Boxes of chicken broth

Chicken broth has been used for centuries to soothe cold and flu aches, hydrate, and provide amino acids, vitamins, and minerals. It is an essential ingredient used worldwide to add liquid and flavor to dishes. And, while nothing tastes quite like comforting homemade chicken broth or stock, creating either from scratch takes time and elbow grease. For an easier option, we suggest turning to one of the high-quality pre-packaged options lining the shelves of your local markets.

If you need help deciding between chicken stock versus broth, make sure to understand the two. Traditionally, a stock tends to have a more full-bodied chicken flavor from extensive cooking of the bones, often upwards of eight hours. Broth simmers meat and bones for a shorter time, often with a mix of onions, celery, and carrots. Today, the two are easily swapped for each other in recipes, with many of the widely available broth options beginning with a chicken stock base.

We taste-tested 16 easy-to-find brands available in 32-ounce boxes providing 4 cups, or servings, of broth. That’s enough liquid to make a pot of chicken soup, braise chicken legs or thighs, add roasted poultry flavor to sautéed vegetables, rice, or grains, or transform how you cook pasta. Using broth instead of cream and butter is the perfect option to lighten up mashed potatoes. And trust us; you’ll never boil pasta in water again after using chicken broth. Here is our ranking of boxed chicken broths, from worst to best.

16. Tabatchnick Classic Wholesome Chicken Broth

Box of Tabatchnick chicken broth

The family behind Tabatchnick has been making stocks and soups for over 100 years. Each product is made in kosher-certified kitchens and has a homemade, slow-cooked character, making the broth a perfect base for matzo ball soup on Passover. We love how the family gives back to the community by partnering with the largest soup kitchen in New York to help feed the homeless and working with UNICEF internationally to end childhood hunger.

Unfortunately, Tabatchnick’s Classic Wholesome Chicken Broth, with over 900 milligrams of sodium per cup, ranks worst due to its intense saltiness. FDA guidelines suggest no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium daily, making 1 cup almost half the recommended amount. In other words, it’s not the healthiest, no matter how good it tastes.

15. Simple Truth Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Box of Simple Truth Organic chicken broth

The packaging for this Simple Truth Organic chicken broth states the non-GMO broth comes from free-range chickens, which would lead one to believe that the production process includes using meat and bones from chickens raised outside a coop. However, reading the ingredient list, the only chicken in Simple Truth Organic Free Range Chicken Broth is organic chicken flavor. Additionally, though the product notes that it is fat-free and gluten-free, the ingredients also include organic olive oil and yeast extract. Olive oil contains fat, and yeast extract may contain gluten.

While we appreciate that the broth tastes like chicken, we are curious to know if the flavor is from real chickens. The sodium is lower than other selections, leading us to rank this as our second least favorite instead of the worst.

14. 365 Organic Chicken Broth

Box of Whole Foods 365 chicken broth

We love that everything Whole Foods sells is organic. The company prides itself on this mantra. However, just because it is organic doesn’t mean it is good. And we aren’t saying that Whole Foods chicken stock is poorly made, as we appreciate that it has zero sugar and is keto- and paleo-friendly. However, it doesn’t match other options, including organic varieties. The product has a watery consistency and bland taste with only a subtle hint of chicken flavor. We found other ingredients in the mix, like organic celeriac and carrot juice, to be more dominant, giving the broth a vegetal taste instead of a rich poultry flavor.

365 may be a good option if you need a subtle broth to mix with additional rich-tasting ingredients, like for creating boozy cocktail soups. However, we suggest skipping Whole Foods if you need a broth that adds richness and flavor.

13. Pacific Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Box of Pacific Foods chicken broth

Since 1987, Pacific Foods has been producing organic foods with a focus on creating a regenerative food cycle, taking its soups and stocks from farm to table. Its free-range chicken broth includes seasonings like organic turmeric and rosemary extract, onion powder, and sea salt. The broth also contains organic dextrose. This simple sugar made from corn or wheat is often used as a sweetener in processed foods, as its chemical compounds are equivalent to glucose.

We appreciate the company’s dedication to using high-quality, organically grown ingredients in its broth, producing a gluten-free, non-GMO, fat-free product. The broth’s flavor is rich and luscious, with a good chicken taste.

Still, we prefer to add sweeteners ourselves rather than the broth including dextrose. This broth is also one of the more expensive ones available, and its taste is similar to many other organic options, including those without added sugar. Due to these reasons, we suggest skipping Pacific Foods.

12. Happy Belly Chicken Broth

Box of Happy Belly Chicken Broth

Whole Foods’ sister brand, Happy Belly from Amazon, has a much more intense chicken flavor and overall more well-rounded taste than the 365 organic option. This flavor is likely due to the inclusion of small amounts of yeast extract and chicken fat, taking away some nutritional value for those watching their gluten or fat intake.

