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Why does cooked chicken smell bad after being refrigerated?

I cook chicken breast at home and then take the leftovers to work. I usually put it on a salad, and often when I open up the container to eat my lunch it smells almost sulphuric. I've noticed this before, even when the chicken has been marinated or cooked in sauce. Is there a reason this happens? Is it unhealthy? Thanks!

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  1. Huh?

    No, seriously. Doesn't anyone else think that chicken smells funny when it's leftover? Is it bacteria or is it just that chicken smells funny?

    3 Replies
    1. re: Bidnezz

      Yes! I have often wondered this myself. I remember a couple of times I did food presentations in hs and brought in cooked chicken that I was scared no one would eat because it smelled so bad. Tasted great tho and was refrigerated properly.

      1. re: Bidnezz

        I do, though I wouldn't call it sulfuric. Can't really put my finger on what it smells like, but it is stinky to my nose.

        As far as I know, it's not a bacterial problem. I've been eating leftover chicken all my life and have been just fine. I think it's just a stinky chicken thing.

        1. re: Bidnezz

          I agree with you completely. It's even more pronounced in turkey IMO

        2. I've never noticed, but I've also never sniffed my leftover chicken.

          1 Reply
          1. re: luniz

            My gosh, man, it stinks up the whole kitchen! How could you not notice???

          2. I have recently developed a very intense dislike of chicken and it is based almost entirely on the smell of raw and cooked chicken (roasted not a sauced or stewed recipe, I can handle that). It limits my menu at home greatly but luckily I am skilled in the ways stewing and braising! I do love chicken broth, soup and any preparation made with those ingrdients but you are right... Roasted chiken smells like FART!

            2 Replies
            1. re: bolivianita

              I have come to think of chicken this way, too. I've been thinking about making coq au vin lately, but when I think it through, the idea of refrigerated leftover chicken legs the next day just grosses me out. I had a shopping list prepared for today that comprised all the things I need for CAV, but when I thought about it, I decided to make salmon tonight instead. Mikie gave me a recipe for Tuscan salmon I've been wanting to make, and I _love_ cold salmon.

              Chicken just doesn't appeal to me anymore. Maybe if I didn't live alone...

              1. re: Jay F

                Aversions are contagious--so I will have to stop reading these posts. But it is true about the smell.

            2. We need a food scientist here-- leftover chicken does stink, but there must be some way to retard the development of that smell.... Isn't milk used offset some meat smells?

              1. I am totally cluless here folks, have no idea what you're talking about (and we eat a lot of chicken). Does leftover turkey smell bad to you, too, or is it just chicken?

                9 Replies
                  1. re: Bidnezz

                    Could it be the the hormones or the feed that has something to do with it.

                    Lately I went to a Mexican Restaurant here in town and I ordered a large tostada salad bowl with chicken. I loved everything in the salad except the chicken. It was gamey or the only way I can describe when the palette and the nose connected, was "sweaty chicken - like a barnyard" I have had that happen only in Mexican restaurants before and I don't think its only from roasting. I just want to make that point.....I wonder organic and free range smells any better. Currently using Fosters for the most part.

                    1. re: chef chicklet

                      No added hormones in US chicken. That has been against the law for years. Antibiotics, maybe, but no hormones.

                  2. re: pikawicca

                    For us (me and my husband) they both develop a reasonably strong smell, but chicken is worse. We always thought it was something to do with the chicken fat, but not if you noticed it on skinless, boneless breast meat. And it hasn't gone bad, it just smells.

                    1. re: cgj

                      Exactly! I've been going to Whole Foods lately, but I've noticed it with other brands, and from other stores. Also if I get chicken at a restaurant the leftovers smell. I know it isn't bad, but it just makes me not want to eat it.

                      1. re: Bidnezz

                        I notice that the smell seems worse when the chicken is cold. When I heat it up, it doesn't seem to smell so bad. So I just hold my nose until I get it heated up!

                        1. re: QueenB

                          coldness tends to dull odors, not elevate them.

                          1. re: hotoynoodle

                            Yar. Vibrations and physics and the nature of the universe.

                            Perhaps whatever is funky in the chicken can get airborne at lower temperatures. I always get a little awkward cooking with wine, because the alcohol boils off first. Maybe whenever the chicken is hot, there just so many stronger fragrances that we never notice the funk?

