Can you eat cooked chicken 2 days after the use-by date?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “can you eat cooked chicken 2 days after the use-by date” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can eat a cooked chicken that is past the use-by date. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store cooked chicken.

Can you eat cooked chicken 2 days after the use-by date?

The use-by date refers to the date that is marked on the packaging of the perishable food commodities and it refers to the time by which you should consume that food. 

When it comes to cooked chicken, then it is worth mentioning that if you have cooked your chicken thoroughly (till its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit), then the use-by date of the raw chicken won’t be applicable on it anymore but still, there is a limited time during which you can enjoy your cooked chicken.

Cooked chicken lasts for about 3-5 days when stored properly in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an air-tight container. You can even freeze your cooked chicken to prolong its shelf life.

Moreover, the way you have stored your cooked chicken also impacts its shelf life. 

For instance, if your cooked chicken was stored for more than 2 hours at room temperature (or more than 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) then it is better to discard it as bacteria grow best at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and there are chances of your cooked chicken to be already bacteria-laden in this case.

On the other hand, the cooked chicken that is properly refrigerated the whole time at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below is safe to consume within 3-5 days provided that there are no signs of spoilage associated with it.

Different ways to tell if cooked chicken has gone bad

Certain indicators point out bad chicken, therefore you should consider the appearance, texture, and smell of your cooked chicken to reach a final verdict whether it is still suitable to consume or if it has gone bad.

Appearance

If you spot mold or any other organic growth on your cooked chicken then it is an indication that the cooked chicken has gone bad and the best thing you can do in this scenario is to get rid of it.

Texture 

If you feel something slimy or gooey while touching the cooked chicken then it means that your cooked chicken has gone bad and it is better to discard it. 

It is worth mentioning that you should wash your hands thoroughly after touching the bacteria-laden cooked chicken or else the bacteria will transfer from your hands to any other thing that comes in contact with your hands.

Smell 

If you smell something acidic or sour while taking a sniff test of your cooked chicken then it means that your cooked chicken has gone bad and you should discard it.  

Tips to properly store cooked chicken

  1. You should always store your cooked chicken at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit therefore it is always advised to store your cooked chicken at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness and quality for a long time.
  1. You should never let your cooked chicken sit out for more than 2 hours. Cooked chicken lasts for about 2 hours when kept at room temperature. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore there are greater chances of the cooked chicken being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours at the room temperature.
  1. It is advised to always store the cooked chicken on the shelf of the refrigerator rather than the door as there can be a lot of temperature fluctuations at the door of the fridge that can degrade the quality of the cooked chicken.
  1. Let your cooked chicken cool thoroughly before storing it in the fridge. If you store the steaming hot cooked chicken in an air-tight container the moisture will build up inside it that can provide a suitable environment for bacteria to grow therefore you should let your cooked cooked cooked chicken cool thoroughly before storing it.
  1. You can even freeze your cooked chicken in plastic freezer bags to preserve its quality for quite a long time.

You can read how to make baked chicken breasts here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “can you eat cooked chicken 2 days after the use-by date” with an in-depth analysis of whether or not you can eat a cooked chicken that is past the use-by date. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store cooked chicken.

Citations

https://cooking.stackexchange.com/questions/61860/does-cooking-reset-the-expiry-date-of-ingredients

https://www.quora.com/Is-it-safe-to-eat-cooked-chicken-2-days-past-use-date#:~:text=If%20it%20is%20more%20than,of%20the%20sell%2Dby%20date.&text=possible.%20…-,Note%20that%20chicken%20can%20be%20unsafe%20to%20eat%20but%20have,by%20date%2C%20throw%20it%20out.

https://oureverydaylife.com/safe-cook-chicken-2-days-after-expiration-date-35897.html

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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