How Long Can Chicken Stay Out (And Why)?

Exact Answer: 1 Hour to 4 Hours

Chicken is one of the most loved food items in the world. Chicken meat and eggs have become very popular due to the low cost of raising chickens. It is the most common type of source of eggs and meat for human consumption. 

Moreover, chicken meat is used in many cuisines all over the world. Chicken is prepared in many ways. Baking, grilling, frying, broiling, and barbecuing are the most popular ways of cooking chicken. Chicken can be used as a starter, main meal, and even as a side dish. 

It contains a low level of saturated fat and cholesterol as compared to red meat. It is very important to eat fresh meat and not old rotten meat, otherwise, it may cause health issues. 

For chicken meat to stay fresh the temperature at which it should be kept is an important factor. They must not be left at room temperature for a long period. Especially if the room temperature is slightly warm.

How Long Can Chicken Stay Out?

Chicken can shouldn’t stay out for more than two hours at room temperature. It is important to store chicken at a proper temperature. 

If chicken is left at room temperature for long it may start to rot.  Bacteria start to grow if it is left out for a long time. Temperature between 40°F and 140°F is when bacterial activity is at its peak, and hence they grow at an alarming rate.

Chicken is a perishable food item and should not be left out exposed in the open for long. If the room temperature is 90°F or more, then it will start to rot within one hour. 

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Chicken must only be left out at room temperature only when you have to cook it immediately. For later consumption, it must always be kept in the fridge for preservation. 

Keeping raw chicken in the freezer is the best way to preserve it. By doing this, your chicken will stay longer. The smell of the chicken will help you to know about its quality. 

If it has even a little rotten smell, then it should be discarded off immediately. Consuming bad quality chicken may lead to some serious health issues.

Why Does Chicken Stay Out So Long?

Any perishable food item should not be left out in the open. This attracts various organisms to feast upon it. Naturally, a perishable food item starts to rot when exposed to a hot & humid atmosphere. 

If the room’s temperature is hot and conditions are humid, then it should not be left there for more than an hour, otherwise, it will become stale. If the room temperature goes above 100°F, then the chicken starts to rot even quicker.

One also needs to consider the quality of chicken before keeping it out of the fridge at room temperature. The fresh chicken would stay longer at room temperature, whereas the old chicken might get worse even after a short period. 

You must always check the chicken before buying and carefully look for all the signs of spoilage. The table shows the period of different forms of chicken to stay fresh in the refrigerator and freezer.

Type of ChickenRefrigeratorFreezer
Whole Fresh Chicken1 to 2 DaysOne Year
Parts of Chicken1 to 2 DaysNine Months
Fried Chicken1 to 2 DaysFour Months
Chicken Nuggets3 to 4 DaysTwo Months

The temperature has a substantial impact on the freshness of the chicken. Chicken has to be covered at all times to prevent it from spoilage. 

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Researches have shown that the exposed part of the chicken is likely to rot before the covered parts of it. The reason behind this is that air contains bacteria that can spoil the chicken meat.

Conclusion

Chicken dishes are loved all over the world. There are many dishes made from it that are lip-smackingly good. Chicken is should be kept in appropriate conditions and temperature to keep them fresh. 

It should also never be left out for more than the required time. Anything is not good in excess and the same is with chicken. It should always be eaten fresh, otherwise, it might not be fit for human consumption.

References

  1. https://www.indianjournals.com/ijor.aspx?target=ijor:jar&volume=7&issue=4&article=022
  2. https://meridian.allenpress.com/jfp/article-abstract/66/11/2023/170162