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12 Tomato Bouillon Substitute Options to try

Are you looking for a tomato bouillon substitute? Discover flavorful alternatives to enhance your dishes without compromising on taste and depth.

The list in this article will give you the best options and help you decide which one to use. Read on and get cooking!

Bowl with soup served with two tomato bouillon cubes.

What is Tomato Bouillon?

Tomato bouillon is a concentrated seasoning or broth made from tomatoes, vegetables, and various spices.

It is commonly used to add a rich tomato flavor to soups, stews, sauces, and other dishes. It enhances the taste of dishes and provides a convenient way to incorporate tomato flavor when fresh tomatoes are not readily available.

Tomato bullion comes in the form of granules, cubes, or powder. In these forms, you’d have to dissolve them in boiling water first to get the bouillon itself.

Using tomato bouillon is easier than making bouillon from scratch. Plus, bouillon cubes and granules have a very long shelf life. You can stock up on them without worrying that they’ll go bad.

Tomato bouillons are handy additions. Just like real tomatoes, they have a certain acidity and an umami flavor. Bouillons are usually salty since they have other additives.

A good substitute for tomato bouillon should also add depth and similar flavor to any dish.

The 11 Best Substitutes for Tomato Bouillon

1. Tomato Paste or Puree

White bowl filled with tomato paste on top of white table.

Tomato paste and puree are both concentrated tomato products that add rich and intense tomato flavor to dishes.

These alternatives have tomatoes as their base. That said, you will get an exact flavor match.

Since these ingredients usually don’t contain salt, you might want to add some.


Since paste and puree are thicker than broth, expect a difference in texture. You can achieve a similar consistency by diluting them with water.

2. Crushed or Canned Tomatoes

Bowl filled with crushed tomatoes on top of the wooden table.

Canned diced or crushed tomatoes can be used as a substitute for tomato bouillon.

Choose the right kind between whole, diced, crushed, or pureed canned tomatoes depending on the consistency and texture required in the recipe. E

Since canned tomatoes contain more liquid, reduce the amount of other liquids in the recipe, such as water or broth, to maintain the desired consistency.

Simmer them with your dish to infuse it with a natural tomato flavor.


Adjust the seasoning since canned tomatoes may not have the same concentrated flavor as tomato bouillon. Taste the dish and add additional spices.

3. Tomato Sauce

Wooden bowl filled with tomato sauce with many fresh tomatoes next to it.

Tomato sauce, commonly used in pasta dishes, can be used as a substitute for tomato bouillon.

Reduce other liquids in the recipe to compensate for the added liquid in tomato sauce.

Tomato sauce may lack the concentrated flavor of bouillon. Enhance the taste by adding additional herbs and spices.


If needed, thicken the sauce by simmering it longer or adding a thickening agent like cornstarch or tomato paste.

4. Tomato Powder

Wooden bowl filled with tomato powder and spoon filled with red powder next to it.

Tomato powder is made from dehydrated tomatoes and can be used as a concentrated tomato flavoring. It can be rehydrated with water or added directly to recipes for a burst of tomato taste.

Tomato flakes will work in specific dishes that call for tomato bouillon granules. You can use them as you would chopped sun-dried tomatoes.


Sprinkle them on top of dishes or mix them right with other ingredients. They’ll work, especially if you don’t need a liquid alternative.

5. Sun-Dried Tomatoes

Sun-dried tomatoes have an intense and concentrated tomato flavor.

They can be rehydrated in warm water and then blended or chopped and added to recipes as a flavorful substitute.

These tomatoes have a stronger flavor than fresh ones and make a great substitute for tomato bouillon.


To use, chop them up and sprinkle them on your dish. They’re ideal for stir-fries and other dishes that do not need a liquid replacement.

6. Chicken Bouillon Cubes

Close up shot of two chicken bouillon cubes and fresh vegetables on top of the table.

Chicken bouillon cubes are among the best tomato bouillon substitutes. Despite their milder taste, they’re convenient and widely available.

With chicken as its base, a chicken bouillon cube has that umami flavor you need.

Since this alternative comes in a cubed form, you’d have to dissolve it in boiling water before using it. Doing so will give you something similar to chicken stock which you can then add to dishes.


You might need to add some lemon juice to get that acidic taste. If lemon juice is unavailable, vinegar can also work.

7. Chicken Broth with Tomato Puree

If you are not satisfied with chicken broth alone, try combining it with tomato puree. Doing so will give you a tomato bouillon substitute that ticks all the boxes.

First, it has umami. Second, it has acidity from tomatoes.


Since this is a liquid substitute, you can readily add it to stews and soups! As a bonus, you’ll have a red-colored substitute just like the original ingredient.

8. Beef Bouillon Cubes

Close up shot of spoon with cube of beef stock next to bowl filled with broth.

