I just roasted a small chicken, and after taking it out of the oven after about 1 1/2 hours, a large amount of watery, red fluid leaked from the bird.

Did I somehow mess up cooking the chicken? Is it edible?

The chicken was cooked, alone, in the oven at a temperature of 180 Celsius (356 Fahrenheit). There was nothing else done to the chicken (no brining or anything).

  • 2
    I would microwave it.
    – Cynthia
    Dec 25, 2012 at 21:31
  • What exactly was the appearance of the "red fluid"? How exactly did you cook the chicken, and with what additional ingredients? Did you take the temperature when it came out? If so, what was it?
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Dec 25, 2012 at 22:17
  • The chicken was cooked by itself in the oven on 180C for one and a half hours. There was nothing else done to the chicken (no brining or anything). The fluid was a watery red fluid.
    – victoriah
    Dec 25, 2012 at 22:28
  • 4
    What was the internal temperature of the chicken itself. That is what is important, more than the color of juices that leak from the bird.
    – Sean Hart
    Dec 26, 2012 at 23:11

5 Answers 5


Based on the given information, it does not sound like the chicken was actually cooked as planned; maybe the oven's thermometer is off, or there is another problem.
It sounds like raw meat juices (water and myoglobin, not blood, and I cannot remember the technical name for this fluid just now). If the oven was truly at 180 C (about 355 F), this would have evaporated or the heat would have destroyed the red color.

Since the chicken was held at unknown temperatures for an extended period of time, I wouldn't risk eating it.

I would recommend discarding this chicken immediately, and buy an oven thermometer immediately, to check its calibration, and if it is off, get it serviced.


As another answer points out, the liquid consists of the liquid contents of the chicken's cells. It is mostly water with some proteins dissolved in it.

I think that your chicken was cooked enough. If the liquid is raw, it will look a lot like slightly watered down blood. This is how most people describe it. The fact that you call it "watery red fluid" already sounds to me as if it had the clear, red-tinted appearance of cooked meat juice. Also, 1.5 hours in a hot oven should be more than enough to cook a chicken, even if your oven's thermostat is discalibrated.

My assumption is that the chicken had previously been frozen, you cooked it too long, and/or cut it up too early. All of this can increase the amount of meat juice which flows out of the cooked meat instead of staying inside and making it juicy and tasty. Sadly, it is not as tasty as a properly cooked chicken. But the good news is that you have no safety concerns whatsoever. So you can eat your chicken.

To make it completely clear, because I haven't seen your chicken: If the juice which flows is bright red and cloudy or translucent, it is undercooked. If it is clear/transparent and the red has a warm, slightly brownish hue, it is probably cooked (clear juices are not a 100% indicator of having reached a safe temperature, but raw-looking juices are a 100% indicator that you have to cook longer).

  • One of these two answers is completely wrong since they are opposite--if it is the one I put up, it should be deleted. To me the description sounded like the juices I see from completely uncooked chicken that accumulate in the packaging, or while letting it sit (I like to salt 24 hours ahead of time as a dry brine). Frankly, the only explanation I could come up with was near total oven failure. I cannot imagine a well cooked chicken with a "a ton" of juices having come out--it tends to evaporate and reduce in the oven.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Dec 26, 2012 at 13:36
  • 5
    Of course, the whole question would have been easily answered with an instant-read thermometer as the chicken was removed from the oven. I cannot recommend one enough. They help with both food safety and with quality.
    – SAJ14SAJ
    Dec 26, 2012 at 13:38
  • 2
    @SAJ14SAJ we can both keep our answers; none of us knows for sure what the state of that chicken is. The juices could be raw or cooked. "A ton" is subjective, and the amount of cooked juices can be high under some circumstances. Your opinion is that the OP should err on the safe side, while I think that a visual inspection combined with the long cooking time is enough to dismiss the "raw" hypothesis with a reasonably high probability. The viewpoints are a matter of opinion. And I fully support your point about the thermometer check.
    – rumtscho
    Dec 26, 2012 at 18:54

The color of the fluid is a clue to whether or not your chicken is done, not a canonical guide. You are asking a question where no determinate answer can be given. Your chicken is safe when it has been pasteurized. 165f for instant kill (well, 10 seconds), for example. So temperature is your guide to safety. You can have red juices and safe chicken. Similarly, you can have clear juices and unsafe chicken. Get a good instant-read thermometer to be sure.


Be smart... if the chicken is leaking water red fluid ,

go ahead and boil it for fifteen minutes so all the fear for uncooked chicken and / or blood that may be contaminated is killed

once that is done , try roasting the chicken again or frying it and it would be more than safe to eat


I had a similar problem with my grilled chicken. I decided to put the chicken back on the grill for a couple minutes. It worked fine and my family ate it. Well none of us got sick so I am going to say success

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