Skip to Content

How to Tell if Ground Chicken is Bad (3 Easy Ways)

Ground chicken is a fantastic alternative to mince or pork. You can use ground chicken in dishes we all love, from meatballs to lasagna. It’s an incredibly useful ingredient to have on hand in your kitchen.

This article will cover how to tell if ground chicken is bad and other common questions surrounding its storage.

Signs That Ground Chicken is Bad

These are the main signs that your ground chicken has gone bad.

Dull Color

Ground chicken will lose its vibrant color when it has gone bad. It should be a pale, light pink when fresh and ready to eat.

Ground chicken will turn a horrible grey or brown when it has gone bad. You should dispose of ground chicken as soon as you notice discoloration. 

Sour Smell

Ground chicken will start to smell horrible when it turns bad. Usually, ground chicken will have a no smell or a semi neutral smell. When it starts to spoil it will have a strong savory scent.

Most people describe this as a pungent sour or bitter smell. You should dispose of ground chicken that begins to smell unusual or unpleasant as it is no longer okay to eat.

Slimy Texture

As ground chicken deteriorates it will start to feel slimy or sticky to the touch. This is a sign the bacteria in the chicken have started to multiply on its surface.

You should not eat meat that feels strangely slimy. Consuming this bacteria is potentially dangerous and can cause sickness. You need to dispose of the ground chicken immediately and disinfect any surface it has touched. 

What is Ground Chicken? 

Ground chicken is minced chicken meat. It is a similar texture to minced beef but has a lighter taste. Ground chicken is a very lean meat and is significantly healthier than similar products.

Ground chicken is made by grinding the chicken breast or thigh (or a mix of both). You can make ground chicken at home by blending the breast or thigh in a food processor.

Whether store bought or homemade, ground chicken will always be juicy, succulent, and delicious.

How to Make Ground Chicken at Home 

  1. Purchase skinless and boneless chicken breast or thigh from the supermarket. 
  2. Clean the chicken and it cut into pieces. 
  3. Add the chicken to a food processor. 
  4. Pulse the chicken 4-6 times on a high rotation. 
  5. Make sure the processor has caught the larger pieces of meat. 
  6. Pulse until you have reached the desired consistency. 
  7. Remove the ground chicken from the processor. 
  8. Transfer the ground chicken into an airtight container. 
  9. Start cooking straight away or put the chicken in the fridge or freezer and save for a later day

What Happens If You Eat Bad Ground Chicken?

Eating spoiled ground chicken can lead to illness or sickness.

Ground chicken that has been contaminated with bacteria is really bad for the human body. It is very likely you will get food poisoning if you eat bad or expired ground chicken. 

How Long Does Ground Chicken Last?

Ground chicken will last for different amounts of time depending on where it is stored.

How Long Does Ground Chicken Last on the Countertop?

Ground chicken can only be left out at room temperature for a couple of hours. This is because ground chicken is a perishable food that can easily spoil within a couple of hours.

You should only leave ground chicken out if you are cooking or preparing it. Otherwise, it should be refrigerated! 

How Long Does Ground Chicken Last In the Fridge?

Uncooked ground chicken will last for 1-2 days in the fridge. Cooked ground chicken can last for 3-4 days in the fridge. Ground chicken will start to turn bad if it is in the fridge for too long. 

How Long Does Ground Chicken Last In the Freezer?

Ground chicken – whether cooked or uncooked – can last in the freezer for up to 6 months. Over time ground chicken will start to lose its delicious freshness. So, it’s best to consume frozen chicken within the first 3 months

What Color Should Ground Chicken Be?

Ground chicken should be a healthy, vibrant pale pink with flecks of white.

Ground chicken should not have any sort of grey or brown tinge to it. It should be light and luminous.

Any dull discoloration is a sign that the chicken has started to expire or deteriorate. 

What Happens if You Cook Bad Ground Chicken?

Cooking bad ground chicken is not advised. Ground chicken carries harmful bacteria that can live on surfaces. Your kitchen and any appliances you use can become infected by these nasty bugs.

Warm temperatures from cooking or frying will not kill these bacteria. It is best to just throw the bad ground chicken away. There is no saving it.

Why is Ground Chicken so Sticky?

Ground chicken is always a little sticky. However, it should not be excessively slimy or sticky. This is a major sign the ground chicken has started to deteriorate.

The strange texture is caused by bacteria growth. Cleaning the chicken with water will not only temporarily change the texture. The bacteria will survive, continue to reproduce, and ultimately ruin the ground chicken. 

How Long is Ground Chicken Good After the Sell by Date?

If you see “best before” on the chicken it will be fine for a couple of days after the date listed. You generally have about a 2 day leeway after the best before date has passed. 

If there is an expiry on the ground chicken you need to consume it well before this date. This is because it will expire on the date advertised. There is no flexibility with an expiry date.

The chicken will start to spoil from the expiry date onwards. 

What Should Ground Chicken Look Like Cooked?

Ground chicken should be a pale brown when cooked. The chicken should be moist and have a meaty, savory smell.

Look out for spots of discoloration or unpleasant smells when the chicken has finished cooking. These are both signs it has gone bad.  

How to Store Ground Chicken

You can store ground chicken in the fridge or the freezer. You should never keep raw meat at room temperature for longer than 2 hours.

This is because it can quickly spoil if it is not chilled. It is not safe to eat ground chicken that has been left on the kitchen counter or in the cupboard for an extended period of time. 

The fridge is the best place to keep ground chicken if you want to cook it within the coming days. It’s accessible and convenient to leave it in the fridge. You can either leave the chicken in the original plastic wrapping or a locked, airtight container. 

You can also store your ground chicken in the freezer. This is a great option if you have leftover chicken or want to save it for a rainy day. You can freeze ground chicken in its original packaging.

For extra protection, you can double wrap the ground chicken in cling film and place it in a secure container. This will minimise the effects of freezer burn and ensure your ground chicken stays fresh. 

To Sum Up

Ground chicken is a great, healthier alternative to minced beef and pork. It is a very versatile ingredient that can be used in so many different recipes.

Ground chicken should have a light pink hue and a neutral smell. You’ll know your ground chicken has gone bad when it turns a dull colour, starts to smell, or feels slimy. You should dispose of the ground chicken as soon as you notice any of these signs. Eating bad ground chicken can lead to food poisoning. 

Raw ground chicken will stay fresh in your fridge for a couple of days, whereas cooked ground chicken will last for up to 4 days. Alternatively, you can store it in the freezer for up to 6 months. Make sure to place the ground chicken in a locked container to keep it fresh.