How Long Does Chicken Broth Last In The Fridge?

Chicken broth has a million uses in Southern cooking. It makes a great substitute for water to boil rice, adding a depth of flavor to the grains. Green bean or collard pot likker never tasted better than when it started with chicken broth. It even solves a dry chicken salad with just a few tablespoons. You don’t want to risk your recipe with spoiled chicken broth, so just how long does is last when it’s refrigerated?

The Difference Between Broth And Stock

I’ve always called everything chicken stock, but there’s a difference between broth and stock. What you usually find canned or boxed in the grocery store is chicken broth, made mostly of meat and some aromatic vegetables boiled to render that delicious taste. Chicken stock is made from bones, sometimes roasted before boiling to bring out a deeper color and richer flavor. Stock is also much thicker, which comes from the collagen in the bones.

Related: How To Make Homemade Chicken Stock



The Difference Between Fresh And Homemade

It’s very easy to make chicken stock or chicken broth, according to which ingredients you have available. Chicken broth has a little more flavor that comes from seasoning the water with vegetables, herbs, spices, salt and pepper. Chicken stock requires that little bit of roasting to bring out the flavors of the bones. After boiling, you can end up with a big batch of either. 

When the broth is finished boiling, the liquid is strained to remove all the big pieces. You can keep any of the chicken meat that’s boiled for use in other recipes, like this Double-Crust Chicken Pot Pie. It calls for chicken breast, but a little variety never hurts. 

After refrigerating the broth, you can skim the fat layer that forms on top. Chicken stock tends to be more gel-like in consistency, again because of the collagen in the bones. That’s what makes it great for gravies or sauces. Broth makes a great base for soup that doesn’t need that thickness. 

How Long Does Fresh Broth Last In The Fridge?

According to the USDA, chicken broth can last 3-4 days in the refrigerator and longer when frozen. The key to extending the life of the broth is keeping it airtight. If your container lets air inside, bacteria can invade and grow in the liquid, shortening the time that it stays fresh.

How Long Does Canned Or Boxed Broth Last In The Fridge?

Because of the high amount of sodium in packaged products and the fact that its pasteurized, the broth you purchase might last a little longer than the homemade version, but the USDA keeps the same recommended time. 

There’s a printed shelf-life expiration date to let you know to use it before it goes bad. After opening, you can extend the time period of freshness by storing the unused broth in the refrigerator in a sealed container, but if it develops any smell or strange appearance, it should be thrown away.

How To Make It Last Longer

Chicken broth is a great kitchen staple to make in a big batch and then freeze in recipe portions. Once its frozen, using it within two to three months allows you to still have the best taste. It may last longer but also can lose quality as it ages.

More Tips For Saving Chicken Broth

  • Store properly. Boxes and cans of unopened broth can last a year. Buy them when they go on sale and store in a cool, dry pantry. 
  • Keep track. Do you wonder how long broth has been in your fridge when you find a container? Use a marker to write the date that you opened it so that you don’t make a mistake.
  • Freeze well. If you are freezing broth in a container, leave a little room for the ice to expand. Also, top it with plastic wrap to eliminate freezer burn.
  • Enhance recipes. Make chicken broth ice cubes for easy additions to recipes. Simply freeze chicken broth in an ice tray and pop out the individual cubes. They keep well in a freezer bag, ready for use in all your recipes.
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