Chicken Smells Like Eggs [What To Do]

Chicken is one of the most versatile meats on the market! This lean protein source takes on the flavors and aromas that are applied to it, which makes it the perfect crowd pleaser for children and adults alike.

However, for the parents who love to buy in bulk, what do you do when your chicken smells like eggs? We have the fowl details.

Generally speaking, chicken that smells like eggs is not safe to eat. This odor indicates that there is dangerous bacteria present in the meat that could lead to food poisoning. The only instance where the meat is likely still safe to consume is when you have prepared the chicken with other foods that have a high sulfur content. These can include onions, garlic, and cabbage. Thus, always pay attention to smells when you are preparing your meals.

Chicken And Bacteria

According to the Center For Science In The Public Interest, “ground beef and chicken are by far the riskiest meat and poultry products in the American food supply and pose the greatest likelihood of hospitalization.”

This is due to the high prevalence of bacteria found in the meat. Unfortunately, many of these dangerous pathogens, like Salmonella, exhibit no odor whatsoever, making it very hard to determine if the chicken has spoiled.

Chicken Smells Like Eggs When Certain Pathogens Are Present

However, there are certain strains that produce off-odors. This is a clear cut sign of spoilage. Researchers note that both “Pseudomonas and Shewanella are named as the primary genera of bacteria responsible for the spoilage of fresh chicken.”

These, along with a slew of other microorganisms, give off very distinct smells, including the scent associated with both cooked and rotten eggs. 

“Each odor was subjectively associated with ‘common’ scents such as ‘ammonia’, ‘canned corn’, ‘dishrag’, ‘dirty socks’, ‘isopropyl alcohol’, ‘mulched lawn clippings’, ‘fresh paint’, ‘rancid fish’, ‘skunk’, ‘sulfur’, ‘unspecified bad odor’, and ‘wet dog’.”

The key word in this report is subjective. What smells rancid to one person, may smell normal to another. 

The important thing to remember is that chicken should have no odor. When it does, it is safe to assume that the meat has spoiled and should be discarded. For those wondering why their chicken smells specifically like eggs – there is actually sulfur in both of these poultry products.

Chicken Smells Like Eggs When Certain Pathogens Are Present

Chicken Smells Like Eggs Due To The Sulfur In Poultry Products 

Did you know that sulfur is a mineral that you need to survive? This nutrient is a main component of the essential amino acids that are responsible for creating and repairing your DNA. Both chicken and eggs contain large quantities of these molecules. 

When these foods degrade, hydrogen sulfide gas is produced. This is where the stereotypical smell of sulfur comes into play. Interestingly enough though, this aroma can also occur when eggs are overcooked. Therefore, the interpretation of this odor is subjective, but should always be taken seriously.

Raw Versus Cooked Chicken

When it comes to food, certain smells should never be present. When they are, it is an indication that something is wrong with the item. Thus, if you notice that your chicken smells like eggs, both before ore after cooking, throw it out. This will apply to all chicken products as well. Thus, no matter if you are planning to eat chicken breasts, chicken nuggets, wings or a whole rotisserie, always err on the side of caution!

The Dangers Of Eating Spoiled Chicken – Salmonella Poisoning 

The Centers For Disease Control reports that “every year in the United States about 1 million people get sick from eating contaminated poultry.”

Salmonella poisoning is one of the most common types of illness associated with chicken. This type of food poisoning causes gastrointestinal symptoms that include diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, fever, and stomach cramps. 

This type of infection, otherwise known as Salmonellosis, is due to the undercooking of chicken products, the mishandling of raw chicken and the consumption of spoiled poultry products.

This is a very serious illness that can lead to hospitalization and even death. Therefore, it is imperative that you be cautious when preparing and cooking chicken. When one type of bacteria is present, there are likely more. Thus, take changes seriously.

Signs Of Spoilage – Odor (Chicken Smells Like Eggs), Color, & Texture

When selecting your chicken at the grocery store, the goal should be to look for options that are pink in color, have no smell and that are as far from their “Best By” date as possible. Then, make sure to cook the chicken within two days of purchase or freeze it prior to this time. 

Moreover, always keep your chicken refrigerated to prevent the introduction of dangerous bacteria. Spoilage has occurred when there are noticeable changes in the odor, color and texture of the product. 

