10 Tomato Bouillon Substitutes [+ Recipes]

Have you ever used tomato bouillon to make soups and chilis? If so, then you know how powerful it can be!

Tomato bouillon adds the perfect balance of flavor with just one, simple ingredient. So how can you get that same great taste when you are out of tomato bouillon? I can help!

After running out of my favorite soup ingredient, tomato bouillon, one too many times, I knew I needed to find a perfect substitute.

Luckily, there are quite a few ways to replace tomato bouillon and still get the rich flavor you need.

The best substitute for tomato bouillon in soup recipes is chicken broth. Use tomato flakes to replace tomato bouillon when the bouillon is used as a dry seasoning. Dry tomato flakes are a perfect way to add tomato flavor when you do not have tomato bouillon on hand. 

Best Substitutes For Tomato Bouillon

Tomato bouillon is very often used to make soup and dishes with rice, especially Mexican style rice. For those following a vegetarian diet, below we included best substitutes for tomato bouillon that you can use to fit your vegetarian diet.

1. Chicken Bouillon

Chicken bouillon is a great substitute for tomato bouillon. It is made with almost the exact same ingredients. Tomato bouillon just has a little bit more tomato! 

Chicken bouillon

Chicken bouillon can be used just as you would use tomato bouillon. The same quantity of chicken bouillon will work wonderfully to flavor your soups.

2. Chicken BrothBest Substitute for Tomato Bouillon in Soup Recipes

Bouillon is used in soups to add a rich, broth flavor. It is typically added to plain water to create the broth for the soup. 

Replace the tomato bouillon and also the water in your recipe with the same quantity of chicken broth. Using chicken broth in place of water and bouillon will give you a very delicious soup with a perfect flavor. 

Add a splash of tomato puree, if you’d like, to get that delicious taste. 

Try making your own chicken broth using your slow cooker. It is super easy to do and makes a very flavorful broth, unlike any you could buy in the grocery store. Here is what you do

  • Add the bones from one whole roasted chicken, two stalks of celery, two carrots, one chopped onion, three garlic cloves, half a cup of parsley, ¼ cup of thyme and two bay leaves to the bowl of a slow cooker. 
  • Add 12 cups of water.
  • Cover your slow cooker and set the temperature to “low”
  • Let the broth cook for 8-10 hours. 
  • Strain the broth and discard all the ingredients, leaving behind only the chicken broth. 
  • Store in the fridge for a week or the freezer for up to three months. 
Chicken broth

If you want even more detailed directions on making homemade chicken broth to replace tomato bouillon, use this recipe from Natasha’s Kitchen.

3. Chicken Stock

Chicken stock is a little different from chicken broth. Chicken stock is made by boiling chicken bones and herbs.

Chicken broth is made from cooking chicken meat and vegetables. Both chicken stock and chicken broth are flavorful substitutes for tomato bouillon. 

Use chicken stock to replace tomato bouillon and water in your soup recipe. The same quantity of chicken stock will work perfectly in place of the water. Your soup will be very delicious!

4. Beef Broth

Most tomato bouillon cubes are made with chicken. However, beef can be a good substitute. 

Using beef broth in place of tomato bouillon will give your soups a hearty, earthier taste. 

Beef Broth

Replace your tomato bouillon and the water in your soup recipe with the same quantity of beef broth. If your soup uses four cups water and one tomato bouillon cube, four cups of beef broth can be used instead.

5. Vegetable Broth

Substitute tomato bouillon in soup recipes for vegetable broth. This will keep that veggie flavor and also make your soups completely vegetarian. 

Tomato bouillon does contain chicken. Anything made with tomato bouillon, therefore, is not vegetarian-friendly.

Using vegetable broth in place of tomato bouillon makes your soups tasty and vegetarian. 

Vegetable Broth

Replace the water and tomato bouillon in your recipe with the same quantity of vegetable broth.

6. Tomato Sauce – Great Alternative for Vegetarians

Tomato bouillon has a rich, tomato flavor. You can get that same taste using tomato sauce. Choose a tomato sauce that is smooth so that it does not change the texture of your recipe. 

Tomato Sauce

Replace the tomato bouillon and water in your recipe with half tomato sauce and half water. Tomato sauce can be quite thick so water is needed to thin it out.

This will give you the flavor and consistency you would get when blending tomato bouillon and water.

7. Tomato Paste

Use about a tablespoon of tomato paste to replace one tomato bouillon cube. The strong tomato flavor will still be there but without the possibility of added chicken. Tomato paste is a great substitute for tomato bouillon!

8. Salsa – Great Substitute In Rice Recipes

Skip the tomato bouillon in your Mexican rice recipe and use salsa instead. Salsa will give you a rich tomato taste and add delicious seasonings as well.

Choose a mild, spicy or medium style salsa to make your rice suit your personal preferences. 


If your recipe asks for water, broth and bouillon, replace all of these ingredients with the same quantity of salsa. This easy, no-cook salsa from Skinnytaste works great!

9. Tomato Flakes

Tomato bouillon granules are often added to rice like a spice. This gives your rice dish a nice herby, vegetable flavor. 

If you do not have tomato bouillon on hand, replace it with dry tomato flakes. Tomato flakes are simply dehydrated tomatoes.

They are very flavorful and can be sprinkled into your rice just like tomato bouillon! 

Use the same quantity of dried tomato flakes as you would use tomato bouillon granules.

10. Extra Seasonings

Tomato bouillon adds a rich, spicy taste to the rice. Adding some extra seasonings to your rice recipe can work if you do not have tomato bouillon granules on hand. 

spices and seasonings

If your recipe asks for one teaspoon of bouillon, use one teaspoon of extra seasonings. Stick to the spices and seasonings that are already in your recipe and increase them. You will still get a very flavorful dish!

What Is Bouillon?

Bouillon is a type of dehydrated broth or stock. It is made by dehydrating seasonings, vegetables, and meats.

When the ingredients are dehydrated, the flavor becomes concentrated and very powerful. 

Bouillon is often used in place of broth or stocks in soup recipes. Simply use water and a little bouillon to get the great taste you are looking for no broth or stock is needed! 

Bouillon is considered a very economical way to flavor recipes. It tends to be pretty cheap and a little bit goes a long way!

Ingredients In Tomato Bouillon

The majority of tomato bouillons that you find in stores are made with a chicken base. While you can make your own homemade tomato bouillon that is vegetarian, most will have chicken.

The most popular brands, like Knorr Bouillon Caldo de Tomate, are always made with chicken. 

Here are the most common ingredients used to make tomato bouillon:

  •  Salt
  • Corn Starch
  • Sugar
  • Tomato Powder
  • Chicken
  • Turmeric 
  • Garlic
  • Onion

Store-bought tomato bouillon usually has preservatives and natural flavors added as well. Homemade tomato bouillon may have other herbs and spices depending on the recipe you use. 

Keep these basic flavors in mind when considering a tomato bouillon replacement. These are the tastes that you will be trying to replicate! Think “classic Italian” ingredients and you should be on the right track.

What To Make With Tomato Bouillon?

You can use tomato bouillon to make Mexican rice, tomato soup, hot sauce, slow cooker fajitas, or to add flavor to your favorite salsa.

Final Considerations

There are quite a few great ways to replace tomato bouillon in your recipes. Whether you are making Mexican-style rice or a tomato-based soup, there is surely a great ingredient on this list to replace tomato bouillon in your recipe! 

Give these substitutes a try and let us know which works best for you. I have definitely used these tomato bouillon substitutes a time or two! They all definitely have their perks. Enjoy. 

Leave a Comment