Zoup! provided me with product for the purpose of this post, as well as compensation for my time. As always, all opinions expressed in this post are my own.
In Putting 5 Store-Bought Chicken Broths to the Test, I considered color, smell, taste, and ingredient list. You might be surprised at the results, I know I was!
A while ago, I used to regularly watch Ina Garten’s TV show Barefoot Contessa. There are so many endearing things about Ina, but one of the things I love most is her candor. In this particular episode I’m remembering, she was making chicken stock; she was going on about the best method to make it, how she keeps it stored in the freezer, what she makes it into for Jeffrey, etc. What really stuck out to me was Ina saying no matter if everything else is done right, if chicken stock is under-seasoned it will taste like dirty dishwater! That statement not only made me laugh, but has stayed in my head throughout the years.
I love homemade stock and broth as much as the next person; however, it isn’t always high on my priority list of things to make. But that doesn’t mean I don’t cook with it; I use stock and broth in everything from the obvious soups/stews, to sautéed vegetables, to quinoa pilaf, to stir fry. I love the depth of flavor it lends to a dish. It’s also great for poaching chicken, using as the liquid for cooking rice, reconstituting dried beans, and making stuffing to go along with your bird.
My “Egg Drop Soup Test”
I think my favorite way to use stock or broth (or at least the use that I employ most!) is to make a quick egg drop soup for a fast, delicious, healthy, and nutritious meal. When I make my egg drop soup I like to keep things as simple as possible; sauté a little onion, add chicken stock or broth and bring to a simmer, and then stir in beaten eggs, season with a splash of coconut aminos or tamari sauce for depth of flavor, and top with fresh sliced scallion. That’s it!
Because I use chicken broth and stock so frequently, I want to make sure I’m using the best product I can get in terms of quality and flavor. If I find that the broth is tasty enough to drink on its own (and doesn’t need any type of doctoring up whatsoever), it’s perfect for using as the base to make egg drop soup! And that’s my test.
Testing the Broths
With so many products on the market, how to do you go about knowing which one is actually best? I can’t think of a better way than to try them all, or at least the ones that make the most frequent appearance in my kitchen: Zoup! Good, Really Good™ Chicken Broth, Kitchen Basics, Imagine, Swanson, and Pacific.
In trying each chicken broth, I compared the following: color, smell, and taste, and I also took a look at what goes into each. Here’s what I found:
Zoup! Good, Really Good™ Chicken Broth
Color: Golden brown color.
Smell: Deep, rich roasted chicken aroma.
Taste: Complex roasted rich chicken flavor with a slight nuttiness.
Ingredients: Water, Chicken Broth, Natural Flavor, Yeast Extract, Sea Salt (found on the Zoup! website here)
Special Diet: All-Natural; GMO-Free; Gluten-Free; Hormone-Free
My Thoughts: This broth immediately stood out to me because of its rich golden brown color. It had a very appetizing roasted chicken aroma and I enjoyed its deep roasted chicken flavor to match. I found it had a pleasant, almost slight nutty aroma and flavor that was unique to this broth that would add great depth to so many recipes. Also, the level of seasoning was perfect, it needed neither additional salt nor water.
Does it Pass My Egg Drop Soup Test: Yes!
Color: Golden yellow.
Smell: Rich chicken soup aroma.
Taste: Rich chicken flavor; well-seasoned without being overly salty.
Ingredients: Chicken Stock, Vegetable Stock (Carrot, Onion, Mushrooms, and Celery), Sea Salt, Natural Chicken Flavor, Honey, Salt, Natural Flavor, and Spice and Herbs (Black Pepper, Bay Leaf, and Thyme) (found on the Kitchen Basics website here)
Special Diet: All-Natural; Gluten-Free; Certified Heart-Healthy by the American Heart Association; No MSG Added
My Thoughts: I liked the pretty golden yellow color of this stock, the rich chicken aroma was pleasant, and the taste was really good in terms of chicken flavor and appropriate level of seasoning. For me, the biggest thing I wasn’t crazy about was the ingredient list; I found it a little odd that “sea salt” and “salt” are listed separately, and they also include honey while I prefer a broth without sweetener of any kind.
Does it Pass My Egg Drop Soup Test: Yes.
Color: Cloudy golden yellow. The interesting thing about this product was that it was the only one I tried that seemed to have very small chicken particles in it. The particles would stay somewhat suspended when stirred, making the product look cloudy, and then they would slowly separate and settle.
Smell: Rich chicken aroma.
