Its 2020 and the dilemmas have changed! Instead of questions such as “Did, the chicken came first or the egg?” people are asking “how long does chicken last in the fridge?” Now you know you are not the only one who shoves the chicken in the dark depths of the freezer. You are not the only one who plans of making a dinner of good chicken curry or roast chicken in the morning and instead, end up ordering a wholesome cheese burst chicken pizza for dinner!
We’ve all done it and I am not here to judge you. Even so, there’s something you should be keen after you choose to keep that raw chicken for the next time. And that’s whether it’s still fresh after lying in your fridge for some time. That brings up the real questions: how long does it actually last in the fridge? And do you know how to tell if the chicken is bad?
Now you must be thinking why even this simple topic is so important? This is necessary to determine, as about 1 in 6 people are acquired from a food-borne disease every year. Salmonella is the pathogen that’s discovered in uncooked eggs and poultry. This is the second preeminent pathogen to create domestically received (food cooked in your home) foodborne illness.
Looking at the growing numbers of people getting sick by eating spoiled chicken it is necessary to acknowledge the facts behind your refrigerated chicken at home! So without further ado let’s start clucking some facts and figures about the chicken in your fridge.
- What are the signs that raw chicken has gone bad- How long does chicken last in the fridge?
- What about cooked chicken—about how long does chicken last in the fridge?
- How long does a vacuum-sealed cooked chicken last in the fridge?
- How Should You Store Chicken In Your Fridge?
- Risk of eating spoiled chicken?
- Is ‘Pre-packed frozen chicken’ different from the chicken you stored in your freezer?
What are the signs that raw chicken has gone bad- How long does chicken last in the fridge?
It’s difficult to identify if the cooked chicken is bad by taste or smell. Bacteria may be present, like salmonella, if the chicken wasn’t cooked properly and this could make you very sick.
I wouldn’t be wrong if I say that there is a chart given by food authorities to store raw chicken in the fridge. But the catch is this chart is specially made for commercial purposes like hotels, restaurants, cafes etc.
But at home things are different, we tend to store more or less according to our animal instincts!
Let’s check out below points to tell for your raw chicken in the fridge is gone bad.
- Days and time: If the chicken was left out of the fridge for longer than 2 hours or forgotten in the refrigerator for more than 4 days – it’s best to toss it out in the bin. It’s not worth the risk!
- Colour: Fresh, raw chicken should have a pink, fleshy colour. As it starts to go rancid, the colour fades to a hint of grey. If the colour starts to look even a bit dull than pink, you should use it immediately. Nevertheless, once the meat starts to look grey, then it’s time to throw out that chicken.
- Smell: Raw chicken that has gone bad has a very potent odour. Sometimes it can be described as a pungent or sour smell. If the chicken has got on an odour of any sort, it’s safest to fling it out in the garbage.
- Texture: Feel the meat. That’s right, just get straight in there and touch it to check if it’s unsafe to eat. Fresh raw chicken naturally has a glossy, slimy texture. But, if the slime remains after washing it underwater, it must have gone bad.
Saying all this you must note that raw chicken is usually maybe still good somewhat past its expiration date, as long as it doesn’t stink bad. Still, it’s habitually safe to just throw it. Why put yourself at serious risk of getting sick?
Note: The expiration date might also be labelled as the “sell by” date. Assure to only buy chicken before that projected date to ensure the most safety.
What about cooked chicken—about how long does chicken last in the fridge?
We all have that leftover chicken from the previous meal. And now we think that cooking just might have killed the harmful bacterias so we don’t need to worry. Hond on your thoughts! A perfectly good chicken can make you sick too.
- Three days to three months: Usually, cooked chicken saved in the refrigerator is safe to eat for three to four days if it is correctly stored. If you want to further lengthen shelf life, you can store it in the freezer where it will last for about three months.
- TIP: Once stored in the freezer, put it out in the fridge the night before and let it thaw.
- The big takeaway: Don’t let that cooked meat stay in the fridge for a week! You can tell if cooked chicken has gone bad if it gives off a foul odour or is starting to look grey. Even this time, trust your senses.
Keeping cooked chicken in the freezer will increase its shelf life and inhibit the growth of bacteria.
It should be safe to thaw and consume for up to nine to 12 months. This applies only if the chicken is properly stored and there are no foul signs.
According to the USDA, refrigerated cooked chicken is safe to eat for 3-4 days if it stored correctly. Below is a necessary guide on when you should throw out the chicken in your fridge.
|Frozen Chicken||3 Months|
|Raw Chicken||3 Days|
|Deli Meat Opened||3 Days|
|Chicken Broth||3 Days|
|Hot Dogs Opened||7 Days|
How long does a vacuum-sealed cooked chicken last in the fridge?
Vacuum sealing your chicken is an excellent way to preserve its quality and freshness for a more distant time.
By vacuum sealing your chicken you’ll be capable to stay it fresh up to 50% more days in your fridge. Instead of chicken lasting for approximately 3 days, you’ll be able to get 6 days.
There are many great vacuum sealers on Amazon that work very well. Recently, I purchased the FoodSaver FM2000 Vacuum Sealer Machine and it’s a great unit.
This vacuum sealer works very well keeping chicken fresh and tasting great for a long time.
How Should You Store Chicken In Your Fridge?
Now that you know how long does chicken last in the fridge, it is time to check some tips on storing it in the fridge.
Storing Uncooked Chicken in Your Fridge
It’s most suitable to store any raw chicken on the lowest shelf inside your fridge. This way, even if juice from the meat drips from the packaging it will not flow all over your other foods.
Storing Uncooked Chicken in Your Freezer
I suggest you to rub some rock salt (or normal salt) on raw chicken before storing it. As salt has antibacterial and preserving properties your raw chicken is stored safely. Also, use airtight packaging and a plastic wrap to avoid cross-contamination.
