Chicken broth is a must-have for many kitchens, and most types of chicken broth can be safely stored away in the pantry for quite some time.
However, if you have found some chicken broth at the back of your pantry, and have no idea how long it has been there for, you might be wondering whether or not it has expired, and if it is safe to use.
How do you know if chicken broth has expired?
The best way to know whether chicken broth has expired is to look at the expiry date on the packaging. This gives you a good idea as to when the chicken broth should be used. In some cases, the chicken broth can last for some time after this expiry date too.
Keep reading to find out all the information you need to know about whether chicken broth expires, how to find out whether it has expired, and more helpful information.
Can Chicken Broth Go Bad?
First, it helps to know whether chicken broth can go bad, and if it does truly ever expire.
Simply, yes, chicken broth does go bad. It is a perishable food item like most other food in your fridge, it only has a longer shelf left when it is stored in its original packaging in the pantry.
Any chicken broth that has been opened, or homemade chicken broth, will go bad after a few days in the fridge, and it will go bad if it is left out at room temperature for too long as well.
It pays to be aware that chicken broth can go bad, so you can look for signs of spoiling with the chicken broth you have stored in your fridge, and so you can keep a check on the box of chicken broth you have stored away in the pantry.
You will notice that most store-bought chicken broth has an expiry date or a best-by date printed onto the packaging. It does help to take note of this, but most of the time, if the chicken broth is left unopened and in a cool, dark environment, it can last some time past this date.
The clock for chicken broth really starts ticking fast when the chicken broth is opened, and it will only last for a few days in the fridge.
What Is the Shelf Life of Chicken Broth?
The shelf life of chicken broth will depend on the type of chicken broth, whether it is canned, in a box, homemade, or in cube form.
Here are the various types of chicken broth you can find, and how long they last.
Canned chicken broth lasts for the longest amount of time compared to any other type of chicken broth.
There will be a best-by date on the can, but if you store it in the pantry, away from direct sunlight, in a cool, dark area, the canned chicken broth can keep for between 3 to 5 years, and maybe even longer than that.
Canning is one of the best ways to preserve food, and chicken broth can stay good in an undamaged can for many years in the pantry.
However, once the can has been opened, the chicken broth would need to be kept in the fridge and used within 3 to 4 days.
Box chicken broth has a fairly long shelf life, and left unopened, it can be stored in a cool, dark pantry. You can store boxed chicken broth in the pantry for up to a year, and maybe even longer.
The box of chicken broth will have a best-by date printed on it, but the chicken broth should be fine to enjoy beyond this date, and it should keep for quite some time after.
Once you open a box of chicken broth, it will need to be placed in the refrigerator and used within 3 to 4 days.
Homemade chicken broth has a shorter shelf life, and it will need to be placed in the fridge as soon as it has cooled down.
Once stored in the fridge, the homemade chicken broth should be used within 3 to 4 days. It can be frozen for 6 months if you want to extend the shelf life even further.
Cube chicken stock usually lasts for quite some time, up to 6 months. You need to take a look at the best-by date on the packaging, but the cubes often last for around 3 months after this date as well. They might just lose some of the flavor.
Once you use the cube to make up chicken stock, it needs to be kept in the fridge and used within 3 to 4 days.
What Is the Best Way to Store Chicken Broth?
The best way to store chicken broth depends on the type of chicken broth. Store-bought chicken broth in its original, unopened packaging, such as a can or box, should be kept in the pantry in a cool, dark environment.
Homemade chicken broth, or opened store-bought chicken broth, needs to be kept in the fridge and needs to be stored properly. If the original packaging cannot be sealed tight or closed, then you will need to decant the chicken broth into an airtight container.
Storing the chicken broth in an airtight container helps it keep its best taste, and helps it to last longer in the fridge too.
Is It Okay to Freeze Chicken Broth?
It is perfectly safe to freeze chicken broth, and it freezes well. Frozen chicken broth can be kept in the freezer for up to 6 months, so you have quite a bit of time to use it.
There are also many different ways you can prepare the chicken broth for freezing, whether you place it in an airtight freezer container, into plastic freezer bags and stack them on top of each other in the freezer, or you could freeze the chicken broth in an ice cube tray for smaller portions.
Once you have opened a box or can of chicken broth, or you have made some at home, it will only last for up to 4 days in the fridge, so it is a great idea to freeze this chicken broth to keep it usable for longer, and to prevent any from going to waste.
It is also a great way to ensure you always have some chicken broth to use!
How to Tell if Chicken Broth Has Gone Bad
Chicken broth will eventually expire if it is left out for too long, and once it begins to go bad, there are certain signs you can look for.
Here are the various signs to look for that indicate that chicken broth has started to spoil:
The chicken broth will give off a sour, bad odor when it begins to spoil. You should be able to smell this straight away when opening the chicken broth container, and if it smells stronger than usual, it is best to throw it away.
The color of the chicken broth might start to change as it spoils, turning a brownish color. If it is left for quite a long time, there could even be spots of mold on the surface.
Any signs of discoloration should be taken as an indication that the chicken broth has spoiled and that it is no longer safe to eat.
The texture of the chicken broth could change when it goes bad, turning slimy, thicker, or even chunky.
The chicken broth should be smooth and liquid, and if you notice a change of texture, especially if it is paired with a strange odor, then the chicken broth has gone bad and should be discarded.
Is My Chicken Broth Expired?
Chicken broth can definitely expire, and while some forms of chicken broth can last for a long time, such as unopened canned or boxed chicken broth kept in the pantry, it will eventually go off.
Chicken broth begins to spoil quickly once it has been opened in its original packaging, or if it is homemade. Homemade chicken broth, or opened chicken broth from a can or box, needs to be stored in the fridge and used within 3 to 4 days.
Look for signs of spoiling to tell whether or not the chicken broth is still safe to eat. Sometimes, a can or box of chicken broth is still safe to use after the expiry date, you just need to make sure it does not have an off smell, change in texture, or a color change.
Can I Use 3 Months Expired Chicken Broth?
It could be fine to use chicken broth which is 3 months past its expiry date, as long as the box or can is unopened, and the chicken broth does not show any signs of spoiling.
What Is the White Stuff in Chicken Broth?
The white bits that float at the surface of chicken broth are chicken fat. You can skim this off if you wish to remove it.