How Long does Cooked Chicken Last in the Fridge?

If you want to know how long does cook chicken last in the fridge, you have come to the right site; here, you will find information about how to freeze cooked chicken, defrost it, use cooked chicken, etc. Many factors determine how long cooked chicken will stay in the fridge, and some basic guidelines can be applied to ensure that you never end up with food spoiled by bacteria. There are additional factors to consider, like reheating chicken to avoid bacteria and whether it is okay to freeze cooked chicken. So let’s start!

How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last in the Fridge

How Long does Cooked Chicken Last in the Fridge?

Almost everyone enjoys a tasty chicken lunch or dinner. Thus it stands to reason that chicken is a common ingredient in refrigerators throughout many homes. However, how long does cooked chicken remain fresh in the refrigerator? Everything you need to know about storing cooked chicken safely, deliciously, and freshly in your refrigerator and freezer has been provided.

Make sure your freezer is at 0° F (-17.8° C) and your refrigerator is at or below 40° F (4° C) before you start. After cooking, the chicken should be refrigerated within two hours or removed from the keep-warm equipment. Depending on how it was prepared and processed, cooked chicken can last a while in the refrigerator.

Chicken salad, nuggets, patties, and leftover cooked (roasted, sautéed, or fried) chicken can all be stored in your refrigerator for three to four days, according to, a federal consumer information website on food safety. Due to their increased sodium content and salt’s ability to keep foods for a little longer, fully cooked chicken sausage and lunch meat can survive up to one week.

Chicken Breast: In the refrigerator, a cooked chicken breast can keep for three to four days, while a raw chicken breast can keep for up to two days. When it’s possible, it’s preferable to preserve chicken breasts in the freezer in both situations.

Whole Chicken: When you cut up a cooked chicken into smaller chunks and follow the leftover advice, it can stay in your fridge for 3–4 days. An uncooked whole chicken can last one to two days in the fridge. It is preferable to store the entire uncooked chicken in the freezer, which will keep for up to a year if you intend to prepare it later.

Ground Chicken: In contrast to other chicken parts, cooked ground chicken keeps well in the freezer for three to four months. Use Wrap to wrap the ground chicken in the refrigerator or freeze it to preserve its flavor.

The chicken fingers were steam-cooked, separated into four batches, each with a different coating, and stored at 4 1 °C. During the storage period, the pH, moisture content, proximate values, and lipid oxidation of coated samples were assessed. Additionally, the sensory analysis and shelf life study were carried out throughout storage.

Reference: Quality and shelf life assessment of steam-cooked chicken fingers coated with essential oil nanoemulsions.

Yes, without a doubt. Freezing a cooked chicken’s shelf life is a great way to increase it. But preparing it correctly is the key to frozen cooked chicken lasting a long time. You can store your cooked chicken in the freezer for three to four months.

Ensure cooked chicken hasn’t remained at room temperature for more than two hours before placing it in the freezer. For leftovers to become spoiled by germs, they must be left out of the fridge for longer than a few hours.

How can I Know if Cooked Chicken in the Fridge is Safe to Eat?

In the refrigerator, cooked chicken may keep for three to four days, although it could spoil sooner. When deciding whether to throw that chicken out, look for these indicators.

Appearance: When the color has become grey or green, cooked chicken meat is ruined. Additionally, spoiled meat may have a grayish-green mold on the surface.

Smell: If the chicken flesh was marinated or prepared with herbs, spices, or sauces, it could be not easy to identify if it has become spoiled. Sometimes, rotten chicken flesh may not exhibit any outward signs of deterioration.

It may have the same appearance, flavor, and aroma. The three- to four-day timeline is the ideal option for you to follow. Nonetheless, ruined cooked chicken has a strong, acidic smell that is difficult to overlook.

Texture: Cooked chicken that has been spoiled could appear slimy. Unfortunately, washing or reheating cooked chicken does not always eliminate bacteria or poisons. Instead, washing it could lead to increased contamination of other meals and utensils, raising the risk of food poisoning. Slide it into the trash if it’s soggy.

What Happens if I Eat Cooked Chicken that has Gone Bad?

