Chicken broth is a staple ingredient in different cuisines, but usually, you don’t need a whole can of stock. What to do with the rest? Does chicken broth go bad? Store-bought or homemade, chicken stock does have a due date to use it by for the best flavor.
Below, you can find out how long chicken broth lasts and some tips for storing it to keep it fresh longer. Without further ado, let’s get started!
Does Chicken Broth Go Bad?
Chicken broth, also known as bouillon, is the liquid in which the chicken has been cooked in. We all love to use it in soups for a deeper chicken taste, making the dish more flavorful. That’s why we typically cook a large amount and store it for later use.
But does chicken stock go bad? Canned or freshly made, it can go bad. However, if properly stored, chicken stock can last for quite some time.
It is said that homemade chicken broth tends to last longer than the store-bought kind (after it has been opened) due to the fat kept in it. How long can chicken stock stay in the fridge? When stored in a refrigerator, the chicken fat will saturate to form a seal on top of the stock, protecting it from going bad for up to 5 days.
Ultimately, we suggest you check for early signals of spoilage before using broth that has been in the fridge for a few days.
How Long Does Chicken Broth Last?
So, chicken broth does go bad. Do you know how long it lasts, though? Knowing the expiration date helps you use the broth before it goes bad. Let’s find out the shelf-life of different types of chicken stock!
For Canned Chicken Broth
Canned chicken broth and aseptic-packaged chicken broth come with a shelf-life of one or two years. Usually, it can even last up to an extra 6 months past the printed use by date. Of course, this is the case where you left the broth unopened.
How long does opened chicken broth last? Once you open the can or package, the broth goes off quickly in about 3 – 5 days stored in the refrigerator. Some brands offer a slightly longer storage time of up to 7 days due to their specially formulated ingredients, but most follow the 3 to 5 days rule of thumb.
How long does chicken stock last in the freezer? Sellers recommend 2-3 months for the best flavor, but the stock is still edible for longer than that. Ideally, you wouldn’t want to leave it any longer than 6 months.
For Homemade Chicken Broth
So, how long is homemade chicken broth good for? At room temperature, it should be no more than 2 hours. The stock will start to get sour and foul if left any longer than 2 hours outside.
How long does homemade broth last in the fridge? You’d want to finish it within 3-5 days max. This is also how long store-bought broth keeps after opening.
After the 5th day, you’ll notice a vile smell from the broth. It’s a certain sign that the broth has passed its prime, and it has to go. If you wish to further extend the shelf life of bouillon, freeze it.
In an airtight container or heavy-duty freezer bag, the stock maintains its prime quality for about 2-3 months, just like canned stock.
How Do You Tell If Chicken Broth Is No Longer Good?
The first thing you can do to tell if your stock has gone bad is to smell it. Since the aroma change is usually distinct, this method is by far the best way to know if chicken stock is spoiled. If there appears to be a sour or “funny” smell from the broth, it’s time for it to go.
If you suspect that the broth has gone bad, give it a taste. Although we don’t recommend you do this, a taste test helps to tell right away whether you can still use that chicken stock.
So, what happens if you eat bad chicken broth? Well, there’s a high chance that you will get food poisoning. However, if it’s just a bit of stock to taste, you’ll be fine, though you won’t find the flavor any tasty, if not horrible.
Typically, the stock is fine if it still smells good. But if the smell is okay, but it tastes off for any reason, dodge yourself a bullet by throwing it out.
Visual signs also work to tell if the broth can’t be used anymore.
If it is still good to use, you’ll see a nice yellow or amber color looking at it. Should there be any signs of mold floating on top, you know the broth hasn’t been touched for quite some time, and it’s best to just toss it.
Besides the solid particles of mold, the stock has to go once it gets cloudy and you spot the formation of sediment.
The Storage Time
If your stock is way past the date labeled on its container, discard it. While it might still be okay to eat, why ignore the risks of getting food poisoning?
If there’s anything wrong with the can or bag where you store the broth, like leakage or rust, there is a high chance that the broth is no longer good. Even though it doesn’t necessarily mean it has gone bad, put your health first and just dump it.
How To Store Chicken Broth So It Doesn’t Go Bad?
For Canned Broth
Since chicken broth is a popular pantry staple and used regularly, it is important to know how to store it if it doesn’t go bad. If the broth is unopened, you can leave it in places like a pantry or your kitchen counter, as it’s cool and dry there.
They’re good until you’re ready to use them. Furthermore, remember to check the chicken broth expiration date before popping off a can to your recipe.
Can you use expired chicken broth? Absolutely, as long as the stock still looks and smells good when you open the can or package. How long after expiration date is boxed chicken broth good? Up to a whole year!
Once opened, know that time is not on your side. The broth should be transferred to a container to store in the fridge (up to a week) or freezer (up to 6 months).
For Homemade Broth
You should let it cool down to room temperature before transferring to an airtight holder. Like the way you freeze chicken soup, you can refrigerate chicken broth or store it in a freezer.
It’s not ideal to put a container of hot liquid straight in the fridge. Since the container won’t cool quickly enough, it will raise the temperature in the refrigerator, possibly causing other foods stored to go bad.
Making bouillon can be laborious, but the result is so worth it. According to the USDA, you should use it up within 3-4 days for the best freshness.
Also, remember to mark down the date so that you know when the stock is still good to use. In the freezer, homemade broth can last up to 6 months, just like canned stock.
The longer the stock stays in the freezer, the faster it degrades in quality. You’d want to use it up when possible before it develops strange flavors over time.
When you want to thaw the broth, leave it in the refrigerator overnight or simply transfer the frozen block to a pot and heat it up on the stove. If you’re thawing cubes of broth to use in recipes, you can just add a few of them directly to the pot as you’re cooking other ingredients.
Some recommend storing chicken broth in ice trays, as it is easier to thaw and use. As the cubes have frozen up, pop them off the tray and transfer to a sealed container.
Can You Freeze Chicken Broth?
Yes! Freezing helps prolong chicken broth shelf life, and the process is super easy. You can either pour the broth into a tightly sealed ziplock bag or an ice tray to store it in the freezer.
People tend to go for the second alternative if they often need to use chicken stock, as it allows you to cook with serving-sized cubes of broth.
Can You Store Heated Chicken Broth?
While it is possible, we don’t recommend you store heated chicken broth because there might be a flavor change, and the freshness won’t be as good after heating.
If you still want to store heated stock, wait until the stock has cooled down completely and store it in an airtight bag or container.
Does chicken broth go bad? We assume you must have an answer by now! Remember to check for signs of spoilage before using stored chicken stock, or you might have to pay a visit to a doctor. Food poisoning is no joke!
Chicken stock can be used in so many recipes, including my favorite, a delicious chicken Alfredo! If you’re a fan of pasta, grab the tongs, and let’s start cooking!