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Chicken stock - safety

Hi, I made chicken stock last night but it was too hot to go in the fridge. It has been out all day!
1 - is it safe to use although not refridgerated?
2 - can I re boil and the fridge/freeze
3 - should I just throw it away?
Any feedback welcome.

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  1. Any one trained in food safety will tell you to toss it... It's been left out in the temperature danger zone too long. That said, in my own personal kitchen, things have been left out for longer, refridgerated, and eaten with out any problems. I suppose it's really how comfortable you are with eating it. Side note: a healthy adult may have no problems, but young children and the elderly are far more susceptable to food borne illness... I wouldn't feed it to Grandma or Junior :)

    1. My advice would be to throw it away.

      But read this and decide for yourself:


      1. Boil it again and then fridge.

        1. All night and all day--in my house, that would go. If I leave out all night, covered, I would fridge it in the morning and not worry, but 24 hours is too long for me.

          1. As others have said & will say, it's going to be your choice, your decision.

            That said - I do & have done exactly what you did for DECADES. I leave my stock out overnight to cool down & refrigerate &/or freeze the next day. The product is always thoroughly cooked/boiled in whatever recipe I end up using it in, & there's never been even the remotest illness problem.

            But again - that's what I do & is MY choice. You have to make your own decision re: the safety risk.

            2 Replies
            1. re: Bacardi1

              FYI re-heating might kill bacteria, but it won't necessarily destroy toxins that they've produced.

              1. re: Bacardi1

                Bacardi1, I have done the same as you without any problems. My stock usually is left to cool completely at room temperature on average for about 6 - 8 hours before I refrigerate it.

                I read a tip somewhere that said to not skim the fat/oil from the stock. This layer of grease slows down the food from going bad in the refrigerator, maybe by preventing air and microbes from entering.

                I also remove bones from food before storing in the refrigerator if I intend to store it for longer than a couple of days. They seem to make food spoil or rancid more quickly for whatever reasons.

                In general, I try to not store food in plastic containers, which can harbor bacteria/mold, in the refrigerator for longer than a few days. I prefer glass or ceramic vessels for food storage in the refrigerator, especially for foods containing a lot of moisture (e.g. vegetables).

              2. I strain my stock into a large stainless steel bowl, then put into a sink containing very icy water. Stir occasionally until cool, then package and freeze or refrigerate. Letting a pot of stock cool at room temp is asking for trouble.

                1 Reply
                1. re: pikawicca

                  I'm also a fan of using a sink full of ice water to cool stock. Or a big pot of most anything.

                2. What does all day really mean? Can you give us a better time frame. Are we talking about 12:00 midnight to 6 AM (6 hours)? Are we talking about 9:00 PM to 12:00 noon (15 hours)?

                  Was the pot covered during the "all day"?

                  Your answer depends on the time, temperature and exposure. It is your choice. I would do so differently depends on the exact circumstance.

                  1. In the link I posted, food scientist Robert Wolke explains why boiling it won't necessarily make it safe.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: C. Hamster

                      <it won't necessarily make it safe.>

                      Not a guarantee, but it is still better.

                    2. Thanks for all your advice.
                      I've binned it, the cooling in the sink is a good tip I will use next time.

                      1. I won't give you advice on what to do with this batch of stock, you're getting enough about that. I will tell you how I cool stock. I used put frozen water bottles in the stock while the kettle was in an ice water bath in the sink. I don' do that anymore. I have found that if I put the kettle on a wire rack and then in front of a table fan, the breeze takes away the steam and the heat dissipates quickly, oh, I also stir the stock frequently. While the kettle is still quite hot, I have an empty kettle in the refrigerator. After about the first hour, I pour the still hot to warm stock into the chilled kettle and continue as before in front of the fan. I suppose it would cool even more quickly with the kettle in the sink in an ice water bath with the fan blowing over it.

                        The interesting thing is that I made a 12 quart kettle of beef stock over the weekend and did not use any of these methods. I put the kettle without the lid on the floor of our attached garage because it's 13° in there right now.

                        1. In this house it would get eaten.