How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Freezer?

You’re not the only one curious about how long raw chicken remains fresh in the refrigerator. The solution is straightforward, and the question isn’t as challenging to understand as you would believe. All you need to do is keep track of the chicken’s purchase date and storage location, then eat it whenever you like. Make sure your chicken is kept in an airtight container whether you plan to store it in the freezer or refrigerator.

How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Freezer?


Chicken in a Frozen Bag from Shelf Cooking

Fortunately for all of us, the frozen chicken stays longer than one to two days! This is why having a freezer in your kitchen is such a must. You can save money by shelf cooking instead of running to the market whenever you need new meat because it makes your food last much longer.

Freezer Guidelines

  • When it comes to freezer storage, not all chicken is made equal. If you follow these rules, you’ll be fine.
  • Whole, Raw Chicken – 1 year… It’s true what you just read! A whole chicken can be kept frozen for a full 12 months. So if you ever find them on sale, don’t feel bad about buying plenty of them! Just be sure that your freezer has enough space for them.
  • Pieces of raw chicken – 9 months. To avoid freezer burn, make sure to freeze it properly. Utilize freezer-safe bags and squeeze out as much air as you can!
  • 2 to 6 months for cooked chicken. The secret to having it survive six months is to freeze it properly.
  • 1 to 3 months for chicken nuggets or patties. Do chicken nuggets typically stay that long in your home, let’s face it?
  • Chicken is only one of the many different foods that may be frozen. Therefore, place your meat, produce, and fruits in the freezer rather than letting them spoil in your refrigerator.

Airtight Container

If kept in an airtight container, it can be kept for 1-2 days. The best way to determine the shelf life of the chicken is to cook it before saving it properly. However, estimating the raw chicken’s shelf life could be challenging. You may find out how long raw chicken will last using the methods listed below:

A Ziploc bag, piece of plastic wrap, or another airtight container should be used to store raw chicken. Place it on a plate or dish to prevent juices from dripping. Put the container in the refrigerator’s coldest section. After putting the raw chicken in the fridge, don’t open the door immediately. The heat from the chicken will encourage the growth of bacteria. Therefore, store your raw chicken in the refrigerator in an airtight container.


Whether it is whole or cut into parts (breasts, thighs, drumsticks, and wings), it lasts in the refrigerator for one to two days. When raw chicken is frozen, its shelf life is increased to nine months for pieces and one year for the entire bird.

Cooked Chicken is twice As Long As Raw Chicken

Cooked and frozen chicken will keep for three to four days if stored correctly. The shelf life of leftovers can be further increased by freezing them. The USDA advises keeping cooked chicken in the refrigerator at 40 degrees Fahrenheit or less. After three days, bacterial development is hazardous, resulting in food poisoning. Additionally, food spoiled by bacteria has an undesirable odor, taste, and look.

Check the texture of your chicken to make sure it is fresh. A shiny, wet surface is a sign of recently cooked chicken. Throw away any chicken that has turned slimy or sticky. In the refrigerator, cooked chicken keeps for twice as long as raw chicken. It must be wrapped in thick aluminum foil to shield it from moisture. It should also be kept in an airtight container to maintain its freshness and flavor. Both raw and cooked chicken should never be stored together since they may contain dangerous diseases.

Chicken that has a Bad Smell

  • On the other hand, spoilage is an entirely different matter. Bacteria are also responsible for spoilage, which refers to the changes in food that make it smell terrible, feel slimy, change color, etc.
  • These bacteria function similarly to all other living things, consuming food and emitting waste. And a lot of the time, the changes in the food that we associate with the rotting result from this cycle of eating and excreting. Other times, it’s the dead bacteria themselves because they reproduce quickly.
  • However, it’s crucial to understand that chicken that smells awful can’t truly make you ill if you cook it correctly and follow the instructions mentioned earlier. The question is whether you would want to cook ruined chicken, but the fact remains that you could, and it wouldn’t harm you, and you would only consume stale chicken.
  • If you have some chicken breasts that feel slimy, your first course of action should be to thoroughly rinse them in cold water because most of the changes known as spoiling occur on the item’s surface.
  • Rotten chicken has a horrible odor, as in ammonia, rotten eggs, or something strongly odorous. Even freshly cooked chicken has a fragrance, but it shouldn’t smell off, and if yours does, it is most likely spoilt. (Note: One of the reasons sauces were created was to cover up the odors and flavors of partially spoiled meat and poultry.)

How to Choose and Store Chicken, So it Stays Fresh?

  • Your trip to the grocery store should be the first step in selecting the freshest chicken. Look for raw chicken with flesh that is a pale pink tint. The liquids from the basic chicken package can prevent contaminating your other groceries by placing them in a disposable bag.
  • Only remove raw chicken from its original container when using it at home. In addition, remember that fresh chicken meat has no odor when you open it. Additionally, the flesh ought to be smooth, moist, and firm with a bit of giving to the touch.
  • According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one out of every twenty-five cartons of chicken could have Salmonella germs. Following proper storage measures are crucial to stop the germs from spreading.
  • Keep raw chicken chilled, below 40°F (4°C), in the refrigerator. To prevent any drippings from the packing from leaking and contaminating other meals, put the bagged package on the lowest shelf.

