How long can thawed chicken stay in fridge? Find the answer, methods to thaw raw chicken safely, and how to tell if your chicken breasts are fresh or not!
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Chicken is a popular protein for its versatility, taste, and flexibility. You can make different dishes using chicken breasts, legs, wings, thighs, and even whole chickens. As a result, many people purchase raw chicken in grocery stores, store them in the fridge or freezer, and defrost chicken when they are ready to cook. But how long can thawed chicken stay in the fridge? Find out more!
Many people are wary of freezing and thawing chicken and other poultry. This is because there are numerous food safety guidelines regarding raw or cooked chicken and poultry meat.
However, properly stored and thawed chicken and poultry is safe for cooking and consumption.
If you plan to purchase whole chickens or parts, such as chicken breasts, thighs, etc., you first need to learn how to properly store them to avoid health problems. Here’s how!
How Long Can Thawed Chicken Stay in Fridge?
How long thawed chicken stay in the fridge will depend on the state of your chicken when you purchased it. If the raw chicken is fresh and was not frozen before when purchased, it is recommended cook chicken as soon as possible. But if you want to store fresh chicken in your fridge, don’t leave it there for more than 2 days.
On the other hand, if you purchased frozen chicken in the grocery or shop, the chicken could stay in the fridge for 1 to 2 days after it is fully thawed. However, the size of your frozen chicken will affect the thawing process of the chicken. Thawing chicken for more than 2 days in the fridge will increase the chances of bacterial growth and food poisoning.
How to Thaw Frozen Chicken Safely
The size of the chicken will affect how long it will thaw using the refrigerator method. One deboned chicken breast will take around 24 hours to be fully thawed. While chicken parts with bones can take up to 2 days, a whole chicken with at least 6lbs might take 2 days to be fully thawed.
If you use the refrigerator thawing method, place the frozen meat in a container or tray. Cover or use plastic wrap, and place it in your refrigerator.
How long can thawed chicken stay in the fridge after the refrigerator method? Thawed chicken can stay in the fridge for up to 2 days. However, when you thaw chicken, it is best to cook chicken as soon as possible. Keeping thawed chicken in the fridge is prone to bacteria growth and exposure.
This method is the quickest way to thaw chicken. If you are in a rush and need your chicken, transfer frozen chicken to a microwave-safe container, pop them in your microwave, and press defrost function.
However, keep in mind that when you use the microwave thawing method, you need to closely watch your frozen chicken. You might have to flip the chicken meat to ensure thawed chicken is completely defrosted.
How long can thawed chicken stay in the fridge after the microwave method? When you thaw chicken using the microwave, you need to cook chicken as soon as possible.
Cold Water Thawing
This method is ideal for defrosting chicken pieces. If you have whole chickens, you need to find a big enough container to submerge the whole chicken into ice-cold water.
To use the cold water method, you must fully submerge the chicken pieces in ice-cold water for a few hours. Make sure the chicken pieces are fully submerged, or bacteria growth will happen.
When the chicken is defrosted, remove thawed chicken from the water and use them. Cooked chicken meat using defrosted chicken thawed in cold water will taste and feel the same as fresh chicken.
How long can thawed chicken stay in the fridge after the cold water thawing method? Thawed chicken using this method can last up to 2 days in the fridge.
NOTE: Thawing raw meat at room temperature or in hot water can increase bacteria growth.
Signs Raw Chicken Has Gone Bad
Like cooked chicken, raw chicken can go bad without proper storage. Here are 4 signs that say your defrosted chicken has gone bad:
- Funky smell: If the chicken smells funky, rotten egg, or off, it is a sign that it is spoiled.
- Gray and/or yellow spots: Chicken should have a light pink color when fresh. When you notice some parts have gray and yellow colors, it means the chicken has gone bad.
- Slimy texture and feel: Raw meat like chicken should have a moist feel; if it turns slimy and sticky, your chicken is already spoiled.
- Expiration date: When you purchase raw or cooked chicken, there will be a best-before date on the label.
The key to delicious chicken meals is to cook the raw chicken as soon as possible. However, if you can’t cook it, you can store them in an airtight container or wrap them in plastic to avoid contamination. Wash your hands after handling chicken.