Storing Cooked Chicken in Your Fridge
It’s essential to store your cooked chicken rightly in your fridge. Put it in an air-tight container, wrap it in plastic wrap or use a freezer bag. If the chicken is pre-packed from the store, it is sufficient to leave it in the original packaging until you’re ready to use it.
Storing Cooked Chicken in Your Freezer
Same applies to your cooked chicken, use an airtight container. Never store a warm or hot chicken dish in your freezer as it lowers the freezer temperature and will affect the other food items.
- Raw chicken should only be stored in your fridge for up to 48 hours. If you’re not planning to use the chicken in 48 hours, then it’s beneficial to toss it into the freezer and not the fridge.
- When you’re ready to use the chicken from the freezer, just take it out the night before and let it thaw.
- The next day you’re ready to begin the charm. I love preparing homemade chicken noodle soup with chicken from the freezer. (Check out the recipe at the end of the article). There are so many diverse dishes that you could go to.
- Mind that foods in your fridge are correctly marked so you don’t get confused and it’s also essential to date the food if it’s not on the packaging.
Risk of eating spoiled chicken?
Like any other expired, old, spoiled food, bad meat can make you sick in no time. If the meat has been infected with something pathogenic, like bacteria, viruses or toxins, it can make you dangerously sick.
Not all microorganisms are deadly. However, if your meat is tainted with pathogenic bacteria such as salmonella, staphylococcus, clostridium or E. coli, you can grow very sick from food poisoning.
The Mayo Clinic says that food poisoning can provoke symptoms such as abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, fever, diarrhoea and other gastrointestinal problems.
Cooking and eating old chicken isn’t guaranteed to make you unwell, though. Whether you’ll get infected will also be defined by whether or not you thoroughly cook your food.
Many bacteria can be destroyed during the cooking process. For example, if you’ve made a boiled stew or soup and prepared your meat for a while, you may not get sick.
But, heat isn’t a sure-fire way to stop food poisoning. This is because several bacteria also release toxins, according to the Mayo Clinic. Even when you destroy these bacteria by cooking them, their toxins will linger in the food and make you become sick.
Is ‘Pre-packed frozen chicken’ different from the chicken you stored in your freezer?
Both of the terms include minus degrees, but is there any difference between these 2? Yes, the prepacked frozen chicken is way apart from the one you put it in the fridge! Processing on the pre-packed frozen food i.e they include stabilizers and preservatives.
This increases its shelf life stop the bacterial and microbial growth inside the meat. This helps them to survive in your home freezer. Saying that we often store raw or cooked chicken in our freezer.
This chicken can go bad due to a change in temperature due to power failure or overcrowding in the freezer. This leads to multiplying bacterial and microbial growth!
I am now quickly answering all related questions in short while concluding this article. Here we go!
How long does raw chicken remain fresh at room temperature?Bacteria grow tremendously fast at temperatures between 40° F and 140° F. Thus, the raw chicken should be discarded if left for more than 2 hours at room temperature.
How long does raw chicken remain fresh after being frozen and thawed? Chicken that has been defrosted in the fridge can be stored for 1 to 2 days more in the refrigerator before cooking. Chicken that was thawed in the microwave or in water should be cooked immediately thus, cannot be stored.
Alas, now we know everything about storing a chicken in our fidges and some tips too. Saving for all I suggest you to always use freshly cut chicken whenever possible.
Yes, I know too, it is not always possible to buy fresh ones so one or the other time we save some chicken in the fridge. Storing chicken or for that matter, any other food in the fridge is not as easy as it looks. Always remember to wrap, label and date your food.
If you’re unsure how long chicken has been in your fridge, there is always one thing to do; When in doubt, throw it out! It’s better to be safe than sorry.
Prep: 15 min. Cook: 45 min. + standing
10 servings (about 3-1/2 quarts)
- 2-1/2 pounds bone-in chicken thighs
- 1-1/4 teaspoons pepper, divided
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon canola oil
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1 garlic clove, minced
- 10 cups chicken broth
- 4 celery ribs, chopped
- 4 medium carrots, chopped
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 tsp minced fresh thyme (or 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme)
- 3 cups egg noodles (about 8 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- With paper towels pat chicken dry; sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon pepper and salt. In a stockpot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken (in batches), skin side down. Cook until dark golden brown, 3-4 minutes.
- Remove chicken from pan. You can remove skin and remains form pan but I like to keep it if it is cold outside.
- Add onion and cook and stir over medium-high heat until tender, 4-5 minutes.
- Add garlic and cook 1 minute longer. Add the broth, stirring to loosen browned bits from pan. Bring to a boil.
- Return chicken to the pan and add celery, carrots, bay leaves and thyme. Decrease heat; simmer, covered, until chicken is tender, 25-30 minutes.
- Transfer chicken to a plate. Remove soup from heat. Add noodles and let stand, covered, till noodles are tender, 20-22 minutes.
- Until, when chicken is cool enough to handle, remove meat from bones; discard bones.
- Shred meat into bite-sized pieces.
- Return meat to stockpot. Stir in parsley and lemon juice.
- Add seasoning with salt and remaining 3/4 teaspoon pepper.
- Discard bay leaves before serving.
- 1-1/3 cups:
- 239 calories
- 12g fat (3g saturated fat)
- 68mg cholesterol
- 1176mg sodium
- 14g carbohydrate
- 3g sugars
- 2g fiber
- 18g protein
Sailee is a professional Heath writer having 5+ years of experience in the health and nutrition industry. Being a good researcher she writes about most complicated health-related topics and explains in an understandable language. Cracking day to day nutritional and health benefits in a scientific way are her favorite things to write.