How long does cooked chicken breast last in the fridge?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “how long does cooked chicken breast last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of a cooked chicken breast in different conditions. Moreover, we are going to discuss the proper way to handle and store chicken breast and the health implications of consuming a bad chicken breast.

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

How long does cooked chicken breast last in the fridge?

Cooked chicken breast lasts for about 3-4 days when it is kept in the fridge at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in an air-tight container or plastic zipper bag.

Chicken is a perishable commodity that is loaded with a lot of micro and macronutrients. Moreover cooked chicken breast is less in fat and provides that body with a good amount of bioavailable protein when it is consumed. 

If we talk about the whole chicken then it also has the same shelf life as that of chicken breasts, it lasts for about 3-4 days when stored properly at or below 40 degrees Fahrenheit in the fridge.

How long does cooked chicken breast last in the freezer?

Cooked chicken breast lasts for about 4 months if it is properly stored in the freezer. You should take care while handling and storing chicken as it is a perishable commodity, therefore you should store cooked chicken breast in the freezer by wrapping it in aluminum foil in a plastic freezer bag or heavy-duty freezer container. 

We are doing so to keep the chicken safe from freezer burns that can otherwise degrade the quality of the chicken breast.

Thus keeping the cooked 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 properly handle and store chicken?

Certain food safety steps should be considered while handling and storing chicken.

  1. You should always wash your hands thoroughly before handling the chicken. Moreover, all the counters should also be washed and cleaned properly.
  2. You should never mix the uncooked chicken with other fruits and vegetables as the bacteria can be present on the surface of the meat and if such meat comes in contact with other food items it can cause cross-contamination.
  3. Cook all poultry to 165°F, it is only if you cook the chicken thoroughly that you can get rid of bacteria that might have found their way to your chicken.
  4. You should always store your chicken at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below. Bacterial growth takes place at a faster pace between the temperature of 40 degrees Fahrenheit and 140 degrees Fahrenheit, therefore it is always advised to store your cooked chicken as well as an uncooked chicken at a lower temperature.
  5. You should never store the hot cooked chicken breast directly in the air-tight container as the moisture can build up inside the container and can provide a suitable environment for bacteria to grow, which can resultantly spoil your cooked chicken breast.
  6. You should let the frozen chicken breast thaw in the fridge overnight and consume it after reheating it but if you are thawing the cooked chicken in a microwave then it is better to consume it immediately afterward. In case you are thawing cooked chicken breast in the bowl of cold water, firstly heat it and then immediately consume it, or else bacteria will spread on it.
  7. You should never refrigerate the reheated chicken breast because when you heat the cooked chicken breast, its temperature rises from 40 degrees Fahrenheit and that is the suitable temperature for bacteria to grow, thereby bacteria can grow at a faster pace at it and you should never refrigerate such chicken.

What are the health implications of eating a bad chicken breast?

Eating a cooked chicken breast that has gone bad can put you at the risk of many food-borne illnesses especially food poisoning. Eating a bad chicken breast can cause vomiting, diarrhea, nausea, abdominal pain, and severe food poisoning that can even lead to hospitalization and serious health issues.

Chicken can have bacteria like Salmonella and Campylobacter on it. You should keep one thing in mind that refrigeration or freezing the chicken won’t kill these bacteria. The only way to kill them is by thorough cooking.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “how long does cooked chicken breast last in the fridge” with an in-depth analysis of the shelf life of a cooked chicken breast in different conditions. Moreover, we discussed the proper way to handle and store chicken breast and the health implications of consuming a bad chicken breast.

Citations

https://www.fsis.usda.gov/wps/portal/fsis/topics/food-safety-education/get-answers/food-safety-fact-sheets/poultry-preparation/chicken-from-farm-to-table/ct_index

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

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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