                            I put a lot of aromatics in my chicken salad and love it cold, but when I'm shredding the chicken cold for the salad, I notice the funk sometimes.

                    2. I don't do much cooking anymore and I have not noticed the smell.
                      But what I have noticed is the "fresh/raw" taste of chicken and beef. I have hypertension and at one time had stopped using salt.
                      A "MUST" season for my meat was a little lemon juice, a lot of onion powder and rosemary. I usually added other seasoning depending on my mood. I never had that "fresh" taste. As I started to get the fresh taste, I started using just a little seasoning salt on one side only, along with the previous method. or lemon pepper seasoning on one side with previous seasoning. Now, I basically have to season normally with salt in order to get rid of the fresh taste.
                      Could this fresh taste and bad smell be related?

                      2 Replies
                      1. re: MsMel608

                        I love poultry but HATE warmed over chicken.
                        This bothered me to such a degree that I googled it and wound up here. Not only does it smell bad.... but it tastes awful. I think it has something to do with the fat as the fattier pieces actually taste worse (ie:thighs) and breasts seem to offend less. It is almost a rancid fat flavor...... yummmmmm.

                        1. re: studiogeek

                          Me too. Can't stand the taste of "leftover chicken flavor" heated up. I can do cold leftover chicken (which has a milder leftover chicken flavor), but not heated. It really bugs me when restaurants serve it (do they think it's unnoticeable?).

                          And yes, turkey has it too. In which case, I guess it has to be called leftover poultry flavor instead.

                      2. Maybe it's a genetic thing like I hear about cilantro (I'm one of those to whom it smells and tastes like dish soap) - some people smell it, some don't. On this one I fall into the don't category, and I eat lots of chicken, fresh cooked, reheated, re-reheated, etc.

                        1. I never really noticed a smell, but rewarmed chicken always tastes 'off ' to me. My DH does not seem to notice it, so I usually leave the leftovers for him. Works out well.

                          5 Replies
                          1. re: diablo

                            Agreed - leftover chicken never tastes as good as the day it was cooked. My husband never notices, either, but he's been known to eat leftovers that my dogs probably wouldn't even eat.

                            1. re: jencounter

                              Yes right on. So true and I am googling it for the first time here on Jan 4, 2010 with still no answer.

                              I have noticed though that I also get the same smell sometimes when I eat it right after cooking it. Last night I made some Chicken Alfredo though and the chicken was good with no nasty taste, but here the next day for lunch it already tastes like s___ (use your imagination.

                              To me most all turkey has this "wild" taste to it. I have had some though that tasted great.

                              I think it has something to do with the way they raise meat now a days'. We just moved to Inidana and "hog farms" are nothing more than buidlings where they receive mass produced chow and walk around most of the day in their own feces.

                              I believe it's the environment and the hormones, atibiotics, etc.

                              I am vowing to try some organic free range chicken and I will get back to you. I don't care if I have to pay $10.00 a pound just to compare.

                              I will return with a report.

                              Ron R

                              1. re: kleenmaint

                                I tried to rub it with lemon juice, white vinegar, garlic, marinate it and still I am not able to get rid of the smell and taste! However my mom is able to but you end up eating the same garlicy chicken! Don't get me wrong I love chicken with garlic but it is nice to have another method!
                                I get the same bad smell and taste with canned tuna sometimes. The smell & taste is so bad it will make me vomit. Another food that seem to leave the same smell but this time on kitchen utensils is cooked eggs (not boiled)! It is a very repulsive smell where I need to soak and clean many times over so the smell goes away. Ever noticed that smell can be found on some glasses? Believe me I am not the only one who noticed these things, but my hall family and most of the people I know except my husband. he is from another country, where he was brought up in a village full of farms in Europe, and they eat the chicken and such without noticing the smell anymore! Either they got used to it or they don't have that gene! haha

                                Angela C

                              2. re: jencounter

                                Leftover roasts that haven't had a lot of other flavorings added just don't taste as good reheated, be it poultry, lamb, beef, pork.... Like many other people, I prefer to let the leftover meat come to room temperature, or warm it only very slightly in the oven or microwave, then pour hot gravy/sauce over it. I agree that cold chicken has a slightly sulfurous smell. I suspect that this is because covering the chicken prevents the gases from dissipating into the air. Sulfur is an element in meat and lots of other foods. My dog, Gusty Gus, is an alchemist whose gut can turn even a raw carrot into a sulfurous sputter!

