How Long does Chicken Last Out of the Fridge?

When you’re throwing a party, running other errands, or simply taking in a Sunday night supper with your family, it’s simple to lose sight of time. However, prepared chicken that has been left out, such as chicken kabobs and grilled chicken, might not stay as long as you had planned. Read on to learn the precise time frame and what you can do to keep cooked chicken safe to eat if you’re curious about how long cooked chicken may sit out and whether you can safely enjoy it later.

Using separate utensils for raw and cooked chicken is a good way to reduce the chances of cross-contamination. When you reheat your cooked chicken, you should heat it through. If you don’t, the bacteria will grow, leaving you with unsafe chicken.


What is Chicken Meat?

White and red muscle fibers, which are required for short, fast movements and extended actions like standing, respectively, make up the two main muscle fibers found in chicken meat. Red muscle fibers are powered by fat, some of which come from within the fibers and some from the bloodstream, whereas white muscle fibers quickly convert carbs from within the fibers into energy. The proteins that aid in converting this fat into energy, such as the iron-rich, purple myoglobin, give red muscle fibers their color. Red fibers taste better than white fibers because they are richer in protein and fat. Most muscles include red and white fibers, not just one or the other.

How Long Does Chicken Last Out of the Fridge?

The basic rule for cooked Chicken is that it shouldn’t be left out on your kitchen table or buffet for more than two hours unless it is maintained warm, over 140°F. More than two hours of room temperature storage of cooked Chicken should certainly result in its disposal. The same is true for cooked Chicken outsides, such as during a picnic or BBQ. But after an hour, cooked Chicken is dangerous to eat if the temperature is over 90°F (32.2°C) inside or outside.

You might be startled to learn that between 40°F and 140°F (4°C and 60°C), sometimes known as the “Danger Zone,” illness-causing bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli, which are frequently found in poultry, proliferate swiftly. The USDA’s Food Safety and Inspection Service estimate that germs can double every 20 minutes. In other words, millions of bacteria may already be present even after the cooked Chicken has been left out for hours.

How to Properly Store Chicken?

When storing cooked Chicken, ensure it doesn’t spend more than two hours at room temperature or more than an hour at temperatures above 90°F. Before storing it in the refrigerator or freezer, ensure it has cooled to room temperature for no more than two hours.

Your other goods in the refrigerator and freezer remain safe while your cooked Chicken cools. When you place cooked chicken in the refrigerator to chill, the temperature inside the refrigerator and freezer may rise, endangering the other goods within.

To preserve the cooked Chicken’s quality, store it in an airtight container after it has cooled and within two hours or fewer. Alternatively, you can wrap it in heavy-duty, food-safe plastic wrap. You could also want to date the container to help you remember when you stored it. In the refrigerator, cooked Chicken can be kept for three to four days; in the freezer, it can keep for two to six months.

What are the Different Ways to Cook Chicken?

Baked Chicken

Two ways baked Chicken differs from roasted chicken. First, roasted chicken is cooked whole, whereas baked Chicken is made using chicken parts (specifically, individual drumsticks, thighs, breasts, and wings). Second, unlike when roasting a whole bird, baked Chicken is coated in seasoned flour before cooking.


Braising is a fantastic method for cooking less expensive or delicate meat portions, but it’s also an excellent way to prepare Chicken. The meat from a braised chicken meal will virtually fall off the bone, and is a hearty, warming dish.

Poached Chicken

Poaching is a simple and tasty way to cook Chicken, whether just poaching chicken breasts or a whole bird. Natural, low in fat, and always juicy, poached Chicken is a favorite. A benefit is that after you’ve finished poaching the Chicken, you’ll have a great, flavorful chicken broth that you can use to make sauces, soups, and various other dishes.

How to Reheat Chicken in the Oven?

The oven is your best option for reheating larger chunks of chicken or a bird still on the bone. Here is how to accomplish it:

The oven must first be preheated. Take the chicken out of the fridge and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Take the chill off your chicken by letting it sit at room temperature on the counter while you wait for the oven to heat up.

Add moisture and transfer the Chicken to a baking dish after heating the oven. Add a few tablespoons of water or chicken stock to cover the bottom of the pan with a very thin layer of liquid. Then use two layers of foil to cover the pan tightly. The water’s ability to produce steam will aid in keeping the meat nicely moist.