Happy Belly’s ingredients are also identical to Target’s store brand. The similarities between Target’s option and Amazon’s go beyond the recipe; the taste is almost identical. The only difference we found is that Good & Gather is a Canadian product, and Happy Belly is made in the U.S. Happy Belly will cost more in shipping fees, and you don’t receive the Good & Gather guarantee, making the Target brand the better choice.

11. Imagine Foods Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Box of Imagine Foods chicken broth

We like that the ingredient list for Imagine Foods’ organic free-range broth includes only organic chicken, seasonings, and vegetables. The packaging indicates the chickens used for this gluten-free product are Step 3 Animal Welfare Certified by the Global Animal Partnership, which means they had access to outdoor space. However, the sodium count of 720 milligrams per cup is high, placing the broth in the middle of the pack.

Though the salt count is high, the broth did have an appealing chicken flavor that would readily enhance a bowl of chicken noodle or chicken and spinach soup. We would not recommend Imagine’s broth in slow-cooking sauces, as the salty quality of the broth will intensify as the liquid simmers and reduces over time.

10. Good & Gather Chicken Broth

Box of Good & Gather Chicken Broth

Target believes so much in its Good & Gather products that the chain promises your money back if you don’t like them. This confidence excited us to try Target’s chicken broth. The broth begins with the usual suspects of chicken, vegetables, and salt. Good & Gather also includes sugar, chicken fat, and yeast extract.

The yeast extract adds a savory, umami flavor with trace amounts of gluten. At the same time, the chicken fat brings richness and texture to the mouthfeel.

The sodium count is high at 860 milligrams per cup. Still, the saltiness doesn’t overpower the taste, with subtle caramelized sweetness keeping everything in balance. We suggest adding it to the base for a smoky chicken chili, where the sweet note will tame the spicy heat of the chili.

9. Kroger Chicken Broth

Box of Kroger Chicken Broth

The likely Kroger-Albertsons merger first announced in October 2022 will make Kroger the second largest food retailer in the country, leaving us curious to see how its store brand stacks up to its big-box store competitors. The ingredient list is on par with the chain’s counterparts, including sugar, chicken fat, and yeast extract. However, the sodium count is slightly less at 780 milligrams per cup.

In tasting the broth, we found it to have a pleasantly palatable chicken taste, though less flavor forward than the satisfying selections from Swanson’s or Kitchen Basics. It is an affordable option to use as the base for dishes that include other highly flavorful ingredients that will boost the overall taste, like instant ramen or Cajun pasta.

8. Great Value Chicken Broth

Box of Great Value Chicken Broth

Wal-Mart’s Great Value broth is the best-priced option we tried. With roughly the same ingredients as Target’s Good & Gather and Amazon’s Happy Belly, but without sugar and a bit less sodium, Wal-Mart is the smarter choice between competing retailers.

The flavor of the Great Value brand is more vegetable forward than other options we tried, with pronounced earthy, oniony characteristics. We like onions, so it was not a problem. However, this broth may not be for you if you aren’t a fan of the vegetable.

We suggest using the broth for cooking rice, cous cous, or any grain that will benefit from the salty, savory qualities to enhance its flavor. We tried it in our creamy polenta recipe, serving it with red wine-braised beef short ribs. The broth ensured the starch had a savoriness that melded well with the richness of the slow-cooked meat.

7. College Inn Chicken Broth

Box of College Inn Chicken Broth

Affordable and tasty, College Inn delivers full-bodied, homemade chicken flavor reminiscent of stewed meat cooked low and slow in its 100% natural chicken broth. The broth’s story dates back to the College Inn Restaurant in Chicago, where, in the 1920s, Chef Joe Colton had a rich, savory chicken broth as the base for his famous chicken a la king dish. The restaurant closed in 1973, but by then, the packaged stocks and broths were available throughout the country, bringing chef-quality flavors to American households.

Today, the company is owned by Del Monte, which continues the legacy of producing a savory broth that’s both non-GMO and free of MSG and has good texture and an authentic, wholesome taste that we love in our pan-fried chicken thighs. The sodium is high, 850 milligrams per cup, but the slow-cooked, genuine poultry flavor is also delicious, keeping College Inn among one of our top selections.

6. Trader Joe’s Organic Free Range Chicken Broth

Box of Trader Joe's organic chicken broth

With an authentic chicken flavor and all organic ingredients, Trader Joe’s delivers a perfectly satisfying selection in its free-range organic chicken broth. The broth has a balanced poultry and stewed vegetable flavor from organic chicken and mirepoix (onions, celery, and carrots) that is not overly powerful or indescribably faint.

The ingredients include rosemary extract, which TJ’s notes help to preserve the product. We found it also adds a subtle earthy, herbaceous note, which goes great with the slow-cooked flavor of poultry. The product also includes canola oil, adding a gram of fat per serving. Adding the oil provides an unctuous, fatty enhancement to the broth, creating a silky, buttery texture to boost the well-rounded, authentic chicken taste.

