How To Tell If Chicken Broth Is Bad

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You’re not alone if you’ve ever had a bad experience with store-bought chicken broth. In fact, that icky sour taste in your soup or sauce that ruins dinner could also make you sick. But don’t worry. There are ways to tell if your chicken broth has gone bad!

You can tell chicken broth has gone bad when its container becomes swollen, it smells sour or funny, the liquid has turned cloudy, and stuff floating or has sediment when there shouldn’t be. Old spoiled chicken broth should be discarded and not cooked with or consumed.

Here are more signs that your chicken broth has turned and is no longer safe to use.

How To Know If Chicken Broth Is Bad

A Swollen Container

Before using an unopened box of chicken broth, check to see if the container is swollen. A swollen container indicates gases have been created by bacteria or yeast.

On the other hand, homemade broth is usually kept in a container with a lid. There may not be enough gases created to swell your container. So if your container has ballooned up, it’s no good.

In either case, you’ll need to discard your spoiled chicken broth. You can do that by either freezing it and putting it out on garbage day or chilling it so that you can scrape the fat off and into the garbage and then flush the remaining liquid.

I don’t recommend pouring broth down the sink because any remaining fats could clog your pipes.

It Is Cloudy Or Foamy

The growth of yeast and bacteria will also cause your broth to turn cloudy and the surface to develop a foamy substance.

While these two spoilers shouldn’t be able to grow in an unopened box, it’s not guaranteed. Even a tiny hole or cut in the container can let enough oxygen and contaminants in that start the decomposition process.

Homemade broth is even more susceptible to turning cloudy and foaming, which is why chicken broth’s shelf life is so short in the fridge.

If your broth looks cloudy, has foam, or feels slimy, get rid of it.

It Has A Sour Smell Or Smells Funny

Your nose is one of the best ways to determine if your chicken broth has spoiled.

The once pleasant smell will be replaced with a very sour smell. But not all noses are alike, and you may think to yourself that it smells funny.

Any off smell is a candidate to get rid of it.

There Is Stuff Floating

Depending on your broth, it may have stuff floating in it naturally because it wasn’t filtered well.

However, if your chicken broth or stock was clear and days later started to have stuff floating around, it’s no longer safe to consume.

There Is Sediment

Eventually, the stuff floating in your chicken broth will start settling in the bottom of your container.

This includes any bad things you don’t want in there, such as mold and yeast colonies or bacteria.

Again, if your once-clear broth now has stuff in it, it’s probably bad. The only separation that is welcome is the separation of fats from water, and not liquid to solids that are settling at the bottom.

There Is Mold

Mold in chicken broth won’t always be a fuzzy mess on the surface. It’s more likely that you’ll likely see mold as solid particles or sediment at the bottom of your container.

This is an easy one. If you can visibly see mold, or sediment like mentioned above, it’s time to help it on its way to the garbage.

Bad Chicken Broth FAQs

What Does Good Chicken Broth Look Like?

Good chicken broth should be a clear golden color with no cloudiness. There should be no foam on the surface, and when you open it, there shouldn’t be any off smells.

What Does Bad Chicken Broth Look Like?

Bad chicken broth looks cloudy and may have foam on the surface. It will smell sour or off and may have stuff floating in it. An unopened box of broth more than one year past the best if used by date labeled can also be considered bad.

What Does Bad Chicken Broth Smell Like?

Bad chicken broth smells like it has soured. It may also have an off smell that can vary depending on the person. If you’re in doubt, it’s best to discard it.

What Happens If You Eat Bad Chicken Broth?

Consuming bad chicken broth may give you food poisoning and symptoms will depend on the type of bacteria or toxins that have contaminated the broth. However, some common symptoms include nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Written By Justin Micheal

Justin is not just the creator but also an author and editor for KitchenSanity. He does the majority of the cooking at home with his wife. His friends and family look forward to eating his delicious creations, which often leads to many questions about how they can replicate his meals at home. In his writing, he shares his passion and knowledge as a home chef from his kitchen to yours.