It's easy to think of stock as something you add to soup, stew or gravy, but in reality, it's incredibly versatile. While chicken and fish stock can be lovely for some recipes, they don't compare to the rich, deep flavour of beef stock. Adding beef stock to a bolognese, for example, can really take the flavour to the next level.
Chefs make beef stock by slowly cooking beef bones and seasonings in water until the flavour infuses with the broth, but luckily for us, supermarkets offer affordable and convenient cubes, stock pots and liquids ready-made. In this article, we rank the best beef stocks to buy from Tesco, Asda, Waitrose and Amazon with offerings from OXO, Knorr and Kallo. There's even a vegetarian option!
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Choosing the right beef stock can be the difference between a disappointing meal and a delicious one, so take your time and make sure you find the right one for your needs. This section will go over the different types of beef stock and help you find the perfect option for you and your family. Now let's get cooking!
It can be really confusing when you search 'beef stock' online and find yourself looking at plastic bags filled with liquid and then tiny cubes, pots and granules. In this section, we'll be demystifying these types of stock and helping you decide which is right for you.
Stock cubes (also known as bouillon cubes) are a staple of many British kitchens and you won't find many cupboards without a box of these hiding somewhere. They're simply made of dehydrated beef stock that has been tightly packed into a small cube, usually wrapped in paper or plastic.
You prepare them by dropping them into a container of boiling water and stirring. After a few minutes, you'll have a delicious and convenient stock. You can then pour this stock into the dish of your choosing. Or, you can crumble them into sauces and stews.
Cubes are popular because, firstly, they are so affordable. You can buy a large pack for only a couple of pounds from most supermarkets, which can provide flavouring for many meals. Additionally, they come with the benefit of having a long sell-by date, meaning that they can stay in your cupboard until you're ready to use them again.
Some supermarkets also offer a more premium alternative to the traditional cube, which is stock in a liquid form. This can be an even easier option because all you need to do is open the packet and pour it straight into your dish. This will immediately add that warm, rich taste that you've been looking for.
Keep in mind, though, that this type of stock is usually quite fresh and made using high-quality ingredients, which means a heftier price tag. This makes it the perfect option to buy on a special occasion such as a stay-at-home date or a dinner party.
The other thing you need to bear in mind with liquid stock is the use-by date. Once you've opened the packet, you'll probably need to use it within a few days. For those who cook regularly or prepare meals for several people at once, this won't be an issue, of course.
While traditionally stock has either come in a cube, granule or liquid form, stock pots offer a fun in-between option. These small plastic cups are poured into your meal and add a deep and rich flavour to any dish.
Unlike a larger bag of liquid stock, the flavour is very concentrated into a small amount of thick, gravy-like substance. This means that you can use them in dishes where you don't necessarily want to add so much liquid, such as a bolognese or shepherd's pie filling.
Another added benefit of a pot is that, unlike granules, you won't find it clumping together if you don't stir well enough. Instead, you'll have a smooth texture every time. if you want all the convenience of a liquid with the long shelf life of a cube, a stock pot might be the one for you!
One important thing to check with any pre-made ingredient is whether it meets the dietary requirements of you, your household or the people you’re cooking for. As well as considering health-based aspects like the salt content, we've got some more food for thought on what to look out for below.
These days it feels like everyone is talking about health, wellness and cutting back on those ingredients that aren't so good for us. Salt intake is something we should all be thinking about, especially as we get a bit older. The NHS recommends that adults should have no more than 6 grams of salt a day, which is around 1 teaspoon.
Traditionally, beef stock was a very salty product, which is one of the reasons it's so addictive and delicious. However, if you're trying to cut back, you might want to consider a reduced salt option. These products sacrifice a bit of flavour depth for a big health benefit.
For some of us, the delicious taste of meat can come with a twinge of guilt when we think about the source of our food. Like many products, stock can be loaded with chemicals and additives. If you're someone who's conscious about what they put into their body, this might be a bit off-putting.
A few companies are making an effort by using organic, British ingredients, responsibly sourced meat and vegetables and recipes free from artificial colours, flavours or preservatives. It can be a huge relief to read the back of a box and only see familiar ingredients. If this sounds ideal, consider keeping an eye out for these.
These days, you don't have to have coeliac disease to enjoy a gluten-free alternative. Many of us find that when we eat less gluten that we feel a little bit lighter and less bloated. Unfortunately for those with an allergy or intolerance, many stocks do contain wheat flour.
Luckily, a few brands are offering alternatives that manage to drop the gluten but keep the great taste. These products make up for the gluten using clever swap-ins such as potato starch. So, if you're one of the many people trying to avoid gluten, consider picking up gluten-free stock instead.
Just because you don't eat meat or you're trying to be more conscious of your consumption of animal products or cholesterol, that doesn't mean you can't enjoy the flavour of a good stock. The food industry is finally catching up to both of these things by producing plant-based stocks that emulate the flavour of beef amazingly well.
Vegetarian beef stock usually comes in the form of cubes that dissolve just the same as the meaty version. If you regularly cook with beef stock for the family, why not try the plant-based version and see if anyone notices? We suspect they won't!
