How long is chicken good after the sell-by date if frozen?

In this brief guide, we are going to answer the question “How long is chicken good after the sell-by date if frozen” with an in-depth analysis of the time for which chicken stays good if stored in the freezer. Moreover, we are going to discuss the proper way to freeze chicken. 

How long is chicken good after the sell-by date if frozen?

The chicken that has been properly stored in the freezer stays good for about 9-12 months in the freezer past the sell-by date. If the chicken has been stored in the freezer properly and continuously, then it does not matter if the package date expires.

It is worth mentioning that the shelf life of chicken varies with different storage conditions. The way you have stored your chicken also impacts whether or not it is still safe to consume. 

For instance, if your chicken was stored for more than 2 hours at room temperature (or more than 1 hour if the temperature is above 90 degrees Fahrenheit) then it is better to discard it as bacteria grow best at 40 to 140 degrees Fahrenheit and there are chances of your chicken to be already bacteria-laden in this case.

On the other hand, the chicken that is properly refrigerated the whole time at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or below can be suitable to consume within 2 days after purchase provided that there are no signs of spoilage associated with it.

It is worth mentioning that cooking prolongs the shelf life of the chicken for a couple of days. On the other hand, if you want to preserve the quality of your chicken for quite a while then it is better to store it in the freezer properly.

How to freeze chicken properly?

You can easily store the chicken in a plastic freezer bag or heavy-duty freezer container in the freezer. 

Chicken belongs to the meat group that is a highly perishable commodity therefore care should be taken while handling, storing, and cooking chicken. 

Moreover, to preserve the quality of the chicken for quite a long time you can opt for vacuum sealing it which is quite effective in prolonging its shelf life.

Vacuum sealing 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.

It is a good practice to divide the chicken into portions or serving sizes that you generally need. By doing so you will be able to just thaw the quantity of chicken that you need while the rest of the chicken can stay in the freezer untouched.

Thus, keeping the chicken in the freezer will increase its shelf life considerably due to the freezer’s cool temperature that halts the bacterial growth on the chicken.

Different ways to thaw chicken

When it comes to thawing chicken, there are a couple of ways to do so and you can choose any of them depending upon your choice.

  1. The recommended way to thaw the frozen chicken is to leave it in the refrigerator overnight and let it thaw there. The chicken thawed this way can be kept in the fridge for 3-5 days before cooking and eating it.
  1. You can thaw the frozen chicken in a bowl of cold water but you should cook it immediately after thawing. 
  1. Moreover, if you are thawing the chicken in the oven or microwave it is recommended to cook it immediately. 

The reason behind cooking the chicken immediately after thawing it in a cold water bowl or microwave is that when you warm the chicken using these methods, the temperature at the surface of the chicken gets higher than that of 40 degrees Fahrenheit before the core temperature can become 40 degrees Fahrenheit and it can thaw completely and that’s when the bacteria can start to grow on the surface rapidly.

Therefore it is advised to cook such thawed chicken immediately until its internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Because it is only by cooking the chicken properly that we can get rid of the bacteria completely.

It is worth mentioning that once you have thawed the frozen chicken, you should not refreeze it.

You can read the meaning of different dates on food packages here.

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the question “How long is chicken good after the sell-by date if frozen” with an in-depth analysis of the time for which chicken stays good if stored in the freezer. Moreover, we discussed the proper way to freeze chicken. 

Citations

https://www.insider.com/foods-you-can-ignore-expiration-dates-2018-11#:~:text=Although%20raw%20meat%20and%20poultry,for%20upwards%20of%20a%20year.
https://ask.usda.gov/s/article/How-long-can-you-freeze-chicken
https://www.stilltasty.com/fooditems/index/16788
https://www.leaf.tv/articles/how-long-is-chicken-good-for-after-the-sell-by-date/

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.