Chicken's versatility and low cost make it an easy option for cooks, but loading up at the supermarket has a potential downside. Chicken is highly perishable, so unless you freeze it or cook it within the first day or two you'll run the risk of losing your investment. Most forms of spoilage in chicken are obvious to your senses, so it's not difficult to recognize when the bird has gone bad. When chicken is fresh or newly thawed, it should have a very light, clean smell.

It might be disconcertingly "chicken-y," especially if you've purchased a large bag of chicken pieces with skin on and bone in, but smells of nothing more than chicken. If spoilage bacteria are present, that relatively clean smell rapidly gives way to more assertive odors reminiscent of old running shoes and memorably funky cheeses.

Even mildly whiffy chicken is well on its way to deterioration and should be discarded. If your nose can't clearly decide the question, call on your other senses. It's not uncommon to see thin, watery liquid pool around your chicken pieces -- defrosted chicken is especially watery -- but if those fluids appear thick and mucus-like, it's usually a sign of spoilage and bacterial activity.

If you're still uncertain, touch the chicken in several places with your fingertips. Fresh chicken is dry, if skin-on, or just faintly moist if it's skin-off.

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If it feels slimy to the touch or tacky and sticky, it should be discarded. The chicken's color won't tell you much about its safety. Raw chicken can have an orange color or be pale and almost blue, but both are normal.

Don't call your sense of taste into play. Even a small mouthful of dubious chicken can potentially make you ill. Spoilage bacteria announce their presence pretty clearly, but the same can't be said for the dangerous or "pathogenic" bacteria that cause food-borne illness.

Testing regularly finds a veritable rogues' gallery of pathogens in chicken -- E. Rinsing the pieces under cold water won't help; in fact, if anything, it splatters bacteria widely around your kitchen and increases the risk of infection. Instead, observe basic food-safety rules.

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Keep your chicken refrigerated until mealtime, and then cook it to the USDA's recommended internal temperature of degrees Fahrenheit. Cooked chicken is typically safe for three to four days in the refrigerator, or approximately twice as long as raw chicken. It should be cooled and refrigerated within one to two hours of being cooked for maximum quality and safety. Make sure your fingers, utensils and work surfaces are scrupulously clean when you package it for refrigeration, because you can easily re-introduce harmful bacteria at this stage.

For example, if you've handled deli meats on the same cutting board, you might introduce Listeria monocytogenes, which, unlike most other pathogens, flourishes at refrigerator temperatures.

Discard any cooked chicken that develops off odors, and reheat your leftovers to a food safe temperature of F to minimize the risk of illness. Fred Decker is a trained chef, former restaurateur and prolific freelance writer, with a special interest in all things related to food and nutrition. His work has appeared online on major sites including Livestrong.

Video of the Day. References U. About the Author. How to Tell if a Chicken Is Expired.During these challenging times, we guarantee we will work tirelessly to support you. We will continue to give you accurate and timely information throughout the crisis, and we will deliver on our mission — to help everyone in the world learn how to do anything — no matter what.

Thank you to our community and to all of our readers who are working to aid others in this time of crisis, and to all of those who are making personal sacrifices for the good of their communities. We will get through this together. Eating chicken that has gone bad can make you very ill, regardless of whether it's raw or cooked.

To tell if raw chicken has gone bad, check the color, smell, and texture for irregularities. If the chicken is frozen, look for ice and freezer burn. To tell if cooked chicken is bad, check the smell, color, taste, and mold. Another thing to consider is whether the chicken has been stored properly and for how long.

If the chicken has been frozen and there is a thick layer of ice around it, or if it has become discolored, you should throw it out. Additionally, if cooked chicken begins to smell like rotten eggs, turns grey, or shows signs of mold, you should not eat it. To learn more about how to know if chicken is bad by touch, keep reading! Did this summary help you? Yes No. Log in Facebook Loading Google Loading Civic Loading No account yet?

Create an account. We use cookies to make wikiHow great. By using our site, you agree to our cookie policy. As the COVID situation develops, our hearts ache as we think about all the people around the world that are affected by the pandemic Read morebut we are also encouraged by the stories of our readers finding help through our site.You can delay raw chicken from spoiling by cooking it, but cooked chicken also has a limited shelf life.

Before you bite into that plate of leftovers, check over the chicken carefully to make sure it is still good. Chicken can be bad but have no signs.

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Throw it out if you notice any of the common signs of bad cooked chicken to avoid food poisoning. Cooked chicken must be refrigerated within an hour after cooking so bacteria doesn't begin to multiply.

The meat is only good for two to three days after refrigeration, so be sure to label the chicken before sticking it in the refrigerator. Beyond three days, throw the chicken out.

Plain chicken pieces, whether roasted or fried, are good for four months in the freezer, while chicken covered in broth or served as part of a casserole or similar dish is good for six months past the storage date when frozen at zero degrees Fahrenheit. Bacteria multiply rapidly within the danger zone of temperatures between 40 and F. Your refrigerator temperature should always be below 40 F so the cooked chicken stays good for the full two to three days. The temperature dial or readout on your refrigerator may not be accurate, so buy a small thermometer that hangs from a rack in your refrigerator to double-check.

