We all can agree that chicken is a staple food in households around the world, right! Yes, it is as the meats affordable, delicious, and healthy.
The meat provides you with protein, but it has one high risk: it can easily get contaminated with bacteria. That is why preparing the meat when cooking is important. But another crucial thing is the storing of the meat.
If not stored correctly, it becomes a foodborne illness. So the best place is the fridge, but how long can you store the meat safely in your refrigerator?
We are going to provide you with the answer right here. So keep reading on how long you can keep chicken stored and the best way to do it.
How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last In Fridge
According to Food Safety, you can leave the raw chicken in the refrigerator for two days. The same applies to any raw poultry. While cooked chicken, you can keep it in the fridge for up to four days. The bacteria grow slower by storing it at a temperature below 40° F (4°C).
For storing raw chicken, it helps to keep it in a leak-proof container as it prevents the juices from leaking to cause any other contamination to the rest of the foods. For storing cooked chicken in the freezer, you can leave it there for three months. However, eating the meat after this point results in foodborne illness.
Bacteria can still grow even at refrigerated temperatures. Great, but can I not just place it in my microwave? No, you can’t as the heat from the microwave cooks it from the outside to the inside. So reheating your chicken standing for longer than a week will only kill the bacteria on the surface.
It will not eliminate those dangerous toxins growing inside the meat. So if that cooked poultry is older than five days, then best throw it away and never try to reheat it. You can store chicken pieces raw in the freezer for up to nine months and a whole chicken for a year.
How To Know If Chicken Has Gone Bad
You head to the kitchen and open your fridge to remove the leftover cooked chicken. You stand thinking how long it has been in the refrigerator. Is it still good to eat? Or is it bad as it does not smell foul? Here are a couple of ways to know if that poultry has gone to waste, according to the NCBI, when raw or cooked.
- If the raw or cooked chicken is past the best if used daily, then the likeness is that it has gone bad.
- You can notice a change in the color in both raw and cooked poultry as it becomes a gray-gree shade. Or you may notice spots of grayish-green mold stating bacterial growth.
- A noticeable thing of raw and cooked chicken that has gone bad is the acidic smell it gives off. It smells like ammonia but might not be as noticeable if marinated with herbs and sauces.
- Lastly, the texture will be slimy, and rinsing the meat with water does not remove the bacteria.
Most importantly, if you have used utensils on the poultry with bacteria, wash everything from the surface to the utensils to prevent cross-contamination.
What Is The Risk of Eating Bacteria Infected Chicken?
You can get food poisoning from eating chicken that has gone bad—the foodborne illness results from the bacteria Salmonella, Campylobacter, and more. While you can eliminate it, cooking the meat is not recommended. When you get food poisoning, you can get chills to nausea resulting in vomiting, bloody stools, diarrhea, and dehydration. With severe food poisoning, you need to get to the hospital, or it may lead to death in some cases.
Freezing and Thawing Cooked Chicken
If you feel you will not be eating your cooked chicken within four days, it helps freeze it. You can do this by transferring the meat to a freezer-safe container or using a zip-top bag. Then, write the date on it and freeze it for up to three months.
The best is to not place the chicken in the freezer you left standing outside at room temperature for more than two hours. Also, do not freeze cooked chicken after it has been in the fridge for four days. When you want to thaw the chicken in a zip-lock bag, transfer it to a sealed container and place it in the refrigerator to leave overnight.
Or you can place it in your microwave and use the defrost setting.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)
According to the USDA, you can eat chicken left in the fridge for up to four days thereafter, throw it away.
If you feel the meat is slimy and has a foul smell, it is already a sign that it is bad. You will also notice the meat has a green, yellow, or gray color. The same applies if you bought the chicken and it is past the expiration date.
You find the bacteria growing mostly in raw or undercooked poultry. The incubation period is from when you eat the food, and signs can start showing between two to five days.
It happens when your meat has been exacerbated by freezing or deep chilling. What happens is that ice crystallization forms on the meat and around the bone. Then, when you cook the meat, the substances turn brown.