How long can cooked chicken sit out? When you’re cooking a meal, there are many things to consider—including how long the food can be left out without going bad. Are you wondering if the cooked chicken is safe to eat if it has been sitting out for a few hours? If so, this blog post will provide all of the answers you need. Here I’ll cover what temperature cooked chicken should be kept at and for how long it can safely sit out before eating or refrigerating. You’ll also learn important considerations when handling raw and cooked chicken that will help keep your family healthy and safe from any potential foodborne illnesses associated with improper cooking or storage practices. Let’s learn about how long can cooked chicken sit out. Read on for all the details!
How Long Can You Really Keep Cooked Chicken Outside?
If you keep your food out at room temperature for too long, nothing is secure. In general, cooked meats shouldn’t be kept out for longer than two hours, especially chicken. But it is also impacted by other things. So keep checking back for updates.
You might be curious about how long cooked chicken can be left out before going bad when you’re cooking it. Considering it is undoubtedly a good idea, particularly if you have a large family or are planning a party. Given that cross-contamination can result in food illness, this is a crucial issue to address.
In many households, chickens are the main food source. They can be prepared in a variety of ways and served either as the main course or as a side dish.
Like anything else, there are rules about how long cooked chicken can be left out before it becomes poisonous. Knowing how long that wonderful chicken has before it spoils is essential to keeping your family safe and healthy, while the exact amount of time may vary based on a variety of variables. Let’s examine what you should know about how long cooked chicken can be left outside.
The Rule Of Thumb – Maximum 2 Hours At Ranging From 40 To 140 F Degrees
If you live in tropical countries where the weather is so hot and humid, for example, if the temperature is higher than 90 F degrees (32 C degrees), your cooked chicken should not be left outside for too long. The maximum time for them to sit out is around 1 hour.
Your cooked chicken shouldn’t be left outside for an extended period of time if you reside in a tropical country where the climate is extremely hot and humid, for instance, if the temperature is higher than 90 F degrees (32 C degrees). They can only stay out for a maximum of one hour.
Misconception About Cooked Chicken That Left Out
Some people might believe that your poultry dish is okay to leave out if you keep them in a food container or cover them with a wrapper.
It is a common misperception, in actuality. If your chicken is completely covered, new potential bacteria might not assault it from the outside; nevertheless, ones already present inside the meat are still a threat and can continue to multiply and contaminate your chicken.
The bacteria begin to grow and ruin your cooked chicken after two hours. Escherichia coli (E. coli for short) and Salmonella are two prevalent bacteria that cause food poisoning.
Additionally, a lot of individuals mistakenly think that reheating cooked food would remove microorganisms. No matter what portion of your cooked chicken you use, it could still be contaminated.
What Is The Danger Zone For Cook Chicken?
The “danger zone” for food, according to the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), is between 40°F and 140°F (or roughly 4.4°C and 60°C). Bacteria can develop quickly in this temperature range and result in foodborne illness.
It’s crucial to keep in mind that cooked chicken that is left out at room temperature can enter the danger zone. Accordingly, you shouldn’t keep the cooked chicken out on the counter or in the buffet line for more than two hours.
Bacteria will have had two hours to proliferate and could contaminate food by then. You might feel symptoms including nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea when this occurs. Food poisoning can, in extreme circumstances, result in hospitalization or even death.
It’s critical to understand how to keep your cooked chicken correctly to prevent the hazards of the danger zone.
Factors Affecting How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out
There are several things to take into account when it comes to food safety. How long food may be safely consumed depends on several factors, including temperature, storage, and expiration date. It holds true for cooked chicken as well.
How long cooked chicken can be left out before going bad depends on a number of different circumstances.
- Chicken type: The shelf life of various chicken varieties can vary. White meat chicken, for instance, typically keeps better than dark meat chicken.
- Cooking technique: Baked or roasted chicken often keeps for a little while longer than chicken that has been fried.
- Temperature: As previously indicated, the cooked chicken shouldn’t be left at room temperature for more than 2 hours.
- How the chicken was prepared: Baked or roasted chicken will keep for longer than chicken that has been fried. This is because fried chicken still contains a lot of moisture, in contrast to baked and roasted chicken, which have had all of their moisture cooked out.
