Top choices in chicken broths

Poultry flavor is key, but beware sodium levels

Published: September 2013

Knorr Homestyle Stock

What’s more “vanilla” than chicken broth? And yet, our experts found that not all taste alike. Not all come in the usual liquid form, either. The best in our tests is Knorr Homestyle Chicken Stock, a concentrated gel that you can use as a rub, add to dishes, or dissolve in hot water to create a broth. It’s also a CR Best Buy. It has strong chicken flavor and no off-tastes.

Most of the broths have moderate chicken flavor; have some onion, carrot, and celery flavor; and taste salty. Among the very good ones, Swanson Chicken Stock and Kitchen Basics taste a little like roasted chicken, Kirkland Signature and College Inn Fat Free & Lower Sodium taste less salty than most, and Trader Joe’s is slightly sour.

Lower-rated broths have issues: Knorr Chicken ­Flavored Bouillon and Better Than Bouillon taste quite salty, and Pacific has an off-taste we couldn’t identify. And there’s a soapy note in Swanson Broth (the company cites its “distinctive flavor,” not to be confused with Swanson Stock’s “robust flavor”).

Per cup, broths are very low in calories (5 to 20) and fat (zero to 1 gram), but sodium can be a concern, so we’ve listed it in the Ratings. Some tested broths have at least a third of the recommended daily limit of sodium for most people, 2,300 milligrams.

Bottom line. Knorr Homestyle Stock is very good overall and costs just 25 cents per cup of broth. Don’t buy by brand: Knorr Chicken Flavored Bouillon was just good overall, and one Swanson product was very good overall while the other was only good overall.

Editor's Note:

This article appeared in the November 2013 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.

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