How Long Can You Keep Chicken in the Fridge?

Let’s face it: We all love food. We are all fond of trying out different recipes, kitchen-related product reviews, and how-to cooking guides. And while all this is important, learning about food safety is even more important!

If you wonder how long will uncooked chicken keep in the fridge without getting spoiled, here’s your answer:

Raw chicken lasts for 1-2 days in your fridge without getting spoiled.

Chicken has become the ultimate meat in most households these days.

The variety of dishes you can prepare using chicken makes it the meat of choice for many people. However, this source of healthy and delicious protein can become contaminated with bacteria if left at the wrong temperature for too long. Therefore, it’s crucial to prepare, store, and cook chicken properly, or else it can become the source of food-related illness.

Here are some quick and flavorful chicken recipes you may like:

The 10 Best Tastemade Chicken Recipes

Refrigerating chicken is one of the most common methods of storing it. And it’s important to know how long you can safely keep it in the fridge.

How Long Does Chicken Last In The Fridge?

According to recommendations made by the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), it’s okay to store uncooked chicken in your refrigerator for 1-2 days. The same rule applies to any raw poultry, including turkey.

Cooked chicken, or any other meat, lasts in a fridge for a maximum of 4 days. Storing chicken in the refrigerator slows down the growth of bacteria. Temperatures below 40F significantly slow down bacterial growth on the meat.

Moreover, it is best to place chicken in a leak-proof container before storing it in the refrigerator to prevent the raw chicken juices from leaking and contaminating other foods. For cooked chicken, you should store it in an airtight container first.

If you’re planning to cook your chicken within two days, you can refrigerate it. However, if you’re going to take longer than two days to cook it, it is best to store it in the freezer.

You can store raw chicken pieces in the freezer for up to nine months. If you have a whole chicken, you can keep it stored in the freezer for up to one year without the risk of going bad. Even cooked chicken keeps in the freezer for 2-6 months – depending on the other ingredients included.

The Right Way to Store Raw Chicken

Let’s get to the business right away!

The best way to store uncooked chicken in the refrigerator is to keep it in its unopened in its original package. As mentioned earlier, it is best if you keep it in inside a leak-proof container or on a plate so the juices don’t leak into the fridge or ruin other food. A sealed container works fine too.

If you place chicken in the refrigerator but delay your plan of using it for another few days, freeze it within the two days it is refrigerated. Also, if you are planning to store the chicken for longer, freeze it immediately when you bring it home. Here’s a small tip: always wrap the store packaging in a foil or a freezer bag before freezing raw chicken to prevent freezer burn.

Raw chicken can last in the freezer for 9-12 months. To use frozen chicken, first, remove it from the freezer and place it in the fridge to thaw.

Here’s a video of a simple way of cleaning chicken that you may like.

How To Wash Your Chicken At Home - Meat- | Recipes By Chef Ricardo

Signs Your Chicken Has Gone Bad

If you’ve stored chicken in the refrigerator for more than two days, it may have already gone bad. However, you can try a few tips to be sure before discarding the chicken away. Here are some to help you:

  • Check the ‘Best By’ Date: Chicken stays good for a minimal time when stored in the fridge. Also, make sure you check the ‘best before’ date to see if it is good to consume. If it has already passed that date, the chicken may have gone bad.
  • Change Color: Spoiled uncooked chicken can also change in color, indicating that it is no longer safe to eat. Both cooked and uncooked chicken can turn grey-green in color if it has spoiled. Spots of mold are also a sign of bacterial growth, which means you should discard it right away.  
  • Bad Smell: We all know how fresh chicken smells. If you notice a difference in the smell, your chicken may no longer be good to eat. Both cooked and uncooked chicken can release a very noticeable acidic smell due to bacterial growth and fungus. Chicken marinated with spices, herbs, or sauces can be difficult to detect by smell.
  • Unusual Texture: Oily and slimy texture of the chicken is another indication that it has spoiled. You may rinse it and recheck. You can use a sharp knife to cut it open and observe the inner texture as well. Washing your chicken with water does not remove bacteria.

You should discard bad chicken right away. Do not feed it to animals or pets because the bacteria on it can be harmful to them as well.

Why You Should Never Eat Spoiled Chicken

People sometimes eat chicken they think is only a little past its prime, but is it the right thing to do?

Here’s the fact:

One of the most common reasons for food poisoning and other foodborne illnesses is eating spoiled chicken. The bacterial contamination – including salmonella, campylobacter, and more – can cause food poisoning, which may be serious if not treated immediately.

Most people also believe that cooking chicken thoroughly can kill bacteria. While that’s true, it applies to cooking fresh chicken, not one already spoiled. So this rule does not imply here. You should avoid cooking and consuming spoiled chicken by all means.

When left in the refrigerator for longer than recommended, the bacteria produce toxins that cannot be eliminated by cooking or reheating the chicken.

Food poisoning is a serious matter. Its symptoms – include chills, high fever, diarrhea, vomiting, nausea, dehydration, and more. And in some cases, it requires hospitalization and can even become fatal if not treated in time.

It’s not worth it to risk your health just because you think your chicken may still be good. If you feel your chicken has gone bad, discard it immediately.

Conclusion

Know your chickens “use by” date and know how long it’s been in the refrigerator. If you like storing meat like other food staples, it is best to put them in the freezer. Raw chicken only lasts for a maximum of two days in the refrigerator.

Remember the signs of chicken that has gone bad the next time you’re about to use chicken that has been refrigerated for a few days. Try using fresh chicken as often as possible. Fresh chicken is not only safer, but it also tastes so much better.

Do you like to freeze your chicken or do you prefer using it fresh? Do share your experience with us in the comments below.

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