Don't cook your chicken in NyQuil. Just don't do it, OK? If you thought that was a given, same, but then again, nothing is anymore. Videos have begun circulating on TikTok in which users are cooking chicken with NyQuil and other cold and flu sleeping aids — a "challenge" that's now been dubbed "sleepy chicken" on TikTok. Even worse? Sleepy chicken's most recent rise to viral status isn't even its first; the "trend" appeared on YouTube a few years ago, too. It seems TikTok removed several of the videos related to sleepy chicken (a search for the term now shows many wholesome videos of live chickens), although a few questionable videos remain. Granted, the remaining videos that show users cooking chicken in NyQuil appear to be parodies of the challenge, but that hasn't quelled medical professionals' understandable fears of sleepy chicken becoming the new Tide Pod Challenge.
In case it was unclear, even though taking a small amount of NyQuil when you're sick is perfectly fine, cooking chicken in any sort of medicine like NyQuil is a Very, Very Bad Idea, and not just because the taste or the image of blue chicken alone will probably make you vomit on the spot. The type of liquid cold and flu medicine you buy from your local pharmacy is diluted with things like water and alcohol, which is what makes it safe to consume in small quantities when a cough or congestion is keeping you up at night.
When you heat these medications to the temperatures needed to cook a chicken, however, you're essentially boiling off the diluents, leaving behind a higher concentration of the chemicals that can make you sick if you consume too much, Dr. Aaron Hartman, MD, a physician and assistant clinical professor of family medicine at Virginia Commonwealth University, told Mic. "If you ate one of those cutlets completely cooked, it'd be as if you're actually consuming a quarter to half a bottle of NyQuil," he said, also noting that even cooking NyQuil as a joke releases fumes that, if inhaled, could also make you sick.
Unsurprisingly, NyQuil absolutely does not recommend using its product to cook chicken either. "Consumer safety is our number one priority and we do not endorse inappropriate use of our product," the brand tweeted on Jan. 19. "NyQuil is an OTC medication that treats nighttime symptoms of the common cold & flu. It should be taken as directed using the dosage cup provided not to exceed 4 doses in 24 hrs."
Bottom line, braising your chicken in a bath of liquid medicine you bought at CVS, even for the TikTok, is not the move. A little white wine, chicken broth, butter, and veggies works a lot better.