Chicken is a staple ingredient in many kitchens due to its delicious taste and healthy protein content. But One of the most common questions when it comes to storing chicken is, “How long does raw chicken last in the fridge?”
This article provides a comprehensive guide to answer this question and help keep your raw chicken fresh in the refrigerator. From determining the freshness of chicken at the market to understanding packaging dates, you’ll have all the information you need to make the right choice.
Don’t let that raw chicken in your fridge go to waste. Read on to find out how long it can be safely refrigerated and learn tips for choosing and storing raw chicken.
How to tell if the chicken has gone bad?
If you want to know if your chicken has gone bad, there are a few signs you can look for.
First, check the “best by” date on the packaging. If it’s passed, the chicken may not be safe to eat.
Second, pay attention to the color of the chicken. Fresh chicken should have a pinkish hue, but it can turn gray or green as it starts to spoil.
Third, smell the chicken. If it has a sour or ammonia-like odor, it’s likely not safe to eat. Fourth, touch the chicken. If it has a slimy texture, it’s a sign that it’s gone bad.
To ensure you don’t consume spoiled chicken, it’s best to use your senses to check the chicken’s color, smell, and texture.
How to store chicken?
If you’re someone who buys chicken in bulk, you’re in luck! Here are some tips to help extend its shelf life.
Firstly, it’s important to avoid keeping chicken at room temperature for more than two hours, as bacteria thrive at temperatures between 40-140 degrees Fahrenheit. Instead, store it in the refrigerator or freezer.
In the Refrigerator:
Raw chicken should be stored in an airtight container, such as a Ziploc bag or plastic wrap. To avoid contamination, place the container on a tray or dish and store it in the coldest part of the fridge.
In the Freezer:
Freezing chicken is the best option to extend its shelf life.
When shopping for fresh chicken, look for meat with light pink flesh and a firm texture.
To avoid contamination, keep the raw chicken in its original packaging and open it only when ready to use it. The meat should be odor-free and feel smooth and moist to the touch.
How long does raw chicken last at room temperature?
Raw chicken can spoil quickly if stored within the temperature range of 40°F to 140°F, so it should not be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
To keep it fresher for longer, you can freeze it. However, before freezing, make sure to do so before the recommended refrigerator storage time has passed.
To preserve the quality of your frozen chicken, it’s best to wrap it tightly with heavy-duty aluminum foil, plastic wrap, or freezer paper or place it inside a heavy-duty freezer bag.
How long does raw chicken last in the fridge?
The USDA states that raw chicken can last for 1 to 2 days in the refrigerator.
It is important to store chicken in the fridge as this slows down bacterial growth, as bacteria grow slower in temperatures below 40°F. In addition, raw chicken should be stored in a leakproof container to prevent contamination from its juices.
If you need to store the chicken for longer, it’s best to store it in the freezer. A whole chicken can be kept in the freezer for up to a year, but raw chicken pieces can only be kept there for up to nine months.
How long does raw chicken last in the freezer?
If you’re not planning to cook your raw chicken right away, placing it in the freezer is a smart option. This can extend its shelf life from three months to one year and preserve its quality, flavor, and texture.
For example, a whole raw chicken can be stored in the freezer for up to a year, while raw chicken pieces will remain of good quality for up to nine months. As for giblets and ground chicken, they can be frozen for approximately three to four months.
As long as it’s stored properly, the raw chicken will retain its best quality in the freezer for 9 to 12 months, although it will still be safe to consume after that time.
It’s important to note that the freezer time indicated is for best quality only, and chicken that has been continuously frozen at 0°F will remain safe indefinitely.
How to Defrost Chicken
If you have frozen chicken and no time to defrost it, don’t worry! Here are three methods to quickly and safely defrost your chicken.
- Refrigerator – This method is considered the best way to defrost the chicken. Simply transfer the frozen chicken from the freezer to the refrigerator at least a day before cooking.
- Microwave – The quickest method is to microwave-defrost your chicken. This method may cause uneven defrosting with warm and frozen areas, though. To kill bacteria, cook the chicken as soon as it has defrosted and at the correct temperature.
- Cold Water – This method takes a bit longer, about two to three hours. Start by placing the frozen chicken in a leakproof plastic bag to prevent bacteria from damaging the meat. Place the chicken in its bag in a large bowl and submerge it entirely. Every 30 minutes until the chicken has completely defrosted, change the water.
Bonus Tip: According to the USDA, you can cook chicken straight from the freezer! Just be prepared to adjust your cooking time accordingly.
Raw chicken can be stored in the refrigerator for up to two days. To ensure the freshness and safety of your chicken, it’s important to check its “best if used by” date and look for any signs of spoilage, such as a change in odor, texture, or color.
If you suspect your chicken has gone bad, it’s best to avoid consuming it, as it could lead to food poisoning, even if you cook it thoroughly.