How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last- With Or Without Refrigerator?
If you already have chicken in your refrigerator or are too lazy to prepare a meal and wondering how long does cooked chicken lasts without a refrigerator or with a fridge, here’s what you need to pay attention to.
Cooked chicken is only able to stay fresh and good for a limited period of time inside the fridge. After that, the taste starts changing! There is also a chance that it might get spoiled fully and possess unnecessary health risks.
So, how long does cooked chicken last in the fridge? For that, let us look at different cuts of chicken and how long will they last. You will also get to know about the health hazards of eating cooked chicken.
How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last?
You must know that cooked chicken is not completely the same. There are different ways you cook chicken and based on those ways, it will differ how long does cooked chicken lasts. Grilled chicken usually lasts longer compared to fried chicken, while the ground chicken variety of cooking will last longer than both grilled and fried chickens. For you to understand better, here is a look at each type of chicken.
Once you cook the chicken breasts and then keep them inside the refrigerator, it will last for 3 to 4 days without tasting bad or getting foul. Meanwhile, if you are keeping raw chicken breast, it will only last half the day, that is from 1 to 2 days. In both cases, it will be great if you just keep the chicken breast inside the refrigerator and not outside on the counter.
The whole cooked chicken might be slightly different compared to ground chicken or chicken breast, it will remain good to be eaten for the same time. It might last slightly longer since it has a larger mass that will take more time for cooling. Therefore, it may keep the taste for longer.
Vacuum sealed cooked chicken
It is always thought that vacuum-sealed items remain fresh for longer as no contamination occurs. Some food items kept in a vacuum seal may even last for as long as 3 months. This is because the sealing prevents the growth of pathogens and bacteria which will extend the lifespan of food naturally. Meanwhile, they may last for few weeks. The same goes for chicken, once you cook it and keep it in a vacuum-sealed container, it will remain edible for 1-2 weeks.
If you correctly wrap the chicken ere storing it, the ground chicken variety will remain safe for 3–4 days inside the fridge. Meanwhile, if you are keeping it inside the freezer, it will continue the taste for 2–3 months and may stay edible beyond that.
If you need to make sure the ground chicken stays edible for as long as possible, you may also store it inside airtight containers. Alternatively, one can protect it by wrapping it in aluminum foil or any plastic wrap. Both ways will allow it to keep its most excellent quality for a longer time.
Cooked chicken liver remains safe in the fridge for nearly 1–2 days most probably. It fails its taste very fast compared to the regular chicken meat. Notwithstanding that, you will discover that chicken liver at markets or stores is marked for three weeks of usage only.
It will stay good and safe to be eaten after that time, but it will not taste great. Plus, if you have not stocked it appropriately, there is a danger that it will get poorer before that time. It is far better to be secure than remain sorry after eating contaminated chicken and face health issues.
These were different chicken meat types you needed to know to find out how long does cooked chicken last in each context. But, what if the chicken is already not fit for eating before 3 to 4 days, how do you find that out? Read that out too!
How to find out the chicken is no longer suitable to be eaten?
Several signs indicate the chicken you have stored inside the fridge is no longer fit to be eaten or gone bad. You do not have to taste the chicken piece to decide if it has gone bad. Usually, the bad chicken will appear more slimy than normal and the color also leans towards a different grey shade indicating it has gone bad.
Another thing is the smell, it is a great factor in deciding if anything in your fridge or kitchen has gone bad. If the chicken has rotten already there will be a foul smell as soon as you open the fridge itself. The smell turns slightly sour, contrary to the usual delicious smell of cooked chicken.
If you cannot still find out thought the appearance and smell of the chicken have gone bad, it is safe to throw it out to avoid the side effects of eating this chicken. There is no need to risk eating it, as it has remained in the fridge already for too long.
That being said, is there any way you can keep the chicken fresh for longer and enjoy the delicious taste you have cooked? Fortunately, you do not have to throw it out every other day, keep reading to know why!
How to prevent the cooked chicken from going bad?
Now that you know about- how long does cooked chicken last, you must also go through some amazing tips that may help you maintain the taste and keep the chicken from getting rotten or spoiled.
Follow these tips as they also ensure the chicken stays completely safe to be eaten:
1. Keep the chicken inside the fridge
This is a universal tip, we already know it but some people forget to do so. You should not leave the cooked chicken on the kitchen counter at room temperature for too long. After 2 hours or so, make sure to place it inside the refrigerator otherwise it would not be good enough. 2 hours are enough to prevent the breeding of bacterias inside the chicken. Longer than 2 hours, it will be late to prevent it.
2. Seal the food storage containers
The most important thing you must do while storing the food is to ensure that the containers are completely clean. Keeping the chicken in your fridge in any contaminated container or vessel makes it highly risky to be spoiled quickly. Furthermore, also make sure the containers you use are sealed, this prevents unwanted pathogens from getting inside and making it spiled to be eaten.
3. Cut the chicken into pieces
Cutting the chicken first into several mall pieces allows it to cool down fast than keeping the entire chicken into one piece. This way, it will freeze quickly thus keep it from spiling. On the other hand, large chicken pieces are harder to cool, which will cause these pieces to get spoiled quickly.
