Demystifying the Brown Bottle: Maggi Seasoning Sauce

Posted on 16. Feb, 2012 by in Culture

I think that if every kitchen in the Netherlands was searched, eight out of ten of them would contain a bottle of Maggi seasoning. The first time I came across Maggi was at a Dutch birthday party. Vegetable soup had just been served and all around me the party guests were eagerly dumping loads of the brown seasoned liquid into their soup, curiosity got the better of me.

The following day, I decided to buy myself a small bottle of this strange item, of which nothing on the front gave me any idea of what it actually was. I got the treasured item home promptly opened it and poured a small drop onto my finger for a taste.

So, what is Maggi seasoning? Maggi is a dark, hydrolysed vegetable protein-based seasoning sauce, which is very similar to East Asian soy sauce without actually containing soy. It is used most often in soups and sauces.

The name is a bit confusing as Maggi is actually a Nestlé brand of instant soups, stocks, bouillon cubes, ketchups, sauces, seasonings and instant noodles. The full name of the seasoning sauce is in fact “Maggi-Würze”, however, in many countries “Maggi” is still used as the seasoning sauce’s name. Consider it a nick-name.

Introduced in 1886, as a cheap substitute for meat extract, it has become popular in countries such as the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and Germany. As to its taste, if you like soy sauce then you probably aren’t going to mind Maggi. I personally find you need to add quite a bit to really notice a distinctive “Maggi” taste but that might just be me.

So far, I have never seen a recipe that has an ingredient list that includes Maggi seasoning sauce on it and apart from adding it to vegetable soup, I can’t say I have really used the brown bottle much. So, I am curious. Do you have a bottle of Maggi in your kitchen cupboards and what do you use it for?

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72 Responses to “Demystifying the Brown Bottle: Maggi Seasoning Sauce”

  1. Patricia 7 June 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Many, many years ago I learned to cook with Maggi in Cincinnati at a Chef Gregory cooking class. Now I can’t live without it! So glad to see that it’s still around although not readily available in my local markets. Maggie was used in more than 50% of his recipes along with seasoned salt, garlic and MSG (let that last one go). They were called the “4 Friends”.

  2. Marianne 9 June 2013 at 5:38 pm #

    My parents are Dutch immigrants and I, too, was raised on Maggie. It is available in most stores here in British Columbia. A word to the wise – it wasn’t until I started reading food labels that I realized how high the sodium content is in Maggie.

  3. MawMaw 18 June 2013 at 5:56 am #

    I was introduced to Maggi seasoning by my Asian sister-in-law and all this time have thought it is Asian like soy sauce because, to me, it tastes so much like soy sauce.

    I add it to any Asian dishes I make and it seems to be a good addition to those dishes.

    Now, I find it’s Swiss made. Interesting.

  4. Michelle Newman 22 June 2013 at 1:32 pm #

    I was introduced to this sauce by some South African friends.
    A basic creamy mushroom sauce seasoned with Maggi, makes an already fabulous creamy mushroom sauce absolutely amazing.
    Fry up some sliced mushrooms in butter, add cornflour and cream until the pouring texture you require is reached. Then dash in a few (or more) drops of Maggie seasoning sauce.
    We were served this sauce as a starter with garlic baked potato wedges, but it’s also fab on chicken or steak.

  5. Nanette 17 September 2013 at 2:02 am #

    I found a recipe for Mongolian beef & it calls for Maggi seasoning. Never heard of it & went searching…that’s how I found you. Is it more like kitchen bouquet, a browning & seasoning sauce? Or more like soy sauce? I’d like to try this recipe and need the proper ingredient. thanks.

  6. Gisela Manning 30 September 2013 at 9:24 pm #

    I am German Origin, and immigrated to the United States in 52
    missed my Maggi a lot.
    Use it in Egg dishes, Soups, Final seasoning for Bratwurst etc,

  7. Karin A Crichton 11 October 2013 at 7:37 pm # – Maggi Seasoning is an ingredient in this Michelada recipe. I haven’t made them yet – only because I didn’t know where to look for Maggi Seasoning…now, I have found it and can’t wait to try this recipe!! Cheers!

  8. Madalina 20 October 2013 at 8:34 am #

    Here`s a recipe with this ingredient:
    I found it very interesting, not yet tried it.

  9. Sandy 21 October 2013 at 12:37 am #

    Here is actually a recipe by one of Australia’s well known celebritychefs and the show is not sponsored by Nestle It features Maggi!

  10. NYC Girl 4 November 2013 at 1:14 pm #

    Can you use Maggi seasoning instead of soy sauce, I want to make chicken satay and the recipe calls for fish sauce, which I cant use due to severe fish allergies. I was told I could substitute soy for the fish sauce and was wondering if Maggi would also be a substitute. Anyone?


