Chicken powder is a versatile pantry ingredient that can add deep, concentrated chicken flavor to a variety of dishes. This fine, powdery seasoning is made from dehydrated chicken broth and ground chicken. It provides a quick and easy way to infuse recipes with savory chicken taste.
Chicken powder offers some key advantages over chicken broth or bouillon cubes. Unlike broth, there's no need to store a bulky carton or can. The powder form is lightweight and compact, taking up very little space. It also lasts indefinitely when stored properly. And chicken powder dissolves almost instantly while bouillon cubes require time to melt and incorporate.
With its neutral flavor profile, chicken powder can be used to enhance the taste of many cuisines beyond Chinese food. From American classics to Italian pasta and more, read on to learn everything you need to know about how to use this underrated pantry staple.
Adding Chicken Flavor to Sauces, Soups and Stews
One of the most obvious uses for chicken powder is to quickly add chicken flavor to soups, stews, and sauces. It's an ideal way to punch up the savory taste without needing to simmer broth or stock for hours.
To make a substitute for chicken broth, simply whisk 1-2 teaspoons of powder per cup of hot water. Let it dissolve completely before adding to your recipe. You can also shake some powder right into the pot after sautéing aromatics like onions and garlic.
For richer flavor in hearty dishes like chili, beef stew, or pot roast, use 2-3 teaspoons per cup of water. Adjust to taste depending on the intensity you prefer.
When making pan sauces, stir in a teaspoon or two of powder after deglazing. The chicken flavor will intensify as the liquid reduces. For cream-based sauces like Alfredo or vodka sauce, whisk the powder in toward the end of cooking.
Chicken powder is commonly used in Asian cuisine, but don't limit it to Chinese food. Sprinkle it into pho broth, Korean jjigae stews, or Thai curries for authentic flavor. It can also be blended into Indian curry pastes and garam masala spice mixes.
Key Takeaway: Chicken powder is a fast way to add rich, concentrated chicken taste to soups, stews, chilis and sauces without lengthy simmering.
Boosting Flavor in Rice, Grains and Legumes
Cooking rice or grains in chicken broth is a simple way to add flavor and nutrients. But this requires having broth on hand. With chicken powder, you can quickly enrich the taste of any starch.
When making rice, quinoa, or couscous on the stovetop, use chicken powder instead of plain water or salt. Add 1 teaspoon per cup of grains and adjust to preference. The chicken taste will get absorbed as the starch cooks.
For basic pilafs, combine the powder with sautéed aromatics like onions, garlic, and spices before adding rice. When cooking legumes like beans or lentils, add powder to the water at the start for extra savory depth.
Chicken powder also makes an excellent addition to stuffing, dressing, risotto, congee, polenta, or grits. Blend it in toward the end of cooking once liquids have been absorbed. For richer intensity, use 2 teaspoons per cup of water or broth.
|Amount of Chicken Powder
|Per cup of grains or legumes
|For more intense flavor
Table: Recommended chicken powder amounts for cooking grains and legumes
When preparing packaged stuffing mixes, add extra chicken powder to the wet ingredients. For creamy risottos and polenta, stir powder in once most liquid has been absorbed. This prevents it from getting diluted.
Key Takeaway: Infuse savory chicken flavor into rice, grains, beans and other starches by cooking them in broth made with chicken powder.
Making Instant Chicken Gravy and Pan Sauces
Ready-made chicken powder is a huge time-saver when you need to whip up quick gravy. There's no need to start with a roux or stock. Just follow a basic formula:
- Add 2 tablespoons butter to the empty pan used for cooking meat. Melt over medium heat.
- Stir in 2-3 tablespoons of chicken powder. Cook for 1 minute.
- Slowly whisk in 1 cup of milk, stock, or water.
- Simmer until thickened to the desired consistency.
You can also use chicken powder to prepare easy pan sauces to top chicken, pork or fish:
- Cook meat in a skillet, reserving fond and juices.
- Remove meat and add wine, stock, or water to deglaze pan.
- Stir in 1-2 teaspoons chicken powder and any herbs or spices.
- Simmer until the sauce reduces by half and coats the back of a spoon.
For extra richness, mount the sauce with cold butter. Drizzle sauce over prepared meat or fish for instant, delicious flavor.
