Chicken Smells Like Vinegar: Is It Bad? (Explained)

Chicken is one of the foods we often eat. Restaurants serve them regularly, and many people have raw chicken at home so they can cook it whenever they want. However, if you buy raw chicken frequently, you may find it troubling if it smells like vinegar. In this case, you may ask:

If my chicken smells like vinegar, is it bad? If the chicken smells of vinegar, it is likely due to Salmonella enterica. When this bacteria produces gas, it gives off a vinegar smell. The vinegary smell indicates that you have to discard the chicken. It should have a mild to no smell if it is safe to consume the chicken.

If you will not be cooking raw chicken soon, it is best to keep it frozen. Make sure you pick up chicken that does not smell like vinegar whenever you go to grocery stores. Furthermore, it would be best to keep it frozen unless you plan to cook it soon. As a result, the bacteria won’t grow, and the chicken will remain safe to eat.

This article will explain why raw chicken may smell like vinegar and what you can do to prevent this. Thus, you will learn how to pick the best option and prevent your raw chicken from having funky odors, such as vinegar.

Without further ado, let’s get into it!

Chicken Smells Like Vinegar

Why does my raw chicken smell like vinegar?

When raw chicken smells like vinegar, that’s caused by a bacteria called Salmonella enterica, which produces a vinegar-like gas. 

Salmonella enterica is a bacterium known to cause enterocolitis in humans. The bacteria in raw chicken that has not been appropriately stored produce a gas that gives it a vinegary smell.

To put it simply, raw chicken that smells like vinegar has gone bad or is about to go bad. If raw chicken smells like vinegar, it is not safe to consume. Do not consume raw chicken if it smells like vinegar.

Why does my cooked chicken smell like vinegar?

In general, if your cooked chicken smells similar to vinegar, it is likely due to Salmonella enterica, which produces a smell similar to vinegar. 

Chicken that contains Salmonella enterica is either going bad or is already going bad releases a gas in the form of hydrogen sulfide when it is about to decompose. When this happens, you can smell a sour odor similar to vinegar.

There is a probability that your cooked chicken has already gone bad if you smell a vinegar scent. Therefore, you should dispose of the chicken as soon as possible since it is also not fit for consumption.

Is chicken bad if it smells like vinegar?

Yes, a chicken is bad if it smells like vinegar, not unless you add vinegar to it. However, the smell shouldn’t be overpowering when you get raw chicken. In general, you should have a mild scent, or you shouldn’t even smell any scent.

Raw chicken generally has a faint smell that indicates that it is fresh. So, if you notice that your raw chicken has an odor similar to that of vinegar, you should not cook it or eat it.

Can you cook chicken that smells like vinegar?

No, you cannot cook chicken that smells like vinegar. Whenever a raw chicken smells like vinegar, it’s unsafe to cook it since it’s spoiled.

If you cook the chicken, it will leave behind a vinegary smell, and since the bacteria has already grown inside the chicken, you cannot consume it. 

Proper cooking can destroy bacteria, but that doesn’t mean you should eat such foods at risk to your health.

The best way to pick raw chicken is to choose one with no scent and keep it frozen unless you are about to cook it. 

You will not have to worry about the funky smell, and you will be able to consume the raw chicken without any issues.

Is it safe to eat chicken that smells like vinegar?

No, it’s not safe to eat chicken that smells like vinegar. When raw chicken smells like vinegar, it may be caused by Salmonella enterica, a bacteria that can grow when chicken goes bad.

In short, if the smell of vinegar is coming from your chicken, it is not suitable for consumption. As a result, you should avoid cooking the chicken in a way that could lead to health problems and then eating it.

What happens if you eat chicken that smells like vinegar?

When eating vinegar-scented chicken, you may suffer digestive problems such as vomiting, diarrhea, or an upset stomach, negatively impacting your health. 

Proper chicken cooking can kill the pathogens that lead to infection, but eating a chicken that smells like vinegar is always a risk you should avoid.

