How long will chicken last in the fridge? It depends on what you’re cooking. Cooking a frozen chicken may take up to 50% more time than cooking it from room temperature. It’s important to cook it until it reaches an internal temperature of at least 160 degrees F. Thawing a frozen chicken will reduce the risk of bacteria growth. However, thawing a frozen chicken will also reduce its shelf life. As with other types of meat, bacteria can grow on cooked chicken. If you cook your chicken properly, it will remain safe and taste delicious.
A bad piece of chicken can make you ill and is not worth the risk. To avoid foodborne illness, it’s best to buy chicken that’s been thoroughly cooked and stored. When it comes to thawing leftover chicken, larger pieces may take up to 48 hours. On the other hand, smaller pieces may only take about 24 hours. While chicken is perfectly safe for two hours, it can easily get freezer burned if you leave it out of the refrigerator. To extend the shelf life of a thawed chicken, you should place it in a bowl of water and change the water every 20 minutes. Once it’s fully thawed, you should use it immediately.
How Long does Chicken Last in the Fridge?
To determine how long the chicken lasts in the fridge, you should check the label. The USDA recommends that you cook or freeze chicken before eating it raw. Also, check the “sell by” date. If the chicken is past its sell-by date, throw it out. The meat will not be as fresh as when it was first purchased, so it’s best to toss it. Raw chicken is not recommended as it can carry salmonella, a potentially fatal disease.
- The United States Department of Agriculture (USDA) says that you can keep the raw chicken in your fridge for about one to two days. The same goes for raw chicken and turkey.
- On the other hand, Cooked chicken can stay in the fridge for about 3–4 days.
- Bacteria grow more slowly at temperatures below 40°F (4°C), so putting the chicken in the fridge helps slow their growth.
- Also, raw chicken should be kept in a container that doesn’t leak so that its juices don’t get into other foods. Cooked chicken should be put in an airtight container and the fridge.
- If you need to keep chicken for more than a few days, you should put it in the freezer.
- Pieces of raw chicken can be frozen for up to 9 months, and a whole chicken can be frozen for up to a year. Chicken that has already been cooked can be kept in the freezer for 2–6 months.
Once cooked, the chicken can be defrosted in the fridge or microwave. Make sure you defrost the chicken at least a day before you want to cook it. During this time, you should place it in a container or bowl and place it at the bottom of the fridge. If you cook it straight from the freezer, it will take longer to defrost. The USDA also recommends cooking it directly from the freezer, but this method will need time.
How Long does Cooked Chicken Last?
The USDA says that cooked chicken can be kept in the fridge for three to four days and in the freezer for two to three months. If you eat cooked chicken after this point, you could get sick because bacteria can still grow, even in the fridge.
You might be wondering: Because microwaves heat food from the outside and not the other way around, reheating chicken cooked a week ago in the microwave will kill bacteria on the surface. Still, it won’t eliminate the toxins made by bacteria growing below the surface. The bottom line is that your chicken is no longer safe to eat after five days, even if you heat it.
Cooked chicken can last up to four days in the refrigerator. To keep it fresh, wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in an airtight container on the back shelf of the refrigerator. This way, it’s more likely to stay fresh. However, if you plan to use the chicken more than once, remember to refrigerate it immediately to avoid spoilage.
If you’re worried about the odour, look for a sour smell or slimy texture. If you’ve never cooked chicken before, you can follow these simple steps to ensure it stays fresh for a couple of days. First, wrap the chicken in plastic or an airtight container. Next, place it on a tray or dish to prevent meat juices from dripping. After thawing, it’s safe to eat the chicken within a day or two.
How to Freeze Chicken for Later Use?
If you don’t plan to cook or eat raw or cooked chicken for a while, you should put it in the freezer instead of the fridge. Here are a few easy steps for freezing chicken for later use.
Wrap each piece of chicken in Glad Freezer Wrap, whether it’s raw or already cooked. Next, put the chicken in an airtight bag like Glad flex seal Freezer Quart Bags and squeeze out any extra air before sealing it. Lastly, put your chicken in the freezer’s deepest part. If the chicken is raw, you should wash your hands before and after touching it.
How to Thaw Chicken?
According to the USDA, you should never thaw chicken or meat on the counter, in hot water, or at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
The best way to thaw chicken is to take it out of the freezer, put it on a plate, and put it in the fridge. Then, let it slowly thaw. Since chicken can take up to a whole day to thaw in the fridge, this method works best if you plan a meal for the next day. If frozen chicken is put in the fridge to thaw, it can stay there for another 1–2 days before it needs to be cooked.
Make sure it’s in an airtight bag, like Glad flex seal Food Storage Quart Bags, and then submerge it in cold tap water. Every 30 minutes, change the water so it can continue to thaw. You can also thaw frozen chicken in the microwave, but if you do, you should plan to cook it right away so that bacteria don’t have time to grow.
How to Tell if Chicken has Gone Bad?
If the colour or texture of your chicken has changed, it has already gone bad. It should be slimy and have a grayish hue, and these are signs that bacteria have been growing on the chicken. Moreover, chicken that has a slimy texture is not safe for consumption. The best way to determine how long the chicken will last in the fridge is to cook it according to the instructions on the package. It should be cooked thoroughly, as bacteria can cause illnesses when it’s raw.
If you don’t know how long your chicken has been in the fridge, there are a few signs it isn’t going good:
- Colour: Raw or cooked chicken that has gone bad will look greenish or greyish.
- Smell: The old “smell test” can help you determine if your chicken has gone bad. The chicken will start to smell like ammonia or just “off.” You can’t always rely on smell alone because seasonings and marinades can cover up these smells.
- Texture: Another sign of spoilage is a change in texture. The bad chicken will have a slimy film, which is a good reason not to eat it.
A word of warning: don’t taste your chicken to see if it’s gone bad or not. You might spend a few hours hugging the toilet if you did that.
Risks of Eating Spoiled Chicken
- Eating old chicken can make you sick, also called “food poisoning.”
- Chicken is likely to make you sick because it can be full of bacteria like Campylobacter, Salmonella, etc.
- Most of the time, these bacteria are killed when fresh chicken is cooked thoroughly.
- But it would help if you still didn’t cook or eat chicken that has gone bad. Even though reheating or cooking can kill bacteria on the surface, it won’t eliminate all of the toxins that bacteria make that can make you sick if you eat them.
- Food poisoning can cause uncomfortable and sometimes dangerous symptoms like high fever (above 101.5°F or 38.6°C), chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stools, and dehydration.
- Food poisoning can be so bad that you have to go to the hospital or die.
- If you think the chicken has gone bad, don’t eat it. If you think chicken has gone bad, it’s always best to throw it away.
It’s best to cook it within two days. To maximize the life of a cooked chicken, cut it into small pieces. This will allow it to cool faster and freeze well. It will also keep the chicken from spoiling because large pieces will take longer to cool. Use shallow containers to store chicken. They’ll help your food cool faster and stay fresher for longer. This is especially important for leftovers and will make cooking chicken quicker and easier. If you’re unsure how long the chicken will last in the fridge, you can try storing your chicken in the freezer.