It’s vitally important to know until when you can still eat a certain type of food, even when it is kept inside the fridge.
This guide will help you protect yourself and your family from unwanted diseases caused by bacterial growth from food spoilage. For to be in the know, you have the power to be in control.
Nowadays, when cost of living can be so high and every hard-earned penny slips away so fast, nobody has the right to waste food. Every good piece, every bit of food should be consumed and not be turned to waste.
You should know how to practically and wisely consume the leftovers of your every meal. However, oftentimes, food storing and preserving can be tricky and sensitive.
Shelf life of food varies widely depending on certain factors. These include the weather in your location of residence, the selling date of the chicken you bought, and the storage method you will use.
Did you know that cooked chicken can last longer than cooked beef and pork?
Yes. Chicken has a longer shelf life than red meat. Because it doesn’t spoil quickly, it’s wiser to prepare chicken for out of town trips and excursions. But how long is cooked chicken good for? Read on to find out.
Factors that can affect shelf life of poultry meat
There are certain things you need to take into consideration when it comes to determining the shelf life of cooked chicken. I will discuss it further in this article.
You just need to do one thing: continue reading until the last word of this article. You will only need one thing to extend the shelf life of your cooked chicken: your refrigerator.
Talking about the factors you need to take into consideration, they are:
The way the chicken is cooked
Cacciatori Chicken with tomatoes in a pan
How the chicken is cooked is a big contributor on how long can it last, even if it is stored inside the refrigerator. Chicken recipes with tomatoes usually last shorter than other chicken recipes.
Chicken legs storing in the fridge
Where you store chicken determines how long will it last. Most of the time, people will opt to store food, whether raw or cooked, inside the refrigerator.
What will you seal it with and how you seal it will also contribute in extending the shelf life of cooked food. So better be careful and cautious when it comes to the container in which you put the food.
Now that I’ve discussed the different factors you should keep in mind when it comes to determining how long cooked food can last, I think we can now proceed.
How long is cooked chicken good for?
1. Inside the refrigerator
BBQ chicken inside a home fridge
Cooked chicken (like fried chicken, convenience stores chickens, chicken soups, chicken casseroles, and chicken broth) stored inside the refrigerator can ideally last for 3-4 days.
Note that you must seal it properly to retain its ideal shelf life. You should use airtight and shallow containers for safe sealing of cooked chicken.
Another alternative is aluminum foil or plastic wrap. Just wrap the meat carefully, covering all sides, before placing it inside the fridge.
In short: Cooked chicken sealed properly inside the refrigerator can last up to 3-4 days.
Do you think it’s too short and you want to extend and keep your chicken for a longer time? No problemo amigo! You can extend the shelf life of your food by storing it in your freezer.
2. In the freezer
Slow-cooked chicken dinner portions being prepared for freezing
To extend the shelf life of your food, you need to freeze it. But then again, you have to seal poultry meat properly. In order to do this, you should use freezer bags or heavy-duty aluminum foils or plastic wraps.
Fried chicken, restaurant and convenience store chicken can last up to 4 months, while chicken casseroles and soup can last up to 6 months. This is as long as your freezer’s temperature stays below 0°F.
In short: To further extend shelf life of cooked chicken, seal it thoroughly and place it in the freezer.
Note: Do not freeze chicken salad if it contains mayonnaise. Eat it immediately. Make sure the chicken dish is wrapped fully to prevent freezer burn.
Now you know how long can cooked chicken stay fresh and edible. But we still have a plus for you. We will give you tips on how to know if a cooked chicken is spoiled and when you should consider throwing it out.
How to spot if chicken is spoiled already?
There are many types of bacteria that can grow in chicken. And this include Salmonella enteritidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Campylobacter jejuni and Listeria monocytogenes. But how will you know if the chicken is spoiled already?
Plain and simple. Bacterial growth can cause several physical changes to the chicken. So, if you notice any change in your chicken’s physical appearance, it can possibly be rotten already.
Here are the things you should watch out cause this means food spoilage:
- Change in color. A rotten chicken will have a green-gray to gray color.
- Foul smell. The most obvious sign of spillage is bad odor. Once your chicken smells unpleasant, consider disposing it.
- Mold build-up. Just like in bread, you can see molds building up around the chicken.
- Change in texture. You will find a spoiled chicken slimy and slippery in texture as the bacteria starts to develop moist around the chicken.
More Tips And Watch Outs!
Never store food in room temperature.
Cooked food can only last for at max 2 hours when left in storage with room temperature. So if you want to prolong the shelf life of your chicken, be sure to put it inside the fridge before leaving that dining table.
You can only reheat leftovers once.
This is to ensure that quality of poultry meat is at best after reheating. Refrigerated/frozen cooked chicken can be sensitive after thawing. It needs proper handling. Only reheat chicken with a temperature of 70°C or higher.
For chicken stews and soups, reheat until liquid boils for 3-5 minutes to ensure that the meat is fully heated. Thawed cooked chicken can still be kept/stored in the fridge for 2-3 more days.
Don’t put freshly cooked chicken inside the fridge.
For freshly cooked food, don’t put it inside the refrigerator as long as it’s still steaming for this can cause food poisoning.
Every day, we make as many leftovers as we can and immediately throw it away. After reading this article, maybe it’s time to change ways and be wiser in handling and managing your food and of course, your leftovers.
Don’t throw them straightaway to your trash bins. Knowing when a food is still edible keeps you safe and protected from harmful diseases caused by bacteria from food spoilage.
Chicken is something that we eat almost everyday and it’s just important to know when it’s still fresh and for how long can you still keep it in storage. I hope you learned the answer to how long can cooked chicken last by reading this article.
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