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Does Chicken Broth Go Bad

Chicken broth keeps well when taken care of properly. But knowing when chicken stock has spoiled can be tricky. Also, there is a big difference between store bought chicken stock and homemade chicken stock. So the shelf life is dependent on a few factors.

broth in a pot

How long does chicken broth last?

While packaged chicken broth in a box or can has a shelf life that makes it stable for a long time, homemade chicken stock usually has a much shorter shelf life. A lot depends on how much sodium is in it.

Unopened chicken broth, if stored properly can, hang out in the pantry for a while and is ready to use in a variety of recipes. Store in a cool, dry place. I like to buy mine in bulk when they go on sale to save money.

How long does store bought chicken broth last after being opened?

Store bought stock, from a can or a box, typically contains a high amount of sodium. So, it has an unusually long shelf life. The extra salt keeps bacteria from growing. The stock also is pasteurized which also helps it maintain a super long shelf life.

However, to be on the safe side, any opened stock should be used within a week and not past the printed date of expiration. If not, storing it by keeping it in an airtight container in the freezer works best. You can keep it for up to another three months in the freezer.

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jar of chicken broth on a countertop

How can I tell if chicken stock spoiled?

Chicken broth takes some time before it gives off a putrid odor. Since most people rely on telltale smells to toss something, that isn’t the best technique for opened chicken broth. The best way to go is using a marker to mark the broth packaging with your own “use by” date to keep track.

It might not prevent it from getting lost in the back of your fridge, but it can help you avoid the “should I or shouldn’t I?” thought when you find it.

Obviously, any signs of mold, either green or white chunks floating around mean toss it. Do not use spoiled chicken broth!

Signs of Spoilage

  • Mold on the top or around the container opening.
  • Horrible putrid odor when you open it.
  • Green or white chunks floating in it.

If you have any of these, the broth has gone bad and should be tossed immediately.

How to keep homemade chicken broth from spoiling

Homemade chicken broth will keep up to a week in the refrigerator, and it will keep up to three months in the freezer too. One great way to store it in the freezer, make chicken stock ice cubes! These come in handy when you just need a little bit for a recipe. You can use them just like bouillon cubes but with only a fraction of the sodium.

bowl of broth with with piece of raw chicken

Food storage tips

  • The shelf life of chicken broth from the store should be marked on the box. And use or toss before the expiration date.
  • For homemade, always mark your storage container with a date of when it was stored and when to use it by.
  • Use quality containers with locking lids. The more airtight the better.
  • Plan for what will be short term storage vs longer term storage in the freezer.
  • Place stored items, in the fridge or the freezer, where you can easily see them and access them so they don’t get lost and forgotten then just take up space before going into the garbage or down the drain!
  • Freeze the chicken broth to extend their life. Make broth ice cubes and store them in one gallon zip locking bags in the freezer.

Recipes featuring chicken broth

Break out the chicken, beef, or turkey stock for these tasty recipes:

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broth with text "how to tell if chicken broth has gone bad"

Tools I like to use

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