If you find your refrigerator doesn't cool meat to below 40 F, throw the chicken out. The smell of spoiled, raw chicken is unmistakable and is likely to blast you in the face as soon as you open the refrigerator.

Cooked chicken doesn't smell quite as bad when it starts to spoil, but it does take on an offensive odor. If you think the chicken might be bad, its odor is one of the easiest indications of spoiled meat.

what does bad chicken smell like

Plenty of other foods in a refrigerator can produce offensive odors, so it's best to remove the chicken from the refrigerator, unwrap it and smell it away from other foods.

Freshly cooked chicken is brown or white. As chicken goes bad, it begins to take on a gray tint that intensifies as time goes on. In some cases, the chicken might turn green, gray-green or blue-gray. If the outside of the chicken shows no color change, make a small cut and check the inside of the meat. In addition to color changes, you might also see mold growing on the chicken or feel a slimy film developing on the outside.Whether fried, baked or boiled, chicken is versatile, tasty and widely eaten.

But it can go bad. If your chicken is slimy after cooking, looks grey, smells bad or has visible mold, don't eat it. This lean, healthy protein source — 3 grams of fat and 26 grams of protein in a 3-ounce portion, according to the USDA — needs to be properly cooked and stored to avoid risk of contamination and potentially illness.

One of the easiest ways of telling if chicken is undercooked is if it is still pink on the inside. The USDA recommends cooking whole chicken to an internal temperature of degrees Fahrenheit, measuring the temperature along the inside of the thigh and the thickest portion of the breast.

When using an instant-read thermometer, do not let the tip touch the bone as this will give a skewed reading. If cooking bone-in chicken, you will need a longer cooking time than deboned chicken, and stuffed chickens require longer cooking than chicken left as-is. Cooked chicken needs to be properly stored to stay safe for consumption.

Freshly cooked chicken will have a brown or white color to the meat, and, over time, as it spoils, cooked chicken looks grey, or green-grey. Other signs of spoiled cooked chicken are a bad, offensive smell, a chicken that's slimy after cooking, and mold or white spots on cooked chicken. In these cases, or whenever in doubt, throw away the chicken rather than risk potential contamination. Foodborne bacteria can affect raw or cooked chicken and lead to cross-contamination — bacteria spreading from raw to cooked foods.

Common symptoms of all illnesses include abdominal pain or cramps, vomiting, nausea, diarrhea, fever and possibly respiratory complications. To determine the specific course of treatment, you need to seek medical attention immediately.

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This will reduce the risk of more severe symptoms, including muscle paralysis and possibly death, depending on the type of bacteria. The USDA recommends storing all chicken — cooked or raw — in proper temperatures. Keep your fridge 40 degrees F or below, and your freezer no higher than 0 degrees Fahrenheit.

Refrigerate your leftovers within two hours of eating, or one hour if you're in hot temperatures of 90 degrees or more. Leaving food out longer than that can lead to harmful bacterial growth. Don't eat cooked chicken that's been in the fridge for 7 days. In general, cooked chicken, if properly covered in the fridge, can be stored for three to four days, or upwards of four months in the freezer.

Raw chicken parts can be stored for one to two days in the fridge, or between three to 12 months in the freezer. If you are keeping your chicken warm before serving, keep it at degrees or higher, and when reheating cooked chicken, bring it up to degrees F. Nutrition Nutrition Basics Food and Health. Janet Renee has over a decade of experience as a registered dietitian. Renee attended the University of California, Berkeley and holds an M. Lana Billings-Smith.

Lana Billings-Smith has been writing professionally since She has been published in the "Montreal Gazette" and the "National Post.I bought a bag of Tyson chicken breasts two days ago and they have been kept frozen in the fridge until I took one out to defrost this morning. I opened the wrapping around it individually sealed and sniffed it.

How to Tell If Raw Chicken Has Gone Bad

I'm not too sure if chicken always smells like that and I just haven't noticed, or if it is funky and should be thrown out. The smell wasn't offensive or disgusting, but it was definitely present. Could it be from the liquid packaged with the chicken water and chicken stock, I think? The smell of rotting chicken is very disgusting and distinct. Most of the time, especially if it was individually packaged like that, it is the liquid that has the smell.

Rinse off the chicken. If it still smells gross, then use your best judgement. Raw chicken does have an odor, but it's not bad; it's just an odor. I accidentally left a package in the back of my fridge once, and it smelled exactly like what it was - something VERY dead!!! Presuming the chicken breasts were fresh when they were frozen, it's going to take more time than two days in a cold fridge to go bad. I'd say they're safe - but if YOU have any doubts, it's never worth saving a few dollars to risk getting sick.

How to tell if chicken is expired, according to a food safety expert

Raw chicken has a pretty interesting smell when fresh, but if it's bad, you will know beyond a shadow of a doubt, long before it starts hissing at you when you open the fridge door.

