How Long Can You Keep Cooked Chicken in the Fridge (And Why)?

Exact answer: 3 to 4 days

Perhaps you planned and prepared a fresh quantity of boneless, skinless chicken breasts to use in salads and sandwiches all week. Maybe you just made too much chicken chilli for your family to devour in one sitting.

For whatever reason, many of us are confronted with leftover cooked chicken on a regular basis. It’s excellent to have it in the fridge, but how long can cooked chicken be safely stored in there?

How Long Can You Keep Cooked Chicken in the Fridge?

ConditionShelf Life
In Refrigerator3 to 4 Days
In FreezerUpto 4 Months

Any variety of cooked chicken, whether rotisserie-roasted, fried in a griddle, or baked in the oven, is a nice thing to have on hand in the refrigerator. Just be careful to keep track of how long the chicken has been in there.

In Refrigerator

Cooked chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days if properly refrigerated (in a ziplock bag or airtight container). It applies to any cooked chicken, whether it’s store-bought, homemade, or leftover from a restaurant.

The three to four-day rule, of course, only works if you’ve taken proper food safety precautions in the first place. To guarantee that your cooked chicken lasts as long as possible, make sure it reaches an internal temperature of 165°F before storing the leftovers in the fridge. Finally, according to the FSIS, browning or partially cooking chicken and then refrigerating it in the hopes of finishing later is a prescription for gastrointestinal disaster.

In Freezer

If you have a pile of leftover chicken and don’t think you’ll eat it all within four days, freezing it is the best option. Fill a ziplock freezer bag halfway with chicken and squeeze out as much air as possible before sealing it. The chicken can then be frozen for up to four months. The chicken can be frozen indefinitely if done correctly. But, the longer it remains in the freezer, the more likely the flavour and texture will deteriorate.

You should reheat the frozen chicken in an oven or on the stove as it’s required after defrosting it overnight. You can also reheat the chicken in the microwave but do so with caution because it may make the chicken dried out and make it chewy. To avoid bacteria from growing, leave the cooked chicken out at room temperature for no more than two hours before refrigerating. Because bacteria can grow even at refrigerator temperatures, leftovers should be eaten within three to four days of being stored in the fridge. If you don’t think you’ll eat the food within three to four days, put it in the freezer to eat later.

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Why Does Cooked Chicken Stay That Long in the Fridge?

Cooked chicken’s shelf life is largely determined by how well it is preserved. While storing cooked chicken, make sure that the storage conditions are good enough.

When you leave cooked chicken in open on some surface, it becomes polluted. This is due to the fact that harmful germs can float in the open air and contaminate the ookedc chicken.

Make sure that the chicken is fresh at the time of cooking as that’s one of the important factors affecting the shelf life of cooked chicken. The fresher the chicken is when you cook it, the longer it will last after cooking. If you sense any kind of foul smell or firm skin, it means that the chicken is not fresh. When you cook a fresh chicken, it’ll last up to 3-4 days in the fridge after cooking.

Before cooking, one should ensure that the salmon is fresh. If the salmon has a foul smell or has extra firm skin, this shows that the fish is not clean and should therefore not be cooked. A fresh fish should last up to 3 days in the fridge when cooked.

When you buy cooked chicken from restaurant and store it in the fridge, it can’t be said for how long will it last in the fridge as you can’t tell if it was fresh or not.

Conclusion

In many households, chicken is deemed as a primary food. However, there is a substantial risk of bacterial contamination with this healthy and delicious protein source. This makes it necessary to prepare, cook, and store chicken properly; otherwise, it can become a source of foodborne illness.

While storing chicken in the fridge is convenient, many people are unsure how long they can safely keep chicken in the fridge. So, now you know about the storage of cooked chicken. Hopefully, this post has explained how long chicken will last in your refrigerator.

References

  1. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/abs/10.1111/j.1470-6431.1995.tb00537.x
  2. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S019566631300425X