How long does chicken last in the fridge? (+5 storage tips)

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does chicken last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of a chicken in different mediums. Moreover, we are going to discuss the easy way to do vacuum sealing at home and the tips to store chicken properly in the fridge. 

So without much ado, let’s dive in and figure out more about it.

How long does chicken last in the fridge?

According to USDA, a raw whole chicken can last in the fridge for approximately 1-2 days as long as the safety standards are maintained. Uncooked chicken parts, chicken sausages, and ground chicken all have the same shelf life and last for 1-2 days in the refrigerator.

Chicken belongs to the meat food group and is a perishable commodity. There is a great risk of bacterial contamination if this food item is not cooked and stored appropriately.

Another important thing to keep in mind is that you should always read the labels for the best before or the expiry date of the chicken and it is advised not to consume the chicken once it goes past the expiry date. 

How long does chicken last in the freezer?

A raw whole chicken can last for about 1 year in the freezer. Chicken pieces like breasts and drumsticks if kept in an air-tight container can last for up to 9 months while the raw ground chicken can stay fresh for 3-4 months in the freezer. Chicken sausages if kept in the freezer can last for 1-2 months. 

Moreover, vacuum-sealed chicken parts last for up to 9 months while vacuum sealed whole chicken lasts for 1 year in the freezer. Thus keeping the chicken in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably owing to the cool temperature of the freezer that halts the bacterial growth on the chicken.

How to tell if the chicken has gone bad?

You can tell whether or not your raw chicken has gone bad by considering its appearance, texture, and smell.

If you can see the color of the chicken change to grey-green or if you can spot molds of grey-green color on the surface of the chicken then it is the indication that your chicken has gone bad.

If you can feel something slimy while touching the chicken then it means that your chicken has gone bad.  But keep one thing in mind that rinsing the chicken won’t help you in this scenario as you won’t be able to get rid of the bacteria. Rather rinsing the bacteria-laden chicken will put you at risk of cross-contamination as the bacteria will spread in the utensils and other food items that will come in contact with the water from the chicken that has gone bad.

If you can smell something acidic or sour then it means that your chicken has gone bad and you should discard it. 

What will happen if you eat a chicken that has gone bad?

Eating a chicken that has gone bad can put you at the risk of many food-borne illnesses especially food poisoning.

Chicken can have bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter on it and eating a chicken that has gone bad can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and severe food poisoning.

Tips to store chicken properly

  1. The chicken should be washed thoroughly before storing it in an air-tight container or bag in the fridge.
  2. It is a good practice to store the chicken on the shelf of the fridge rather than the door as there is a lot of temperature fluctuation at the door of the fridge.
  3. It is best practice to store the chicken on the lowest shelf of the fridge to eliminate any chances of its dripping on any other food item.
  4. Refrigerate the chicken promptly at or below  40°F. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40°F and 140°F, therefore it is always advised to store your chicken at a lower temperature.
  5. If you want to freeze the chicken it is better to wrap it in the aluminum foil or freezer bag before putting it in air-tight heavy-duty freezer containers.

How to vacuum seal the chicken?

You can also opt for vacuum sealing at home that involves the process of putting the chicken in a plastic zipper bag, removing air from it, and almost sealing the bag with a little space left while lowering it into water. Afterward, press out the bubbles from the bag starting from the bottom of the bag and once you reach the sealed end, you should press the seal closed. 

The reason behind doing vacuum sealing is to ensure that there is minimum air present in the plastic zipper bag with the chicken. As air has moisture and oxygen in it that favors bacterial growth, so by removing air, chicken can retain its freshness for a long time.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does chicken last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of a chicken in different mediums. Moreover, we discussed the easy way to do vacuum sealing at home and the tips to store chicken properly in the fridge. 

Citations

https://www.goldnplump.com/content/chicken-basics-storing-chicken

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/how-long-does-chicken-last-in-the-fridge#spoiled-chicken-risks

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Mahnoor Asghar is a Clinical Nutritionist with a bachelor's degree in Nutrition and Dietetics. She is compassionate and dedicated to playing her part in the well-being of the masses. She wants to play a fruitful role in creating nutrition and health-related awareness among the general public. Additionally, she has a keen eye for detail and loves to create content related to food, nutrition, health, and wellness.

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