- How the chicken was kept: Chicken kept in an airtight container in the refrigerator or freezer will keep better than chicken left out on the counter.
- Whether or not the chicken is covered: Covered chicken will rot more slowly than chicken left out in the open air. This is because the chicken will get more brittle and dry out in the air.
All of these factors can affect how long can cooked chicken sit out before it goes bad. So, it’s always preferable to err on the side of caution and discard the chicken if you’re unsure of how long it’s been sitting out.
Video: How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out
What Are The Risks Associated With Leaving Cooked Chicken Out Too Long?
- Too much time spent storing cooked chicken at room temperature has a number of dangers. First, the primary danger is the development of germs, which raises the possibility of food poisoning. Second, the chicken’s quality will start to deteriorate, making it less sane to consume. Finally, improper storage of the chicken could cause it to become bad.
- The cooked chicken should not be left out at room temperature for longer than two hours, as was previously stated. This is due to the fact that after that point, bacteria may begin to form on the chicken.
- Food poisoning, which can result in a variety of symptoms like nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, can be brought on by bacteria. Food poisoning might even be fatal in severe circumstances.
- Cross-contamination is a danger of storing cooked chicken outside. When bacteria from the chicken spread to other foods, cross-contamination occurs. This may occur if the cooked chicken is kept in an unsealed container or if it interacts with other improperly sealed foods.
Tips For Storing Cooked Chicken Effective
You can take a few steps to ensure that your cooked chicken is still suitable for consumption:
- Before storing the chicken, allow it to cool. This will aid in preventing the growth of bacteria on the chicken.
- If at all possible, put the cooked chicken in the fridge within two hours.
- Place cooked chicken in an airtight container or carefully cover it in plastic wrap before putting it in the refrigerator.
- When freezing chicken, make sure to cover it tightly to prevent air from leaking in.
- Mark the bag or container with a date to indicate when the chicken was cooked.
- To prevent infection, make sure that the chicken is not in contact with any other food.
- To reduce the chance of cross-contamination, the raw and cooked chicken should be stored in separate containers. Ideally, never store both in the same compartment of the refrigerator because raw chicken has a higher microbial load than cooked chicken. Separate raw and cooked chicken cutting boards and utensils should be used.
You may assist to guarantee that your cooked chicken is still safe to eat by adhering to some basic guidelines. There are some tips for storing cooked chicken after learning about how long can cooked chicken sit out.
How Long Can Cooked Chicken Last In The Fridge?
- In the refrigerator, cooked chicken can be stored for up to four days. For the greatest quality, it is advised to consume it within two days. After then, the chicken’s quality will start to deteriorate.
- Make careful to put cooked chicken in an airtight container or tightly wrap it in plastic wrap before putting it in the refrigerator. The chicken will stay clean and fresh thanks to this.
Note: The cooked chicken must be totally cool before being stored in the refrigerator. Bacteria might begin to grow if the chicken is still warm.
How Long Can You Freeze Cooked Chicken?
Cooked poultry casseroles or pieces covered in broth or gravy can be frozen for up to 4 months; chicken nuggets or patties can be frozen for up to 3 months. It’s crucial to carefully wrap the cooked chicken in an airtight container or freezer bag before freezing it. This will keep the chicken fresh and help prevent freezer burn.
The date the frozen chicken was frozen should also be written on the packaging. Keeping note of how long the chicken has been in the freezer will enable you to be sure it is still safe to eat.
How To Tell If Cooked Chicken Goes Bad?
No one really wants to consume rotten food, whether it happened on purpose or not. Although chicken is a meat that is simple to prepare, it may also spoil quickly.
In certain cases, you may not even be able to see any obvious signs that your chicken is poorly cooked. I will thus demonstrate four quick ways for you to determine whether the cooked chicken you have is still safe to consume.
Method 1: By Sight
- First, spoiled cooked chicken frequently exhibits signs of discoloration. The hue of the chicken’s flesh may change to gray, green, or even blue. It is better to discard any cooked chicken that displays any of these colors.
- Second, look for any mold indications. Throw away the chicken if you notice any mold on it.
