Can you blend chicken into a smoothie?

Quick Answer

Yes, you can blend raw or cooked chicken into a smoothie, but it is not recommended. Chicken smoothies do not have an appetizing taste or texture, and consuming raw chicken raises safety concerns regarding bacteria like salmonella. For a nutritious smoothie, it’s better to use fruits, vegetables, dairy products, and non-meat protein sources.

Exploring the Idea of Chicken Smoothies

While blending chicken into a smoothie may sound unappealing, some people have tried it. Proponents of chicken smoothies cite potential health benefits like extra protein. However, the risks and drawbacks outweigh any supposed benefits.

Here are some key questions and answers about making and drinking chicken smoothies:

Is It Safe to Eat Raw Chicken in a Smoothie?

No, raw chicken is not safe to consume in smoothies or any other recipe. Raw chicken commonly contains pathogens like salmonella and E. coli. The CDC advises against eating raw or undercooked chicken. Blending doesn’t kill bacteria.

Should You Cook Chicken Before Blending It?

Proper cooking kills potentially harmful bacteria in chicken. So cooked chicken is safer for smoothies than raw. Yet health authorities still warn against inadequate cooking. And even when fully cooked, chicken smoothies don’t provide good texture or taste.

What Does a Chicken Smoothie Taste Like?

By all accounts, chicken smoothies have an unappealing, gritty, and salty taste. The meat doesn’t blend finely like fruits or veggies. At best, the smoothie tastes like salty lemonade. The flavor and mouthfeel do not resemble normal fruit smoothies.

Is There Any Nutritional Value in Chicken Smoothies?

Chicken smoothies provide protein, but so do more palatable options like protein powders, Greek yogurt, nut butters, beans, and non-meat sources. Chicken smoothies may contain salmonella, E. coli, or other hazards that negate any small benefit.

What Are Some Better Smoothie Ingredients Than Raw Chicken?

For a healthy, safe smoothie, use fresh or frozen fruits, vegetables, yogurt, milk, juice, nut butter, seeds, wheat germ, oats, or plant-based protein powder. Avoid raw chicken and other raw meats. Cooked chicken can go in soups or stews instead.

Examining the Raw Facts on Salmonella, E. Coli, and Other Concerns

Eating raw chicken smoothies could expose you to salmonella, E. coli, campylobacter, and other pathogenic bacteria. The CDC warns that chicken needs proper handling and cooking to avoid food poisoning. Here’s a closer look at the risks:


Raw chicken commonly contains Salmonella bacteria. Salmonella causes diarrhea, fever, and abdominal cramps 12 to 72 hours after infection. Salmonella results in about 1.35 million infections, 26,500 hospitalizations, and 420 deaths yearly in the U.S., says the CDC.

E. Coli

A dangerous strain called E. coli O157:H7 can lurk in raw chicken. E. coli infection causes severe stomach cramps, diarrhea, vomiting and fever. In extreme cases, it leads to kidney failure.


This bacteria infects about 1.5 million Americans annually. It’s the most common cause of food poisoning. Campylobacter is found in raw or undercooked poultry and causes diarrhea, cramps, nausea, and vomiting.

Clostridium Perfringens

Rarely, undercooked chicken contains this bacteria, which causes diarrhea and cramps. It’s more common in beef and vegetables.


Listeria leads to fever, muscle aches, nausea, and diarrhea. Pregnant women risk miscarriage, stillbirth, or illness in newborns. Listeria occurs more in deli meats than chicken.

So raw chicken smoothies could deliver a disease-causing dose of bacteria. Thorough cooking kills pathogens, but doesn’t make the smoothies safe or tasty.

The Dangers of Undercooked Chicken and Inadequate Handling

Since blending doesn’t cook chicken sufficiently, raw chicken smoothies pose safety issues. Even when you cook chicken before blending, threats remain if the meat is undercooked. Let’s examine proper handling and cooking procedures.

Required Internal Temperatures

The USDA recommends cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F to kill bacteria. All parts should reach 165°F. Partial cooking doesn’t eliminate pathogens.

Proper Handling

When dealing with raw chicken:

– Wash hands before and after handling.
– Keep raw chicken sealed until ready to cook.
– Store raw chicken below ready-to-eat foods in the fridge.
– Use separate cutting boards and utensils for raw chicken.
– Never return cooked chicken to a plate that held raw chicken.

Avoiding Cross-Contamination

Prevent raw chicken from touching or dripping on other foods, prep surfaces, equipment, and utensils. Cross-contamination spreads bacteria everywhere. Clean and sanitize surfaces after handling raw chicken.

Since smoothies can’t thoroughly cook chicken, safety risks always exist.

Chicken Smoothie Recipes: Assessing the Good and Bad Points

Some sources provide chicken smoothie recipes. However, no recipe can transform blended raw or cooked chicken into an appetizing, normal smoothie. Here’s an evaluation of one recipe’s pros and cons:


– 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
– 1/2 frozen banana
– 1/2 cup frozen strawberries
– 1/4 cup orange juice
– 1/4 cup cooked, shredded chicken breast


– Uses cooked chicken, not raw
– Has yogurt for protein instead of only chicken
– Fruit provides vitamins and sweetness


– Even cooked, chicken creates an off-putting texture
– You’ll taste chicken instead of fruit
– Yogurt and fruit alone make a better smoothie
– Chicken raises safety issues if undercooked
– No real health benefits over non-chicken smoothies

Just because you can put chicken in a smoothie doesn’t mean you should. The tiny protein boost doesn’t offset the huge taste and safety downsides.