                                1. re: greygarious

                                  Your dog is so cute. I love greyhounds.

                            2. This made me recall working for a restaurant in the '80s that prepared a cold chicken breast on a salad with a special herbed mayonnaise. The chicken breasts would be poached on the bone, with the skin on as well, until just done. The poaching liquid, when chilled, would become gelatinous.

                              One of the waitresses thought the container full of chicken breasts smelled "gross." The kitchen staff, management and myself all thought the breasts smelled "chicken-y."

                              I think the answer is that cold cooked chicken just smells funny to some people.

                              1. My boyfriend found this post after hearing me complain repeatedly of off-smelling and tasting chicken when reheated the next day(s). Now he knows I'm not making this up! No matter how well it is prepared, I just can't make it through more than a couple of bites of leftovers before being turned off by it (more so with breast meat than other parts).I personally think it's from the air in the fridge mixing with cooked chicken..it reminds me of freezer burn, but more like "refrigerator burn." ;) The only time I've been able to manage is when it's re-doctored up, like re-baked in the oven or re-sauteed/simmered on the stove....when that taste has been cooked out of it. Ugh, what's a sensitive taste bud to do! For now, just leave the leftovers to the bf to devour.

                                1 Reply
                                1. re: bien_sagittaire

                                  Yes! I need to show this to my husband! Sometime in the past few years, I have developed an intense aversion to reheated chicken. I still love it leftover if it's cold, but reheated makes me gag.

                                2. Try some garlic.

                                  I'd eat out or at friends' places when I was younger, and was always put off by the chicken which smelled funny. My mom told me it's because they hadn't used garlic in the cooking. Now that I live on my own and cook for myself, I know that firsthand to be true. The other half picked it up too, that it didn't smell funny anymore when I cooked it.

                                  Even if you're not a fan of garlic, try adding a little. Even 1/2 tsp of crushed garlic per chicken breast makes a huge difference.

                                  Oh, and you might prefer that it's not raw. Heat you pan and cook some crushed/chopped garlic in there until it starts taking on some colour (not too dark or you'll have bitter garlic tastes), and then add the chicken.

                                  Thank me later :D

                                  1. Cooked and refrigerated chicken tastes different but not bad to me unless it has been more than a few days. I always loved my grandmother's fried chicken cold.

                                    1. I'm so glad this thread came up, too. I'd bet this is genetic. When we were first married, DH was thrilled that I liked to cook, and would eat almost everything, even if it was an experiment that went awry. One day he came home and asked, "What's that awful smell?" I looked at him like he was crazy. I had roasted a chicken and was making a gravy with the browned bits and drippings, and it smelled like heaven to me. He cannot stand the smell of chicken cooking. He eats it, but doesn't like the smell. I cooked chicken while he was out yesterday to make a dish with today, so I got it out of the frig just now and took a big whiff - lovely chicken smell. I'm sure that he would NOT agree. He will just love knowing that there are others like him. Interesting that some only find leftover chicken odorous. Just like there's a "cilantro" gene, I think. Bet there's a "brussel sprout" gene, too. Nothing tastes as nasty as that stuff, unless I am low carbing, in which case it tastes dandy (go figure). Preparation or freshness makes no diff, in case you're wondering. I don't think the prep of the chicken or the ingredients have a thing to do with that, either.

                                      7 Replies
                                      1. re: sancan

                                        But this is a new thing for me. It's only recently that chicken grosses me out--say over the last three-to-five years. I used to love chicken, hot or cold.

                                        I don't like brussels sprouts, either. Nor cooked cabbage, hard- or soft-boiled or fried eggs, or broccoli. I love cilantro, however.

                                        1. re: Jay F

                                          You've reminded me that I used to love the flavor of thyme and now cannot stand the stuff - in anything. And I grow it fresh. Thought it might just be the variety, so bought some at the market. No good. I just don't like it any more. Go figure.

                                          1. re: sancan

                                            I also have found some dramatic turnarounds in my taste preferences. I'm glad that thyme isn't one of them (yet), but mushrooms have become anathema.

                                            1. re: ed8r

                                              My own taste/odor perceptions have shifted dramatically, partly from age but mostly because a chronic nasal condition made me blow off the whole top layer of receptors. I always loved the taste of turnips, for instance, and found rutabagas to be similar but milder; turnips now have a mustardy chemical taste to me now, and rutabagas are worse! Chicken, beef and pork, however, smell and taste as they always have, just much less intensely. And count me in as one who adores the smells of all of these critters cooking.

