How long can chicken keep in the refrigerator? – Better

Chicken is one of the most popular meats in the world and many people enjoy eating it for health and taste reasons.

There are many delicious chicken dishes such as lemon chicken, chicken meatballs, chicken asado, chicken korma,…

But how long can chicken stay in the fridge before it spoils?

And what’s the best way to store it so it doesn’t spoil?

We’ll answer all of these questions and more below.

How long can chicken keep in the refrigerator?

The best way to determine how long chicken will stay fresh is to see how cooked it was when it left the kitchen.

A well-done piece of meat may have lost some moisture during cooking, but it won’t spoil because the meat itself is still intact.

On the other hand, an undercooked piece of meat can be dry and tough.

It can even be dangerous to eat, as bacteria can grow quickly on raw meat.

For this reason, it’s best to cook chicken until it reaches an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit (74 degrees Celsius) or higher.

This ensures that the poultry meat inside is fully cooked and safe for consumption.

If you don’t want to do the math yourself and prefer to trust the experts, use an instant-read thermometer like this one from Thermapen to find out how cooked your meat is.

What is the ideal temperature to store chicken in the fridge?

When you buy chicken, you may see different packages labeled “fresh” and “frozen.”

Although there isn’t much difference in the quality of the two types of chicken, freezing the meat helps it last longer.

Most chicken sold fresh is vacuum-packed, which means it’s sealed with plastic wrap that prevents air from entering the package.

However, frozen chicken comes without this protective coating, so it should be stored in the fridge to prevent spoilage.

For this reason, we recommend refrigerating uncooked chicken for no longer than three days.

Once the chicken is thawed and eaten, it can be stored in the refrigerator for up to five days.

How long does cooked chicken keep in the fridge?

Once you’ve finished cooking the chicken, you need to know how long it will keep in the refrigerator.

Like any other food, the shelf life of chicken depends on several factors, including the condition of the meat and how well it has been kept.

Some common factors that affect chicken longevity include:


Store chicken between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit (4 and 60 degrees Celsius).

If you live in a cold place, it may be better to freeze your bird rather than store it in the refrigerator.

moisture content

Chicken loses moisture during cooking, so it’s important to cover it well to minimize evaporation.

You can also help prevent dehydration by placing a damp towel over the container.

protein breakdown

Protein breaks down faster in hot temperatures, so refrigerating chicken after cooking can cause it to lose flavor and texture over time.

To avoid this, place it in the freezer for about two hours before consuming it.

Air exposure

As mentioned above, never expose the chicken to air, especially if you plan to eat it within four days.

How do you know if the chicken is spoiled?

One way to tell if your chicken is spoiled is to smell it.

Raw chicken that has not been cooked will produce an odor similar to rotten eggs.

It may also have a sour or ammonia-like odor.

However, once the chicken is cooked, the smell disappears.

If the chicken smells good, it should be safe to eat.

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What are the signs of chicken spoilage?

There are several warning signs that your chicken has gone bad.

Among which:


The acidity indicates that the protein in the meat has broken down.

This can happen due to poor cooking or poor storage conditions.


Bad odors usually come from bacterial growth, which can lead to illnesses such as salmonella, listeria, campylobacter, and E. coli.


The discoloration usually occurs when the fat in the chicken begins to break down.

This gives the meat a brownish or yellowish appearance.


Dryness occurs when meat dries out too much

This makes chewing difficult and also increases the risk of food poisoning.

How long does chicken keep in the freezer?

Unlike chicken which has been cooked and then refrigerated, frozen chicken does not have an expiration date.

That said, it’s best to freeze chicken as soon as possible after purchase to ensure it lasts as long as possible.

Also, store frozen chicken in well-wrapped bags in case it starts to thaw.

When you take it out of the freezer, immediately put it back in the bag to prevent it from drying out.

What’s the best way to reheat chicken?

To reheat chicken, it is best to first remove bone fragments and excess skin.

Then heat the meat in a skillet over medium heat until it is hot all over.

Remove the chicken from the pan and let rest for at least 5 minutes before serving.

How can you prevent chicken food poisoning?

Food poisoning is caused by eating contaminated food and often results in diarrhea, vomiting and stomach cramps.

There are several ways to reduce the risk of food poisoning from chicken, including washing your hands thoroughly after preparation, cooking well, and avoiding undercooked chicken.

What are the food safety guidelines for handling chicken?

It is always safer to follow these simple rules when handling poultry:

Wash hands with soap and water before handling poultry.

Cook poultry until it reaches an internal temperature of 74 degrees F or higher.

Keep raw chicken away from other foods that could contaminate it.

Store leftover chicken in the refrigerator within four days of purchase.

Is it safe to eat long frozen chicken?


Frozen chicken has a much longer shelf life than fresh chicken, so it’s perfectly safe to eat.

Just make sure you don’t store it in the freezer for longer than six months, and then you can enjoy it indefinitely.

Why did my chicken explode?

There are many things that can cause your chicken to explode, including overcooking it, using stale spices, and leaving it at room temperature for too long.

If your chicken exploded during cooking, discard it immediately and start over.

If it happens after that, try putting it in the oven for another 10 minutes to finish cooking.