  11. Madeline 23 March 2014 at 7:10 pm #

    Just used it in a Salisbury steak recipe.

  12. Dwayne 20 April 2014 at 3:26 am #

    My Mom’s family came to Canada when she was young. I remember my grandmother making us toast covered with Maggi in the morning. I just introduced it to my wife

  13. MattNOVA 17 May 2014 at 8:16 pm #

    I just discovered Maggi in a michelada recipe (also new to me), and I’ve been using it on whatever strikes my fancy. It’s delicious on fried eggs with hot sauce, and I just replaced some soysauce in an adobo recipe with Maggi. Good stuff!

  14. Linda 22 May 2014 at 7:37 pm #

    I am making this recipe and it called for Maggi Seasoning. Came across your site on Google while researching what Maggi is. Hope you can try this easy recipe!!

    This Polish-American sausage-cabbage-potato casserole recipe is a one-pot dish that comes together quickly and is perfect for tailgating, Super Bowl parties and informal entertaining. It’s even better reheated, so it’s perfect for school night dinners. If push came to shove, I suppose you could call it zapiekanka z kielbasa, kapusty, ziemniaków, but it’s really something I came up with on the fly. This can be as rugged as you like — leave the potatoes and apples unpeeled — or soignée. Either way, it’s a winner.

    Polish-American Sausage-Cabbage-Potato Casserole.
    Prep Time: 20 minutes

    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Total Time: 50 minutes

    Yield: 4 servings Polish Casserole


    1 tablespoon butter
    2 large coarsely chopped onions
    1 medium head coarsely chopped or shredded cabbage
    2 red-skinned apples, cored and sliced 1/2-inch thick (peels can be left on, if desired)
    2 large russet potatoes (peels can be left on, if desired), parboiled for 5 minutes (save the cooking water) and coarsely chopped
    1 tablespoon Vegeta or Maggi seasoning
    1 tablespoon caraway seeds (or to taste)
    1 pound smoked Polish sausage (skin removed, if desired), cut into 6 pieces and scored diagonally 3 times
    1 cup reserved potato-cooking water

    In a large, Dutch oven or skillet with a lid, sauté onion in butter over medium heat until translucent. Then, without stirring, add cabbage and sprinkle evenly with Vegeta or Maggi seasoning. Add apples, caraway and pepper without stirring. Top with sausage and 1 cup of the cooking water from potatoes. Cover. When the water begins to boil, reduce heat and simmer 10 minutes.

    Uncover and mix all ingredients together. Replace cover and simmer 10 minutes more. Remove the cover and test for doneness of the cabbage. If there are too many juices, cook over low heat until reduced. But the pan juices are delicious when sopped up with rye bread.

  15. Michelle T 12 July 2014 at 7:55 pm #

    My momma’s recipe for this was gravy; make your gravy traditionally by browning some flour in hot oil, then add your water and add some Maggie sauce for some extra flavor, and color! :). Happy cooking!

  16. Chris 15 August 2014 at 3:22 pm #

    One of our local NPR stations has a food program called the Food Schmooze. Their topic one week was about Vietnamese sandwiches called Baang Moi (?) which uses the Maggi seasoning on the bread. I have been going nuts trying to find this stuff. Your article will now help me narrow my search. Thank you.

  17. Kelly 24 August 2014 at 8:55 pm #

    I mix Maggi sauce with mayonnaise and use it as a dip for cucumbers, so yummy.

  18. Tonya 31 August 2014 at 4:31 pm #

    I use Maggie all the time, I used it to make fried rice, marinades, cook chicken with it it it soo good. Better that soy sauce to me!

  19. Cathy 8 November 2014 at 2:44 am #

    I don’t know how old this post is… but if you read this again… you can put some Maggi on eggs.

    doesn’t matter which way they are cooked.

    fried is the best tho- with a dash of Maggi and buttered toast.

  20. Renate Bob 29 November 2014 at 11:23 pm #

    I was born in the former Danzig ,now Gdansk, and my mother always used Maggie for seasoning. It’s interesting to me that people are now rediscovering it. It does taste very similar to sot sauce.

  21. Chrissy 20 March 2015 at 1:52 pm #

    I grew up with Maggi Seasoning and I absolutely love it so much I couldn’t live without a bottle of it in my cupboard at all times! I use it in cooking, have added mayo to it to make a salad dressing. But my most favourite way of having it is sprinkled straight onto salad by itself. I will gorge myself purely on a bowl of chopped up tomatoes, cucumbers or lettuce practically drenched in Maggi. I am addicted to the stuff!!

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