Tasting Tuesday: Boxed Chicken Stock

Stock2You asked, so here goes. We spent the day tasting store bought chicken stock (alongside our homemade version of course!). We must really love you because this was not the most glamorous tasting! And again, the results were very interesting. While homemade is best, we know everyone doesn't always have the time to do that. So next time you're reaching for chicken stock at the store, check out our findings. They just might surprise you - they did us. We tasted five different national brands plus my homemade stock. We did not test the store’s brand in case it’s not available where you live. We also made a point of testing the unsalted versions. If they were not available, we went with the low/lower sodium version. We did this because the amount of salt varies greatly between manufacturers and we didn’t want it to influence our tastings.

Here are our results:

Best tasting – Homemade! It was the darkest of all stocks and tasted the most like real chicken – probably because all we used was a roasted chicken carcass, onion, carrots, celery, bay leaves and cracked black pepper.


Best of the Boxed: Rachel Ray’s Low Sodium Chicken Stock

It featured the most natural chicken flavor of the boxed brands. It was also the clearest stock. 135 mg of sodium.


Second Runner Up: Swanson Unsalted Stock

Real chicken flavor shines through. 130 mg of sodium


The Rest of the Field

Kitchen Basics Unsalted Chicken Stock: Owned by McCormick’s spice, this product tastes more like vegetables and herbs and spices (shocker!) than it does chicken. Very dark in color. 130 mg sodium

College Inn Lower Sodium Chicken Broth: This one was the saltiest of all of the stocks we tasted – but that’s not surprising considering it was the only one that was labeled “lower sodium.” College Inn doesn’t seem to offer an unsalted/low sodium version. And it didn’t demonstrate a very full chicken flavor. 420 mg of sodium

Progresso Unsalted Chicken Stock: While the most beautifully packaged of all the stocks we tasted, Progresso offered a very artificial quality that we really didn’t like. It was also the cloudiest of all the stocks.