Best Practices for Smoothie Ingredients and Safety

To make a nutritious, safe smoothie, follow these best practices:


– Fresh or frozen fruits
– Vegetables like spinach, kale, carrots
– Greek yogurt for protein
– Nut butters for protein
– Milk, kefir, or juice for liquid
– Ground flax or chia seeds
– Oats or wheat germ
– Cinnamon or other spices
– Ice to blend and thicken


– Raw eggs or raw meat like chicken
– Produce with signs of spoilage
– Deli meats (unless heated to steaming)

Safety Tips:

– Wash produce
– Keep appliances and utensils clean
– Refrigerate promptly
– Discard old ingredients
– Don’t use recipes with raw meat or eggs

Following basic food safety rules prevents foodborne illness from smoothies. Skip the chicken.

Healthy, Delicious Chicken-Free Smoothies

You can make nourishing smoothies without using any chicken. Try these chicken-free recipes:

Berry Banana Protein Smoothie

– 1 banana
– 1 cup Greek yogurt
– 1 cup frozen mixed berries
– 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed
– 1 tablespoon honey
– 1/2 cup milk

Green Machine Smoothie

– 1 cup baby spinach
– 1 banana
– 1 cup pineapple chunks
– 1/2 cup Greek yogurt
– 1 tablespoon lime juice
– 1/4 cup water

Carrot Cake Smoothie

– 1 cup carrot juice
– 1 frozen banana
– 1/2 cup canned pineapple
– 1/4 cup Greek yogurt
– 1/4 cup rolled oats
– 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

Tropical Fruit Smoothie

– 1/2 cup orange juice
– 1/2 cup frozen mango chunks
– 1/2 cup frozen pineapple chunks
– 1/2 banana
– 1/4 cup coconut milk

These recipes provide wholesome ingredients in delicious combinations that make healthy breakfasts or snacks.

Tips for Adding Protein to Smoothies Without Chicken

Chicken contains protein, but many better options create protein-rich smoothies without an off-putting meaty flavor. Here are tips:

Use Greek Yogurt

Plain nonfat Greek yogurt packs up to 20 grams of protein per cup. It blends smoothly for added nutrition.

Try Cottage Cheese

A 1/2 cup of lowfat cottage cheese provides 14 grams of protein. Add small amounts to avoid a chunky texture.

Use Nut or Seed Butters

Nut butters like almond or peanut butter add protein, healthy fats, and creaminess. Limit to 1-2 tablespoons per smoothie.

Add Chia or Flax Seeds

These seeds provide omega-3 fatty acids plus 3-5 grams of protein per tablespoon. They blend better when ground.

Use Protein Powder

Whey protein powder dissolved in the liquid gives 15-20 grams of protein without changing the flavor.

Try Hemp Seeds

Add 2-3 tablespoons of hemp seeds to gain 10 grams of complete protein. Their mild flavor won’t dominate.

With yogurt, nut butter, seeds, or powder, you can make high-protein smoothies without using meat.

The Final Verdict: Skip the Chicken

While you can technically put raw or cooked chicken in a smoothie, this practice has far more cons than pros:

Downsides of Chicken Smoothies:

  • Risk of salmonella, E. coli, or other foodborne illness from raw chicken
  • Unpleasant, gritty, salty flavor
  • Poor, off-putting texture
  • Undercooked chicken harbors dangerous bacteria
  • No real health benefits beyond non-chicken smoothies

Benefits of Chicken-Free Smoothies:

  • Avoid food safety issues of raw or undercooked chicken
  • Provide delicious flavors from fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, etc.
  • Give smooth, pleasant textures
  • Allow you to add protein safely through yogurt, powder, nut butter, etc.
  • Offer lots of nutritional value from whole ingredients

Ultimately, chicken smoothies sound unwise. For great taste and nutrition without health risks, blend a chicken-free smoothie using flavorful fruits, veggies, dairy, seeds, nut butters, and other wholesome ingredients. Skip the chicken in smoothies to enjoy a safer, more appetizing experience.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are answers to some common questions about chicken smoothies:

Why do some people make chicken smoothies?

A small number of people have tried chicken smoothies with the goal of getting extra protein. However, the risks outweigh any small protein benefit.

Can you use rotisserie chicken in smoothies?

Pre-cooked rotisserie chicken contains less bacteria than raw chicken. But it still poses safety issues if undercooked, and doesn’t create an appetizing flavor.

What about salmonella from the raw eggs in smoothies?

Raw eggs do risk salmonella or E. coli. Safest practice is to avoid raw eggs in smoothies by using pasteurized eggs or egg substitutes.

Could you cook the chicken first to kill bacteria?

Properly cooked chicken kills bacteria, but cooked chicken still creates an unappealing smoothie. Perfectly cooking chicken to a safe temperature is also difficult.

Will blending kill the bacteria in raw chicken?

No, blending does not kill pathogens like salmonella or E. coli. Bacteria remain active after blending raw chicken.

Is undercooked chicken ever safe to eat?

No, raw or undercooked chicken can contain dangerous bacteria. Always cook chicken thoroughly to 165°F minimum internal temperature.

Can you get food poisoning from blended chicken?

Yes. Consuming raw or undercooked chicken risks food poisoning or foodborne illness, even when blended into smoothies.

In summary, raw or cooked chicken smoothies are risky and unwise. For great nutrition and taste without the health hazards, enjoy smoothies loaded with fruits, vegetables, nut butters, yogurt, and other whole foods instead.

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