Why Does Chicken Smell Like Sulfur?       

Chicken is versatile; you need fresh chicken for all your recipes.

You need to trust your nose when gauging chicken freshness because some chickens have an unpleasant sulfur smell.

A sulfur smell doesn’t necessarily mean that the chicken is spoilt, and we focus on answering a popular question, “Why does chicken smell like sulfur?’’

Why Does Chicken Smell Like Sulfur?-Reasons Why Chicken Has an Egg-Smell

Chicken will have a sulfur, eggy smell if it spoils, is stored in a vacuum sealed bag or has bacteria.

The intensity of the eggy smell varies between slightly eggy, boiling eggs smell, and rotten eggs smell depending on the following factors:

Presence of Bacteria

Raw chicken is highly susceptible to bacteria infestation such as salmonella and E.coli, which are linked to deadly food-borne diseases like bacterial enterocolitis, mucoid diarrhea and severe abdominal pain.

The bacteria secrete sulfur hence the eggy, sulfur-like smell in chicken.

The secretion also causes meat to be unpleasantly slimy.

Salmonella and E.coli thrive in warm temperatures; hence chicken should be frozen soon after buying.

Spoilt Blood in Chicken

Spoilt blood causes an overwhelming stench in raw chicken.

Usually, spoiled blood smells like boiled eggs but not as bad as rotten eggs.

Spoilt blood and its eggy scent is not enough reason to discard your meat.

Blood goes bad before flesh; hence you can wash off the blood and still have good-to-eat chicken.

You can wash the chicken over running water and co until it attains an internal temperature of 165℉, and it will be safe for consumption.

Use of Vacuum-Sealed Packaging Bags

Vacuum-sealed bags have a confinement odor since all oxygen is expelled and replaced with preservative gasses like sulfur dioxide.

The gasses don’t affect the quality of chicken though they might come out slightly discolored.

The confinement smell is manageable, and you can wash the chicken, marinate with herbs and boil it to eliminate the smell.

Is Egg-Smelling Chicken Safe To Eat?

Trust your nose when you lean closer to your chicken meat.

If your chicken smells slightly eggy, it’s still fresh and safe for consumption.

You must clean it thoroughly, season it as preferred, and cook it until it attains an internal temperature of 165℉.

Chicken with a boiling egg smell means it is a bacteria invasion. Most likely, the bacteria are in the blood but have not affected the flesh.

You can salvage this type of chicken though it requires a little more effort:

  • Wash under running water.
  • Splash in some vinegar or lime
  • Rinse it off to remove the acidity
  • Marinate in herbs and spices to counter the smell.
  • Cook under reasonable heat to kill the bacteria.
  • Use a kitchen thermometer to confirm that the chicken attains an internal temperature of 165℉.

If the smell matches that of rotten eggs, then it means the meat is fully contaminated and unsafe for human consumption.

The disease-causing bacteria have already invaded the flesh part of your chicken.

Not even cooking can reverse its condition. It’s just good for the bin.

Signs of Bad Chicken Meat

Raw Chicken

Here is the sign of bad raw chicken:

  • A sour, rotten and sulfur smell.       
  • Presence of frostbites.
  • Discolored parts (pink, purple, gray, black, or yellow).
  • Your chicken is bad if it has an unusually slimy/ slick texture. The slime represents bacterial waste, and its amount is directly proportional to the number of bacteria that have invaded your means and the duration of their stay.

Frozen Chicken

Frozen chicken can smell eggy, but that doesn’t mean it’s bad.

Normally, safely frozen chicken should be pink and have an icy crust.

You can choose to defrost it in the refrigerator (most recommended) or use a microwave.

If thawed chicken has unusually dark spots, it means it’s spoilt and should be discarded.

Cooked Chicken

It’s very easy to tell when cooked chicken is bad and unsafe for human consumption:

Does the egg smell persist even after cooking?

Unusually gray patches mean that your chicken is rotten.

Eating rotten chicken could result in food poisoning and fatalities in the worst cases. You are advised to dispose of such meat in the bin or bury it in the backyard.

How to Remedy Good But Egg-Smelling Chicken           

Rather than disposing of good chicken, you can do the following to address the eggy smell:

  • Let chicken from a vacuum-sealed bag rest in fresh air for 10-15 minutes before cooking to eliminate the confinement odor.
  • You can wash the chicken thoroughly to drain off all blood traces because blood goes bad and attracts bacteria faster than flesh.
  • Vinegar and lime juice give the best results if used to counter the eggy smell in chicken. The acidity in lime juice destroys bacteria.
  • You can also use baking soda to absorb the egg scent in chicken and improve its taste.
  • Strong herbs (rosemary, thyme and bay leaves) and spices (ginger and garlic) help counter the unpleasant sulfur smell in chicken.
  • Boiling chicken in a thick salt (salt bath) also eliminates the foul smell.
  • Cook your chicken on high heat (above 165℉) for at least 20 minutes to kill all the present bacteria (salmonella, listeria and E.coli).
  • Use a kitchen thermometer to confirm that the temperature penetrates the middle parts of your meat.
  • The egg smell does not affect the taste and quality of the chicken, but if the smell persists after the above-recommended remedies, consider the chicken spoiled and discard it.

Tips To Avoid Egg-Smelling Chicken

The egg smell from chicken is disgusting, and you can avoid it by doing the following:

  • Buy fresh chicken from your local butcher and avoid frozen chicken from supermarkets. Vacuum-sealed bags have confinement smells from preservative gasses.
  • Confinement smells, however, do not affect the quality and taste of chicken.
  • Freeze your chicken as soon as possible because leaving it at room temperature for a long time exposes it to potentially harmful bacteria.
  • Low temperatures in the freezer inhibit the growth of salmonella and E.coli.
  • Don’t let it sit in the refrigerator for more than a day. Chicken is better frozen than refrigerated.
  • Always check the expiry date on the packaging bag.           


What Is The Best Way To Store Chicken To Avoid Spoilage?

Chicken is best cooked fresh or within 1 hour of buying.

If you want to buy chicken to cook at a later date, you must be keen to check its best-before date.

Chicken can only be safe in the refrigerator for 1-2 days, after which it spoils.        

Raw chicken can last in the freezer for 6 months and still be safe. You need to use air-tight vacuum-sealed bags.

Chicken stored in a vacuum-sealed bag will have a mild egg smell that can be cleared by washing it under running water.

Frozen chicken should be pink and icy upon defrosting; otherwise, it’s unsafe for consumption if it’s dull and slimy.

Can you eat chicken that smells like sulfur?

The sulfur smell doesn’t necessarily mean chicken is spoilt or unfit for consumption.

Fresh chicken has a mild egg smell that disappears after washing and cooking.

You should only dispose of chicken whose sulfur smell persists after the above mentioned remedies.

A persistent sulfur smell means the presence of bacteria in the flesh part of your chicken, or the meat is spoiled.

Bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli are linked to food-borne diseases.

Take Away

Bacterial infestation, confinement odor and blood can cause a sulfur smell in chicken.

The eggy smell may vary as mild eggy smell, rotten eggy smell and boiling egg smell, depending on the above factors.

You can wash, use herbs, boil, and add salt to baking soda to remedy the egg smell, but if it persists, you should discard the chicken.

Chicken with mild and egg smells are safe to eat, while those with rotten eggs (rancid shell) are unsafe for human consumption.

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