The internet has a long history of hosting lamentable food challenges. From inhaling spoonfuls of cinnamon to biting into Tide pods, posters online have dredged up a fair share of questions and concerns. The latest questionable food fad catching news media's attention is marinating chicken in NyQuil, a cold and cough syrup.

“Sleepy Chicken” — also called “NyQuil Chicken” — involves internet creators cooking chicken breasts in cold and cough medicine. As MIC reports, the trend first gained traction on Twitter and YouTube in 2017 and now has recently resurfaced on TikTok. The video-sharing app, with its seemingly endless lineup of short videos and personalized “For Your Page,” lends itself to virality where users tout contentious culinary trends ranging from the delectable to the dangerous. 

One TikTok video from @igrobflo introduces the method with the comment, “my wife got sick last night, so I’m cooking up some NyQuil chicken.” The creator then appears to simmer two chicken breasts on the stovetop using a bright blue liquid cold medication with a generic "NightTime" label. “Sometimes the steam really makes you sleepy,” he can be heard saying in the video. The chicken turns a vibrant teal color, and after removing the chicken from the heat, the user returns the medicine to the bottle.

It is unclear whether this video and its chaotic counterparts are parody, considering @igrobflo uses a mini hair straightener for tongs. However, the clip boasts more than four million views and 20,000 comments, despite it being nearly two years old. None of the videos currently viewable depict creators chowing down on the teal chicken.

TikTok appears to be taking steps to stop the circulation of the disastrous delicacy. A keyword search for the term “NyQuil Chicken” yields a safety message reading, “Learn how to recognise harmful challenges and hoaxes,” and redirects the user to an online challenge resource guide. TikTok did not respond to Spoon University's request for comment. 

Screenshot by Izzie Ramirez.

The active ingredients in NyQuil are acetaminophen, dextromethorphan, and doxylamine. Healthcare professionals are warning against participating in the challenge, which sees participants both cooking and consuming the over-the-counter drug.

“When you cook cough medicine like NyQuil…you boil off the water and alcohol in it, leaving the chicken saturated with a super concentrated amount of drugs in the meat,” Virginia-based physician Aaron Hartman said in an interview with 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."

If you’re under the weather or simply in search of a vibrant poultry dish that isn’t dangerous, take a gander at some of these wholesome chicken recipes instead:

Chicken soup 

Chicken with shallots ​​ 

Chicken pot pie 

Chicken piccata 

Enchiladas with cream of chicken soup