Taste: Faint chicken flavor; lacking seasoning.
Ingredients: Organic Chicken Broth (Filtered Water, Organic Chicken), Organic Onions, Organic Celery, Organic Carrots, Sea Salt, Natural Chicken Flavor, Organic Spices (found on the Imagine website here)
Special Diet: Organic; Free-Range; Dairy-Free; Gluten-Free; Soy-Free; Non-GMO
My Thoughts: The first thing that stood out to me were the particles floating in the broth, causing it to be cloudy (not a bad thing, but it was interesting because this was the only broth that was like that). I really enjoyed its rich chicken aroma and was hoping the flavor would match, but unfortunately the chicken flavor was subtle, and it also needed more seasoning. I really like this broth’s ingredient list, as well as the fact that this product is organic and free-range.
Does it Pass My Egg Drop Soup Test: I would need to add (quite a bit of) salt, so unfortunately, no.
Color: Bright golden yellow.
Smell: Rich chicken soup aroma.
Taste: The flavor of salt takes the foreground, with the flavor of chicken in the background.
Ingredients: Chicken Stock, Contains Less Than 2% Of: Salt, Dehydrated Chicken Broth, Natural Flavoring, Dehydrated Onions, Yeast Extract, Chicken Fat, Carrots, Celery, Onions (found on the Swanson website here)
Special Diet: All-Natural; GMO-Free; Gluten-Free; No Preservatives or Artificial Flavors; No MSG Added
My Thoughts: I really like the Swanson brand, but the funny thing is I don’t think I’ve ever tried it alone before (it was always as an ingredient in something else)! I was surprised at just how salty it was when I drank it as-is. I love it’s pretty bright golden yellow color though, and this broth has a deliciously rich chicken aroma. I also really like the addition of chicken fat, I think it adds a certain richness in flavor and mouthfeel; however, that being said, because they add chicken fat, I wish this product was organic.
Does it Pass My Egg Drop Soup Test: Now this is interesting, and this is the only broth I tried that I can say this about…I wish it was less salty! If I used it for my egg drop soup, I wouldn’t be able to add coconut aminos or tamari sauce (which I like to add for depth of flavor) because it would make the soup way too salty. Or I could add a splash of coconut aminos and also a splash of water, but then I think that would be considered doctoring up the broth. I guess unfortunately it’s a no-go on the egg drop soup test.
Color: Light brownish.
Smell: Faint chicken aroma, as well as a slightly canned/metallic aroma (even though the packaging was a cardboard carton).
Taste: Faint chicken flavor; slightly bitter, metallic tang; lacking seasoning.
Ingredients: Organic Chicken Broth, Organic Chicken Flavor, Sea Salt, Organic Cane Sugar, Organic Onion Powder, Organic Turmeric Extract, Organic Rosemary Extract (found on the Pacific website here)
Special Diet: Organic; Free-Range; Low-Fat; Dairy-Free; Gluten-Free, Corn-Free; Soy-Free; Wheat-Free; Yeast-Free; Non-GMO
My Thoughts: This was the broth that surprised me most; I love the Pacific brand, and the fact that their broth is organic and free-range! I also like that they use turmeric as a natural source of color. The ingredient list in general is really good, although I prefer a sugar-free chicken broth. Truthfully, I was expecting to love their chicken broth, but I just didn’t. I found it unappetizing that the broth had a slightly metallic odor and flavor. This broth wasn’t pleasant to drink on its own, and sadly, I would be hesitant to use this broth when cooking because of that.
Does it Pass My Egg Drop Soup Test: I’m really sad to say, a very emphatic no.
Conclusion and a Little More about Zoup! Good, Really Good™ Chicken Broth
Zoup! Good, Really Good™ Broth Chicken Broth was definitely my favorite chicken broth in this test; it stood out in terms of color, smell, and taste, and it really is good enough to drink on its own. Zoup! Good, Really Good™ Chicken Broth is cooked in kettles in small batches, low in calories, paleo-friendly, zero carb, and completely free of hormones, gluten, GMOs, fat, trans fat, and saturated fat. Interestingly, Zoup! started in the soup business as a fast-casual group of restaurants, and is now also bringing restaurant-quality broth to supermarkets nationwide, such as Wegmans, Safeway, and The Fresh Market (feel free to reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions!). You can find a coupon for Zoup! Good, Really Good™ Broth here, and learn more about their product on the Zoup! website and by visiting the brand on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.
Have you ever done a chicken broth taste test, and if so, what did you find?