Court Bouillon

A pot of court bouillon
Brett Stevens/Cultura/Riser/Getty Images
Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Total: 45 mins
Servings: 8 servings
Yield: 1 gallon
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
73 Calories
0g Fat
14g Carbs
2g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 8
Amount per serving
Calories 73
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 1%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1925mg 84%
Total Carbohydrate 14g 5%
Dietary Fiber 4g 13%
Total Sugars 6g
Protein 2g
Vitamin C 60mg 300%
Calcium 58mg 4%
Iron 1mg 6%
Potassium 268mg 6%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Court Bouillon (pronounced "coor boo-YONE") is a French culinary term that means “briefly boiled broth”. It is a flavorful, aromatic liquid used for poaching with a light color. The cooking time is brief compared to deeply flavored stock where ingredients are boiled for a long time to give their all.  

It contains four components: water, vegetables, aromatics, and acid. The simplest court bouillon consists of nothing but salted water, and some traditional recipes call for a mixture of half salted water and half milk. The vegetables are onion, carrots, and celery, or a mirepoix. For aromatics, herbs and spices or a bouquet garni is cooked in the liquid along the vegetables.

Court bouillon contains more acid than vegetable stock. Acid is added for flavor but court bouillon should not taste sour. Commonly white wine and/or lemon juice or a sliced lemon is added. 

Court bouillon is used for poaching most kinds of fish, both white fish such as cod, sole, flounder, hake, halibut, and pike, and pink-fleshed fish such as salmon and tuna. It is also used for shellfish such as lobster, crab, and shrimp, as well as for poultry, usually boneless white meat such as chicken or turkey breast. It can also be used to poach vegetables such as asparagus. After poaching, the court bouillon is not served as part of the finished dish but discarded. 

Because poaching delicate foods does not require long cooking, make the court bouillon first. With the exception of whole fish or large pieces of poultry, the food is added to the hot court bouillon. 

In addition to poaching, you can also use court bouillon instead of water, vegetable, or chicken broth to thin sauces. 

Another way to use court bouillon is in an Asian hot pot. It is strained before using and replaces the broth. 

Court bouillon can be kept in the fridge in an airtight container for up to one week, You can also freeze it for up to three months.


  • 1 gallon cold water

  • 1/4 cup kosher salt

  • 1 cup white wine

  • 1 medium onion, coarsely chopped

  • 1 stalk celery, coarsely chopped

  • 1 medium carrot, peeled and coarsely chopped

  • 1 bay leaf

  • 1 sprig fresh thyme

  • 8 fresh parsley sprigs

  • 1 teaspoon black peppercorns, crushed

  • 1 thinly sliced lemon

Steps to Make It

  1. Combine all the ingredients in a heavy-bottomed stock pot or soup pot. Bring to a boil, then lower to a simmer. Simmer for 30 minutes.

  2. Strain and either use immediately or cool. (See note below.)

NOTE: When poaching small fish, sliced fish (i.e., fillets), or shellfish, start with hot court bouillon. Large fish should be started in a cold court bouillon then slowly brought to a simmer for even cooking.