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How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last in the Fridge?

If you’ve spent hours preparing and cooking a perfectly roasted chicken, the last thing you want to do is throw away any leftovers. Canstar Blue explains not only how long you can store cooked chicken in the refrigerator but also how to increase its shelf life.

In this article we cover:

How long does cooked chicken last in the fridge?

Storing cooked food in the fridge is a great way to improve its longevity, meaning you get to enjoy your leftovers for longer. But when it comes to meat, in this case chicken, you want to ensure that what you’re eating is still fresh and healthy.

Cooked chicken can generally be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days.

→Related article: Most Energy-Efficient Refrigerators 

How to know if cooked chicken is safe to eat

If you’ve lost track of how long your cooked chicken has been in the fridge, or just want to be careful, there’s some ways of checking if your cooked chicken is still fit for consumption. Here’s how:

1. Smell

A strong, unpleasant, or sour odor is a clear sign that cooked chicken has gone bad. Freshly cooked chicken should have a neutral or slightly savory smell.

2. Colour

If the colour of the cooked chicken has changed significantly, it may be a sign of spoilage. Look for any discolouration, especially if it appears gray or has dark spots.

3. Texture

Spoiled chicken may feel slimy or sticky to the touch. Freshly cooked chicken should have a firm texture. If it feels excessively moist or slimy, it’s best to discard it.

4. Taste

If the taste is off or if it has a strange or rancid flavor, the chicken has likely gone bad. Trust your taste buds; if it doesn’t taste right, it’s safer not to consume it.

When in doubt, it’s safer to discard cooked chicken that shows any of these signs of spoilage. Food safety is crucial, and consuming spoiled chicken can lead to foodborne illnesses. If you have concerns about the freshness of cooked chicken, it’s best to err on the side of caution and avoid consumption.

How to extend the shelf life of cooked chicken

To extend the shelf life of cooked chicken and keep it fresh for a longer period in the fridge, consider the following tips:

1. Refrigerate ASAP

Refrigerate cooked chicken as soon as possible after cooking. Aim to refrigerate it within two hours (or within one hour if the room temperature is above 32°C).

Ensure that your refrigerator is set to the appropriate temperature (below 4°C). A colder fridge slows down bacterial growth and helps keep food fresh.

2. Use a shallow container

Store cooked chicken in shallow, airtight containers. This allows for faster and more even cooling, reducing the risk of bacterial growth.

If you don’t have airtight containers, use plastic wrap or aluminum foil to tightly cover the cooked chicken. This helps prevent exposure to air and moisture.

3. Avoid overcrowding

Avoid overcrowding the refrigerator. Proper air circulation is essential for maintaining the freshness of cooked chicken. If possible, allow some space around the containers.

4. Store each part differently

If you’ve cooked different types of chicken (e.g., breast, thighs), store them separately to make it easier to use portions without exposing the entire batch to air when opening the container.

If you don’t plan to consume the cooked chicken within a few days, consider freezing it. Divide it into portion-sized containers or wrap it tightly in freezer-safe bags. Frozen cooked chicken can last for two to six months.

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How long does cooked fish last in the fridge?

Cooked fish can generally be stored in the refrigerator for one to two days. It’s important to refrigerate it within two hours of cooking or within one hour if the room temperature is above 32°C.

Fattier fish, such as salmon, may not last as long as leaner fish. Fatty fish has a shorter shelf life due to its higher oil content.

How long does cooked beef last in the fridge?

Cooked beef can generally be stored in the refrigerator for three to four days. It’s important to refrigerate it within two hours of cooking or within one hour if the room temperature is above 32°C.

How long does fresh fruit last in the fridge?

  • Berries: roughly three to seven days. Store them in a breathable container, such as a perforated plastic bag, and avoid washing them until just before consumption.
  • Citrus fruits: can last for two to four weeks. Keep them in the crisper drawer or in a plastic bag to retain moisture
  • Apples and pears: four to six weeks. Store them in the crisper drawer or a plastic bag
  • Grapes: can last about one to two weeks
  • Melons: once cut, melons should be consumed within three to five days. Whole melons can last up to two weeks
  • Sone fruits: typically last about three to five days in the refrigerator. Allow them to ripen at room temperature and then refrigerate for extended freshness

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About the author of this page

This page was written by Canstar Content Producer, Caitlin Bingham. Caitlin is an experienced writer whose passion for creativity led her to study communication and journalism. She began her career freelancing as a content writer, before joining the Canstar team.

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