I have a fresh raw chicken breast that has been in the fridge covered for a few days (still in date) that doesn't smell 'normal'. It doesn't smell terrible but it had some clear bubbles/dots on it that wiped away when I touched them with my finger which I haven't seen before, and I'm not used to having a smelly breast so to speak.

I've never smelled bad chicken before so I'm not sure what to look for. Obviously if the meat is spoiled I won't cook it.

Are the smell and bubbles/dots a sign it's become unsafe, or something normal and safe? I've had breasts in the fridge for longer that haven't gone bad.

  • Let us continue this discussion in chat.
    – Lyall
    Aug 8, 2016 at 20:15
  • You might get a more solid answer if you provided a clearer description (or photo) of those bubbles/dots. There's also the canonical "when in doubt throw it out" advice on this question: cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/34670/…
    – Cascabel
    Aug 8, 2016 at 21:11
  • Regarding the bit about "I've had breasts in the fridge for longer...", there are all sorts of things that can play into the shelf life of raw meat, especially prior handling. Usually use-by/sell-by dates are a reasonable guideline, but sometimes bad handling occurs. Anyhow, if it were me, and I had raw meat with an unusual smell, I'd throw it out. Even if you cook it and it's still "safe," deteriorating meat with bad odors will generally have "off" flavors and maybe even taste downright bad.
    – Athanasius
    Aug 8, 2016 at 22:32

3 Answers 3


Not trying to be flippant, but to me it is easiest to apply and old kitchen rhyme to meat: "When in doubt, throw it out."

Chicken is notoriously prone to spoilage. Having suffered from food poisoning more than once, for me it is a zero tolerance. Unusual smells on raw poultry, unexpected discolorations and such make it not for my consumption. The dots, well, I would have to see them because they could be any number of things from congealed fats to fungus. Without personal evaluation it is an unknown to me, and unknowns are potential danger in food, especially raw meat.


Whenever poultry or seafood becomes smelly, it's a sign of it being spoilt. Otherwise, it could be just due to your fridge's ventilation and other stuffs in it too. Fridge that isn't cold enough will also caused your food to become smelly easily.

One very easy way to identify a rotten chicken is by the colour, touch and smell. Usually the colour of a fresh chicken should be pinkish. If it is starting to turn brownish and dull, then it is on the verge of being spoilt.

If you ever have chicken that is sticky or smiley especially after washing, then it is on the verge of spoiling.

If they are both dull in colour, smiley, sticky and smelly at the same time, then it is definitely spoilt.

P.S : Actually the best way to keep a chicken fresh is to put it in the freezer not the chiller despite being within the date of the chicken.

  • Very true - in my experience, raw meats spoil quite fast even in cold storage unless put in the freezer.
    – sfxedit
    Mar 30 at 16:29

AS a batchelor I have had the same problem with chicken breasts left in the fridge due to not being able to consume all at once when opened. They go smelly and slimey but if washed very thoroughly under a running cold tap and then cooked through they won't do you any harm. It's best to use what you want and then wash and freeze the remainder. (Wash the plastic container as well). In any event eat it within about five days max.

  • 3
    Your answer seems a recipe for food-poisoning. And there’s a serious „yuck“ factor on top. There is a reason that we as a site have chosen to follow official food safety guidelines by government agencies like the FDA. And yes it may well be that in individual cases nothing serious happened, but amongst our readers are less “robust” consumers like young children, pregnant women, people with a weak immune system or simply elderly people. What you can stomach may get them into hospital or worse.
    – Stephie
    May 10, 2018 at 11:11

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