How Long Can Raw Chicken Stay In The Refrigerator And Why? When To Freeze It

logo by Editorial Staff | Updated on August 5th, 2022

How long can raw chicken be refrigerated? 2 days is the exact answer.

Do you have any uncooked chicken leftovers in the fridge? It is common for us to purchase raw foods from the market to store them for later use.

Raw Chicken

Although there are occasions when quick arrangements are made, we are left wondering what to do with those uncooked food products. In this situation, if you have raw chicken and are unsure of its utility, don’t worry. We are here to help you solve your problem.

We can keep the raw chicken in the refrigerator or the frozen section of the refrigerator. According to common sense and science, raw chicken can last longer in the freezer than in the fridge.

How Long Can Raw Chicken Be Refrigerated?

Part Of RefrigeratorTime Taken
Fridge1-2 days
Freezer (in individual parts)9 months
Freezer (in whole)A year

How Long Does Raw Chicken Last in the Fridge?

According to the USDA and the US Food and Drug Administration, raw chicken (whether whole, in parts such as breasts, thighs, drumsticks, wings, or ground) should be refrigerated for no more than one to two days.

If the chicken was frozen, this timeline begins once the flesh has been completely defrosted.

Raw chicken should be refrigerated for no more than one to two days.

If you’re unsure if you’ll be able to cook that raw chicken by the deadline, your best chance is to freeze it.

Raw chicken may be stored in the freezer for a surprising amount before it becomes unsafe to consume. If you haven’t sliced the chicken into pieces, the raw item can be frozen for up to a year. On the other hand, if you carve the chicken, the raw chicken parts can survive for up to 9 months.

In addition, if your chicken is cooked, it will keep in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days. If you put it in the freezer, it may last much longer than 2 to 3 months.

Why does raw chicken last so long in the fridge?

A refrigerator, as you may know, has two sections. These are the refrigerator and freezer.

The refrigerator aids in the cooling of food and the storage of it for a longer period. The fridge section of a refrigerator slows but does not stop the development of microorganisms.

On the other hand, the freezer is employed when we need to store food for an extended time. A freezer nearly totally inhibits the growth of microbes, allowing the food to be consumed for longer. Ice is also kept in the freezer.

Many factors influence how long raw chicken may be stored in the refrigerator. The volume and kind of microorganisms present in the meal, as well as the temperature of the fridge and freezer, influence the chicken’s freshness.

The refrigerator’s chilly atmosphere inhibits the growth of germs and other infections. This is because microorganisms grow poorly below 4 degrees Celsius.

The temperature in the refrigerator is lower than the temperature outside. This causes undesirable bacteria to develop at a slower rate. This sluggish development also makes the raw chicken more acceptable for ingestion over a longer time.

The temperature is lower in the freezer section of the refrigerator. The extremely low and freezing temperatures virtually totally prevent the formation of these undesirable microorganisms, resulting in raw chicken that lasts longer. It may be stored in the freezer for up to a year.

How Long Can Thawed Chicken Be Stored In The Fridge?

There are a few elements that influence how long chicken will stay in your refrigerator. One consideration is whether the thawed chicken is raw or cooked.

Another consideration is the method you choose to defrost your meat. We’ll look at the several factors that influence how long chicken can last once it’s been thawed in the fridge.

A general rule of thumb is that raw, thawed chicken will keep in the fridge for one to two days. This schedule, however, begins after the meat has been completely defrosted. It is also dependent on the method utilized to thaw your chicken.

Remember that you may always store raw or cooked chicken in your freezer to avoid losing the chicken in your fridge.

Cooked chicken, on the other hand, has a somewhat longer shelf life than raw chicken. Cooked chicken may be stored in the fridge for three to four days after it has been thawed.

If you are concerned about losing your cooked chicken, you may store it in the freezer. This will allow you to keep it for a longer period.

A few chicken basics can help you determine if the chicken in your fridge is still OK or has gone bad.

How can you know if the raw chicken has gone bad?

Whether you put your chicken in the fridge or the freezer, use your best judgment to determine whether it’s beyond its prime.

According to the FDA, the “sell by” dates marked on our products aren’t an exact science, and they’re typically for the retailer, not the customer. They say “the date is solely connected to best quality — not safety.”

“Manufacturers often affix date markings at their discretion and for several reasons.” The most common is to advise customers and retailers of the date until the product will keep its ideal quality and flavor.”

Instead of merely looking at the expiration date on the package, it’s crucial to know what to check for to determine if your chicken has been ruined. A color change might be completely natural, but fading or darkening meat could indicate that it has gone bad.