                                              1. re: Will Owen

                                                I've recently discovered I no longer like the aftersmell of mustard. I don't mind eating it, but dirty dishes that had mustard in them? Ick. Couldn't wash them fast enough. And mustard isn't something whose smell ever bothered me.

                                          2. re: Jay F

                                            I'm very particular about meats -- I only like chicken from one butcher in SF (Bryan's) and I cook it fresh, never use frozen meats.

                                            Re: broccoli .. I always hated it, would never eat it. When I was 27, moved to SF, the Chinese restaurants included broccoli with other veggies and that was new to me. I'd push it aside but occasionally got a bite and it was not that bad .. I think, because it was undercooked and fresh.

                                            I then learned how to cook it; now I like it, especially cold with a dab of mayo. I cut off the stem and break into pieces. I put it my non-stick pot (Berndes) with a little olive oil, med. heat, bit of salt, stir around, then I add about 2 Tablespoons of water, stir. (You can put the lid on for a minute.) I like it when it's only 1/2 cooked so that it stays crunchy. I keep it in the fridge in a glass container and snack on it for several days. I'm glad I now like something that is supposed to be so good for you. I cook fresh spinach the same way but add less water and keep stirring (I don't undercook the spinach).

                                          3. re: sancan

                                            I can't stand the smell of a whole chicken roasting either - turns my stomach. But I can pan cook a bone-in, skin-on chicken breast and finish in the oven with no smell problem.

                                          4. This thread is bordering on 4 years old (its starting to smell itself hehe)....surprised we don't have an authoritative answer.
                                            I agree, cooking or freshly cooked chicken (boiled, broiled, Qed, roasted, fried, whatever) does not smell nasty.
                                            Cool it off as leftovers and it smells like what we call "chicken fart".
                                            Matter of fact, it doesn't have to be cool left-overs: years ago, we sold LOTS of fire-roasted chicken and much of it was delivery. The chicken always smelled fantastic, but take a ride in the deliver guy's car at the end of the night and there it was, "chicken fart".
                                            I don't think its a genetic thing (a matter of whether you like the smell or not), I think its a chemical thing.

                                            12 Replies
                                            1. re: porker

                                              Well, mine was in the oven overnight and when I got it out and smelled it, all I got was a large whiff of delicious chicken. It was a lot of chicken, too, so it wasn't just leftover sized. I've made lots of chicken, and had leftover roasted chicken, leftover fried chicken, .....you name it (I love chicken). Never once smelled awful to me. Just my experience. DH is on the way home right now, and there's no doubt in my mind he won't like the smell when I 'm making dinner. He'd hate it more if I had cooked it while he was here. Funny thing is, he'll eat it without any problem, as long as I add a sauce that masks the odor - salsa, garlic, etc. I, too, wish someone would solve this little mystery. I love that there are so many people with scientific answers to questions on this Board, so c'mon somebody.

                                              1. re: sancan

                                                It is genetic, or at least highly individual. There are things I don't smell much at all, and Mrs. O will ask what that awful reek is, but on the other hand strongly sharp, resinous perfumes that I think smell like bug spray are to her sweetly floral. When the camphor trees around here are shedding their berries, the streets lined by them seem to me to shimmer in visible waves of scent, which I enjoy, but I had to pick up a handful of the berries and crush them under her nose before she could smell them at all.

                                                1. re: Will Owen

                                                  I ended up here Googling the subject also for a solution. I really don't think it's genetic. I don't dislike the smell of cooked chicken at all or while cooking. I don't even dislike the smell of canned chicken. But when you put leftover chicken in the fridge - IT SMELLS.

                                                  I've tried refrigerating fried chicken and deboned chicken with no skin. It smells no matter. I would love to know the science behind this also. I'm not done researching. I'll post again if I happen to find anything!

                                                  1. re: angela123go

                                                    I have the same issue. I absolutely can't eat poultry of any kind once it has cooled. Even if I attempt to reheat it, it won't loose that horrible taste and smell. I have no issue with any other cooled meat or fish. Just poultry.

                                                    But the strange thing is that I can eat store bought deli-turkey breast (as long as it is seasoned). And I can wolf down my mothers chicken salad. For some reason the combination of yogurt and mayo completely kills that awful taste. But i wish there was a solution to masking left-over chicken taste. I always regret not being able to eat my chicken the next day.

