Do Bouillon Cubes Go Bad?

No time to make chicken stock? With bouillon cubes, you can make it in minutes. They come in packs, though, and sooner or later you will end up with old cubes. Do bouillon cubes go bad?

Or maybe your beef cubes are nearing their date, and you’re looking for ways to extend their shelf life.

Either way, it’s time for you to learn a thing or two about bouillon cubes. Sounds interesting? Let’s get right into it.

Broth in a white bowl
Broth in a white bowl

How To Store Bouillon Cubes

Bouillon cubes are convenient not only because they allow you to make a pot of broth in mere minutes, but also because they don’t need much in terms of storage.

The cubes are shelf-stable (MAGGI), and all they need is a cool and dry place. A cabinet in the kitchen or pantry is perfect. Or you can do like I do, and keep the cubes in the same place I store spices.

I’m sure you already know that, but I wanted to mention that anyway: you should refrigerate the stock you prepared with the cubes, just like you do with homemade or open chicken stock or vegetable broth.

Now that we’ve covered storage, let’s talk about the shelf life of the dehydrated version of broth.

Vegetable broth in a white plate
Vegetable broth in a white plate

How Long Do Bouillon Cubes Last

The shelf life of bouillon cubes varies between producers. If you’ve discarded the package (with the date) and only have the cubes, you can safely assume they can last at least a year (FK).

Typically, the suggested storage period is between a year and 18 (BOU) or even 24 months (MAGGI). And it doesn’t matter much if the package has been opened or not.

What if your Knorr cubes or Better Than Bouillon paste is past the date on the label? Well, one thing that’s for sure is they won’t go bad right away. Over time the flavor will weaken and become duller, but unless you mess up the storage, they should be okay to use for another couple of months at least.

Tip

If your old bouillon cubes lack flavor, consider adding more cubes to account for that.

Pantry
Bouillon cubesBest-by + 1 – 3 months for the best quality

Having said that, bouillon cubes can spoil. Let’s talk about what the signs of that are.

Beef broth noodles
Beef broth noodle (credit: LWYang)

How To Tell If Bouillon Cubes Are Bad?

Checking if your instant broth cubes are still fit for consumption is similar to checking other dried products. Here are the things you should look out for:

  • Mold, or any other changes in color. Any white specks is a sure sign you should discard the cube.
  • Altered smell. Like with almost any food, if it smells off, it’s gone.
  • Off taste. If your cubes are way past their date, prep half a cup of broth as a test. All you need is a half cup of boiling water and one-fourth of a bouillon cube. If it tastes bad, get rid of it.
Tip

Want to make a big pot of soup with those old cubes? Make sure you run the taste test I described above. All it takes is a couple of minutes, and it might prevent you from a culinary disaster.

If your cubes break apart easily, that might mean they are quite old, and the quality of the broth cooked with them might not be that yummy. You won’t know that until you give that to a test, though. Again, if the flavor is somewhat lacking, try adding more cubes to cover for that.

Sources