How To know If Chicken Is Bad

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

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Chicken is the one meat that I can’t live without. I always have one in my freezer. And my kids love it, too.

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

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

How to spot spoiled raw chicken

 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 ways to spot spoiled raw chicken. Perhaps the easiest way is to look at the color of the meat. Fresh, raw chicken is safe to eat when it is colored pink. But if the color has become grayish, then the meat has turned bad. I suggest you discard it right away.

You can also touch the raw chicken. It should not feel slimy or sticky. 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 sell-by date. 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

chicken wings has gone bad

Like raw chicken, cooked chicken can go bad even if you keep it in the refrigerator and freezer. Even if you reheat wings properly, 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 chicken smells like rotten eggs. If you smell anything fishy or bad, then it is time to throw away the cooked chicken no matter how delicious it used to be.

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

Signs of molds 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 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 chicken stored in the freezer, and left it there for several weeks.

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 bacteria like Salmonella and E-coli. While cooking spoiled chicken can destroy Salmonella and E-coli, 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.
  • Refrigerate leftover cooked chicken as soon as possible. Cooked chicken can get spoiled quickly if left at room temperature.
  • Knowing how to properly store chicken can go a long way towards protecting you and your family.

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.

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Wife, Mom of 4 and so much more living in the Sonoran desert. I am passionate about making meals and snacks healthier without sacrificing flavor! I promise you that if you buy healthy foods and make healthy foods, YOUR KIDS WILL EAT HEALTHY FOODS! My motto: Live as naturally as you want to feel.