I have made a chicken marinade with soy sauce, olive oil, dry herbs and spices.

I put it to marinate for 3-4 hours (like I mostly do), but I couldn't cook it that night so I left the chicken in the marinade over night. The chicken was left to marinate in the refrigerator, in a sealed ziplock bag.

The next day the chicken had some brown dry parts (almost like a burn). I expected it to be brown, but the dry parts were looking awful. I threw away the chicken at that time because I thought it wasn't safe to eat.

Have I done something wrong? Is it safe to marinate in soy sauce for more than a few hours? Could I have prepared that chicken without any worries?

  • I assume you put the chicken in the refrigerator. Did you cover it? Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 13:44
  • @ElendilTheTall: Yes, it was in the refrigerator, in a sealed ziplock bag.
    – Coral Doe
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 13:53
  • 3
    You could have prepared it without any worries. The changes you mention sound like something chemical, possibly drying out or acid denaturing. It can have tasted unpleasant (like meat with freezer burn), but if properly refrigerated, it wouldn't have carried a food poisoning risk.
    – rumtscho
    Commented Aug 8, 2012 at 14:17

2 Answers 2


Soy sauce is pretty salty. It sounds like a great deal of water diffused out of your chicken and into the marinade, which significantly changed the texture of the meat.

It's not uncommon to do something like this on purpose. When you make gravlax, for example, you cover a piece of salmon with quite a bit of salt and refrigerate it for a day or two. The salt draws out a lot of moisture, causing the fish to firm up considerably. Even though your soy sauce marinade was liquid, it still had a much higher salt concentration (or to think of it another way, a much lower water concentration) than the chicken, and would have had the same effect.


I have a chicken Pago Pago recipe (from the Polynesian Resort at Disney world) that marinade that has soy sauce in it, the recipe requires the chicken to marinate for 24 hours, so I am sure your chicken would have been fine to eat. Soy has never burned my chicken, so I do not believe that was the culprit.

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