When touched, a pronounced “odd” odor and a sticky, gooey, or slimy feel are more evident signs. (P.S. It’s also absolutely fine to remove the freezer burn and consume the remaining unharmed meat.)

What to do with leftover raw chicken?

When working with raw chicken, there are a few hard and fast laws you should always follow.

  • Raw chicken should not be left at room temperature for two hours.
  • Any unused raw chicken should be stored promptly.
  • The longer raw chicken is left at room temperature, the more probable germs will form on the meat.
  • After handling raw meat, always wash your hands and surfaces.

Raw chicken may be stored in either the refrigerator or the freezer. If you want to consume it later or the next day, keep it in the fridge. You should utilize the freezer if you wait for any longer (see the section on freezing raw chicken).

In the fridge:

Place the chicken in an airtight Ziploc bag or wrap it in plastic before placing it in an airtight container to keep in the refrigerator. Any airtight container will do.

Place the airtight container on a tray in the refrigerator’s rear corner. The back of the refrigerator is the coolest place in the house. Warm air enters the refrigerator every time you open and close the door. As a result, the front of the refrigerator is usually warmer.

Storing the chicken in a rimmed tray reduces the possibility of fluids dripping. You don’t want to be scraping dirty, gamey chicken juice out of the interior of your refrigerator.

The chicken will only keep in the refrigerator for two days at most – don’t forget about it! If you’re as forgetful as I am, writing the date with a sharpie and a sticky label will help spark your memory.

Is it OK to store raw chicken in the refrigerator if it’s not covered?

I would not advocate storing raw chicken in the refrigerator uncovered. Chicken that has not been covered has a substantially lower shelf life than chicken that has been covered. The chicken will rapidly dry up and become inedible.

Furthermore, you greatly increase the likelihood of the chicken coming into touch with other meals and spreading its germs.

If you need another reason to cover your chicken, it can absorb scents from the refrigerator. So, unless you want to taste the interior of your refrigerator, keep it sealed and closed.

What is the ideal temperature for storing raw chicken?

Keep chicken in the refrigerator at or below 40°F. If you’re going to freeze it, aim for 0° or below. According to the USDA, any temperature above 40°F is considered a “risk zone” for bacteria development.

The USDA advises cooking chicken to an internal temperature of 165°F.

For this reading, insert your meat thermometer into the thickest section of the bird or in the middle. You guessed it: possible bacteria trap if not cooked at a sufficient internal temperature.

Nothing is more terrifying than reaching the middle of your chicken and discovering it’s chilly, discolored, reddish-purple, and scary. Don’t play around. Cook it until it reaches 165°F.

Safety precautions for chickens

When cleaning raw chicken, you run the danger of splashing water on work surfaces and utensils, which may contain deadly bacteria. Because heating kills any bacteria in the chicken, cleaning it is unnecessary and raises the danger of cross-contamination.

Ensure that the chicken is properly cooked.

Check using a food thermometer; cooked chicken should be at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit when the thermometer is placed into the thickest section of the flesh.

If you don’t have a food thermometer, ensure the fluids flow clear when you poke the thickest section of the meat with a fork. If they are pink, the chicken is not done.

Don’t defrost frozen chicken on your counter.

It’s best to defrost raw chicken overnight in the refrigerator. Ensure that no chicken fluids come into touch with other foods in the fridge.

EVERYTHING that has come into touch with raw chicken should be washed.

This includes knives, cutting boards, and your hands! Otherwise, cross-contamination in the kitchen is a possibility.

Ideally, you should have separate tools and cutting boards for raw meat.

Freeze Instructions:

Follow these easy steps to freeze your chicken successfully. When these instructions are followed, your bird will produce the best results.

Place the chicken in the freezer in an airtight container or a freezer bag that closes. I strongly recommend using freezer bags because they have always had the greatest success.

On your container, write a description, such as “raw chicken,” and date it.

Expel all of the air. This will be useful if you have the means to vacuum seal it. If you don’t have one, you might submerge everything but the zipper in water to assist get the air out.

Make certain that your storage container is well-sealed. Then put it in the freezer.


The refrigerator is quite useful for preserving raw chicken. The refrigerator solves the problem of food storage. It slows the growth of microorganisms and maintains them healthy for consumption.

It may be safely stored in a refrigerator for 1-2 days. You may also keep the raw chicken in the frozen section of the refrigerator for at least a year.

However, if you decide to eat raw chicken that has been kept in the fridge for more than two days, you should check it to see if it is safe to eat. After all, prevention is preferable to cure.


Editorial Staff

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