How Long Does Chicken Last in the Fridge?

How Long Does Chicken Last in the Fridge

How Long Does Chicken Last in the Fridge?, Chicken is a common food that many people eat. It’s tasty and has good nutrients. But do you know how long chicken can stay fresh in your fridge? T

his is important to know so that you can eat safely and enjoy your meals without getting sick. In this simple guide, we will talk about how long chicken can last in the fridge, what you can do to keep it fresh for longer, and how to tell if it’s gone bad.

When you buy raw chicken from the store, it can stay good in your fridge for about 1 to 2 days. If you cook the chicken and then put it in the fridge, it can last for around 3 to 4 days before it’s no longer safe to eat. But there are some things you need to do to make sure the chicken stays fresh.

First, your fridge should be cold enough, usually below 40°F (4°C). This helps keep bacteria from growing on the chicken. Also, it’s important to store the chicken in a sealed container or a tightly closed bag. This keeps it from getting contaminated by other foods in the fridge and helps it stay moist.

To make sure you eat the chicken before it goes bad, try to use older chicken first. This is called the “First In, First Out” rule. It helps you avoid wasting food and ensures that you eat the freshest chicken first.

If chicken starts to smell bad, look different, or feel slimy, it’s probably gone bad and should be thrown away. Eating spoiled chicken can make you sick, so it’s better to be safe than sorry.

Factors Affecting Chicken Shelf Life:

Several factors contribute to how long chicken can safely be stored in the fridge:

  • Type of Chicken:
    • Raw Chicken: Fresh raw chicken typically lasts in the fridge for 1 to 2 days. Ground chicken has a shorter shelf life and should be consumed within 1 day.
    • Cooked Chicken: Cooked chicken remains safe to eat for 3 to 4 days when refrigerated promptly after cooking.
  • Temperature:
    • The refrigerator should maintain a temperature of 40°F (4°C) or below to ensure food safety. Warmer temperatures can promote bacterial growth and shorten the shelf life of chicken.
  • Packaging and Storage:
    • Store chicken in airtight containers or sealed plastic bags to prevent cross-contamination and maintain freshness. Proper packaging also helps prevent moisture loss and freezer burn.
  • Quality of Chicken:
    • Fresh, high-quality chicken will last longer in the fridge compared to chicken that is nearing its expiration date or has been mishandled during storage.

Storage Tips for Chicken:

Follow these storage tips to maximize the shelf life of chicken in the fridge:

  • Refrigerate Promptly:
    • Refrigerate raw chicken promptly after purchase or thawing. Avoid leaving raw chicken at room temperature for extended periods to prevent bacterial growth.
  • Separate and Label:
    • Store raw chicken separately from ready-to-eat foods to prevent cross-contamination. Label containers with the date of purchase or preparation to track freshness.
  • Use Airtight Containers:
    • Use airtight containers or sealed plastic bags to store both raw and cooked chicken. This helps retain moisture and prevents odors from permeating other foods in the fridge.
  • Avoid Overcrowding:
    • Avoid overcrowding the refrigerator to ensure proper air circulation around the chicken. Overcrowding can lead to uneven cooling and compromise freshness.
  • Follow FIFO Rule:
    • FIFO (First In, First Out) rule: Use older chicken first before newer purchases to minimize food waste and ensure freshness.

Signs of Spoiled Chicken:

It’s crucial to recognize the signs of spoiled chicken to avoid consuming unsafe food. Look out for these indicators:

  • Unpleasant Odor:
    • Spoiled chicken may emit a foul or sour odor, indicating bacterial growth and spoilage.
  • Changes in Appearance:
    • Discoloration, slimy texture, or visible mold growth on chicken are signs of spoilage. Fresh chicken should have a pinkish color and firm texture.
  • Texture and Consistency:
    • Spoiled chicken may feel slimy or sticky to the touch, indicating bacterial contamination.
  • Expiration Date:
    • Check the expiration date on packaged chicken and discard it if it has expired. Follow recommended storage guidelines for optimal freshness.

Signs of Spoiled Chicken

Safe Consumption Practices:

Follow these guidelines for safe consumption of chicken:

  • Cook Thoroughly:
    • Cook chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) to kill harmful bacteria and ensure food safety.
  • Refrigerate Leftovers Promptly:
    • Refrigerate leftover cooked chicken within 2 hours of preparation to prevent bacterial growth. Use leftovers within 3 to 4 days.
  • Avoid Cross-Contamination:
    • Use separate cutting boards, utensils, and plates for raw and cooked chicken to prevent cross-contamination. Wash hands and surfaces thoroughly after handling raw chicken.
  • Do Not Refreeze Thawed Chicken:
    • Once thawed, do not refreeze chicken as it can affect texture and food safety. Cook thawed chicken promptly.


Understanding how long chicken lasts in the fridge is essential for maintaining food safety and quality. By following proper storage guidelines, recognizing signs of spoilage, and practicing safe consumption practices, you can enjoy fresh and delicious chicken dishes while minimizing the risk of foodborne illness.

Stay mindful of expiration dates, refrigeration temperatures, and hygiene practices to ensure a healthy and enjoyable culinary experience.

Written by Amy Fischer

Amy, a registered dietitian at the Good Housekeeping Institute's Nutrition Lab, brings a wealth of expertise to nutrition, health content, and product testing. With a journalism degree from Miami University of Ohio and a master's in clinical nutrition from NYU, she's a versatile expert. Prior to joining Good Housekeeping, Amy worked as a cardiac transplant dietitian at a prominent NYC hospital and contributed to clinical nutrition textbooks. Her background also includes PR and marketing work with food startups.

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