Chicken broth is a staple of many diets, but it can also be high in sodium.
The amount of sodium in chicken broth varies depending on how much salt is added when making it and whether you choose canned or homemade varieties.
If you’re looking to reduce your sodium intake, the good news is there are actually many ways.
Read on to learn more about sodium in chicken broth and how to cut it down.
Is chicken broth high in sodium?
Sodium is an essential mineral that helps your body absorb nutrients, maintain nerve function and regulate blood pressure.
Your body needs only a small amount of sodium each day—about 1,500 to less than 2,300 milligrams (mg) if you’re healthy and under age 51; about 1,800 mg if you’re 51 or older—and most people get enough from natural sources of food.
But many Americans consume more sodium than they need due to processed foods and restaurant meals.
Excess sodium can cause high blood pressure (hypertension) or increase your risk for heart disease by adding extra fluid to the body.
Traditional stocks and broths are usually highly salted, with one cup of chicken broth containing 570 mg of sodium.
On the other hand, bone broth contains just 95 mg per cup.
Chicken broth can be high in sodium, depending on how much salt and other high-sodium ingredients you add.
But it is better to opt for homemade chicken broth because it contains no preservatives and additives and is low in sodium.
Why is chicken broth so high in sodium?
Many canned stocks and broths contain a significant amount of sodium from the salt used in cooking.
In addition to regular table salt, many high-sodium “natural flavorings” are added as well—to further enhance other flavors.
These include bouillon cubes (which contain up to 1,000 mg of sodium per cube), autolyzed yeast extract, maltodextrin (a starch-based thickener), disodium inosinate/guanylate (MSG), and hydrolyzed vegetable protein (HVP).
The salt in stock and broth boxes also help preserve them.
Some broth brands contain as much as 710 mg of sodium per cup, but you can cut this back by choosing a low-sodium or no-salt-added option.
You’ll also want to look out for additives such as potassium chloride and disodium phosphate, which are used to preserve the broth’s flavor while reducing its sodium content.
How do you reduce sodium in chicken broth?
The best way to reduce sodium in chicken broth is to use low-sodium chicken broth.
But if you are using a homemade stock with less salt and no preservatives, you can also try the following:
- Add herbs and spices for flavor without adding sodium.
- For example, add fresh rosemary or thyme for their mild flavors instead of saltier ones like celery seed or bay leaves.
- Cut back on dairy products when making soup, as well as soups that are served with cream sauce (like chicken tortilla soup) or cheese (like pasta Fagioli).
- Use a low sodium base, if possible such as Better Than Bouillon Chicken Base, instead of regular bouillon cubes, which contain high levels of sodium; read labels carefully, though, because some still contain quite a bit even though they call themselves “low-sodium.”
What can I use to replace chicken broth?
Instead of chicken broth, there are many other products that can be used for cooking the same way.
If you find your store-bought chicken broth too salty and high in preservatives, the following alternatives can be a lifesaver:
- Water: If you want to use broth but don’t have any, just use water instead.
- It may not be as flavorful or nutritious as chicken broth, but it’s still a good option if you’re in a pinch.
- Vegetable Broth: If you want to recreate the savory richness of chicken broth without using meat products, vegetable broths are an excellent alternative.
- They’re commonly made from celery, carrots, and onions.
- All ingredients can be found at most grocery stores (and have plenty of health benefits on their own).
- They are also very affordable.
- Bone broth: The most nutrient-rich type of broth is bone broth because it includes collagen and other nutrients that are released when bones simmer for hours in water.
- However, this kind of cooking takes time and effort—not something everyone has ready access to due to busy schedules or geographic location (e.g., rural areas where farmers’ markets aren’t plentiful).
You now know whether or not chicken broth has a high sodium content.
If you want to reduce the amount of sodium in your diet, we recommend using vegetable broth instead of chicken broth as an alternative.
Hopefully, this article has helped to answer your question about chicken broth and its sodium levels.
If you have any questions or comments, please leave them below!