Your frozen chicken is way ahead of its expiration date, however, you notice some odd-colored patches, a terrible smell, or perhaps your chicken is getting slimy and sticky once thawed.
Just two words for you: Watch out! As these are the signs and symptoms of spoiled meat.
Not to mention, bad chicken can cause serious health issues including stomach cramps, vomiting, diarrhea, and even death in extreme cases.
Don’t worry as we’ll walk you through a complete guide on “How to tell if the frozen chicken is bad” in no less than 5 minutes.
Our 3-step guide is as quick as a breeze and will help you decide whether your frozen chicken is turning into a delicious meal or ending up in the trash.
Now, let’s get started!
How To Tell If Frozen Chicken Is Bad (3-Step Guide)
Observation skills come in handy whenever you want to know if your raw, cooked, or frozen chicken is safe for consumption. Follow our 3-step guide to tell if your frozen chicken has gone bad.
Note: We recommend thawing your chicken before following our 3 step guide for more accurate results. That’s because frozen meat often has a layer of ice over it, making it difficult to inspect its freshness.
The first thing you’ll observe after unwrapping the frozen chicken is its smell. If you notice any foul, rotten egg-like smell from your chicken, it’s an indication of spoiled meat. You better toss it into the trash.
That’s because the gas, sulfur dioxide which causes the rotten egg-like smell in spoiled chicken is a by-product of the decomposition occurring by the bacteria.
Frozen chicken has a light pink color that indicates it’s good for consumption. However, if you notice any changes in the color of the chicken, know that it’s giving you a heads up. Any grayish to brownish patches indicate your frozen chicken has gone bad.
Moreover, you might notice yellow patches on the fat part of the chicken along with a dark undertone. This type of discoloration also indicates spoiled chicken.
In addition to the smell and color observation, the next step is to inspect the texture of the chicken. For this step, you must first thaw the chicken for around two hours.
Once thawed, touch the surface of the chicken and note any change of texture from firm to slimy and sticky. This sticky film indicates active bacterial invasion into your food. It’s recommended not to consume such chicken as it’s spoiled by all means.
LEARN MORE: Can I Fry Frozen Chicken?
Tips to Prevent Your Frozen Chicken From Going Bad (Tried and Tested)
Do you know raw chicken can stay fresh for up to 9 months if stored properly? Quite a news, Right! All you need to do is follow our tried and tested tips to prevent your frozen chicken from going bad.
- The first and the most important tip is to freeze your chicken as soon as you get home from grocery shopping.
- It’s recommended to wash the chicken thoroughly before freezing it to eliminate any contact with contaminants that can reduce its shelf life.
- The next step is to put the chicken in a zip lock bag and compress it to make sure no air is trapped inside the bag.
- You can wrap your chicken in aluminum foil before putting it into a ziplock bag for prolonged shelf life.
- Whole chicken tends to stay fresh in the freezer for a long time compared to the pre-cut chicken pieces.
- Always check the expiration date of your chicken before purchasing.
- Never place the thawed chicken again in the freezer, rather try to consume it within a day.
How Should Chicken Be Stored in the Freezer? (Usda Recommendations)
It’s recommended to put the chicken out of its original plastic wrap as those wraps are porous, and not suitable for long-term storage in the freezer.
Instead, wrap the chicken in an aluminum foil followed by putting it into a zip lock bag. Make sure there’s no air trapped inside the plastic.
The aluminum foil covering will prevent any freezer burns over your chicken. Now, your chicken is safe to be stored in the freezer for up to several months.
As per the USDA guidelines, a whole chicken can stay fresh in the freezer for up to a year. The chicken parts can be stored in the freezer for up to 9 months, while the ground chicken will last around 3 to 4 months.
How Long to Keep Raw Chicken Into the Fridge? (As Per USDA)
According to the USDA, raw chicken must not be kept in the refrigerator for more than 2 days. Although storing chicken in the refrigerator can slow down bacterial growth, it can’t prevent it in the long run.
It’s recommended to store raw chicken in a refrigerator kept at 40°F without any temperature fluctuations.
However, if you don’t plan to use up the chicken anytime soon, it’s better to store it in the freezer kept at a continuous temperature of 0 °F.
LEARN MORE: Can Frozen Chicken Go Bad?
How Long to Keep Cooked Chicken Into the Fridge? (Fact Check With USDA)
The cooked chicken can stay fresh in the fridge for around 3 to 4 days as recommended by the USDA. Especially if your fridge is continuously kept at 40°F. Moreover, you can always freeze any leftover cooked chicken to prolong its shelf life.
Note: Freezing the cooked chicken is safe for consumption if stored properly, however, you may experience a change in the taste and quality.
How Do You Defrost Chicken Correctly? (Refrigeration or Cold Bath)
The best and the easiest way to defrost the chicken is to place it in the refrigerator a day before you plan to cook it.
You can also keep the thawed chicken in the fridge for a day. However, we recommend you consume the chicken right away once it’s thawed in the fridge to prevent any contamination.
When we say it’s the easiest method, that’s because you don’t have to place your chicken in a water bath for thawing.
It’s just a single-step method, where you swipe the wrapped frozen chicken from your freezer to the refrigerator. The rest will be done by your fridge while keeping the chicken fresh!
The next defrosting method is placing the frozen chicken into a cold water bath. This method is comparatively faster than the first but requires some care. The water must be replaced with new cold water after every 30 minutes.
The plus point, your chicken can be thawed within 2 hours. Once the chicken is thawed completely, cook it right away.
To check if your frozen chicken has gone bad, observe the color, and inspect the texture, and smell of your chicken.
Any signs of discoloration, a foul odor, or sliminess in the texture indicate spoiled meat.
It’s better to discard such chicken than risk your health as consuming spoiled chicken can cause stomach pains, vomiting, and diarrhea.
Before putting the raw chicken in the freezer, It’s recommended to wrap it in aluminum foil followed by placing it in a sealed plastic bag to prolong its shelf life.
Always keep a check on the expiration date of the chicken before purchasing it or even when cooking it from your home freezer.
Now that you know how to tell if the frozen chicken is bad, we hope it’ll help you and your close ones eat healthy and clean.