When buying a fridge, you hope to reduce your visits to the market, right? But did you know that refrigerating food for longer than the recommended time can be a health hazard?
So, how long does chicken last in the fridge? Well, this depend on how well you store it.
Food is prone to attracting microbes, which can potentially lead to life-threatening food poisonous. As such, you should always be cautious to observe all food storage guidelines for guaranteed safety.
This article looks at one of the staple meat in most homes – chicken. So how long is cooked chicken good in the fridge? What about the raw one? Read on to get a comprehensive answer to “how long does chicken last in the fridge”.
How Long Can Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge
Raw chicken will become contaminated easier than the cooked one. It is more prone to bacterial colonization which will consequently result in it going bad faster.
As such, we recommend that you cook your chicken before storing it in your refrigerator. This will increase the duration of your food to remain fresh in the refrigerator.
According to the US Food and Drug Administration, a raw chicken will stay fresh in the fridge for 1-2 days.
Even worse, raw chicken can easily produce juices that will contaminate other food substances in the refrigerator. As such, we recommend that you only use leak-proof containers if you want to store raw chicken.
How Long Can Cooked Chicken Last in the Fridge
Cooked chicken will have a relatively long shelf life in a refrigerator than raw chicken. Unlike the raw chicken, cooked chicken can stay fresh for 3-4 days.
However, you must ensure that you first store your chicken in an air-tight container. This will eliminate air, thus minimizing the chances of bacterial growth. Consequently, a chicken in an airtight container will last longer than a cooked chicken stored in an open/poorly sealed can.
Read here about the best airtight storage containers to consider
How to Vacuum Seal Raw Chicken Before Storing in the Refrigerator
If you’re wondering how long a vacuum-sealed chicken lasts in the fridge, then this section will answer all your questions.
As earlier indicated, the primary goal of refrigerating your chicken is to prevent the growth of undesirable microbes that lead to contamination.
To achieve this, you must ensure the following:
- Low temperatures
- Limited air supply
At 35 degrees Fahrenheit, it’s difficult for microbes to thrive. It even becomes harder if you deny them any trace of oxygen.
To achieve this, we recommend that you use a vacuum sealer to store your chicken in an air-free environment. The sealers use a suction technique to suck the air out of the storage bag before sealing it.
As such, your chicken will be stored in a vacuum, which will increase the time that they can remain fresh in a fridge.
Use the following simple steps to vacuum seal your chicken:
- Fill your vacuum bag with your chicken
- Fasten the bar sealer and turn on your vacuum sealer machine
- Remove (it’s now sealed) it and store
How Long Does a Chicken Last in a Freezer?
Freezing chicken guarantees that it will last longer than when refrigerated. If you store raw chicken in a vacuum-sealed container and freeze it, it can last for up to 12 months (for whole chicken) and 9 months (if in pieces).
On the other hand, cooked chicken can last in a freezer for about 4 months.
Once you remove it from the freezer, you should thaw it and reheat it using adequate means.
Read on how you can reheat your chicken here
Additionally, you should not store hot chicken directly in the refrigerator. Instead, you should let it cool for approximately one hour before refrigerating/freezing it.
How Long Does Chicken Last in the Fridge – The Bottom Line
Chicken is a staple meat for many homes. Besides its irresistible taste, the meat has lower fat content than beef, thus making it healthier.
But what happens when you have leftovers? The first thought is to refrigerate it, right?
Well, before you pick on this popular option, you should first get thorough answers on how long does chicken last in the fridge.
Ordinarily, a cooked chicken will last longer than raw chicken. Additionally, freezing will enable you to store it for months!
Well, read this comprehensive article on how long does chicken last in the fridge. You’ll get the answer to help you out of your quagmire.
Chef Boniface is a graduate in Culinary Arts from the Institute of Culinary Education, New York. He has worked in several restaurants and is currently the Head Chef at Cavali Restaurant.
He has excelled in developing unique recipes and influencing the menu at the restaurant. He prides himself in sharing his knowledge at thekitchenpot.com where he writes about the best cookware for various recipes.