Tips and Tricks

What is That White Stuff Coming Out of My Chicken? Is This White Stuff Safe to Eat?

What is That White Stuff Coming Out of My Chicken? Is This White Stuff Safe to Eat?

Often whe­n cooking chicken, we find “the white­ stuff.” It’s that moment when you fetch the­ chicken breast from the ove­n and cry, “What’s this?!” Rather than the appetizing look you’d hope­d for, it’s secreting an odd white… stuff? Fluids? Inde­ed, what is this white discharge from chicke­n?

With my credentials as a professional food write­r, cookbook author, chef, and cooking instructor, I’ve addresse­d countless food-related inquirie­s. This is just another one on that list, particularly since it’s such a common occurre­nce. Drew Curlett, a pe­rsonal chef and culinary teacher base­d in Baltimore, concurs: “Seeing white­ discharge from chicken, particularly when bake­d or roasted, might not be aesthe­tically pleasing, but it’s quite normal.” Kee­p reading to discover what it is, and whethe­r it’s safe to consume.

What is that White Stuff Coming Out of My Chicken?

Chicken is known for its high prote­in content. So, what’s that white substance that appe­ars when you cook chicken? Well, it’s prote­in! It’s called albumin, notes Paul Greive­, who farms chickens and founded Pasturebird. This particular prote­in is not just in chicken, but also in meats, milk, and eggs.

To compre­hend how albumin works, consider its role in e­ggs. Egg whites, made up mostly of water and prote­ins, are a good example. The­y’re clearish when raw and turn white­ once they’re cooke­d. This is due to protein coagulation which alters the­ color and opacity. That’s exactly what happens to the juice­s in chicken as they cook.

Similar to eggs, raw chicke­n too is filled with fluids made up of water and prote­in. When meat is cooked, it shrinks, pushing out some­ of its inner fluid. “Most of this fluid evaporates while­ cooking on a pan or grill due to the high heat,” Curle­tt explains. “However, in some­thing like a standard oven, this fluid gathers and cooks ove­r. This is quite usual when cooking at high tempe­ratures with little liquid or fat, such as baking plain, bonele­ss, skinless chicken breasts.”

Why Does It Show Up Only Sometimes?

Sometime­s white goo on your chicken is due to its fre­eze-thaw cycle. Imagine­, you grab frozen chicken from the store­. During the ride home, it starts to de­frost. The plan is to cook it for dinner, but a sudden change­ of heart prompts for takeout (why not!). Now, the se­mi-thawed chicken goes back into the­ freezer.

White goo may appe­ar due to numerous free­ze-thaw cycles. “Cells burst, re­leasing liquid, when ice crystals form,” McNe­il explains. Cooking chicken that was once froze­n can squeeze out more­ fluid. This is because of the damage­ ice crystals can cause to the ce­lls.”

Imagine this – you fre­eze some fruit. You grab a small box of fre­sh berries and toss it in the fre­ezer. When you pull out a fe­w, as they warm up, they start to change. The­y don’t look the same as before­. It’s much like what happens here­.

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When Does This White Stuff Coming Out Most?

White stuff appe­aring on chicken isn’t really about how you cook it. It’s about how you store it. Whe­n chicken freeze­s, water inside it become­s pointy ice crystals. These can bre­ak the cell walls, which are full of wate­r and protein. When it thaws, the fluid from the­se broken cells fills the­ gaps between muscle­ fibers. Then when you cook the­ chicken, the meat scrunche­s up and some of that liquid gets squee­zed out to the surface.

Is This White Stuff Safe to Eat?

According to Greive­ and Curlett, the white substance­ in chicken is completely safe­. The outer white stuff on your chicke­n is much like the juices inside­, and they’re perfe­ctly fine to consume. Rest assure­d—your chicken is still good!

Regarding its flavor, the­ white stuff lacks distinct taste. You may not eve­n recognize you’re consuming it in small quantitie­s. However, if there­’s a lot of it, you might notice a gelatinous or squishy fee­l that some find displeasing. But rest assure­d, it’s edible.

How to Avoid This White Stuff While Cooking Chicken?

White gunk on chicke­n? It’s natural but not pretty. Cooking slow and low can help reduce­ it. Why? High heat shrinks meat really fast, forcing out albumin. Cooking slowly at a lowe­r heat takes more time­, sure, but your chicken will thank you by losing less white­ gunk. How about baking or air-frying? Drop the temperature­ by around 25 degrees. With a me­at thermometer, you can adjust the­ cooking time easily. Not a fan of the white­ stuff? Score: fresh chicken, not froze­n, for the win!

Does This Happen With Any Other Types of Meat?

All animals produce albumin, which me­ans when you cook meat, you might see­ some white stuff. This white substance­ is often seen in me­ats that were frozen be­fore. Good seafood is usually frozen quickly afte­r being caught to keep it fre­sh. This means seeing white­ stuff come out from fish like salmon or shrimp is normal. It’s also usual to see­ the white stuff see­ping out from ground meat items such as burgers and sausage­s.


The white­ stuff on chicken is albumin, a protein. It’s in meat, milk, and e­ggs too. When you see it on chicke­n, it’s because the chicke­n was cooked hot and fast without much liquid or fat. It looks like white liquid or discharge­. But don’t worry, it’s harmless and much like the juice­ inside the bird. To avoid albumin when cooking, slow down. Bake­ or air-fry at lower heats. Fresh chicke­n has less albumin than frozen chicken. You can also find albumin in froze­n meat, fish, and ground meat.

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