Don’t freak out if you’ve consumed chicken that has gone bad or been out for three to four days. You might be fine. However, it is a good idea to spot and eliminate any ruined cooked chicken in your fridge.

Cooked chicken can also result in foodborne illness (also known as food poisoning), particularly in young kids, the elderly, pregnant women, and anybody with a weaker immune system.

Food poisoning can cause unpleasant symptoms, such as chills, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, dehydration, and bloody stools. If these symptoms last longer than 12 to 24 hours, consult a doctor.

How to Reheat Leftover Chicken?

Having leftovers is not only great for saving money, but it also helps cut down on food waste. If you reheat your leftovers, you can use them in salads, sandwiches, wraps, and more. You can reheat chicken in the microwave or on the stove.

In either scenario, giving the chicken time to rest before slicing it up is crucial. This is to allow it to rehydrate and reabsorb juices. You may also want to wrap the reheated chicken in foil to trap steam. This may help keep the meat moist but can also cause the exterior to get crispy.

The chicken can be tested for temperature if you have a thermometer. It’s best to reheat your chicken to 70 degrees Celsius or higher. This is a safe temperature to reheat food, and it will kill the bacteria that cause food poisoning. Using a non-stick pan for reheating chicken is also a good idea.

How do you Defrost Cooked Chicken?

Defrosting chicken is more difficult than simply removing it from the freezer. Transferring chicken to your refrigerator is the easiest way to start defrosting. We’ve listed a few tried-and-true techniques for safely and rapidly defrosting chicken below.

Plan your meals properly because they will normally defrost completely after a day in the refrigerator. To eliminate possibly harmful microorganisms, cook chicken immediately after defrosting (165°F internal temperature).

You can run it under cold water if you need to defrost cooked chicken quickly. Put your chicken in a bag with a tight seal, then place the bagged chicken in a bowl of cold water to stop bacteria from getting into your food.

Every 30 minutes, make sure you replace the water. In an hour or less, a pound of chicken might thaw. Food that has fully defrosted must be prepared as soon as possible. Before refreezing, foods that have been thawed using cold water should be cooked.

How Should Cooked Chicken be Used up?

When quick-fix lunches like grain bowls and salads, like this exquisite Spring Chicken Salad, leftover cooked chicken is a godsend. Sandwiches are also a terrific idea, whether you create Chicken Banh Mi with Apple-Kale Slaw from scratch or create Greek Chicken in a Pita with leftover chicken that you’ve sliced or shredded for Chicken Salad Rolls.

Any dish that asks for shredded rotisserie chicken can also be made using cooked chicken, especially beloved comfort food favorites like Chicken Pot Pie, Chicken Cordon Bleu Quiche, and Buffalo-Chicken Macaroni & Cheese.

Speaking of comfort food, poached chicken is fantastic in hearty casseroles like Chicken Tortilla Dump Dinner and Chicken and Tater Tot Casserole, which are also crowd favorites. One inventive approach to making leftover chicken is to make turkey hands pies with butternut squash and spinach.

How to Prevent the Risk of Bacterial Growth in Chicken?

Leaving cooked chicken out of the fridge for prolonged periods increases the risk of bacteria growth, which can lead to food poisoning. In addition, chicken that is past its “best by” date is more likely to go bad. You can do some things to ensure your cooked chicken stays safe, though.

First, make sure you keep your storage container manageable. This makes it difficult to keep airflow in. However, if you do leave the chicken out, it’s best to use a separate utensil for the cooked chicken. You can also use plastic wrap to coat the meat, keeping it cool.

Second, leave the cooked chicken out for up to two hours. If you do, it may start to smell foul and go bad. You must also store your chicken in an airtight container to prevent bacteria from growing.


The key to cooking chicken remaining edible within three to four days is how you store it. Priority number one: store any leftover chicken in the refrigerator within two hours of cooking. When the temperature of the meat remains in the “Danger Zone,” which is between 40°F (4°C) and 140°F (60°C), bacteria can swiftly grow.

The freshness and quality of the meat will be preserved if you store your cooked chicken in a clean, dry, airtight container or seal it in an unopened, food-grade plastic bag. You can retain track of how many days you have left to enjoy your cooked chicken by marking the date it was placed in the refrigerator on the chicken packaging.