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Chicken Smells Like Eggs – Why It Happens and What To Do About It?

So let’s assume you’ve decided to cook chicken today. You get the meat out of your refrigerator only to find out that your chicken smells like eggs. Or maybe a little more unpleasant. So then what’s to be done either way?

What does bad chicken smell like in the first place? And what’s the definition of BAD here?

Time to find out all you need to know about the way chicken smells and why. Along with answering some more frequently asked questions about the matter…

Chicken Smells Like Eggs – Why Is That?

It goes without saying that meat, in general, has a weird smell (almost always unpleasant). But then is the egg-like smell a red flag? Not necessarily unless the smell is much the same as that of rotten or spoiled food.

So then where does this egg-like smell come from, to begin with? It’s the blood present in the meat that gives rise to the unpleasant smell. But smelly, spoiled blood here doesn’t particularly imply that the meat is ruined too. It just means you should wash everything thoroughly to eliminate the smell prior to cooking.

But then feel free to also discard it all if you like. However, before doing that, let’s cover some need-to-know ground…

  • Spoilage Bacteria

Raw chicken, even before its expiration date, starts to smell like sulfur. And that’s because of the Salmonella enterica bacteria. It has an impact on not just chicken products but those that contain eggs too. But when cooked at high temperatures over 165 degrees Fahrenheit, it becomes harmless.

  • Vacuum-Packed Chicken

Sealed packages with chicken cuts are bound to give off an unpleasant odor when opening. And here’s a simple explanation for that. In the case of vacuum sealing, oxygen is forced out of the package, right? As a result of which an unpleasant eggy smell is only inevitable. It’s more like a confinement smell.

That also explains why the meat of vacuum-packed chicken beings to take on a darker appearance. The absence of oxygen can do that you know – turn the chicken color to red from pink.

Checking Chicken to See If It Has Gone Bad

1. Raw Chicken

Raw chicken, when fresh, is pink and fleshy in color. But then this color starts to fade and dull as the chicken approaches its inevitable ruin. So if the grey overpowers the pink, it’s best not to use the batch for cooking.

As for the smell of spoiled raw chicken, the best descriptive term here would be sour.

You can even feel the chicken to find out if it’s good for consumption or not. Chicken always has a slimy gloss to it, right? So what happens after washing? If the slime gets washed off, then it’s all safe and healthy. And if not, most likely your raw chicken has gone bad.

2. Frozen Chicken

Check for freezer burns and thick ice crusts around the chicken. The latter takes the form of ice normally spotted in your freezer that you know hasn’t been subjected to thawing for a long time. As for freezer burns, they’re white-colored, rough, and slightly raised rashes or marks.

What about the color? Off-colored for sure, maybe a little grey or the fat turning yellowish. When darker than that, don’t hesitate to simply just chuck it into your trash bin.

3. Cooked Chicken

When cooked chicken smells like eggs or even sulfur, throw it out. It’s a bit challenging to determine through color changes if cooked chicken has gone bad since the color was bound to get altered because of the marinade or glaze. But then, once again, does it look grey? If yes, then certainly the food isn’t safe for consumption.

Another very obvious telltale sign is mold. It’s the best indicator for bad, decaying, or rotten chicken. Mold, more often than not, is black or green in color. And no denying that this is almost always also accompanied by a very discernible foul odor.

Review the Storage Process of Your Chicken

  • Sell-By Date

Don’t trust the Sell-By Date of the chicken. Because that just means the date before which the chicken is the most desirable to be sold. It’s just a date that helps you confirm if or not the questionable chicken is spoiled.

The best alternative – buy fresh chicken and then immediately freeze it. In the storage, and only when done properly, you’re looking at a shelf-life of 9 months past the Sell-By Date.

  • ­Proper Storage

Heavy-duty freezer bags or airtight, shallow containers are perfect for the job. Or you could use plastic wrap or aluminum foil as well. Just make sure you divide the whole chicken into small portions. Along with removing any stuffing before freezing or refrigerating.

Chicken Smells Like Eggs – Frequently Asked Questions

What Does Bad Chicken Smell Like?

No doubt, when the meat is really spoiled or gone bad, the smell will clearly be foul and unpleasant. As for a level lower on the bad scale, it would produce a smell like ammonia or rotten eggs. If the raw chicken is also looking a bit off-colored (turning grey from pink) at this point, then that’s another warning sign.

You should know that fresh chicken doesn’t impart any kind of smell. Fresh is bright pink with tender, firm meat. However, storage is bound to alter these natural characteristics.

Also remember that packaged chicken cuts, when opened, almost always give off a sulfur, egg-like smell. This is normal, no doubt about that.

Is It Safe to Eat Chicken That Smells Like Eggs?

Ummm… maybe. The thing about smelly or stinky chicken is that it can have spoilage bacteria (Salmonella enterica). Or that unpleasant boiled egg smell is only a result of the vacuum-sealed packaging process. Either way, both do not spoil the meat, so it’s safe for consumption.


Everything important about chicken smelling like hard-boiled eggs has been addressed in this post. Along with how to store raw chicken the right way to keep it fresh for a longer time.

The unpleasant eggy smell is not necessarily a bad thing. It comes from the blood, at least for the most part. It’s when your chicken smells like rotten eggs is when you should be throwing it out.

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