A homemade version of this popular pantry staple is easy and economical to make for convenient use whenever needed. A single recipe makes 4½ “packets.”
Homemade versions of store-bought staples can be really useful. Sometimes, the DIY version is healthier, cheaper, and/or allows you to swap out off-limits ingredients. Most times, they taste better too.
This copycat version of the well-known onion soup packets is something I often use in a super-easy, fall-apart-tender recipe for chuck roast. (If you haven’t tried, it’s perfect for lazy weekends and casual entertaining–and I highly recommend.)
While the sodium content in this recipe will be better than the name brand packet, bouillon is still high in sodium. Keep in mind that the following recipe makes the equivalent of 4½ packets. There are sodium-free beef bouillon options if this is a concern–organic options exist as well. (Note that a sodium-free option will likely taste bland compared to what you are used to, although seasoning your recipe with a measured amount of salt may be done at the end.)
So if you have recipes tucked away for meatloaf, French onion dip, or your mom’s classic chicken and rice casserole that call for these pre-made packets, this might be reason to revisit them.
- ¾ cup dried minced onions (onion flakes; found in the spice aisle)
- ⅓ cup beef bouillon powder (see notes)
- 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon celery seeds
- ¼ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground pepper
- ⅛ teaspoon paprika
Chop or grind the celery seeds to break them up a little. (I find this easiest to do with my chef’s knife.)
Mix all ingredients. Some brands of bouillon may be a bit clumpy, In this case, break up the clumps.
One packet of the purchased mix equals 1 ounce or about ¼ cup of this mix. Divide into individual zipper top bags or small jars, and store in a cupboard or other cool, dark place.
- I use Herb-Ox granulated beef bouillon. If needed, Herb-Ox has a sodium-free option and organic options are available.
A family favorite with just 3 ingredients… Easy Chuck Roast in Foil
The following is an old picture where I tested an all-natural bouillon powder that was much darker in color.
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Is there a substitute for the beef bouillon powder? I feel like the ingredients in any I have researched are just as bad as buying a packet of the onion mix from Lipton.
Hi Tara, You could look for a mushroom bouillon powder or a powdered beef base. Both of these options tend to contain fewer added ingredients.
This is a great liptons onion soup recipe! I tried putting this in sour cream to make onion dip. I cant tell the difference between it and the Lipton’s packets. Perfect!
Great news, Alexander! I appreciate your comment, and the sour cream and onion dip sounds fantastic!
Tasted just like the name brand. Loved the flavor. Made my venison roast taaaaste so good. Thanks for your hard work. FYI. My local asian store sells both beef and chicken powder.
So happy this was a hit, Denise! Thanks for your terrific feedback and the mention about the beef and chicken bouillon powder.
Can I use the bouillon paste in place of ground powder?
Hi Sherry, Depending on how you want to use the mix, you could substitute an equivalent amount of bouillon paste. But because it’s wet, I don’t think it would store very well once mixed with the other ingredients. It would also be slightly harder to use as a dry rub.
My onion soup recipe has thyme in it so I added 1 tsp of dry thyme to the mix.
That would be a lovely addition, Christine. Thank you for mentioning!
Will using chicken bouillon with the spice ingredients for this beef bouillon recipe bring out a tasty chicken flavor
LaVerne, I don’t know why that thought never occurred to me, but I love it. I think chicken bouillon would be a great option. If you try, please let me know what you think!
I share recipes with a site for people with dietary issues. They often need low sodium. How does using the dry boullion compare to the brand name packet. I’ve been trying to put together substitue recipes for things like this. I also want to make this roast right away!
Hi Susan, How wonderful that you do that! The sodium content on the dry bouillon may vary a good bit from one brand to the next, and I’m not sure what the availability of a low-sodium option is. I purchase mine in bulk from a local market. As for the roast…it’s a family favorite!
Thank you so much for this. Made my favorite meatloaf and was trying to avoid the store during 2020 quarantine! This recipe was exactly what I needed.
I’m so happy to read this, Jen. Kudos to you for being resourceful and avoiding a trip to the store. Homemade meatloaf sounds so good right now!
is there a way to convert to the bouillon cubes?
i suppose i could go and buy powder, but i was trying to make without going to the store….
but maybe that wouldnt work because the bouillon wouldnt be evenly distributed?
Hi Jennifer, To make use of what you have on hand, you could grind the cubes to a powder. I haven’t done this, so I’m not sure how difficult it would be to grind them into a smooth powder. If placing them in a zipper bag and rolling them or using a mortar and pestle (if you have one) doesn’t seem so easy, you could grind them in a mini chopper or processor.
