How long can cooked chicken last in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can cooked chicken last in the fridge?”, and how to tell If the chicken has gone bad?

How long can cooked chicken last in the fridge?

Despite the continuous refrigeration and proper storage, the cooked chicken should not be consumed after 3-4 days or 2-3 months, if the cooked chicken was frozen, as per the USDA. 

To ensure quality and extend the shelf life of a cooked ground chicken, store it in shallow air-tight containers. Alternatively, wrap it with a thick good quality plastic sheet or heavy-duty aluminum foil.

Chicken breast 

The cooked chicken breast will be good for 304 days in the fridge if stored correctly. While a raw breast would only last 1-2 days. Your best bet is to store the breast piece in the freezer for extended shelf life.

Whole chicken 

Whole chicken lasts almost the same or sometimes for a lesser period as compared to the breast or ground chicken in the fridge. To extend its shelf-life, It is recommended to cut the whole chicken into suitably sized pieces.

Vacuum sealed cooked chicken 

Vacuum-sealed cooked chicken will last 2 weeks in the fridge and months in the freezer. The vacuum sealing keeps the bacteria at bay.

Chicken liver 

The cooked chicken liver will only last 1-2 days in the fridge. You might have come across chicken liver in stores with its label claiming It will last 3 weeks. It can last this long without being unsafe. However, the quality won’t be the same and the taste will be compromised.

How to tell If the cooked chicken has gone bad?

  1. If the cooked chicken develops a slimy texture and a greyish hue all over its surface or in the form of patches, It has gone bad.
  1. Totten cooked chicken will give off a sour smell which is very striking and is an obvious sign of spoilage.
  1. If the chicken has been stored in the fridge way past its shelf-life, It is always a better idea to get rid of it than risking your health.

Tips for keeping your cooked chicken from going bad

Keep it in the fridge 

Cooked or raw chicken should not be placed for more than 2 hours on the counter and one hour If the temperature is higher than 90℉, according to the USDA. store your chicken within 2 hours of its cooking after It has cooled down.

Seal your food storage containers 

Pay attention to the cleanliness of the container before storing your food. Food storage containers should be free of any grease or dust. 

Moreover, a good food storage container should have a tight seal to ensure the safety of its contents against pathogens and spoilage microbes.

Cut the chicken into small pieces

Larger chicken cuts will take a longer time to attain a safe temperature. While shorter pieces will cool quickly. Similarly, large-sized food storage containers will take longer to freeze than small ones.

Keep raw chicken away

Cross-contamination is a major cause of food spoilage. Therefore, always keep your raw food commodities away from the cooked food commodities.

Is freezing the cooked chicken better than refrigerating it?

Freezing extends the shelf-life of cooked meat products. Grilled and roasted chicken lasts only 3-4 days in the fridge. While It will stay fresh for 4-6 months If stored correctly in the freezer. Similarly, fried chicken and patties will stay edible for 1-3 months in the freezer.

Chicken gravy or broth can stay fresh for up to 6 months in the freezer. Considering the extended shelf-life of food products, freezing cooked chicken is a better option. However, It comes at a cost. You have to defrost and reheat the food.

What is the best way to freeze cooked chicken?

  1. Let the chicken cool down before storing.
  1. Divide the chicken into portion-sized servings so that you can easily defrost the amount of chicken that you need.
  1. Wrap a clean plastic sheet around the chicken tightly.
  1. Transfer the wrapped chicken portions into a freezer bag or air-tight container for extra protection. Label the bag and chuck it in the freezer.

How to use leftover cooked chicken?

Use the leftover cooked chicken as a stuffing for bagels. Add the cooked chicken to your taco salad bowl along with cherry tomatoes, avocados, cheeses, fresh corn, and green onions. Italian pasta salad is incomplete without chicken. 

Quick chicken pot pie is an excellent and quick way to satisfy your cravings and use up your leftovers. You can also shred the cooked chicken and add them to the casserole.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

Can you cook semi-frozen chicken?

What are the best sides of rotisserie chicken?

Can you cook half-frozen chicken?


In this article, we answered the question “How long can cooked chicken last in the fridge?”, and how to tell If the chicken has gone bad?


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