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Please Don’t Cook TikTok’s ‘Sleepy Chicken’

Photo-Illustration: by The Cut; Photos: Getty Images

Surprise: It’s actually not a good idea to cook chicken in NyQuil. The FDA released an official warning last week after videos of people cooking chicken drenched in cold medicine — nicknamed “sleepy chicken” — gained traction on TikTok. Many of the videos have since been removed, but for those who had the misfortune of stumbling on the trend, it’s impossible to forget. Even though the FDA really, really wants you to.

“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 FDA wrote in a lengthy statement. “The challenge sounds silly and unappetizing — and it is.” Add this to the list of reasons I don’t trust TikTok cooking hacks.

Most of the NyQuil chicken videos appear to have been taken down, but stitches and duets have remained on the social-media platform. These appear to show a man boiling chicken in NyQuil on the stove, something that the FDA warns is incredibly dangerous, as it can make the medicine “much more concentrated and change its properties in other ways.” Not only that, but just “inhaling the medication’s vapors while cooking could cause high levels of the drugs to enter your body” and could hurt your lungs. In fact, in one of the NyQuil chicken videos that survived on Twitter, the person cooking the nightmare dish says, “Sometimes the steam really makes you sleepy.” The statement concluded with a warning, “Put simply: Someone could take a dangerously high amount of the cough and cold medicine without even realizing.”

This isn’t the first time the FDA has had to weigh in on questionable TikTok food trends — it’s not even the first one involving cold medicine. Two years ago, the FDA issued an official warning against the “Benadryl Challenge,” which reportedly involved people taking dozens of Benadryl pills (or other variations of diphenhydramine). A 15-year-old reportedly died after participating in the challenge, and others were hospitalized. Earlier this year, the organization cautioned against a TikTok hack meant to extend the life of a ripe avocado, saying it could make people sick. And how could we forget the pink-sauce debacle.

There have been many disgusting TikTok cooking trends over the years — from the table top chili to literally any desert from Jason Derulo — but “sleepy chicken” has got to be one of the worst. I may never eat again.

Please Don’t Cook TikTok’s ‘Sleepy Chicken’