Chicken is one of the most diverse food options, as it can be prepared so many different ways. Whether you like to grill it on the barbecue or deep-fry it, it always comes out delicious. But if you cook chicken often, you know that dealing with leftovers can be a little tricky. Mainly, how long does cooked chicken last in the fridge before it becomes unsafe to eat?
According to food expert Janilyn Hutchings, StateFoodSafety food scientist and Certified Professional in Food Safety (CP-FS), cooked chicken will last in the refrigerator for three to four days. Another important detail to keep in mind? Be careful how you store it. According to the USDA, chicken should be refrigerated within two hours of it being cooked (and one hour if the temperature of the environment is 90 degrees or over, like when you’re barbecuing outdoors). The USDA also advises to reheat leftovers to 165 degrees.
If you know you will not get around to eating it before it’s time to throw it out, another option is to put it in the freezer. “If you store it in the freezer instead of the fridge, it will stay good for up to six months,” adds Hutchings. The USDA suggests that if you’re freezing chicken, make sure it’s wrapped tightly and securely with a freezer-safe covering. Also make sure to check the temperature of your freezer — it should be below zero degrees.
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