How Long Does Opened, Store-Bought Chicken Stock Last In The Fridge?

Using store-bought chicken stock is much easier than making it from scratch when you're cooking a pot of soup, boiling rice, or making risotto. One of the downsides to pre-made chicken stock, however, is that it often comes in a container that's at least 30 ounces. You probably don't need all of that flavorful stock for your recipe, but you don't want it to go to waste either. To prevent potential food waste, it's important to know how long the opened carton of store-bought chicken stock lasts before you need to toss it out, and how to spot signs of spoilage before you pour it in a pot with other ingredients.

Your chicken stock can last in the refrigerator for three to four days, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Of course, your fridge should be set at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or lower to prevent the growth of any bacteria (via USDA). The leftover store-bought chicken stock should be fine in the fridge in its original packaging. But if you cannot consume it all within four days, you'll need to transfer it to a freezer-safe container and store it in a freezer set at 0 degrees Fahrenheit or lower. This way it will last for two to three months in the freezer.

Foul odor, cloudiness, and other signs of spoiled chicken stock

There are a few signs to look out for when it comes to spoiled chicken stock, but finding them is not as simple as looking for mold, which would be difficult to do when the stock is in its original container. Rely instead on your nose because the first surefire sign of spoiled chicken stock is a foul or sour odor. Your chicken stock should only smell like fresh chicken; anything else is a sign that it needs to go. If you cannot tell by sniffing, pour a little of the liquid into a clear glass container to check for a change of color and signs of cloudiness or mold, all of which point to bad chicken stock. Even if you don't see any obvious signs of spoilage, if it has been open for longer than four days, your best bet is to toss it out.

Provided it's still good, there are many ways to use leftover chicken stock before it turns bad. The easiest way is in a pot of stew or soup where you can mix it with other broth, stock, or water if you don't have enough leftovers. Boil quinoa or rice in chicken stock instead of water to give the grains more flavor. The leftover stock can also be used in a variety of casseroles, pasta dishes, slow-cooked meats like barbacoa, and mashed potatoes.