While you should carefully handle all meats, you must always take special care when handling chicken.
It’s easy to pick up a package or two of chicken on sale and toss it in the fridge.
However, it’s even easier to forget about chicken in the fridge, especially if it’s hiding behind other foods in the refrigerator.
Before you know it, the sell-by date will have passed. That’s why you need to know how long the chicken lasts after the sell-by date.
Food dating is confusing for most, especially when it comes to meat as well as other perishable foods.
Unfortunately, many people throw perfectly good food in the trash because they do not understand product dating.
This is why an estimated 30% of food goes to waste in the US every year.
First, the expiration date is not an actual expiration date.
I know what you’re thinking; how can the expiration date not be valid. However, let me explain.
Most people assume the expiration date tells you to toss the food in the trash because it is no longer good.
However, food dating is an optional process left to the manufacturer’s and retailer’s discretion.
Sometimes the date is for the retailer’s convenience. Other times the date could indicate the quality of the chicken.
Seeing an expiration date on a package of chicken is like seeing a unicorn. It’s scarce.
The use-by date, best if used before, and the sell-by dates are commonly found on packages of chicken.
The use-by date is the manufacturer’s best estimation of the amount of time the food will remain in peak quality.
You may also see best by or best if used by dates, indicating how long the chicken will stay in peak condition.
However, a sell-by-date is designed for the retailers and their staff.
The sell-by date lets the retailer know when to remove the chicken from the display case.
Therefore, the sell-by date printed on a package of chicken does not tell you if the chicken is still at peak quality or if it needs to be discarded.
How Long Is Chicken Good for After the Sell-by Date
Believe it or not, how long chicken lasts after the sell-by date is a pretty controversial topic.
Usually, eating food that has passed its sell-by date is out of the question due to food safety issues.
Yes, chicken is probably one of the worst foods you can eat if you are unsure whether it is good or bad.
Additionally, eating spoiled chicken can also cause food poisoning.
However, chicken is a little different. Chicken can be eaten 1-2 days after the sell-by date has expired.
However, this only applies if the raw chicken is stored correctly and free of any spoilage signs.
How To Store Chicken
Raw chicken will only last for 1-2 days in the fridge. Therefore, if you are not going to use the chicken in 1-2 days, it’s best to toss it in the freezer.
The same rule applies to chicken that’s past its sell-by date.
I recommend leaving the chicken in the fridge for one day. Yes, you can get away with leaving the chicken in the refrigerator for 2 days.
However, chicken has bacteria such as salmonella and E.coli.
According to the CDC, salmonella is responsible for more bacteria than any other bacteria. F
Furthermore, you cannot see, taste, or smell these pathogens, so you won’t know you ingested them until you develop a foodborne illness.
This is why I recommend airing on the side of caution and cooking the chicken within 1 day after the sell-by date expires.
If you are storing the chicken in its original packaging, make sure the container is free of any holes or cracks.
If the chicken’s package has cracks or holes in the container, it may be best to place the chicken into an airtight container ziplock bag.
You can also keep the chicken in its original packaging and wrap it with a layer of plastic wrap to ensure it protects the chicken.
Place the chicken onto a rimmed baking sheet to catch any spilled juices and place it in the fridge.
You can also freeze the chicken. To preserve the chicken, it’s best to use a vacuum sealer to freezer the chicken.
However, you can leave the chicken in its original packaging and wrap it with a layer of plastic wrap and freezer paper.
Next, wrap the chicken with a layer of foil and place the chicken in a ziplock bag. Press the air out of the chicken, seal the bag, and put the chicken in the freezer.
Although it seems excessive, wrapping the chicken with multiple layers will preserve its quality and prevent it from becoming freezer burned.
Raw chicken will last in the freezer for 9 months.
You can also extend the lifespan of raw chicken by cooking it. Cooked chicken will only last in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Once you’ve cooked the chicken, let it cool completely and place it into an airtight container.
Do not allow the chicken to sit at room temperature for more than 2 hours or it will become overrun with bacteria.
Whether it is cooked or raw, you must dispose of chicken that has sat out for more than 2 hours.
To speed up the cooling phase, you can separate the cooked chicken into smaller pieces.
You can also store the cooked chicken in the freezer. Simply place the cooked chicken into a freezer-safe airtight container or ziplock bag.
Label the chicken with today’s date and place it in the freezer. Frozen cooked chicken will last 1-3 months in the freezer.
Chicken is a popular meat that is filled with lots of nutritional benefits. However, it’s essential to know how long chicken lasts after the sell-by dates.
Chicken will only last 1-2 days after the sell-by date passes.
So, it’s best to freeze the raw chicken or cook it and store it in the freezer for 2-3 days or in the freezer for 1-3 months.
You might also be interested in the following:
- How Long Is Beef Good for After Sell by Date
- How Long Is Ground Beef Good for After Sell by Date
- How Long Is Steak Good for After Its Sell by Date
- How Long Is Sausage Good for After Sell by Date
- How Long Is Pork Good for After Sell-by Date
I have been smoking and grilling meat from an early age and enjoy sharing my knowledge and expertise through the hundreds of articles I have written about BBQ. I hope to make everyone’s BBQ journey that little bit easier.