How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge?

Knowing about ways of preparing chicken is considered as cooking basics, as you get many chances to prepare according to many different ways. We could reheat leftover chicken after cooking as with to have a quick and satisfying meal, or we can transform them into an exciting new recipe. If you properly store them, you might be able to preserve their quality as well as prevent both spoilage and the bad health conditions that occurred due to food poisoning. To save your leftovers, store them in your refrigerator for a couple of days to prevent them from spoiling. Or, if you know you will not get around to eating it before it is time to throw it out, another option is that you can put it inside your freezer. Food storage, however, might be a tricky task when it comes to chicken as many people wonder how long does cooked chicken last in the fridge. 

How long does raw chicken last in the fridge?

Typically; we hit the grocery store during the weekend with so many hopes as well as intentions to cook our way through the week, but the days get the best of us. By Saturday, when we open the door of our fridge, we can see half-empty containers of milk packed together with packages of fresh chicken that we did not get the chance to cook. Just how long do we have until they are spoiled? For how long these fresh chickens can stay without going bad inside our refrigerator?

If we go through the records of the Department of Agriculture in the United States (USDA), we are instructed to keep fresh chicken inside our refrigerator for around 1–2 days. Similar conditions applied to fresh turkey and other poultry.

Moreover, fresh meat should be stored in airtight containers, so the juice coming out from the meat will not leak and harm other foods also. Not only for fresh chicken, but also the cooked chicken should be stored in airtight containers inside the refrigerator. 

If you require storing the chicken more than 1-2 days, then you should put them inside a freezer. 

If you use a freezer, the fresh chicken pieces will stay fresh without spoiling for nearly nine months, and a whole chicken will remain as it is almost around one year. If you store the chicken after cooking in the freezer, then it will prevail in good condition around 2-6 months.

How to tell if the chicken has spoiled?

Have you kept chicken in the refrigerator for some days? Then there is a chance that you will take them out spoiled. 

Go through the below details and try to identify whether the chicken in your refrigerator has gone badly or nor!

Exceeded the due dates to be at its best condition

Chicken — no matter fresh one or cooked one — which has exceeded the “best if used by/before” time most probably has spoiled.

Color changes visible

If you see fresh as well as a cooked chicken, which has started to turn in to gray mixed green shade that means those are in the wrong condition. These gray combined green spots are the proofs of the growth of bacteria.


If an acidic smell is coming out from raw or cooked chicken, that means ammonia is emitting from the chicken due to bad conditions. Sometimes you will not be able to identify this smell because you have cooked it using lots of ingredients. 


If you touch the chicken and get a slippery feeling on its surface that means it has spoiled. You cannot wash the bacteria off from the spoiled chicken. By washing it you are increasing the chance to spread the bacteria to the other foods also. 

If you suspect that you have rotten chicken in your refrigerator, discard it immediately!

how long does chicken last in the fridge

How long does cooked chicken last?

Whether we roast them on a rotisserie, fry in a skillet, or bake in an oven, keeping any cooked chicken in the fridge is so much worth for a busy lifestyle. Though your fridge is almost empty, of course, you can still have the chance to make a pretty simple chicken salad within a few minutes along with a few pantry staples. Shredded rotisserie chicken can also upgrade your usual tossed salad from side dish to entrée. And if you haven’t experienced the joy of eating a piece of cold fried chicken straight from the fridge, you should fix that right now.

How long can you keep cooked chicken in the fridge?

If you go through USDA records, you will find that refrigerated cooked chicken is safe to eat around 3-4 days depends on how well you have stored it.

If you are looking for an extending method to the shelf life of these cooked chickens further, the best option is to put it inside the freezer where it will last about three months. You can use airtight containers or freezer bags and take it out of the freezer the night before you need it and let it thaw inside the fridge.

For maintaining the quality of cooked chicken, make sure to store them in airtight containers. Or else, you can tightly wrap the chicken using aluminum foil or plastic cling wrap. Keep in your mind thoroughly that refrigerating them within two hours is a must.

Bacteria are multiplying at temperatures between 40-140°F. That is why; you have to discard the cooked chicken when it has been sitting at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

How to keep leftover chicken without going bad?

Refrigerate chicken in time

Chicken should not keep at room temperature than 2 hours longer. If you keep chicken outside more than 2 hours, of course, bacteria will get time to get in and increase.

That is why; you should have to put the chicken in the fridge as quickly as possible to keep it safe.

Store smaller pieces and use shallow containers

To ensure chicken cools speedily and freezes well, you should make smaller pieces. The containers in which we store chicken should also be shallow to allow for faster cooling.

Using clean and sealed air-tight containers

If the containers are clean, of course, they are free from disease-causing bacteria. In addition; sealed air-tight containers are best because the pathogenic bacteria cannot enter to them when the chicken is inside the refrigerator.

– Cooked meat should be kept separately

When you arrange the containers in the refrigerator, you should keep your cooked leftovers separate from the raw meat.

Raw meat contains live bacteria that will quickly transfer to your leftovers and cause spoilage or food poisoning when you ingest it.

Wrapping Up…

At times you are with plenty of leftovers from dinner but don’t want to discard them, you probably have one question in mind, “how long does cooked chicken last in the fridge?”. You can keep them inside the refrigerator where it will survive around 3-5 days, or if you are capable, freeze it, and it will prevail several months. However, it is necessary to take precise care when you prepare leftover chicken for storing in the fridge. 

At the raw stage, it lasts inside our refrigerators around 1–2 days. At the cooked stage, it lasts 3–4 days. To detect whether they have spoiled, check with “best before used by” date and look for signs of spoilage like changes in smell, texture, and color. 

Avoid eating rotten chicken, because it may give you food poisoning — even if you cook it thoroughly.

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