How long does butter chicken last in the fridge?

In this article, we will answer the question “How long does butter chicken last in the fridge?”, and how to freeze butter chicken?

How long does butter chicken last in the fridge?

If stored correctly in an air-tight container, butter chicken lasts up to 4 days in the fridge, according to the US Department of Agriculture (1).

Approximately 65% of Americans eat chicken at home during a given week, and many others also report eating chicken outside the home. With consumption rates this high, identifying chicken as the likely source of a multistate foodborne outbreak is challenging because of traditional epidemiological methods (2).

How do you freeze butter chicken?

The process of freezing butter chicken is as easy as it gets. The good part is that butter chicken freezes quite well unlike most of the Indian curry dishes.

Rapid freezing is usually associated with high product quality. Long-term frozen storage has the potential to adversely affect product quality due to ice crystal growth, moisture migration and oxidation. Slow freezing process of tissues can allow sufficient time for water migration due to osmotic forces from the inner region of a cell to the freeze-concentrated intercellular region. This can result in cell desiccation, cell wall disruption, loss of turgor and crushing of the dried cell by the large intercellular ice mass. These phenomena affect not only the texture of the frozen product, but also a significant drip loss during thawing and cooking can occur, leading to a loss of nutrients. During frozen storage the existence of temperature gradients within a product creates water vapor pressure profiles resulting in moisture migration and relocation of the water, both within and from the product. There is an overall tendency for moisture to move into the void spaces around the foodstuff and to accumulate on the product surface and on the internal package surface.

Therefore, in order to achieve better quality of the frozen butter chicken, rapid cooling and freezing is advisable, as well as constant freezing temperatures during frozen storage (3).

Step 1: Cook the sauce 

Cook the sauce and prepare the chicken as per the recipe instructions. The flavor profile of homemade butter chicken sauce is superior to the one that is made using the store-bought mix. But we do not judge if you want to save time by using the store-bought sauce mix.

Step 2: Cool the dish and prepare containers 

Let your butter chicken come to room temperature before you pack it away. This will prevent the steam from collecting inside the storage container, thus preventing spoilage. 

The next step is to grab a storage container for freezing your butter chicken. You can opt for a resealable freezer bag, an air-tight container, or a disposable foil pan.

Step 3: Freeze the butter chicken 

Divide the butter chicken into small portions and use multiple storage containers for freezing. This will make the thawing process a lot easier.

If you opt for a freezer bag, make sure to squeeze as much air as possible from the bag and leave some space to allow the sauce to expand as it freezes.

If you opt for an air-tight container, make sure to check the integrity of its seal. If the seal of the container is flimsy, your butter chicken won’t last long. After filling the container with your butter chicken, leave a headspace of ½ to 1-inches to allow the sauce to expand as it freezes.

Foil pans are a good investment if you often freeze store your food. Get multiple foil pans to freeze your butter chicken in small meal-sized portions.

To use a foil pan for freezing, use some freezer-friendly plastic wrap or aluminum foil to cover the bottom of the foil pan. Fold the excess plastic wraps on both sides over the foil pan to cover the top part as well. 

Pour your butter chicken into the foil pan. Cover the pan with the excess plastic wrap. Lastly, wrap the entire foil pan with a large piece of foil. Chuck the foil pan in the freezer for about 3-4 months. 

Tips for freezing butter chicken 

Can I freeze the sauce and chicken separately?

While most of the sauces are better stored separately from other ingredients, the case with butter chicken is different.

Yes, you can freeze the sauce and chicken separately but it is not recommended since the butter chicken freezes quite well as a complete dish. The sauce prevents the chicken from drying out during freezing. 

To cook or not to cook the chicken 

It might come as a surprise to some people but you can freeze your butter chicken in uncooked form. But freezing cooked butter chicken is always a more reliable and safer option. 

Indian Butter Chicken recipe 

Ingredients 

Marinade 

  • 2 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 cup plain yogurt
  • 1/8 tsp ginger
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp chili
  • 2 tsp tandoori masala
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1 tsp cayenne
  • 2 1/2 lb. boneless skinless chicken thighs

Butter Chicken sauce 

  • 3 tbsp avocado oil
  • 3 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/2 tsp cumin seeds
  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 1 1/2 onions
  • 1/4 tsp ginger
  • 2 tomatoes
  • 1 cup tomatoes sauce
  • 1 tsp turmeric
  • 1 tsp chili
  • 1.5 tsp tandoori masala spice
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp curry
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 cup juice from the chicken
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Instructions 

Marinate the chicken 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, add Greek yogurt, 2 cloves of pressed garlic, and 1/8 tsp ginger along with all of the species listed under the marinade. Mix well until homogenous.
  2. Dump the chicken thighs in the marinade. Make sure the chicken is well-coated in the marinade. Let the chicken marinate in the fridge for about 4 hours.

Bake chicken in the oven 

  1. Preheat your oven to 380℉.
  2. Place your marinated chicken on a baking sheet lined with foil and bake for 20 minutes. Then set the oven to broil and bake for another 4-5 minutes.
  3. Let the chicken cool. Collect the drippings and cut the chicken into 1-inch cubes.

Make the sauce 

  1. Heat butter and avocado oil in a skillet and crackle the cumin seeds.
  2. Then stir in 4 cloves of minced garlic, 1/4 tsp of ginger, and the diced onion and cook until the onions are translucent. 
  3. Stir in the diced tomatoes and cook for 3 minutes. Pour the tomato sauce.
  4. Add the remaining spices and cook.

Add chicken back in + heavy cream 

Add the chicken to the hot sauce. Pour heavy cream and let the flavors blend for about 5 minutes on medium heat.

Other FAQs about Chicken that you may be interested in.

Can you freeze a whole chicken?

Can you cook frozen chicken wings?

Can you cook chicken without flour?

Conclusion 

In this article, we answered the question “How long does butter chicken last in the fridge?”, and how to freeze butter chicken?

References 

  1. Leftovers and Food Safety. US Department of Agriculture. 2020.
  2. Crowe, Samuel J., et al. Utility of combining whole genome sequencing with traditional investigational methods to solve foodborne outbreaks of Salmonella infections associated with chicken: a new tool for tackling this challenging food vehicle. J food protec, 2017, 80, 654-660.
  3. Evans, Judith A., ed. Frozen food science and technology. John Wiley & Sons, 2009.