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How Long Can You Freeze Chicken?

When you buy a whole chicken, you may be wondering how long can it stay frozen. You can use it within a year. After two years, the chicken may be dry and lose its flavor. If you’d rather eat it whole, consider cooking it first. Here are some tips to speed up the thawing process. If you’re cooking a large bird, you should plan to thaw it at a rate of about one hour per pound.

frozen chicken

Chicken Nutrition Facts

chicken nutrition facts

How Long Can You Keep Chicken In Your Freezer?

Although storing chicken in the refrigerator helps inhibit bacterial growth, it cannot keep chicken fresh for as long as you might believe. Raw chicken should be kept in the fridge for no more than two days, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). Fresh turkey or other fowl follows the same rule.

On the other hand, Cooked fowl can be kept in the refrigerator for three to four days. Keep it in the freezer if you need to preserve raw chicken for more than two days (or leftover chicken for longer than four days).
You can tell if your chicken should be tossed rather than eaten in a few ways. Chicken that has passed its expiration date, whether raw or cooked, is unlikely to be safe to eat.

Color, smell, and texture changes can also indicate rotting meat, though a change in color alone does not always signal your meat has gone wrong. You’ll know your chicken is past its prime when it begins to turn a gray-green tint. Poultry with an acidic odor or a slimy texture should be eliminated as well.

Important Points To Remember

Here are some essential points that should be remembered:

  • If you’re freezing a whole chicken, the USDA recommends storing it for at least a year. Once cooked, the meat will only keep for about six months.
  • If you’re defrosting cooked chicken, you’ll need to thaw it on a plate and defrost it on the kitchen counter, as that can cause the meat to dry out. Before you cook the chicken, though, make sure you check the date and label it.
  • You can store uncooked chicken in the freezer for up to nine months, and you can freeze the meat without losing its flavor. You can also thaw cooked chicken for up to six months, although it won’t keep as long.
  • Use a heavy-duty freezer bag to ensure the best quality and seal it tightly. If you’re storing the chicken for longer than three months, make sure to cook it within that time.
  • A good rule of thumb for cooking frozen chicken is always to thaw it before storing it. Bacteria can proliferate on chicken at a temperature between forty and 140 degrees. To prevent this, make sure the chicken is completely defrosted and cooked within two hours. Regardless of the method you choose, please don’t keep it in the freezer for more than four months.
  • If you’re worried about storing frozen chicken for longer than necessary, it’s best to keep it refrigerated. You can also thaw it in the microwave, and a microwave-safe container is better than an ice-filled one because it’s more efficient.
  • Chicken is highly perishable. If you purchase it at the grocery store, you’ll want to use it before the expiration date on the package. If there’s no date, it’s best to freeze it and use it within nine months. If you freeze it after this period, the chicken will lose its flavor and texture.

To store the chicken, place it in an airtight bag. Submerge it in cold tap water and change the water every 30 minutes. To thaw the chicken, you can microwave it. Once it is thawed, you should cook it immediately, which will prevent freezer burn. In addition to freezing, you should keep the chicken in the refrigerator until you are ready to cook it. If you’re not sure how to prepare a dish, you can also freeze the food beforehand.

How Do You Properly Store Chicken In Your Freezer?

Frozen chicken

According to the USDA, you can store an uncooked whole chicken in your freezer for up to a year (or nine months if you’re preserving chopped chicken). Cooked chicken does not keep as well as raw chicken, although it can be kept in the freezer for six months. While it’s perfectly safe to freeze raw poultry in its original packaging, plastic-wrapped containers are porous to air, and the quality of the chicken may deteriorate with time.

The USDA suggests that you overwrap the original plastic-wrapped container with a layer of aluminum foil for long-term storage. Alternatively, you can take the chicken out of the package and place it in a freezer bag, pushing out as much air as possible before sealing it. A vacuum-sealed package that has not been opened can be stored in its original state.

How Do You Properly Defrost Chicken?

Here are some points to remember while defrosting chicken:

  • There are three ways to defrost frozen chicken, according to the USDA. The refrigerator approach is the safest and most recommended method, albeit it does require some planning ahead of time.
  • Transfer your wrapped frozen chicken from your freezer to your fridge at least 24 hours before dining to thaw using your refrigerator. Your chicken can be kept in the fridge for another day or two once it has thawed, and it can also be frozen before eating. However, the quality will suffer slightly.
  • Another option for defrosting meat is to use cold water, which is faster but requires more care. Fill a big dish halfway with cold water and submerge the frozen chicken, which should be kept in a leak-proof container.
  • Small packages can take as little as an hour to defrost, while a three- to four-pound entire chicken could take two to three hours. As the chicken thaws, make sure to change the water every 30 minutes and once thawed, the chicken should be cooked right away.
  • The quickest technique is to remove the chicken from its packaging and place it in an oven cooking bag or a microwave-safe container that has been covered. Cook nine to ten minutes per pound for a whole chicken or six to eight minutes per pound for chicken breast halves using the defrosting mode or a medium-high setting (70 percent power). Chicken defrosted in the microwave, like chicken defrosted in cold water, should be eaten soon after thawed.
  • Though it is safe to cook frozen items, the USDA warns that cooking frozen chicken will take 50 percent longer than cooking chicken that has been fully thawed.


In addition to storing it in a refrigerator, you can freeze it for as long as you want. Just remember to label the chicken so that you can determine how long it’s been frozen. After storing the meat for six months, it will be safe to cook it. Then, it will be ready to eat. If you’re a newbie, you’ll need to cook the chicken right away to avoid bacteria.