Color — Anything But Pink Or White Means Spoilage

Chicken should always be pink when raw and white when cooked. It should never be yellow, green or grey in coloring. When you notice these changes, always throw out the products. This is normally one of the first signs of degradation. 

Odor — Chicken Smells Like Eggs, Ammonia Or Other Scents

Chicken Smells Like Eggs – After Defrosting

Depending on the packaging, changes in odor may not be evident while the meat is defrosting. Vacuum sealed chicken may look fine, but if you open the package and the chicken smells like eggs, throw it out. 

This type of food storage prevents both oxygen and moisture from impacting the product. What this means is that when smells are present, there was mismanagement of the meat. 

It is important to remember that you are not the only person that handles the food you eat. The manufacturing plant, the company transporting the meat to the store and the workers at the supermarket can all have a misstep that can lead to the meat going bad. 

Moreover, freezing only pauses bacteria growth. It will not kill pathogens that are already present. Thus, always err on the side of caution and discard raw and cooked chicken that smells like eggs after defrosting.

Chicken Smells Like Eggs – During And After Cooking

If the meat did not have an evident odor prior to cooking, but you notice that your chicken smells like eggs after cooking, it is important to think about the dish you prepared before you instantly throw it out.

Why? Chicken has a very mild flavor so it should smell and taste like the other ingredients in the recipe. That means that if odor is an issue, other high sulfur foods could be to blame. 

For example, everyone has encountered an extremely pungent onion at least once in their life. These root vegetables, along with garlic, shallots and scallions, are all rich in sulfur and can mimic a similar scent when the conditions are right. Cooked cabbage can also give off this aroma. 

Thus, pay attention during your meal preparation. Did you notice any off smells? If none of the other ingredients had an off putting aroma, then the chicken was likely bad prior to cooking.

However, when other ingredients have an apparent scent, the chicken could be safe to eat. Nonetheless, if you notice an off taste, stop eating it and find an alternative meal.

Raw uncooked chicken meat

Texture — Smily And Sticky 

Chicken should be firm to the touch and should have a subtle sheen along the surface. When you notice that the meat has taken on a sticky or slimy consistency, discard it. Throw away chicken that has mold on it as well.

How To Prevent Your Chicken From Smelling Like Eggs Or Making You Sick

Use Meat Prior To The Best By Date

Chicken has an extremely short shelf life. This means you need to buy products that have not exceeded their expiration date and then either use the meat promptly or freeze it prior to the end of this safe storage window (you can freeze raw chicken for up to one year).

NEVER consume any chicken products that are past their expiration date. Additionally, if for example, you make cook your chicken wings prior to their expiration, you must then consume them within three to four days. Otherwise, they should be discarded. 

Lastly, if your chicken smells like eggs or you notice changes in the texture or color of the meat prior to this date, it is always best to throw it out.

Cook Your Chicken Thoroughly

A minimum internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit must be met in order for chicken to be safe to eat. Why? Salmonella dies once you reach this threshold. Thus, invest in a dependable meat thermometer to ensure that you reach this temperature. 

IMPORTANT NOTE: Cooking will kill MOST bacteria, but not necessarily all of it. This is why it is so important to throw away any product that has gone bad.

Avoid The Danger Zone

Temperatures play a big factor in food safety and bacteria can affect food before, during and after cooking. Therefore, never leave food at room temperature for more than two hours.

Additionally, if the temperatures are above 90 degrees, this time frame will drop to only one hour. Thus, always transfer them to the refrigerator before this mark. 

Never Wash Your Chicken

Washing your chicken is an easy way to splatter bacteria all over yourself and your kitchen surfaces. Moreover, ‘cleaning’ the chicken will not remove pathogens from the meat. Thus, skip this step in order to stay safe.

Be Conscientious Of Germs

When preparing raw chicken, wash your hands before and after handling the meat. Always use separate plates and utensils when preparing the poultry and wash all surfaces that came in contact with the chicken with warm water and soap. 

Final Thoughts

When it comes to food, it is extremely important that you use your senses to determine if the products are safe to eat. ‘Best By’ dates are guidelines, not guarantees.

If your chicken smells like eggs, it is safer to err on the side of caution rather than risk your health. Thankfully, chicken is an extremely affordable option, so if you need to make the hard choice, it won’t cost you an arm and a leg.

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