Does Chicken Broth Go Bad? Answered (2023)

Did you know the chicken broth is also called bouillon? It is basically water that is used to boil the chicken.

But does chicken broth go bad?

Yes. Chicken broth can go bad within 3-4 days once it is opened. So, unless your broth comes specifically with a long life, consume it within 3-4 days.

This article will cover ways to store broth for a long time. We will also discuss the side effects of consuming a bad broth. Let us look into everything there is to know about chicken broth.

Does Chicken Broth Go Bad? How long does it lasts?

Yes. Sooner or later, the broth will lose its flavor and go bad. An unopened, store-bought can of chicken broth has a long shelf life. However, the quality deteriorates very quickly once the broth is opened. Once opened, the broth must be consumed within 2-4 days.

Compared to store-bought broth, homemade broth tends to last longer. However, this is only possible if the fat is left in the broth. To consume the broth for longer, make sure to store it properly. You can also freeze the broth if you want it to last for months. Frozen broth tends to last for 2-3 months.

 In the FridgeIn the Freezer
Chicken Stock/Broth2– 4 days1-3 months

How to Store Chicken Broth?

To ensure the broth stays flavourful, you must store it properly. Do not leave the broth out on the surface for too long. Exposing the broth to high temperatures can also degrade its quality.

Let us look at a few tips to store the broth for a long time:

Do not get rid of the Fat (homemade broth)

Ever wondered what makes the chicken stock so flavorful? Well, it is fat that is left behind that gives flavor to the stock. When preparing homemade chicken stock, you are left with a thick fluid on the top. This is the fat that most people drain and throw away. However, throwing away the fat can make the broth go bad faster.

To store the broth (better if it has fat), transfer it to a glass jar. Close the lid of the container/jar and refrigerate it. Once the broth cools down, you will see a layer of fat on top. The fat layer helps the broth last longer by preventing air from entering.

Don’t want to use the fat? No worries. Scoop away the fat layer and use the broth again. But if you don’t want to throw away the fat, you can use it. The fat can roast, fry, or saute different vegetables.

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slicing chicken for broth with onions

Freeze the broth

Freezing chicken broth is another way to store it for a long time. Freeze the broth and you are good for 2-3 months. (We will see in detail different ways to freeze the broth).

Store it in the Pantry

If you have a sealed store-bought broth jar, store it in the pantry. At room temperature, the sealed jar can easily last until the expiry date. However, you must use the stock before the printed date.

Also Read: Does Yogurt Go Bad?

Freezing Chicken Broth!!

Do not want to throw away the delicious chicken broth? Freeze it! You can easily preserve the leftover chicken by freezing it. Below are some tips that can help you freeze chicken broth:

Cube or Muffin Tins

Like any other liquid, chicken broth expands on freezing. So, while filling the muffin tins or ice cube trays, leave some space. Allow the broth to sit overnight, so they will freeze properly. When properly frozen, take them out and leave them at room temperature. Once the sides start to melt, transfer the cubes into a freezer bag.

Finish the process by labeling the freezer bag with a best-before date. Remember to consume the broth within 2-3 months.

Large Portions

Freezing the meat in large portions is another way to store them. However, you must use a ziplock bag to store the broth. To freeze the broth in large portions, fill the bag with the broth. Leave some space to allow the broth to expand while freezing. Once the bags are properly sealed, transfer them to the freezer.

How to use Frozen Broth for Cooking?

There are 2 ways to use the broth in your recipes. 1- add the cubes or small portions of broth directly to the recipe. The second way is to thaw the frozen broth.

Transfer the cubes from the bag to a bowl to thaw the chicken stock. Allow the frozen cubes to rest and thaw in the fridge overnight.

making chicken broth with onions

The Risk Of Consuming Expired Chicken Broth

Chicken broth has a shelf life of 3-4 days (unless frozen). Although, the broth is simply the water in which the chicken was boiled. It still contains traces of chicken. And if you consume chicken broth that has gone bad, you can get sick. The reason is rotten chicken contains salmonella and E Coli. Consuming broth with traces of these bacteria can lead to food poisoning.

It is better to throw away the expired chicken stock. But if you consume it, you may experience:

1. Dizziness and Fatigue

The bacteria present in the broth can make you dizzy. You will find difficulty in standing straight and might feel weak. You will also feel tired even though you might have had plenty of rest.

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2. Vomiting and Nausea

You will have difficulty digesting the food and an urge to throw up. This is the body’s reaction to consuming something bad. In this case, the expired chicken stock.

