Many of you must be curious about this question, “does chicken broth go bad”? That’s why you’re here, right? You may think that chicken broth can last for a long time without being spoiled, but it may not seem to be.
Chicken broth, both store-bought or homemade, is boiled with chicken. Because of that, there does exist an expiration date for both sealed or unsealed chicken broth.
You should be aware of the shelf life of chicken broth and be aware of the chicken broth that has gone bad to protect yourself and your family members from food poisoning. (1) Don’t worry! It’s not that bad if you can recognize the signs soon.
But before going to explore the expiration date of chicken broth and its further information, let’s quickly solve our problem first:
Table of Contents
Does Chicken Broth Go Bad?
Yes, it does turn bad after a period of time.
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- Unopened chicken broth can last up to a year.
- Once opened, it is just like other fresh products. The shelf life decreases and may only last from 3 to 5 days.
- The homemade chicken broth is also considered a fresh ingredient, but it can last for up to 6 days.
You will know when chicken broth goes bad by observing their appearance and smelling them.
I will share more detailed answers in this article. That’s only the short answer to a broad question. Read more to find out whether your chicken broth goes bad and more exciting information!
What Exactly Is Chicken Broth?
The broth is a flavorful liquid used in cooking. It is made of water that has been boiled with bones, chicken, meat, fish, or vegetables.
Chicken broth contains simmered chicken with various aromatic herbs, vegetables, and spices such as onions, carrots, daikons, salt, pepper, etc., to season and add more flavors.
You can make chicken broth at home with available ingredients in your kitchen. It can be eaten alone as a typical dish, but it is most frequently used to thicken and flavor sauces, soups, gravies, and stews.
Try to cook rice with chicken broth instead of water. The resulting rice will surprise you! It will be softer and tastier than normal rice.
Learn more about making chicken broth at home with simple ingredients with this video below:
How Long Does Chicken Broth Last?
The shelf life of chicken broth is based on many objective and subjective factors. However, the most important element may be the conditions of the chicken broth, whether they are store-bought or homemade, sealed or unsealed.
Store-Bought Chicken Broth
Store-bought chicken broth can have different shelf life based on its current conditions. And there is a long distance between the expiration date of unopened and opened chicken broth.
Store-bought chicken broth is often canned in a container like a bottle or a jar, and something that is canned usually makes us think that it can last for a long time. In fact, it only lasts longer than most fresh and unsealed products, but it does have an expiration date.
Sealed chicken broth lasts from 1 – 1.5 years based on what brand they are. The commercial chicken broth will last beyond the printed date of 6 months to a year if you keep it unopened and store it in the right way.
Once the store-bought chicken broth is opened, it becomes a fresh product and starts to rot in a few days. If you keep it at room temperature, it will last no more than 2 days.
If you store opened broth in the fridge properly, the ideal time to use or cook the opened chicken broth before it gets spoiled is 3 to 5 days. After 5 days, you should throw the leftover broth away.
Homemade Chicken Broth
Homemade chicken broth is sometimes more nutritious and delicious than canned chicken broth because it is made from raw, fresh ingredients. It may last a little longer than store-bought broth if the fat is fortunately not strained out.
If the homemade broth is left in the pantry, it will get rotten within 2 days. In the refrigerator, the fat in the homemade chicken broth will solidify and create a condensed cover above the broth that will preserve and keep it fresh for up to 6 days.
Chicken Bouillon Cubes
The store-bought frozen chicken broth is called chicken bouillon cubes. They are sold widely, and you can find them in any supermarket.
They are easy to use and can simply be made from homemade chicken broth. These cubes will last for 6 to 12 months in your pantry in a cool, dry environment.
Try to make your own chicken bouillon cubes from homemade broth! Watch this video:
Here is the chicken broth shelf life table that may help you quickly determine when your chicken broth is rotten.
|Chicken Broth Conditions||In Pantry||In Refrigerator|
|Unopened Store-Bought Chicken Broth||Best by + 6-12 months (if properly stored)||-|
|Opened Store-Bought Chicken Broth||2 days||3-5 days|
|Homemade Chicken Broth||2-3 days||5-6 days|
|Chicken Bouillon Cubes||6-12 months||-|
How To Store Chicken Broth Properly?
If you know how to store chicken broth properly, it will last for as long as I stated above or even longer. Let’s see the most valuable tips for preserving chicken broth. Once again, the methods to store chicken broth varies based on their conditions.
With Unopened Chicken Broth
Unopened containers (tin can, tin package, bottle, jar, etc.) of the chicken broth should be kept in a cool, dry location that stays away from heat, moisture, and sunlight until it is opened. It can be your pantry, cellar, or even kitchen cupboards.
Chicken bouillon cubes are considered as unopened chicken broth; therefore, you should also store them like canned chicken broth in a dry and clean environment at room temperature. When you want to use them, take them out and melt them with proper heat.
With Opened Chicken Broth
After taking out enough from the container to use, move the remaining broth to another sealed container and store the whole in the refrigerator for next time usage. You should use it within no more than 5 days since it is opened so that you can get its best quality.
With homemade chicken broth, cool it down before moving all of it to an airtight container and storing it in the refrigerator so that it can last longer in the fridge.
