I have observed that cooked (fried) chicken tastes a little bit different when left in the fridge for 2-3 days. I don't observe this with pork or beef. Is there a way to get around this or is this really normal for chicken meat?

  • 2
    This is a fairly subjective question for other people may observe flavour changes in other meats (or food in general). That being said, there could be a myriad of reasons for this - humidity level in the fridge, container/storage, other foods in proximity, age of the meat, the texture makeup of chicken vs other meats (allowing different amounts of moisture, bacteria, etc), etc... I doubt there's any way to tell without some specific control tests.
    – kettultim
    May 23, 2017 at 15:32
  • 4
    I find the change in the flavour of chicken even the next day to be very noticeable compared to pork, beef or lamb, so much so that I won't eat it. If I've cooked it stewed, then the spices, herbs and sauces, then I don't mind it. I've always been curious myself. I know it's subjective but I dislike the taste of leftover chicken.
    – Jude
    May 24, 2017 at 6:58
  • 1
    @Jude yes, me too. I was wondering what causes this and how to avoid it. Or our taste buds are just more sensitive?
    – binsnoel
    May 24, 2017 at 8:00
  • @kettultim, yes sure, foods do taste a little different the next day after they have been stored overnight in the fridge, etc. But chicken, specifically, really changes a lot. Almost like a different meat altogether. I have also wondered why this is.
    – Lorel C.
    May 25, 2017 at 1:51
  • 1
    I've never had an issue with it really - will have to take a closer look (or taste) in the future. Had no idea this was a thing people wondered about - learn something new on SA everyday! Perhaps these links could help? forbes.com/sites/nadiaarumugam/2011/11/23/… epicurious.com/archive/blogs/editor/2015/01/…
    – kettultim
    May 25, 2017 at 8:37

2 Answers 2


There are a few reasons why leftovers taste different. Here I will base my answer from the chapter on meat of On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee (Which I highly recommend to anyone wanting to learn the whys of cooking).

At the same time that cooking develops the characteristic flavors of meat, it also promotes chemical changes that lead to characteristic, stale, cardboard-like “warmed-over flavors” when the meat is stored and reheated.

The reason this is observed in chicken earlier than with pork or beef is the following:

The principal source of off-flavors is unsaturated factty acids, which are damaged by oxygen and iron from myoglobin, Meats with a greater proportion of unsaturated fat in their fat tissue (poultry and pork) are more susceptible to warmed-over flavor than beef and lamb.

Here are a few ways described in the book to minimize the development of off-flavors:

  • Season the food with herbs and spices that contain antioxidant compounds.
  • Use low-permeability plastic wraps to cover the meat, and eliminate air pockets in the package.
  • Reheat the meat properly.
  • Of course, eat as soon as possible.

Every meat, or dishes for that matter, will taste different after being reheated. You might not noticed it as bad with different kind of dishes (for example, its particularly noticeable with poultry ( chicken and other birds) and fish). But rest assure, the quality of taste reduce considerably after 24 hours in the fridge and reheated.

This is due to spoilage bacteria. It wont make you sick, but it will make the food taste different. There is no way to avoid that but to cook only for what you will need for your meal.

  • 1
    Out of curiosity only, could you link me to sources explaning how this is due to spoilage bacteria"?
    – Hugo
    Jun 12, 2019 at 15:18

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.