How long can you keep the frozen chicken in the fridge?

This article will answer the question “How long can you keep the frozen chicken in the fridge?” and how to safely thaw chicken?

How long can you keep the frozen chicken in the fridge?

After thawing overnight in the fridge, chicken can last 1-2 extra days in the fridge. Sometimes, the thawed chicken goes bad or loses its quality to a significant extent by the 3rd way. 

This is due to the poor initial quality of the chicken before freezing. Chicken thawed in the microwave or under cold/tap water needs to be cooked right away or it will go bad.

The shelf-life of chicken 

(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 

How to tell if the chicken is spoiled?

Chicken that is past its expiration date is not necessarily unsafe to eat. In this case, let your senses guide you.

  • If the chicken smells unpleasant, it is a strong indication of spoilage.
  • If the surface of the meat is sticky to touch, the meat is spoiled. Toss it in the bin.
  • If the chicken develops grey or green-colored patches or spots, it is an obvious sign of mold and/or bacterial growth. Such meat is unsafe for consumption and should be immediately discarded.

How to thaw chicken in the fridge?

Plan your meals ahead of time and always defrost your chicken in the refrigerator. Let it stay in the fridge overnight. Place the freezer bag in a dish before tossing it in the fridge to avoid drips. 

Ground chicken or boneless chicken breasts will take about 24 hours to defrost completely in the fridge. On the other hand, a bunch of bone-in pieces or a five-pound bird will need about 2 days to defrost. 

This method is the easiest and the safest especially to defrost whole chicken or a large amount of bone-in pieces

How to thaw chicken in the water?

Before proceeding, make sure the storage bag of the chicken is of high quality, leak-proof, and preferably vacuum-sealed. Then simply submerge the bag in a bowl full of cold water. 

Never use hot water for this purpose as it can cook the outer surface of the chicken rendering it susceptible to microbial growth. 

Ground chicken or turkey takes about an hour, while a few couple pounds of boneless chicken will take 1-2 hours to thaw completely. Bigger whole cuts of meat have a longer defrosting time.

If the storage bag contains multiple boneless or bone-in pieces of chicken, you can separate the pieces after a few hours of thawing. Then reseal the pieces in the bag and put them in the bowl. This will hasten the defrosting process.

How to thaw chicken in the microwave?

Chicken can be thawed in the microwave by using the ‘defrost’ setting. Read the instructions in the manual specific for thawing each cut of meat in the microwave. Place the chicken on a microwave-safe plate and pop it in the microwave. 

Heat on the defrost setting and check after regular intervals to prevent overcooking. Despite all the precautions, the microwave tends to leave hot spots in the thawed chicken. Therefore, this method of defrosting is not preferred. 

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.

Cooking frozen chicken 

Cooking chicken straight out of the freezer will take double the regular time or the time mentioned in the recipe. The best methods to cook frozen chickens are braising and slow cooking to make soups and stews. 

Other methods like sautéing, roasting, or microwaving can also be used but the results won’t be as good. The chicken might feel a bit chewy because it cooks faster from the outside if frozen while the core is still uncooked.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

How long do chicken nuggets last in the fridge?

How long can you eat rotisserie chicken?

How long can you eat cooked chicken?


This article answered the question “How long can you keep the frozen chicken in the fridge?” and how to safely thaw chicken?



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