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OXO cubes - What other choice is out there?

Hello Chowhounders,
I am interested to know if any of you have found an option to the humble stock cube. I don't always have time to make my own stock and hate the super salty cubes, but there seems no alternative?
Can any of you help?

Thank you!

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  1. you can buy fresh stock at most supermarkets. bouillon powder is another easily available option.

    2 Replies
    1. re: abby d

      Depends what it's for (and I think you are in danger of being moved to the home cooking board), but if I have no stock, I will use just water, and then add some soy sauce if it needs some extra umami. It's salty - but has less salt than what you would get if you achieved the same levels of saltiness using salt, if you get my drift - but if you don't season what ever it is you are making until the end, you can just use the (light) soy sauce. It's particularly good for gravies if the meat juices you have are not enough to produce enough gravy for the number of people.

      For casseroles, I sometimes use Worcestershire sauce - really good for a bit of depth and pzazz, especially in a sausage casserole.

      Also, Knorr do produce stock cubes which are way superior to Oxo, as a last resort.

      1. re: Theresa

        i sometimes use marmite or bovril in the same way as worcs or soy.

    2. With the usual caveats about making my own where possible, I fall back on Knorr "Touch of Taste" - a concentrated liquid stock in a small bottle. I think it works pretty well for punching-up a dish, but I wouldn't use it for anything where you're expecting the stock flavour to be the leading note - for that i'd try home-made or splash out on one of those waitrose bags of (unconcentrated) liquid stock.

      1 Reply
      1. re: lacemaker

        As above - I try to use my own where possible (and have a freezer full of stock) but my back option is those little Knorr gel pots.

      2. I also like the small Knorr gel pots, but I find them very salty and tend not to use the entire pot. The salt-free Marigold stock powder is also something I use a lot - healthy and simple to do if I have none of my own stock around.

        1. Thank you all for your replies. I will hunt out your Touch of Taste or the ones from the supermarket as my back up.

          1. The best concentrated stock I've found is the M&S one which comes in a small jar. The chicken one is great, but I have all of them (vegetable and beef). I also use Marigold vegetable bouillon a lot as well.

            2 Replies
            1. re: greedygirl

              Second this - I use the chicken and the beef ones all the time. More convenient if you just want a small quantity of stock, and while I do tend to keep homemade chicken stock in the freezer, I never have enough beef bones to make real stock. The M&S concentrates have a really good, homemade flavour, keep for ages, and are great value.

              1. re: greedygirl

                i tried these m&s concentrates and was disappointed esp with the beef one. they both tasted quite artificial to me.

              2. Third Marigold. Never used Bovril for stock except as a hot drink but used to spread it on buttered toast. Must try that again. I do like to add Worcester sauce to most casseroles.

                8 Replies
                1. re: cathodetube

                  I'm a marmite baby - bovril is the food of the devil ...

                  1. re: Theresa

                    Have you tried the Marmite spaghetti recipe from Nigella? I love it.

                    1. re: cathodetube

                      I've heard about it but not tried it yet - it sounds odd, but I can imagine it being addictive ...

                      1. re: Theresa

                        Couldn't be easier to make. I am not a huge Marmite fan but really liked this. I used spelt pasta shapes as I didn't have any spaghetti. I think anyone would like it. I also chopped up some rocket to put on top. Can have with or without parmesan.

                        1. re: cathodetube

                          I'll have to try it soon - and as we're having to make some serious cut backs on our spending, this could become a favourite budget meal ... will report back ...

                          1. re: Theresa

                            I thought it was really quite non, TBH. Didnt understand what the fuss was about. Id rather do a Rachael Ray 'spagotto' or a proper risotto, which is hardly difficult & really rather easy & quick & tastes out of this world in comparison. Not trying to be snobbish, just honest.

                          2. re: cathodetube

                            Even Marmite haters, of which I am one?

                            1. re: greedygirl

                              The extreme taste of the marmite is very diluted. I find it too strong a flavour on toast. I have not idea what it would taste like on regular spaghetti but the ridged spelt pasta shapes worked really for me. I can see it becoming a fast comfort food.

                  2. In my house we are partial to the Knorr vegetable cubes. The meat and chicken variations don't really taste like meat or chicken and are too salty.

                    1. This is a subject i've looked into quite extensively. These are taste tests by chefs for some of the stocks already mentioned:





                      I find cubes, bouillon and supermarket fresh tubs lack the jellylike nature of real stock, are way too salty for any kind of cooking, and often taste too yeasty or of tomato purée.

                      Below are what I feel are the best alternatives to making your own but as I have a lots of stock in the freezer have yet to try. Please post back if anyone has used the below alternatives???:

                      These are jellified stocks that i have seen on ocado, and in some braches of waitrose and whole foods kensington high street, but are cheaper to buy online:

                      Fresh beef, chicken and veal stock made by moen and sons butchers are available online from http://www.natoora.co.uk/shop/butcher...
                      They also sell beef/veal/chicken bones although really they should be free from your local butchers if you become a regular customer.

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: damien76


                        If the gelatinous aspect of home-made stocks is what you're looking to replicate you could simply supplement dried or concentrated stocks with commercial gelatin.

                        FWIW, I like to reduce a home made stock down to a thick-jelly consistency and then keep cubes of it in an ice-cube tray for easy deployment. I have too many demands on my freezer space to devote any of it to freezing water.

                        1. re: lacemaker

                          Well my time constraints and it being a vital element when I do get round to cooking has led me to keep up the search.


                          The beef stock was so thick i had to carve it out of the tub and into the pan with a spoon and made a delicious sauce without almost any effort. While their lamb stock was good there maybe some slight variations in batches. They also have a dark chicken stock which I've yet to try.

                          You can get it from their Twickenham shop, their online shop or sometimes Ocado. Their other produce is uniformly excellent and supplies restaurants such as the Ledbury.

                      2. Deffo the touch of taste. I make sure I never run out. If you see the fish one anywhere, its very good but rarely have I seen it about so grab one while you can! I would stear clear of the gel pots as mentioned below. Very over salted, will ruin your dish.

                        1. http://www.soupbase.com/view.asp?cid=...

                          This is my fall back when I don't have any of my own. I think a lot of the restaurants use this.

                          1. Star brand's Soffritto veg cubes are excellent, I stock up when in Italy but you might find them at Harvey Nic's. Found an excellent porcini cube, also an Italian brand, bought at Harvy Nic's, also perhaps Star brand.