                                                  2. re: Will Owen

                                                    I am thinking genetic like the way cilantro tastes like soap to some people. A few times a month I'll roast a chicken. With only my wife and I there are always leftovers. We'll do a couple more meals from what is left. I have never noticed an off smell and love cold or reheated left over chicken. Maybe youy guys are just making it wrong. :o)


                                                    1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                      Or . . . maybe neither you nor your wife are supertasters? :)

                                                      1. re: ed8r

                                                        It is also possible we like the smell of farts.


                                                          1. re: Jay F

                                                            As you well know I not only eat them I put them in Lasagna.


                                                            1. re: JuniorBalloon

                                                              Oh, *you*.

                                                              I had forgotten *who* that was. Yes, you definitely like the smell of farts, possibly verging on addiction.

                                                2. re: porker

                                                  To Porker... I'm from the Islands, and I always thought it was just my "sensitive nose" but I found out it's not this, it just has that awful smell, as for turkey that's worse, can NEVER eat it the day after.... My husband well he eats anything and he says it's fine.... Where I grew up {The Islands} chicken, turkey never has this kind of 'Left-Over- Odor!!!!

                                                  1. re: butchersrd

                                                    just curious, which islands?
                                                    Welcome to chow, BTW.

                                                3. I think Julia referred to this the other day on the the French chef. She was making a chicken dish and said "if it was reheated, well it wouldn't have the fresh chicken taste".

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: wekick

                                                    Reheated does not taste good, generally - depends on how you do it. Reheated in the microwave oven, not so bad. Reheated in gravy, or (as hash) in stuffing, can be good. Refried, if it was fried, can be very good. Again, that's one person's taste buds. My family thought it was really weird that I didn't like the taste of reheated chicken, because to them it tasted pretty close - close enough - to fresh. And NONE of us ever thought cold chicken stank.

                                                    1. I've no idea what smell you are referring to. I always cook several chicken breasts, and then keep them in a container in the fridge for use all week long. Been doing that for many years and have never noticed any unpleasant smell.

                                                      1. I thought it was just me! After all these years...

                                                        I haaaaate reheated chicken, unless it's boneless and in some kind of sauce. Like, leftover chicken marsala is generally fine. If it's on the bone, no no no, has a weird smell and taste.

                                                        1. "The principal source of off-flavors is unsaturated fatty 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."

                                                          From the book "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee.

                                                          3 Replies
                                                          1. re: iBurger

                                                            Reminds me that I should read this book through again. It's been too long.

                                                            1. re: iBurger

                                                              Never read the book...does it say anything about off-odors?
                                                              The chicken-fart smell (sometimes from leftovers, sometimes from fresh-cooked chicken in an enclosed space, car, or bag) does not affect flavor.

                                                              1. Has anyone tried seeing if the smell is different with cooked organic chickens?

                                                                1. LOL. Chik-a-funk. Strong enough to keep a thread alive for years.

                                                                  I smell it on refrigerated roasted, stewed, boiled, fried chicken. Chicken I cooked, or rotisserie roasted from the store, all the same. But a few minutes airing, all scent gone, and I love to eat the chix cold or warmed, with no residual smell or bad flavor. My husband seems not to notice any of this.

                                                                  (And my cats still beg for the stuff -- despite their licking their butts, they are a reasonably good measure of meat quality.)

                                                                  1. I stumbled across this topic when trying to find my answer via Google. I have similar thoughts as the rest of you, although I think my chicken often tastes metallic. I like to make chicken salad and salads with chicken bites, and often times will boil chicken breasts then refrigerate them for later eating. I'm not sure if it's the type of pan I boil in, the reheating process, the storage, or maybe even the knives I'm cutting with.. any thoughts?! Or maybe I shouldn't be boiling to prepare it to begin with - I'd love any input! :)

                                                                    3 Replies
                                                                    1. re: medmondson85

                                                                      I don't have this problem. As I mentioned earlier, I buy fresh chicken from a great butcher and cook that day or the next. I store leftover chicken in a glass container with a plastic lid -- I think the glass part is very important. It lasts 5-7 days with no problem, no odor.

                                                                      1. re: walker

                                                                        Obviously, you are far superior. For the rest of us, our um, chicken, does smell.

