Skip to Content

Ways to Tell if Broccoli Is Bad

*This post may have affiliate links, which means I may receive commissions if you choose to purchase through links I provide (at no extra cost to you). As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclaimer for additional details.

Like many other organic food items, broccoli will go bad readily if not stored well. Obviously, when it does go bad, it becomes unfit for consumption.

For someone who has been storing broccoli well or consuming them before they rot, identifying bad broccoli might not be so simple. But if this describes your situation, you are on the right page.

In this article, we discuss different ways to tell if broccoli is bad. We cover fresh broccoli, cooked broccoli, and we offer other broccoli-related tips.

5 Ways to Tell if Uncooked/Fresh Broccoli Is Bad

Fresh raw organic broccoli on wooden table

You Can Tell if Broccoli Is Bad by Smelling It

What Does Bad Broccoli Smell Like?

It is pretty easy to detect bad broccoli by just the smell. While fresh broccoli will not have a deterring odor, rotten broccoli will.

When broccoli goes bad, it typically takes on a bitter odor or any unpleasant odor at all. Due to the high sulfur content of broccoli, it may take on a rotten egg smell when spoiled.

The word bitter is typically associated with taste. However, in this case, there is a reason it is used to describe the smell. If your broccoli gives off an odor your brain associates with bitterness, then you will perceive the odor as bitter.

Check Its Color

What Does Bad Broccoli Look Like?

Fresh broccoli comes with dark-green florets and a bright-green stalk. But when broccoli goes bad, the florets start turning yellow.

At first, you might be able to remove some yellow florets. But when the yellowing is widespread, discard the broccoli at once.

Broccoli stalk may also change color when the vegetable spoils. So, if you notice any discoloration on the stems, start suspecting spoilage.

Look Out for Molds

What Does Moldy Broccoli Look Like?

rotten broccoli with mold on stone gray background

Besides examining broccoli for color changes, check for mold growth. Broccoli that has stayed unpreserved for too long may become a substrate for mold to grow on.

Moldy broccolis typically have white, grey, brown, or black spots on their florets or stems. The mold may also manifest as white threads.

If you notice any sign of mold on your broccoli, discard it. Do not try to cut the mold out; it’s not worth taking that risk.

Check the Texture of the Trunk

What Does the Trunk of Bad Broccoli Feel Like?

The trunk of fresh broccoli is firm, but that of bad broccoli is pretty much the opposite. When broccoli is spoilt, the stalk will become soft and slimy.

If you do not notice any slime on the trunk yet, you may keep it in water to restore some of its firmness. But if it is slimy and there are other signs of spoilage, discard the broccoli.

You May Also Taste the Broccoli to Verify Its Freshness

What Does Bad Broccoli Taste Like?

broccoli on white background

Spoiled broccoli will not have the typical earthy, herbaceous flavor. Bad broccoli is pretty unpleasant to taste, and you may not go past one bite.

We do not recommend trying to verify the freshness of a piece of broccoli by tasting it. You may get sick if you eat spoiled broccoli. So, try out other methods before taking a bite.

3 Ways to Tell if Cooked Broccoli Is Bad

Check for Molds and Any Other Change in Appearance

Like fresh broccoli, cooked broccoli will grow mold if kept for too long without proper preservation. So, if you notice white mold threads or brown, grey, or black spots, discard your cooked broccoli.

Besides mold growth, any change in the appearance of your cooked broccoli shows possible spoilage. So, if the color of the broccoli changes or if the florets take a new form, it may be spoiled.

Check How Long It Has Been at Room Temperature

If you leave cooked broccoli at room temperature for more than 2 hours, chances are it would have spoiled. So, before you consume cooked broccoli, confirm how long it has been at room temperature.

Do a Sniff Test

As with fresh broccoli, spoiled cooked broccoli will have a foul smell. It could take on a gas-like smell, a rotten egg smell, or a bitter smell.

Any unpleasant smell at all is a sign that your broccoli has gone off. Basically, if the broccoli does not smell fresh, suspect spoilage.

Containers with frozen cauliflower and broccoli

How Long Does Broccoli Last in Different Storage Conditions?

Left untended to, broccoli – fresh or cooked – will eventually spoil. The good news is, when stored correctly, you can extend the shelf life of your broccoli.

Below we mention how long fresh and cooked broccoli will remain fresh when stored in the pantry, fridge, and freezer.

Fresh Broccoli

In the Pantry

Fresh broccoli stored in the pantry will remain fresh for 1-2 days.

In the Fridge

Fresh broccoli stored in a fridge can stay fresh for around 7-10 days.

In the Freezer

In the freezer, fresh broccoli can remain wholesome for up to a year.

Cooked Broccoli

Roasted broccoli with garlic in baking tray on gray background

In the Pantry

Cooked broccoli will not last more than 2 hours in the pantry.

In the Fridge

In the fridge, cooked broccoli should remain wholesome for 2-3 days.

In the Freezer

Cooked broccoli stored in a freezer will remain consumable for up to a year.

Can You Eat Broccoli That Has Gone Soft in the Fridge?

You can eat broccoli that has gone soft in the fridge if there are no signs of spoilage. In other words, if the broccoli does not have any discoloration, mold, unpleasant smell, or unpleasant taste, it should still be wholesome.