Can you put cooked chicken in the fridge?

In this brief article, we will answer the question “Can you put cooked chicken in the fridge?”, list down ways to reheat leftover chicken, and discuss the potential health risks of eating spoiled chicken.

Can you put cooked chicken in the fridge?

Yes, you can put cooked chicken in the fridge for eating it later. According to USDA, cooked chicken lasts for only about 3-4 days in the fridge after which it should be thrown out. 

To make sure that the cooked chicken is safe to eat after it has been sitting in the fridge, it should be placed in the fridge within 2 hours of cooking it. Do not place the chicken outside for more than two hours because then pathogens will start growing on it.

When placing the chicken in the fridge, make sure it is placed in an airtight container or a ziplock bag for added safety against harmful bacteria.

Chicken is notorious for containing Salmonella. If the chicken remains undercooked, the chances are that Salmonella will still be present whether you place it in the fridge or not. Cooler temperature only arrests the reproduction process of bacteria.

Once the chicken is out of the fridge, it will start to multiply again. 

If you wish to store cooked chicken for weeks, it is better to freeze it rather than putting it inside the fridge.

How to reheat leftover chicken

There are many ways to heat leftover chicken safely

  • Toss it in the microwave.
  • Use a baking oven
  • Spray some oil in a pan and cook it

To learn more tips and tricks on how to reheat leftovers, visit this website.

Potential health risks of eating spoiled chicken

Chicken is a very nutritious food. It is called lean meat because of its high protein content and low fat. On the other hand it is notorious for being the reservoir of a pathogen called Salmonella. It is the bacteria that causes Typhoid. 

The most common way by which humans can get infected by this bacteria is by eating undercooked chicken. If you store this undercooked chicken, the bacteria will get a chance to overgrow as soon as the chicken is out of the fridge. It does not even change the texture of chicken or give it a bad smell so you can not spot it. 

Other pathogens that can grow on chicken are E.coli and mold. Mold is easier to spot as it produces green-bluish spots on chicken.

The symptoms of typhoid fever are headache, weakness, diarrhea or constipation, loss of appetite, and stomach pain. It requires a strong antibiotic regimen and in severe cases, even hospitalization. The anti-typhoid regimen can even lead to hair loss. The severe type of typhoid takes a long time to resolve.

E.coli can cause food poisoning, symptoms of which are diarrhea, abdominal cramps, nausea, and vomiting. Severe vomiting can even lead to dehydration which might require hospitalization. 

Mold is easy to spot but if you overlook some spots and consume the spoiled chicken anyway, it can cause toxicity. If your immune system is strong enough, your body may be able to fight small amounts of mold that you may have ingested. 

If it is not, mold toxicity can produce symptoms similar to food poisoning. Older people usually tend to have a weak immune system so they are at risk.

Another really dangerous bacteria found in poultry is Campylobacter Jejuni. Heat can kill it but it is still present in undercooked meat. It also causes food poisoning but on top of that, it can cause Guillain-barre syndrome. 

In this syndrome, there is weakness in legs first which spreads to the upper body. There is also tingling and pricking sensation in toes, fingers, wrist, or ankles.

It can lead to unsteady walking or difficulty in walking or climbing stairs. Moreover it can lead to a difficulty in facial movements such as eating, swallowing, or even chewing. 

If left untreated, the symptoms quickly get worse and can even lead to death. In long standing cases, full body paralysis can occur and if your respiratory muscles get involved, it can immediately cause death.

The best way to avoid all these complications is to store the cooked chicken properly and throw it out after 5 days if it remains unconsumed because it is always better to be safe than sorry.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

Can you eat chicken during lent?

Where is teriyaki from

What is teriyaki?


In this brief article, we answered the question “Can you put cooked chicken in the fridge?”, listed down ways to reheat leftover chicken, and discussed the potential health risks of eating spoiled chicken.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.