Adding Savory Depth to Vegetables and Side Dishes
The chicken powder is a secret weapon for making vegetables and other sides taste amazing. Blending it into hot water mimics the flavor of chicken broth.
When steaming or sautéing greens like spinach, kale, or broccoli rabe, use chicken powder broth instead of plain water. The same goes for boiling potatoes, cooking corn on the cob, or blanching green beans.
For heartier sides, sprinkle the chicken powder directly into the dish. Toss roasted vegetables with a little oil and 1-2 teaspoons powder before roasting. Fold powder into stuffing, mac and cheese, potato salad, or creamy pasta side dishes.
When roasting meat, brush or rub some powder onto the vegetables sitting below in the pan drippings. As the juices evaporate, the chicken taste will concentrate.
For mashed potatoes, whisk 1-2 teaspoons into the milk or cream before mashing. You can also dissolve the powder in water and use this to thin out refried beans, hummus, or creamy dips.
Key Takeaway: Chicken powder adds savory richness to steamed, sautéed or roasted vegetables. It can also improve flavor in creamy side dishes and salads.
Making Chicken Powder Slurries for Marinades and Sauces
When preparing homemade marinades, dressings, and sauces, first make a quick slurry with chicken powder. This pre-dissolves the powder so it blends smoothly.
To make a slurry, combine 1 teaspoon chicken powder with 1 tablespoon of water or oil in a small bowl. Whisk vigorously until fully dissolved. The mixture will turn opaque.
Then simply stir the slurry into your recipe. Common uses include:
- Adding to salad dressings, marinades, or dipping sauces
- Enriching the flavor of enchilada, pasta, or pizza sauce
- Boosting the taste of homemade vinaigrettes and aiolis
- Thickening and enhancing gravies, glazes, or pan sauces
When blending a slurry into cold sauces, let it sit for 5 minutes to fully incorporate. For hot recipes, the slurry will melt instantly when stirred in.
You can easily adjust slurry amounts depending on the intensity desired. Use 2 teaspoons powder and 2 tablespoons liquid for a more prominent chicken flavor.
Seasoning Meats, Snacks, and Everyday Dishes
A pinch of chicken powder can enhance all kinds of savory foods beyond soups and grains. Try sprinkling it directly onto proteins and snacks for an instant umami flavor.
When cooking ground beef or turkey for tacos, chili, or pasta sauce, stir in 1 teaspoon of chicken powder per pound of meat. For juicier burgers, mix some powder right into the ground meat before forming patties.
Rub or brush powder onto steaks, chops, chicken pieces, and fish fillets before grilling or roasting. Start with 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon per serving and adjust to taste.
For snacks, use chicken powder instead of plain salt. Season popcorn, nuts, and chips with a shake or two per serving. Or blend it into dips and spreads for extra richness.
Chicken powder also makes everyday dishes like omelets, scrambled eggs, and quiche more savory. Simply sprinkle a pinch into the beaten eggs before cooking. Or add it to egg salad and tuna salad along with other seasonings.
When baking, fold some powder into biscuits, scones, cornbread, or muffin batter. Try substituting up to 1/4 of the salt in a recipe with chicken powder. It provides subtle savory notes without tasting overly like chicken.
Tips for Storing and Using Chicken Powder
- Keep chicken powder in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. It will stay fresh for up to 1 year.
- If the powder clumps, sift it through a fine mesh strainer before using it. Clumping does not affect flavor.
- For the best flavor, use hot water or broth when dissolving chicken powder. Cold liquids won't incorporate it as well.
- Start with less powder and add more to taste. It's easy to overdo it since the flavor is highly concentrated.
- If your recipe already contains salt, reduce the amount of chicken powder so you don't over-salt the dish.
- Check the ingredient list when buying chicken powder. Look for real chicken broth or meat as the first ingredient. Avoid MSG and fillers.
- For a healthier homemade version, search online recipes using nutritional yeast and spices like garlic, onion, and paprika.
Chicken powder is an extremely versatile seasoning that belongs in any well-stocked pantry. It provides fast and convenient chicken flavor for soups, sautés, marinades, and more.
Keep a container on hand for those times you need to add extra savory goodness but don't have broth available.
With just a few shakes, this flavor powerhouse can transform the taste of a wide variety of dishes.