If you wish to pick raw chicken, pick a piece that does not have any scent, and keep it frozen unless you plan to cook it. 

This way, you won’t have to worry about those funky odors, and you’ll know that it’s perfectly safe for you to eat raw chicken.

Frequently asked questions

The following are frequently asked questions about raw chicken and whether it smells of vinegar. Here you can check out the different types of chicken we offer and ask any questions you may have about them.

Chicken smells like vinegar when cooking

If your chicken smells like vinegar when cooking, the chicken is not fresh and is about to go bad or has gone bad already. So unless you’re cooking with vinegar, your chicken should not smell like such.

The aroma of a cooking chicken is dependent on the spices and seasoning you’re using. Thus, if you’re not yet using any aromatics, the chicken shouldn’t have a vinegary scent.

In short, you should stop cooking your chicken and discard it since it’s unsafe for consumption. It’s better to waste a chicken than risk your health with it.

Chicken smells like vinegar after cooking

If your chicken smells like vinegar after cooking, the chicken is already bad unless you purposely add vinegar to the chicken.

The thing about chicken is that it can have a sour or vinegary scent if it has gone bad. Thus, if your chicken tastes like vinegar even though you haven’t added some, it’s unfit for consumption.

Chicken breast smells like vinegar

If your chicken breast smells like vinegar, it’s because the chicken breast has already gone bad. When a chicken breast is not properly stored or preserved, it tends to spoil quickly.

When this happens, the chicken breast can smell like vinegar. If the chicken breast smells bad, it’s starting to go bad and has already gone bad. Therefore, you should not cook and consume chicken breast that smells like vinegar.

Ground chicken smells like vinegar

If your ground chicken smells like vinegar, the ground chicken has already gone bad. In most cases, ground chicken that isn’t properly stored or preserved tends to spoil quickly.

The ground chicken can have a vinegary smell when such an event occurs. This scent indicates that the ground chicken will go bad or has already gone bad. Thus, if your ground chicken smells like vinegar, you shouldn’t cook and consume it.

Chicken broth smells like vinegar

If your chicken broth smells like vinegar, it’s already spoiled. Thus, you should discard it and avoid eating it further.

While chicken broth can have a long shelf life, it can also quickly spoil if you don’t store it properly. Thus, always make sure your chicken broth is kept refrigerated if you’re not using it.

Otherwise, it can have a vinegary scent which means it’s spoiled. If such happens, you’ll waste the broth since it’s unfit for consumption.

Frying chicken smells like vinegar

If you’re frying chicken and it smells like vinegar, the chicken has gone bad, not unless you added vinegar before frying.

Some recipes call for vinegar in the marinade, and it can cause the chicken to smell like vinegar when frying. However, if you didn’t add some, it means your chicken is spoiled and that you shouldn’t consume it.

Chicken schnitzel smells like vinegar

When you cook chicken schnitzel, you shouldn’t smell anything like vinegar in it. If you did not cook it with vinegar, your chicken schnitzel shouldn’t smell like that.

Your chicken schnitzel will smell different depending on the spices and seasonings you use. Thus, if you are not yet using any aromatics, the chicken schnitzel should not have a vinegary smell.

The chicken schnitzel you made is unsafe to consume and should be discarded. Rather than risking your health with chicken schnitzel, discard it.

Summary

In a nutshell, a chicken that smells of vinegar is likely to be infected with Salmonella enterica. Salmonella enterica produces gas when infected with this bacteria. The vinegary smell indicates that you should discard the chicken. If it is safe to consume, the chicken should have a mild to no smell.

It is best to keep raw chicken frozen if you will not be cooking it shortly. Choose chicken that does not smell like vinegar whenever you go to the grocery store. Additionally, unless you plan to cook it soon, you should keep it frozen. Thus, the bacteria will not grow, and the chicken will remain safe to eat.

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Image credits – Canva

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