Method 2: By Smell
Checking the fragrance is another technique to determine if your cooked chicken has gone bad. Typically, spoiled cooked chicken may smell sour and ammonia-like. It is recommended to throw the chicken away if you notice this scent.
Method 3: By Taste
You can always taste your chicken if you’re still not sure if it’s terrible. A rotten, sour, unpleasant taste will typically characterize cooked chicken. It is preferable to discard the chicken if the flavor is off.
Method 4: By Touch
Touch is another method for determining whether the cooked chicken has gone rotten. You can also examine the texture of your cooked chicken if you are unsure about its color or fragrance. The chicken is likely ruined if it feels slimy or sticky. Furthermore, the chicken has probably gone bad if it feels hard or rubbery to the touch.
Tips To Avoid Buying Rotten Chicken
Let’s look at some advice to prevent you from purchasing rotten chicken in the first place now that we know how to identify when cooked chicken has gone bad.
- Verify the expiration date: Verifying the expiration date should be your first step when purchasing chicken. You can determine how long the chicken has been on the shelf by doing this.
- Examine the packing: You should also check to see if the packaging is damaged. It is advised to stay away from that chicken if the package has any holes or tears in it.
- Chicken that smells terrible should be avoided since it has likely gone rotten. It is advised to stay away from the chicken if any bad smells are detected.
Last but not least, stay away from chicken that appears to be discolored. The chicken has probably gone rotten if it is anything other than white or pale in color.
How Can Badly Cooked Chicken Harm Your Health?
Badly equipped chicken can be unhealthy in a variety of ways. Food poisoning is the most typical way.
When you consume food that has been tainted with bacteria, viruses, or parasites, you get food poisoning. Depending on the type of contamination, food poisoning symptoms can range from nausea and vomiting to diarrhea and abdominal pain. Food poisoning can, in extreme circumstances, result in hospitalization or even death.
Poorly prepared chicken might also put your health at risk by raising your chance of getting cancer. This is due to the fact that cooking chicken at high temperatures creates a number of carcinogens. Substances that cause cancer are known as carcinogens.
When chicken is eaten that has been out of the refrigerator for an extended period of time, it can result in a number of foodborne illnesses. These conditions include:
- Salmonella: This foodborne infection, one of the most prevalent ones, is brought on by a bacterium that is frequently found in chicken. Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and fever are symptoms.
- Staphylococcus aureus: This bacteria is frequently discovered in the nose, throat, and on the skin. It may result in symptoms like nausea, diarrhea, and fever.
- Listeria monocytogenes: This bacteria has the potential to sicken people severely, especially if they are immune system-compromised, elderly, or pregnant. Fever, soreness in the muscles, and digestive issues are other symptoms.
Just a few of the foodborne ailments that can be contracted by eating chicken that has been left out too long are listed above. It’s critical to seek medical assistance right away if you believe you may have consumed tainted chicken.
Note: You should seek guidance from a local food safety expert if you are unclear of how to keep your cooked chicken properly.
What If The Cooked Chicken Is In A Sealed Container?
The cooked chicken can legally be left out at room temperature for up to 2 hours if your body temperature is below 90°F and 1 hour if your body temperature is over 90°F if it is in a sealed container like a Tupperware or Ziploc bag.
It is not advised to do this, though, unless the chicken will be consumed within that period. It’s preferable to refrigerate the chicken as soon as possible because bacteria can still grow on the chicken, even in a sealed container.
What If The Cooked Chicken Still Looks And Smells Fine?
It might not be safe to eat cooked chicken even though it appears to be and smells OK. This is due to the fact that some bacteria can still result in food poisoning even if they have no effect on the food’s flavor or aroma.
This is why it’s crucial to abide by the rules about how long cooked chicken can be left out. Any cooked chicken that has been left out for longer than two hours should be thrown away to be safe.
Thawing And Reheating Cooked Chicken
To prevent food poisoning, cooked chicken must be properly thawed and heated. It is not advisable to eat chicken that has been frozen for longer than four months.
Thawing Cooked Chicken
The chicken can be defrosted in the microwave, cold water, or refrigerator.
