How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge?

People store their cooked food in the fridge to enhance its shelf life. In this case, the question is, how long does cooked chicken last in the fridge? Or to put it more precisely owing to the popularity of chicken breast, how long does cooked chicken breast last in the fridge? The answer to this question is dependent on diverse factors, especially the storage conditions. The following are tips that influence how long cooked chicken breasts last in the fridge. 

Three to Four Days in the Fridge

Refrigerate any cooked chicken not more than two hours after they are cooked. To increase the shelf life, to sustain the quality and health of such chicken, they should be refrigerated in shallow and airtight containers. They can also be wrapped with aluminum foils (heavy duty) or plastic bags. The chicken should be properly stored. It is expected that, on average, chicken that is cooked and refrigerated will last for up to three to four days in the refrigerator.

To extend the shelf life of such food products the chicken should be frozen. During freezing, they should be put in airtight containers. They can also be put in freezer bags.

Four Months in the Deep Freezer

If well stored, the cooked chicken can take up to four months in the deep freezer. Although it remains safe after this period, it is within the four months that it maintains its quality. The freezing and refrigeration of food increase the shelf life due to a reduction in the growth of bacteria in such food. The bacteria growth is slowed. 

Bacteria exist everywhere within nature. When such bacteria are provided with the right nutrients including food, moisture, and the right temperatures, they grow rapidly. Bacteria mainly grow within the range of 40 and 140 °F. Refrigeration at lower temperatures will thus reduce their multiplication. The cooked chicken that is kept in the deep freezer at 0oF remains safe indefinitely. The main reason is that there is no growth of bacteria at this temperature on the cooked chicken.

The next question on how much chicken remains safe when not only deep-frozen but also thawed. Thawed chicken can be stored for up to four days before cooking. Nevertheless, chicken thawed in cold water or microwaves is supposed to be eaten immediately. This will ensure that the quality of the food does not deteriorate and that the food remains safe for human consumption

While refrigeration increases the shelf life of a cooked chicken, some people are also concerned about the duration that chicken stays when kept at room temperature. At room temperature, the bacteria grow rapidly. Cooked chicken should be discarded when kept for over two hours at room temperature. The main aim of discarding is that if such food is consumed, it may contain bacteria that are harmful to human beings.

There are ways of telling that the cooked chicken has deteriorated in quality. The first indicator that the food has gone bad is the smell. Chicken that has gone bad after storage tends to have a bad odor.  Equally, it’s necessary to identify the appearance of the chicken. 

Chicken that has gone bad is usually slimy in texture. When chicken demonstrates either a slim texture or smell one should discard them immediately instead of first tasting them. Tasting them would result in individuals ingesting harmful bacteria that may cause illness and hence should be avoided.

Final Thoughts

As indicated in this post, refrigeration helps in keeping food for a longer period than when such food has been stored at room temperature. Bacteria activity and growth is slowed through refrigeration. To maintain the quality and safety of such cooked chicken for a longer period, deep freezing is recommended.

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