                                                                      2. AHA! i always call chicken leftovers dirty chicken, and my boyfriend always laughs at me. finally, corroboration!

                                                                        1. Okay people. After some unscientific experimentation with leftover chicken. If you want the chicken to taste & smell fresh leftover, you need to put it right in the freezer the day it was prepared. Reheat in the oven from frozen, don't thaw then reheat. Comes out great, even fried chicken! Makes since.... I don't mind frozen prepared Tyson chicken breast that you pop in the oven.

                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                          1. re: angela123go

                                                                            I don't necessarily care how to properly store chicken.
                                                                            What I want to know, as the OP, is WHY do you sometimes get chicken fart smell.
                                                                            Some people assume its spoiled - thats not it.
                                                                            Some people claim they never experienced this (I'd suggest buying a supermarket rotisserie chicken, place it in brown paper bag, close tight, put it in you car and close the windows and doors. Check back an hour later or so - chicken fart).
                                                                            Enough people know about this to add to the discussion and we're all pondering why.
                                                                            I like iBurger's response which seems to be heading in the right direction, yet does not quite close the book on the subject...

                                                                            1. re: porker


                                                                              Iburger replied above on Nov. 20th with a good scientific answer from Harold McGee from 'on food and cooking' just scroll up a bit and you will see it. Very reasonable.

                                                                              I think this 'cold chicken funk' is why many, perhaps even most french cooks do not refridgerate leftover roast chicken, but simply wrap and leave on the counter in a cool place for eating the next day. Beyond that, I expect it is not considered good to eat, or it does get refridgerated. I have heard this 'leave it out' recommendation from Dorie Greenspan, Julia Child, and from Barbara Kafka, though I would be hard pressed to find where in the many cookbooks I have of all of theirs. Might even have heard this in an essay of James Beard as well.
                                                                              I roasted a chicken last evening, and it sits on my cold granite counter right now, waiting for me to turn part of the leftovers into a delicious chicken salad for lunch:)

                                                                              1. re: gingershelley


                                                                                "Iburger replied above on Nov. 20th with a good scientific answer from Harold McGee from 'on food and cooking' just scroll up a bit and you will see it. Very reasonable."

                                                                                Just curious, did you read my post? I mean the part where I say
                                                                                "I like iBurger's response which seems to be heading in the right direction, yet does not quite close the book on the subject..."

                                                                                Just curious, did you read iBurger's post? I mean, he doesn't mention smell at all. The "scientific answer from Harold McGee from 'on food and cooking' " may be "good" when discussing "off-flavors" but is it accurate ("good") for odors or smells? Maybe, maybe not. (just a reminder of the post title: Why does cooked chicken smell bad after being refrigerated?).
                                                                                This is why I wrote that perhaps "it does not quite close the book on the subject".

                                                                                BTW, I replied to iBurger on Nov 21st (just scroll up a bit you will see it) asking if the good Mr. McGee ever mentions anything about smell.

                                                                          2. My husband and I recently noticed that when we cooked the chicken in our George Foreman grill, the next day there is no smell when you open the container. We believe it is due to the fact that the GF gets rid of most of the fat. So it is quite possible that fat is the reason the chicken smells the next day..

                                                                            1. Can't read all 75 posts but possibly conventional (factory farm) chicken is fed strange protein sources like powdered dried fish. This may be why chicken skins can make chicken soup stock fishy.

                                                                              I buy only naturally-raised and it smells great to cook with and eat.

                                                                              2 Replies
                                                                              1. re: JonasOftoronto

                                                                                Thanks Jonas. A few of us have been wondering if that affects the smell, to use organic.

                                                                                Does anybody know if soaking the chickens in milk will help? I know that some Asian cultures do this.

                                                                                1. re: JonasOftoronto

                                                                                  It could be. Our CSA gives us local, "free range" chickens sometimes, and I don't notice the smell on their leftovers.

                                                                                2. A very old thread, but I am glad I discovered it somehow. I am a chicken fanatic and often prepare several lunches ahead of time with chicken breast. It always has a smell and I thought it was just me. Also to me, chicken breast which has been thawed and allowed to sit for even just a day in the fridge has an odd smell.

                                                                                  1. yes, i have noticed ... most esp when i did a blind taste test & couldn't recognize it as chicken, but very much noticed the qualities you mention. quite put me off chicken for a time.

