For most of us, we just love a good dish with chicken. Sometimes just having some cooked chicken in a few slices of fresh bread is just the meal fix your happy with.
Chicken is healthy for you and you can eat it in many different ways as it is so easy to get creative with.
The problem with chicken is that fact it is linked to so many bacteria and toxins.
Most are killed off when you cook the meat but there are some that can grow after the chicken is cooked that are heat resistant and cannot be killed off.
Unfortunately, this can make you very ill and sometimes the symptoms require hospital treatment.
Ensure you know the right amount of time to leave the cooked chicken out on the bench or table before it is no longer safe to eat.
How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out?
Chicken that has already been cooked should only be left sitting out at room temperature for no longer than 2 hours. If you have heating on or the kitchen is generally warm, the time needs to be significantly reduced to only about 30 minutes. Chicken needs to be refrigerated whether it is cooked or not to slow down the bacteria growth.
Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken
The guidelines that need to be followed when it comes to temperatures and how it affects food states that it is fine to freeze cooked chicken in fact it actually helps to keep it safe as it slows the growing of molecures which causes the bacteria to go into a latent stage.
Raw chicken can be kept in the freezer for up to one year as long as it is fresh when you freeze it and the freezer remains at the normal constant temp.
Your booklet will tell you what temperature your freezer should be set on. Chicken that has been cooked will need to be stored in the freezer for up to 6 months.
Commercially cooked chicken like nuggets can be kept for up to three months.
What Is The Best Way To Store Chicken In The Freezer
If you are freezing cooked chicken, the best way to do so is in reusable zip lock bags. Make sure that you get rid of all the air inside the bag before they are sealed off.
I prefer to divide my chicken into smaller portions and decide how many to take out and thaw. Rather than freezing it all together and then not using it and it goes to waste.
When you take the cooked chicken out, don’t defrost it on the benchtop. You only want to defrost it in the refrigerator.
How To Tell If Chicken Is Unfit To Eat
If you have cooked chicken in the fridge and you are not sure how long it has been there, you can do a few tests. The color test, touch test, and smell.
If the chicken has a different color it is best to steer clear. Green or grey tones can indicate mold and bacteria growth. If the chicken smells different to what it normally does that is another red flag.
Finally, chicken that has gone bad will often be fuzzy, slimy, or hard and dry.
Sometimes the chicken might be off, but it might not have any symptoms yet. It is best not to eat any cooked chicken if you have forgotten how long it was left out on the benchtop for.
What Happens When You Eat Chicken That Has Been Out Too Long?
There is a high risk of food poisoning when you eat chicken that has either been out of the fridge for too long or whether it has gone bad inside the fridge.
The chicken can become contaminated by salmonella, campylobacter, and plenty more funky things.
These types of bacteria are eliminated when the raw chicken is cooked. If the chicken is cooked and infected, you cannot get rid of it.
Food poisoning is horrible, and you can be under the weather for up to a week.
Signs and symptoms are a high fever, nausea, chills, diarrhea, vomiting, dehydration, and bloody stools. In some cases, hospitalization is needed, especially if you become too dehydrated, which can be fatal.
Food poisoning from cooked chicken might not appear for 12 – 24 hours.
Chicken is pretty affordable and easy to come by.
So it is best to avoid any chicken you are not sure how old it is or how long it has been sitting out. It truly isn’t worth getting sick over.
In order to keep family and friends safe and healthy, it is best to eat cooked chicken right after you have cooked it.
If you cannot eat it right away, it is best to put it in the refrigerator as it is protected and easily heated up again. It is safe to reheat the chicken, and it will not change the taste of the dish. Enjoy your chicken without the health risks.
People tend to think if the chicken has been sitting out but smells fine and tastes fine, then it is ok to eat. This is not true.
It can take a day or so for the chicken to change color, flavor, or texture. It can still be contaminated with dangerous germs.
Read about what chicken frittata is next.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Cooked Chicken Can Sit Out
Can I Keep Cooked Chicken Out Longer In A Container?
All a container will do is keep the chicken safe from airborne containments. The problem is with the chicken itself. Whether covered or not, bacteria will grow in the meat when left out at room temperature.
Can I Leave Frozen Cooked Chicken To Defrost On The Bench?
This is the same as leaving it out too long. Even when it is defrosting, leaving it out too long will cause bacteria growth by the time it is ready to eat. Always defrost in the refrigerator.