Why does Chicken Bleed when frying: 10 Common Reasons

  • By: Emma
  • Date: February 12, 2023
  • Time to read: 7 min.

Table of Contents

Why does Chicken Bleed when frying?

If you ever wondered why the chicken, while frying, is leaking blood? Is it normal for the chicken to bleed while cooking? Here in this article, we’ll provide some professional tips and tricks to help you prevent gross bleeding and give you a perfectly cooked fried chicken.

So, why does chicken bleed when frying? The blood leaking out is a physical change in the chicken’s body. The dark meat in the chicken contains high myoglobin levels, which acts as a protein and is dissolved in water. While cooking, the heat causes the protein to coagulate, creating darker-colored cells. The cell walls get broken, seeping out into surrounding tissues and between muscle fibers, where you see them as blood spots.

1Chicken is not freshBuy good quality chicken. Always check the expiry date
2Chicken is too coldThawing the frozen chicken before cooking
3Incorrect thawingPlace the chicken in the refrigerator for gradual thawing
4Very high frying temperatureUse a thermometer to check the temperature of frying oil
5Incorrect marinationMarinate the chicken in brine
6Using dull knifeA sharp knife helps to cut the chicken evenly
7Not patting dry the meat before frying itPlace paper towel and gently press the chicken to get rid of extra blood
8Not using par cookingMarinate the chicken in salt and lemon juice for a few minutes, wash and dry with a paper towel
9Not using flour or milk breadingCorrect use of flour and milk breading stops the chicken blood from oozing out
10Not using baking powderBaking powder helps to reduce the bleeding during chicken frying
Table 1: Why does chicken bleed when frying: 10 common reasons and their solutions

Here is a detailed explanation of why chicken bleeds when frying.

1. The chicken is not fresh

This is the most common reason that causes bleeding while frying chicken. It happens because of a chemical reaction between water and heat. As soon as the chicken hits the oil, it starts to cook but what happens is that some blood containing myoglobin pokes a hole in a cell wall and leaks out into the oil. If you buy a good quality fresh chicken, you should have no problem with this issue.

The cooking chicken blood problem could be avoided by using fresh chicken. Always read the expiry label.

2. The chicken is too cold

When you take a pre-frozen or simply cold chicken from the fridge and throw it into hot oil, the outermost layer of cells gets shredded as they expand due to the heating-up process. This means that more blood will be released from those shattered cells. Having a cold chicken in the fridge is not a good idea, even if you plan on cooking it as soon as you take it out of the fridge.

The question of how to get rid of blood in frozen chicken has been frequently asked and the answer is gradual thawing.

3. The chicken was thawed incorrectly

When thawing your chicken either in the refrigerator or with cold water (not recommended), ensure it is done gradually and never at temperatures higher than 40°F (4 °C).

Rapid temperature changes between frozen and room temperature cause physical damage to the cells, resulting in blood leaking out. Also, choose a container where your chicken can lay flat, so air circulation around it won’t be an issue.

4. The oil is too hot or smoking oil

If you’re trying to fry up something delicious, but the kitchen starts looking like a furnace, you’re doing something wrong. The oil should be heated gradually until it reaches 325 degrees Fahrenheit, and then you can put your chicken in. It will be great to use a thermometer for the said purpose.

The general principle applies to all cooking methods that involve high temperatures. This includes pan-frying, deep-frying, and grilling. Smoking oil is not only unappealing but also toxic. The smoke contains carcinogenic compounds called heterocyclic amines (HCAs). It’s something you’d like to avoid!

The following list gives you the best oil types for frying chicken and their respective smoke points (the smoke point refers to the temperature at which the oil begins to break down and produce smoke).

No.Oil typeSmoke point
1Canola oil400 °F
2Vegetable oil400 °F
3Corn oil450 °F
4Refined peanut oil450 °F
5Coconut oil450 °F
Table 2: Best oils for frying chicken

5. You haven’t soaked the meat in brine or marinade

If you still haven’t nailed your fried chicken recipe yet or want to try something different, here’s a little trick that might help you. Soaking your chicken in brine or marinade yields a moist and tender meat crust that will have everyone asking you what your secret is.