                                                                                      1. I don't like leftover cooked chicken either and sometimes that chicken smell is so strong I can't swallow the food. It is especially stinky near to the bone. I saw someone above from years ago asked about turkey. Turkey has it, too.

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: luckyfatima

                                                                                          does marinating the chicken in milk/yogurt solve this issue?

                                                                                        2. After sitting for a couple of days in the refrigerator, leftover roast chicken or turkey smells and tastes terrible (to me). A very nasty rancid, gamey taste. I can almost completely eliminate it by simmering the meat in salted water for 30 minutes, discarding the water, then repeating the process twice again. (It's a way to use leftover Thanksgiving turkey.) So whatever makes stale chicken and turkey taste bad can be dissolved in hot water.

                                                                                          1. If one more person says they smell it too but doesn't give us an answer I'll puke!!! Chicken smells. Period. Some smell it, some don't. Fresh, refrigerated, boiled, fried, who cares. That thing is gonna be the death of me! Same thing with turkey. And eggs!! It smells like dish soap. Metallic, sweaty, fart!!
                                                                                            And the weirdest part of it all?? I only smell it when I cook it myself. When I go to Chipotle their chicken doesn't smell like that at all!! Please help!!

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: ivanovbg

                                                                                              Iburger posted a good answer above.

                                                                                              ""The principal source of off-flavors is unsaturated fatty 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."

                                                                                              From the book "On Food and Cooking" by Harold McGee. "

                                                                                              I was wondering why only pork gets this as well. There is the answer!


                                                                                              1. re: studiogeek

                                                                                                Its seemingly scientific, and seemingly a good answer, but it explains "off-flavors" without addressing odors, specifically the "Metallic, sweaty, fart" smell ivanovbg mentions.

                                                                                                Actually, none of my meats have off-flavors, before, during or after cooking. Even the farty-smelling, left-over chicken tastes perfectly fine...

                                                                                                I thought a good answer would have been offered by now - chowhound is chock full of science geeks who can tell you about microbiology, entomology, hydrology, biology, and dozens more ogys.
                                                                                                Chicken fart smell...maybe not so much...

                                                                                              2. re: ivanovbg

                                                                                                YES! This is something I've noticed as well. I only smell it on chicken that I've cooked myself but never chicken from restaurant leftovers. This always makes me paranoid that I'm cooking it incorrectly. I ALWAYS use lots of garlic powder and onion powder on my chicken as well as salt and pepper and it still doesn't work. Maybe I need to cook my chicken breasts with actual onion slices to soak up that flavor and discard them before serving.

                                                                                                And yes, I use fresh chicken that doesn't smell before or after cooking and I cook it completely. I seal leftovers well and my fridge is fine. I feel like I'm doing everything right!

                                                                                                Or maybe it really is a gene thing like cilantro as my family never notices the smell. This still makes me wonder why I don't smell it on restaurant leftover chicken, though.

                                                                                                I just found this interesting article describing this in scientific detail. It's called warmed over flavor:


                                                                                              3. LOLOLOL Boy are you spot on! Leftover chicken stinks when pulled from the fridge.
                                                                                                I don't know why it stinks so, but I agree wholeheartedly.
                                                                                                Been eating chicken all my life but I've never gotten sick even after a good 3 or 4 days in the fridge either.

                                                                                                1 Reply
                                                                                                1. re: thegrindre

                                                                                                  Hi there,
                                                                                                  I was researching this and have experienced this only in the US. Not in Asia where I grew up, and still visit. I have tried organic, free-range, fresh, Whole Foods, Trader Joes, you name it. Turkey/ chicken in the US, once cooked or raw frozen, has an awful smell the next day. I came across this just now when turkey meatballs I cooked a day ago (with garlic) had a weird stink today. Now, we don't find this stink in meats bought in Halal (Muslim) meat stores.
                                                                                                  Hence my restaurant choices are limited, too.
                                                                                                  Recently, on a trip to Singapore and India I was hesitant to try chicken having lived in the US for so long. But the chicken did not smell the next day! So it has to be something related to the processing that exacerbates any natural scientific reasons for this odor.

                                                                                                  Btw: to the person who mentioned egg smells in the glasses - yes - again, relates to eggs in the US and their processing. For some reason, the Trader Joe's fertile eggs, as long as they are not too old do not produce this smell. Almost all other brands do - including Ju..'s, E..'s Best, etc. But this is our experience,