How to Tell if Chicken Is Bad

Опубликовал Admin
2-03-2017, 09:20
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Community Tested Consuming chicken that has gone bad can make you extremely ill, regardless of whether it's raw or cooked. This wikiHow will show you how to tell if raw, frozen, or cooked chicken is bad. It will also give you tips on proper storage.

Checking Raw Chicken

  1. Look for a change in color. When fresh, raw chicken has a pink, fleshy color. As it starts to spoil, the color fades to grey. If the color of the chicken begins to look duller, you should use it soon before it goes bad. Once it looks more grey than pink, it is already too late.
    • Raw chicken colors can range from appearing grey to having yellow spots that aren’t skin.
    • If you begin to cook bad chicken it may continue to look dull and not become as white.
  2. Smell the chicken. Raw chicken that has gone bad has a very potent odor. Some describe it as a "sour" smell, while others liken it to the scent of ammonia. If the chicken has begun to take on an unpleasant or strong odor of any sort, it is best to discard it.
    • Chicken can start to smell bad while cooking, it is best to discard it if it starts to smell less appealing.
  3. Feel the chicken. Is it slimy? The touch test is a little more difficult than the color or smell test because chicken naturally has a glossy, somewhat slimy feeling to it. If this slime remains even after rinsing the chicken under water, however, there is a good chance that the chicken has spoiled. If the chicken feels unusually sticky, it has almost certainly gone bad.

Scrutinizing Frozen Chicken

  1. Look for an ice crust. If there is a thick layer of ice around your chicken then it is no longer good. The ice crust will be thick like the ice on a freezer hasn’t been thawed in a while. A flash-frozen chicken will not have a thick crust if done properly. If the ice is white it could be a issue with freezer burn.
  2. Check for freezer burn. Freezer burn looks like a white rash or mark on the chicken that isn’t fat. It is rougher than the skin around it and raised slightly.
    • While it won’t hurt you it will make your chicken less enjoyable.
  3. Analyze the color. A frozen chicken is harder to check for color. It will be off color, similar to the raw or cooked chicken, a slight grey or yellowing of fat. If it is darker than grey, that chicken belongs in the trash bin.

Investigating Cooked Chicken

  1. Smell the chicken. The smell test can work for cooked chicken as well as it can for raw chicken, but it is sometimes more difficult to distinguish the smell of bad chicken if spices and other seasonings are masking the odor.
    • If the chicken smells like rotten eggs or sulfur, it is bad.
  2. Check for changes in color, if possible. Sometimes this is not possible if the chicken has been breaded or if the color was altered by a glaze or marinade. If chicken that cooked white begins to look grey, it is no longer safe to eat.
  3. Look for mold. Mold is one of the most obvious signs of rotten, decaying, bad chicken. If green, or black fuzz, or any organic growth of any kind has begun to form on the chicken, it has gone very bad and should be discarded immediately. Even the smell of chicken this 'off' may make you ill.
  4. Taste the chicken before you swallow it. If you feel uncertain about whether or not cooked chicken is still good, but do not want to waste it if it still is, you can cautiously take a bite. Instead of chewing and swallowing the chicken immediately, though, you should pause and carefully analyze the flavor.
    • If it tastes “off” or seems a little sour, spit it out and discard the rest.

Reviewing Storage of Chicken

  1. Check the "Sell By" date. This alone is not always a good indication of whether or not raw chicken is still good because the "Sell By" date only dictates at which point chicken can no longer be sold to consumers. Instead of relying on the "Sell By" date, it is best to use it as a means of confirming whether or not chicken you suspect has gone bad is actually past its prime.
    • If you purchase fresh, refrigerated chicken from a store and freeze it, it can last up to nine months past this date, as long as it was fresh when purchased.
  2. Check into how thoroughly the chicken was stored. Cooked chicken goes bad faster if it is exposed to air, and improperly stored chicken is more likely to be bad.
    • Chicken should be stored in shallow, airtight containers or heavy-duty freezer bags.
    • It could also be wrapped tightly in aluminum foil or plastic wrap.
    • Example: In order to remain safe to eat, whole chicken should be cut into smaller portions and any stuffing should be removed prior to refrigeration or freezing.
  3. Find out where and for how long the chicken was stored. It depends also depends on how you stored the chicken. After these time periods elapse, there is a higher chance that the chicken will have gone bad.
    • In the refrigerator, raw chicken should be used in one or two days, while cooked chicken stays good for about three to four days.
    • In the freezer, cooked chicken can remain good and safe to eat for up to four months while raw chicken can be good for up to a year.


  • If there is any question if your chicken is "grey enough" or "slimy enough", it is and you should toss it.
  • If your chicken has been thawing on the counter, toss it.
  • If it was frozen, thawed, and then frozen again, throw it away.
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