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What Does Bad Chicken Taste Like?

What Does Bad Chicken Taste Like?

Who doesn’t like grilled or fried chicken? But if it has gone bad, there’s not one soul who’d eat the chicken, no matter what spices are added to it.

Bad chicken tastes very sour. However, in most cases, you’re able to smell bad chicken before having to taste it.

Raw Chicken Handling

Chicken, like other perishable edible items, are spoiled if not refrigerated. In the refrigerator too, chicken might get spoiled because of microbial growth.

If you store chicken in the freezer, it will last much longer. But then again, keeping it for too long in the freezer also robs it of its freshness.

Raw chicken poses a high food poisoning risk because it has bacteria like salmonella. Unless you cook the chicken thoroughly, you are at a risk of contracting a food-borne illness.

raw whole chicken

However, if the raw chicken is already spoiled, cooking it won’t make a difference. If you spot the signs of bad chicken, you should dispose of it immediately.

How To Know When Chicken Is Spoiled

Nearly 40 million tons of food is wasted each year in the US alone. This is caused by food getting spoiled because of the growth of fungi and microbes.

Sometimes, unknowingly people consume food that is spoilt and then suffer from the consequences.

Over 179 million people in the US suffer from food-borne diseases annually. Amongst this, 37.2 million cases are caused by the 31 known pathogens.

The rest of the 141.8 million cases are from unknown sources, which could include pathogens which could be fatal to humans (CDC).

So, it is better that you know about the signs of food spoilage, so you can save yourself from consuming food that could cause illness and increased healthcare costs.


Chicken might have a faint smell just after it begins to defrost. However, it is normal until it smells like sulfur, which is like the smell of rotten eggs.

Cooked chicken smells sour. This odor is different from the normal delicious smell that you are used to. So, you can easily distinguish between the smell of cooked chicken and the smell of sour chicken.


Apart from the smell, you can also check the appearance of the chicken for signs of spoilage. Fresh raw chicken is light pink in color.

Chicken that has begun to spoil has a grayish tone. Chicken that has gone bad might also have a greenish tinge, showing microbial growth.


It is hard to miss the first two signs of chicken spoilage. However, if you still want to be sure, you can also touch the chicken.

A rough appearance indicates that the chicken is spoiled. If you touch it, you will see that it is slippery or slimy to touch.

Can You Taste When Chicken Is Bad?

When chicken has gone bad and there’s no significant apparent signs of spoilage, you can immediately tell when you’ve tasted spoiled chicken.

When chicken is bad it tastes very sour. It is different from the sourness that you can taste if you eat chicken with lemon.

If you’ve bitten into the chicken and it’s bad, make sure you rinse your mouth well or brush your teeth to get rid of the sour taste and to keep from the microbes entering your system.

What Happens When You Eat Bad Chicken?

If unknowingly you have eaten bad chicken, you might get food poisoning. The following are the common symptoms of food poisoning:

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Upset stomach
  • Nausea
  • Fever
Man with stomache after eating bad chicken

If you get to know that you have consumed bad chicken and experience any of the above symptoms, you should consult with your doctor immediately.

Can You Tell When Chicken Is Bad After It’s Cooked?

If you’re deep-frying chicken or grilling it, bad chicken causes foam to form in the oil. You will also see that it smells sour or has a grayish or greenish tinge.

If you are making it with gravy, then you will notice white bubbles on the surface of the gravy. It will also smell sour.

If you touch this chicken, it will feel slimy and sticky. It might also be overly soft, even if cooked thoroughly.

Tips To Keep Chicken From Spoiling

Tons of food are wasted each year in the US. In most of the cases, the spoilage is caused by some bad practices that we can’t identify.

Here are some tips to help you keep chicken from spoiling:

  • When you purchase chicken, try to put it to the freezer as soon as possible.
  • If you want to cook the chicken soon and wouldn’t want to frost it, wash and marinate it with salt before storing it in the fridge. The salt acts as a natural preservative and keeps the microbes from growing.
  • If you want to freeze the chicken for cooking later, make sure the plastic film on the container is sealed. If the chicken is directly exposed to the freezer air, it will lose its freshness pretty quickly. If it is not, you should replace it with a new one, and seal it before storing it in the freezer.

Summing Up What Bad Chicken Tastes Like

Chicken is a crowd favorite in many forms including grilled, fried, and in gravy. However, it is also quite prone to microbial growth since fresh chicken does not have any preservatives.

Consuming spoiled chicken is very harmful for humans.

You can detect spoilage in chicken from its appearance, smell, feel, and taste. It is better that you verify its spoilage through the smell and appearance as touching it or putting it in your mouth might cause harm.

However, sometimes the apparent signs are not obvious, so if your chicken has a sour taste, it’s time to throw it out.

Lindsay Reed

Hi, I'm the founder of! I created this website to be a resource for everyone who wants to make the best home possible.