A bottle of chicken bouillon can go a long way in preparing the broth for pasta, stew, casseroles, and dumplings. This works as a secret ingredient for those who want to add a bit of spiciness to their dishes without making them too overwhelming.
However, since chicken bouillon is not something that you’ll use every day, you might wonder about its expiration. If yes, you’ve come to the right place as we shall explain the shelf life of chicken bouillon and the side effects of eating a bad one.
Without waiting any further, let’s begin and learn some interesting facts about chicken bouillon.
What Is The Shelf Life Of Chicken Bouillons?
Bouillons have large amounts of salt added to them, which help them stay fresh for long periods!
Commercially made bouillons come with a use-by date which is the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the chicken bouillon will stay in peak condition. After the mentioned period, it will remain safe for eating upto a certain time, but it will start losing flavor.
The table below will tell you how long chicken bullion will last under different conditions-
|Chicken bouillon (opened)||Best by date +One – two years||1 year|
|Chicken bouillon (unopened)||Best by date+ Two years||1 year|
|Home-made Bouillon||2-3 hours||5 days|
Can You Freeze Chicken Bouillon? Refrigerated Vs. Shelf Stable
Yes, you can freeze chicken bouillons, but it is unrequired.
Store-bought chicken bullions will last for a long time without even requiring refrigeration!
Chicken bouillon is created by dehydration; it has no water, making it unnecessary to store in a fridge. However, freezing the chicken bouillon can help you extend its usability for upto two years!
If you have homemade chicken bullion, freezing it can extend its lifespan to upto six months.
How To Freeze Chicken Bouillon?
Freezing chicken bouillon can be done by following two simple steps.
- Take the packet of chicken bouillon and put it into an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag. If the bouillon is still in its original packaging, do not remove it!
Pro tip- remove the air from the vacuum-sealed bag before storing the bullion.
- Put the bag into a safe place in the freezer!
But how to thaw the chicken bouillon before use?
Place it in the fridge hours before you intend to use it, or leave it on the kitchen counter at room temperature.
You can also directly put them into the dish while cooking, and they will be fine.
Refrigerating chicken bouillon is not required or recommended due to its high salt concentration.
Storing bouillon cubes in the refrigerator will not do much good and may reduce their lifespan.
But if, for any reason, you have to store the chicken bouillon in the refrigerator, then make sure to keep it in an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed bag before doing so.
If the chicken bouillon is still in its original packaging, then store it directly—no need to transfer it into another container.
If you have homemade chicken bouillon, storing it in the fridge will help prolong its freshness to upto five days.
Remember store-bought or homemade, a chicken stock made out of chicken bouillon should be stored in the fridge if not consumed immediately. This will help it stay in eatable condition for five days, beyond which it will have to be thrown out.
As mentioned before, chicken bouillon has a high amount of salt added to it, which acts as a preservative keeping it in great condition for a long time.
Hence chicken bouillon is shelf-stable when stored under proper conditions.
What is the proper condition? –
“keep it away from moisture” should be your go-to mantra.
After opening the bouillon, quickly transfer the remaining amount into an airtight container or a vacuum-sealed box and store it in a clean, dry, and dark place.
Do not remove the packaging unless you have to use the bouillon immediately because its quality will start degrading fast after removing the packaging.
Packaged bouillon can last you anywhere between 18- 24 months!
How To Tell If The Chicken Bullion Has Gone Bad?
If your chicken bullions exhibit any of the below-mentioned signs, then they are not fit for consumption-
- They have mold
If your chicken bouillon has mold forming over it, it is off and should not be used.
- It has changed color.
Chicken bullion cubes will start to change color after some time. If you notice any white specks, this is a sure sign of contamination, and hence, off to the dustbin, the can should go.
- It smells funny.
A quick way to tell if the chicken bouillon is gone is by smelling it.
Chicken Bouillons should have a pleasant smell of meat and added seasoning. If it does not smell that way or smells moldy or rotten, it has gone off and should not be used.
- Tastes funny.
For a quick test on the bouillon, boil a small amount of it in water and then take a small taste of it.
If it has an unfamiliar taste and you can tell it’s rotten, best to chuck the can of chicken bullion in the dustbin.
Remember, this step should be a last resort to be used only if you can’t confirm by looking or smelling it.
What Will Happen If I Eat Expired Chicken Boullion?
In most cases, nothing! Canned food is sterilized while being packed; hence contamination is usually hard.
The best-by date mentioned on the packages is the manufacturer’s estimate of how long the product will stay in its best condition.
After that, the taste may go off, but in most cases, it’s safe to consume until a certain period considering the pack is undamaged. ( check the table above)
But, if the chicken bouillon you consumed has mold formation on it, you might develop stomach problems as your body cannot process mold. You can expect vomiting and stomach ache, which you should consult with a doctor if it worsens.
How To Store Chicken Bouillon To Keep It Fresh For Long?
The only best thing about bouillon cubes is not that it allows making soup quicker, but also that it’s so easy to store!
In The Pantry-
- You can store chicken bullion in any cool, dry, and dark place. Make sure to store it in a sealed container.
You can store it safely in your pantry cabinet, making sure to keep it sealed.
Pro-tip– the broth you make using chicken bouillons does not share the same shelf life like it! It would help if you used it as soon as possible or stored it in a refrigerator.
- Store in an airtight container
Moisture is often the culprit behind most foods going bad, so if you want to make your chicken bouillon last longer, you should store it in an airtight container.
If your chicken bouillon comes in a can or a box after using the amount required, you should transfer the remaining amount into an airtight container to keep it protected.
Store-bought cubes of chicken bouillon are not required to be removed from the packaging they come in, but if you have removed their foil, it’s best to transfer them into a container.
Pro tip– Do not remove the packaging of the bouillons unless you have to use them immediately. As keeping them in their packet will help them stay fresh for long!
Alternatives for Chicken Bouillon If It Goes Bad
If your Chicken bouillon goes bad, you can try the following alternatives:
- Vegetable bouillon cubes
- Baking soda + Water
- Chicken broth
- Bouillon powder
- Mineral salt
What is making my chicken bouillon cubes turn crumbly?
Moisture! Chicken bouillon cubes cannot handle moisture and may turn crumbly and sticky. They will still be safe to eat long as you cannot see any mold formation, and they seem to smell okay.
What is the shelf life of chicken bouillon once I have used it to make chicken broth/ stock?
After being added to water, the shelf life of chicken bouillon will start decreasing rapidly. You can either consume the chicken broth/stock immediately or refrigerate it.
Chicken stock/ broth will stay fresh for about 2-3 hours at room temperature.
The Bottom Line
Chicken bouillons have made making chicken broth so much easier and quicker!
And now you know you should check for molds and an off smell when deciding if the bouillon is still safe to use, and the best way to store it is by keeping it away from moisture!
Comment below on which of the methods you think was the most useful!
Milburn Adler is a food enthusiast and connoisseur of wine. His area of expertise is food fusions and gourmet foods. He lives to experiment with new recipes every day and spends most of his day looking for fresh and exotic fruits and vegetables.