How Long Can Chicken Stay in The Fridge?

A trip to the grocery store is not complete without picking up the basic stuff like chicken. If you don’t have plans to cook the chicken as soon as you arrive home, you can always put it away. With that said, do you know how long can chicken stay in the fridge?

It’s Chicken Time

Chicken is one of the most consumed types of meat in the world. It’s actually not surprising, given how versatile it is. Since chicken is something we deal with a lot of times, it’s important to know important things about it.

If you have raw chicken, you can keep it in the fridge for about a day or two. Some sellers will put some sort of “best before date” on the packaging. While this helps with food safety, it’s still better to consume it before the date. It’s much safer that way.

If you are like me, you might have purchased a whole chicken in advance without plans of cooking it anytime. Well, the good news is that we can always pop that chicken in the freezer.

What’s even more interesting is that as long as the chicken remains frozen, it can last up to a year! This tidbit is something to remember, especially when planning to stock up on chicken meat.

If you have managed to cook a chicken feast and have some leftovers you need to put in the freezer, you have about 3 to 4 days to finish everything. The chicken might have been cooked, but it’s still susceptible to spoilage.

Apart from chicken, you are probably shopping for other varieties of meat as well. Here’s how chicken fares against them if compared:

Type Of Meat

Days In The Fridge

Days In the Freezer

Raw Pork

 3 to 5 days

4 to 6 months

Raw Beef

2 to 5 days

 4 to 12 months

Raw Lamb

3 to 5 days

 6 to 9 months

Raw Fish

1 to 3 days

 2 to 8 months

(depends on the type of fish)

Chicken In The Fridge Gone Bad

Chicken In The Fridge Gone Bad


Keeping chicken in the fridge keeps it edible and safe. However, exercise caution if you plan on finally cooking it. Despite being kept in the fridge, there’s still a possibility that the chicken has gone bad. How do you tell if it has? Well, here are the telltale signs you should watch out for:

Smell It

When it starts to reek, you will know you have spoiled chicken in your hands. It shouldn’t emit a strong odor at all. If you open the package and a rotten smell breaks out, you should get rid of the chicken ASAP!

Take A Look At It

A change of color in the chicken’s flesh is another sign that it’s no longer safe to cook and consume. Chicken meat should have a pinkish color. You might rethink cooking chicken if it starts getting ashy and lackluster.

You should also check what lies underneath the chicken flesh, particularly the fat. When the color of the chicken fats change, specifically to something yellow, you need to get rid of it.

Touch It

You can also use your sense of touch to figure out if your chicken is safe to eat. Don’t be scared to touch it. If it feels odd and clammy, then it’s probably no longer usable. Raw chicken is often moist, but it should never be icky.

What Are The Dangers Of Spoiled Chicken?

What Are The Dangers Of Spoiled Chicken

There are a lot of risks involved with spoiled chicken. As much as we want to avoid wasting food, it’s dangerous to consume anything past its prime, including chicken.

You should definitely be wary of food poisoning. Consuming spoiled chicken can lead to foodborne illnesses. One of the major culprits is Salmonella. Apart from this, there’s E. coli and other types of bacteria.

If you have consumed spoiled, rotten chicken, there’s a possibility that you will exhibit the following symptoms:

  • Diarrhea

  • Nausea

  • Fever and Chills

  • Vomiting

These can lead to dehydration and other more severe complications. Don’t wait for things to get worse. Reach out to a medical professional as soon as you can.

In some cases of food poisoning, you should go to the hospital to get proper medical attention. Home remedies might not be enough. If it gets too serious, it leads to permanent impairment or death.

Keeping Raw Chicken In The Fridge The Right Way

Keeping Raw Chicken In The Fridge The Right Way

Proper storage of raw chicken can make a world of a difference. Your chicken stays fresh if you know how to store it the correct way. Doing so also decreases the chances of getting sick from it.

The Right Temperature

Before storing poultry meat products such as chicken, check your refrigerator’s temperature setting. So what’s the ideal temperature range of the fridge for chicken then? Well, it should be around 40° F or 4 °C or below.

Anything below this temperature level might not be favorable to the raw chicken. It might increase the growth of bacteria, which might lead to spoilage or food poisoning. Don’t forget that you are dealing with something perishable like chicken.

Since we are on the subject of refrigeration and chicken, here’s something you can use to remember how long you should keep the chicken in your fridge.

Chicken Product

No Of Days Refrigerated

No. Of Days Frozen

Whole Raw Chicken

1 to 2 Days

12 Months

Sliced Raw Chicken

1 to 2 Days

9 Months

Ground Raw Chicken

1 to 2 Days

3 to 4 months

The Proper Packaging

If packed and secured well, there’s no need to transfer the chicken you bought from the store to another container. Don’t make the mistake of opening a pack of chicken, moving it to a container with no cover whatsoever, and stowing it in the fridge.

The air inside the refrigerator will suck up the moisture of the chicken, leaving you with dry meat. Also, this will increase the possibility of cross-contamination with other items inside the fridge.

If there’s a need for you to repack it, you should do it properly. It also helps if you have the packing materials. If you have the following items in your kitchen, the better:

  • Plastic or glass containers

  • Saran or Cling Wrap

  • Freezer Bags

There are also a couple of things you need to remember when handling and preparing chicken. If you are packing chicken, do not leave it unattended for hours. The more you leave it out, the chances of bacteria festering inside and outside the chicken increases. This is such an unsafe practice!

Before setting the chicken in the fridge or freezer, ensure that the packaging is tight. And it’s always a good idea to stash your raw chicken in the coldest part of your fridge.

Proper Storage Of Cooked Chicken In Your Fridge

Proper Storage Of Cooked Chicken In Your Fridge

Sometimes we make the mistake of ordering or cooking too much food. If that’s the case, you can always store the leftover chicken in your fridge. Despite dealing with cooked chicken, there are still some precautions you need to take.

As mentioned, It’s better to consume refrigerated cooked chicken quickly. It should be within a 3 to 4-day timeframe. Even if the chicken has gone through the cooking and refrigeration process, it won’t stop the bacteria from growing and releasing toxins. Leaving cooked chicken in the fridge for an extended period leads to deterioration.

If you are using anything made of reusable and washable materials to keep cooked chicken, they have to be 100% clean and dry before use. Also, don’t forget to keep them covered until it’s time to take them out of the fridge again.

Thawing And Defrosting The Chicken From The Fridge

You need to plan ahead of time if you are hoping to cook anything with chicken. We all know it takes a long time for the chicken to thaw and defrost. You can leave the chicken to defrost inside the fridge for, more or less, a day or two. In some cases, it might take longer, depending on how frozen the chicken is.

If you change your mind while the chicken goes through defrosting, you can always put it back in the freezer. Don’t forget to pack and seal it properly. Just follow what you did before and you are good to go. It’s perfectly safe to do so, as long as it has not been cooked.

When we don’t have a lot of time on our hands, we either take the chicken out of the fridge to defrost it in cold water or the microwave. If you did either of these, there is no turning back. It’s best if you cook that chicken right away.

Keeping Chicken Safe In The Fridge

If you know the answer to questions like how long can chicken stay in the fridge, then it means that you take food safety seriously. Keeping meat and poultry products safe and in the fridge is something anyone who loves cooking should know about! It’s definitely not something to be taken for granted!

Leave a Comment