What are the Signs that Raw Chicken has Gone Bad?

Even if the “best, if used by” date on the chicken box you bought hasn’t yet passed (more on these dates later), it’s still conceivable that the meat has gone wrong. What is the best way to determine when something has spoiled and is no longer safe to eat?

  • Trust your senses first. The stench of spoiled chicken is unpleasant.
  • Check out the meat. The appearance of rotten raw chicken meat is also highly glossy and slimy.
  • Additionally, color matters. Chicken that has been spoiled frequently loses its pinkish color and becomes gray or even green and yellow. You might occasionally see mold developing on human flesh.
  • Feel the texture of the meat. Pressing on rotten chicken may feel stiff, especially when the heart does not spring back to its standard shape and leaves an indentation. Additionally, some ruined meat could feel sticky and soft. And always wash your hands for at least 20 seconds in warm, soapy water after handling raw chicken.

What do the Dates on the Packaging Mean?

It is natural to be confused by the dates mentioned on the packaging because raw chicken is only kept in the refrigerator for one to two days.

According to the Food and Safety Inspection Service of the USDA, the “pack date” and “best if used by date” must be visible on all raw poultry sold in the United States.

In the case of food-borne illness outbreaks, chicken is identified and tracked using the “pack date.” The “best if used by” date is indicated to ensure quality. In other words, once the raw chicken has beyond its “best if used by” date, its rate may have decreased.

Regardless of the “best if used by” date, raw chicken should be consumed within one to two days of purchase from a food safety standpoint.

Does Eating Raw Chicken Benefit Your Health?

Recently, raw food diets have gained popularity, especially among those who must adhere to stringent dietary rules. Raw food diets promote meatless nutrition based on uncooked fruits and vegetables, and meats have gradually gotten into raw food diets.

Although it’s OK for humans to eat raw seafood like sushi and rare steaks, not all meats are produced the same or have the same bacteria. One of those dangerous meats is chicken.

How Long does Frozen and Thawed Raw Chicken Stay Fresh?

While chicken that has been thawed in the microwave or cold water should be cooked right away, chicken that has been defrosted in the refrigerator can be kept there for an extra one to two days before being cooked.

What Pathogens are Found on Raw Chicken?

According to Consumer Reports, up to two-thirds of chickens purchased in the US may have Salmonella, Campylobacter, or both. Salmonella germs are in the guts of many farm animals, particularly chickens. In humans, it may result in intestinal infections. This may result in:

  • foodborne illness
  • the typhoid virus
  • intestinal fever
  • gastroenteritis
  • additional ailments

When chicken meat comes into touch with animal excrement, it might become infected with Campylobacter. Bloody diarrhea is the most typical sign of Campylobacter infection; in some circumstances, it can potentially result in more severe issues.

The most frequent pathogens identified on raw chicken are Campylobacter and Salmonella. Other pathogens consist of:

  • A. Staphylococcus
  • E. coli
  • Enterococcus
  • Klebsiella

Can You Refrigerate Raw Chicken for a Week?

The USDA and U.S. Food and Drug Administration advise against storing raw chicken (whole, in pieces such as breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings, or ground) in the refrigerator for more than one to two days.

Is Raw Chicken Good in the Fridge for 3 Days?

In the refrigerator, raw chicken keeps for 1-2 days, whereas cooked chicken keeps for 3–4 days. Check the “best if used by” date and check for spoiled food indicators, including color, texture, and smell changes. Even if you thoroughly cook the chicken, you should avoid eating ruined chicken because it can make you sick.

How do You Store Raw Chicken in the Fridge After Opening?

So how should raw chicken be stored after being opened? The raw chicken should be in an airtight container and kept in the refrigerator for two days. Put the chicken in the coldest part of the refrigerator: the back. Wrap the chicken twice in foil and plastic wrap for longer-term storage, then put it in the freezer.

How Long is Vacuum Sealed Raw Chicken Good for?

However, meat items like chicken, beef, fish, and others can be kept in the refrigerator for up to 10 days without cooking or freezing. Extra oxygen is removed during vacuum sealing to keep products fresher longer and to reduce the process of food perishing.


Be sure to pay attention to the “best if used by date” printed on the chicken packaging, regardless of whether you intend to prepare a crispy roast chicken or one of our Best Healthy Chicken Recipes. However, the most crucial thing you can do is examine the flesh carefully by touching it, smelling it, and taking a close look at it. When in doubt, it should be thrown away. Also, remember that one to two days can go by very quickly, so make sure you have a game plan for preparing your chicken.