FDA Perhaps Superfluously Warns Teens Not to Cook Chicken in Nyquil

If you eat this chicken, you’re going to be consuming a huge amount of cough syrup.
A screenshot of a video from the FDA that reads "Beware of trendy online challenges"
Image Source: FDA

The FDA is warning teenagers against trying “Nyquil chicken.” This involves marinating chicken in the over the counter cold medicine, cooking it, and eating it.

Whether anyone has ever actually done this is unclear, but users on TikTok have been sharing—and mocking—a chicken recipe that calls for you to cook the meat in Nyquil. (The resulting dish is also known as “sleepy chicken.”) Although it’s already difficult to find content related to the recipe—notably, many of the recipe videos that other users are responding to have been deleted—typing “nyquil” into the search bar in TikTok brings up several search terms related to the recipe, like “nyquil chick” or “nyquil chicekn.” Some of the videos making fun of the recipe also already have a flag from TikTok on them that reads “Participating in this activity could result in you or others getting hurt.”


In a press release, the FDA warns home cooks of something that TikTok users, as well as all people who would be competent to procure chicken and Nyquil, seem to be already aware of: If you eat this chicken, you’re going to be consuming a huge amount of cough syrup.

“The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing—and it is,” they wrote. “But it could also be very unsafe. Boiling a medication can make it much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways. Even if you don’t eat the chicken, inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body. It could also hurt your lungs. Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing it.”

Right now, there doesn’t appear to be much evidence of people trying this chicken recipe on TikTok; what you see a lot more of is more people marveling that anyone has ever made this recipe and survived. To be absolutely clear, though, cooking chicken—or any fowl—using any sort of cough medicine is a bad idea. If you want to have a cheap drug experience, there are better ways, like simply drinking the Nyquil that you bought to make terrible chicken.