One more tip to store homemade broth is that you can keep the fat on the top of the broth. This fat usually exists in homemade broth rather than store-bought one because manufacturers tend to drain chicken fat out of their products for a clear appearance.
You should leave the fat sitting on top of the broth and preserve it in the fridge to create a layer and protect the broth from quick rotting. This can help the homemade broth’s shelf life last a little longer than usual.
Freeze Chicken Broth
As I said before, store-bought condensed chicken broth is chicken bouillon cubes. How about freezing homemade chicken broth? You can also make “homemade chicken bouillon cubes” as a storing method so that you can extend the shelf life of your broth.
You can freeze the chicken broth liquid by putting it in an airtight container and keeping it in the freezer. But with this method, you may find it challenging to use it for cooking meals. You’ll have something like a spoon to scrape them from the container.
So, here is a more proper way to freeze chicken broth. Pour the liquid into an ice cube tray first, take it out and put all frozen cubes in a sealed container. Then, store the whole container in the freezer or the freezer drawer in the refrigerator.
When you want to thaw and use chicken broth cubes, take them out from the freezer and let them stay in the refrigerator overnight; or you can immediately use them by melting them in the saucepan at medium temperature until it turns entirely into liquid.
Chicken broth should be frozen for 6 months for the finest quality. Storing chicken broth properly will help yourself and your family eat healthier, save money on food, and join a hand in reducing food waste to the environment. (2)
Learn more on how to freeze and defrost your broth here!
Signs Showing That Your Chicken Broth Is Spoiled
What are the specific signs telling that your chicken broth has gone bad? The most obvious signs will be revealed right away!
The easiest way to recognize whether your chicken broth has gone bad is using your eyes to carefully observe the appearance of the broth liquid, the container and the frozen chicken fat on top of the broth.
- Broth Appearance
If you want to know whether your chicken broth has been rotten or not, look at it first! It should have a beautiful yellowish or amber color with a clear look. If it accidentally has any greenish or white mold signs on the top, get rid of it as soon as possible.
If the chicken broth turns terrible, there may be some sediment at the bottom of the store-bought chicken broth container, and the liquid may look murky, while homemade broth can still be delicate when being cloudy with a little bit of sediment.
The chicken bouillon cubes will also get rotten if you don’t store them properly. They will be deeper in color and look pretty wet when they are spoiled. Do not try to use them when they have those signs, and throw them away as fast as you can.
- Container Appearance
You should take a look at the container to determine the current quality of your chicken broth. If it is swollen, leaking, oxidizing, or includes any suspect signs of being different from its first look, the liquid inside is probably spoiled. Then, you need to toss it right away.
Also, if your container has those signs, it may probably be toxified with some chemical substances. You should remove the toxicity invading the container before getting rid of it by letting it sit in boiled water for half an hour.
- Fat Appearance
Chicken broth creates a layer of fat when being stored in the fridge for a while. If this layer of fat looks unusual and smells stinky with some molds or discolorations, it’s time for you to throw all the broth away.
It is not a good idea to scoop out that frozen fat and continue to use the liquid because the broth may be affected by the fat and already get spoiled. You should discard all.
Use your nose to find out whether your chicken broth has gone awful or not. Fine chicken broth should smell pleasant and ready-to-eat. It definitely gets spoiled if it has strange odors such as sour or rancid smell and should be discarded.
Specific health risks come with rotting foodstuffs; therefore, try to use them before their longevity expires!
What Can Replace Chicken Broth Once It Turns Bad?
You can find some substitutes for the chicken broth when your recipe calls for it, but you don’t have it on hand. Here is the commonly-used chicken broth substitutes list.
- Chicken/Vegetable/Beef Stock: When you have other broth or stock, use them instantly to replace chicken broth! Their tastes vary based on the components, but the final flavor will not change much.
- Coconut Milk: You can make coconut milk a replacement for chicken broth because of their similar fatty feel. Be careful since it includes coconutty flavor, so it may modify your meal a little bit.
- White Wine: Dry white wine can be an excellent alternative for chicken broth. It adds more flavors to your dish, and it can also help deglaze your pan.
- Salted Butter And Water: This mixture can make your dish taste richer than only using water to substitute chicken broth in a recipe.
I believe that with all the above information about chicken broth’s storage life, you may figure out many things. Some of you may feel it is not enough, so here are some commonly asked questions and brief answers for you to expand more on chicken broth.
Now Can You Tell If Your Chicken Broth Has Gone Bad?
I hope that after reading this post, you can equip yourself with some useful tips to see whether your chicken broth goes bad, then you can decide to use or get rid of it right away for the sake of your health.
Do you have any experience with bad chicken broth? Comment below and share it so that everyone can be aware of their broth! Love to hear your sharings!
1. Mayo Clinic. 2021. Food poisoning – Symptoms and causes. [online] Available at: <https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/food-poisoning/symptoms-causes/syc-20356230>.
2. US EPA. 2021. Reducing Wasted Food At Home | US EPA. [online] Available at: <https://www.epa.gov/recycle/reducing-wasted-food-home>.
3. WebMD. 2021. Chicken Broth: Are There Health Benefits?. [online] Available at: <https://www.webmd.com/diet/health-benefits-chicken-broth#1>.