3. Dehydration and Headache

Constant vomiting can lead to the body being dehydrated. Dehydration can also lead to headaches. So, make sure to keep your body hydrated during food poisoning. Consume lots of fluids and electrolytes.

4. Diarrhea and Loss of Appetite

Once you consume an expired broth, your body goes into a full-cleanse motion. You might want to go to the toilet often to eliminate the toxins. You will also lose your appetite while the body tries to recover.

Although none of the symptoms are life-threatening, they can be unpleasant. Keep yourself hydrated, and you will recover within a week. But if the symptoms last for more than a week, visit a doctor.

Also Read: Can You Freeze Yogurt?

5+1 Ways To Identify a Bad Chicken Broth

Expired chicken stock can ruin your recipe and force you to order takeout. Thus, it is important to check the quality of the broth beforehand. A few telltale signs of a bad chicken broth are bad taste, altered color, and appearance.

broth and veggies

Let us look in detail at 5+1 ways to identify expired broth immediately.

1. An Expired Chicken Broth Will Have A Bad Smell

Whether it is homemade or a store-bought broth, it will have a delicious smell. However, an expired chicken broth gives off a sour and unpleasant odor. If your chicken broth smells sour (even a little bit), toss it away. And NO, you can not revive the expired broth by boiling it.

2. Check the Chicken Broth’s Container

Ever seen a sealed container that appears swollen and ready to burst? If the broth container appears to expand in size, it is probably expired.

Additional Information:

Wondered what makes the container swell? The food (in this case, chicken broth) spoils when stored for a long time. This causes the bacteria/yeast to release botulinum (a toxic substance). This results in the jar/container inflating in size.

Even when shopping, do not purchase inflated cans or jars. They are probably expired and will make you sick. To throw away the expired and inflated can of broth, detoxify it. To detoxify the broth, boil water in the pan and let the jar sit for 20-30 minutes. Once done, throw the broth down the drain.

3. How Was The Broth Stored

Do you prefer to cook the broth at home or use canned broth? Whatever you pick, the broth must always be refrigerated. Do not leave the broth open for more than 2 hours. Once the can is opened, place the broth at 40 degrees F or below. If the broth is sitting open for more < than 2 hours, it is likely contaminated. Toss away the broth to be safe than sorry.

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4. Look At the Expiry Date

An open can of chicken broth last 2-4 days when refrigerated. This timeline is the same for homemade broth (unless you leave the fat in it). So, if the broth sits in the fridge for more than 4 days, do not consume it.

5. Do a Taste Test With the Broth

Unsure if the broth is good or expired? Smell the broth. If the broth smells okay, do a taste test. If the broth tastes sour, do not swallow it and spit it out.

6. Look at the Appearance

Chicken broth has a yellow color and is transparent or clear. Which means no particles floating in the broth. So, if you see the broth containing particles, throw it away. The particles are probably mold floating in the stock. If you use a store-bought broth, look for sedimentation. If the broth has a layer of sediments at the bottom, throw it away. A cloudy broth means an expired broth.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1. Does chicken broth go bad in the fridge?

Ans. Yes. Chicken broth can go bad in the fridge if stored for more than 4-6 days.

Q2. When should you throw out chicken broth?

Ans. Chicken broth lasts for 3-4 days before going bad. However, if unsure about the quality, smell, and taste the chicken broth for a quality check.

Q3. Can bacteria grow in chicken broth?

Ans. Yes. If you leave the broth exposed, it will likely become a breeding ground for bacteria. If you see an inflated canned broth, throw it away. An inflated can is a clear sign of spoilage and indicates the broth is contaminated.

Q4. Is chicken broth OK after 14 days?

Ans. Chicken broth has a shelf life of 2-5 days in the refrigerator once it is opened. Some brands come with an extended shelf-life. However, it is better to consume the broth within a week. If you want to store the broth for longer, freezing is a good option.

Q5. Can you boil spoiled chicken broth?

Ans. Although you can eliminate bacteria by boiling the broth/stock at high temperatures (150 degrees or more). However, if not done properly, the spoiled broth can make you sick. Thus, it is advised to throw away the spoiled broth.

The Bottom Line

Chicken broth can be consumed as it is, or you can use it as a flavor. But like any other eatables, chicken broth can go bad. However, you can make it last for months if you know how to store them. Remember, once you open the chicken broth, you must refrigerate it. Do not leave the broth in the open for more than 2 hours.

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Melissa Baker

Melissa Baker

I am a food lover and the founder of FoodQueries. I have years of experience when it comes to food. I have been cooking since childhood and I know a thing or two about storing, cooking and freezing food in the right way.