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How Long is Chicken Supposed to Last in the Fridge Before It Spoils?

Chicken Storage

In the world of culinary delights, chicken stands as a versatile and widely cherished protein source. However, the question of how long chicken is supposed to last in the fridge looms over many kitchens.

Raw chicken, like any perishable item, has a limited shelf life influenced by various factors. The temperature at which it’s stored plays a crucial role. The recommended storage temperature for raw chicken is between 32°F and 40°F (0°C and 4°C), maintaining a delicate balance between coolness and freezing

Let’s delve into the intricacies of chicken storage, exploring the nuances that can impact its shelf life.

Storing Chicken in the Fridge

Before we dive into the shelf life of chicken, let’s talk about the proper way to store it in the refrigerator.

When you bring chicken home from the grocery store, it is best to keep it in its original packaging if it is sealed and intact.

If the packaging is damaged or leaking, transfer the chicken to a clean, airtight container or wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil.

Make sure to place the chicken on the bottom shelf of the refrigerator to prevent any potential cross-contamination with other foods.

The ideal temperature for storing chicken is below 40°F (4°C). Keeping the chicken at this temperature slows down the growth of bacteria, which helps to extend its shelf life.

How Long Does Chicken Last in the Fridge?

The shelf life of chicken in the refrigerator depends on several factors, including the type of chicken (whole, pieces, or ground), the freshness at the time of purchase, and how it is stored.

Here are some general guidelines:

  • Whole chicken: A whole chicken can last in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
  • Chicken pieces: Chicken pieces, such as breasts, thighs, or drumsticks, can last in the fridge for 1 to 2 days.
  • Ground chicken: Ground chicken should be used within 1 to 2 days.

It is important to note that these are general guidelines, and the actual shelf life may vary depending on the specific conditions and quality of the chicken.

Always use your best judgment and check for any signs of spoilage before consuming.

Signs of Spoiled Chicken

It is crucial to be able to identify whether chicken has spoiled to avoid any potential foodborne illnesses.

Here are some signs to look out for:

  • Unpleasant odor: If the chicken has a strong, foul smell, it is likely spoiled and should be discarded.
  • Discoloration: If the chicken has a gray or greenish tint, it is a sign of spoilage.
  • Texture changes: If the chicken feels slimy or sticky to the touch, it is best to throw it away.
  • Mold: If you see any mold growth on the chicken, it is not safe to consume.

If you notice any of these signs, it is important to err on the side of caution and discard the chicken to avoid any potential health risks.

Freezing Chicken for Extended Storage

If you have chicken that you won’t be able to consume within the recommended time frame, freezing is a great option to extend its shelf life.

When freezing chicken, make sure to wrap it tightly in plastic wrap or aluminum foil, or place it in a freezer-safe container or bag.

Properly stored, chicken can be kept in the freezer for up to 9 to 12 months.

When thawing frozen chicken, it is best to do so in the refrigerator overnight or using the defrost function on your microwave.

Avoid thawing chicken at room temperature, as it can promote bacterial growth.


In the intricate dance of food storage, chicken takes center stage. By understanding the factors that influence its shelf life, practicing smart storage, and debunking common myths, we empower ourselves to savor this culinary staple responsibly. Let’s embrace a culture of conscious consumption, ensuring each bite is a flavorful and safe experience.

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