All you have to do is mix salt with water until it dissolves, then soak the chicken for at least 1 hour before cooking. The salt causes proteins to dissolve, which later coagulates, strengthening the structure of the muscle fibers. The sodium penetrates deep inside the tissue, retaining more juices as it cooks. So, if you are worried about why chicken bleeds when frying, you should follow this method to avoid it.

You can also use this technique for other poultry, beef, pork, or seafood!

6. Cutting the meat with a dull knife

You’ve probably seen the movie “American Werewolf in London,” so you know what happens when you cut yourself or someone else with a sharp blade? You are likely to bleed.

If you don’t want your fried chicken to be full of blood, use a sharp cutting utensil to avoid shards just popping up inside due to high pressure during the cutting process. This is even more important if you will be using breading for coating. So, if you are searching why does chicken bleed when frying, then you should use a sharp knife.

7. Not patting dry the meat before frying it

Chicken contains fat that melts at 180 degrees Celsius and evaporates into smoke at 280 degrees Celsius – So how do all those delicious aromas make their way from our skin to our noses? It’s due to water vapor evaporating from the chicken during the cooking process. So, how to remove blood from chicken before cooking could be achieved by the pat drying process.

So, when you are frying your meat without patting it dry first, all that steam will exit through the opening where the spices are, leaving your chicken less flavorful.

8. Par cooking

This is not a secret trick, but it effectively prevents the meat from bleeding by cooking it in advance. To try this method, you must marinate your chicken in salt and lemon juice for 20 minutes. Then rinse with water and dry in a paper towel.

Remember that, unlike brining, par-cooking doesn’t add any flavor to your meat, so don’t forget to season it before frying. So, the answer to the question, “why does chicken bleed when frying?” could be addressed using par cooking.

9. Using Flour or Milk Breading

When using regular breading (coating) like flour or milk on your fried food, ensure they are mixed evenly with spices. This will provide more resistance when heated and allow blood to clump together instead of leaking out into the oil. When cooking, the blood from chicken drumsticks can also be addressed using a perfect breading.

So, if someone asks you why does chicken bleed when frying, you should recommend a better coating for the chicken.

10. Using Baking Powder in Coating

This is a simple trick that will help you to reduce the amount of bleeding in fried chicken. Just replace regular flour with baking powder when preparing the meat for breading and skip adding spices because they will react at high temperatures, and your chicken will taste like detergent!

You can add baking powder to the second bowl with milk or egg and use it as a dip before coating. It’s not ideal, but it works.

Is it harmful for our health if chicken bleeds during frying?

It is not harmful to our health if chicken bleeds during frying. Sometimes blood from meat can cause a salty taste, though this occurs only in a tiny percentage of chickens.

Blood itself doesn’t have a strong taste and ends up mixing with other fluids to give a distinct taste, which some say might be removed by draining the blood quickly after slaughtering. However, more important than its adverse effect on taste is that it makes the surface of the meat sticky and slippery, making it challenging to crisp up properly when frying.

Is there any way to stop bleeding?

The blood in chicken after cooking is not acceptable in most cases. Bleeding can be minimized by ensuring you don’t let too much blood drain out of the chicken before cooking and taking extra care to ensure the chicken is adequately dry before breading it.

Be sure to clean your cutting board after cutting raw meat because bacteria from the raw chicken can cross-contaminate other food you will eat, mainly if you use the same chopping board for vegetables or other food that won’t be cooked before eating.

If cooking fried chicken with minimal blood oozing during frying, take extra care while handling this poultry. Keep in mind the above tips and enjoy your delicious meal!

Final thoughts

The ten reasons mentioned above are not all of them, but they’re worth mentioning when trying to avoid potentially disastrous effects on the taste and appearance of fried chicken.

Remember: Before starting your fried chicken recipe, clean your utensils properly! Since they are likely to contain some bacteria which might spoil the whole thing for you while frying or even later. Wash knives, cutting boards, bowls, etc., in hot soapy water before using them again.