How long does cooked chicken last in the refrigerator in 2023?

how long does cooked chicken last in the refrigerator?

The USDA (United States Department of Agriculture) has stated that cooked chicken can last only 3-4 days in the refrigerator at a temperature of 40°F or less.

Did you know that bacteria can still grow at any temperature? Refrigerating can only slow down the bacteria’s growth and does not kill them. Therefore, it is crucial to have your leftovers within 3 to 4 days to prevent harm to your health.

Extra Tip: You can store the raw chicken for up to one to two days in the refrigerator. However, you can keep pieces of raw chicken in the freezer for up to 9 months and a whole chicken for up to one year.

Follow these essential tips to freeze cooked chicken properly.

  • If your cooked chicken is still warm, you will have to keep it until it gets cooled. However, if the chicken is chilled in the fridge, you can ignore this step in the process of freezing.
  • It is essential to wrap the chicken with foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper to avoid freezer burn and keep its moisture. If not, the chicken will be tough, dry, and tasteless.
  • If you need extra protection, you can keep them in a freezer bag. You can also mark the date of packing to know how long it has been frozen.

Besides, it is ideal for keeping chicken in a leak-proof container to keep juices from leaking and harming the other foods in the fridge.

What are the bacteria in chicken, and how does bacterial growth happen?

Two main types of bacteria lead food to get spoiled.

Pathogenic bacteria

Pathogenic bacteria are the kind of bacteria family that causes food-borne severe illnesses. These bacteria can grow between temperatures of 40°F to 140°F. You cannot identify that these bacteria have been developed in the chicken because they do not cause meat’s taste, smell, or appearance to change.

Spoilage bacteria

Spoilage bacteria affect the taste, smell, and appearance of the chicken badly. They cause the chicken to fasten and develop foul odors, textures, and flavors. Spoilage bacteria grow in refrigerators.

How to know if the chicken is bad after refrigerating

What are the signs that you have bad chicken?

Everyone has this question on their mind at some point in their lives.

When the cooked chicken is stored in the refrigerator, you can check a few factors to determine whether it is safe or not.

Here are some signs you can notice, and we have listed them below for your information that you must discard as soon as you the detection.

Smell: Cooked chicken spread an acidic smell if it has gone bad. But it will be hard to notice the odor if you have marinated the chicken.

Texture: If you notice the chicken has a slimy texture, it simply means the chicken is spoiled, and you should not have it.

Colour: You can consider that chicken is unsafe to eat if you detect color changes like gray to green in the whole chicken or spots.

By or before date: If the chicken has passed its quality to consume with marked ‘by or before date,’ you should not be eating.

What are the risks of consuming spoiled chicken?

We have mentioned before that spoiled chicken can cause food-borne illnesses. In some cases, it has been reported that food poisoning can lead to death. Most of the time, you will need to seek medical care or hospitalization if you get sick from spoiled foods. You may have the symptoms such as,

  • High fever
  • Chills
  • Vomiting
  • Nausea
  • Diarrhea
  • Dehydration
  • Bloody stools

You must not ignore the above symptoms because they can affect you badly and lead to severe complications if you do.

Final Thoughts

Chicken is one of the most delicious meals anyone can eat. Bacteria can spoil any food. In order to avoid getting sick from food-borne illnesses, it is crucial that you consume fresh and healthy meals. It is possible to die from food poisoning after being hospitalized.

As a result, you should not ignore the above-listed signs and symptoms of spoiled chicken.

We have provided you with all the information you need regarding storing chicken in the fridge in this article. Keep these essential factors in mind and store the cooked chicken in a freezer if you do not intend to consume it within three to four days.

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