5. Swanson Chicken Broth

Box of Swanson Chicken Broth

Swanson Foods takes broth very seriously. Though the company began with a focus on TV dinners in the 1940s, today, its broths are its backbone, with each showcasing a homemade, concentrated flavor. In 2019, Swanson hired Chef Graham Zanow as its first broth sommelier to help educate consumers on the quality of its broths and why Swanson’s are unlike any others.

Swanson chicken broth contains stock from American chicken meat and bones that simmer for 12 hours with fresh vegetables, dried spices, and cane sugar. Yeast extract and chicken fat lend richness and savoriness to the flavorful broth. Each 1-cup serving has 860 milligrams of sodium, equivalent to 37% of the recommended daily intake.

There is something comforting and familiar about the taste of Swanson’s broth that we love. It is a classic that maintains consistent appeal. Swanson reminds us of making cornbread dressing with Grandma for Thanksgiving, dousing the mixture with broth just before popping it into the oven. Swanson’s broth has a satisfying taste that brings a feeling of nostalgia.

4. Bonafide Provisions Organic Chicken Broth

Box of Bonafide Provisions chicken broth

Bonafide Provisions’ organic chicken broth from free-range chickens delivers one of the most authentic, traditional broths available, beginning with filtered water and a mix of organic bones and meat with mirepoix, garlic, and herbs. The recipe also includes apple cider vinegar, which helps to release the collagen in the connective tissue and bones while adding a hint of acidity to the broth’s savory chicken flavor.

With 480 milligrams of sodium, 3 grams of protein, and no sugar or artificial flavorings, the gluten-free broth naturally provides a refreshing, umami-rich taste with a healthful focus on overall wellness. We love to use this option in our chicken Française, with the subtle note of acid in the light broth melding with the zestiness of the wine and lemon juice in the sauce.

3. Kirkland Signature Organic Chicken Stock

Box of Kirkland Signature chicken stock

We aren’t sure what the organic flavor or roasted natural flavor Kirkland Signature lists in the ingredients for its organic chicken stock is, but we know this stock tastes delicious. Simmering bones of cage-free chickens and organic vegetables like carrots and celery root forms the base of the stock, along with ground bay leaves, pepper, and concentrated onion juice. The sodium count is one of the lowest in our tasting, 440 milligrams per cup. Each cup includes 2 grams of protein, no sugar, and a trace amount of potassium.

The best part of the Costco brand’s chicken stock is its savory and balanced taste. There is a rich flavor of slow-roasted chicken and herbs, with just the right amount of seasoning. It is also one of the more affordable options available, costing only about $2 a carton. The price, lower sodium content, and great taste make this one of our top selections, perfect for enhancing a vegetable stir-fry or adding depth to wilted greens.

2. Kitchen Basics Original Chicken Stock

Box of Kitchen Basics chicken stock

Kitchen Basics offers one of the most authentic chicken flavors we taste-tested. With lower sodium than many other options (440 milligrams per cup) and 4 grams of protein per serving, it is one of the healthier options. Chicken bones are simmered for at least six hours (often more) to make stock, boosting the protein and nutrients in the broth as the bone marrow and collagen dissolve into the cooking liquid.

The taste is what we love about Kitchen Basics. It has a nutritious, comforting roasted chicken flavor with caramelized mirepoix and poultry seasoning that enhances the flavor of the stock. Kitchen Basics’ offering gives the flavor of homemade chicken stock without the hassle of making it yourself. We would rank it number one if the recipe didn’t include honey. Though it is a natural sweetener that enhances the overall flavor profile, we prefer the ability to add any sugar ourselves.

1. Kettle & Fire Chicken Broth

Box of Kettle & Fire chicken broth

Kettle & Fire Chicken Broth begins with a base of chicken bone broth along with a mix of aromatics including onions, carrots, fennel, shitake mushrooms, leeks, thyme, bay leaf, apple cider vinegar, and tamarind paste, producing a savory, buttery richness with robust roasted chicken and herb flavor. The bone broth base for Kettle and Fire simmers for at least 20 hours, allowing the collagen and amino acids time to dissolve into the water, boosting the nutritional quality of the broth.

The bone broth base is combined with sea salt, tomato paste, and mushroom extract to make the chicken cooking broth, producing a rich liquid with a satisfying depth of utterly delicious flavor. Adding broth to simple soups or sauces transforms the flavors, elevating the overall taste to one that is wholesome and satisfying. The Austin, Texas-based product is gluten-free, non-GMO, free of hormones, preservatives, and anything artificial, has zero sugar, is Whole 30 approved, and has one of the longest shelf lives in the boxed broths we tried, up to two years.

With a focus on health and wellness and its incredible chicken flavor, it was easy to name Kettle & Fire’s organic chicken broth our favorite.