How long can you keep marinated chicken in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long can you keep marinated chicken in the fridge?”, and how long can you marinate chicken in buttermilk?

How long can you keep marinated chicken in the fridge?

Marinated chicken can be kept in the fridge for as short as 2-3 hours or as long as 24 hours in the fridge. Read on if you want to know why you should not marinate your chicken for more than 24 hours in the fridge.

The shelf-life of chicken 

Raw or cooked, the chicken should not be kept for more than 2 hours at the counter at temperatures between 40℉-140℉. The following table shows an estimated shelf-life of whole chicken and chicken pieces under different storage conditions. 

In the fridge In the freezer
Chicken, pieces 1-2 days 9-12 months 
Chicken, whole 1-2 days 1 year 

How long can you marinate chicken in buttermilk?

In addition to imparting flavor, buttermilk marinate provides a crispy outer coating. Buttermilk marinate infuses well into the chicken and makes it tender and juicy. Your best bet is to marinate the chicken in buttermilk coating for at least 24 hours. 

Marinating longer than 24 hours is not recommended as it puts the chicken at the risk of spoilage. If you do not want to marinate your chicken for as long as 24 hours, 12 hours is a safe window. 

How long can you marinate chicken in lemon juice?

Lemon flavored, sweet, and sour chicken is the top-tier Asian style chicken. You can either marinate the chicken with lemon alone but other seasonings work great too and add a lot of complex flavors. 

The best deal is to refrigerate the lemon marinated chicken stored in the plastic bag overnight. However, some people agree on a 2 hour marination time for all the citrus marinates including lemon. It all comes down to personal preference. 

Just don’t go overboard with the lemon juice if you intend to keep it overnight. Remember a little goes a long way!

What happens when the meat marinates too long?

The basic ingredients of any meat marinade include 3 basic components including rich oil, salt, sugar, and tangy acid. Yogurt, lemon juice, and vinegar are commonly used as acid sources in the marinade. 

The acid is supposed to break down the tough and chewy muscle protein into tender, juicy and flavorful protein. However, prolonged exposure to acid can turn the meat into a mushy mess. 

Moreover, marinated chicken for prolonged periods also poses serious food safety threats. Raw chicken should not be kept in the fridge for more than 1-2 days, as per the USDA

The refrigerated raw chicken goes bad before you know it once the 2-day safe storage window passes. 

The presence of marinade only hastens the process. Therefore, it is important to not let the chicken sit in the marinade for more than 24 hours. All of this is particularly true for more tender meats like shrimp and salmon (seafood).

How to meal-prep marinated meats?

If you are into meal prepping, you will find it very useful to marinate the chicken overnight and cook the refrigerated chicken the next day. For long-term storage, you can even freeze the marinated chicken and thaw it whenever you want. 

Last but not the least, you can always rinse the marinade within 24 hours if there is a change of plan. This will prevent your meat from becoming too mushy. 

How to defrost chicken?

In the fridge 

This is the safest and the recommended method of thawing for any type of meat. Shift the frozen chicken from the freezer and place it in a place or dish, then, stick it in the fridge. 

The plate will catch the meat drippings during thawing and prevent cross-contamination. Always keep the thawing meat at the lowest fridge shelf to prevent cross-contamination.

Under cold water 

Fill a bowl with cold water and submerge the packaged chicken into the bowl. Change the water after every 30 minutes. Do so until the meat is completely thawed. Meat thawed in such a way needs to be cooked right away.

In the microwave

This method is not recommended as it tends to leave cold spots in the meat. It may partially cook the outer layers of the meat, thus, allowing it to be a perfect environment for bacteria to grow. 

Use the ‘defrost seeing’ of the microwave to thaw chicken and check after regular intervals to prevent cooking. Meat thawed in such a way needs to be cooked right away.

Conclusion

In this article, we answered the question “How long can you keep marinated chicken in the fridge?”, and how long can you marinate chicken in buttermilk?

References

https://www.thekitchn.com/never-over-marinate-chicken-22949496
https://www.nestle-family.com/en/article/chicken-%E2%80%93-handling-it-safe-way

Hello, I'm Sana Ameer. I'm a student of Food Science and Technology at UVAS. I like to bake and I aspire to become a Food blogger.