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Are people really cooking chicken in NyQuil? A genuine investigation

The FDA cautioned the general public against making a TikTok recipe of chicken marinated in NyQuil.

INDIANAPOLIS — I'm really not all that fazed by the blue tint. 

If you grew up in the '90s or early aughts, you know they really did whatever they wanted to food, tossed it our way and tried to make it a childhood staple. They bottled purple and green ketchup at one point. Nickelodeon is still trying to sell us on "Slime" concoctions. Don’t get me started on the Lunchables-to-charcuterie pipeline — we ate it all up. 

As a generation, our threshold for culinary atrocity is pretty high. But it seems kids today are still unbothered by what's on their plate, because the Food and Drug Administration recently warned against marinating chicken in NyQuil or other medicine as a way to treat the common cold, that's apparently circulating on social media. 

"A recent social media video challenge encourages people to cook chicken in NyQuil (acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine) or another similar OTC cough and cold medication, presumably to eat. The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is. But it could also be very unsafe," the FDA said in a statement released last Thursday. 


#sleepychicken #recipe #cooking

♬ original sound - kadarian

Indeed, videos of "Sleepy Chicken" have sparked outrage, reaction videos of flummoxed TikTok users racking up hundreds of thousands — or in one case more than a million - views. 

But it's not really clear is to what extent marinating chicken in NyQuil ever really went viral — taking hold of today's youth much the same way a nibble of Tide pod once did — or if the FDA warning was prompted more from surrounding conversation around how weird this recipe is in the first place.

RELATED: 'These trends on Tiktok are not proven to be safe' | Why you shouldn't be boiling your chicken in Nyquil

The "Sleepy Chicken" recipe has actually been online for years, since at least Sept. 4, 2020, when a creator name Rob Flo, @igrobflo, posted he made it for his sick wife, according to Distractify. 

It's impossible to confirm the tone of that video though, because it was scrubbed from TikTok - and a separate news outlet from New Jersey said that account was satire anyway. 

Even if you wouldn’t eat the alleged "Sleepy Chicken," who among us is beyond doing a little something for clout? Just pour the NyQuil on the chicken, hit record and watch the views roll in. 

The FDA cautioned against that, too. “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.”

There’s still no actual evidence this was ever a true challenge, or that people on TikTok really ate up chicken marinated in NyQuil in any truly viral capacity. 

RELATED: Police warn about #OrbeezChallenge TikTok trend

Now, it could be that TikTok took matters into their own hands and deleted actual videos of the "Sleepy Chicken Challenge" to discourage other users from taking on the challenge. 

If you type in "Sleepy Chicken" too many times, the platform brings you to an online disinformation page. 

Credit: TikTok
If you search 'sleepy chicken' too many times, this page pops up warning of online challenges and hoaxes.

Most of the videos now under the "Sleepy Chicken" tag are reaction videos of users reiterating how sick they are of this *lunacy.*


#stitch with @joe.bartolozzi #greenscreen something isnt adding up snd you know it #question #wildwesty #concerned #foryou #fyp

♬ original sound - Batwesty_2.0

I do want to call attention to one, absolutely pure video within this contentious "Sleepy Chicken" space, which shows a farmer, who probably could not have foreseen the way his useful video demonstrating how you can lull a real chicken to sleep, could have been overlooked. 


Put a chicken to sleep 🐔😴 #chicken #chickens #pet #pets #animal #animals #cool #lol #sleep #sleepy #fyp #foryou #shilohfarm #wow #farmtok #edutok

♬ Up Beat (Married Life) - Kenyi

He's not about to get called out by the FDA anytime soon. 

RELATED: Inside TikTok's terms of service

Anyway, the point is we really don't know if NyQuil chicken is a joke or a true challenge. 

Maybe the "Sleepy Chicken" recipe really did infect the fyp of some godforsaken soul actually willing to try it. And if it did, well, I already said I'm not fazed by the blue tint...

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