How long can you eat cooked chicken?

This article will answer the question “How long can you eat cooked chicken?” and how to freeze cooked chicken?

Read on to find out how to use leftover cooked chicken and what happens if you accidentally ate spoiled chicken.

How long can you eat cooked chicken?

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. cooking kills most of the harmful bacteria in your food. 

However, reheating does no good if the food was spoiled. It is because cooking temperatures are insufficient to destroy toxins produced by pathogenic bacteria. 

The point being, the moldy cooked chicken should be discarded immediately. The same goes for cooked chicken that is way past its safe timeline. Because it is better to stay safe than sorry!

How to safely 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 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.

What are the risks of eating spoiled chicken?

Eating spoiled chicken results in food poisoning. Meat and poultry products are likely to be contaminated with Campylobacter and Salmonella. 

Ingesting these bacteria results in serious symptoms or foodborne illness. These symptoms include high fever (above 101.5°F or 38.6°C), chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloody stools, and dehydration.

The shelf-life of chicken 

According to the USDA, uncooked chicken can be kept safely in the fridge for 1-2 days regardless if it is whole or not, while cooked chicken will preserve its freshness for 3-4 days in the fridge. 

The safety/quality clock for store-bought frozen chicken starts ticking after the chicken has been thawed once. Raw chicken should be frozen if it is not to be consumed within 1-2 days of refrigeration.

(Unopened)Refrigerator Freezer 
Past Printed Date Past Printed Date
Fresh chicken 1-2 days 1 year 
Cooked chicken 7 days1 year 
Roasted chicken 7 days 6-8 months 
(Opened)Pantry Fridge 
Canned chicken 7 days 

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.

Can you fry cooked chicken?

Yes, you can fry cooked chicken. This is a great way to lower the frying time without compromising on safety and quality especially when you have guests over. Frying cooked chicken assures that the outside of the chicken is crispy and golden while is inside is cooked and tender. 

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.

What is yakitori served with?

How do you eat yakitori?

Is yakitori only chicken?


This article answered the question “How long can you eat cooked chicken?” and how to freeze cooked 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.