Trust me, you'll know it when you smell it, because the smell of rotten chicken will gag you. But the frozen kind gets a bit of a funk odor after being frozen too long, even if it's still good. It's probably ok, but if any doubts, just trash it. I just threw out some chicken gizzards.

I think they were on the verge. They didn't smell like dead animal yet but had a smell like fuel almost like gas. I rinsed them and they still had the Oder.

It wasn't past the date just yet but I tossed them. Better safe then sorry. We were looking all under things come to find out it was the meat sitting under a folded towel.

How to Tell If Chicken Is Bad

Answer Save. This Site Might Help You. RE: What does bad chicken smell like? How do you think about the answers? You can sign in to vote the answer. Chef J Lv 4. You can just rinse the chicken and it should be just fine. Trell Lv 5. When in doubt, throw it out. Anyways, you couldn't smell contaminated chicken that could get you very sick. Show more answers 2.

what does bad chicken smell like

Still have questions?Once you get a whiff of a bad piece of chicken, the smell is forever recognizable. Not only is smelly poultry unappetizing, it may also put your health at risk if ingested. If you question the freshness of putrid smelling chicken -- better safe than sorry. The risk of foodborne illness is simply not worth the risk. Rotten eggs and chicken both give off a sulfur smell when they go bad.

This smell is associated with spoilage caused by strains of dangerous bacteria. Low-temperature storage and poor packaging practices are usually responsible for the overgrowth of these dangerous bacterium that may lead to foodborne illness. While the smell of sulfur is usually a dead giveaway that the chicken is bad, a few other clues may also be present. Along with the bad sulfur smell, you may also notice some color changes in spoiled chicken.

Darkening or fading of the meat often accompanies the unappetizing odor of bad chicken. Chicken that smells bad may also feel slimy to the touch. The slimy feel results when bacteria begins to accumulate on the outer surface of the chicken, and may also indicate tissue and protein breakdown in the meat. The bacteria present on bad smelling chicken that causes all of these indicators of spoilage may also cause serious illness if ingested. Common symptoms of foodborne illness often mimic flu systems.

These symptoms include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and in some instances, fever. While the healthiest of people may ingest these bacteria without incurring any symptoms, young children, the elderly, pregnant women and those with compromised immune systems tend to be the most symptomatic. Chicken keeps up to two days in the refrigerator, stored in tightly-sealed, leak-proof containers to prevent juices from contaminating other foods or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, heavy-duty foil or sealed plastic storage bags.

In the freezer, chicken remains safe to eat indefinitely, with pieces experiencing changes to taste and texture after nine months and whole chickens experiencing the same quality loss after one year in the freezer.

Prevent freezer burn by tightly wrapping the chicken in freezer wrap, freezer storage bags, heavy-duty foil or airtight freezer storage containers. Jonae Fredericks started writing in She also has a background as a licensed cosmetologist and certified skin-care specialist. Jonae Fredericks is a certified paraeducator, presently working in the public education system. By: Jonae Fredericks. Ooh That Smell Rotten eggs and chicken both give off a sulfur smell when they go bad. Slimy Color Changes Along with the bad sulfur smell, you may also notice some color changes in spoiled chicken.

Bacteria The bacteria present on bad smelling chicken that causes all of these indicators of spoilage may also cause serious illness if ingested. Store it Right Chicken keeps up to two days in the refrigerator, stored in tightly-sealed, leak-proof containers to prevent juices from contaminating other foods or wrapped tightly in plastic wrap, heavy-duty foil or sealed plastic storage bags.

About the Author.We all love to good meat but if it turns rotten then it can create disaster in our bodies. It can lead to severe cases of food poisoning where you may suffer from vomiting, nausea, abdominal cramping, diarrhea and fever.

what does bad chicken smell like

You can avoid letting the meat go bad by making sure that it is not stored at room temperature or at a higher temperature. It should be fresh from the store and even when you refrigerate it, the meat may only last for about 3 days. Thus, it is important for us to understand when this meat goes bad so that we now when it is time to throw it away.

Raw chicken has a very limited shelf life and can only be kept for days in the fridge. Even after you buy it, you must immediately refrigerate it as well as after you cook it.

You may think that since you have frozen the chicken that nothing will happen to it.

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But often even frozen chicken can turn rotten and it is important that you smell it first before thawing it. This means that it cannot be used and must be thrown away. Also check for any discoloration or darkening of the chicken as this is another way to tell if it is bad.

Once the chicken has gone bad it cannot be saved. This is because there are several bacteria that form on this rotten chicken and this can cause great damage in your body.

This kind of rotten chicken must definitely be avoided by young children, pregnant women and older individuals. This is because their immune systems are too weak to handle these bacteria and therefore it will cause even more harm in their bodies. Thus, remember that whether it is store-bought, cooked or frozen chicken, you need to always check the chicken before eating it. Even frozen chicken can turn bad so make sure you follow the above guidelines to check whether it has turned rotten.

Always touch, smell and look at the chicken closely before you eat it or serve it to others. It is a use by date on chicken not a best before.

Totally different.