- In the refrigerator: Thawing frozen chicken is best done in the fridge. The safest approach for defrosting chicken and preventing bacterial growth is the one that takes the longest. Place the frozen chicken in a container and keep it in the refrigerator overnight to thaw chicken in the refrigerator. The chicken will be defrosted and prepared for cooking the following day. Chicken should be put in a shallow container to hasten the thawing process if you decide to thaw it in the fridge.
- In cold water: You can thaw chicken in cold water as well. Put the chicken in a bag that can be sealed, then immerse it in cold water. To keep the water cool, change it every 30 minutes.
- In the microwave: Cooked chicken can also be thawed in the microwave, but it must be cooked right away. Place the chicken on a microwave-safe plate and turn the power down to 50% to thaw it in the microwave. After two minutes of cooking, check the chicken to see if it has thawed. If not, microwave the chicken for an additional minute at 50% power each time until it has completely defrosted.
Do not let chicken thaw at room temperature. This might result in bacteria growing on the chicken, rendering it hazardous.
Reheating Cooked Chicken For How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out
After defrosting, you can reheat your chicken on the grill, in the oven, on the stovetop, or in the microwave. Before it needs to be cooked, chicken that has been refrigerated to thaw can be stored there for up to four days.
It’s crucial to check that the chicken is fully cooked before reheating it. Utilizing a food thermometer is the most effective way to do this. The internal temperature of the chicken should be raised to 165°F.
Frequently Asked Questions About How Long Can Cooked Chicken Sit Out
Can you refreeze thawed chicken?
Chicken that has been thawed can be refrozen. But before refreezing, it’s crucial to make sure the chicken has thoroughly thawed. If not, the bacteria could live and contaminate food.
Can I extend the time if I keep the chicken warm or cool?
No, the two-hour limit still stands. Bacteria can still form and contaminate food even in warm or cold temperatures.
Does barbecue sauce help to preserve chicken?
No, barbecue sauce does not prevent bacteria from forming on cooked chicken. It is still necessary to abide by the two-hour rule for how long cooked chicken can sit out at room temperature.
Can you eat fried chicken at room temperature?
It is not advisable to eat fried chicken at room temperature. The two-hour rule should still be followed, as bacteria can form even in fried chicken.
Is it safe to eat cooked chicken left out for 4 hours?
No, it is not safe to eat cooked chicken left out for four hours. The two-hour rule should still be observed – any cooked chicken that has been left out for longer than this should be thrown away. To prevent food poisoning, cooked chicken must be properly thawed and heated. It is not advisable to eat chicken that has been frozen for longer than four months.
Can I put the warm chicken in the fridge?
Yes, warm chicken can be put in the fridge. Doing so right away will help to prevent bacteria from forming on the chicken. But it is important to remember that cooked chicken should not be stored in the fridge for longer than four days.
Is eating chicken every day healthy?
Eating chicken every day can be a healthy way to get your daily protein. But it is important to vary the types of chicken you eat, such as dark and light meat. Eating too much white meat can lead to an unbalanced diet, so make sure to include other sources of protein in your meals as well.
What happens if you eat cooked chicken that was left out?
If you eat cooked chicken that was left out for longer than two hours, it could lead to food poisoning. Symptoms of food poisoning can include vomiting, abdominal cramps, diarrhea, and fever. If these symptoms occur after eating cooked chicken that has been sitting out for too long, seek medical attention right away.
How do bacteria spread when chicken is left out?
Bacteria can spread on cooked chicken when it is left out at room temperature. The warm environment allows the bacteria to grow and multiply, increasing the risk of food poisoning. To prevent this from happening, make sure to store cooked chicken in a refrigerator or freezer as soon as possible after cooking.
Why can’t you put the hot chicken in the fridge?
It is not recommended to put the hot chicken in the fridge because it can raise the temperature of other items stored there. This could lead to bacterial growth and foodborne illnesses, so it’s best to wait until the chicken cools down before putting it in the fridge.
How long can cooked chicken sit out? The answer is that it depends on a lot of factors. If you’re planning to eat it within four hours, cook it to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. And if you’re not going to eat it right away, make sure to refrigerate it within two hours. But overall, the best way to ensure your food is safe is by using a food thermometer. With proper precautions, Sweet Basil’s Cafe wishes you can safely enjoy your cooked chicken without worry!