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How To Tell if Chicken Is Bad

How To Tell if Chicken Is Bad

We’ve all fallen victim to purchasing chicken from the grocery store and letting it sit in the fridge for days because take-out seemed like the more convenient option.

But, as I said, we’ve all done it, so there’s no judgment here.

Nevertheless, when deciding to order take-out instead of cooking the chicken stored in your fridge, you must consider whether the chicken will be fresh when you finally decide to cook it.

The important question is, do you know how to tell if your chicken is bad?

How Long Does Raw Chicken Last?

Unfortunately, chicken does not last long. Like most meats, if the chicken is stored in the refrigerator, it will go bad within a week.

Furthermore, the longer the chicken is out of the fridge, the more bacteria and germs can develop on its surface.

It doesn’t matter when you purchase a whole chicken or chicken thighs or legs; you must hurry home to store your chicken in the fridge or freezer once you have purchased it.

The chicken will only remain fresh outside of the fridge or freezer for 2 hours.

However, this only applies to a room that has a temperature at or below 90 degrees.

If the room’s temperature is higher than this, the chicken will only last for 1 hour.

Once you store your chicken correctly and place it in the fridge, the raw chicken will last for 1-2 days.

If you do not intend to use the chicken right away, it is best to place it in the freezer.

While the cold will not neutralize the bacteria, it will prevent them from multiplying rapidly.

Raw chicken will last indefinitely in the freezer. However, for quality purposes, you should cook and consume the raw chicken within 2 months as the chicken’s texture and flavor will decline after some time.

How Long Does Cooked Chicken Last?

Even though the shelf life rules for raw and cooked chicken are essentially the same, raw chicken and cooked chicken should never be used in the same sentence. In terms of storage, raw and cooked chicken should always be kept separate.

Cooked chicken is safe to consume as long as it has not been held at room temperature for more than 2 hours.

If the room’s temperature is over 90 degrees, cooked chicken only has a shelf life of an hour at room temperature.

If the chicken is kept longer than this, bacteria will start to develop, making the chicken unsafe to eat.

Even though you will not be able to see the danger on the chicken’s surface, the threat is still present, so it must be thrown out.

When stored in the fridge, cooked chicken will last longer than raw chicken.

Cooked chicken has a shelflife of 3-4 days. However, it might e better to consume the cooked chicken for 1-2 days.

When it comes to safety, cooked chicken stored in the freezer will last indefinitely. However, safety is not the only issue for freezing cooked chicken. There’s also the matter of taste and texture when freezing cooked chicken so consume your cooked chicken within 2 months.

What Happens if You Eat Spoiled Chicken?

Nobody wants to eat spoiled chicken. However, if your chicken is bad, you must discard it.

Chicken is considered a high-risk food as it can lead to food poisoning. To be specific, spoiled chicken may be tainted with bacteria such as Campylobacter, Salmonella, and Clostridium perfringens.

Yes, cooking fresh chicken neutralizes these bacteria.

However, this is not the case with spoiled chicken.

Reheating cooked chicken or cooking the chicken will neutralize the bacteria on the meat’s surface, but it will not eradicate some of the toxins produced by bacteria.

These toxins can cause food poisoning if you consume spoiled chicken.

If that isn’t enough to steer you away from reheating cooked chicken, some dangerous and discomforting symptoms come with food poisoning.

For example, you may experience bloody stools, vomiting, chills, diarrhea, high fever, dehydration, and nausea.

How To Tell if Chicken Is Bad

Sometimes, determining whether or not chicken is safe to eat is easy. However, sometimes the investigation requires more effort to determine if the chicken is bad.

The best way to figure out if chicken is bad is by relying on your senses and knowing how long your chicken has been stored in the fridge.

Check the Date

As previously mentioned, chicken has a shelf life of 2 days in the refrigerator.

If your chicken is frozen, it will only last in the fridge 2 days after it has been thawed.

Look for the best by or use by date on the pack of chicken. If it is past the expiration day, the chicken is unsafe to eat.


Another way to determine if your chicken is bad is by using your visual cues or your eyes. Your eyes can help you determine if the chicken is bad or good.

Does the chicken have a pink, fleshy hue? Does the chicken have a dull gray color?

In the same way, bananas transform from green to yellow as they ripen, chicken changes from pink to dull gray as it spoils. If your chicken has a gray tint, throw it out.


Like the eyes, giving your chicken, the old smell test is an excellent way to tell whether or not your chicken is bad. Chicken is not odor-free.

Nevertheless, chicken should never have a strong, rancid odor. If your chicken has a potent unpleasant odor, throw it out immediately.


You can also determine if the chicken is good or bad by feeling it with your fingers.

Chicken is naturally glossy and has a slightly slick texture. If your chicken feels like there it has a fa sticky thick film over it, do not use it.

Final Thoughts

We’ve all wondered whether that chicken in the fridge is good or not.

Even though no one wants to intentionally make themselves sick or waste money, knowing if chicken is bad is essential. Luckily you know how to tell if chicken is bad.

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