Any kitchen needs chicken broth, whether it is prepared from scratch or purchased from the supermarket.
How long can chicken stock be stored is the question. Additionally, how do you store it and how can you tell if it’s spoiled?
Pre-made chicken broth is often kept in the cupboard for at least six months after its best-by date if it hasn’t been opened.
The chicken stock must be used within a few days of being opened, though. You may also store opened chicken broth in the freezer for longer-term preservation.
Continue reading to find out more about the best ways to store and extend the shelf life of chicken broth.
How Long Can Chicken Broth Last?
Store-bought chicken stock usually has a shelf life of 1-2 years.
Even better, when you buy canned or other check broth from the store, you can expect it to last for about half a year following the expiration date. This is true if the box or can is stored correctly and the packaging is intact.
But once you open the box or can, you can store the chicken stock for just another 3-4 days in the fridge.
Homemade chicken broth can be kept in the refrigerator for 3-4 days as well. After the fifth day, you can expect it to start developing a foul smell.
This estimate is based on the official recommendations for safe storage by the USDA.
For the long-term preservation of homemade or store-bought chicken stock, you should pack it properly and freeze it.
These storage times and preservation recommendations are applicable to beef broth or any vegetable stock too.
How Long Is Chicken Broth Safe and Good to Use After Expiration?
As we previously stated, if canned or boxed stock is properly maintained, it should be safe to consume and retain its flavor for up to 6 months after the best-before date has passed.
It can supposedly be stored for years, according to some.
But it is advised that you use and consume the broth before its expiration date for the highest quality, culinary results, and piece of mind.
Use your senses to decide whether the chicken stock is rotten if you’re not sure if it’s safe and edible.
Continue reading to learn what to check for to discover whether the chicken broth is safe to consume.
How to Tell if the Chicken Broth has Gone Bad?
Even though canned or boxed chicken broth can be stored safely in your pantry or kitchen cabinet for years, it still does go bad at some point.
Once the store-bought chicken stock has been opened, then its shelf life decreases rapidly to just 3-4 days. Plus, it would be best to keep it in the refrigerator at all times after the container has been opened.
If you are in doubt about the potential spoilage of the chicken broth, then look for the following:
If the broth has been stored in the pantry or the refrigerator for longer than recommended, then you should consider throwing it out. This will save you from getting food poisoning and suffering different stomach and other problems.
First, check the best-by date, and then use your vision, smell, and other senses to tell whether it is time to pour the broth down the drain.
Check the Label and the Container
Check the printed expiry date on the label of the chicken stock.
Even though it is usually safe to consume the broth six or months following this best-by date, this is true only if the container is not damaged and if it has been kept in the right conditions.
Examine the can, box, or container for any swelling, leaks, rust, or other visible damage. If there is such damage, then we strongly recommend that you discard it altogether.
Even though the stock may actually be good and safe, it is not worth risking getting a foodborne disease from it.
Check the Stock’s Appearance
Once you open the container, examine the chicken broth for any signs of spoilage or deterioration.
When you refrigerate the homemade chicken broth, you can expect to find a thick layer of fat on its top. This is perfectly normal, but make sure that the fat is creamy white without any suspicious discolorations or mold.
If you notice something weird on the fat layer, it is best to throw away the whole batch of broth. Removing only the layer of fat and using the remaining stock for cooking is neither good nor a safe idea.
If you have store-bought chicken stock, its appearance should be clear and usually without sediments on its bottom.
Homemade chicken stock may be cloudier and may have sediment on its bottom unless it has been strained prior to storage.
When refrigerated, rich homemade chicken broth may become jelly-like too. This is usually a great sign, so don’t throw it away just yet!
Fat Layer on Top of the Chicken Broth
As we noted, the development of a thick layer of fat or a jelly-like texture of the homemade chicken broth when placed in the refrigerator is completely normal and should be expected.
Use your Sense of Smell
A sour or other odd smell may be a strong indicator that the chicken broth has started to spoil and needs to be thrown out.
Usually, a quick whiff will allow you to determine whether the chicken stock has gone bad.
The Last Resort – The Taste Test
If the chicken broth’s smell, texture, and appearance look ok, but you are still uncertain whether it is safe and good to use, you should taste it. Take a small sip of the stock to determine if it can be used.
Usually, if the broth smells fine, then it will be good to use. Still, check the taste to prevent spoiling the meal and poisoning yourself and your family or guests.
How to Store the Chicken Broth?
The proper way to preserve the store-bought chicken broth is to keep it in a dry and cool pantry, cupboard, or another storage area.
Check the can or box for any leakage, rust, or damage.
Until you open it, you can safely store the store-bought chicken stock for at least six months after its best-by expiration date.
But once you open it, you should keep the remainder in the refrigerator in a properly sealed container. After you open it, the chicken broth will remain good only for another 3-4 days.
If you want to store your homemade chicken stock, then make sure to pour it in an airtight sealed container, jar, pot, or bottle.
Leave the layer of fat which develops on top before refrigerating the broth. It will keep it fresh and preserve its taste and nutritional qualities for longer.
For longer-term storage, you can freeze it.
Frozen Chicken Broth
You can purchase partially or wholly frozen chicken broth as well. This makes it very easy to store. All you need to do is putting it in the freezer.
You will need to let the chicken stock thaw in the fridge when you decide to use it to make a soup or other dish.
Can You Freeze The Chicken Broth?
You can freeze both homemade and store-bought chicken broth safely.
It is essential to use a suitable and well-sealed container to freeze the stock.
If you are planning on using larger quantities of broth in the future, then you can store and freeze it in larger containers.
For those of you who usually need just a tablespoon or two of chicken broth for cooking, it is a good idea to freeze the broth in ice cube trays instead. Simply pour the stock in the ice cube trays and let them freeze. Once the broth has frozen, you can move the cubes into an airtight freezer bag or container.
Most brands recommend that their ready-made chicken broth be stored in the freezer for only 2-3 months. But when packed well and held at the proper temperatures, you can expect the chicken broth to last for much longer and even for years.
When it comes time to use the frozen broth, take it out of the freezer, and let it thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
If you are in a hurry, you can defrost it faster on low heat on the stovetop too.