Click to purchase
Heston From Waitrose Beef Stock
Exceptional Stock With a Delicious Umami Taste
Vegan Beef Flavoured Stock Cubes
The Plant-Based Option No One Will Believe Is Vegan
Reduced Salt Beef Cubes
Reduced Salt for a Healthy Heart
Organic Beef Stock Cubes
A Conscious Choice With Real, Organic Ingredients
Cooks' Ingredients Beef Stock
Hearty Stock Made With British Beef
Beef Stock Cubes
Huge Cubes Mean You'll Only Need One for a Meal
Beef Stock Pot
Gluten-Free Pots With Plenty of Flavour
Beef Stock Cubes
Keep the Family Fed at a Great Price
Extra Special Roast Beef Stock
Treat Yourself Without Breaking the Bank
10 Beef Stock Cubes
Budget Stock for an Easy Weeknight Meal
If you're really looking to treat yourself or your family to a special meal, then look no further. Renowned chef Heston Blumenthal has created this product for Waitrose and its flavours are truly out of this world. Whereas most beef stock keeps it simple, this product contains exotic ingredients such as dried kelp and veal.
While this one is definitely not for the money-conscious among us, it's something any beef stock fan should try at least once. Heston's option really blew us away with its low salt and varied ingredients, which is why we've given it our number one slot.
OXO is known far and wide for its meaty products, and you might be wondering how they managed to create an authentic beef flavour without, well, beef! Presumably, after much experimentation, they used a combination of herbs and spices with yeast extract to create an unreal product.
It's refreshing to see so many vegan alternatives on our shelves and it's about time we got a good veggie beef stock. Whether you're vegan or just trying to cut down on your meat intake, this is a fantastic alternative to add to your gravies, stews and sauces.
When you think beef stock, the image that pops into your head is probably an OXO cube. It's is a staple of every British kitchen, and for good reason. But did you know that the brand offers a delicious reduced salt alternative?
This product sacrifices none of the rich and wholesome flavours of the standard stock but somehow manages to keep the salt level astoundingly low. How they manage this is a mystery, but we aren't complaining!
In recent years, Kallø of Denmark has been making waves in the food industry with its high-quality, organic products. Its entry into the stock world should turn your head if you're serious about organic produce. This product boasts a flavour that packs a punch whilst being mindful of where its ingredients come from.
This is also a brilliant option if you're coeliac or gluten and/or lactose intolerant as it's entirely free from both. While you might be worried that a gluten-free option sacrifices flavour or texture, that's not the case for Kallø. This beef stock is as rich and flavourful as any glutenous alternative.
Waitrose is world-renowned for using the best British ingredients available and this stock is no exception. Their own-brand liquid stock comes entirely from British beef so you can be sure of its quality. It also contains only real, natural ingredients, one of which is bay leaf, an uncommon ingredient for ready-made stock but one that creates an astounding flavour.
This is a great staple to have sat in your fridge ready to add a deep, herby flavour to your meal. This is a great pick for anyone who wants to support the British beef industry and values high-quality ingredients.
From the makers of everybody's favourite beef beverage comes this entry from Bovril. Bovril's unique selling point is the fact that its cubes are absolutely massive, meaning you'll definitely only need to drop one into the pot for your meal.
These cubes have a loyal fanbase who would never consider straying to a different brand. Users also report that, unlike other stock cubes, these dissolve easily in water and don't form those annoying clumps. If lumpy gravy is your pet peeve, consider Bovril Beef Stock Cubes.
Our recommendation for the tastiest beef stock pot had to come from the kings of the pot, Knorr. Although it may seem like a big jump in price from our previous picks, it definitely offers value in its superior taste and simplicity.
As an added bonus, this product is free from MSG, artificial colours and preservatives and is entirely gluten-free. Knorr uses a unique blend of vegetables and herbs to create a product that you'll find yourself buying again and again, without having to worry about gluten upsetting your stomach.
When it comes to price, you really can't beat this pack of 12 cubes for less than 50p. Most of us are thinking about saving at the moment and Asda makes it easy with this product. Asda is able to keep the price low by swapping out vegetables with onion and carrot powder, as well as other clever stand-ins.
Although you get a lot for your money, you may need to drop an extra cube in the pot as many users report that the beef flavour isn't very strong. But if you do like a lighter flavour and are shopping on a budget, consider this product for your pantry.
Asda is another UK supermarket giant that enables families to treat themselves without going bankrupt. Coming from Asda's 'Extra Special' range is this wholesome beef stock in liquid form. Customers describe a deep and rich flavour that's very simple to use – just cut open the bag and pour it straight into your dish.
While this might be a great treat for date night, if you're someone who regularly uses beef stock, this might not be the one for you. Unfortunately, the great flavour of this product comes at a cost, which is salt content. Avoid this one if you're looking to cut down!
Tesco is a trusty supermarket that offers low-cost own-brand alternatives in many product categories. When it comes to their beef stock, they offer 10 cubes for the fantastic price of 50p! This product claims to have a balanced flavour that's not too salty.
If you choose this Tesco stock, keep in mind that this is a very traditional product. So if you were thinking of mixing up your meals, you might want to keep scrolling. But if all you're looking for is a cheap and tasty addition to your weeknight meals, this might be perfect for you.
Wondering what else you can add to your seasoning collection to boost the flavour of your meat and fish dishes? Whether you like to cook traditional British meals or specialities from other parts of the world, check out the suggestions below to make sure you buy the very best ingredients.
Whether you've chosen to buy beef stock in a cube, pot or liquid form, you'll have cut down on a tonne of cooking time by not having to make your own. Now you can focus on the rest of the meal and feel assured that you've put your faith in a quality product. We hope that you've found this article useful and that your next meal blows your guests away!
Author: Caelen Matthewson-Davies
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