How long can cooked chicken stay in the fridge? 

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “How long can cooked chicken stay in the fridge?” and tips to store cooked chicken as well as to detect spoilage in chicken.

How long can cooked chicken stay in the fridge?

Cooked chicken can stay in the fridge for 3-4 days. Chicken should be stored in the fridge at a temperature lower than 40℉. Avoid storing them in temperature between 40 to 140℉.

Let us look at the shelf-life of different cuts of chicken.

Cooked chicken typeShelf-life of cooked chicken in the fridge
Chicken breast3-4 days
Vacuum sealed 1-2 weeks
Whole chicken2-3 days
Ground chicken3-4 days
Chicken liver1-2 days

Some stores might label the shelf-life of chicken liver up to two weeks but it is important to note that the flavor of the chicken liver would not taste that good for 2 weeks. It is better to consume it within 1-2 days.

Vacuum sealing can help in extending the shelf-life of the chicken. This is because, during the process of vacuum sealing, the air is sucked out of the package and then sealed.

How to store cooked chicken?

  • Cooked chicken can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge. You can also wrap the chicken in plastic or aluminum foil. Chicken should be stored at a temperature lower than 40℉. 

Storing the cooked chicken in the fridge would help in slowing down the bacterial growth though it would not cease bacterial growth.

  • Place the chicken in the fridge in an airtight container or a ziplock bag.
  • If the cooked chicken is kept in the freezer it can last for at least 5-6 months. If you are planning to freeze chicken, place them in a freezer bag. Squeeze the freezer bag to remove excess air before storing it.
  • Label the chicken before storing it in the freezer. This would help you in planning your meals accordingly and reduce wastage.
  • Avoid placing the cooked chicken for a long time in the freezer as the flavor and texture of the chicken can reduce over time.
  • Defrost the chicken in the fridge overnight. If you plan on heating the frozen chicken on the stovetop that can also work. Be careful if you are planning to microwave for defrosting the chicken.
  • While storing chicken make sure to divide the into portions before storing them. This is because whole chicken is likely to get spoilt quickly. 
  • If you wish to store the chicken for a very short time, you can store the whole chicken in the fridge. Whole chicken does not lose its flavor easily.

How to detect spoilt cooked chicken?

  • If the chicken has passed the use-by date or the best-by date there are chances that the chicken has been spoilt. Even if you do not detect any signs of spoilage, it is better to avoid consuming chicken past their use-by date.
  • If you observe greyish or greenish discoloration in the chicken, it is another sign of spoilage. Grayish or greenish discoloration would indicate mold growth on the chicken.
  • If the chicken emits a foul odor similar to that of ammonia, it is an indication that the chicken has been spoilt. If the chicken has been marinated with herbs or other sauces, it would be difficult to detect this smell.
  • If the chicken has become slimy, it is better to avoid consuming it. Rinsing the chicken would not rinse off the spoilage that has been caused to the chicken. 

If the slimy chicken comes in contact with other foods, there is an increased risk of the other foods spoiling too.

Should you consume chicken that has overstayed in the fridge?

No, do not consume chicken that has overstayed in the fridge or has been past its use-by date. This is because bacteria does not cease to grow in the fridge but grows at a slower rate.

Post four days, the chicken will start growing bacteria and would not be safe to consume. The chicken can look and smell pretty good but it might have already started spoiling. 

Can reheating the chicken help in consuming overstayed chicken?

Reheating the chicken can help destroy bacteria present in the outside area of the chicken but the chicken would already contain toxins inside it. Consuming such a chicken can increase the risk of developing food poisoning.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

Can you defrost a whole chicken at room temperature?

Can you defrost a chicken in cold water?

Can you cook chicken in an air fryer?

Conclusion

In this brief article, we have answered the question, “How long can cooked chicken stay in the fridge?” and tips to store cooked chicken as well as to detect spoilage in chicken.

References

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-long-does-chicken-last-in-the-fridge
https://www.southernliving.com/meat/chicken/how-long-does-cooked-chicken-last-in-fridge

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.