How long can you leave the chicken in the fridge? 

In this brief article, we will answer the question, “How long can you leave the chicken in the fridge?” and provide information on detecting spoilage in chicken as well as storing chicken.

How long can you leave the chicken in the fridge?

Chicken can last in the fridge for 1-2 days. If there are leftover pieces of chicken stored in the fridge, it would mostly last for 3-4 days in the fridge. Cooked pieces of chicken also have a shelf-life of 3-4 days in the fridge.

The shelf-life of chicken can also extend beyond 2 days if it is stored properly. If the chicken is commercially prepared and packed, check the best-by date stated on the pack of the chicken to determine its shelf-life. 

Certain foods incorporating chicken can last for longer than 3-4 days. Chicken salad can last for 5 days. Chicken hot dogs if opened can last for a week. If the chicken hot dogs are unopened, they can last for 2 weeks.

If the chicken lunch meat is opened, it can have a shelf-life of approximately 3-5 days. If it is unopened, it would have a shelf-life of 2 weeks. Deli chicken lunch meat can last for 3-5 days as well.

Cooked chicken also needs to be kept in an airtight container. If you wish to lengthen the shelf-life of chicken, it can be placed in the freezer.

How to detect spoilage in chicken?

There are a few ways to detect whether the chicken has spoilt. Below are a few methods to check the quality of the chicken.

  • If the chicken has gone past the best-by or use-by date, avoid using it. The chicken might not show any signs of spoilage but this does not guarantee that the chicken is safe to consume.
  • If the chicken has green or gray color specks, it is an indicator of spoilage. The specks would indicate mold growth.
  • If the chicken gives off an acidic odor or foul smell, it is likely to be spoilt. Sometimes the chicken can also give off an odor that resembles that of ammonia which is another indicator of spoilage.

If the chicken was cooked in lots of herbs and spices, it would be difficult to determine the rotten odor.

  • If the chicken appears to be slimy, throw it away. Washing the chicken is not going to ward off the spoilage. Also, there is an increased risk of cross-contamination if this slimy chicken comes in contact with other foods.
  • It is better to avoid tasting chicken if you suspect it to be spoilt. If you observe no signs of spoilage from outside, you can try tasting a small piece. If the chicken does not taste fine, discard it.

What are some tips to store chicken?

  • Place chicken in ziplock bags, sealed containers, or airtight containers. Store them in this manner irrespective of whether the chicken is prepared at home, store-bought, or prepared in a restaurant.
  • It is essential to remember to store the chicken in the fridge at a temperature below 40℉. Also, store chicken in an airtight bag which is also leakproof. This is because juices dripping from chicken can contaminate other foods.
  • If you have large amounts of leftover chicken, place it in the freezer. 
  • For placing the chicken in the freezer, you would have to first wrap the pieces in aluminum foil and then place it in a freezer bag. Squeezing the air in the bag before freezing would be essential.
  • If you wish to defrost the chicken, place them overnight in the fridge. 
  • For reheating the chicken, you can use a stovetop or an oven. If it is placed in the microwave, then there is a risk of the chicken losing out on moisture and drying. So it is better to avoid using a microwave and instead use an oven or stovetop.
  • Avoid placing the chicken at room temperature for more than 2 hours. This is because placing the chicken at room temperature can increase the risk of spoilage due to exposure to bacteria.

Chicken cannot be placed at temperatures ranging from 40℉ to 140℉. As a result, it cannot be kept at room temperature for a long time

How to use up leftover chicken?

You can add leftover chicken pieces to the chicken salad. You can also use it to prepare chicken pasta, chicken soup, or quesadilla.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

How to make chicken broth with bouillon cubes?

How to can chicken broth

Can you boil an entire chicken


In this brief article, we have answered the question, “How long can you leave the chicken in the fridge?” and provided information on detecting spoilage in chicken as well as storing chicken.