We tasted and tasted until we never wanted to taste, smell or look at plain chicken stock ever again. They vary vastly in flavor...from boring to bleck, gamey to grandiose...just something to keep in mind depending on what you're making. Here are our favorites - and not so favorites - in order...
Progresso (Mark's fave) – (820mg of sodium per cup) Progresso’s tasty chicken flavor was extremely well balanced. When we think of what chicken broth should taste like – this was it. It was clean and bright with no bad aftertastes, slightly more salt than others, but no salty taste. It tasted like a simple chicken soup. If you don’t want to make your own, Progresso is the way to go.
Swanson/Swanson Organic (Pam's fave) – (560mg average of sodium per cup) Swanson had a rich, gamey chicken taste, and bright yellow color. It almost tasted like this broth was flavored with dark meat chicken, yet well balanced. The regular Swanson's has a rich chicken flavor and its organic counterpart has hints of more onion. In fact, we always used Swanson's for our real food recipes because it topped the Cook's Illustrated chicken broth test.
Brad's Organic - (570mg of sodium per cup) Good chicken flavor. Even and balanced, slightly sweet.
Kitchen Basics - (440mg of sodium per cup) Pronounced herbaceous, veggie flavor. Lots of celery. Darkest in color. If you're looking for a lower sodium broth, this one is a good option.
College Inn – (420mg of sodium per cup) This was an even, bland tasting broth. Just a "boring" broth with a slight mushroom flavor.
Emeril – (590mg of sodium per cup) Unlike the other broths, this had a slight boney flavor. It was bland and not as tasty or unique as the top contenders. It wasn’t horrible, but it certainly wasn’t great either. There was nothing special about this average tasting, mediocre broth.
Imagine – (740mg of sodium per cup) This tasted more like vegetable broth than chicken broth. Actually it lacked any chicken flavor at all. Watery. Bland. Bad.
365 – (140mg of sodium per cup) This was just awful. Really low sodium and organic, though, if those are important factors to you. It tasted like watery dishwater. It was bland and tasteless. Yuckaroo!
Pacific – (70mg of sodium per cup) Awful tasting. Really didn't stand a chance being so low in sodium, though. Almost inedible. It was bland, tasteless and watery. No chicken flavor at all. Bleck!