Place the Chicken in the oven and cook it there until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit. Use a meat thermometer to monitor the internal temperature of the Chicken because cooking durations can vary depending on its size.

Remove the Chicken from the oven once it has heated through; it should be juicy and filling at this point. Note that this procedure does not, in our experience, produce a crispy skin. If that’s a deal-breaker, broil your Chicken for a few minutes to get the skin crisp before slicing it.

How to Tell Chicken has Gone Bad?

Verify the Date

Look at the “best by” date printed on the container. It’s preferable to throw away the Chicken than risk getting sick if you’re much past that date because it’s probably not safe to eat. The “best by” date is just one of the timelines you should be aware of, though.

Generally speaking, raw Chicken shouldn’t be stored in the refrigerator for longer than two days. According to the USDA and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, raw chicken should only be kept in the refrigerator for one to two days. This schedule begins to apply if the Chicken was previously frozen once the meat has completely defrosted.

Look at the Hues

How does the Chicken appear? Has it started to turn a drab, greyish tone, or does it still have a pinkish, luscious hue? If you’re still unsure, you can get guidance from visual cues.

Chicken’s coloration changes from pink to drab grey as it spoils. It is preferable to avoid using Chicken that is grey.

Smell the Chicken

Never undervalue the power of a good sniff! Although it looks extremely straightforward, it works well for determining whether to keep or throw away food.

If the Chicken smells sour or strong, ignore your senses and discard it.

Feel the Chicken

Chicken has a shiny, slightly slick feel by nature. It is recommended to avoid using the Chicken if it seems like there is a layer of something covering it and that layer is exceptionally slimy, sticky, or thick.

What will Happen if you Consume Chicken that has been Left Outside for too Long?

In all likelihood, cooked Chicken that has been out for a few hours will still smell and look great. We strongly advise not giving in to the desire to eat it, even though you might be inclined to.

A foodborne illness will develop if the cooked Chicken is left out at room temperature for an extended period due to the growth of unseen germs.

Therefore, even though your Chicken may seem, smell, and taste normal, it contains many hidden toxins!

Once this has occurred, it won’t take the germs long to transform your cooked Chicken into a slimy, smelly mess. When it reaches this point, eating it is not an option!

In many instances, consuming cooked, ruined Chicken won’t negatively impact you. However, due to the high quantities of bacteria, you risk developing a very serious case of food poisoning.

And it is not worth the danger, as anyone who has ever had food poisoning can tell you!

Fever, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness, sluggishness, dizziness spells, and bloody stools are all signs of food poisoning. Dehydration may occur in extreme circumstances, necessitating hospitalization.

Regarding food poisoning, Chicken is seriously not to be messed with!


Remember to rest and stay in bed until you feel better if you have food poisoning. In the ensuing hours, refrain from eating or drinking until your stomach feels better. Start with basic bread or rice and avoid dairy and fatty foods if you decide to eat again.

Additionally, probiotics, which are found in yogurt and other fermented foods, may be something you want to consume. These bacteria can fortify your digestive system and hasten your recovery.

Depending on your symptoms, another option to treat food poisoning is with medication. Ginger can make you feel better when it comes to beverages.

Self-care will occasionally not be sufficient. If the symptoms seem overly severe, visit the doctor or the hospital immediately.

After leaving the hospital and returning home, don’t forget to rest. You can use the strategies suggested above for the best healing.


In six parts of the country during 1986 and 1987, the Centers for Disease Control carried out an active population-based survey of Listeria monocytogenes infections. A total of 154 patients had listeriosis, of which one-third were infants, while the other two-thirds were old and immunocompromised. In a study evaluating the risk variables for listeriosis, 239 controls and 82 cases matched for age and underlying condition were included. The fatality rate was 28%. Hot dogs and undercooked chicken were eaten by cases substantially more frequently than by controls, with these foods accounting for 20% of the overall risk of listeriosis. There were no other risk factors found.


Ideally, you should store cooked Chicken in an airtight container in your refrigerator. You should not leave it out for more than two hours. If you do, it is likely to get contaminated. If you think you have eaten contaminated Chicken, you should seek medical attention immediately.

You should never eat raw chicken. It can be contaminated with harmful bacteria such as Salmonella. This can lead to serious illness or death. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that one million people each year become ill from contaminated poultry.