How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge? (7 tips)

In this article, we will answer the following question: How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge? We will give you 7 tips to make food last longer and also talk about the first signs of food poisoning. 

How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge?

Cooked chicken lasts for 2 or 3 days in the fridge, however, if we are referring to non-packaged chicken – which we buy whole or cut in the butcher shop – it is better not to exceed 2 days.

The difference is that the meat trays are usually packed with a modified atmosphere, adding gases that allow them to extend the shelf life a bit. Chicken is one of the most widely consumed products on the market, but also one of the riskiest if not handled correctly.

If the idea is to freeze the chicken, the duration will also depend on the freezing system. If frozen at home from fresh chicken, it shouldn’t be more than 3 months in the freezer. On the contrary, if it is chicken that we already buy frozen, the duration can be extended by 12 months.

In any case, it is important to always freeze it as soon as possible and while the chicken is in perfect condition, not when it has been forgotten in the fridge and starts to look bad.

The chicken needs cold for its correct conservation. The room temperature that is reached in many kitchens in summer is the perfect breeding ground for the reproduction of bacteria.

Avoid leaving meat out both raw and once cooked if it is not going to be consumed immediately.

Tips to make food last longer

For the food to be kept intact for as long as possible, it is good to follow some simple tips approved by the US Ministry of Health but also by the European Union.

  1. Clean – Before proceeding with the preparation of food or storage in the refrigerator, the cleaning process is very important. It is important to wash your hands, but you must not forget about the utensils you will use to cook or the food itself (meat, vegetables and fruits must go through at least one stream of water) or jars – wash the lids thoroughly before opening the jars.

It is also vital to keep the refrigerator clean. When pouring sauce or crumbs, rinse well with dishwashing detergent.

  1. Separate – To avoid the spread of possible bacteria or contamination of good food from others already spoiled, it is good to separate fresh meat from vegetables and fruits. 

Also, eggs should be kept on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator, where it is cooler. Besides, bread or other packaged dishes should also be kept away from fresh or cooked meat.

  1. Cooking – To withstand the refrigerator, the meat must be cooked enough to be tender in the middle at the end. This can be checked very easily with a food thermometer. It should look 62 degrees Celsius for pork, 70 degrees Celsius for turkey and about 74 degrees Celsius for chicken.
  1. Put it in the cold – Storing food in the refrigerator at temperatures between 2 and 4 degrees Celsius slows down the spread of germs (but does not stop it). If you open the fridge often, you must also take this into account – in this case, the dishes from the previous list will last 5-10 hours less.

Moreover, if you want the dishes to be kept intact, they must be refrigerated within 1 hour of preparation during the summer and within 2 hours of preparation for the rest of the year.

  1. Read the labels – In the case of commercial products, it is very important to read the instructions on the package. It is often stated under what conditions the preparation should be stored after cooking or after opening the package, but also how long it can be stored in the refrigerator.
  1. Leave the meat to marinate in the fridge – Bacteria spread much faster at room temperature. Also, avoid reusing the marinating liquid.
  1. Keep food in covered containers – Whether it is a pot with a lid or a casserole, the food must be covered to avoid the spread of bacteria.

The first signs of food poisoning

No matter how careful you are, sometimes, especially due to the weather, you can’t figure out if the food is still fresh or maybe you have the flu and you don’t identify the taste of the altered food.

Sometimes a plate of soup or a few tablespoons of spoiled mayonnaise is enough to turn your digestion upside down.

Observing the symptoms of food poisoning will alert you to give up that food, and if the symptoms worsen, consult your doctor. Below are the main signs of food poisoning. 

  • stomach cramps
  • dizziness
  • vomiting
  • diarrhoea
  • fever
  • in severe cases, vomiting of blood, diarrhoea for more than three days, dehydration (dry mouth, lack of need to urinate, feeling of acute thirst), blurred vision and muscle weakness.

It is important to know that the most prone are people with a weakened immune system, children, people over 65, and pregnant women. 

The bottom line

In this article, we answered the following question: How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge? We gave you tips to make food last longer and also talked about the first signs of food poisoning. 

Make sure you do not keep cooked chicken in the fridge for more than 3 days. Following the tips above can help you figure out if the chicken can still be eaten or not. 

If you have doubts about food, it is better to give it up than to risk health problems. And if you still eat spoiled food, and the symptoms persist, go to the doctor urgently.

If you have any questions or comments on the content, please let us know!

References

FDA.gov – Are You Storing Food Safely?

Medlineplus.gov –  Food Safety

Goodsafety.gov – Be Food Safe: Protect Yourself from Food Poisoning

Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.

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