Au jus powder is a versatile seasoning that adds rich, savory flavor to meats, vegetables, soups, and more.
Made from concentrated beef broth, onions, and spices, it's a quick way to get that classic au jus flavor without having to make it from scratch.
What is Au Jus Powder?
Au jus powder is a dehydrated sauce mix that combines beef broth, onions, and savory seasonings like salt, garlic, and black pepper. It quickly dissolves in warm water to create a rich, meaty au jus sauce perfect for drizzling over roasted meats or using as a flavorful dip.
The powder contains concentrated beef stock made by simmering beef bones and meat scraps to extract flavor. Onion powder adds sweetness and savoriness, while the blend of seasonings gives it complexity. Some versions also include tomato powder for extra umami depth.
You'll find au jus powder sold in jars or packets alongside gravy mixes and soup bases in the grocery store. It's the quick and easy way to get authentic, homemade-tasting au jus without roasting meat and chilling the drippings. The powder keeps for months and is an ideal way to infuse beefy flavor into recipes anytime.
Key Takeaway: Au jus powder is a concentrated, dehydrated sauce mix made from beef broth, onions, and spices that quickly reconstitutes into a rich au jus sauce or gravy.
Why Use an Au Jus Powder Substitute?
There are a few reasons you may need a substitute for au jus powder:
- You don't have it on hand - If a recipe calls for au jus powder but you don't have any, you'll need something to replace it. Substitutes make it easy to still follow the recipe.
- Dietary restrictions - Traditional au jus powder contains beef products. Substitutes offer options if you follow a vegetarian, vegan, or restricted diet.
- Flavor change - While au jus powder has a distinctive flavor, substitutes can provide a different taste profile to suit your preferences.
- Easier to find ingredients - Some au jus powder swaps may use ingredients you already have available rather than having to buy a specialty product.
- Cost savings - Certain substitutes can offer a cheaper alternative to pre-made au jus powder.
Finding an easy swap for au jus powder ensures you can still achieve the rich, savory flavor it provides without the specific seasoning blend.
Best Substitutes for Au Jus Powder
Fortunately, there are many easy ingredient swaps and substitutions for au jus powder that still give a flavorful result:
1. Beef Bouillon Granules or Cubes
Beef bouillon is one of the most direct substitutes for au jus powder. Bouillon is made by simmering beef bones and meat in water to extract flavor. The broth is then dehydrated into cubes or granules.
To use bouillon as an au jus powder substitute, dissolve 1 tablespoon of granules or 1 cube in 1 cup hot water. For a thicker consistency, use just 3/4 cup water. The beef bouillon provides a very similar rich, savory meatiness as au jus powder. Add garlic powder, onion powder, etc. to boost the flavor if needed.
2. Beef Broth or Stock
In a pinch, beef broth or stock can substitute for au jus powder. Opt for low-sodium varieties over regular canned broths. For best flavor, use homemade beef stock simmered from bones and meat scraps if you have it available.
To replace 1 tablespoon of au jus powder, use 1/4 cup beef broth or stock whisked with seasonings like 1/4 teaspoon each onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper until combined. Reduce over medium heat to concentrate the flavors. The broth provides the beefy foundation lacking the concentrated flavor of au jus powder.
3. Onion Soup Mix
Surprisingly, onion soup mix makes an excellent stand-in for au jus powder. The soup base contains onion, beef bouillon, and plenty of rich savory spices. To substitute, use 2 tablespoons of dry onion soup mix per 1 tablespoon of au jus powder called for.
Whisk the soup mix with 3/4 cup warm water until dissolved. Many onion soup mixes even contain tomato powder like some au jus powders for extra depth. Onion soup mix gives a flavor very close to true au jus powder.
4. Brown Gravy Mix
For a quick substitute, use brown gravy mix. Look for low-sodium varieties or those without added milk or cream for a closer match to au jus powder. Prepare the gravy mix with water or beef broth as package directs for a rich, beefy flavor.
The gravy mix gives a similar savory taste but with a thicker texture than pure au jus powder. For a thinner consistency, add extra liquid. Use brown gravy mix in a 1:1 ratio to replace au jus powder measured. Stir the prepared gravy into recipes as you would the au jus sauce.
5. Mushroom Gravy Mix
Mushroom gravy mix also makes a flavorful substitute for au jus powder. The earthy mushrooms complement the beefy flavors. Prepare the gravy mix with beef broth or bouillon for added richness.
Use mushroom gravy in the same amount called for of au jus powder. The gravy won't be quite as beef-forward but offers deep savory notes. Drizzle over meats, potatoes, sandwiches, and more or use for dipping.
6. Beef Demi-Glace
For an upscale substitute, use beef demi-glace. This French classic is made by simmering veal or beef stock until reduced by half to create an intensely flavored sauce. The long cooking time makes it expensive to buy ready-made.
Demi-glace has a syrupy texture and ultra-rich meatiness. Substitute 1/4 cup prepared demi-glace diluted with 1/4 cup broth for every 1 tablespoon of au jus powder. A little demi-glace goes a long way in providing robust, concentrated beef flavor.
