Kitchen Bouquet: Everything You Need to Know

It seems as though everyday new products are introduced that will help us elevate our cooking game and treat our taste buds like never before. But what about the products that have been around for a while and have seemingly stood the test of time?

The perfect example of such a product is Kitchen Bouquet.

Have you, like many other foodies, ever asked yourself: what is Kitchen Bouquet and what makes it so special? Where does this product come from and what is it used for?

If you found yourself nodding along in agreement, you’re in luck. Today’s article will answer those questions—and more.

I hope you’re hungry for information.

What is Kitchen Bouquet?

Let’s start with the basics. What is Kitchen Bouquet exactly? Considering its impressive reputation, its simplicity may surprise you. Kitchen Bouquet is a sauce used to add seasoning and flavor to other sauces as well as for browning purposes. That’s it! How wonderfully simple.

While its instantly recognizable brown and yellow bottle looks great on a table, this isn’t a table sauce & shouldn’t be treated as one. Sure, you could try drizzling some over your French fries or use a splash as a dipping sauce but we doubt you’ll appreciate the results.

It’s exclusively used during the cooking, baking, brining and marinating stages of preparing a meal. Why? In truth, most people use Kitchen Bouquet simply because their mother did. As did their grandmother. And their great-grandmother before her. I’m sure you see where I’m going with this.

Its list of ingredients includes caramel, a tiny amount of sodium benzoate, sulfiting agents as well as a vegetable base concocted from the following ingredients:

  • Water
  • Onions
  • Carrots
  • Celery
  • Parsnips
  • Turnips
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Spices

Now that you know what Kitchen Bouquet is and what it consists of, let’s discover all there is to know about this culinary staple.

Where does Kitchen Bouquet Come From?

Kitchen Bouquet 1
Image: circle-b-kitchen

Part of what adds to the ever-present appeal of Kitchen Bouquet is that nobody really knows its origins. It’s just regarded as one of those things that has always been around—a staple ingredient found in the kitchen cupboards we grew up with.

Experts guestimate that it has been used in cooking since 1873. But I suspect it has been passed down in family recipe books from generation to generation for much longer.

The earliest known written mention of it was in an edition of The Boston Cooking School Magazine all the way back in 1903. If you ever doubt the cultural relevance of this product, consider the fact that it was exhibited as a proud USA product in 1889’s Paris Exposition.

By the late 19th century, Kitchen Bouquet had hit the production line and was being delivered all across the country by the Palisade Manufacturing Company.

Fast forward to more than a century later and it is still being manufactured except these days the manufacturing is handled by a subsidiary of The Clorox Company. Let’s now explore why this product has retained its status as a must-have ingredient even after all this time.

What is Kitchen Bouquet Used For?

Kitchen Bouquet undoubtably owes its popularity to its incredible level of versatility. This ingredient is used in both residential and commercial kitchens, for an assortment of purposes. Its main purposes include:

  • To flavor soups, gravies and stews
  • Acting as a thickener
  • To darken the appearance of soups, gravies and marinades
  • As a complementary ingredient in marinades
  • To make microwavable meals and TV dinners look more appetizing
  • To make meat look well-roasted
  • As a substitute for bitters in alcoholic cocktails
  • And it’s even used by food photographers & stylists to achieve an abundance of appearance effects

How to Use Kitchen Bouquet

Kitchen Bouquet 2
Image: chowhound

Using Kitchen Bouquet is an unfussy and uncomplicated process. Maybe that, coupled with the fact that you only need to use tiny quantities of it at a time, is why it is so popular. How you use it depends on what you’ll be using it for.

To use it as a marinade for meats like steaks and chops all you need to do is generously brush Kitchen Bouquet over all sides of the meat before cooking it.

Want to thicken up your sauce? A drop or two of Kitchen Bouquet will do the job.

To use it as an au jus, simply pour two tablespoons of pan fat into a pan, blend it with four tablespoons of flour and mix the two together with hot water before adding in half a teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet.

Looking to make your turkey and subsequent stuffing resemble the turkey dinners you see on TV? A few drops of Kitchen Bouquet are the key ingredients in the recipe of beautifully browned turkey and scrumptious stuffing.

Kitchen Bouquet Specifics

Kitchen Bouquet Specifics
Image: fooducate

Is Kitchen Bouquet healthy? For the most part, yes. This is because is mainly made up of natural products and has a low sodium content as you discovered earlier on in this article. But it does contain sulfiting agents like sodium nitrate which aren’t very good for the human stomach.

Kitchen Bouquet is a vegan product, which is a factor that many people appreciate these days. Overall, compared to other products on the market Kitchen Bouquet is rated as better than average.

