How To Tell If Broth Has Expired

Broth is a liquid soup or stew base made from meat or vegetables that have been simmered in water to imbue it with subtle hearty flavors (via MasterClass). You can use broth in various ways other than in soups and stews, including as a pasta base, to poach shellfish, in chicken alfredo sauce, and stuffing. Given its versatility, it is an ingredient that's useful to always have on hand in your pantry. You can use it in almost any dish if you really put your mind to it, and broth can include nutrients like protein, potassium, and vitamin B6, according to Healthline.

But, broth, like all things, can take a turn for the worse. Because it is made with plant and animal products, it's perishable. Oh sure, it has a long shelf life. Some unopened cans of broth can last for years, but eventually, they do run their course (via Still Tasty). So, how do you know when your broth has gone bad?

Be a little nosy

You could always trust the expiration date, but honestly, the nose knows best, and some broths only have a "sell by" date. According to Reader's Digest, though broth and stock have a long lifespan, they can go bad before you use them. Therefore, one of the best ways to tell if you need to toss out your stock is by smelling it. The expired broth will smell unmistakably sour.

If you are worried about your broth going bad after you've opened it, or want to store your soup or stew in the refrigerator, Nebraska's Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources advises storing it for only three to four days in the fridge. Otherwise, you should freeze it. The food safety site also tells soup lovers that when reheating your broth, warm it until it is steaming and at least 165 degrees F.

Depending on whom you buy your broth from and whether it is made from chicken, beef, or vegetables, the expiration date will vary greatly, so it is best to trust your senses and take a big ol' sniff to find out whether you're making chicken noodle soup for dinner tonight.