With beef as the base, beef bouillon cubes are also viable options. This is especially true when cooking meat-based dishes.

Like other cubes, using this adds another step to your cooking process. If you are cooking something with liquid, you can add them directly.


Since beef lacks acidity, consider adding vinegar or lemon juice. Beef also has a stronger flavor than tomato or chicken, so start by adding a small amount first.

9. Beef Broth

Bowl filled with beef broth and topped with tofu and greens.

Beef broth can provide a savory and flavorful base for your recipes. Although it won’t have the exact tomato taste of tomato bouillon, it can add depth and richness to your dishes.

You can either make it at home or use the store-bought version. It will also be the perfect alternative if you cook something with beef as its main ingredient.

If you find this substitute lacking acidity, add a dash of lemon juice or vinegar for a fix.


You will not get a tomato flavor from this substitute, but it will give you a similar richness, making your recipes more flavorful.

10. Vegetable Broth or vegetable stock

A vegetable broth is your best bet if you’re looking for a vegan alternative. This option will add a vegetable flavor to your dish.

Vegetable broth also does not have the acidic quality of tomatoes. Add a dash of lemon juice or vinegar if needed.


Vegetable stock won’t have the exact tomato taste of tomato bouillon; it can still add depth and richness to your dishes.

11. Vegetable Bouillon Cubes

Bowl with soup and two vegetable bouillon cubes next to it.

If you don’t have vegetable broth, vegetable bouillon cubes will do. After all, these cubes are merely dehydrated vegetable broth.

Dissolve them in water, and you’ll have an instant vegetable broth.

They keep longer than vegetable broth. That said, you can reserve some for a tomato bouillon emergency in the future.


Like their liquid counterparts, these cubes do not have any meat products. They are suitable for vegans.

12. Salsa

While salsa can add a tomato flavor to dishes, it may not be an ideal replacement for tomato bouillon. 

Salsa typically contains additional ingredients like onions, peppers, and spices, which can alter the taste and consistency of the dish.

This sub works well in a Mexican rice recipe and dishes where you need extra flavors.


If you’re in a pinch, you can use salsa as a substitute, but be aware that it may impart a different flavor and texture compared to tomato bouillon.

Tomato Bouillon Uses in Recipes

Here are some popular uses of tomato bouillon:

  1. Soups and Stews: Use it as a base for tomato-based soups like tomato bisque, minestrone, or vegetable soup.
  2. Sauces and Gravies: It adds depth of flavor to pasta sauces, marinara sauce, barbecue sauce, or even homemade tomato ketchup.
  3. Rice and Grain Dishes: Adding a spoonful of tomato bouillon to rice or grain dishes like pilaf, risotto, or Spanish-style rice can infuse them with a savory tomato taste.
  4. Casseroles and Baked Dishes: Use it to flavor casseroles, baked pasta dishes, or stuffed vegetables like bell peppers or tomatoes.
  5. Seasoning for Meat and Vegetables: Sprinkling tomato bouillon over roasted or grilled meats, poultry, or vegetables can impart a tangy and savory tomato flavor.
  6. Dressings and Dips: Use it to create flavorful dressings or dips for salads, vegetable platters, or topping for baked potatoes.
  7. Flavored Rice or Quinoa: Cook rice or quinoa in water infused with tomato bouillon to give them a delicious tomato-infused taste.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Tomato Bouillon?

In general, tomato bouillon, if unopened, can typically last for about 1 to 2 years past its manufacturing date. However, it’s important to check the specific expiration date or “best by” date printed on the packaging for accurate information.

What is caldo de tomate tomato bouillon?

Caldo de tomate tomato bouillon is a type of tomato bouillon that is commonly used in Mexican and Latin American cuisine. “Caldo de tomate” translates to “tomato broth” in English, and it refers to a concentrated seasoning or broth made primarily from tomatoes, along with other ingredients like salt, spices, and sometimes added flavors such as onion or garlic powder.

What is a substitute for caldo de tomate tomato bouillon?

If you’re looking for a substitute for caldo de tomate tomato bouillon, there are a few options you can consider: tomato paste, tomato sauce, canned tomatoes, tomato powder, vegetable or chicken broth.


Tomato bouillon is an incredibly versatile and convenient ingredient. Using this ingredient, you won’t have to make your broth, but you’ll get to have that needed flavor depth.

If you don’t have it available, consider using chicken, beef, vegetable bouillon cubes, or broth. Learn how to adjust quantities, seasonings, and other considerations to achieve the desired flavor profile.

More Ingredient Substitutes

Natalia | Flavorful home
Natalia is a recipe developer, food photographer, and home cook. She started Flavorful Home to document her recipes and share home cooking tips. She loves creating flavorful and nutritious meals while keeping the cooking process simple and joyful!
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