Those who thrive on details will love this little nutritional value breakdown we’ve put together for you. For every one teaspoon of Kitchen Bouquet you’ll get:

  • 15 kcal (63 kJ) of energy
  • 3g of carbohydrates
  • 2g of sugars
  • 0mg of fat
  • 10mg of sodium
  • A whole load of deliciousness

Alternatives to Kitchen Bouquet

Kitchen Bouquet Alternatives

If for some reason you can’t get your hands on a bottle of Kitchen Bouquet, or you can but don’t like it, all is not lost. There are many different alternatives to Kitchen Bouquet that you can try out. Here are just five of them:

  • Worcestershire sauce: The ever-popular Worcestershire sauce can be used to color and flavor dishes. However, it will not act as a thickener.
  • Gravy Master: This product is widely accepted as the runner up to Kitchen Bouquet. It is able to brown, flavor and thicken sauces. The only notable difference between Kitchen Bouquet and Gravy Master is that the latter has a much more pronounced taste.
  • Parisian Essence: Coming in just after Gravy Master, Parisian Essence is almost as good as Kitchen Bouquet. It browns, flavors, thickens and is an all-vegan alternative.
  • Maggi Seasoning: Maggi Seasoning can be used for its browning properties. But that’s about it. It cannot thicken sauces up and has an extremely high sodium content. As such it has a very salty taste that can ruin a dish in just one pinch.
  • Dark molasses: Dark molasse is a wonderful ingredient that fares well against Kitchen Bouquet. It can thicken, brown and flavor dishes almost as well as Kitchen Bouquet. Of all the alternatives listed, dark molasses, when mixed with broth, most closely imitates the taste of Kitchen Bouquet.

Frequently Asked Questions

Before I wrap this article up, here are the answers to some frequently asked questions. Get ready to gobble them up!

What does Kitchen Bouquet taste like?

This simple question receives a bunch of different answers. Some say that the sauce is totally and utterly flavorless. Others swear it tastes like beef. The rest struggle to describe its flavor and merely say it tastes somewhat “burnt”.

Can I make Kitchen Bouquet at home?

Absolutely! You can make your own bottle of Kitchen Bouquet in the comfort of your home. Naturally, your rendition of the sauce won’t taste exactly like the original but that doesn’t mean it won’t be effective. You’ll need the following ingredients to make your own batch of Kitchen Bouquet:

  • Brown sugar
  • Butter
  • Water
  • Carrot
  • Onion
  • Celery
  • Turnip
  • Flour
  • Peppercorns
  • Vegetable broth
  • Lemon juice

Check out this helpful video that goes through the step by step process of making your own batch of Kitchen Bouquet. If you make too much, don’t worry as this mixture freezes easily and will last for a while in your household freezer.

How is Kitchen Bouquet stored?

Kitchen Bouquet does not require refrigerating—even after it has been opened. You can store it on your spice rack or in a pantry cupboard with the rest of your herbs and spices.


So to answer your original question of what is Kitchen Bouquet I’ll keep my answer short. It’s an incredible product that shows no signs of losing its well-deserved popularity anytime soon.

Even though your “what is Kitchen Bouquet” question has been well and truly answered, feel free to leave me a comment down below if you have any questions for me.

In short:

  • Buy it
  • Try it
  • And come back here to let me know what you think of it!
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21 thoughts on “Kitchen Bouquet: Everything You Need to Know”

  1. I love kitchen bouquet. I had never heard of it before until I worked as a waitress at the Hut Restaurant in Ridge Farm, Illinois. That was almost 50 years ago and I am still using it and always tell other people about it too.

  2. Because of the pandemic kitchen bouquet has become a hard to find item online and on grocery shelves. I read your article: So you say it can be frozen so I bought a 32 ounce bottle for $15 as opposed to a 4 ounce bottle for $11. Thanks for the good read.
    Use it on ground turkey and people will swear they eating top grade ground beef.

  3. I agree with all your comments and like the person before me have used KB for over 50 years and now can’t find it in any of the stores in Houston. On line the cost is ridiculously high. Do you know if KB is being discontinued? Thank you,

    • You can buy it at all HEB stores in Houston. You’ve probably not seen it there, as they have it in a place you wouldn’t expect. Instead of the fliur/seasoning aisle, or the aisle with the packages of McCormick seasonings, it’s actually located on the condiment aisle! Its between the ketchup and steak sauce!!

  4. Have used Kitchen Bouquet for 48 years for homemade gravy simply because my mother used it when she made gravy. It is getting harder to find. Fortunately a bottle lasts a long time.

  5. I always coat a roast with it before cooking. No need to brown to seal in the juices. KB creates a coating, not really a crust, that locks in the juices and the flavor. I then add it to the gravy. My mother used it for years and I am now retired. I could not do without it.

  6. I have seen this product all my life and like you said, my mother, grandmother and great grandmother used it. My problem is, i have been told by the Hidden Valley co, who owns Kitchen Bouquet that it is sold exclusively by Walmart and a few Publix stores. Walmart on line says that you have to get it in store and no Walmart within 100 miles of where I live even carries it. I am very disappointed with Hidden Valley and Walmart for their poor marketing policies. They only distribute this product in the larger cities. And at one time you could get it in every “Mon and Pop” store, well not anymore. I cannot get it anywhere anymore. very sad 😪.


  8. I love kitchen bouquet. My mom and grandmother used it. I used to use it just to darken my roast gravy. I’ve started to find just a few more uses for it. I might not use it for a lot of things but it is a must for the things I do use it for.

  9. for some reason none of the grocery stores in my area carry Kitchen Bouquet at this time. Why? One store said it was dropped from here product list and she is perplexed as to why. How do I contact the manufacturer to state my concern?

  10. Walmart has it for $3-4 near the Worsteshire. Thank you for so much information about Kitchen Bouquet. A recipe called for it and I was afraid it my collect dust in the cupboard. Now I know all the creative ways to try Kitchen Bouquet.

  11. Does Kitchen Bouquet contain sesame oil or sesame seeds? My grandson is highly allergic and I’ve prepared a roast with it.


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