How to Tell If Chicken Is Bad 


670px-Tell-if-Chicken-Is-Bad-Step-2-Version-2We 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. 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.

How to check whether the chicken has turned rotten

Raw chicken

When you buy raw chicken you should look for the following things:

  • Date of expiration: Check the date of expiration on the raw chicken and see when it is ‘best by’. This date is certified by law and thus is trustworthy. When you buy it, if the date is far away from the date of expiration, it means it has not gone bad as yet.
  • Look at the color: If the raw chicken is pink means it is safe to eat. However, if the chicken has any gray coloring, it means that it has turned bad and should be avoided.
  • Smell it: This is the best way to find out if the chicken is bad as it will have a very strong odor when it goes off. If it is fresh, it will have a very light chicken odor.
  • Touch the chicken: When you buy raw chicken, make sure you touch the chicken and see if it not slimy or sticky. If it feels slippery, put it back and if there is some sort of mucus oozing from it, you should throw it away and do others a favor as well.

Raw chicken has a very limited shelf life and can only be kept for 1-3 days in the fridge. Even after you buy it, you must immediately refrigerate it as well as after you cook it.

Cooked chicken

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  • The odor: Generally if cooked chicken goes bad it will also have a distinct odor. It will smell like rotten eggs if it has turned bad and make sure that you immediately get rid of it.
  • Glaze the chicken: You can glaze the chicken or cut off the outside to see if the inside color is white. If it is white, it means that is still good to eat but if it turns gray means it has gone bad.
  • Check for mold: If there is some green or black substance on your chicken, make sure that you don’t eat. This is mold and is a sure shot sign that your chicken has gone bad.
  • Always taste: Sometimes the chicken can look fresh but when you taste it you will know the reality. Take a small bite and don’t swallow at first. If it seems alright then keep eating, otherwise if it tastes funny throw it away. You can also get a second opinion from others and ask them to taste it as well.

Cooked chicken can last up to three days in the fridge after which                     it will turn bad. You can always put in the freezer to make it last but it won’t taste the same after you thaw it.

Frozen chicken

You may think that since you have frozen the chicken that nothing will happen to it. But often even frozen chicken can turn rotten and it is important that you smell it first before thawing it. If you still can’t make out whether it’s bad from the smell, then let it thaw and then check whether there is any sort of slimy liquid on 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.

Precautions you must keep in mind

When you find that the chicken has gone bad, don’t hesitate to throw it out. Don’t think that you can somehow save it by cooking it again or freezing it. 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. Don’t store the chicken outside and generally try to finish it atleast before three days. 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.


  1. It is a use by date on chicken not a best before. Totally different. Use by date is a legal requirement. Best before is an advice and never used on any perishable products

    • Thank you for sharing your knowledge. You have benefited our community by sharing your thoughts. Please feel free to share more of your positive comments in the future. Have a great day, Derek!

  2. The chicken is also bad when it certainly isn’t overcooked. Uncooked chicken has many poison and we have to pay attention to chicken when it is cooked!

    • Thank you for sharing your insights and experiences. It is great to see that our readers are supporting our community. Have a great day, Lita!


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