I make some chicken soup and it tastes fine. However I notice that when I reheat it again it taste like sulfur or something other chemicals, not really sure what it is.

  1. Chemically speaking can anyone tell me what is happening, and what this is?

  2. I've read that it may be fat oxidizing. Does that mean it, it doesn't matter whether the chicken is reheated, or eaten again when cold, they same chemical will form and be noticeable?

I don't just want to mask the smell, but would prefer to whats going on and how it can be avoided to begin with. Does one really have to cook a fresh batch twice in one day to avoid this?

Also if possible, please tell me chemically speaking what specifically is happening.

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    I've seen others online mention reheating chicken causes it to smell, only no proper explanation of whats going on. Sounds like a common issue so thats what I'm asking about. Jul 23, 2017 at 2:47
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    Often, taste changes on reheating are really taste changes in storage, before reheating... Jul 23, 2017 at 12:33
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    What (material) pan is/was your soup in when you made it and when you reheated it? Please update your question.
    – user34961
    Jul 24, 2017 at 9:37
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    @rackandboneman: the issue is it changes only when cooked, then reheated. I usually cook for a few days ahead, and if I cook a chicken that stayed in the freezer, raw, for a couple days, it's just fine. If I cook fresh chicken, then freeze the dish and reheat it a couple days later, it smells. Also, I found chicken breast doesn't suffer from this problem nearly as much as chicken leg or such.
    – SF.
    Jul 26, 2017 at 10:09

2 Answers 2


I will assume you mean you are microwaving your soup when reheating.

Microwaving effectively boils the water within food, mostly at the surface, and will at a minimum leave it dryer than it was before.

As for the smell, the water removed from the chicken could be unmasking a certain smell in the food or even carrying it out and delivering the smell to your nose.


I personally can't STAND reheated chicken. I can not stand the smell, taste, or texture. I would much rather eat it cold if I need to eat it at all. The smell is caused by the denaturing of the protein. The fastest way is to simply cook something. Cooking a protein begins to break it down. Another way to denature protein is to simply let it rot. This is also why the freshest fish has very little smell, but the same fish may start to smell 'fishy' if overcooked. It is also why an over cooked egg may smell sulfuric. Denatured protein is easier for humans to digest, and cooking it is safer than letting it rot. Many other foods will smell 'rotten' if they are over cooked because for all intents and purposes they are going through the same process.

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