You can also make use of shallow containers to store the chicken inspired by suing large containers altogether. This aids in cooling it faster and preserving the food for a longer duration.
4. Keep raw chicken away
If you are storing cooked chicken with raw chicken together inside the fridge, it will be a good idea if you are to let the two touch. Any form of raw meat has a lot of living bacterias on it that will quickly transfer to other food items including cooked chicken inside the fridge. It is also considered to be a primary source of food positioning, so make sure you do not make such a mistake.
Difference between freezing chicken and refrigerating it
If your cookie chine is getting rotten or spoiled faster when you refrigerate it, you can also try placing it inside the freezer. Let’s see how long does it take for a cooked chicken to last in both places.
As opposed to freezers, refrigerators will make the cooked chicken rot much faster. Any grilled or roasted chicken pieces leftover after eating will remain good inside a fridge for the highest duration of 3–4 days. Meanwhile, fried chicken variants, such as nuggets, will remain good only for a time being of 1–2 days.
Freezing cooked chicken
If you place the cooked chicken inside the freezer, it will persist for a much longer time compared to fridges. The roasted and grilled chicken will remain safe to be eaten for 4–6 months if you are placing it inside the freezer. Whereas, Fried chicken variety and patties will continue to be good for 1–3 months.
If the chicken is in broth or gravy, it might stay inside the freezer for nearly six months. Needless to say, the freezer is definitely the more reliable option. However, it will take an extended time to heat and then eat, which might be an annoyance to deal with for a few people.
What is the best way to freeze cooked chicken?
Assume you have sufficient room in the freezer for keeping the cooked chicken, there is no need to empty the fridge. Furthermore, if you would not be consuming the chicken for the next 3–4 days, allowing it to stay in the refrigerator would be irrelevant when the freezer can store it safely for four months.
Here are the complete steps for precisely freezing the cooked chicken:
- Leave the cooked chicken to cool down at first. If the cooked chicken is still heated or warm, do not wrap it instantly and put it inside the freezer. This will make it spoil fast, which we are trying to prevent. Alternatively, you can place it inside the freezer without wrapping it for an hour. This way, it will slowly cool down and then you can cover it. Before doing this, make sure you cut it into pieces.
- Wrap the chicken appropriately. To prevent getting the chicken dry, you must cover it perfectly before freezing it. Or else, it will grow dull and lose its taste. You may shrink-wrap it very tightly using any plastic wrap. Just make certain it is spotless before allowing it to touch the chicken.
- Place this wrapped chicken inside a bag. Once you have your cooked chicken protected and wrapped, you can now place it inside a sealed container with no space for air entering or inside sealed freezer bags. Each of them will help as an additional protection layer for keeping the food from reaching any foul smell or bacteria.
- If you have a habit of forgetting when you kept the food inside the freezer, you may write the time and date on the container itself. It is recommended that you should place the chicken at the back of the freezer so that it would not experience the temperature variations under the vents.
For those who forget, it is highly necessary to write down the dates so that you can remove the chicken in time and consume it. Keeping the chicken for too long inside the fridge is also not a good idea, it may lead to a lot of harmful health hazards.
What happens if you leave the chicken inside the fridge for too long?
When cooked chicken is allowed to sit in the fridge for excessively long, the flavor might not change as much. Nevertheless, bacteria start growing over it, which assists as a health hazard for several reasons. Here is a small piece of information you must know about each bacteria that grows and what it could do to your health.
- Salmonella Enteriatidis-Salmonella is a notorious bacteria that may hit the body. You might have presumably learned about it already. It frequently emerges in meat like chicken, and it begins to cause some gastric symptoms following 2–3 days from eating. Salmonella induces severe diarrhea in people and causes headaches, and it might even cause a high fever. It often goes away the next 4–7 days of receiving medications. Nonetheless, it might stay for a long period within people who possess a weak immune system.
- Staphylococcus Aureus-Staphylococcus also known as Staph for abbreviation, is a popular contagious agent that catches human bodies. It reproduces on top of the meat like chicken when it is left simply at room temperature for a prolonged time without heating. If you allow the cooked chicken inside the fridge also for long enough, it might develop.Staph discharges toxins that destroy the body’s insides. They induce abdominal cramps, nausea, and diarrhea. It might also result in vomiting. The signs may or may not be notable, but they are all a problem to face. This pathogen also acts fast and the symptoms will develop after 2–6 hours of eating the chicken.
The Bottom Line
Raw chicken will last in the fridge for nearly 1 or2 days, but cooked chicken will last for 3–4 days. To identify if the cooked chicken has turned bad, check the date and watch for indications of spoilage like differences in smell, color, and texture.
Evade from eating spoiled chicken, as it might result in food poisoning even if you have cooked it thoroughly. Once you find out how long does cooked chicken last, you can simply use it in time and enjoy the meals.
This was all about- how long does cooked chicken last and how to detect if it has gone bad.
Can you refreeze chicken once you have taken it out for too long? Find out using this guide and know it all!