chicken broth

Chicken Broth Shelf Life: Can It Go Bad?

Chicken broth is a staple ingredient in every household. It enriches the flavor and taste of any savory dishes.

As with many people, you often have leftover chicken broth since the recipe only calls for half of the package. It’s tucked behind every other thing that you don’t see it’s there. A week later you find it, but you’re hesitant whether the broth is still good to use.

If you prefer to make homemade chicken stock, it always comes handy to cook it in a big batch for later use. But, you have a concern with the shelf life.

Either way, you’re now asking yourself: does chicken broth go bad? How do you prolong its shelf life? How long should chicken broth be kept in the fridge?

Does the situation above sound similar to you? No worries. In this article, we take a closer look at chicken broth’s shelf life, proper storage methods, and how to tell if the chicken broth has gone bad. If these are what you are looking from, then read on!

How To Store Chicken Broth

Whether you prefer to buy or make chicken broth, you need to know the proper storage to make the most out of it. The storage method of chicken broth is similar to the beef broth as both have similar product characteristics.

Homemade chicken broth should always be kept refrigerated. It lacks preservative agents and is prone to microbial spoilage when left out at room temperature.

Transfer the broth into a sealed airtight container and keep it in the fridge for later use. Be sure to cool it down before putting it into the fridge.

Similar to beef stock, commercially-prepared chicken stock is generally available in both cans and carton boxes. Next to that, in some other countries, chicken broth is also sold as a concentrate and packaged in a glass jar.

As long as it is unopened, chicken broth is relatively shelf-stable. It is produced under an aseptic environment and packed into sterile packaging. Hence, it can safely sit at room temperature. Make sure to keep it in a dry, cool area, away from sources of heat and sunlight, ideally pantry or kitchen cabinet.

Once opened, the broth is more prone to spoilage. Any leftover should be stored in the refrigerator for later use. Always close the container when not in use. For the canned broth, transfer the product into a sealed airtight container or jar.

Leftovers of dishes prepared with chicken broth, such as soup or stew should be kept in the fridge.

Can You Freeze Chicken Broth?

Yes. Chicken broth freezes well, consequently, the shelf life is prolonged. Homemade chicken broth does not last very long, thus, making it in a big batch to freeze sounds a perfect idea.

Simply transfer the broth into a freezer-safe container and freeze it. To defrost, safely leave it in the fridge overnight. When you’re short in time, reheat it in the microwave or use it right away in the pan while cooking.

Similar to freezing other liquids, using ice cube trays to freeze chicken stock is a popular method. Once the broth is frozen, transfer it into a freezer-safe container or a heavy-duty freezer bag. This way, it comes easier to thaw when you only need a small amount of broth.

How Long Does Chicken Broth Last?

With good refrigeration, a homemade chicken broth should be consumed within 3 to 4 days. When frozen, it can retain its quality up to 2 to 3 months.

A Store-bought chicken broth comes with a “best before” or “best by” date on the label. Observe this date as a guide to your consumption. This date is a rough estimate from the producer to assure that the product remains in its prime quality, with proper storage.

Similar to most food products, chicken broth may stay fit for consumption beyond the date, as long as it is properly stored and the packaging is not damaged.

After opening, the leftover will stay good for 3 to 5 days. If you decide to freeze it, it will stay good indefinitely, but for quality reasons, try to finish it within 2 to 3 months.

If you have a dish prepared with chicken broth, it should be consumed within 3 to 4 days.

How To Tell If Chicken Broth Is Bad

Chicken broth is rich in nutrients, hence, an ideal environment for microbial growth. Without proper storage and when left at room temperature for too long (after opening), it will spoil in no time.

When it comes to a new can or box of chicken broth, always inspect the packaging. Don’t buy or use if the package is damaged in any way: leaked, bulged, dented, rusted, spurting liquid after opening, or bloated. The product might have been spoiled and its safety is compromised.

It’s not very difficult to spot chicken broth going bad. General signs of spoilage are easy to notice. Always observe the visual, smell, and taste. Use your senses to pass your judgment.

Spoiled broth smells bad, rotten, or sour. The consistency may have changed and even worse, the growth of molds is visible. These are apparent signs that the broth should not be used for safety reasons.


Is it safe to use expired chicken broth?

“Best before” or expiration date on the label is a rough estimate from the producer to guarantee that the product should stay in its prime quality before this date, subject to intended storage. Consumers are advised to consume the product before this date.

The real shelf life can be longer. Beyond the date, as long as you don’t find any spoilage signs and the package is still perfect, it should be safe to use. However, you may expect a change in flavor or taste.

How long can chicken broth stay at room temperature?

Chicken broth contains nutrients that are favorable for microbial growth, particularly when left at room temperature. Thus, chicken broth is considered a perishable food that needs to stay refrigerated.

To stay on the safe side, perishable foods should not be left outside for longer than 2 hours.

Can spoiled chicken broth make you sick?

Spoiled chicken broths will ruin your dish and possibly make you sick. You will notice it from the smell, visual, and taste. Don’t eat the broth or dish if spoiled.

What is the yellow stuff floating on the surface of chicken broth?

That is chicken fat. When kept in the refrigerator, the fat will solidify and look like yellow chunks on the surface. It will melt when the liquid is reheated.

Final Thoughts

Chicken broth is an essential ingredient to prepare any savory and hearty dishes, making it a staple in every household. However, spoilage is inevitable and chicken broth will go bad eventually.

Make sure to practice good hygiene and proper storage to benefit maximum shelf life. Unopened store-bought chicken broth can be stored in the pantry. Homemade and opened chicken broth should be kept refrigerated. Consider freezing it to prolong its shelf life.

Up Next: Best Substitutes For Chicken Broth

chicken broth shelf life

Up Next: Does beef broth go bad?

*Photo by AndreySt/depositphotos

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