How To know If Chicken Is Bad

How to Know if Chicken Is Bad or Spoiled: A Food Safety Guide

Chicken is the one meat that I can’t live without. I always have one in my freezer. And my kids love it, too. If you’re on this page, I’m sure how love to eat chicken, too. That’s why it’s so important to know if chicken is bad or spoiled before you consume it.

I am sure that many of you reading have bought a package of chicken at the grocery store with the same sentiments. Who doesn’t like chicken? There are countless ways to cook it. It’s packed with protein. And yes, it is so delicious.

In my last post, I showed you the best way to tell if your chicken is done. But I know there is another problem: You kept a chicken in the freezer for quite a long time, and you had no idea if it was still safe to use or not. How would you know that chicken is bad? I will share with you several ways to spot a rancid chicken.

How To Know If Raw Chicken Is Bad & Spoiled

 Fresh chicken thighs and a knife on cutting boards, spices and vegetables
Fresh chicken thighs and a knife on cutting boards, spices and vegetables

There are several simple ways to spot spoiled raw poultry. A sign of spoilage in chicken is a change in color of the meat from its normally pink raw meat to a dull gray. But if the chicken has a gray color, then the meat has turned bad. I suggest you discard it right away.

You can also touch the raw chicken. It should not have a sticky texture or slimy texture. If it does, then it is likely to have gone rancid. You should also throw the meat away if there’s some mucus discharging from it.

Some people also suggest checking the expiration date and the pack date to check if it is fresh raw chicken. They argue that it is unsafe to cook raw chicken past its sell-by date. However, a chicken will still be safe to cook and eat 2 to 3 days after the sell-by date as long as it has been properly stored or frozen.

How To Spot Rancid Cooked Chicken

chicken wings has gone bad
Rancid cooked chicken wing

Like raw chicken, cooked chicken can go bad even if you keep it in the refrigerator and freezer. Even if you reheat it properly and check its internal temperature with a meat thermometer, the chicken may have already gone bad! In my experience, cooked chicken will only be safe to eat up to 3 days after it was first stored in the refrigerator.

You can also freeze cooked chicken, which can extend its shelf life to six months. But the taste and texture really suffer when you freeze it.

So, how can you tell that cooked chicken has gone bad? Start by smelling the chicken. Rancid, rotten chicken has a foul smell, like rotten eggs. If you notice any unpleasant smells, then it is time to throw away the cooked chicken, no matter how delicious it used to be. Fresh chicken should have a very mild smell or no smell at all.

You can also check the color of the chicken. The meat of cooked chicken has a whitish color. If the meat shows even mild color changes and has turned grayish-looking, then don’t even think of taking a chance.

Signs of mold are also good indicators that cooked chicken is no longer safe to eat. In cooked chicken, mold spots are colored black and green.

Still unsure if the chicken is still good to eat? Then you can taste it; just don’t swallow it. Spit it out immediately if the taste is awful on the first bite.

How To Know That Frozen Chicken Is Bad & No Longer Safe To Cook

Frozen Chicken and vegetables
Frozen Chicken and vegetables

I’ve had experiences in the past when I forgot to cook whole chicken stored in the freezer and left it there for several weeks, leading to freezer burn.

I usually take off the wrappings of the poultry to check if the frozen chicken is still safe to use

Rancid chicken has an unpleasant odor. I discard chicken that has a bad smell right away, even if it has been sitting in the freezer for so long.

If you are still unsure about the freshness of frozen chicken, place it in the ref for a few hours. Then, check if it is slimy or sticky. If it does, then I am sure that the chicken is already spoiled. The same goes if there are any changes in the color of the chicken.

Dangers Of Cooking Spoiled Chicken

Dangers Of Cooking Spoiled Chicken
Dangers Of Cooking Spoiled Chicken

Spoiled chicken can contain dangerous bacteria like Salmonella and E. coli, leading to foodborne illnesses. Cooking spoiled chicken can destroy Salmonella and E. coli, and toxins will remain in the meat, making bad chicken unsafe to eat.

There are many diseases that you may get if you eat spoiled chicken. You can suffer from cramps and fever. You may also experience intestinal problems.

Plus, spoiled chicken just tastes bad.

Related Article:

Tips For Storing Chicken

Storing Chicken
Storing Chicken
  • Chicken can easily get spoiled if it is kept at a temperature ranging between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria grow quickly in chicken that is exposed to such temperature ranges.
  • Are you planning to use or cook the chicken in 2-3 days? Then place it in the refrigerator. It should be placed in the coldest spot or area of the fridge.
  • Freeze the chicken if you intend to use it in a week or so. Freezing leftover chicken breasts can extend their shelf life to six months.
  • Refrigerate leftover cooked chicken as soon as possible. For best results, preferably in an airtight container or freezer bag. Cooked chicken can get spoiled quickly if left at room temperature and not in a sealed container.
  • Knowing how to properly store chicken, which has a short shelf life, can go a long way towards protecting you and your family.

FAQs About How To Know If Chicken Is Bad

Is it OK to cook chicken that smells a little?

Personally, I wouldn’t risk it. Even a slight foul odor could mean the chicken is starting to spoil. It’s better to play it safe and avoid cooking or eating chicken that doesn’t smell fresh. No one wants to deal with a bout of food poisoning! Trust your nose – if it smells off, don’t use it.

What are the symptoms of eating expired chicken? 

Consuming spoiled chicken can give you nausea, vomiting, stomach cramps, diarrhea, headache, and fever – basically all the nasty symptoms of food poisoning. The illness can hit within a few hours or take a few days to develop after eating bad chicken. Be on the lookout for persistent nausea or diarrhea after eating chicken.

What happens if you cook bad chicken? 

Cooking spoiled chicken won’t make it safe to eat. Harmful bacteria may be killed by cooking, but the toxins they produce can still make you sick. It’s best to just throw out chicken that smells or looks questionable. Don’t take risks with chicken that seems spoiled in any way.

How long does raw chicken take to make you sick? 

If bacteria contaminated the raw chicken, you could come down with food poisoning symptoms anytime between a few hours to several days after eating it. How long it takes depends on what bacteria is present and how much you consumed. Watch for symptoms for at least 3 days after eating questionable chicken. 

Can chicken be bad if it smells fine? 

Don’t rely on smell alone! Chicken can be spoiled even without a rancid odor. Make sure to check the color, texture, and sliminess too. Trust your senses – if it seems off, play it safe and toss it out. Examine the chicken closely before cooking or consuming it.


Now that you know how to know if chicken is bad or spoiled, what can you say about this article? Leave your comments below. Better yet, share this article so your friends would know when to discard chicken And maybe even share their favorite chicken recipe!

+ posts

Similar Posts