Coffee bean grinder works great for making powder out of cubes.
Great suggestion, Eric!
I am so excited to find this! My husband can’t have foods with yeast extract, so I’m having trouble finding a way to make this work since I have yet to find a bullion cube/powder that doesn’t have yeast extract. What do you think I could do to still make this recipe work? Thanks so much!
Hi Brooke, I just did a quick search and it seems as though Knorr’s beef bouillon contains yeast extract but its chicken bouillon does not. I thought maybe Better than Bouillon would be different (and you could then add it at the end and use as a wet rub in many cases), but the same difference applied. (Herb-ox uses the ingredient in both.) Short of lucking into a yeast-free beef bouillon, I’d be inclined to use the Knorr’s chicken option and see what you think. If you try, I’d love to know how you make out!
Best lipton copycat recipe. Taste just like the dip I used to make with the package stuff, only better. Thanks for the recipe, it’s a keeper
Wonderful news, Richard! I’m delighted you enjoyed this and appreciate the feedback.
This is phenomenal. I have to reduce my sodium consumption and this recipe is exactly what I’ve been looking for. I grew up with the Lipton onion soup chuck roast in foil, and the Lipton onion soup sour cream dip.
Many thanks for this recipe, the roast recipe, and the suggestion for Herb-Ox low sodium bullion!
You are very welcome, Jen. I’m glad you found your way here!
I have been in search of a recipe for the Lipton onion soup mix and would love to try your recipe, but I don’t see it listed here.
Hi Lisa, I’m having a temporary glitch with the recipe card feature and hope to have it remedied quickly. I apologize for the inconvenience and will let you know when it’s fixed!
All is working again 🙂
So glad to find this recipe. I live in Uruguay, and there’s no way to get Lipton’s Onion Dip. My boyfriend and I love it, and we both went crazy when I found this copycat. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!
That’s awesome, Natalia! I’m so glad you found this, too, and appreciate your great comment!
I’ve used onion soup mix for a chuck roast before, but this time I used your homemade mix, wrapped the roast in foil, and put it in the slow cooker on low all day. I added some potatoes and carrots around the roast, sprinkled with a bit of extra soup mix and added a very small amount of hot water. It was great! The meat was very tender and delicious; thanks for the recipe!
Everything sounds delicious, Becky, and I’m thrilled the homemade mix was a success!
Thank you VERY much for this recipe. My husband was recently put on a strict low-sodium diet, which I find a challenge, to say the least! This recipe is most helpful. Many thanks.
My pleasure. I’m glad it will come in handy!
Made the mix with your chuck roast recipe. Not only did the kitchen smell amazing all afternoon, everyone practically licked their plates and the meat was the most tender I’ve eaten in ages. Thanks so much for sharing this easy, delicious recipe!
I’m thrilled you enjoyed this as much as we do, Michelle!
Pingback: The Fountain Avenue Kitchen – 3-Ingredient Chuck Roast in Foil
Chicken in Milk recipe https://fountainavenuekitchen.com/chicken-in-milk/
Thank you so much for this great recipe. I usually ‘file’ recipes, but this one I made the same day as you offered it on your website! I followed the recipe fairly closely however I used 2 cups of coconut milk and 1/4 cup of chicken broth to thin it out, instead of the 2 cups of 2% milk, due to a milk intolerance and I used only chicken thighs. I deboned and froze dinner portions. I also kept some out to make chicken soup, adding both 16:1 ratio of chicken broth and coconut milk. The soup was also yummy. Thanks again, I shall make this recipe often and share it with my culinary friends!
Love that you made the Chicken in Milk recipe and enjoyed it. Your coconut milk substitution sounds delightful, as does the soup. Thanks for your great feedback, Krissie!
So glad to see a home made version of the Lipton Onion Soup recipe. The store bought version has trans fat in it which I avoid if at all possible. I use your recipe for the taco seasoning all the time. I have a old recipe book titled More Make A Mix Cookery which has a lot of home made mixes. It also has a recipe for Onion Seasoning Mix which I will send to your e-mail address.
Thank you for your comment and subsequent email, Gail. You mentioned that your current recipe doesn’t have enough flavor, so I hope this one is a better option for you. Glad you enjoy the taco mix!
I’m having a hard time knowing where to buy celery seeds, is there a good place to look or would the recipe be ok without them?
Hi Emily, You can typically find celery seeds in the spice aisle of most larger grocery stores. McCormick’s is available where I shop (in one of the short containers). It might be worth asking if you don’t see them. In a pinch you could leave them out.