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Food,  Healthy LifeStyle

How Long Can You Keep Raw Chicken in the Fridge?

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The nutritional value of raw chicken is very high, but if you eat spoiled chicken, it is easy cause acute gastrointestinal diseases. Wondering if the raw chicken in the fridge is still safe to eat? The following article will give you the best time to store raw chicken in the refrigerator and the storage tips you need to know to keep raw chicken fresh in the refrigerator for as long as possible. Also, in this article, you can learn how to spot the freshest chicken on the market and what those package dates mean.

How Long Will the Chicken Keep in the Refrigerator?

According to the Cold Food Storage Chart from, one of the federal agencies, raw chicken, whether whole or cut into portions (breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings), can be kept chilled in the refrigerator for one to two days. (Freezing raw chicken in the refrigerator extends its shelf life to 9 months.)

About 1 million Americans get sick each year from eating improperly stored raw poultry. Lest we become one of them, read on to learn tips for choosing and storing raw chicken.

What Are the Signs of Spoiled Raw Chicken?

Even if you buy chicken buns that haven’t passed their “best before” dates (more on these dates later), the meat can still go bad. So, how do you know if it has gone bad and is no longer safe to eat?

1. Trust your feelings, the spoiled chicken will give off an unpleasant smell.

2. Check the surface of the chicken with the naked eye, spoiled raw chicken also appeared particularly shiny and sticky.

3. Color is so Important, spoiled chicken usually loses its pink hue and may appear gray or even green and yellow. Sometimes you may notice mold growing on the surface of the meat.

4. Feel the texture of the meat, spoiled chicken may feel stiff, especially when you apply pressure, dents and the meat will not spring back to its original shape. Some spoiled meats can also feel soft and sticky. Remember to wash your hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds after handling raw chicken.

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What Does the Date on the Packaging Mean?

Since raw chicken only lasts one to two days in the refrigerator, you’ll have to wonder what the date listed on the package means.

According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s Food and Safety Inspection Service, all raw poultry meat must be marketed with a “pack date” and “best before” date on the package.

“Package Date” is used to identify and track poultry in the event of a foodborne illness outbreak. For quality assurance purposes, a “best before date” is listed on the packaging. In other words, the quality of raw chicken may deteriorate beyond the “best available shelf life”.

From a food safety standpoint, raw chicken in the refrigerator has a short shelf life and is best eaten within one to two days of purchase.

How to Choose and Store Chicken to Keep It Fresh?

For the freshest chicken, look for raw chicken with pale pink flesh. Putting a package of raw chicken in a disposable bag will help prevent contamination of your other belongings.

At home, keep the raw chicken in its original packaging before use and only open it when it is ready to use. When you open it, you should know that fresh chicken is tasteless. The meat should also be a little firm, smooth and moist to the touch.

Here are steps for storing raw chicken in the refrigerator:

  1. Wrap each piece of raw chicken in plastic wrap.

  1. Place the plastic-wrapped chicken pieces in a Ziploc freezer bag made with thicker sides. Or you can wrap it in foil again before putting it in the bag.

  1. Squeeze all air out of the freezer bag. This will also extend the shelf life of your chicken.

  1. Label the bag with a date before placing the chicken in the refrigerator. This means you can accurately calculate how long the chicken will last in the refrigerator.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that 1 in 25 packages of chicken may be contaminated with salmonella. Therefore, following proper storage procedures is key to reducing the spread of bacteria.

How to Store Leftover Raw Chicken?

There are hard and fast rules you should always follow when handling raw chicken.

  1. Do not leave raw chicken at room temperature for more than two hours.

  1. Immediately store any unused raw chicken.

  1. The longer raw chicken is exposed to room temperature, the more likely it is that bacteria will begin to grow on the meat.

  1. Always wash hands and surfaces after handling raw meat.

You can store raw chicken in the refrigerator or freezer. If you plan to eat it later in the day or the next day, the refrigerator is fine. For longer intervals, you should use the freezer to freeze raw chicken.

How To Safely Thaw Raw Chicken?

Thawing In The Fridge

The best and safest way to defrost chicken is in the refrigerator while also taking about a day to prepare, so if you need a quicker solution, continue reading. Transfer your chicken from the freezer to the refrigerator the day before you intend to cook it so that it can thaw gradually for at least 24 hours. Make sure to put the raw chicken in a rimmed dish or container, ideally at the bottom of your refrigerator to reduce the possibility of drips onto your other food as it thaws. With this method of defrosting, you can extend the freshness of your meat in the refrigerator by an additional one to two days. However, once your meat has thawed, it cannot be refrozen unless you intend to cook it in a liquid such as stock, soup, or stew. Meat that has been thawed and then refrozen loses flavor and texture due to the disruption of the protein cell structure and unwanted extra moisture.

Thaw In Cold Water

Use the cold-water method for same-day defrosting if you only have a few hours to thaw your chicken. Meat should never be thawed at room temperature or in hot water, according to the USDA. When the meat reaches 40 degrees F, it enters the “Danger Zone” for food, where bacteria can grow and render it unsafe to consume; this can happen if meat has been left out at room temperature for more than two hours. In addition to the risk of cross-contamination with other foods you might set on your kitchen counter, uncooked raw meat left out for an extended period of time can result in foodborne illness (poultry needs to be cooked to an internal temperature of 165 degrees F).

As per USDA recommendations, put the frozen chicken in a leak-proof plastic bag and submerge it in a big bowl of cold tap water. A bowl of raw chicken in water should never be left in your sink because it will contaminate the entire area and the meat will end up absorbing some of the water. The chicken should always be well sealed before coming into contact with water. A 1-pound package of meat might take an hour or less to completely thaw, while a larger package weighing 3 or 4 pounds might take longer than two hours. To speed up the process, change the water every 30 minutes. Remember not to refreeze unless you intend to cook the meat before putting it back in the freezer.

Defrost In A Microwave

Although it takes the shortest amount of time to thaw your chicken, this method isn’t the best. Your raw meat may be partially warmed through and partially frozen in different places after being microwaved, putting it in the “Danger Zone” temperature range (40 to 140 degrees F). Microwaves have a tendency to produce hot spots in food, so this could happen. After microwave thawing, be sure to cook the food right away, and only refreeze it after it has finished cooking.

Just Cook It Frozen

If you’re short on time, you can cook frozen chicken in soups and sauces directly on the stove without having to thaw it first. Just remember that cooking times will be roughly 50% longer. You can also use a pressure cooker or Instant Pot to cook frozen chicken, but avoid using a slow cooker because it will foster the growth of bacteria. You can cook frozen chicken in an air fryer in less than 30 minutes by using these quick and simple recipes for Instant Pot Lemon Frozen Chicken with Orzo and Instant Pot Frozen Chicken Teriyaki with Rice and Broccoli.


Whether you’re planning to make crispy roast chicken or whatever on the Best Healthy Chicken recipes, pay attention to the “best before” date on the chicken package. But, more importantly, look at the meat, touch it, and smell it to see if it has any signs of spoilage. If spoiled, throw it away and never eat it. Keep in mind that a day or two can go by quickly, so we need to have a plan for cooking the chicken.

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