Food preservation

Why does my raw chicken smell like fish? (is it Off)

Chicken is a staple in most American households, mostly because it is affordable and delicious.

I prefer buying a lot of chicken at once and storing it in my freezer to avoid going to the grocery store whenever I need to make a chicken dish.

If you cook chicken regularly, you are likely to come across chicken that smells like fish. The first question to pop in your mind will be: Why does my raw chicken smell like fish? Is it off? 

If you have asked yourself this question, this article is for you.

We will discuss all the possible reasons why your chicken smells fishy, how to get rid of the fishy smell, and whether it is okay to cook and eat chicken that smells like fish.

Additionally, we will look at signs of spoilage in chicken.

Can You Eat Chicken Left Out Overnight? Click to Read.

Possible reasons why your raw chicken smells like fish

  • It has gone bad.
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If your chicken has a fishy smell, the chances are that it has gone bad. When the chicken starts going bad, it develops an unpleasant odor.

You can know whether the chicken has gone bad by checking its expiry date and looking out for other signs of spoilage.

If the chicken has gone bad, you should discard it. Eating spoilt chicken can result in severe food poisoning.

  • You stored it incorrectly.
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If you do not store your chicken properly, it may end up having a fishy smell. You should store chicken in an airtight container or cling film.

Make sure that you also don’t touch any other foods while handling children

  • It got contaminated.

Chicken can smell fishy if it gets contaminated. It would help if you always used clean utensils, including the knife, chopping board, and frying pan, to avoid contamination.

Note that if you use the knife and chopping board to cut any other meat, you should wash them thoroughly before using them for chicken.

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Additionally, it would be best if you did not store different types of meat in the same container.

This rule also applies to chicken batches. Do not store older chicken with chicken that you have just purchased.

To avoid contamination while cooking chicken, you should wash the egg flip or spoon you use halfway through the cooking process.

  • You are sensitive to the smell of poultry.
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If your chicken isn’t spoiled, contaminated, and was stored correctly, the only explanation is that you naturally detest the smell of poultry.

If this is the issue, you can easily get rid of the smell. The best way to do this is by soaking the chicken in a mixture of water and vinegar.

Also, Read on; How to Reheat Sweet and Sour Chicken

How to remove the fishy smell in raw chicken

If you do not like the fishy smell of raw chicken, you can use these ingredients to get rid of it.

  • Vinegar
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If you do not like the fishy smell of chicken, soak the chicken in water in a large bowl, then add three tablespoons of vinegar. Vinegar is known to get rid of offensive smells and flavors.

Once you add the vinegar, stir the water so that the vinegar reaches all parts of the chicken.

Let the chicken soak for 20 minutes, then remove the chicken and rinse it thoroughly under running water.

The chicken won’t have a fishy smell after that.

  • Flour
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A flour and salt mixture can help get rid of chicken’s fishy smell. To use it, first thoroughly wash the chicken, then place it in a bowl.

Make a flour and salt mixture by mixing one tablespoon of salt and two tablespoons of flour. Rub the mixture over the chicken, then let it rest for ten minutes.

After ten minutes, wash the chicken thoroughly once more.

Cleaning your chicken can remove any fishy smell.

  • Tomatoes
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Tomatoes do not necessarily remove the fishy smell, but they can mask it. You can use a tomato mix to conceal any fishy smell on your chicken.

To make the tomato mixture, mash two tomatoes and transfer them to a bowl, then add two tablespoons of lemon juice and one tablespoon of salt to the tomatoes.

Wash the chicken thoroughly, then rub it with the tomato mixture. Let the chicken rest for 20 minutes, then wash the meat once more before cooking.

Other ways to get rid of the fishy smell

Fry the chicken in fresh oil
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Frying chicken in fresh oil can help get rid of any fish-like smell or taste. I highly recommend using fresh oil every time you need to fry chicken.

By changing the oil, you enhance the chicken flavor since fatty acids are expelled from the chicken to the oil.

Note that it is not advisable to shallow fry chicken because the fatty acids dissolve and stay in the chicken. Instead, it would be best if you deep-fried it for an enhanced smell and flavor.

Clean the refrigerator
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Chicken tends to pick up the smell of other food items surrounding it.

If your chicken smells slightly off, it may be your cue to clean your refrigerator thoroughly.

To clean the refrigerator, mix some water with a little bit of baking powder, then use it as a scrub to clean the inside of your fridge.

Is rotisserie chicken healthy?

Can you eat chicken that has a slight smell?

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There is no straight answer to this question because chicken with a slight smell may or may not be safe to eat.

Sometimes, manufacturers store the chicken in vacuum packaging. The packaging can cause the chicken to smell a little bit off, even after you cook it.

Note that the chicken is not spoiled or rotten. What causes the smell is the gas the manufacturers use to vacuum pack the chicken.

If you buy vacuum-sealed chicken and notice that it has a slight smell, the chances are that it is still safe to eat.

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If you do not like the smell, I suggest you stick to buying fresh chicken or use any of the methods discussed above to eliminate the smell.

Remember that fresh chicken can also have a slightly off smell because of the dried blood.

Signs that your chicken has gone bad

Here are a few signs that can help you figure out whether or not your chicken has gone bad.

  • If it turns gray

Raw chicken should be pinkish. If your chicken is gray, it has gone bad, and you should discard it.

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  • Bad odor

Chicken emits an ammonia-like smell when it goes bad. If your chicken smells sour, throw it out.

  • Foul smell during the cooking process

If you start cooking chicken and it gives off a foul smell, the chicken is rotten. Therefore, you should discard it.

How Long Does Chicken Broth Last? Click to Read.

Bottom line

In most households, chicken is a staple food. You can use it to make a variety of dishes for your family to enjoy.

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Chicken can sometimes smell fishy for various reasons. You may not have stored it properly, or it is spoilt.

Chicken can also smell fishy due to the frying method you used or when you use dirty utensils that contaminate the chicken.

If none of the above reasons apply, the chances are that you are just hypersensitive to the smell of poultry.

You can get rid of the chicken’s fishy smell by simply soaking it in vinegar.

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