made bouillon, but it will not be an easily crafted square of flavor.
  • In order to create a bouillon, you must take the chicken, beef, fish, lamb, or bison, and allow it to boil in a pot for many hours until it becomes thick.
  • You can create freshly made bouillon, but it will take a long time.
  • Because they are dehydrated and have no water in them, it is not necessary to keep them in the refrigerator or freezer.
  • Once you rehydrate a bouillon cube using some type of liquid, the shelf life of the broth is four to five days and has to be refrigerated.

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