How long can cooked chicken stay out of the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long can cooked chicken stay out of the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked chicken at room temperature. Moreover, we are going to discuss tips to properly store chicken.

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long can cooked chicken stay out of the fridge?

Cooked chicken lasts for about 2 hours when left out of the fridge at room temperature. 

You should discard the cooked chicken that has been left in open for more than 2 hours as bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore there are greater chances of the cooked chicken being already contaminated with bacteria when left out for more than 2 hours.

Moreover, if the temperature of the surroundings is about 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then the process of spoilage takes place at a faster pace and it is recommended to discard cooked chicken that is left out in the open for more than an hour at 90 degrees Fahrenheit.

How long can cooked chicken stay in the fridge?

Cooked chicken lasts for about 3-4 days if stored at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge when stored in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag. 

Moreover, as chicken is a highly perishable commodity therefore care should be taken while handling, storing, and cooking it.

How long can cooked chicken stay in the freezer?

Cooked chicken, if kept wrapped in aluminum foil in an air-tight container or air-tight plastic freezer bag, can last for about 4 months in the freezer. 

Thus keeping the cooked chicken in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the cooked chicken.

It is worth mentioning that the figures mentioned above are the estimated shelf life of a cooked chicken.

How to thaw frozen cooked chicken properly?

You can thaw frozen cooked chicken by leaving them in the fridge overnight. The cooked chicken that you thaw in the fridge can stay there for 3-4 days before you decide to reheat and eat it.

On the other hand, you can also directly thaw and reheat your frozen cooked chicken in the microwave but the cooked chicken thawed and reheated this way should be consumed immediately.

Can I refrigerate the reheated cooked chicken?

So once you have reheated the cooked chicken, you should never refrigerate it. As when you reheat the cooked chicken, its temperature rises more than 40 degrees Fahrenheit and we know that bacteria grows at a faster rate between 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit. So the bacteria will find their way to your cooked chicken and you should never refrigerate the reheated cooked chicken.

Tips to properly store cooked chicken

  1. You should always store your cooked chicken at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store your cooked chicken at a lower temperature to preserve its freshness for a long time.
  1. It is recommended to store cooked chicken on one of the shelves of the refrigerator rather than the door as there are a lot of temperature fluctuations at the door of the fridge.
  1. It is always advised to use shallow containers to store cooked chicken in the fridge so that the chicken can cool down evenly and quickly.
  1. One thing to keep in mind is to let your cooked chicken cool thoroughly before putting them in the container or the zip-lock bag. If you put steaming hot cooked chicken in these airtight bags or containers, the moisture will build up inside them which can provide suitable conditions for the bacteria to grow.
  1. You can further prolong the shelf life of the cooked chicken by wrapping it in the heavy-duty aluminum foil or plastic freezer bag and storing it in the freezer.
  1. You can also opt for vacuum sealing at home that can prolong the shelf life of a cooked chicken. It involves the process of putting the cooked chicken in a plastic zipper bag, removing air from it, and almost sealing the bag with a little space left while lowering it into water. Afterward, press out the bubbles from the bag starting from the bottom of the bag and once you reach the sealed end, you should press the seal closed. A vacuum sealer pump can also be used for this purpose.

You can read how to make chicken nuggets here.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

How to fry frozen chicken wings?

Why can you eat duck medium rare and not chicken?

How long can you leave the chicken in the fridge?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long can cooked chicken stay out of the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of cooked chicken at room temperature. Moreover, we discussed tips to properly store chicken.

Citations

https://www.stilltasty.com/questions/index/211#:~:text=Cooked%20chicken%20that%20has%20been,as%20soon%20as%20you%20can.

https://exactlyhowlong.com/how-long-can-cooked-chicken-sit-out-and-why/

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

https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16787#:~:text=Properly%20stored%2C%20cooked%20chicken%20will,aluminum%20foil%20or%20freezer%20wrap.

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.