How Long Does Chicken Broth Last After Opening?

by Charlie
Published: Last Updated on
Chicken broth

Being conscious of food hygiene and best practice is key to success in the kitchen, no matter what kinds of food you are dealing with. If you have chicken broth and it has been opened, it’s key to know how to handle it and how long it should last before it needs to be used up.

How long does chicken broth last after opening? As long as chicken broth is stored in the refrigerator at all times, it should last between three and four days before it goes bad. Some people say that it will last for five, but ideally, you should be using it on the fourth day at the latest. Write a note on it so you know when it was opened.

Does Chicken Broth Go Bad?

Some chicken broth has high levels of salt in it, and this might cause you to wonder whether it actually goes off. After all, salt is a natural and effective preservative that helps to keep food fresh. However, chicken broth will go bad once it has been opened and it should be used within a few days.

It is important to treat opened chicken broth like a meat product, because it does contain meat. It could harbor dangerous bacteria if it is left for too long before being eaten, or if it is not handled properly.

Chicken broth that has not been opened should not go bad for many years, especially if it is stored in a can. It has been sealed to keep the food safe from bacteria, and you are probably already well aware that canned food has an extremely long shelf life.

Even canned chicken broth could, in theory, go bad. However, this is unlikely to happen unless the can has been damaged and its seal ruined.

How Do You Know If Chicken Broth Has Gone Bad?

Chicken broth that is no longer fit to eat may have specks of mold on the surface, or it may smell sour or stale. You might only notice a funny smell when you heat it. If in doubt, try tasting a tiny bit of the broth and see if it tastes sour.

Usually, chicken broth that has gone moldy will show some signs. The color and texture may change, and the taste might also be altered. You might notice that it smells funny too.

However, you should not completely depend upon your senses to judge chicken broth; sometimes bacteria can be present without showing any visible signs of it. If you are unsure, it is generally better not to eat it, even if it does not actually look or taste off.

Eating moldy chicken broth could make you very sick, so approach it with caution and err on the side of safety. If it has been in the fridge for more than five days or it has been left at room temperature, it is best to throw it away, even if it seems okay.

How Should You Store Chicken Broth?

Once opened, chicken broth needs to be put straight into the fridge. If you have bought it in a can, consider decanting it into another container with a lid first. Even if you have bought it in other packaging, it is a good idea to transfer it to an airtight container before you refrigerate it.

If you have not yet opened the chicken broth, it should be fine to store it in a cool, dark cupboard. Follow the instructions on the packaging if necessary to ensure you are keeping it in suitable conditions.

As soon as you open chicken broth, you should put what you are not using into a clean container, put the lid on, and transfer it directly to the fridge. Keep it in there at all times, rather than leaving it out on the counter.

If you leave the broth at room temperature for too long, it will be ruined and you will have to throw it away.

What About Homemade Chicken Broth?

Many people make their own chicken broth at home – how long will this last? It is best to treat it as though it is opened store bought chicken broth, or with even more care.

Although your chicken broth may be fresher than a store bought can you have just opened, it does not contain as many preservatives or additives. Without these, it may not last very well when kept, so it is extremely important to put it in the fridge.

Don’t leave homemade chicken broth in your pantry. It is not sealed properly, and there is a high risk of bacteria spreading through the broth. It is not something that should be kept at room temperature at any time.

You can freeze homemade chicken broth if you want to make it last for longer. It’s best to freeze it in small portions so that you can just get what you need out at a time.

What If You Left Chicken Broth on the Counter?

If you have accidentally left chicken broth on the counter for a few hours, it is not a good idea to put it in the fridge or try and eat it. At room temperature, bacteria will spread quickly throughout the broth, and it is no longer safe to store or eat it.

This remains true even if you heat it up again; the heating of meat a second time does not necessarily kill off any bacteria that has started to spread within the food.

Although it is possible to successfully reheat meat, it is not recommended and it could make you very sick. If you have left chicken broth at room temperature for more than a couple of hours, you should throw it away.

Final Thoughts

Chicken broth should last for up to four days in the fridge after it has been opened. Sealed chicken broth should last for years, provided the can is intact and it is stored in a cool, dark place. Don’t try to eat chicken broth that is past its date or that has visible signs of mold; it could make you extremely sick, even if you heat it well.

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