7. Vegetable Broth + Seasonings
For a vegetarian/vegan au jus powder substitute, whisk vegetable broth with onion powder, garlic powder, tomato paste and soy sauce. The veggie broth provides a savory base while the seasonings mimic the umami richness of beef.
Use a 2:1 ratio with 1/4 cup broth and 1/8 teaspoon each of the dried mixes for every 1 tablespoon au jus powder called for. A teaspoon of tomato paste and soy sauce also help provide meaty flavors. Simmer to concentrate the flavors. The vegetable broth blend creates an au jus-style sauce without any beef products.
Key Takeaway: Beef bouillon, broth, onion soup mix, brown gravy mix, mushroom gravy, demi-glace, and vegetable broth with seasonings all make good substitutes for au jus powder.
How to Make Homemade Au Jus Powder
Making your own au jus powder at home allows you to control the ingredients. Tailor your homemade blend to suit your dietary needs or flavor preferences.
- 1 cup beef broth or stock
- 1/4 cup onion powder
- 1 tablespoon garlic powder
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce powder
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon tomato powder (optional)
- In a small saucepan, bring the beef broth to a boil over medium-high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until reduced by half, about 10 minutes.
- Remove broth from heat and let cool 5 minutes. Transfer to a blender and blend on high 30 seconds until smooth.
- Pour pureed broth into a bowl and stir in remaining ingredients until fully combined.
- Spread the mixture in an even 1/4 inch layer on parchment paper lined baking sheets.
- Bake at 200°F for 4 to 6 hours, stirring every 30 minutes, until completely dried.
- Break up any clumps then blend mixture to a fine powder in a food processor.
- Store in an airtight container up to 3 months.
Make a large batch of this homemade au jus powder to have on hand whenever you need that beefy, savory flavor. Customize it to your taste preferences by adding more or less garlic, onion, or other spices.
Key Takeaway: Making homemade au jus powder lets you control the ingredients. Reduce beef broth, blend, dehydrate, and blend with seasonings to create your own custom blend.
How to Use Au Jus Powder Substitutes
Au jus powder is incredibly versatile. Many recipes call for it, from soups and stews to roasted meats and vegetables. Substitutes can be used in place of au jus powder in just about any application.
Here are some of the most common ways to use au jus powder swaps:
- Roast beef - Drizzle au jus substitute over top of sliced roast beef for added moisture and flavor.
- Mashed potatoes - Mix in a spoonful of the au jus sauce when making mashed potatoes for a beefy, savory kick.
- French dip sandwiches - Use au jus substitute for dipping sliced roast beef sandwiches.
- Gravies - Whisk some of the au jus powder substitute into gravy for your roast chicken, turkey, etc.
- Soups and stews - Stir in a teaspoon or two of the powder substitute when making beef soups or stews.
- Pan sauces - Deglaze the pan after cooking beef or roast with au jus substitute to make an easy sauce.
- Vegetables - Drizzle the au jus over cooked vegetables like carrots, green beans, Brussels sprouts, etc.
Anywhere a recipe calls for au jus powder, you can easily substitute in one of the alternatives in the same amount. Made properly, the swaps will provide the same rich, beefy flavor that au jus powder delivers.
Key Takeaway: Use au jus powder substitutes in recipes for roast beef, sandwiches, gravies, soups, stews, sauces, and vegetables in place of the powder.
Can I make au jus powder substitute gluten-free?
Yes, you can make many au jus powder substitutes gluten-free. Options like beef broth, bouillon cubes, onion soup mix, tomato paste, and seasoning mixes can all be gluten-free. Use tamari instead of soy sauce and double check all ingredients. Homemade au jus powder can easily be made gluten-free.
What's the best vegetarian substitute for au jus powder?
For vegetarian/vegan diets, whisk vegetable broth with onion powder, garlic powder, tomato paste, and soy sauce for the best meaty richness. Mushroom broth also makes a good substitution. Add savory seasonings to enhance the umami flavors.
Is there a way to make au jus powder lower sodium?
Opt for low-sodium broth and bouillon when making substitutions to reduce the sodium content. Limit added salt in homemade versions or when seasoning other replacements. Rinse canned beans and vegetables before use as well.
What's the easiest au jus powder substitute to find?
The most convenient and readily available substitutes for au jus powder are generally beef or vegetable broth and onion soup mix. Most pantries have these ingredients on hand making them handy last-minute swaps.
How long does homemade au jus powder last?
Properly stored in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, homemade au jus powder will keep for 2 to 3 months. The beef broth provides the shortest shelf life. Refrigeration can extend storage life slightly but may cause clumping.
Au jus powder is a specialty seasoning that infuses recipes with rich, beefy flavor. While it provides authentic taste, there are many easy ingredient substitutes you can use in its place.
Options like beef bouillon, broth, onion soup mix, brown gravy mix, mushroom gravy, demi-glace, and vegetable broth with spices all make excellent stand-ins. Use them in the same amounts called for of au jus powder to provide similar savory notes.
Making your own homemade au jus powder lets you control the ingredients to suit your dietary needs. Follow the simple steps to reduce beef broth and blend with seasonings for a customized blend.