Leftovers surely offer a way to save your time and money. Leftovers can be eaten if they are stored properly, either in a freezer or fridge. But, storing cooked chicken does have a flip side. Your food may get spoilt and become foul smelling. So, how long can you store cooked chicken?

Foods you cook have their own timeline to remain fresh; after which they get spoilt. Foods like cooked chicken may last longer if stored in your freezer as compared to being refrigerated.

Cooked chicken can remain unspoilt for upto 3 days in your refrigerator. In a few instances, it has been noticed to last for a maximum of 4 days. Always remember to seal the contents well before storing it in your refrigerator. While sealing your cooked chicken, ensure to put it in a tight box. Then, use a freezer bag or a wrap made of plastic to cover the box. If frozen, your cooked chicken can remain unspoilt for upto 3 months. It is also a good idea to vacuum seal your cooked chicken. This way of packing is one proven approach to lock its aroma and taste for a fairly longer time. Studies done on optimal ways to store cooked chicken have established a direct link between vacuum sealing and longevity of your cooked chicken. It is estimated that the life of your cooked chicken can increase by as high as 40% if it is vacuum sealed and then refrigerated.

There are a few precautions that you may need to take to make cooked chicken stay longer when stored in a fridge. Ensure that you have bought the poultry product well before its date of expiry. This is a fundamental precaution to extend its lifespan and to make it remain edible. Always remember to store partially thawed or thawed poultry product at 40-degree Fahrenheit or less.

Stay aware that the quality of your cooked chicken may drop down, but it may still be safe to consume it without any problems or likely risks. In case you experience outages of power, it may further impair the quality of your cooked chicken. To keep such risks at bay, invest in a thermometer that can be fitted onto appliances such as your refrigerator. So, once your power is restored, check if your thermometer shows a reading of 40-degree Fahrenheit or less. If the desired temperature is maintained, then your cooked chicken is safe. This also means you can refreeze it and eat it.


It is a common practice to sense the aroma of your cooked chicken to determine if it is safe. Some people also look at the way cooked chicken appears and decide if it is good to eat. Neither of these practices is good. You are advised not to depend on the aroma of cooked chicken or its appearance to decide if it is safe to eat it.

So, what happens if your cooked chicken is stored in a refrigerator for more than 1.5 hours at a temperature above 40-degree Fahrenheit? You are strongly advised to discard it, and do not consume it even if its appearance and smell indicate that it is not spoilt. Despite retaining good smell and taste, microorganisms such as bacteria may have attacked your food. This condition is highly possible if you have not cooked your chicken well. Consumption of such poultry may impair your health and may lead to medical conditions.

But, how to know if your cooked chicken has turned bad? The way it tastes is one indicator. You may notice its taste has changed and if it is fully spoilt, its taste may turn completely sour. Your cooked chicken’s composition or texture may also have changed. You may find growth of mucus and this may render a slippery texture to it. It can trigger serious health risks if you eat cooked chicken once it has turned slimy. Apart from the taste and appearance, smell may also turn unpleasant. Its smell is often used for confirming if it is safe to eat it. Last but not least, color of your cooked chicken may also change. The commonly noticed color of spoilt chicken is either brown or black. Once your cooked chicken displays such color changes, it is easy to tell that it is not good to eat it anymore.

Beyond any doubt, chicken remains as one of the most preferred food items all over the world. Your love for cooked chicken may make you store it for long. There is no harm if you follow all the points mentioned above, most of which are recommendations from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Above all, be prepared to throw off your cooked chicken if you suspect it as unsafe for consumption.


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