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How to Tell If Lamb Has Gone Bad

Today we’re going to talk about something that is very important for every cook out there – how to tell if your lamb has gone bad.

We all love a good, delicious lamb meal. But what if your lamb isn’t in top condition? We wouldn’t want to risk our health, would we?

his post will help you understand when your lamb is good to cook and when it’s time to toss it out.

raw rack of lamb on a cutting board with fresh herbs and garlic.

To check if lamb has gone bad, trust your senses. A strong, unpleasant odor indicates spoilage, as does a change in color, especially toward a greenish-gray. The meat should be moist but not slimy. If unsure, it’s safer to discard the meat to avoid foodborne illness.

Ways to tell if lamb has gone bad?

There are three main things you need to check to see if your lamb is still fresh: its smell, its appearance, and its texture. Let’s take a closer look at each of these.


Your nose is a very good tool for checking if your lamb has gone bad. Fresh lamb has a clean, meaty smell.

If your lamb smells sour, fishy, or just really unpleasant, chances are it’s not good to eat anymore. Trust your nose – if the smell seems off, it’s best to throw it out.


Next up is appearance. Lamb should have a bright red or pink color when it’s fresh. If you notice that the color is duller or it’s turning a grey or greenish hue, it’s not a good sign.

Also, watch out for any moldy or slimy areas, which are definite indicators of spoilage.


Fresh lamb is moist but not slimy. If you touch your lamb and it feels sticky or slimy, it has probably gone bad.

Always wash your hands thoroughly after you touch raw meat to avoid spreading any potential bacteria.

AspectFresh LambSpoiled Lamb
SmellHas a fresh, meaty smell.Has a strong, unpleasant, sour, or fishy odor.
ColorIs bright red or pink.Turns a dull grey or develops a greenish hue.
TextureIs firm and slightly wet to the touch.Feels slimy or sticky.
TasteTastes clean and succulent.Has a sour or off taste. (Note: Do not taste lamb if you suspect it’s spoiled.)
StorageStored in the fridge for 3-5 days, or frozen for up to a year.Stored improperly or left out of refrigeration for too long.

Now that you’ve become an expert on lamb, you might be wondering about other types of meat. Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered! For those of you who often cook with chicken, you’ll find our guide on how to tell if chicken is bad very useful.

And if you’re more of a pork person, don’t fret, we also have a handy guide on how to tell if pork has gone bad. Remember, ensuring the freshness of your meat is the first step towards a delicious and safe meal.

How To store lamb meat

To keep your lamb fresh for as long as possible, you should store it correctly. Here’s a quick list of what you should do:

  1. Right after purchase: After buying your lamb, try to bring it home and refrigerate or freeze it as soon as possible to prevent bacterial growth.
  2. Refrigeration: Store fresh lamb in the coldest part of your fridge (usually the lower back section). Make sure it’s wrapped tightly in its original packaging. If opened, rewrap tightly in aluminum foil, or plastic wrap, or place in an airtight container. Remember, fresh lamb should be cooked within 3 to 5 days.
  3. Freezing: If you’re not planning to cook the lamb within a few days, it’s best to freeze it. For the best quality, repackage the lamb in freezer paper, heavy-duty aluminum foil, or a freezer bag to prevent freezer burn. Label with the date and use within one year.
  4. Thawing: When you’re ready to use the frozen lamb, the safest way to thaw it is in the refrigerator. This can take a day or so, depending on the size of the meat. Never thaw meat at room temperature, as it can encourage bacterial growth.
  5. Cooked lamb: After cooking, store leftovers in a shallow, airtight container and place them in the fridge within two hours of cooking. Use within 3 to 4 days, or freeze for longer storage.

Remember, proper storage not only extends the life of your lamb but also helps maintain its flavor and nutritional value.

Learn more about how to store meats like how to store chicken and fish.

Here is a recipe you might want to try! Air fryer frozen lamb chops!

What happens if you eat bad lamb?

Eating spoiled lamb can result in food poisoning. The symptoms can vary but often include:

  1. Nausea
  2. Vomiting
  3. Diarrhea
  4. Fever
  5. Abdominal pain

If you experience these symptoms after eating lamb, it’s important to seek medical attention right away.

How long does lamb last

The shelf-life of lamb depends on how it’s stored. Here’s a simple guide:

  1. Fresh lamb: In the fridge, it can last for 3 to 5 days. If you freeze it, it can last up to a year.
  2. Cooked lamb: In the fridge, cooked lamb can last 3 to 4 days. When frozen, it can last for up to 2 to 3 months.
  3. Frozen lamb: A frozen cut of lamb can be stored for up to a year in the freezer. Make sure it’s properly sealed to prevent freezer burn and preserve its quality.

Frequently asked questions about how to tell if lamb has gone bad

The safest way to defrost lamb is in the refrigerator. Depending on the size of the cut, it could take up to a day to thaw completely.

No, cooking spoiled lamb will not make it safe to eat. The bacteria causing the spoilage could produce toxins that remain even after cooking.

The ideal temperature for storing lamb in the refrigerator is at or below 40°F (4°C). At this temperature, bacterial growth is slowed, preserving the meat’s freshness for longer.


Checking if lamb has gone bad is not as hard as you may think. All you need to do is trust your senses and pay attention to the smell, appearance, and texture of the lamb.

And remember, when in doubt, it’s better to be safe than sorry and throw it out. Correct storage is also key to keeping your lamb fresh for longer. Now that you know all this, you’re all set to enjoy your lamb in the safest way possible

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