Everybody loves chicken Chicken! When cooked and handled correctly, it can be an amazing protein for your next meal, however, if it is left out at warm temperature it can cause food poisoning.
So how long can chicken sit out? Just like any other meat chicken, especially raw chicken has a time frame that can be left out. A good rule of thumb is no more than 2 hours at room temperature. When you go past this time frame you risk growing bacteria on the chicken and spoiling it. Which in turn can cause foodborne illness a.k.a food poisoning.
How long can raw chicken sit at room temperature?
When you are dealing with raw chicken it is very important not to leave it at room temperature for too long to avoid spoiling it.
Raw chicken standing at normal room temperature you can stay out for about 2 hours, after that it must be discarded, cooked, or put back into the fridge.
If the chicken is sitting at a temperature that’s above 90 degrees Fahrenheit then you only have an hour before it starts to become unsafe and can start growing bacteria.
How long can raw chicken sit in the fridge?
Even though raw chicken is kept inside a fridge, that does not mean that it will stay safe forever. Like anything, it will eventually go bad no matter how cold your fridge is.
According to the FDA and the USDA raw chicken should not sit in a fridge for longer than one to two days. It does not matter what type of chicken part it is; whole chicken, breast, thigh, or drumstick. If it is unfrozen raw chicken then it should be cooked, put into the freezer, or thrown out after the two-day mark if you want to make sure it is free of bacteria.
How long can cooked chicken sit at room temperature?
Even though the chicken itself may be cooked and bacteria like salmonella will be destroyed, that does not prevent it from going bad after it has been left out at room temperature for a long time.
According to the USDA answer to the question “How long can cooked chicken stay out?” is the same as for raw chicken, no more than 2 hours at room temperature.
If it is 90 degrees Fahrenheit, then you only have 1 hour, after which you risk your cooked chicken starting to grow bacteria.
We feel that this rule is a little bit strict because we all had cooked chicken meals sit out for a much longer period of time out at room temperature. It is important to always properly evaluate your food. Did its colour change? Did it start to smell weird? Does it taste weird? If any of these signs start to show up or the chicken just doesn’t ‘feel’ right we would advise discarding it.
How long can cooked chicken sit in the fridge?
Unlike the raw chicken, cooked chicken can sit in the fridge for slightly longer. Instead of the typical 1-2 days, cooked chicken can sit for 3 to 4 days before having to be eaten, frozen or discarded.
Always remember that even though it is cooked, it can still go bad and have the potential to carry harmful bacteria if you don’t follow USDA guidance.
Can you freeze raw chicken?
If you wonder if you can freeze raw chicken the answer is simple. Yes! You can most definitely freeze raw chicken, and it is recommended to freeze any chicken that you are not planning to cook on the same or next day.
Freezing also gives you the ability to portion your chicken and keeps it safe from going bad.
If you want to freeze raw chicken you can keep it in its original packaging or wrap it yourself. We would even recommend double wrapping to increase the amount of time you can keep it frozen and also protect the chicken from absorbing other smells from the freezer
How long can you freeze chicken?
The length of how long you can freeze chicken depends on how well you wrap it. If you store it in the freezer with basic wrapping or in its original packaging, then you can store it for around 2 months.
If you choose to freeze it longer then consider double wrapping or using a freezer paper. Just remember, even with an added layer of wrapping it is not recommended to freeze chicken longer than 6 months.
Can you freeze cooked chicken?
You can definitely freeze cooked chicken; however, the rules are slightly different than freezing frozen chicken. According to the USDA, cooked chicken can be stored for up to three months, after that, it is recommended that either you use it or discard it.
Freezing cooked chicken is perfect for when you want to portion out meals for the weeks, or if you love to cook in bulk. Please note though that the quality will diminish after a few months, and the food could possibly develop a freezer burn taste.
How to know when raw chicken has gone bad?
The first way to tell if the raw chicken has gone bad is by looking at it. Good chicken should be pink in color, once it starts to get gray, or if it is extremely slimy then it is a good indication that it has gone bad and needs to be thrown out.
Another indicator is the smell if it starts to smell bad out of the packaging, if it starts to smell of ammonia, or if it starts to smell bad and not normal while cooking then that means that it is bad and needs to be thrown, otherwise, it might dangerous to eat.
How to know when a cooked chicken has gone bad?
When chicken is freshly cooked it will have a brown or white color to the meat, depending on how you cooked it. As it starts to spoil the color will start to turn grey or greenish-grey. It will also start to develop white mold spots, slime and you will notice a horrible smell that is rancid. If you see/smell any of these then it is best to throw the chicken out to avoid getting sick.